Dorime Effect: Unbundling Naija’s Materialism & Recognition Culture

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A recent social media sensation popularised the hype line, ‘One for the deejay, one for the hype man…’, earning mass attention, engagement, shareability and even user-generated content. 

I’ve since wondered what made this piece of content so sticky and popular across the internet in the last few weeks. Why do Nigerians crave being recognised and honoured?

Another recent pop culture reference is the attention lavished towards Obi Cubana at his Mom’s opulent burial celebration, in his now very popular hometown of Oba.

Dorime Effect
Partygoers pose with premium drinks in Joker Club, Benin

Again I ask, what makes Nigerians so attracted to displays of hedonism and extravagant flamboyance? Why are we as a people so moved by materialism and show of wealth? What makes our attention easily earned by affluent lifestyle (or the promise thereof)?

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In a recent study, I investigated key motivations for Affluence and Recognition in Nigerians, and what brands can do to credibly leverage this behaviour for business and brand growth.

I conducted dipstick research, covering both quantitative and qualitative analysis, and discovered the following key Dorime Effect & Abeg Culture drivers play an inter-connected:

  1. High PIL (Poverty Rate, Inflation & Living Cost)
  2. Low Employment Levels
  3. Decline of Hope & Power
  4. Low Sense of Relevance / Value

The factors create a complex matrix of socio-economic coping mechanisms that have evolved behaviours in the majority of people.

In an attempt to dimension the DEAC factors further, things got even more interesting, especially looking deep into the lower SECs. It immediately became clear why Nigerians have become perhaps one of the most misunderstood and maligned people in the world.

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I found that unlike in other parts of the world, middle and lower class Nigerians unanimously react to the 4 DEAC drivers. See Fig 1.

67% & 69% respectively agreeing that ‘Nigeria is designed to keep you poor’ and 62% & 64% of the surveyed respondents sharing overwhelming feelings of powerlessness and low sense of worth.

“In Nigeria, you really do not matter, you can’t drive meaningful change” and Nobody respects anybody, even the police just want to take advantage of you and make you feel small’ are some of the quotes shared by surveyed respondents.

While it may look like all gloom and doom, these findings help us make sense of why Nigerians are attracted to ‘get rich quick schemes; TV Shows that promise Influence and Affluence, and are hardwired to crave Honor & Recognition.

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Suddenly, it is not a mystery anymore that Obi Cubana has become a hero, or why the Dorime anthem became a hit in a blink, or that Giveaways are now a part of Naija culture.

Fig 1. Dorime Effect & Abeg Culture (DEAC) Map 

Dorime Effect
Dorime Effect: Unbundling Naija’s Materialism & Recognition Culture

Fig 2. Respect & Recognition Chart

Dorime Effect
Dorime Effect: Unbundling Naija’s Materialism & Recognition Culture

What then can brands do to create breakthrough products, systems and communications hinged on these deep consumer truths? It is critical to engage in the right way.

Based on my research, there are a number of ways that brand and business leaders should leverage DEAC to create products and communications for Nigerian consumers:

1. Use Big Consumer Insights to Connect across SECs. 

Few truths hold sway across class lines. This is one of them. When it comes to Affluence and Recognition, Nigerians across the board behave the same, and this can be used to connect through the line. Once a unifying insight is identified, then brands can create a story that will be relevant to all, whether in art or product form. This unifying cultural relevance is the ability to identify a central need, understand the motivations behind this need and successfully connect.

To create relevance as a universal value, one that connects across the value chain, brands must bring more than just a cursory effort, and commit to discovering a breakthrough insight that delivers. There are a number of frameworks that can be used to intuit breakthrough insights, and brands must commit to the process, in order to deliver breakthrough, culturally relevant solutions.

2. Gain Truth contexts with Qualitative & Quantitative Data. 

To unpack breakthrough insights for stronger relevance into Affluence and Recognition, brands must employ the power of data to dissect and deliver contexts for different SECs. This will enable deeper, more resonating stories to be told, while still staying true to the unity of the product. Organisations should make data-driven solutions a priority.

At Insight Publicis, the Strategy & Planning team collaborates with internal and client brand teams to ensure this.

The integrity of the Consumer research process is also important, using the right tools, methodologies and processes, to assure quality and collect realities across the SECs.

3. From Real-Time Insights to Real-Time Actions, using Digital. 

Digital can also play a vital role in tracking footprints of data-driven insights online, making it possible to connect insights to immediate brand actions  — a key benefit in new product design/launch or marketing campaigns for disruptive markets in Nigeria & Africa.

For example, a brand planning a launch can take advantage of digital marketing to adapt strategies in real-time based on feedback. While this may seem easier in theory, it could be more of a challenge in practice, organising field data, analysing and collating multi-level input from decision-makers.

Nevertheless, the behaviours and idiosyncrasies of people online determine where brand actions will go. Everything else follows from there, with digital serving to amplify the narrative, and help brands design experiences that connect both online and offline.

A key case study is the launch of 2Sure Hand sanitiser. A product that is designed to democratise protection from germs, as by its brand essence: Stop Germs. Live Well.

Digital data insights were instrumental in harmonising real-time consumer data with offline engagements, which enabled experience design and resulted in increased sales and volumes at the trade level.

4. Inspire & Empower using New Products & Experiences. 

The heart of every insight finds its place in the consumer tension, and the ability and commitment of a brand to resolve consumer grapplings are the makings of great branding.

The immutable truth remains that the Dorime Effect and Abeg Culture of Nigeria reveals a big need that brands can seek to answer. In this case, brands can deploy Inspiration: the energising of the human spirit; and Empowerment: actually supporting people with tools and resources to alleviate their problems. However, this must be delicately and meticulously mediated for effective results.

Sport and Fintech brands have attempted this with measured success, and the market is fraught with opportunities to do more.

Clearly, brand and business leaders are beginning to understand the power of Insight-driven communications and that Data & Insights go hand in hand. Only when breakthrough Insights are blended with the power of data will brands truly begin to connect and create a culture that impacts society and brands.


Timilehin Akinbinu (Senior Manager, Marketing Strategy & Planning at Insight Publicis)

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