Brand focus: La Casera, boosting CSR profile through empowerment initiatives

The advent of  La Casera into the nation’s soft drinks market, in  November, 2001, brought with it a massive disruption. Prior  to its decision to throw its hat into the rings, the nation’s  non-alcoholic  market had been a highly stereotyped one. The ‘super powers’ in the market segment, held the four aces, while  the ‘small fries’ were left with no alternatives than to pick the crumbs, in form of the market share, under the masters’ table.

The decision of  the brand custodians, The La Casera Company, therefore,  to introduce the carbonated soft drink brand in a pet bottle, no doubt,  upset the apple cart. The otherwise  conservative market, was gingered by a relatively unknown soft drinks brand, and the established players in the segment were left with no other choice than to ‘re-strategise’.  Interestingly, one of such options was to eat the ‘humble pie’ by toeing an innovation path, cleared by  the soft drink.

Pet bottles soon became a common spectacle, thereby kickstarting a disruption that would change the way soft drinks are consumed in this part of the globe for good.

Interestingly, decades after the table-shaking innovation,  the custodians of the soft drinks brand  says, the need to give back  to its operating environments that have been throwing their hands around the brand,  since its debut into the market, remains  a cardinal objective.

For instance,  just recently, in  November, this year, the brand continued  the interventionist’s role it  has been playing, in various areas of human endeavour, since making its debut in the market, when it pledged the company’s support to artisans and technicians in the country, by providing some sizable sums of money to enable  them  embrace technology and innovation,  as tools to enhancing their craftsmanship.

The  company’s Managing Director, Mr Chinedum Okereke, at a meeting with artisans and technicians at the Nigerian Artisans and Technicians Association of Nigeria (NATAN) conference, held in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, in Lagos, noted that the need to embrace  technology had become imperative for the artisans, desirous of coming out tops in their trades.

According to Okereke, self-development in this modern age requires the adoption of innovation as a key prerequisite for success. He encouraged the artisans and technicians to empower themselves through skill acquisition programmes that will help them adapt in today’s technology-driven environment.

Citing La Casera as an example, Okereke revealed that it was through innovation that the company was able to optimise its operations and maintain its leadership position in the marketplace.

He noted that the La Casera brand was able to make its incursion into the nation’s market, by innovating, and coming up with packagings that were hitherto alien to the market.

“We pioneered PET packaging in the Carbonated Soft Drink (CSD) industry, with La Casera apple. with a production capacity of about 2000 BPM (bottles per minute) which translates into an installed capacity of more than 1 billion bottles of 50cl per year,” he stated.

He also assured the brand’s teeming consumers of the company’s commitment to  highest quality product;  since its fully automated factory, minimises human interference with the production process.

Commending The La Casera Company for the gesture, the State Chairman of Nigerian  Artisans and Technicians Association of Nigeria  Board of Trustees and Chairman, Lagos Artisans and Technicians, Ashiwaju Jacob Omonide Fayehun, stated that the cash donations  would go a long way in helping the beneficiaries hone their skills.

He also seized the opportunity to debunk  rumours making the rounds that the soft drinks brand is being abused by members of the association.

According to him, the soft drink is only loved by most artisans and technicians because it helps keep them refreshed even while on the job, and not for any other purpose.

Ashiwaju Omoniyi appreciated the company for supporting and empowering members of the association and reiterated their loyalty to La Casera apple as their preferred refreshment drink.

One of the beneficiaries of the La Casera empowerment scheme, Tayo Adesuyi, of Federal Motorcycle and Generator Mechanic Association of Nigeria, commended the brand for throwing its financial weight behind some members of the association, especially at these trying economic times.

He expressed the belief that the financial support would go a long way in enhancing his skill, by deploying technology in carrying out his craft.

Adesuyi also insists that the strong bond, existing between the brand and members of the association, is informed by the satisfaction members derive from its consumption.

“All this talk about La Casera being abused or used for any other purpose,  by our members, besides being consumed remains a falsehood,” he stated.

Other beneficiaries, such as Nasiru Akinwunmi from Builders Sector and Olayiwola Gbenga Oluseyi from Information Communication and Technology Sector, who emerged through the transparent raffle draws, also expressed their delights at the  La Casera gesture. They described the brand as one that is ready to ‘go the whole hog with the people’ despite the harsh economic climate.

Akeem Rofiat Bukola from Catering Sector and Fasasi Lukmon from Fashion Sector, the other two beneficiaries believe the excitements generated by the gesture will be savoured for sometime to come.

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