An Introduction to Nigerians in the UK

An Introduction to Nigerians in the UK

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When it comes to multicultural marketing, research is key. However, that can be time consuming and so we have decided to do the dirty job ourselves and create a series of go-to guides for some of the most prominent ethnic minority groups that live in the UK.

In the first part of this series, we take a look at UK-based Nigerians, their culture, values and traditions. Based on these aspects, we will discuss a number of useful tips for developing marketing campaigns tailored to this sizeable minority group.

According to the ONS, an estimated 208,000 Nigerian-born people call the UK home, which makes them one of the top 10 largest minority groups, and therefore, a significant business opportunity.

Getting to know Nigerian culture

This West African country is a melting pot of more than 250 ethnic groups, of which the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo stand out. Each group has its own language, customs and traditions, and the Nigerian society is almost equally divided between adherence to Islam, which is the predominant religion in the north, and Christianity in the south.

But as diverse as Nigeria can be, there are several cultural traits that represent the Nigerian nation as a whole. Regardless of ethnicity or religion, the importance of family in social life, and the role of elders, as well as social etiquette, are largely the same throughout the country.

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Nigeria is a hierarchical society. Here, elders (people aged 55 and older) are deeply respected, and whenever a gathering of any kind takes place, the oldest person in the room is generally revered. Respect is also earned through wealth or a prominent job, and married women are also entitled to a special recognition.

Family is the backbone of Nigeria’s social life in both rural and urban areas. Back in their ancestral land, families are mostly patriarchal. But in the UK, the gender roles played by men and women vary in each household, as this depends on the level of acculturation achieved by a certain family.

Religion plays a crucial role in social life too. Whether Christian, Muslim or traditional faith followers, Nigerians will display considerable appreciation for their beliefs, and avidly engage in religious celebrations.

Especially when abroad, national pride plays an important role among Nigerians. In fact, there is a popular saying that goes, “When Nigeria sneezes, the rest of the African nations (with the exception of South Africa) catch a cold.” Their country is one of Africa’s powerhouses, as it has the continent’s largest economy and holds significant geopolitical influence.

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UK Nigerians’ love for their ancestral country is also demonstrated by the fact that Independence Day (1st of October) is widely celebrated; family and gala dinners are held and special commemorations take place in community centres. In 2019, the Nigerian flag was raised at the Barking & Dagenham Town Hall as a gesture of appreciation to the many Nigerians who live there.

The largest Nigerian-born population in the UK, however, is concentrated in Peckham, where 7% of residents identify as Nigerian. Because of this, the highly multicultural district is colloquially known as Little Lagos. Goods from back home such as lafun, ede pupa, ewa pupa, oloyun and oyoo are a common sight in shops, and Nigerian-owned businesses tend to offer services tailored to their co-nationals’ needs and preferences. 

Marketing to UK Nigerians

A successful marketing strategy with Nigerians as its target has to be in line with their values, especially when it comes to family. Research shows that, when doing business, Nigerians prioritise creating intimate connections between both parties, and the same can be said in brand-consumer relations.

Communication styles vary across Nigeria. In general, people are considered to be highly outgoing and open, but those from the north tend to be slightly more reserved. However, employing a straightforward language in a campaign would be the best choice, as Nigerians’ logic is often contextual; it is important to make yourself clear, so that your message is not mistakenly interpreted.

Another way of capturing the attention of Nigerians is through food, which is why knowing which ingredients they are likely to look out for is important. Poultry, seafood, beef and goat are popular among Nigerians, but their cuisine’s distinctive flavours are a result of palm oil, chilies, ground melon seeds, ground cassava and yam paste.

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Getting involved in festivals that celebrate Nigerian (or African) culture would be highly beneficial for your brand. In London, the Yoruba Arts Festival, Miss NIgeria UK, the Igbo Festival of Arts and Culture and Africa Utopia stand out as the largest ones, while in Liverpool, the Africa Oye Festival is the most prominent.

Start planning your next campaign! 

By presenting your brand as a key player that understands the needs and preferences of a certain group, you are likely to earn their long-lasting loyalty. Nigerians are one of the most prominent ethnic minority groups in the UK, so attempting to speak to them in a way that makes them feel acknowledged might be more beneficial for your brand than you think.

If you would like help in running market research projects or understanding how to target Nigerians either online or offline, at Mediareach we have been helping UK brands run successful multicultural campaigns since 1991. Contact us today.

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