What Brands, Agencies Should Do Differently In The Age of Digital Disruption
Over 40 seasoned experts and professionals from both divides of the brands and marketing communications industry in Nigeria gathered recently at the BRANDCOMFEST that took place at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos to chart the way for the industry as digital disruption is increasingly shaping the future of the IMC industry.
BRANDCOMFEST is positioned to be the largest gathering of stakeholders in the brand and marketing communications landscape which caters to the most contemporary trends and topical issues in the industry, is also designed to be the foremost thought-leadership platform for all stakeholders within the brands and marketing communications value chain. A convergence point for town and gown, the conference had in attendance, students of marketing and communications from various higher institutions of learning.
Made up of eight sessions that ran for two days before climaxing in an award ceremony to recognise and reward brands, agencies and individuals that have contributed to the growth of the industry as well as project excellence over the course of the years, the conference witnessed the gathering of the best of the bests in different subsectors of the IMC industry in West Africa. The first day had five sessions while the second day had three and the Brandcom Awards to round it off.
According to Joshua Ajayi, Convener of the event and publisher of Brand Communicator Magazine, digital disruption is changing the face of brand and marketing communications across the world. “The brands and marketing communications industry in Nigeria is not left out as it is also witnessing fast-paced evolution stimulated by digital disruption-one of the major factors that led to the emergence of more areas of specialisation within its value chains and offerings. New trends, technologies and concepts like AI, AR, IoE, VER, Machine Learning, etc are increasingly shaping the future of this industry though Nigerian brands and agencies have yet to fully appreciate the importance of these.”
Speaking on the theme, Lampe Omoyele, Managing Director, Nitro 121 and Keynote speaker said beyond technology what people want is content and that is a challenge for marketers. He therefore urged marketers to understand what customers want, adding that customers no longer buy goods anymore but they are buying experience. He added that brands need to build community within the digital space, understanding that is not just about having a platform but providing contents on the platform that resonates.
Similarly, Iquo Ukoh, Managing Director, ENTOD marketing, Jahswill Osondu, Executive Director, RocketShop and Bukola Akingbade, Managing Director, Neukleos in the panel discussion urged brands to look for ways to engage consumers and provide better contents online to read, structure their business model in such a way that it is in line with current market realities and pointed out that AI, Machine learning and others are some of the technologies most brands should deploy to enhance their business operation. Similarly, Patrick Gomes, Chief Executive Officer, DigiXplus said brands have to be strategic in terms of the kind of content that they put out in the digital space and strategically engage their target market.
Speaking on the topic, “The future of Experiential marketing in a technologically driven world,” Gbenga Afolabi, Group Managing Director, GDM Group and keynote speaker of the session said experiential marketing has evolved globally especially with technology playing important part in ensuring that consumers are adequately engaged and have a worthwhile experience as different from the popular roadshows that most Nigerian agencies still practice. As he called for a rethink, he pointed out that the conventional experiential style will still be there but moving forward it has to be technologically driven. For Dr Felix King, Group Managing Director, Oracle Experience advised that campaigns should begin and end with digital which should be deliberately done to build a community for the brand online, thereby fully engaging consumers and at the same time. In the same vein, Kehinde Salami, Managing Director, Ideas House and President, EXMAN and Tunji Adeyinka, Group Managing Director, Rupublicom said brands are looking for solutions and the digital space is the quickest way to engage consumers.
Out of Home Advertising
For the OOH session, Chike Oputa, General Manager, Rapid Xtra delivered the keynote entitled, “The Future of Out of Home Advertising in the face of Digital Disruption.” Chike pointed out that the OOH industry is now digital-driven and more than ever clients demand what impact the placement of advert on a particular board will have on their brands.
Corroborating the above, Adenike Olufade, Managing Director/ CEO, Digimage Consult said “If you are not digital OOH you will be left behind.” She added that the digital OOH has to be engaging to consumers as well. Kunle Adesina, Managing Director, Inventmedia and Babs Fagade, Managing Director, Ocean Outdoor, who are also members of the plenary session advised on the need to work with Google analytics, etc, adding that there are so many data around us that industry players can make use of. On his own part, Samuel Ajiboye, Managing Director, Alpha & Jam said beyond the challenges, he explained that making the boards engaging will capture a lot of eye balls and at the end deliver great RoI for clients which data can be used to prove.
The fourth session at the BRANDCOMFEST conference was centred on sustainability. To do justice to the keynote address for that session was Nigeria’s touted Queen of Sustainability, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head of Sustainability, Access Bank.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Sustainability and Effective Brand Building for the Future, Omobolanle called on brands to be more intentional in enshrining sustainability into the DNA of their business as consumers and customers alike will be loyal to such business in coming years.
Joining Omobolanle On the panel to discuss this topic was Tope Oguntokun, Country Lead, Sustainability & Stakeholder Management, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive, CSR-IN-ACTION. Moderating the session was Ozoemena Mbanefo.
The PR session had the Chairman and Lead Consultant of TPT International, Adetokunbo Modupe as its keynote speaker. He expounded that disruptive innovation remains the critical life support that will define the future of Public Relations (PR) practice in Nigeria. He explained that “the future will be service driven as no one will own anything.”
In no distant future, Modupe who spoke on the topic, ‘Digital Disruption and the Future of Public Relations Practice,’ noted material possession will have a little significance in today’s global market as real-time lending equips us with the many benefits of ownership.
His paper was thereafter dissected by a panel of discussants made up of seasoned practitioners such as the moderator, Uche Ajene, Managing Consultant, Quadrant MSL; panellists, Amaechi Okobi, Group Head, Corporate Communication, Access Bank and Bolaji Okusaga, Managing Director, Precise Communications. Others include Ayeni Adekunle, Founder, BHM; Adebola Williams, CEO, RED|For Africa and O’tega Ogra, Group Head, Corporate Communications, BUA Group.
The Panellists agreed with Modupe that strategic innovation holds the key to the future of PR and marketing communications industry in Nigeria and enjoined practitioners to brace up for the challenges of the ever changing world.
The 7th session of the conference centred around the topic, ‘Agency Business: Sustainable Agency Models in the Face of Disruption.” The keynote address was delivered by Lanre Adisa, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer of Noah’s Ark Communications. Among other things, in a robust panel session, Adisa called for a unified inter-sectoral body for the IMC industry in Nigeria to help it in checkmating some of the challenges faced in the industry-from stifling government policies, to quackery, to obnoxiously long invoice payment cycle, among others. Comparing the Nigerian market with the South African market, Adisa explained that because of the unified front presented by the IMC industry in that market, there are fewer challenges for agencies in South Africa and practitioners have more clout than they have in this clime.
The very robust session had vital and viable contributions from such panellist as Dr Tunji Olugbodi, President, International Advertising Association, Nigerian Chapter and Managing Director/Vice President, Verdant Zeal Group; Steve Babaeko, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer, X3M Ideas and Vice President, Advertising Agencies Association of Nigeria and Temitope Jemerigbe, Managing Director, DKK Nigeria. The session was moderated by Nnenna Onyewuchi, Co-founder and Director, Strategy, YBR.
The last session of the day was that of Brands and Agencies success stories. This session highlighted brands that have keyed into evolving digital trends to record successes in the market place. The highly enlightening session has an address presented Fred Akinmuyisitan, Group Head, Account Planning, Noah’s Ark Communications. The case study used was on Airtel storytelling ads across different digital platform as well as the impact the campaign has made so far. Joining him for a session of questions and answers was Maurice Ugwonoh, Creative Director, Noah’s Ark Communications.
The high point of Brandcomfest was the award part which is called Brandcom Awards. The doyen of advertising, Biodun Shobanjo was officially inducted into the Brandcom Hall of Fame for his many contributions to the growth of the IMC industry in Nigeria and Africa. Meanwhile, brands, agencies and individuals were also recongised for their leadership and outstanding performance. Some of those awarded are AccessBank, MTN, Domino’s, Oracle Experience, Noah’s Ark among others.