Stories by Princewill Ekwujuru
Mr. Tunji Olugbodi has a chequered career in the marketing communications industry. He is a Fellow of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, APCON, who started his career as a Judicial Correspondent /Sub-editor with the Guardian Newspaper before his foray into advertising with Promoserve and Prima Garnet. Presently, he is the Group CEO of Verdant Zeal, a young and vibrant agency. Recently, one of his subsidiary companies, Neo Mantra, organised the Native & Vogue International Fashion event in Port Harcourt, which attracted global attention. He speaks on the importance of innovation and invention as key ingredients to sustain the industry.
The marketing communication industry has evolved as a dynamic and vibrant one over the years. The key ingredients that make the industry stand out are innovation, creativity and exceptional service delivery.
These notable features are displayed by the new generation agencies that are redefining the pace in the industry. The industry needs to embrace new thinking and break new grounds to remain dynamic and forward looking.
The time has come for the industry to embrace innovation more than before and also remain vibrant to address the needs of the clientele. The industry is dynamic and there is need for all to leverage competencies for significant advantage. It is such that clients really want to know what we want to offer them in terms of value and expertise. This is the more reason there should be a multi disciplinary and multi dimensional approach to agency practice in terms of expertise and professional depth.
Attributes of a tested practitioner
A tested practitioner must be passionate about advertising, must be passionate about marketing communication, must be passionate about being able to bridge the gap between the consumers or the clients on the field and your own direct clients; people who need to make the product or service known in the market place. You need to have a helicopter ability that makes it possible for you to be able to look at things from all perspectives. You must be able to play roles other than what you represent and what you stand for in terms of your profile.
A good practitioner should also stand for something and express who he is at every particular point in time. A practitioner must be able to develop communication campaigns that resonate with identified target groups regardless of his age or status in the industry. In all ramifications, a sound practitioner should be an all rounder because according to him, you should be able to attend to what makes a good brief.
Successful industry practitioners
Every practitioner needs to embrace different high grounds as against the generally held belief of a straight path to make it. His own definition of making it is relevance. This is because it is about value; it is about value proposition and it is about being able to reinvent the wheel as often as necessary without necessarily boring people. The audience should not suffer from what is referred to as audience fatigue.
To be successful, that means a practitioner has worked on major campaigns that have become landmarks in the industry. A successful professional is one who has track records of innovative campaigns that were executed.
Future of the industry
The marketing communication industry can reach its full creative potentials. If practitioners embrace new thinking and new direction. I am optimistic and equally passionate that the industry will reach its full potentials. I also believe in the protection of local as it is obtainable in other countries.
I am an apostle for reforms, but there should be balance in order not to lose sight of embracing global opportunities. Parameters should also be set to make clients have respect for professionals in the industry. In terms of training, there is need for every organisation to have a long-term vision and capacity building for staff.
Training will build professionalism in the industry, if older and more experienced practitioners influence younger professionals through mentorship. This I am also deeply committed to as I have young and brilliant minds which am nurturing for the industry.
I believe there should be a collective action plan to elevate the industry beyond its present status. This informed the annual Verdant Zeal Lecture which has been a pivotal platform for charting a new direction for the industry. The annual lecture has been a melting point for intellectual discourse amongst practitioners. This feat has not been achieved even by older agencies in the industry.
Vision behind Verdant Zeal
Verdant Zeal Group is a young and promising agency established to embrace innovation and invention. The agency since inception in 2007 has left no one in doubt about its mission to raise the bar in the industry. The company is renowned for its innovative approach as a platform to distinguish its offerings to clients.
In terms of professionalism and expertise, the agency stands tall as a forward looking and versatile organisation. Its innovative approach is conceived to appraise clients with emerging shifts and trend analysis to develop coherent strategies to remain relevant in the market place.
The agency runs on three legs: on time, on budget and on strategy. For us, what made the difference really is that we seem to understand the need – state of the average client today. The average client today is not given to the niceties of long rigmarole or processes and procedures.
So, in a manner of speaking, you have to be able to short-circuit or let me re-phrase, you have to be able to shorten the period of process and procedure that enables you to get an answer or a strategy or a response that can be enduring.
The company has also deployed this within its group as it has metamorphosed into various corollary businesses. F2M (First to Market) is the experiential marketing arm of the group, Gr8 Measures Media (Media Independent), Brainbox I Media (New Media), Red Gecko (PR & Content development) and Neo Mantra (an intellectual property company with interest in brand and events management). Through these viable business enterprises, Verdant Zeal has remained a strongly focused group.
The Verdant Zeal Group was the potent force behind the Unilever brand- Close-Up Naija concert which had over 7,000 people in attendance. The concert which shook the entire industry registered the imprints of Verdant Zeal as factor domo in the industry. This single event elevated the status of the brand and deepened equity for it.