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BRANDCOMFEST: IMC experts chart new course for brands to tackle digital disruption

By Princewill Ekwujuru

Experts in the Inte-grated Marketing Communication, IMC industry have mapped out new ways to respond to the emergence of digital disruption which is reshaping the industry.

Speaking at the maiden edition of BRANDCOMFEST, an IMC conference organised by Brand Communicator Magazine titled: Digital Disruption in Lagos, the experts said that beyond technology, what people want is content and that has become a challenge for marketers.

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They advised that brands should look for meaningful way(s) to engage consumers and provide better contents online for reading while restructuring their business model(s) in a way that is in line with current market realities.

The experts also pointed out that Artificial Intelligence, AI, Machine learning and others are some of the technologies most brands should deploy to enhance their business operations.

They further stated that the experiential industry has evolved globally especially with technology playing important role in ensuring that consumers are adequately engaged and have a worthwhile experience   different from the popular road shows that most Nigerian agencies still practice.

They also advised that the Nigerian experiential agencies should rethink their strategies, pointing out that the conventional experiential style will still be there but moving forward, it will be technologically-driven.

On the Future of Out of Home, OOH advertising, OOH experts said in the face of ‘Digital Disruption,’ 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.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, 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 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.

Also speaking, Convener and Publisher of Brand Communicator Magazine, Joshua Ajayi said 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 are yet to fully appreciate the importance of these concepts.”

Experiential Marketing

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. While calling for a rethink, he pointed out that the conventional experiential style will still be there but moving forward, it has to be technologically-driven.

OOH 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.

Public Relations

The PR session titled: Digital Disruption and the Future of Public Relations Practice,  had the Chairman and Lead Consultant of TPT International, Adetokunbo Modupe as its keynote   speaker. Adetokunbo said that disruptive innovation remains the critical life support that will define the future of Public Relations practice in Nigeria. He explained that “the future will be service-driven as no one will own anything.”

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He noted that material possession will have a little significance in today’s global market as real-time lending equips us with the many benefits of ownership.

The panelists for the session include Amaechi Okobi, Group Head, Corporate Communication, Access Bank and Bolaji Okusaga, Managing Director, Precise Communications. Others are Ayeni Adekunle, Founder, BHM; Adebola Williams, CEO, RED For Africa and O’tega Ogra, Group Head, Corporate Communications, BUA Group.

CSR/Sustainability

The fourth session which centred on sustainability with the theme: Sustainability and Effective Brand Building for the Future had sustainability expert,   Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head of Sustainability at Access Bank, who 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.

Panelists speak

Speaking during the    panel discussion, Managing Director, ENTOD marketing, Iquo Ukoh, Executive Director, RocketShop, Jahswill Osondu, and Managing Director, Neukleos, Bukola Akingbade  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. They also 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.

Experiential panel

On experiential marketing, 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 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.

OOH panel

On the OOH panel, Managing Director, Inventmedia, Kunle Adesina, and Managing Director, Ocean Outdoor, Babs Fagade 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 part, Managing Director, Alpha & Jam, Samuel Ajiboye said beyond the challenges, making the boards engaging will capture a lot of eyeballs and at the end, deliver great return on investment (RoI) for clients which data can be used to prove.

PR panel

On PR, 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. It was moderated by Managing Consultant, Quadrant MSL, Uche Ajene.

Agency Business

The 7th  session of the conference centred around  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, 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.

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