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How brands can survive in age of digital disruption

By Margaret Mwantok
04 June 2019   |   3:19 am
It is a fact that digital information and technology are on the rise and for brands to survive, they need to think and act differently in terms of innovating new products and services for their customers.      This was the submission at a brands and marketing communications forum last week. The event, which attracted…

President, IAA Nigeria chapter and GMD Verdant Zeal, Dr. Tunji Olugbodi (left); Co-founder and Director Strategy, YBR, Nnenna Onyewuchi; CEO/ CCO, Noah’s Ark Communications and keynote speaker, Lanre Adisa; Managing Director, DKK Nigeria, Temitope Jemerigbe; CEO/ CCO, X3M Ideas, Steve Babaeko and Publisher, Brand Communicator and Convener of Brandcomfest Joshua Ajayi at the event held in Lagos recently.

It is a fact that digital information and technology are on the rise and for brands to survive, they need to think and act differently in terms of innovating new products and services for their customers. 
This was the submission at a brands and marketing communications forum last week. The event, which attracted over 40 seasoned experts and professionals, was the maiden edition of BrandComfest.  
The conference had in attendance, students of marketing and communications from various higher institutions of learning. Held in Lagos, it was an opportunity to chart a way forward for the sector, as digital disruption is increasingly becoming a future reality.

The conference featured 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. 
Speaking on the theme, ‘Digital Disruption and the Future of Brands and Marketing Communications,’ Lampe Omoyele, Managing Director, Nitro 121, who gave the keynote, said beyond technology, people look for content, which is a challenge to marketers. 
He said that customers no longer buy goods but experience them, adding, “brands need to build community within the digital space and understand that it is not just about having a platform but providing contents on the platform that resonates.”
Other topics discussed include, ‘The Future of Experiential Marketing in a Technologically Driven World’, ‘The future of Out of Home Advertising in the Face of Digital Disruption’, ‘Sustainability and Effective Brand Building for the Future’, ‘Digital Disruption and the Future of Public Relations Practice’.
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, structure their business model in a way that it is in line with current market realities.
They 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.
While speaking on ‘The Future of Experiential Marketing in a Technologically Driven World’, Group Managing Director, GDM Group, Gbenga Afolabi, said experiential marketing had evolved globally especially with technology playing important part in ensuring that consumers are adequately engaged and having a worthwhile experience 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 would still be there but moving forward it has to be technologically driven. 
Group Managing Director, Oracle Experience, Felix King, advised that campaigns should begin and end with digital and 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.
The Out of Home (OOH) advertising session had the General Manager, Rapid Xtra, Chike Oputa, deliver the keynote, which he entitled, ‘The Future of Out of Home Advertising in the face of Digital Disruption’.
Oputa pointed out that the OOH industry was now digitally driven and more than ever clients demand impact on the placement of board advert on the brand. 
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 this growing digital sector has to be engaging to consumers as well.   
Kunle Adesina, Managing Director, Inventmedia and Babs Fagade, Managing Director, Ocean Outdoor, who were 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, 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.  
Speaking on the topic, ‘Sustainability and Effective Brand Building for the Future, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head of Sustainability, Access Bank, 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 public relations session had the Chairman and Lead Consultant of TPT International, Adetokunbo Modupe,  as keynote speaker. He said that disruptive innovation remains the critical life support that would define the future of Public Relations (PR) practice in Nigeria.
According to him, “the future will be service driven as no one will own anything. Material possession will have a little significance in today’s global market as real-time lending equips us with the many benefits of ownership.”
A panel of discussants moderated by Uche Ajene, Managing Consultant, Quadrant MSL;  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, 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 seventh session of the conference centred around,  ‘Agency Business: Sustainable Agency Models in the Face of Disruption.’
Lanre Adisa, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Creative Officer of Noah’s Ark Communications delivered the keynote address. 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.
While comparing the Nigerian market with the South African, Adisa explained that due to the unified front presented by the IMC industry in South Africa, there are fewer challenges for agencies, and practitioners have more clout than they have in this clime.
The session had viable contributions 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. Nnenna Onyewuchi, Co-founder and Director, Strategy, YBR moderated the session.
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 had an address presented by 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.
Earlier, the convener and publisher of Brand Communicator Magazine, Joshua Ajayi, said digital disruption was changing the face of brand and marketing communications across the world.
He said, “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 are increasingly shaping the future of this industry though Nigerian brands and agencies have yet to fully appreciate the importance of these.”