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At awards, Sanwo-Olu pledges support for marketing communications

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu (middle), Sunday Mobolaji, finance manager, SBI Media (left) and Rotimi Bankole, CEO, SBI Media Group (right) at the 2021 Marketing Edge Awards of Excellence in Lagos… recently

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, has disclosed his administration’s readiness to support the growth of marketing communications in the country. He said it’s important to the growth of any society couldn’t be overemphasised.

Speaking at the eighth editions of Marketing Edge Brands & Advertising Awards of Excellence held in Lagos recently, Sanwo-Olu said: “I am a part of the marketing communications family. I know the importance of the industry and I’m committed to its continued growth.”

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He observed, “at the centre of what we do as marketing professionals is creativity. And that is what our government is committed to promoting and encouraging. Since our name is involved, we will provide the support to make it greater than ever before. Let us begin to use the platform of Lagos Advertising & Ideas Festival (LAIF) and similar initiatives to draw the attention of the world to Destination Lagos.”

The Lagos governor recalled that during the trying days of “our stay in office, I benefited immensely from the counsel of members of your trade, who worked with me, internally, and those who provide strategic counsel to me, externally. Let me promise you one thing today, I have become the ‘Marketing Ambassador’ of your profession among my colleagues in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), and indeed, to our government at the national level. We all need your craft. I enjoin you to help tell the story of Lagos through the brands you manage. Every year, at the Cannes Festival, the winning campaigns are not the ones, which tell the stories of commercial brands. They are the ones, which tell the stories of people and places. They are the ones that tell the stories of the triumph of the human will and spirit above adversity. I appeal to you to help tell the story of Lagos as an amazing Destination Brand in your campaigns. I am not unaware that there was a time many of you needed to fly to Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg before you could shoot a good TV commercial for your clients.”

In his welcome speech, Publisher/CEO Marketing Edge Publications Limited, Mr. John Ajayi named Governor Sanwo-Olu was named Marketing Edge Outstanding Political Brand Icon of the Year.

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He described the governor as a shining light in the current political space in the country with his giant strides in all aspects and ramifications.

Ajayi said the award is a product of a forensic review of the governor’s performance in the last year, most especially, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, which made Lagos State, the epicenter of the hugely challenging unpleasant development, emerge as a brand to watch in crisis management.

According to him, “your political sagacity, intellectual acumen, and your statesmanship in times of peace and crisis are indisputably legendary in a nation in dire need of true statesmen and patriots. You have skillfully and tactfully deployed all these huge talents in service to your people, our nation, and humanity.”

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In his presentation, the guest speaker, CEO Ogilvy Africa, Mr. Vikas Mehta, said in today’s changing world, there is a need for firms to disrupt or be disrupted.

With the theme: Rethinking the Blue Ocean Strategy in an Uncertain Times, he added that the platforms businesses build are the disruption but need to be delivered on a steroid to the market.

He disclosed that new models would begin to emerge that will secure the future of businesses.

Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, was also presented with the Marketing Edge Outstanding Political Brand Personality of the Decade, while Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) bagged the Outstanding Regulatory Agency of the Decade Awards.

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SBI dominates awards
DESPITE the severe financial pinch that the advertising and media sector of the Nigerian economy was compelled to endure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, SBI Media Group appeared not to have experienced a slowdown.

While some of the firm’s clients expectedly cut down on spending, others capitalised on digital media, which became the primary points of connection to most audiences through 2020.

The company, led by 40-year-old Rotimi Bankole, won 11 awards in the well-attended event. It was the greatest number of awards won by any organisation on the night.

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The awards turned out to be a coming-of-age moment for the outfit, one of Nigeria’s media buying and creative advertising groups. “Because we had been developing capacity in this regard,” Bankole said, “we were perfectly positioned to help our clients adapt to the changing conditions across several markets.” For instance, he noted, “we produced four virtual product launches for our clients last year and have staged another three so far in 2021.”

Aside from the Outstanding Media CEO of the Year award, which went to Bankole, the two agencies, which make the SBI Media Group — SBI Media and Streams Networks — ended the night with five trophies each.

For the outfit, whose clients include, Tecno, Infinix, Itel, Access Bank, First Bank, Jobberman, ULesson, and 9Mobile, its list of awards comprise: Most Outstanding Smartphone Campaign of the Year; Outstanding Performing Media Agency of the Year for the Banking Sector; Outstanding Tech Industry Media Agency of the Year; and Outstanding Media Agency for Start-ups 2021. It also won the industry grand prix as Outstanding Performing Media Agency of the Year.

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In the same vein, its sister agency, Streams Networks, won Outstanding COVID-19 Campaign –Smartphone Category; Fast Growing Creative agency; Smartphone Virtual Launch Event; Outstanding Hybrid Product Launch Event of the Year. As the crown in its own jewel, Streams also went away with the award for Most Outstanding Performing Young Agency.

But these accolades were not a surprise to the industry. At the 2020 edition of the event, Bankole was named Marketing Media Personality of the Decade, although the agency he ran was only six years old.

At the time, the organisers noted the CEO and his agencies had “attained Olympian heights and market leadership in their media and creative advertising genres through the innovative services offered to their high-profile clients. These innovative services stand him and the two agencies head and shoulders above their peers and very well position them for such recognition and celebration.”

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These activities, he explained, was why both SBI Media and Streams Networks neither had to downsize nor face stagnancy in growth. Total billings, according to internal data shared with the media, still grew by over 60 per cent year-on-year.

One other reason for the group’s continued high performance appears to be due to its tech industry clients. Over the past year, global interest in Nigeria’s tech industry has ballooned, with such start-ups as Flutterwave, Paystack, and Abeg either attracting historic cash investments or getting acquired by international tech unicorns like Stripe, the $95 billion payment processing behemoth that bought Paystack for $200 million in 2020. ULesson, Africa’s leading edtech start-up, founded by Sim Shagaya, has been SBI Media’s client for more than three years and earlier in 2020, the Jos-based technology company received a $7.5 million Series A funding in 2020, barely two months after it raised $3.1 in its seed round.

“ULesson aside, the six-year relationship between SBI Media, Streams Networks, and Transsion Holdings — owners of Infinix, Tecno, and Itel — has kept the agencies occupied nonstop for more than 12 months. A couple of the most recent briefs we have executed for Tecno are the Phantom X product launch event and the housemate and fan engagements in the ongoing Big Brother Naija Season Six,” Bankole said.

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Of course, he added, these projects are outside the work his company currently does nationwide with digital payment system PalmPay, music streaming service BoomPlay, the recruitment platform Jobberman, and the recently-launched Green Africa Airways.

On receiving his recognition as Outstanding Media CEO of the Year, Bankole said the resilience of other industries inspired his team’s tenacity through the “huge shock” of 2020. “As a company,” he said, “we looked around us and we saw that every other firm and CEO was working extremely hard to keep the lights on — not just for themselves, but for the large number of people who needed the marketing and communications sector to keep going.

“So, everything we did last year at SBI Media that might have resulted in this big award, we owe it to these leaders. And personally, I always look up to those who came before me as the compass to guide my own journey.”

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