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Why brands cannot afford to ignore the digital space

By Gbenga Salau
04 July 2016   |   3:08 am
The former Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Seni Adetu, has said that brands and agencies cannot afford to ignore the opportunities digital media offers, though the growth and respect for a brand...
PHOTO: simplicant.com

PHOTO: simplicant.com

The former Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Seni Adetu, has said that brands and agencies cannot afford to ignore the opportunities digital media offers, though the growth and respect for a brand can only be guaranteed as long as the drivers of such businesses aligns with the desires of consumers.

He said many consumers tend to spend virtually all their time on digital space, and urged clients to find a way of engaging them. Adetu was speaking at the 2016 Marketing Edge Summit; he noted that although digital space remains a good platform to drive brand growth, adding that success for the brands could be achieved depending on the brand managers and marketers.

While listing some of the attributes required of contemporary marketers to win the loyalty of consumers, he stated that the onus rested on them to take calculated risks, especially in an environment and market that is highly unpredictable. Adetu, however, advised marketers to rely more on instincts as against the usual practice of depending on insights to formulating strategy for the business, stressing that the reality of today’s market may not support initiative based on insights all the time.

In his welcome remarks, the convener of the summit who also doubles as the Publisher of Marketing Edge magazine, Mr. John Ajayi, said the summit idea was borne out of the need to engender conversation about the future in the marketing communication industry. He stressed that there was no doubting the fact that digital media holds the ace.

Ajayi, who commended agencies as well as clients for their support over the years, said it has become imperative for practitioners and brand owners to take advantage of the unique opportunity and benefits such platforms offer, adding that today, consumers are a bit more dynamics and mobile.

On his part, the keynote speaker, Mr. George Thorpe, while applauding the growth in the digital landscape and the inherent benefits that lie ahead, said clients and agencies must begin to look in the direction of small businesses by offering the required marketing communication support so as to make the revolution more encompassing.

Although he expressed dismay on the seeming lack of structure and framework in the digital space, he urged all stakeholders in the industry to work together by developing new frameworks that would be acceptable and profit-driven for advertisers.

He said, “With a low entry barrier, there has been a proliferation of digital marketing agencies fuelling rapid growth but development, in particular agency methodology and processes and employee competencies has yet to match the standards one has come to expect of the marketing support services industry.

“Digital marketing will not be relieved of the market research and analysis rigor, the strategy focus and the planning and execution discipline of marketing theory and practice. That, for me, is what bringing digital to the service of marketing means”.

Former CEO of Bytesize and now founder and CEO of Nukleus, a digital marketing agency, Bukola Akingbade, gave a more graphic representation of how the digital space has now created bigger possibilities for brands by helping them reach wider and more diverse audiences within the fastest time.

She noted that with digital marketing, local brands can now compete on the global stage without the rigour of opening physical offices around the world and big international brands like Uber can also be accessible to consumers in Nigeria with little or no cost. Akingbade then concluded that Nigerian brands, which desire growth, must inevitably leverage technology to achieve their goals.

For the CEO of BrandZone, Chizor Malize, the youth market in Nigeria is a great force in the market space and brands that desire to win their loyalty must discover their favourite platforms of engagement.

In her presentation, Malize said any serious brand manager must be abreast of trends among consumers, adding, “Brands need to know that a lot of young people are moving away from Facebook and Instagram and going over to Snapchat. If they don’t know this they will then be concentrating their marketing effort on the wrong channels and will not get expected outcomes”.