Experts Call For Creativity, Innovation as Key Factors to Surviving Harsh Economy
The 7th Annual Brands & Marketing Conference of the Brand Journalists’ Association of Nigeria held on 29th of November, 2019 became a center stage as Brands And Marketing Communications professionals called for innovation and creativity as the only survival strategy for brands to navigate especially in a difficult economic environment.
The conference themed Survival Amidst Harsh Economy: Inside Stories Of Top Brands was dissected by the Chief Creative Officer of CSR: X3M Ideas, Mr. Babatunde Olaifa.
According to him, brands and agencies need to plan for the future even in the present situation when the economy slows down, everyone is affected.
In his words, “During economic downtime, people find opportunities because there is a systemic shift and it compels adjustments to the realities of the consumers”. While citing examples of companies like General Motors, Procter & Gamble, and Coca-cola, he explains that these brands experienced the harsh economy but were able to scale through because they adjusted to the reality of the consumers, focus on the products that people couldn’t do without and looked for fresh awareness to market the products. He added that Coca-cola even in an era when companies are cutting cost, they ramped up and maintained the same price for over 70 years.
While responding to why some agencies despite the reality of innovation and digital disruptions, still clinch to traditional ideas, Mr. Olaifa said the growth and development of a business depends on the leadership.
According to him, “the way some organisations are structured, it doesn’t give room for innovation and change because Innovation is not easy. If the nature of the organisation doesn’t give room for innovation, it won’t happen”, adding that agencies need data and technology to improve performance.
In her own contribution, Mrs. Tokunbo Goerge-Tailor, Managing Director, Hill & Knowlton Strategies said the harsh period is a time to identify the unique selling point of a brand.
“In a recession, we can’t look at generic way, instead what are the USP that are innovative? It’s a time we need to stand out and it’s the time when our expertise is highly needed. For us not to be lost we need to find the USP of a brand and not just jack of all trades”
Also speaking, Mr. Idiare Atimomo, COO, “Up in The Sky” said there is a need for change which is even noticeable in the media space. He said clients are embracing digital campaigns to traditional ways because that is where the economy is shifting towards. He, however, called on the agencies to be as creative as they were in the traditional space in the digital space.
Speaking on the clients’ side, Mrs. Ifeoma Okoye, Sustainability and Public Affairs Manager, Nigeria Bottling Company, declared that the survival of a brand depends on their ability to listen to the consumers to meet their demands.
“We are able to shift to the reality of the consumers by speaking their language on the street. During the recession, we didn’t cut budget but we diversify because if we are not visible, how would the consumers know we are on in the market?” she said, adding that there is need for innovation with local contents.
Making his contribution to the theme of the conference, Mr. Odion Aleobua, Managing Director, Modion Communications said that there is need to look for solution-based alignment insight to help solve clients’ problems. He added that social media remains a major tool to help brands and agencies get insights to be deployed in business.
Other dignitaries at the event are Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, Lagos State Commissioner for Information represented by Mr. Gboyega Akosile, The Chief Press Secretary to Lagos State Governor.
The conference also witnessed the confirmation of awards on brands and personalities who are distinguished in some selected capacities.
Some of the awardees are: Mr. Bolaji Alausa, Most Outstanding Adverting Person of the year; Mr. Funsho Aina, Best Communication Specialist of the year; Mr Charles Udoh, Information Manager/Commissioner of the year; Mrs. Bola Attah, Best Corporate Affairs Professional of the year.
Brands and agencies that won awards include; Rite Food Limited; Bobo Food and Beverages; Access Bank; Leo Burnett; LASAA and UBA Foundation.