The Nigerian traditional advertising business environment might have been dominated by some larger than life practitioners who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of the business over the years.
There are also some younger elements in this same industry that are aspiring to surpass the level attained by these earlier juggernauts. One of the few professionals, determined to get to the promised land is Hakeem Wale Akintunde, the Team Lead of Marcoms Support Services Limited.
In this chat with Akinwumi Dickson of brandcampaign.com.ng, one can depict the desire and mission to succeed in his chosen endeavour. Excerpts.
Brandcampaign.com.ng – In delivering justifiable returns on investment in business, which advantage does digital advertising have over traditional advertising?
Akintunde – It is an undeniable fact that in our present day business environment, way of doing things is now moving towards digital. Whether we like it or not, we are moving towards that direction. In the banking industry before now, we used to queue to get things done even to get account statement, it takes about two three days. So, in the financial sector, we are moving towards digital but that doesn’t mean that all the banks have gone fully digitalized so also the customers.
There are some customers that do not understand what is called digital. They still believe in the traditional way of banking. So it is a transitional process. I believe that integrated marketing communication industry is also going through that process. It is just a matter of time.
We shouldn’t be too much in a hurry because some of the target audiences you want to speak to are not fully digitalized. There are some businesses or brands that are still running under the traditional way of doing things. If you move swiftly to digital, there could be problem.
We also have knowledge gap in terms of digital because we still don’t have enough knowledge about the digital way of doing business.
Just like when someone said that he could provide alternative energy through solar, one pays so much money for it but by the time he used it for about two or three months, the alternative means of energy packed up because the knowledge gap is still there, so also it is in the advertising sector.
Another point is that the target audience is also not digitally compliant. It is like when federal government declared that Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was going digital. As at today, our NTA does not have the wherewithal to broadcast digitalized programmes. It is a matter of time. So, in essence, traditional into digitalisation is still going through transition.
Brandcampaign.com.ng – Looking at the pace of conformity by the European countries in the digital space, how can Nigeria fastly cope in that terrain?
Akintunde- Firstly , when you look at the way our youths are growing up in the digital environment, that gives you some level of satisfaction and happiness. If you give any Nigerian child any opportunity to study something related, he will do better. Once you give the child good environment, he will surely do better.
I am very sure that our professionals, practitioners and business executives are on top of the game. They are coping, with the required determination and resolution to succeed.
Brandcampaign.com.ng – Recently in the industry, clients budget is being reduced totally, how do you think agencies can manage business in the midst of this austere budgets ?
The way and manner we do business should be dictated by the financial environment. If the client is going through stress it means that you need to adjust to that. As much as possible, you also need good budget to execute briefs because that is where creativity comes in and creativity means innovation. So, in essence, you need to look at some cost elements and look at way and manner to adjust.
So, as consultants, we don’t need to put 50 people together all in the name of advertising. Because the more the people, the more you spend. Bring people in when you need them and outsource some of the jobs. You don’t need to have every department within your environment but you can always outsource.
We have collaborated with different professionals on different assignments. Once the agencies and all the stakeholders can collaborate, then one realises that the industry will be a better working environment.
The advertising industry needs more of collaboration for a better work environment and appreciable returns on investment. That is my conclusion.
Brandcampaign.com.ng – How can Nigerians grow local brands to become global brands?
One major thing that is affecting our creativity to grow local brands is copying from other climes . If you want to grow a brand in a way that will make meaning to others outside the environment, it is to show them what they don’t see. Let them see what they have not seen before.
But by the time you are copying what they do there, it doesn’t make any meaning to them. What we just need to do is to up our game and showcase what we have.
It is about telling your story the way you understand it. Sell it to the other place in a way they can compare. So, you will be able to merge expectation A with expectation B so that at the end of the day they will be able to perceive your message and appreciate what you are selling.
About the brands, it is about awareness. It is about you making people to like the brand. It is also about you convincing people about the brand. So, as a consultant, you have three things to do. You want to create awareness for the brand, you want people to like the brand and you want people to be convinced about the brand. How do you do that?
To create that awareness you must do it effectively and this will bring about knowledge. The knowledge will set your target thinking about the brand. When they have the knowledge, they start thinking about the brand. And when you begin to think about a particular brand, you tend to like it. So, liking comes in there and once you like it, preference comes in. You will prefer the brand to others. In essence, the moment you like the brand, you feel it and that gives preference to other brands. When you prefer the brand and feel it, what next? You will be convinced of course. When the person is convinced, he will go for purchase. That is the message.
Consultants must create awareness, must make people to like the brand and also make people to be convinced about the brand. Once you are able to do that to local brands, you will realise that the people outside that environment will like that brand and grow it beyond the local terrain. It is about doing what is right at every point in time.
Brandcampaign.com.ng – what are your projections for the next five years?
By the grace of God we project to be a company that will be seen not as core advertising agency but as a consultancy firm providing solutions to clients needs in the Nigerian Integrated Marketing Communication industry. We want to come in from the angle of Naira and Kobo by creating values that will actually be value for money. This is when people can identify what you are doing and they appreciate it.
We are building an agency that will be local but with international standard. I like what some guys are doing out there today. Their agencies are not affiliated to international agencies but they are doing well and they are being recognized. If you do things right before you know it you are already successful.
Brandcampaign.com.ng – Do you have anybody in the industry that you are looking up to as your role model and the best books you have read?
Akintunde – You talk of role model, yes, I have some people that have nurtured me to this level. They gave me opportunity to learn advertising. One of them is Mr. Kolawole Ayanwale, Chairman, Centrespread Group. He is the first person I met as advertising person ever in my life. I worked with him . I learnt so many things under him as an advertising person and those things are propelling me in the business. I really appreciate Centrespread Group for giving me the opportunity to work with great people.
I also appreciate some upcoming agencies in the industry. When I see the way they do things I learn from them. There are some veterans in the profession who have been able to nurture advertising by diversifying into other businesses. These are the people I would say I look up to in the industry. Another great mentor is my uncle Mr. Toyin Adepate, a former ICAN Registrar and Chief Executive. He encourages me a lot and I appreciate him a lot.
So far so good, I enjoy reading marketing books. Above all, the inspiration has always been God.