At the 7th Annual Brand Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN) Brands & Marketing Conference Held at Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Conference and Exhibition Centre, Lagos recently, analysts, marketing experts, government representatives and regulators cracked some puzzles on the challenges brands are facing within the harsh climate of Nigeria’s economy in the last few years.
With the theme of the conference – Survival Amidst Harsh Economy: Inside Stories of Top Brands, they brainstormed on the imperatives of evolving a tested survival strategy for brands and their handlers as they navigate the tough terrains of the Nigerian economy and came out with the following recommendations.
Brands should constantly re-strategise on the way forward to improve their profitability as there is need to reduce inventory costs without compromising quality of goods or inconveniencing consumers.
-Brands should continue to expand their customer/client base by offering something extra or different from what competitors offer. Brands also need to research and discover what they can offer for consumers to switch loyalty to them.
– During lean times, brands must not make the mistake of eliminating or cutting their marketing budget to the bones or as Consumers are restless and looking out to make changes in their buying decisions.
-The marketing budget at this time will help consumers choose products and services congruent to their needs. If possible brands were advised to step up your marketing budget and efforts.
– Instead of cutting marketing budget which has become the tradition, brands should diversify their markets and packages to ‘speak the language of the common man’ because the consumers are no longer passive but very active due to increased scarcity of resources.
– Brand custodians and handlers were advised to step up their business intelligence and think out of box as deeper creativity will enable them to weather the storm during harsh economy.
-Agencies handling brands were specifically advised to consistently retain the awareness and posture of a consultant and scale up their intellectual content as well.
-As part of cost saving measures, speakers pointed out huge opportunities for brands to create deeper awareness using the digital and other social media platforms. Marketing professionals were equally advised to take advantage of the opportunities social media provide to create Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA) for their brands.
-Creative agencies, public relations practitioners, experiential marketers and others in the ecosystem including brand owners should work in deeper collaboration and see themselves as partners to eliminate the usual master/servant relationship between brand owners and agencies. This will help both brands and their agencies to survive the current difficult times.
– Bureaucracy must be jettisoned especially during harsh economic situations, as brands would need to take decisions swiftly and respond promptly to agency/public enquiries if they want to increase their level of acceptability by the consumers.
-Brand should engage in deeper innovation with local content as this will go a long way to enable them control larger market share with reduced cost of production.
-Agencies were advised not to ignore opportunities offered by start ups and other small organizations as they source for business during the current hard times.
– Agencies were also advised on the need engage in the smart use of data to improve their services to brands and corporate organization.
According to communique signed by Princewill Ekwujuru, BJAN National Chairman Lukman Ishau, National Secretary , the objectives of the conference were to showcase the success stories of some brands that have survived and are even excelling despites mounting challenges, for other players to identify economic and business lessons they can pick to position themselves for greater profitability and stability in the present economic.
Analysis of all shades of ideas and suggestions that can enhance deeper understanding of various strategies to survive during hard times.
Equipping brand writers with current and salient facts that will ensure adequate dissemination of accurate information to the public.
-Building capacity amongst journalists, brand analysts and other stakeholders in the marketing industry and developing new strategies they can leverage on to help deepen Nigeria’s economy.
The Chief host of the event was Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who was represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Gboyega Akosile delivered the keynote address at the conference on Behalf of the Governor. Mr. Steve Babaeko, Chief Creative Officer/ CEO of X3M Ideas Ltd represented by Mr. Babatunde Olaifa, Director, Brand Management and Strategy X3M Ideas Ltd was the Lead Speaker, while Mr. Bolaji Okusaga, CEO of Precise Ltd was the Moderator.
Mrs Tokunbor George-Taylor, CEO, Hill & Knowlton, Mr Idiare Atimomo, COO, Up in the sky, Ms Ifeoma Okoye, Sustainability & Public Affairs Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Mr. Odion Aleobua, CEO, Modion Communications Ltd were members of the panel that dissected the main paper.
Other notable practitioners, regulators, brand builders, industry players and students made quality contributions during the conference.