Mr. Kayode Oluwasona, the CEO of Rosabel Leo Burnett,
APCON reform kicks off January
The year 2012 has come and gone. Businesses are taking stock and re-strategising for a more profitable outing in the New Year. The advertising industry witnessed a dip in business activities as not much visible growth in terms of billings and creativity was witnessed. Despite speculated economic growth, the industry failed to record an upswing in the volume of activities when compared to past years when traditional spenders excited the advertising landscape with a barrage of campaigns.
Mr. Kayode Oluwasona, the CEO of Rosabel Leo Burnett, one of the leading advertising agencies in Lagos, speaking to THISDAY in an exclusive interview in his office, attributed the dip in advertising activities to rationalisation of spending by both clients and consumers (even in the face of brand building); to maximise profit/value occasioned in part by insecurity in some parts of the country, which discouraged lot of businesses with its negative impact on bottom line and economic downturn.
Expectedly, brands allotted their budgetary resources on the basis of which medium of communication that delivers better results and impacts the bottom line. With billboards becoming more innovative, radio more mobile and the digital media space expanding by the seconds, brands touch points with its audience move with the current realities and so does advert spending. These form major consideration on how much is deployed to activation, PR and advertising and other below-the-line activities. As the influence on tradition media continues to wane, advertisers shift their budgetary spending in response to this development.
In spite of the development, the industry practitioners see a brighter 2013. Projecting into the New Year, Bunmi Oke, COO, 141 Worldwide and president of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) said 2013, is a year of “changes” when industry reforms will be implemented. “There will likely be a lot more collaborations, consolidations and re-vitalisation of the industry as a whole as it is becoming clearer to all stakeholders about the need to engage professional agencies even to handle communication of governmental policies.
“We look forward to many more government agencies, ministries and even the Federal Government working with professional AAAN registered agencies as consultants on a lot more public communications plans as done in the public sector and in other countries.”
“2013 will be the 40th anniversary of AAAN and we will use the opportunity to further promote the gains of using professional advertising practitioners to develop our industry and make it a career of first choice,” she explained.
As global economic activities shift to Africa, she believes that Nigeria as very significant emerging market for marketing communication service operations with her population, national resources and business opportunities is very attractive in establishing businesses (despite all our infrastructural and security development challenges as a country).
“The advertising industry will always evolve with the time. We will have new industry sectors emerging from the digital markets development and this again gives more “business opportunities to professional advertising agencies to pitch and grow,” she added.
Collaborating this position, Oluwasano said increasing global interest in Africa nay Nigeria will bring with it increased business efficiency, boost business opportunities and ultimately increase volume of business. As multinationals are beaming their searchlights in Africa, Oluwasano said those in agency business will facilitate the way networks get more serious as multi-clients agencies would strengthen their businesses locally. Affiliations would be strengthened, in terms of better working tools, training, better accounting system and generally influence better service delivery.
“That will make our activities world class. With global exposure and better tools, if not that Nigeria has not been taking us seriously, a lot more attention would be given to us. Our agencies will become more efficient and our value will appreciate and the agencies would make more money,” he reasoned. It is expected that this development would trigger competition between the foreign agencies and their local counterparts. But the advertising bigwig said competition is welcomed as competition would change the face of business and make local agencies sit up and fine-tune their strategies if they must remain relevant in the face of new realities.
Rosabel boss is optimistic that APCON reform exercise billed for this month, if it takes root will sanitise and professionalise the industry as well as provide the enabling environment for productivity to thrive. 2013 will be challenging, but surmountable, as the key operating principle is that the professional agencies will always stand the true test of time, the industry is expected to experience a boom once more.