Raheem Akingbolu

The country is expected to record an increase in the number of foreign and domestic investors after the general elections that will be held this quarter, some advertising and communications experts have said.

They also pointed out that current global awareness about the need for effective communications on the part of brand owners would translate to boom for marketing communications professionals as companies would locate them to communicate with target audience in the ways consumers like.

According to top marketing communications practitioners, who spoke to THISDAY during the week, with a stable political environment after the election, brands would increase spend to catch up on lost grounds. To this end, they urged business owners on the need to be aware of their customers’ communication preferences after the elections.

President of Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, said as the economy contracts, there would be more demand for the services of marketing communication experts to chart the way to go for businesses to flourish.

Mumuney, who is also the Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications at the First Bank, stated that the winning brands would be firms whose leadership appreciate this challenge and recognise the need to invest in building and shoring up brand equity and taking the longer term view that such investments are a major requirement for building sustainable institutions.

A leading public Relation practitioner and Chief Executive Officer at Precise, a brand management firm, Bolaji Okusaga, though admitted that the elections and the state of the economy are two factors that would have an impact on the communications industry, he pointed out that 2019 is certain to be a year of mixed blessings.

“While the elections may swell the billings of some agencies, it is certain to come with uncertainties which will have an impact on flow of investments and the marketing spend of corporate. “The economy is also going to be a major flashpoint; what with already falling oil prices. If only were to consistently fall below the budget benchmark, there will be some form of volatility which may impact marketing spend?

“On a general note, 2019 is certain to be a year of mixed blessings. Technology is certain to continue to alter the flow of creativity what with the impact of big data and aggregation possibilities in understanding consumer value,” he said.

This was also the position of the President of Experiential Marketing Association of Nigeria (EXMAN), Kehinde Salami, who predicted that there would be diversification across and outside the below the line value chain this year.

“With hopefully a stable political environment after the election, brands will increase spend to catch up on lost grounds. Also the advent of new product and categories will further aid activation hence a bright future awaits experiential firms that have strong defined processes, skilled workforce and financial muscle to accommodate large ticket projects,” he said.

Also speaking on the 2019 outlook, the publisher of Nigerian Public Relations Report, Ayeni Adekunle, said he was confident that the marketing communications landscape will witness an increase in demand by clients for measurement and impact this year.

He said: “Strategies and spend will be determined by expected business outcomes as will continue to move away from vanity metrics.

“It is important to note that owned media and inside influence will be key ingredients for success this year; as brands move to become better at being part of consumer conversations and building trust in a way that enhances how much of their content consumers take in, believe, and share in unsolicited ways.

“More public relations agencies will build better digital competencies as digital agencies build up their story telling skills,”

Another practitioner, Mr. Tokunbo Modupe, also stated that he expected a more vibrant industry devoid of politically induced fears of marketing investment by clients.

“Marketing spends and initiatives were very low in 2018 and that affected not a few agencies. With election coming up early this year, hopefully after a winner has emerged, there will be stability. The economy requires political stability to thrive,”
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