Speakers at the seventh edition of the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria (BJAN) conference 2019 with the theme Survival Amidst Harsh Economy: Inside Stories of Top Brands’ have suggested that companies should constantly re-strategise in order to improve their profitability.
The speakers advised companies to endeavour to expand their customer base by offering extra difference from what competitors offer.
They also advised on the need to research and discover what they can offer to consumers to switch loyalty.
The speakers said that during lean times, brands must not make the mistake of eliminating or cutting their marketing budget to the bones as consumers are restless and looking out to make changes in their buying decisions.
Speaking in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of X3M Ideas Limited, Mr. Steve Babaeko who was the Lead Speaker, represented by Director, Brand Management and Strategy of the company, Babatunde Olaifa in his presentation said: “History shows that structural shifts in the pecking orders of industries occur more often in difficult times and these shifts endure for a long time.
Therefore, the fight to sustain company performance during a downturn is not just about short-term survival, it is also about long-term positioning in the industry hierarchy. This is clearly a battle worth fighting.”
He went on to say that it is during this period that improved marketing budget time will help consumers choose products and services congruent to their needs. “If possible, brands should step up their 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.”
He however advised brand custodians and handlers to step up their business intelligence and think out of the box, as deeper creativity will enable them to weather the storm during harsh economy.
In addition, he said, agencies handling brands were specifically advised to consistently retain the awareness and posture of a consultant and scale up their intellectual content as well.
The program whose overall objective is to x-ray the depression and recession that gave insights into how some brands survived and thrived during economic downturn also recognize and honoured some brands and players in the Brands and marketing industry that have made remarkable impacts.
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 should 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 to 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.
The consumers must jettison bureaucracy 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.
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 should not ignore opportunities offered by Start-ups and other small organisations as they are source for business during difficult times, also advised on the need to engage in the smart use of data to improve their services to brands and corporate organisations.
In attendance was a distinguished audience cuts across the Integrated Marketing Communications industry saw Mr. Bolaji Okusaga, Chief Executive Officer of Precise Limited as the Moderator, Mrs. Tokunbor George-Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Hill & Knowlton Strategies, Mr. Idiare Atimomo, Chief Operating Officer, Up in the Sky, Ms. Ifeoma Okoye, Sustainability & Public Affairs Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and Mr. Odion Aleobua, Chief Executive Officer, Modion Communications were panelists that dissected the main paper.