It was a fantastic night filled with glitz and glamour as Marketing Edge staged its annual Brands and Advertising Excellence Summit and Awards last Friday at the Civic Centre in Lagos.
The event which witnessed heavy turnout of brands, marketing and advertising practitioners came in two folds; the summit took centre stage in the afternoon while the awards ceremony began later in the evening.
Over 44 awards were given, but the high point was that moment when the over 500 dignitaries and advertising industry experts at the venue rose up in unison to applaud and celebrate Nigeria’s advertising titan, Ted Mukoro, who was honoured with the award for Advertising Icon of the Decade.
On hand to present the award to Mukoro was Sir Steve Omojafor, Chairman of the occasion and one of Nigeria’s advertising giants. In a short tribute, Omojafor praised Mukoro for his impact and outstanding legacies in the advertising profession.
He evoked emotions when he recalled with nostalgia how Mukoro mentored him and took him through the rudiments of copywriting and how some of Mukoro copywriter masterpieces, like Shine Shine Bobo Star have remained ever fresh decades after they were crafted.
Other advertising and marketing icons that were celebrated in the same Advertising Icon of the Decade category as Mukoro were Chris Doghuje former CEO of Lintas Advertising and former Chairman of APCON, and Laolu Akinkugbe, a veteran marketer and current non-executive Director at Nigerian Bottling Company.
The Marketing Edge Award for Brands and Marketing Excellence has, in the last five years, become the benchmark for recognizing and celebrating talents and milestones in the integrated marketing communication industry in Nigeria. This year, the awards became even bigger as it not only recognized the established names; new categories were created to honour up-coming industry leaders who are making waves in their little corners.
As the custom is, the event began with the Marketing Edge Summit which has become a powerful platform for practitioners to learn, deliberate and brainstorm on trends and developments in the integrated marketing communications industry.
The theme of the summit was Brand Positioning in a Digital Age: Challenges in a Developing Market and the keynote speaker was Mr. George Thorpe, Managing Partner of Market Space. Thorpe, while appreciating the growth in the digital marketing space and the great marketing possibilities it bellies both for larger businesses and the SMEs, however expressed some reservations about the seemingly lack of standards and proper structure within the system.
“With a low entry barrier, there has been a proliferation of digital marketing agencies fuelling rapid growth but development, in particular agency methodology and processes and employee competencies have yet to match the standards one has come to expect of the marketing support services industry.
“Digital marketing will not be relieved of the market research and analysis rigor, the strategy focus and the planning and execution discipline of marketing theory and practice. That, for me, is what bringing digital to the service of marketing means,” he stressed.
Guest Speaker for the evening, Seni Adetu, former CEO of Guinness Nigeria, provided even broader perspectives on the conversation. He stressed that while digital space is a good platform to drive brand growth, however, the ultimate success of the brand depends on the brand managers and marketers. Then he went on to list some of the qualities required of a contemporary marketer that desires to win the minds of consumers. One of them he said was the willingness to take calculated risk.
Bukola Akingbade former CEO of Bytesize and now founder and CEO of Nukleus, a digital marketing agency, gave a more graphic representation of how the digital space has now created bigger possibilities for brands by helping them to reach wider and more diverse audience in a much faster time.
The energetic and enthusiastic digital expert noted that with digital marketing local brands can now compete on the global stage without the rigour of opening physical offices around the world and big international brands like Uber can also be accessible to consumers in Nigeria at little or no cost. Akingbade on this basis concluded that Nigerian brands who desire growth must inevitably leverage technology to achieve their goals.
Akingbade’s thoughts were in perfect agreement with Chizor Malize’s sentiments. Malize who is known for being a social media freak and a great apostle of internet marketing made a robust case for brands to join the digital bandwagon. The CEO of Brandzone was one of the resource persons at the summit and she noted that the youth market in Nigeria was a great force in the market space and brands who desire to win their loyalty must discover their favourite platform of engagement.
In her short presentation, the charismatic brand expert admonished that any serious brand manager must be abreast of trends among consumers. “Brands need to know that a lot of young people are moving away from facebook and instagram and going over to snapchat. If they don’t know this they will then be concentrating their marketing effort on the wrong channels and will not get expected outcomes,” Malize said, adding that with digital marketing brands can achieve more in a shorter time than they would with digital marketing.
Perhaps, there is no one person more fitting to explore this topic than Chude Jideonwo, the 31-year old Managing Partner of Red Media, a fast growing Public Relations and Digital marketing agency. Red Media was the digital marketing agency that drove the social media engagement for the Buhari/Osibanjo campaign during the 2015 elections.
Using the internet, Red Media was able to inspire unprecedented number of hitherto apolitical young Nigerians to embrace the quest for change and vote All Progressives Congress (APC) in the place of incumbent People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Like Malize, Jideonwo stressed that the need for brands to pay attention to the streets because that is where trends in the market place are inspired. “The mass market is not influenced by those who have PhDs or live in Lekki, but on the streets. That is why brands must study and pay close attention to the streets,” he said, pointing out how a street slang by musician Olamide “leave dirt for LASTMA” became so popular that it inspired one of Sterling Bank’s campaigns.
He, however, cautioned stakeholders not to get too excited about the internet or overrate it because there are still millions of young people, especially in Northern Nigeria that are not on the internet. For this group of people, the traditional media remain their primary source of information. Therefore brands that desire to engage them can only do so through traditional media like TV, radio, and newspapers.
“For this reason, traditional media are still very key and inevitable for brands that want optimum returns on their investments. Some people do not know that Galaxy TV is still the most watched television channel in Nigeria and not Hiptv or SoundCity,” he said.
Speaking during the question and answer session, Thorpe warned that for all the frenzy about the digital marketing media, it still lacks an empirical evidence to prove its performance. That according to him is the primary weakness of the digital marketing and that is where traditional media still have an edge.
As the curtain drew to a close on the summit, the audience braced up for the climax of the event, which was the awards ceremony. In his speech Mr. John Ajayi, Publisher of MARKETING EDGE magazine noted that this year’s awards had been expanded to include new categories that celebrated young practitioners and that, he said, had been done to encourage productive competition in the creative industry.
The awards had 44 categories and some of the big winners of the night were Mr. Udeme Ufot, Group Managing Director of SO&U; Mr. John Momoh of Channels TV; Coca Cola classic bottle which bagged the centennial brand award; MTN, Noah’s Ark; DDB Lagos; Cool FM; Urban Radio; Optimum Exposures; Red Media; Indigo, Oracle; Peak Milk; Chamita; Bolaji Alausa; Star; SBI Media among others.