New Crystal Communications is a major outdoor-advertising agency which has made a mark in the business of out-of-home media display in Nigeria. The company led by Engineer Dozie Mbanefo has continued to grow at a tremendous pace with installation of high quality electronic billboards span across the country. In this interview with MARKETINGSPACE team, the company explained why it has continued to expand amidst different challenges. Excerpts…
How would you assess the business of out-of-home media in the current Nigerian economic situation?
It’s been quite challenging for the out-of-home practitioners, considering the current Nigerian economic situation with cut in advertising budget, but we must give it to the outdoor advertising practitioners in spite of all these, they are able to sustain quality service delivery and innovation drive which I believe has impacted positively on the economy and environment.
How have you been coping with multiple taxations by different regulatory bodies?
Honestly, it has not been easy, but we hope it gets better.
What is your relationship with government agencies like LASAA, OYSAA and others?
We try our best to have good business relationship with LASAA, OYSAA, ANSAA, CRISAA, DOAS and others. We need them as we are bent on adding value to the OOH industry. We have complied with standard guidelines and regulations as stipulated by these government agencies to the best of our ability.
What are the challenges in the business of out-of-home media?
I will say that the challenges facing the OOH industry are multiple taxation, community issues (Area boys), public power supply problem, some not too friendly regulations and cut in outdoor spend.
Our expectation from the government is to look at the OOH industry not just as a revenue making venture but as a major contributor to the economy and environment in Nigeria, meaning that over taxing them will invariably affect the overall cost of other things and the burden finally is burn by the people, either by paying higher for goods and services to loss of jobs and low employment numbers by OOH companies.
We also expect an improvement in security to reduce the menace of area boys and great effort in improving power supply. This will greatly reduce cost for the business and encourage economic development. Regulations in out-of-home should also have a human face and be done by people who are professionals in this field.
What are your major achievements in the business so far?
We have made quite a great deal of achievements in OOH business in terms of new innovations like the introduction of modern digital interactive billboards and medallion structures across all the major cities in Nigeria.
New Crystal Communication is a household name in the outdoor advertising sector; tell us how you were able to build the brand name to this stage?
My first advice to anyone who wants to be successful in business is that they should not do anything just because of making money. Do what you love doing and the advantages are: you will have the ability not to see problems that come from it as stress and risk taking is easier. You will also have the ability to invest in it because you love what you do and you will ultimately create value which could be money, prestige, access, etc. For us we went into the business because we liked it and gave it our all.
There were heavy teething problems. There were financial problems. However, most times in life, two things you must tell yourself are that you will not stop and you will not give up. Sometimes, the problem people generally have is that they want to do everything in one day whereas they can take it one day at a time. We took it one day at a time with dedication and no distractions.
Our story has just been a case of consistency and steadfastness. When we made money from a billboard, we reinvested the profits made into the making of another billboard. This is how we kept on growing. It was an evolution of throwing back in. We basically deprived ourselves of the luxuries of life just for us to get to where we are today simply because we understood where we were going.
If you have a business where you are dedicated to and create trust, then you are bound to succeed. Keeping your word is one of the keys to succeeding in business, we always did this.
You must also have a good team. It is never about one person. If you do not have the right team to do the right things, you are not going to succeed.
Creativity, innovation and following the new trends in the world of Out-of-Home advertising always had our attention.
Challenges have been immense but God has been kind to us. All these efforts brought success to us because God is part of us. He is never neglected in our business.
What other plans do you have to further take the agency to the next level?
We do have great plans of bringing more innovations into the OOH industry especially with digital billboards, interactive platforms and taking this agency to other African countries where we are not present.
Kindly tell us some of your clients?
We have a large clientele base. We work with most media buying agencies, direct clients and government agencies. We have maintained good business relationship with these clients because of the excellent service delivery we have rendered to them over the years
What motivates you as a businessman?
Customers and staff satisfaction; working with all relevant stakeholders and achieving results, providing solutions to clients’ needs and creating staff satisfaction.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
The outdoor industry is already doing a lot in the area of beautification of the environment. Look at how beautiful billboard structures and LED billboards have created cities lines, landmarks and lit up several dark parts of the cities. It is going to be great and better with a more government friendly environment and better organised regulations that will create a robust industry for the benefit of our nation.
In five years, we expect New Crystal Communications Limited to have created a great impact in West Africa and we would have achieved much more interactivity platforms with the digital billboards.