with Neta Nwosu
08023051444 • [email protected]
Dr. Ken Onyeali Ikpe is the Managing Director/CEO of All Seasons Media.
Ikpe, who initially served as Acting President of the media independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), was recently elected as MIPAN’s substantive President at the association’s Annual General Meeting held few weeks ago.
In this interview with MARKETINGmatters, Ikpe spoke on the media independent industry, mediacom and latest industry techiques.
How is the advertising industry in Nigeria faring?
I wouldn’t like to use the word flourish to describe the current state of the industry, but if you compare the business of advertising against other sectors or do I say economic enterprises, I think advertising is doing fairly well. It has grown and is still growing in leaps and bounds, both in terms of size and capacity, as well as in terms of influence in the general marketing mix. So, I think advertising is doing very well. What we intend to achieve now is to bring the industry to a state where it begins to flourish because we believe Nigeria has everything to enable a profession like advertising flourish.
With the economic crunch, do you think advertising will flourish?
Yes! One thing that is essential when talking about the growth and flourishing of an industry is having the right fundamentals in place. When you have this in place, the economy by default is set on strong footings and the result of this is that institutions become bigger than personalities. Law and order take centre stage since the rules of running businesses are known to all. Under this situation, even if the budget for advertising diminishes, it doesn’t change a thing, because the most important factor, which is having a solid foundation, is already taken care of. Then it becomes easier to plan and grow a business, just the way we want to. So, we are happy with the indices. Since this government took over we have seen, especially in the area of restoring law and order, bringing back fiscal discipline and ensuring accountability, take decisive decisions. This will help to a large extent companies grow and when companies grow they produce. When they produce they need to advertise and if they need to advertise our businesses will grow. So, that is the chain reaction we are looking at and we are very optimistic.
Let us talk a little about Media Planning Services. There was a time media planning was buried within advertising and an era when it was separated. The latter exists till date and led to it flourishing. However, it appears that at the moment, media planning services is on the downturn. What could be responsible for this change in fortune?
No, it is not on a downturn, the figures and data do not suggest that because 85% of the average advertising budget still resides with the media independents so it has not diminished. It’s not that agencies are buying media once again by themselves, what has happened is that the general population, especially people in marketing have gotten used to the fact that now if you want to buy media you have to go to media independents, so it becomes business as usual. So, the perception could be right, that it is not flourishing as it should be because it is not novel anymore. Then it was a new thing, it was a real fact and people talked about it, otherwise nothing has changed, since more than 85% of media budgets are still being handled by the big advertising media independent. Nothing has changed and it will never change because Advertising Agencies and Agency of Record (AOR) Agencies are not supposed to buy and plan media. People should concentrate on their area of specialty. Media is an area of specialty that requires knowledge in strategy, data appreciation and application, buying efficiencies, buying pointedly and etc., so why will anybody give that kind of huge responsibility to a part timer. What I mean by a “part timer” is if the unit that handles that aspect is just a department in a huge agency that primarily, buying media is not their primary reason for existing. Independent Media practice has come to stay; it is like that all over the world. It can only get better and get bigger and bigger, so I don’t think it has diminished in terms of influence and growth.
Where will you place MediaCom amongst Media Independent Agencies in Nigeria?
Well if your agency is billing N10 billion a year, you must be among the top three because the biggest billing agency in Nigeria will not probably do more than N12 or N13 billion a year. So, if you have an agency that is between the N10 billion mark a year, then it should be among the top 3 agencies and it has always been our objective never to fall out of the top four, instead as much as possible strive to lead the pack, that is become number one, and this, we have been able to achieve because 5 years ago we were number 4 and remained at that spot for a very long time. Then our billing was half of 10 billion that is between N4 and N5 billion, but as we speak our clientele base has expanded geometrically, not just in terms of figures, but also in term of staff strength. We started with 10 and then grew to 25; 40 and now we are talking about 51 members of staff with high capacity. So it is one of the bigger agencies in Nigeria and the brand will always remain that.
How is MediaCom different from every other Media Independent Agency; why will a client leave others for your services, what are your unique features?
I am happy you asked that question. What clients usually look out for and appreciate in a media independent is its ability to scan the environment, do media strategy, do media plan and then buy efficiently. These are the threshold capability of every agency, but we have gone beyond threshold capabilities. We attract very good hands and we retain them. Clients want stability and most importantly this business has a lot to do with trust and accountability. We are accountable and everyone knows that. We have fantastic relationship with people that matter and in our business the people that matter the most are the media owners who own the space we buy. Clients want to be sure they are safe with you and not just you having the ability to plan and buy. Yes! Those are good, but those are threshold capabilities. However, Mediacom has gone beyond that and don’t forget if you look at our pay off, it says “People First, Better Result” and we know we are in the business of people and clients appreciates that. It is important I mention at this point that when we say people, we mean people outside and people inside, we appreciate them, their contribution to the business, and appreciate the client and appreciate the environment we work in. So, these things make us a very good and attractive agency, and it has been like that for a long time.
Can you please share with us the most interesting experience you have had in terms of account management in advertising or media planning?
The most exciting for me, since I have been running this business now as CEO for 15 years which I would say have come in different folds and in different waves, if you allow me would be growing the bottom line tremendously. When I joined Mediacom our billing was N300 million, then we had Guinness as the only big account, however we grew and then added Nokia. WAMPCO followed, by the way the WAMPCO experience was very exciting for me because it was the launch and re-launch of the biggest diary brand in Nigeria, which is Peak Milk and we held that brand for 8 years. We held Nokia for 9 years and GSK advert also. So I have experienced ups and downs as well as lost big businesses; I have regained and I have bounced back many times, but the most exciting recently would be Etisalat. It was a big challenge for the agency that first launched Etisalat in Nigeria to handle and stabilize a business that size, and making it both profitable for the agency, the Client and the third party who are the media owners, however we have been able to stabilize that business. This transition for me and my people was a very big learning point; I could write a book it about it.
Are there new techniques that you would love to share in Media Planning?
Media planning changes even on a daily basis, what you use last year would probably not fly today. What I mean is that they are too small or too narrow, because the consumer is changing daily. There was a time when media was you transmitting information to consumer, but the consumer today, especially those born in this millennium want a feedback kind of communications, so what you did in the past may not be enough anymore. They want engagement, so the tools you use today are more of tools of engagement and tools for information. You hear things about pragmatic media buying today you hear things about defining the consumer profile to meet connection planning in media for example. Four years ago, we didn’t know things about connection planning. Connection planning is more of dissecting the media habits of consumers and then getting data and software that can interrogate that data and tell you exactly how to buy precisely. So media is changing, but it comes with a lot of cost, because as I speak with you this agency invests a minimum of half a billion a year on software alone so as to increase capacity in terms of tools and applications or apps for short. Even I, coming from the older generations would struggle to keep with the pace but we thank God we have the expertise to identify talent and recruit younger people who can use these techniques. Ours is to manage and deliver on share holders’ value and expectations.
With the unavailability of the ABC report, what data do you use in planning for press?
Print is still a challenge to media independents and the best of planners in Nigeria because even at the MIPAN level, of which I am the President, we have done all that we can to get media planners to understand the reasonableness and usefulness of ABC. If we do, it will give us an indication of what the print run is, what the circulation is and who the readers are and even profile readership further. It will help us understand who is even reading, what is the gender likes and dislikes in terms of percentage share. We can do that with radio, we can do that with TV, we can do with digital, but we don’t have that of the print. We have devised our own means of finding out what exactly is the print run of most of the top publishing houses and then how do they distribute that is their distribution network. We do ranking and our own research and spending money to find out will help us get basic hygiene data with which we make these decisions, but they are not good enough. However we want to hope there will be a turnaround and a change in the mindset of media ownership as far as print is concerned, so that they could jump unto the boat because as I speak the train has left the stations.
Etisalat reiterates commitment to quality customer experience
Most customer-centric telecommunications network, Etisalat Nigeria, has reiterated its commitment to quality customer experience and the continuous development of innovative products and services in its effort to offer customers on its network more value for money.
The Director, Brands and Experience, Etisalat Nigeria, Elvis Ogiemwanye, gave the assurance on Wednesday during the Abuja leg of its regional Customer Forum, an interactive gathering that enables Etisalat have direct engagement with customers to exchange ideas, discuss areas of improvement as well as provide feedback on the services of the company. Speaking on the significance of customer feedback, Ogiemwanye, said the forum is a feedback platform that enables Etisalat to continuously improve its operations and develop more innovative products and services. He added that the forum demonstrates the value Etisalat places on its customers and commitment to excellent customer experience.
“At Etisalat, we place a lot of value on our customers, because our customers remain at the heart of our business. That is why we hold this forum in different regions to engage with our customers, get their feedback on our products and services and improve on them based on the feedback we have gathered. Through this customer forum we are able to identify things we are doing right and the areas we should improve on”, he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Director, Customer Service, Etisalat Nigeria, Plato Syrimis, said the revamped easy-to-use self-help mobile application, EasyMobile App is one of the most recent innovative solutions that the company introduced as a result of feedback from Etisalat customers.
One of the customers present at the event, Dotun Oyebanji, commended Etisalat for providing subscribers across Nigeria with good network coverage and excellent customer service. He said, “I have used other networks, now I’m on Etisalat network and I must say the level of service and network quality I get from Etisalat is far better.”
Jubilation as Skye Bank produces yet another set of millionaires in Akure
Nigeria’s masses-friendly financial institution, Skye Bank Plc., has again lived up to its billing and has produced yet another set of millionaires at the 11th edition of the ‘Reach for the Skye Millionaire’ reward scheme.
This time, Mr. Daniel Edem of Adeniran Ogunsanya Branch in Lagos emerged a millionaire at the bank’s Reach for the Skye Millionaire promo held on Thurdsay, May 19, 2016 at the popular Oba Main Market in the historical city of Akure, Ondo State.
Edem was full of praises for Skye Bank and its management. He was not in any way surprised, as according to him, “I am happy that eventually my loyalty to Skye Bank paid off handsomely. This is because I have been faithful to Skye Bank for over 20 years , I keep all my accounts with them and in no time have they disappointed me and to crown it , they are rewarding me with the sum of N1million, common, it can only be Skye Bank!” he enthused.
For those who do not know what it takes to become what some prefer to call ‘an emergency millionaire’, the bank’s Group Head, Retail Banking, Nkolika Okoli had this to say “There is still a chance for our people in Akure to win this ‘awoof’ because another set of millionaires will soon emerge next month at the 12th edition.
To join the lucky millionaire club, all you need to do is open a Skye Save plus or Skye Ease savings Account and make a minimum deposit of two thousand naira into the account. If you already have a Skye Save Plus or Skye Ease account, with additional deposit of N2, 000 minimum you stand a chance of becoming our next millionaire.”
Nkolika continued “The more deposits in multiples of N2,000 you make, the more your chances to be one of the three customers to be rewarded with one million naira each on a monthly basis. We have made it very easy for every Nigerian to open a savings account either by SMS code using their phones (no data connection is needed, just dial *833*1#), on-line through the bank’s web site or by walking into any of the bank’s 400 branches nationwide”.
“But then, if you are not lucky to get ‘Millionaire’ added to your sobriquet, you may still be rewarded with some of our other available consolation prizes that include N250, 000 for four customers and N100, 000 to 10 customers each.”
Nkolika also revealed that “Lots of instant prizes which include Refrigerators, electricity generating sets, table top gas cookers, mobile phones, blenders, recharge cards and other gift items await those who open accounts at the promo draw venue”.
“The millionaire reward programme goes on throughout the year and beyond, because the Skye is Big Enough!” Nkolika concluded.
Adding the three millionaires produced today to the earlier winners means that Skye Bank has so far made 33 Millionaires – three lucky Nigerians have won three million naira every month in the past 11 months while the N250, 000 category has produced 43 winners and 110 winners from the N100, 000 category!
“YemiBlaq represents Gulder’s ideals of the ‘real man’”
Gulder, the premium lager beer from Nigerian Breweries Plc. celebrated its ambassador, Mr. Yemi Olatunji, better known as YemiBlaq, who turned a year older recently.
The birthday ceremony took place last week with his colleagues, friends and officials of Nigerian Breweries during the Nollywood Beer Academy, sponsored by Nigerian Breweries Plc., in Ibadan, Oyo State. Edem Vindah, Corporate Media/Brand PR Manager, NB Plc., explained that the brand is proud of YemiBlaq because he represents Gulder’s ideals of the “real man, who is responsible, hardworking, demonstrates leadership and respects for others.”
Gulder, Edem added, stood for the ultimate sign of achievement, masculinity, respect, self-assurance and success and also a premium quality beer for young success conscious men and women
Blaq, who became a Gulder brand ambassador last year, came into the movie industry in 2005. He has featured in over 250 films and he is seen as a hard working movie producer and one of the most famous in Nollywood.
Blaq was born and raised in a family of four siblings in Ondo State Nigeria and grew up knowing he was going to go into the arts.
From his primary school days, he got a lot of encouragement and support. After he played the role of the incorruptible judge in Olu Olagoke’s ‘The Incorruptible Judge’, his teacher came home and said to his mum, ‘oh this one is going to become an actor. Since then he has nurtured it up.
“I always wanted to act, I always loved acting. I used to act back in my days in school I studied theatre arts in school. I travelled and after I came back I joined the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN),” he said.
Yemi believed he was one of the lucky ones because he got into the industry when everyone said it was a bit tough. He was in it for about five or six months auditioning for roles, and talking to people for opportunities. Then he ran into a really large big audition which turned out to be a grand encounter.
“My first experience on set was with Obi Osotule and Mathias Agbo in Benin city. They were shooting this movie, ‘The Unseen Eyes’ and I had gone there to just flex my acting muscles. I got on set with the rest of the people who came for the audition and we started reading,” Blaq said.
‘Lost to Lust’ was the movie that gave him a breakthrough, being his first lead role movie with Mercy Johnson. “It came out successful and since then every director and producer want me to work for them. Because in the industry if you are good, people tend to look for you, toutilise your talent,” he said.
After his breakthrough with ‘Lost to lust’, directors and filmmakers started calling upon him to feature in movies.