Mr. Steve Babaeko, CEO,  X3M Ideas Ltd

The Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria,  BJAN has held its 7th Annual Brands and Marketing Conference to analyse and explore possible practical solutions that will help in positioning businesses amidst economic challenges.

The event was held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce Exhibition and Conference Centre (LCCI), Nurudeen Olowopopo Drive, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Friday, November 29, 2019.

With the theme; Survival Amidst Harsh Economy: Inside Stories of Top Brands, the event kicked off with the presentation of awards to honour the distinguished stakeholders who have contributed immensely to the growth of the marketing and communications industry.

According to the BJAN Chairman, Princewill Ekwujuru, the event is designed to provide a platform for discussions on how businesses can survive in the face of stiff competition.

In his keynote address, the guest speaker, Mr. Steve Babaeko, CEO,  X3M Ideas Ltd, who was represented by Mr. Babatunde Olaifa, Team Lead, Brand Management,  X3M Ideas noted that all brands always have a problem to solve and for these brands to thrive in the harsh economy,  they have to adjust to the reality of the consumers.

The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Bolaji Okusaga,  CEO, Precise Limited with Mrs. Tokunbor George-Taylor, CEO,  Hill & Knowlton Strategies; Mr. Odion Aleobua, CEO, Modion Communications; Mr. Idiare Atimomo,  Co-Founder/COO, Up in the Sky and Ifeoma Okoye, Sustainability & Public Affairs Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company as discussants.

Panel discussants L-R: Mr. Odion Aleobua, CEO, Modion Communications;Mrs. Tokunbor George-Taylor, CEO,  Hill & Knowlton Strategies;Mr. Idiare Atimomo,  Co-Founder/COO, Up in the Sky and Ifeoma Okoye, Sustainability & Public Affairs Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company

When asked how the NBC has been able to deal with slow growth in the macro retail space,  Okoye stated that the key is innovation and agreed with Olaifa’s opinion of adjusting to the realities of the consumers. She said,  “Listening to the man on the street and making quick decisions are some of the things that have kept us going.

” We are now what you can call the 24/7 firm…We put innovative ideas together and so as to make the consumer part of this, we involve them…One thing we should always understand is that,  if we are not being seen by consumers, stakeholders and the important people in the business, what exactly are we now in the business for?”

“We need to now understand that consumers are no longer passive but active which means engaging them is important.

Aleobua,  agreeing with Okoye said, ” It is about innovation but also about business intelligence. What this means is that while we are brainstorming and putting ideas together to proffer solutions, we also have to be able to stay relevant.”

He further said to stay relevant in the already slowing down economy, data is the most important thing businesses and brands should work with.

“There is growth in the industry. Data is one of the major keys for a brand to survive and the social media has been put in place to help with that. This means the usefulness of the digital media cannot be overemphasized.”

Olaifa however,  further observed that for an agency to evolve, “there is need for competition”.

“We need to be able to package what we are selling beyond the company’s basics,” he said.

“The truth is change is hard and what this simply means is that innovation itself is hard and not all agencies and brands are wired for change.

George-Taylor on her part advised that for brands to thrive in Nigeria’s current harsh economy, there is need for cooperation among the players of the industry.

She said, ” We all as the key players really need to be reoriented. The brands, media and agencies, need to start working as a team for every party to thrive and I think we need to start a media conversation forum where we all can learn from each other.”

BJAN is the umbrella body of practising journalists covering Brands, Public Relations, Marketing and advertising beats in Nigeria.

Yetunde Adegoke

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