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APCON should be led by people with industry knowledge, not politicians —Folake Ani-Mumuney

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NigeriaIn this interview, Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Plc and president, Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), Mrs. Folake Ani-Mumuney, dwells on development in the nation’s marketing communications industry, posits that the apex regulatory body in the industry, the Advertising Practitoners Council of Nigeria (APCON), should be run by practitioners, in the industry, like other professional bodies. AKIN ADEWAKUN brings the excerpts:

WHY we held the Chief Marketing and Communications Officers’ Forum

We thought it was critical for us to take a step back, as it is in any association. So, we took a step back and measured our impact and looked at the gaps and areas where perhaps we needed to re-assess what our goals and priorities would be. Who is better to do that than robbing minds with the Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Corporate Communications Officers (CMOs) of the leading brands in Nigeria? That was what informed the conference. It is important that we sit down together whether you are a member of ADVAN or not, it is important that we all sit down to say, how do we drive our industry and our sector forward?

Therefore, that day, we sat down and asked ourselves; what are the key issues that impact our sector? Of course, we can’t know it alone as ADVAN. If we sat in our ADVAN office, we wouldn’t know it, so it was important to have a session which is like a “no- holds- barred” type, an open session, where we can be honest with ourselves. The forum was birthed out of a need to provide the nation’s marketing and communications leaders with a platform to better navigate the fast-changing marketing communications landscape as well as provide insights on changes in local and multinational marketing and communications which leaders need to make in order to effectively deliver profitable brand equity as they equally grow in their chosen career.

In specific, we concluded that the easiest place for us to start from was to start locally. And because it was a no-holds- barred discussion, the take-aways from the event were unquantifiable.

What informed the ‘CMOs as the CEOs’ theme Why did we choose the ‘CMOs as the CEOs’ theme? We wanted a discourse around the fact that CMOs and CMCOs need to have the mindset of a CEO.

Why must you have the mindset of a CEO, it is because you must be aligned to the CEO’s vision, the CEO’s objectives and the goals of the institution.

The mindset of the CEO allows you to think about profitability and to put that at the fore front; to think about the returns to shareholders, to put the customers at the heart of your business. We are not advertising for the sake of advertising; we are not marketing for the sake of marketing, we are marketing to give consumers what they need, but we are also marketing to ensure that we return on investment and we turn in profit for our institutions and therefore return to shareholders.

So, for that reason, we felt it was very important that we looked at the topic that speaks to, for instance, the state of the economy, which we all know. How do we  do more in an ever-shrinking environment?

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Non constitution of  Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria’s (APCON) council

Let me start by stating categorically that ADVAN insists and reiterates that we will use every opportunity that we have to join this clamour for APCON to be properly instituted. It is embarrassing for us that three years down the line, we don’t have a functioning APCON council.

We take every opportunity to engage directly, indirectly with the powers- that- be. Of recent, as a body we all came together, driven by Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Association Of Advertising Agencies Of Nigeria  (AAAN) and of course ADVAN. We jointly wrote a communiqué which was sent to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and in the letter,  we made our request quite clear.

We demanded for a proper constitution and we demanded people with industry knowledge and experience, not politicians. This became necessary because part of what we found out after the last council was constituted was that it was not in order. We thought we had made progress, but we also felt that people who were nominated were not industry practitioners and as we all know that will not happen in other professions.

It will not happen in the legal profession and it will not happen in medical profession.  Why will it happen in advertising? So, we were quite clear, that we felt that we will be doing ourselves a deservice and we will be doing the nation a de-service, too, if we do not bring in experts to regulate us. It will be to our own disadvantage if we do not ensure that we call to question some of the nomination in that council. Every board needs diversity, we recognise that strong boards are boards that include diversity but, professionalism, expert knowledge, a knowledgeable board are also critical. So, we are insisting that we want to see practitioners and we have enough of them, fully qualified, we mentioned Mr. Udeme Ufot  and till date I see no reason why someone like that cannot be made the chairman.

These are people who have spent years in the industry and therefore, have gathered knowledge. Why would we throw that knowledge away and only start again from the beginning? The learning curve will be a lot more difficult for the sorts of people who don’t have the industry experience if they are the ones nominated. So, that is a clear area that we are saying it is good. We are happy that progress is being made, but it has to be constituted by the right people. That for us is one of the things that we are doing. Like we said,  we are all clamouring for this together and we believe that it is only when we lend our voices together and everybody at every single opportunity continue to clamour for the same thing, that we would eventually achieve what we set out to achieve.

The just concluded men’s World Cup and  the advertising brands I believe that brands that leveraged a property like the World Cup will always have mileage in the market place. We should not forget that football is a property that is truly special to Nigeria; I think all Nigerians are passionate about football.

In fact, I know, like I always said that if you check the maternity wards, you will see that some children, even before they are born, they are already kicking and passionate about football.

However, with our love for football in this country; something that is so dear to Nigerians as a whole, the brands that leveraged on it will always get the result. Though we didn’t go far in the tournament, it was still a good outing to few brands that associated with it. In fact, some of the campaigns still resonate in the market.

The great thing about a sport like football is that it cuts across all ages. It is a family sport that people can enjoy. It is a sport of passion; you can be mild about football. It is a sport that allows you support a position and you choose the team that you choose to support.

So; it lends itself very well to sponsorship and to promoting the messages that brands have to promote.

It is just so diverse in the opportunity that it gives. What I believe also, is that Nigeria has done a fantastic job for the first time to my mind, with what we have just done with the football jersey and I look forward to a situation where we also lend our voice to say how can we tap into this fantastic opportunity we have opened with the way the football jersey has been received.

The football jersey created so much excitement; it has really put Nigeria on the world stage; imagine the opportunities from that alone.

I know a lot of people have said why are they not producing the jerseys here in Nigeria? But, guess what, we will start slowly. At least, we have been able to show them that from a fashion prospective, Nigerians have it.

I read that the minute it was out, within 15 minutes or 45 minutes, it was sold out, I saw a lot of brands advertising and creating their own jerseys. Trust us, we know how to swagger.


ADVAN and  audit circulation

There is a major initiative and it is across the sectorial groups. We say let us come around the table to really look at how we can treat this issue of measurement and metrics, whether it be circulation numbers whether it be traffic. The recent move was a meeting of stakeholders, which was spearheaded by MIPAN.



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