The Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria, (EXMAN) has again used the occasion of its EXMAN 2016 AGM (Annual General Meeting) to showcase members of the association as masters of bringing an event or experience to life. The occasion was the two-day AGM, its 3rd edition, which held outside Lagos for the first time at the nation’s Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with the theme of “Building Nigeria through Meaningful Experiences.”
Living up to their reputation, the experiential gurus spared no expense to bring a touch of class to bear on the settings at the Bolton White Hotels venue of the AGM as they created the right atmosphere for seamless deliberations at the meeting. They succeeded in reawakening memories of the association’s magnificent beginning heralded by the inauguration of the pioneer executive council of at the Radisson Blue Hotels on Victoria Island, Lagos in 2013.
The choice of Abuja as the venue of the 3rd edition of the EXMAN’s AGM was deliberate. As the city that hosts the federal government, experiential marketers moved there for this year’s AGN because they understood the need to establish a presence within government circles. It was also an opportunity to showcase the significant contributions that the sector is making in community and citizens engagement on behalf of policy makers and government agencies.
Visit To The House of Representatives
Prior to the AGM, a delegation of EXMAN members paid a courtesy visit to the House Committee on Commerce at the Federal House of Representatives on July 14, 2016. The meeting was one of the pre-event programmes where EXMAN delivered a position paper before the Committee on Commerce to intimate the government on the practise of experiential marketing and create an opportunity for partnership between both parties.
Dr. Rotimi Olaniyan, President, EXMAN; Honourable Sylvester Ogbaga, Chairman, Committee on Commerce, Federal House of Representatives; Mr. Kehinde Salami, General Secretary, EXMAN; and Mr. Kwayama Jehu, Clerk of the Committee were in attendance at the presentation.
The meeting also aimed to present EXMAN to government as a veritable platform for citizen engagement. It is incontestable that the association’s many years of experience in the mobilization and engagement of Nigerians in every nook and cranny, township or market square, hospital or community school, on behalf of brand owners can become a huge asset to the government as it seeks to rally citizens’ support for its policies and programmes.
Incidentally, the meeting took place at a time when citizens’ trust in government is at an all-time low due to the uncertainties and haziness that surround President Buhari’s policies and the failure of his communication handlers to understand the fundamentals of their responsibilities. So, perhaps, there is no better time for the government to get professional help in citizens’ engagement than now.
Dr. Olaniyan, in a paper entitled, “Meaningful Experiences: The role of experiential marketing in citizen engagement and the marketing of government policies in Nigeria,” told the legislators that EXMAN is well-positioned to help the government in successfully delivering on its pro-poor policies. The association offered the services of its members’ vast knowledge base and skill sets and networks and human resources to government.
The EXMAN President said: “Given the renowned expertise of member-agencies in the association, the government will have access to major citizen and community insight as well as trusted strategies aimed at ensuring positive community relations and citizen engagement.”
He added that EXMAN offers the opportunity for the government to receive immediate feedback from citizens on the effects of its public policies and projects. “The association has healthy relationships with most communities across the country, thanks to many years of brand activations and engagements within these communities. Having this feedback is important for adjustments on these public policies and projects to be made,” he said.
On the second day of the AGM Dr. Sam Amadi, guest speaker and former Chairman of National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), spoke on the role of marketing in communicating government policies. He highlighted why many policies have been failing in Nigeria. He said that many government policies failed because the originators of the policies did not adopt appropriate communication strategies to project the policies.
Amadi added that most times, the originator of the policies failed to carry along the subordinates and those who will implement the policies, hence the policy failed to bring any tangible result. He said that to have a successful policy there must be consideration of the dynamics of the society which will dictate the marketing strategy.
EXMAN’S Certified Brand Ambassadors Programme
In its efforts to offer broader professional services within the integrated marketing communication industry and the Nigerian economy as a whole, the association launched EXMAN’s Certified Brand Ambassadors Programme (ECBAP) at the just concluded AGM in Abuja.
According to Dr. Olaniyan, the introduction of the Certified Brand Ambassadors Programme is a game changer in the experiential and activation industry in the country. He said: “by registering with the programme you stand to benefit from training in key aspects of brand activation and field marketing. You also become certified after passing the online certification examination.”
The programme is an initiative put in place for the re-organisation of the operating structure of the activation industry. He said that a central register of field activation personnel across the country will be designed, adding that the association will also offer on-line and distance learning as well as all-year-round group life and personal accident cover to brand ambassadors recruited by any member-agency of the association.
Speaking on group life and personal accident cover, Adebiyi Ashiru-Mobolaji, General Manager, Marketing and Distribution, Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc congratulated EXMAN for introducing a laudable programme like Certified Brand Ambassador into their business.
He said Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc is ready to provide cover for the brand ambassadors who are duly certified.
Currently, over 25,000 contract and part-time field activation personnel are hired on behalf of brands by experiential and activation agencies in Nigeria. The workers who are usually between the ages of 18 and 27 use the short-term employment opportunity provided them as a stepping stone towards either funding their education or establishing an early foothold within various vocations and careers. The Certified Brand Ambassadors programme is intended to instill discipline and professionalism within the experiential marketing industry which contributes over N30 billion annually to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.
EXMAN also launched its quarterly e-Newsletter which is designed to be the official mouthpiece of the association and the experiential Industry. The first edition of EXMAN Quarterly Newsletter covers some major activities that the association carried out in the first half of the year.
One of the objectives of the e-Newsletter is to help establish the association’s foothold within the broader marketing industry and project its thought leadership role as active practitioners in the service of brands. The editorial slant of the newsletter will be to inform, educate and promote the practice of experiential marketing as a leading profession with the larger marketing communications industry.
According to Dr. Olaniyan, “what we have presented today is the outcome of great teamwork between the executive committee, management committee and publicity and content committee of our trade group.”
Also, as part of the meeting, EXMAN members were briefed on the association’s operations with Advertising Practitioners’ Council of Nigeria (APCON) despite the fact that the regulatory body is without its council for almost two years. Members were told that the association would seal it relationship with the regulatory body as soon as the council is in place.
The president informed members that the EXMAN inaugural awards will hold in October this year. According to him, EXMAN Awards will help to expand the industry frontiers by showcasing innovative activations and high-tech experiential marketing activities.
Also, as a way to improve experiential business enterprise in the country, members were also enjoined to think about new approach by introducing innovative ideas that will translate to increase in the return on investment. Members were urged to exploit collaboration with Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) for a wider market.
Members were also advised to adopt world standard and global best practices that will place experiential marketing sector in a vantage position in the Integrated Marketing Communication industry.
The AGM was rounded off with a gala night and dinner for members and guests where two new agencies were inducted. They are Outori and Monetium Nigeria Marketer, owned by…. Wole Oladunjoye and Dele Kolawole respectively.