Grey Cottage Nigeria: Delivering Media Driven Experiences

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By Azeez Disu

“Provide an experience that is both useful, usable, desirable, and differentiated and you will create demand for your brand and delight your customer.” David Armano, Edelman Digital once said.

In today’s world to achieve the above result, agencies and brands are deploying digital to actualise their objectives. In line with this, experts have said the future of experiential marketing lays on the deployment of digital, considering that the sector has evolved globally especially with technology playing important part in ensuring that consumers are adequately engaged and have a worthwhile experience different from the popular roadshows that most agencies still practice.

In Nigeria, agencies are moving towards these new realities and one of such agencies changing the landscape is Grey Cottage Nigeria. Within the short space of its existence, it has been disrupting the marketing space, delivering digitally driven experiences and platforms to grow brand equity and volume growth. Through dint of hard work and dedication, the digital experiential marketing agency partnered with brands like Johnson Baby and Savlon soaps, Amstel Malta, Marathonbet Malta, and TomTom among others on series of projects.

Basically, the agency’s area of specialisation includes services of experiential activation, asset management (location branding and marketing) and sponsorship (sourcing and recruitment of sponsor for any event). Its experiential activation also covers: events productions, concerts, conferences, launches and demonstrations, vendor selection/management, hospitality and sales promotions.

According to Abayomi Ayoola, Managing Director, Grey Cottage Nigeria, “Grey Cottage was established just a few years ago, but fully operational at the beginning of this year (2019), for the creation of experiences for brands and value proposition for products.

“As you are aware, brands before now are usually focused on selling their products and getting people to have top-of-the-mind awareness on each of these products. Things have evolved, organizations now uses the story-telling approach around their brands. You find brands talking about why consumers need to adopt products leveraging on the value such products proposes.  Interestingly, Grey Cottage Nigeria has been founded to create such experience and bridge the gap between product selling and the value the brand actually proposes. Grey Cottage Nigeria is an agency where we say we are a home of experiences. We a hub of experiences, and a closer look at our logo tells clearly.”

The agency is fast becoming a household name to reckon with. Giving the factors contributing to the successes recorded within a short time, Ayoola said, “I think consistency, strategic planning and transparency has helped us deliver recreational and thought-provoking experiences.”

He explained further that the agency uses event marketing a lot, adding that event marketing is an amazingly underutilised strategy to market agencies but there is a perception that there is no direct way to analyse what, where and how it influences the activities on branding. However, he pointed out that with the agency’s current deployment of technology and improved ticketing systems and analytics, it’s on its way to becoming a lucrative form of prospecting and establishing top/middle of the funnel activities in the future for brands.

On its use of digital for activation, he said the agency,Even after the activation or sponsorship, we leverage on digital, we digitally amplifying this activation. So, it grows their equity, it grows their volume.”

Landmarks

In the words of Michelle Obama, “There is no magic to achievement. It is really about hard work, choices, and persistence.”

The agency’s success story has been that of hard work, creativity, consistence, innovation and persistence.

The agency which is also into sponsorship deals, securing sponsorship from brands for events has recorded some notable achievements. According to Ayoola, some of the remarkable things done recently is “Delivering Hollywood standard movie premieres, the Lion King and Jungle Festival for families was the best yet, better even was the Avengers’ End Game and Aladdin  premiere early in the year. We remain consistent in our drive, we believe more thought-provoking executions will be done this year.”

In addition, in this football season, the agency plans to bring EPL Trophy to the country, in his words, “We are looking forward to partner with our client in delivering the 2018/2019 season EPL trophy to Lagos, which is one great feat although it is still in the pipe line. It is a feat for a small agency to be responsible for EPL trophy, I think it is a mileage.”

Also, one of the recent activations done was for TomTom on the ‘Power of cool’ in partnership with TraceLive concert at Terra Kulture. “Using the insights of Music as an integral lifestyle component, we provided guests with an opportunity to express their Power of Cool by performing their own unique songs to the beats provided by a resident producer or singing along to an existing song. We created a Music Booth for this purpose and it was very engaging,” he said.

Operational Philosophy

Explaining what inspired the name of the agency, Abayomi said, “Grey Cottage was coined from my love for Grey colour and expressing our desire for the creation of an experience hub.”

Speaking on the agency’s operational philosophy, he said, “We strive to satisfy our customers’ wants and needs while meeting the organization’s goals.

“In simple terms, ‘the customer is king’. We invoke the insights from our clients’ consumers to deliver appropriate experiences. The best way to meet the organization’s goals is also by meeting customer’s needs and wants.  Because of this, we incorporated customer’s needs and wants into our operational philosophy. Satisfying customer needs and organizational goals may involve conflicts that sometimes cannot be resolved. The organization that adopts the marketing concept will do everything in its power to meet the needs of its customers, but it must also make a profit. Sometimes the wants of the customers may include a low price or features that are not attainable for the organization if it is to make a profit. Consequently, the organisation must hope for a compromise between what the consumer wants and what is practical for the business to provide.”

Similarly, the agency on its website www.greycottage.ng states, “We are premium experience creators and executors. Our experiences are designed to celebrate, reward and create enjoyment for our clients-packaged with a personal touch. We achieve this through research, strategic planning, qualified personnel and strategic partnerships with industry leaders.”

Competitive Edge

To remain relevant, agencies need to constantly evolved by coming up with new thinking. On what make Grey Cottage stands out from competition, Ayoola disclosed that the agency puts a lot of strategic thinking in place before execution.

“An advertising strategy that focuses on helping consumers experience a brand, experiential marketing veers off course from traditional strategies that broadcast brand and product benefits to a wide audience. Also referred to as engagement marketing, experiential marketing may be comprised of a variety of marketing strategies geared toward immersing customers within the product by engaging them in as many ways as possible. Ultimately, companies utilizing this strategy want to help customers form memorable, emotional connections with a brand to foster customer loyalty and improve customer lifetime value.

“Companies that succeed with this strategy go beyond giving consumers attractive offers and samples. True magic happens when brands put individual customers or groups of consumers in an immersive branded experience. Thus, brands must go beyond PR stunts, display ads, and promoted social media ads to stir positive emotions in people and foster brand loyalty. Successful campaigns encourage customers to repeatedly come back in order to influence their customer lifetime value. One of the most important aspects of this immersive marketing approach is putting the consumer first (aka being customer-centric). You must put yourself in the mind of the consumers to successfully engage your audience; doing so will foster brand ambassadors – The easiest way to increase brand loyalty among your customers is to put yourself in their shoes.”

What the Future Holds

Speaking on the agency’s future plans, he said, “Agencies are amazing and are achieving deadlines; for us, we believe taking advantage of feedbacks, responding to feedback is key and advance tactics and set deadline for long time goals and consequently seeing the grow the agency deserves.

 “In a few years, we are looking to have a grand creative property that a lot of people will know us for. Grey Cottage Nigeria is deeply rooted into the advantages of entertainment. As clearly stated, we create platforms for brands to engage consumers through entertainment, media and culture.”

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