Brands Optimal: Delivering Experiential Marketing Excellence With Innovative Solutions

Otis Ojeikhoa, MD, Brand Optimal

Though, it is no gainsaying that data is not easy to come by in the Nigerian experiential subsector of the IMC industry which has very little or no industry billing standard or even spend, it is almost impossible to rate agencies playing in this field. The next available option for rating is to look at the biggest spenders and the agencies servicing these businesses. Consideration for agencies’ ability to hold unto such businesses, organizational structure, proprietary tools, operational spread, creativity and brilliant knowledge of the terrain are also considerations in looking up the top experiential agencies we have in Nigeria.

Based on these criteria, it is only expected that Brand Optimal, one of Africa’s leading experiential marketing agencies which optimizes value for clients through the use of strategic, reliable and measurable methods in consumer engagement, loyalty seeding and sales generation, makes the list of top experiential agencies not just in Nigeria but in Africa as well.

Considering its clientele base and the projects it executed in 2018 alone for such clients like the World Bank, Coca-Cola Hellenic Company, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Airtel, Huawei and Olam, the agency is certainly one of the biggest players in the below-the-line sector.

Specifically, over the last 18 months, Brands Optimal ran more than 200 events (small to big) and thousands of consumer and sales activations at various consumer touch points across Nigeria. Notable  among these are six sales conferences for clients like NBC, Unilever, ABInBev; 16 corporate conferences  for Coca-Cola, NBC, Huawei & Airtel; 2 concerts for World Cup Activations; 12 product launch events for Airtel 4G, Hero Red Cap, 5-Alive among others and two 208 mall & in-store promoters program.

Others are 216 HORECA & On-Trade activations for NBC and Martell & Jameson, 23 road shows and market activations for Olam, Godrej, Flour Mills Nigeria and Coca-Cola; one medical conference -Save The Children Nigeria, and selling of over N3.6b in direct sales (in-store, on-trade & open markets). The agency has also handled other series of activations, event management, product launches and other experiential marketing businesses such as ‘The Lighting Africa Programme for IFC, The Martell Porsche Promo, Jameson Connects Nigeria, In-store Promoters Programs for Reckitt Benckiser, Hayat Kimya Factory Launch, among others.

Without gainsaying again, the agency owes its position in the industry today to its workforce, especially the result-driven Otis Ojeikhoa, who heads the agency as its Managing Director. Otis had cut his teeth at EXP Nigeria where he helped built the agency before leaving to Brandfoot Print Communications too. While there, he helped build the agency to an enviable height before deciding to float Brands Optimal. True to his nature of building businesses, he grew the agency from obscurity to the popularity it enjoys today. A thoroughbred marketing communications professional, Otis was an ex-Kodak Country Sales Manager for Nigeria and Ghana too.

Although the agency was established in 2010, it became fully active in 2015 when resigned to focus on building Brands Optimal Limited. Three months after, the Brands Optimal Ghana office was opened.

Otis however credits much of the agency’s current position and influence in the industry to its clientele. “We have done great works that have become pacesetters in the industry, thanks to our clients who are the reason we are in operation, and through their supports and collaborations we have received awards and accolades fit for kings and queens. The creative ingenuity we have deployed in the industry over the years is second to none.”

For an industry where client retention is low, Brands Optimal has been able to maintain a high percentage of its clients. Perhaps, this is because of its positioning as ‘optimizers’ who provide optimal value for clients through the use of strategic, reliable and measurable methods in consumer engagement, loyalty seeding and sales generation.

Suffice to say, the agency has earned the appellation ‘optimizers’ in words and in deeds. Otis explained how: “We work with our clients to link up with their customers in ways that use human experiences to tell brand stories. So, beyond the traditional order of TV or Radio to express brands, we rather use human being or the experience of a human being to create education and affinity for brands. That is why it is called experiential marketing. We market using what you can physically see, smell, touch, taste and feel. We then take that to a level where we don’t just do but also challenge everything that we do for the best results. We optimize that service and take it to another level. All the time what we bring to the table is the optimisation of that experience, engagement and stakeholders’ relationship.”

The idea behind the creation of Brands Optimal according to Otis, has always been to bridge the gap that often exists between sales/ marketing activities, the delivery of value and the ability to drive results that are good returns on investments made by brands owners and sponsors.

He said, “As competition continues to expand across categories and segments, many brands will have to systematically deploy every single Naira in a manner that can demonstrate return on that investment. So, we put Return of Every Investment in the core of our operating principles. Always looking for avenues where we can increase the engagement franchise and drive incremental value for all stakeholders. Ultimately, the vision of Brands Optimal is to build a business that would be referenced locally and globally as a result oriented, creative and strategic partner in brand building, consumer marketing and customer development.”

One principle the agency thrives on is doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways. This principle has endeared the agency as an organisation at the forefront of experiential marketing excellence with creative and innovative solutions that have helped brands in their marketing business and brand building activities.

Its core values and operational philosophies rest solidly on 5 key pillars; creativity & ideation, customer service, on-ground operations, research, solid finance base and stakeholders management (internal & external). In each of these areas, the agency boasts very experienced and competent team members who provide the desired support for the business to thrive.

Brands Optimal works with the mission to build an army of relentless value givers who live to optimize stakeholders (self & partners) benefit, create rich consumer experience, endearing growth for its clients and meaning for the agency. This mission runs on the fuel Otis calls discipline. “Our value is self-discipline. We believe if you are not disciplined, you cannot be time conscious, and if you are not, you cannot work in this industry because there is an enormous pressure which requires one to be disciplined.

“Another one is attention to detail and to correct information. There is a need for one to be very observant and be detailed. Apart from that, we also respect and value ourselves mutually. There are no bosses as we don’t celebrate hierarchy. Adding to that is our extreme creativity which has placed us in the vantage position in the industry.

“Our level of commitment here is great and cannot be compared with that of anybody anywhere else.

What one person here can do will take three to four people elsewhere to do. As we grow we will continue to build on our commitment and passion.”

A cliché has it that the reward for great work is more work. What it did not add is that the reward for great work is also accolades and recognitions. The agency has been recognized by many platforms for works it executed this year. One of such awards is the Africa’s most Outstanding Brand and Marketing Workplace Organization of the Year 2018, given to it at the prestigious African H.R Excellence Awards and Conference.

Brand Optimal was also the winner of the Africa’s Best in Class Quality Marketing Agency of the year for 2018. The award was presented to the agency under the platform of the African Quality Achievement Awards 2018.

The agency’s ‘Igwe IN Council,’ Otis Ojeikhoa was also awarded the Outstanding Experiential Marketing Personality of the year at the Marketing Edge Magazine Awards for 2018. In 2015, it was adjudged the Best Brand Activation of The Year (Gold Category) at the Nigeria Brands Awards as well as the Experiential Agency of The Year at the Marketing World Awards in 2016.

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