Experts Proffer Survival Strategies At APCON’s 2021 IMC Business Outlook

Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo, APCON Registrar/Chief Executive

Experts have outlined some of the survival strategies players in the integrated marketing communications (IMC) industry can deploy in 2021 following a major setback in revenue and business operations last year as a reason of the spread of COVID-19.

The experts proffered the survival strategies at the 2021 IMC Business Outlook organised by Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) with the theme “2021 IMC Business Outlook Navigating A World Disrupted.” The virtual event had Dr. Ken Onyeali Ikpe, Group CEO, Insight Redifini as keynote speaker while Hannah Oyebanjo, CEO Redwood Consulting as moderator.

The APCON Registrar/Chief Executive, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo disclosed that COVID-19 has disrupted the whole IMC landscape, the reason the council organised the event as a thought leadership session to proffer solutions to some of the challenges facing the industry, stating that it would continue to look for innovative ways to support the industry.

Dr. Ken on his own part pointed that technology deployment will play a major role in the growth of brands and businesses including IMC Industry, the reason practitioners should tap into it. He explained that contrary to some believes that technology will define IMC rather it would support IMC growth.

He explained further that for IMC agencies to be relevant in today’s competitive world, their service delivery has to be top notch, stating that it is no longer the case that a brand or company is my client anymore, the client can engage anyone or agency that offer business solutions because they want timely solutions. So, he urged practitioners and agencies to brace up and offer timely solutions. “Today’s clients have challenges and are looking for solutions.”

Also, he said for IMC professionals and agencies to be relevant they should act as idea merchant, adopt cost reduction, think advisory and consultancy, think capacity building and think technology.

Similarly, one of the panelists, Steve Babaeko, Group CEO, X3M Ideas/ President AAAN urged agencies to anticipate client challenges and proffer solutions on time. In another vein, he called for cooperation among agencies, stating that cooperation is the new competition and pointed that agency like WPP is already collaborating with other smaller agencies and this is helping the industry to grow remarkably.

He stated further that African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will also impact the IMC industry upon take off. However, he pointed that for IMC industry to thrive in 2021; practitioners should manage cost, access credit opportunities and use it judiciously and manage their cash flow. This he termed the 3 big cs.

Dele Odugbemi, Country Manager, Jc Decaux Gracelake Nigeria said COVID-19 has disrupted the IMC landscape and Out-of-Home advertising (OOH) is one of the most hit, so he urged businesses to evolve in order to remain relevant while he stated that they should invest in technology for it to transform their business.

On his own part, Tony Akiotu, Group CEO, Daar Communications explained that the broadcast industry was greatly affected as revenue declined and business survival was under threat but his organisation was able to weather the storm because of team work and trust from its stakeholders. He therefore urged businesses to work closely with their stakeholders in order to navigate a world that is disrupted.

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