After One Year, EXMAN Members Score Tunji Adeyinka-Led Executive Committee

Tunji Adeyinka, EXMAN President.

The Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) recently held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Asaba, the Delta State capital. Among other things, the association’s Executive Committee led by Tunji Adeyinka, Executive Director of Connect Marketing, gave account of its stewardship during its one-year tenure. Our award-winning Deputy Editor, JEREMIAH AGADA who was on ground to cover the event writes on this and aggregated some of the members’ opinions in this article.

Facing Forward with ELEVATED

On July 14, 2021, there was a change of guards at the top echelon of EXMAN’s leadership when the Tade Adekunle-led Executive and Management Committee of the association exchanged batons with the then newly elected Tunji Adeyinka-led leadership.

Looking at the phenomenal growth recorded by the association as evident by some of the indices looked at in this report, there is no doubt that the President, with support from his deputy, Tolulope Medebem of Aster Marketing, and members of the Executive and Management Committee has fulfilled some of the things he set out to do after taking oath of office at the Providence by Mantis, in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos some twelve months ago.

The association’s AGM in Asaba tagged ‘Facing Forward’ over the weekend was a good avenue for the EXMAN leadership to give account of their stewardship in their first term in office. Speaking to members and stakeholders around, Adeyinka revealed that when they took over about a year ago, the Executive Committee was committed to an agenda under eight pillars captioned ELEVATED-Empathy, Lift, Entrenchment, Visibility, Attraction, Transformation, Enrichment, and Diversity.

These pillars, he revealed, were built in the hope that it would help not only move the industry forward but also lift it from the commoditized floor, raise earnings, and more importantly, raise the quality and sustainability of the industry. “We are glad to announce that with your support and the great work of the committees, we have made significant progress,” Adeyinka told members.

He further revealed that the level of engagement with the industry regulator-APCON and other sectoral groups was very high in the last year and their are further plans for the next year: “EXMAN has representation across several industry committees formed by the regulator. APCON has continued to march forward with the industry reforms which started with AISOP and the Industry Code.

“…AISOP has been a major discussion point in our interaction with ADVAN and in Heads of Sectoral Group sessions in the last year. So far, all indications show that we are winning as multinationals are beginning to operate according to the directives in AISOP.

A major highlight of his report is the rebirth of EXMAN’s Brand Promoters Programme, an initiative the body is partnering with the ExperientialNG platform. The objective of the programme remains to uplift the practice of experiential marketing by providing a standard certification to brand promoters.

Tolulope Medebem, Vice President of the association and Managing Director of Aster Marketing added that as part of their achievement, EXMAN launched Women in Experiential (WIE) in October, last year. She revealed that the idea of WIE is to, attract female talents into the industry, retain, groom, and develop them to C-Level positions in the industry.

“Today, we currently have 41 participants in WIE. We kicked off 2022 with the Women In Experiential Series which served two purposes: celebrating all our women during International Women’s Day and showcasing all our women within the various agencies,” she said.

The Publicity Secretary of the association, Adedeji Orunkoyi further revealed that the achievements of the past year is in line with the association’s progression towards achieving its set vision and mission objectives. He reiterated the commitment of the association in pursuing these objectives aggressively. He revealed this vision of EXMAN to be, being the respected force for the growth of Nigeria’s brands through meaningful experiences while its mission is to protect, promote and regulate the strategic interest of certified players within the Nigerian experiential Industry.

Adedeji Orunkoyi, Publicity Secretary.

What Members Say

“They have been able to foster more integration”- Salami

Leveraging the entrenchment pillar of its administration, the EXCOs worked on integrating, and fostering the inclusion of critical stakeholders who are not part of the association but are an integral part of the experiential marketing communications and activations ecosystem. Kehinde Salami, a former President of the association and the Managing Director of Ideas House Limited shares this sentiment:

“Some of the most important requisites for good leadership is stability and continuity. This current EXCO under the leadership of Tunji Adeyinka who in my opinion, is a very wise man, a man with a lot of wisdom, has preserved this.

“He is a man that knows how to connect the dot and bring a lot of people together. He has been able to successfully bring together those who have either fallen by the side or were not as engaged and interested in the industry. For this, I score them a ten over ten.”

Dr. Rotimi Olaniyan, another former president of the association also echoes this view when he noted: “we can see that there is clearly an increase in our membership. Bringing on board about five or six new agencies which are quite good.”

Salami’s view of the association’s leadership extends to the various committees it set up to facilitate its ELEVATED agenda. “From the point of view of the various committees that they have set up and from how these committees have gone about their businesses, I cannot but commend them. They are doing a great job!”

“Patient, understanding, focus, driven, compassionate, sensitive, creative!”- Ojekhoa

Otis Ojekhoa is one of the stakeholders who were outside the EXMAN fold whom Salami referred to. Interviewing him some years ago, his nonchalance and indifference to the activities of the association was a well-known fact. Running into him in Asaba, it was a surprise seeing him sing a different tune.

Ojekhoa who runs frontline experiential agency, Brands Optimal, from every indication has become a very committed member of the association. In fact, he chaired the association’s AGM committee that organised one of the most successful AGMs in the IMC sector. The AGM was so successful it had a Zoom off party, recorded one of the highest attendances by members, created an interactive town-gown session with undergraduates of the Dennis Osadebe University (DOU) Asaba, a visit to the Delta State Governor among other activities.

Giving his scorecard on the performance of the executive committee, Ojekhoa described it as simply “amazing.” “The EXCO led by Mr. Tunji Adeyinka is made up of people I will describe as phenomenal enthusiasts. The president himself is a very patient, understanding, focus-driven, compassionate, sensitive and creative. With all of these attributes, he’s been able to organize the entire team.

“I had lost interest in the association but Mr. Adeyinka got me to reignite my interest…that is the passion by which he addresses the concerns of the organization. Mr Tunji Adeyinka is a solid man and because of who he is, you are seeing what is happening with EXMAN today,” he enthused.

“EXMAN is pushing ahead in a clear direction”- Odedina

Mr. Soji Odedina has been among the earliest crop of professionals to blaze the trail of the Below-the-Line (BTL) business in Nigeria while working with the now Professor of Strategic Management and Dean of the Lagos Business School (LBS) Chris Ogbechie, in 1996, at Contact Marketing. Odedina will later set up First Katalyst, another frontline agency in this market, operating now for a decade.

But, unlike Ojekhoa, neither Odedina nor First Katalyst was a member of EXMAN until its induction last year. Talking about his experience so far, he described it as fantastic. “Now, I have come to see value in EXMAN. I stayed away for so long but since we were inducted last year, I have experienced first-hand the values that EXMAN is pushing. The industry can only get better with all of us collaborating and all of us pushing in one direction.”

Though Odedina is relatively new to the association, from what he has seen and from his close affiliation with EXMAN’s sister association-AAAN, he is able to make some comparative analysis: “though I have no basis to do a benchmark because I was not part of them before now, but what I can see, EXMAN is pushing ahead.

“Beyond that, I have attended so many AAAN events, so, on the basis of sectoral group comparison, I can say that EXMAN is giving great values.  I have seen the clear direction of where the association is going. I started with BTL in 1996 and I know where we were. Now we are talking about measurement for experiential; now we are talking about creating a platform for brand promoters. Those, for me are significant steps. In 26 years since I joined this industry, I can see clearly that we are ramping up from where we started from to the future that we are aiming at. So, kudos to the guys and am happy that there was a vote of confidence in returning them back to office,” he said.

“Give it to them, so much has been achieved!” – Oshinibosi

For Abelinis Limited’s Project Marshal, Abiodun Oshinibosi, the current executive committee has moved EXMAN several rungs up the ladder, building on the works of their predecessors. According to him, the work of the latter has given the former the speed being witnessed now.

“Give it to them, so much has been achieved. We talk about AISOP which is a very strong one for us because without the backing of the government there is little or nothing we can do even within our own space. This EXCO has worked with other sectoral groups to record the development in that area.”

Another area the Abelinis boss pointed out as worthy of commendation for the Tunji Adeyinka-led Executive Committee is the relaunched brand promoters programme. He also took the opportunity to praise the Ojekhoa-led AGM Committee for the overall success of the AGM: “I would like to congratulate the Chairman and the organizing committee for a successful one. Every year, we have tried to surpass the previous year, this year’s has been ticked in that respect. The school outing is a new one and the impact was great. By all ramification, this is a very successful outing for us,” he said. Overall, he scored the EXCOs a whooping 80 percent out of a hundred.

“The Adeyinka-led EXCO is building a foundation for the reformation and transformation of the industry”-Dr. Olaniyan

Dr. Olaniyan who was earlier quoted also believes that the EXCOs have done well based on its performance in the course of its first term. “It is clear to everyone who is a part of this year’s AGM that the association is growing in many dimensions of performance. I think there are lots of very innovative initiatives which the EXCOs have been working on, and I have been involved in quite a few.

“I think under Mr. Adeyinka’s leadership what EXMAN clearly is trying to do is build the foundation for not just the reformation of the association but also for the transformation of the industry,” he said.

“In the area of transformation where I have worked with them over the last one year, very extensive works have been done by my committee. We are working on measurement and insights and then in a very short period of time be able to offer the association a measurement platform-a platform where, we can measure performance standard of activations.

“We are also working on incubation of innovative startups in the marketing customer engagement/trade engagement space. We are working on trying to put together some platforms that enable agency members or associations to share redundant cost, surplus assets exchange platforms, which we’ll be launching shortly. And then on the training side, lots have been done,” he said.

One other area the former EXMAN president praised the current executives is in the area of training for members and non-members. “They have also done well in the area of trainings which highly valuable and respected captains of industries have been around to share their thoughts and experiences to members.

“The launch of GXMNG which is a partnership between EXMAN and ExperientialNG to create a refurbished brand promoters programme and the vocational marketing training programme for the teeming population of young people all over Nigeria is another major achievement for this EXCO.”

There is still a lot to be done

The reward for good work is more work, says an aphorism. Clearly, the scorecard for the first term of the EXMAN Executive Committee scores very high, as they have done a commendable job in their first tenure. It is hoped that they will carry the momentum that has seen their peers trust them with the onerous responsibility of carrying on for a second term to deliver even more commendable results at the end of their tenure by next year. Like Salami noted, there is still a lot of work to be done, even as he urged them to brace up to deliver more value.

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