The New ARCON Act Will Certainly Deepen Nigeria’s Marketing Industry-Tunji Adeyinka, EXMAN President
Since the former Executive Committee of The Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) led by Tade Adekunle on July 14, 2021, handed the baton of leadership to the current President, Tunji Adeyinka, the association has witnessed remarkable strides that have been commended by most members. A few weeks ago, when the association held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Asaba, Delta State, where the mandate of the association’s Executive Committee led by Tunji Adeyinka, Executive Director of Connect Marketing, was renewed for another tenure, it was a great opportunity for the sector to review the impact of the EXCO’s eight-pillar agenda captioned ELEVATED-Empathy, Lift, Entrenchment, Visibility, Attraction, Transformation, Enrichment, and Diversity. In this chat with Brand Communicator, EXMAN’s President, Tunji Adeyinka shares the successes and challenges of moulding these pillars to build a top-notch and sustainable experiential sector for the Nigerian economy including his thought on the new ARCON Act.
Looking at your first tenure what are those things you can point out as remarkable results that must have led to your endorsement for a second tenure at the last AGM/Congress in Delta State?
Sincerely we all appreciate our members for giving us the honour and responsibility, to serve our great association and we are aggressively pushing things together as a team to raise the bar of performance. As you know we are working with some key methodologies, and certain standards have been established, and collectively we have built some respect for the practice of experiential marketing.
I can say it with every sense of responsibility because it is something we have been able to do as a collective body. Looking at the level of thought leadership that we have been able to institute and the rigour in terms of establishing standards for our practice, those are some of the key highlights of what we have been able to do together.
We have sustained the level of engagement with the industry regulator- Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and other sectoral groups. They are plans for the next year to maximise this engagement to benefit the association.
The team has equally been working on the incubation of innovative start-ups in the marketing customer /trade engagement space and we have also done well in the area of training. Indeed, we are happy that our members appreciate these programmes.
In moving forward, what will be your focus in the new mandate?
With the new mandate, we have a lot of work to do. Immediately after the AGM, we launched the Certified Brand Ambassador’s Programme which is our gateway experiential marketing programme. It is a vocational training certification and talent management programme. We have hundreds and thousands of brand promoters working with different agencies. We now have a clear programme where they can come in and learn every vital thing then they can be certified to work for any agency in the industry. The objective of the programme remains to uplift the practice of experiential marketing by providing a standard certification to brand promoters.
We also have started a programme on an asset exchange platform which allows agencies with extra capacity, and sound equipment to lease them out at a discounted rate. This plan will enable members to share the redundant cost and surplus assets exchange platforms.
Apart from that, we have also started work on some measurement methodologies. We want to put on the table clearly what our clients can get when they buy our services. So, these are some of the things we will work very hard to deliver going forward.
How successful have you been in drawing in those people operating outside the association?
I think we’ve had some level of success. In the last AGM, we brought in new members who were outside the pool. The benefits of being an EXMAN member are very many. One is that we have a body of knowledgeable people working out things together.
Secondly, we have very clear engagement protocols in terms of ethics and these things bind us together in terms of professionalism. Thirdly, we have certain values and benefits which we get from either suppliers or service providers based on being a member of EXMAN. Fourthly, as a member of EXMAN, once you pay your due in a year, you get free access to your professional indemnity insurance.
The five new members inducted at the Asaba AGM clearly saw the gains of joining a vibrant body of forward-looking experiential marketing communications agencies in Nigeria.
It is noticed that Experiential Marketing agencies focus on multinationals and mega companies virtually ignoring a huge market of small and medium-scale enterprises. What is your opinion on this and how can EXMAN members widen the value proposition of their trade through the exploration of opportunities in millions of SMEs?
The challenge here is an economic challenge; it is not a challenge of limiting the people we work with. Our members work with different organisations but if we look at marketing services companies in Nigeria, a lot of us tends to work with multinationals company, but we are also working in terms of educating SMEs, providing them with an understanding that the kind of benefits we offer to multinationals are also available to SMEs.
We have some of our members who work for Nigerian brands and they are trying to grow those brands because at the end of the day, the more brand that we have that are able to appreciate our marketing services and invest in our marketing services; the more the economy grows. We tend to even be more relevant to SMEs than a lot of other agencies or companies because our services go to different markets and areas where customers buy products.
This is the season of elections and campaigns. How is the Association trying to help its members draw from the over a trillion-naira advert and publicity budget that is expected to flow during the 2023 electoral campaigns in the country?
Over the years, our members have worked with different political parties. This time will not be different; we have some of our members who work for political organizations and that is expected to continue this season.
Many players in the industry are still talking about the new ARCON Act. How would this new law affect your sector?
From the onset before the law was passed; there was involvement from the different sectoral bodies. APCON which was the designation then brought EXMAN into the books with the other sectoral bodies.
Some of the input that came with the law actually came from the contribution of the various sectoral bodies. ARCON really did a good job in doing that. We also had presentations at the National Assembly to present some of the content.
We see a lot of positive development coming out of this new law. In terms of all the details, we are waiting for the gazetted copy of the law to be made available in full so that we can digest it extensively to make informed comments. But we all know this is positive in terms of what the new law is pushing. I believe the new ARCON act will certainly deepen Nigeria’s marketing industry.
How are the agencies cooperating with the pitch fee enforcement and how are the brands reacting to it as well?
After the initial discussions we had as EXMAN, the Advertising Industry Standard of Practice (AISOP) regulations came late last year and further enshrined the pitch fee or rejection fee in our regulations as it was extensively treated in the AISOP document. The AISOP document took it higher. Our members have continued to work within the scope of AISOP regulations. We are regulated, and if any of our regulations will conflict in any way with that of the regulator, we have no option but to drop ours. It is even exciting that the regulator increased it from what we fixed initially.