Day 2 of National Advertising Conference Evaluates IMC Industry Role in National Transformation

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Key industry leaders and stakeholders at the 2023 National Advertising Conference

Activities for the second day of the third edition of the National Advertising Conference have kicked off in earnest with presentations from experts and thought leaders across industries, evaluating the role of the marketing communications industry in national transformation.

In his welcome address, the Director- General of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, ARCON, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo who welcomed everyone to the conference, revealed that the theme for this year’s conference is which is ‘Marketing Communication as an enabler for National Transformation’, is in tandem with current national realities and the role the industry can play in its transformation.

“Research has shown that marketing communication as an economic activity is strategic to the growth and development of our nation’s economy. It is the driver of a healthy and thriving society. Scaling up the advertising regulatory framework to stimulate economic development, inclusive growth, wealth creation and development of local talents has been a major priority of ARCON. These policies will be up for debate and discussion during the relevant sessions at the conference.

“You will agree with me that the theme requires thorough interrogation by stakeholders and the marketing communications community. As professionals, we will be taking a detailed look at our practice as an economic enabler with the view of coming up with suggestions and recommendations that will impact our industry positively and the Nigerian economy at large.

“One of the cardinal objectives of this conference is to evolve policies, articulate options and identify strategies for addressing national issues, particularly those that border on our industry and the Nigerian economy at large,” he revealed.

While officially declaring the conference opened, Chief Host and Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation, Information, Mallam Mohammed Idris laid emphasis on the potential of the marketing communications industry in transforming the country.

“As marketing communications professionals, you wield an immense amount of power and influence over the minds and opinions of the populace. This power is one that as you all know comes with great responsibility. To whom much is given, it is said, much is expected.”

While speaking to the policies and plans of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu led administration, the Minister who was represented by Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), called for the support of the industry: “We need your creative solutions and approaches, we need your unparalleled network, we need your platforms. This is not about propaganda or noise-making, no! Instead, it is about enlightenment, sensitization, about opening the eyes of Nigerians to see the various economic opportunities emerging around them.”

Speaking on some of projects of the government targeted at individuals and SMEs, he queried, “If the people and businesses that are meant to benefit from the loans and grants and cash transfers are not aware, how will they benefit? How can we mobilize Nigerians in an inspiring and hopeful fashion, how can we awaken people to their rights and responsibilities as citizens of Nigeria?

“You as marketing communications professionals have credible answers to these questions, and are thus well positioned to serve as catalysts of Nigeria’s social and economic transformation.

“On our part as Government, we have pledged and are committed to making information available in a timely and credible manner. I have always said that as Minister of Information and National Orientation, I will strive to do my work with utmost openness and integrity. As we make the information available with transparency and credibility, I ask that you as communications professionals rally around to help us convey that information without sensationalism or distortion,” he said.

In his address, Chairman, Organising Committee of the National Advertising Conference, Mr. Tunji Adeyinka  revealed, “we decided that the National Advertising Conference would not become another talk-shop. One of the greatest learnings of Covid-19 was to take up every opportunity to make a difference, no matter what the situation may be. Therefore, as we rose from the last conference, two key issues were paramount. The first one was to work towards determining the size of the Marketing Communications industry, understanding the contribution of the sector to GDP and framing the discussion around the multiplier effect of every naira spent on marcoms on the real sector. The second issue was to change the narrative and develop a Brand Nigeria campaign from the industry perspective. Such a big challenge, especially in an age of great cynicism.

“ With the challenges we are facing at the macro and micro levels, especially with the economic, social and political problems, it is imperative to begin to create a path out of the difficulties. When we were having the conference last year, we were all operating under the challenges caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the attendant effect on the global economy.

As we are meeting today, the Israel-Palestinian war has joined the list. In Nigeria, we continue to struggle to deal with high inflation, a high rate of unemployment and underemployment, increasing inequality and the implications for social cohesion and security. With the erosion of consumer purchasing power and a harsher operating environment for businesses, these are not the best times for our industry. Joining these forces are the centrifugal forces of industry disruption; technology, digital transformation, data primacy, evolving customer habits scarcity of critical talents. We are hoping that the topics that we have carefully curated over the next three days would answer.

The ongoing conference has in attendance key industry stakeholders including Presidents of sectoral groups, Director- Generals of federal agencies, MD/CEOs of agencies and marketing heads of local and multinational companies.

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