Friday, August 5, 2016

In today's digitally connected world, more brands are putting purpose before products and consumers are increasingly embracing experiences over exposure as a more impactful means of connecting with the brand.

This development among others, reveal one basic marketing truth, that when it comes to connecting with consumers, there is nothing like a real life experience, the overall essence of experiential marketing.

In Nigeria, like the rest of the world, the importance of experiential marketing is on the rise as many big spenders are leveraging on this all important platform to stand out and earn a coveted place in the consumer's hearts and minds, through connected and impactful experiences that create lasting impressions.

The Place of awesome ideas and brilliant executions

The marvel of creating real life and connected experiences that put the user and consumer at the centre, calls for nothing short of breathtaking ideas crowned by appropriate executions. Interestingly, one of Nigeria's most qualified and successful Marketing communications expert, Mr Kehinde Salami, MD/ CEO of Ideas House Marketing Communications Limited, summed this up succinctly when he said "in the business of experiential marketing, the Idea is king, however in order to achieve its purpose, an idea should be followed by the right execution to adequately enable personal connection between brands and consumers".

Determined to make a positive difference in the evolving practice of experiential marketing, Salami who is presently the General Secretary of the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN), founded Ideas house an agency that has since grown to become one of the country's most reputable BTL agencies and a reference point for some of the best ideas and campaigns in Africa in just over seven years. Speaking about the vision of the agency he said "when we started we intended to create a highly distinctive brand that will revolutionize the way agencies are perceived, are structured and operate"

"In line with this, our vision is to be the number one ideas factory of reference, so what does a factory do? It churns out products. We want to churn out highly impactful and extraordinary ideas that can be measured. Salami further revealed another uniqueness of the agency, he said "Ideas House primarily is not your typical agency, typical BTL agencies and most marketing communications agencies are suppliers of service, we are not. We are more than suppliers of service, we are true strategic partners and in being a strategic partner we need to operate at a different realm. We are an ideation agency and within the realm of ideation, we then have a whole range of techniques to execute the ideas, BTL being just one, that's why we spend more time to understand the market, gather the necessary insight and turn those insights into opportunities on behalf of the clients and prospects". He concluded.

Motivation improves work and ideation

Around the world, companies and employers are discovering the great value that comes from investing in their employees through skill development and providing the right motivation. Many experts agree that providing an enabling environment for workers especially in integrated marketing communications hugely supports the free flow of creative ideas without a box. Speaking on the role of motivation in the improvement of workers ability and capacity, Commonwealth Scholar and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Communication and Information Sciences, University of Ilorin, Dr Tella, Adeyinka, maintained that the right motivation can greatly improve the performance level of employees especially people in the discipline of creativity. "The tireless thinkers at the agencies who consistently churn out mind blowing ideas need to be motivated through a deliberately designed mechanism to make work convenient and enjoyable" He added.

It is against this backdrop that Ideas House revealed among other resolutions at its just concluded 2016 half year retreat, a plan to embrace the four working days a week system along with the 36 percent of organizations that have done so globally. Speaking on the rationale behind this decision, the agency boss, Salami said "With the announcement of our four day working week, Thursday now becomes our Friday. Why did we do this, it gives some people the opportunity to have useful time to themselves, to take part in some of the CSR initiatives and to go into the field and do some quality research" he said.

"When you have almost 75 percent of your monthly operational cost going to salaries, it then immediately tells you one thing that you are a people's business and with people you have to manage relationship for value. This means that you must have a highly motivated team that are effective, that are fulfilled and that are extremely happy doing what they do". He concluded.

Sustaining excellent activations and continuous improvement

Without a doubt, brand activation is one of the most important metrics for measuring how many users take a specific action to get value out of a product. Many experts however agree, that making the activation more about the consumer than the product is an important way to achieve the desired result.

Perhaps one of the most successful and visible activations to have been recorded in Nigeria is the unique Guinness Ref In-Bar activation created by Ideas House to drive sustainable conversations among football lovers in the on-trade environment. The strategic intent was to drive the sales for Guinness Stout and brand connection during the World Cup season and beyond, whilst reinforcing Guinness' positioning as the official supporters of the Super Eagles.

Promoters, who dressed as Referees, were deployed across bars to tests consumers' football knowledge with the opportunity to win prizes. Monthly draws were also held across bars with exciting giveaways for consumers. The activation was a huge success with 900,000 consumers engaged across 9,000 bars within a 3-month period pan Nigeria.

Commenting on the Agency's culture of excellence and the environment for continuous improvement, Account Director Ideas House marketing communications limited, Oyepeju  Adeyinka-Adebayo, explained that a positive work environment and strong team spirit have contributed to the agency's success overtime "working for Ideas House is an experience like none other. The agency's vision really comes through in every way. I've seen myself grow over the years with each New Year promising to be more intriguing than the other. The expectations from different Clients with different outlooks have offered me the opportunity to continually task myself to be better and raise the bar as I go" she said.

Indeed, the marketing communications industry is becoming more engaging and to remain relevant in the ever changing market, brands need to find new ways to extend and enrich their campaigns by hugely translating the value of their product or service into an engaging brand experience for the individual customer, the type that experiential marketing provides. In the end, as research proves, a customer is much more likely to buy a product if their experience with the product is memorable and meaningful.