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APCON charts course for new business model for the marketing communications industry

In order to provide professional excellence for the marketing communications industry in line with its mandate and best (international) practices, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) is adopting new strategies by shifting towards the cloud and embracing a ‘digital-first’ business/service model.

Part of these strategies manifested recently when the council recently hosted its first webinar titled: “Marketing Communications Business Sustainability in the Post Covid-19 Era”.

In a statement about the virtual seminar, the acting registrar of APCON, Mrs. Ijedi Iyoha, explained that with rapidly shifting new cycles and growing concerns about Covid-19 around the world, it has become imperative for the council to adopt new strategies by shifting towards the cloud and embracing a ‘digital-first’ business/service model and technology which has become the new normal.

She revealed that through the seminar, the council was able to identify the changes impacting the industry and how professionals, brands, and stakeholders can deploy strategies to navigate the uncertainty which the global pandemic has brought. “The tremendous success recorded on our very first virtual seminar and the overwhelming interest and demand for more by stakeholders in the industry has given us the idea to partner with a variety of marketing communications experts to host one or two webinars before the year runs out,” the APCON boss said.

The live discussion had as resource persons notable industry experts such as Lolu Akinwumi, the immediate past chairman of APCON and Group CEO Prima Garnet, Africa, Emeka Okeke, founder & Group CEO, Media Fuse, Dentsu Aegis Network, George Thorpe, chairman, Media Reach OMD Nigeria, Mrs. Ify Onukwuba, managing director, Nigeria Advertising Service (NAS) and Dr. ‘Kachi Onubogu, CEO Frutta Juice & Services and lead consultant, Zuriel Consulting.  Mrs. Hanna Onyebanjo, managing director of Redwood Consulting, was the event moderator, while Joe-Eugene Onuorah, deputy director, Professional Development, APCON, coordinated the proceedings..

While commending APCON for putting together the virtual seminar, Lolu forecasted that the pandemic would likely have a devastating effect on the economy which could lead to the worst recession in three decades as the Naira has continued to slide. “Businesses are not as buoyant as before, people are being laid-off, and this is impacting on the marketing communications profession. Inevitably, APCON has no choice than to invest massively in technology, “he said.

The former APCON chairman advised that one of the first things the new governing council of APCON, when put in place, need to do is to upgrade APCON to meet the current trends to able to regulate on a wider spectrum to cover the digital space.

On the path to sustainable growth, efficient service delivery and a value driven industry, Emeka Okeke believed that much can be achieved at this time and beyond by doing things differently with the deployment of technology.

According to him, technology is the leveler of everything and nobody had thought before Covid-19 that APCON will be organising a webinar that will have a hundred attendees. “Mode of engagement has changed; number of offices will have to reduce as face to face meetings and presentations are becoming more virtual. Today, we have several mobile video-conferencing apps such as Teams, Zoom, Blue jeans, Google meet, etc. that have made the world an easy place.”

While expressing his views, George Thorpe pointed out two key elements for business sustainability in the marketing communications during and after the pandemic. Firstly, “we need to put strategic thinking and planning processes in place to navigate the future that is uncertain, that is changing but calls for a framework that ensures that, all that are in the organisation align to that strategic thinking, strategic plan and strategic framework to a future that calls for a redirection. The second point is “the need for leadership; because good leadership is what you need for certain unique standards and managing change. We need to learn new skills by being more entrepreneurial with scarce resources to create a new and better future”.

Other industry eggheads provided insightful perspectives during the one day virtual seminar which attracted huge participation by stakeholders across public and private sectors.