In a statement released by the Council, the Acting Registrar, 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, in order to provide professional excellence for the Marketing Communications Industry in line with our mandate and best (international) practices.
"Through this fast-paced information-rich live event, we were 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, noted industry experts such as Lolu Akinwumi, the immediate past Chairman of APCON and Group CEO Prima Garnet, Africa. While commending the industry regulator, APCON, for putting together this laudable initiative, Lolu projected that "the pandemic is likely to 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 added that "as soon as a new governing Council is put in place, one of the first things they 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, Founder & Group CEO, Media Fuse, Dentsu Aegis Network, Emeka Okeke enthused 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 leveller of everything. Nobody would have thought that before Covid-19, APCON will be organising a webinar that will have a hundred attendees or even more if we had wanted. 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, Chairman, Media Reach OMD Nigeria, 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 specialists who also provided insightful perspectives during the one day virtual seminar which attracted huge participation by stakeholders across public and private sectors, included Mrs. Ify Onukwuba, MD/CEO, Nigeria Advertising Services Ltd., Dr. Kachi Onubogu, CEO Frutta Juice & Services Lead Consultant Zuriel Consulting, Mrs Hanna Onyebanjo, MD Redwood Consulting Ltd., as the event moderator, while Mr. Joe-Eugene Onuorah, Deputy Director, Professional Development, APCON, coordinated the proceedings.