Think local, act global… formula that can enrich output of advert agencies



THE Chief Operating Officer of Insight Communication, Mr. Feyi Olubodun has said that the only way marketing communication agencies could get global recognition is through producing copies that play up Nigeria’s cultural nuances.

Olubodun said this in Lagos recently when Students from nine universities in Nigeria who made it to be members of this year’s Roger Hatchuel Academy visited Insight Communication during their tour of marketing communication related organizations.

The Insight boss who was responding to one of the questions raised at the forum on why advertising agencies in Nigeria were not getting global recognition said, “If you look at the emerging markets that are gaining recognition, one of the things that work for them is global insight.  And I think we have to become more confident of our tradition and culture, the things that make the Nigerian a Nigerian, cannot be found anywhere else.

“We must sell to the Nigerian in a Nigerian way, that is what the world wants to see. The world doesn’t want to see how we can sell to the western world in the Nigerian environment, which is what the Brazilians do.

“They ensure everything they do is in tandem with their cultural nuances. There are some things that are peculiar with Nigerians, we have a wonderful sense of humor, for instance, we are the happiest people by rating on the planet, we are the most sexually satisfied people in the world, and we don’t talk about things like that in our communications. The only way that we can get global recognition is when we begin to do things in our own way.”

Commenting on the role advertising agencies in Nigeria could play in building local brands, he said that advertising can actually play a very big role to promote brands in Nigeria that has some serious equity. He mentioned brands like Alabukun and Aboniki Balm, as very solid brand that falls into that category.

“At time, I wish I was able to work on that brand. Advertising can play a very big role for brands like that, because it will give the brand a better recognition in the market, not only that, it will also expand business opportunities for those brands.”

He maintained that advertising exists to create more demand for the brand, and it is more demand for the brand that makes the business thrive effectively.

“So, if you pick some of those local brands and you build them, that will first of all create a national demand for them and later there will be an international demand.  We have a huge number of Nigerians in Diaspora and if we are able to convey these brands to them, I am sure they will patronize them.

“And there are also other countries of the world like the sub-Saharan Africa that their consumption pattern is very similar to ours. And it is the role of advertising to create a platform for brands like that to cross the shore of Nigeria into other markets and project the equity in a way that it will be more and more attractive to consumers.”

Asked to provide the secret why Insight has been a leading advertising agency in the country, he said that its people had been the trade secret noting that from inception, the organisation has always picked the best.

Besides that, Olubodun said that the company has always treated them like the best.

“It is only very few businesses that select and retain the best. It takes having the right kind of environment, having the right kind of processes, having the right king of leadership. Our magic has always being our people, today, if we lose all of our tools and still have our people, Insight will continue.”

On if his organization considers the likely negative effect of brands on consumer before accepting briefs, he said that a lot of things are considered as behavioral economist, who influences behavior.

“Everything we do will get to make consumer behave in a particular way. Therefore, as what we do benefit our clients; it must also benefit the consumer. For instance, we cannot communicate a product that we know will have an adverse effect on the consumer, because if we do that, it will benefit the clients in a short run, while it affects them in the long term.

“Also, we particularly take into cognizance the cultural nuances of our environment, there are certain culture that have value that are acceptable in the Nigerian context, whenever we develop communication, we are still mindful of those nuances and ensure that we will communicate in a way that will make consumer behave in a way that is not culturally acceptable.

“Yes, we are learning from the West, but there are lots of things that are acceptable in the West that are not acceptable here. So we will not say because sometimes we borrow from their ideas to make our brands global, we will begin to communicate contents that are not acceptable here.

“We are sensitive to things like that. We want consumers to behave in a way that is favorable to them, and that is favorable to our clients so also favorable to the community at large. For example, we work on some big alcoholic brands, and no matter how we communicate how exciting it is to take alcohol; we will never communicate drunkenness or unruly behavior.”

According to him, this is because, while it is acceptable for an adult to consume alcohol, it is not acceptable to behave in an unruly manner.

“We are not going to do communications that seems to encourage that, hence, we are very sensitive about those things, and we pay close attention to them.”

The visiting students were provided first hand information on the activities of Insight Communication, how it started, its founding fathers, great campaigns it had executed in the past and what gives it an edge as an agency.

One of the students, Tosin Areo of Nigeria Institute of Journalism, said the visit was an eye opener for her especially into the advertising world as the interaction and speeches by the senior staff of Insight Communication provided some vital information of what advertising entails.

“At Insight, we are exposed to client management and how to bring out the creative thing in me. Insight has given me a rethink of choosing advertising and entering into the world of no limitation,” she said.

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