Experiential in the future will be less of physical engagement – Rosemary Akpo

By Felicia Nwosu

Rosemary Akpo, Managing Director of EXP Marketing, the pioneer experiential marketing agency, both in Nigeria and  Africa,  has visualized that, in the future when Covid-19 will be finally over, more and more people will be  leaning towards non-physical experiences more than the physical engagements.

She stated this during an exclusive interview with MARKETING EDGE, while explaining how her agency was able to survive and navigate through the peak of Covid-19 in 2020. She advised experiential agencies not to throw in the towels in the face of various challenges posed by the pandemic last year, but  urged them to embrace every opportunity provided by the new normal through technology .

She observed the existence of various channels to create an enduring and memorable experience for consumers without having physical contact.  The delectable amazon noted that, her agency EXP Nigeria, which is a short form of experiential, understands the whole essence of experiential.

Commenting further, she said, “the definition of what we do as an experiential agency is to create consumer experience. It may be face to face and it may not be face to face, because in the period of Covid-19 last year, we have proven that, you don’t actually need to see someone face to face. We did a lot of engagement that were not purely physical, it will surprise you that in the midst of the Covid-19 last year, it was a tough and difficult year, but we made profit.”

The Managing Director also advised further that, “If physical is what you want to do, make sure you do it well, but there are other avenues as well, to creating a consumer experience without physical contact, and that is where I see the future going.  It is not impossible, but as business opens up, I will caution that people adhere to the protocols guiding and ensure they are care not to get infected or infect others, but I don’t think it shouldn’t  take away from our cup, which is to create consumers’ experiences.

Giving her projection for the experiential marketing industry in view of the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, the EXP boss revealed that, her prediction is that more brands and companies will want to do some sorts of physical activation events since that has been halted for a while. She believes that technology is growing, and it is the way to the future. Mrs. Akpo cited a successful virtual  activation done by EXP Nigeria, where people were sampled without any human interaction on a drink product that was very successful, which nobody would have thought was possible in the past.

The former brand manager at Coca Cola gave a thumb-up to the out-gone leadership of EXMAN for adapting to the new normal without delay. “I give a lot of kudos to the Tade Adekunle led administration, for rising to the occasion during the period, experiential, hotels and airlines   were the worst hit during the Covid-19, I cannot think of more than one or two agencies who shut-down in the course of the year due to covid-19, more agencies than not rose to the challenge by navigating through other alternatives of survival in order to adapt and move on.”

Giving her assessment on the former EXMAN’s president’s tenure, Mr. Tade Adekunle, she revealed that, “I am happy and proud to say that  the leadership of EXMAN is very strong, I only joined the agency-side three years ago, but I came in here during Mr. Tade Adekunle’s tenure.  I realized that the former president is a formidable president and because of him, there is no way we could have anybody else as a president. Before now, the association was not recognized by the government, but in his tenure, we were able to be registered with APCON. That was a huge plus.”

The EXP Nigeria, MD noted EXMAN under the leadership of Tade Adekunle, has achieved much for its members for being able to assess the current unease amongst agencies over some client’s preference and delay of payment to 120 days cycle after the job has been closed up.

“On the issue of payment cycle and debt situation in the industry, there has been several interactions with clients on the procurement side and marketing side during the Tade Adekunle’s tenure. They tried to let clients know the impact of the delayed payment on agencies, because when payment for a service rendered is delayed, then the margin would have been reduced or lost totally by the time the money is paid. EXMAN has even gone to the extent of writing to clients.” She said.












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