IAA Nigeria advocates empathy marketing for brands and industry practitioners

The International Advertising Association (IAA), Nigeria, has stressed the need for brands to engage in empathy marketing especially during crisis situations. The call was made during a virtual session, themed “COVID-19 and the Power of Empathy Marketing”, held on the 11th of November, 2020.

The high-powered webinar focused on how leading brands and practitioners are using empathy to create new conversations to drive real value.

Speaking on the motive of the noble initiative, President of the IAA Nigeria and anchor of the webinar, Dr. Tunji Olugbodi, said: “The adverse effect of the global pandemic on brands communication and the emerging wave consciousness for higher purpose and intentional responsibility makes it necessary to examine the new ways of winning and converting customers.”

The discussants include Frederik Borestorm, President, International Advertising Association (UK)/Head of Agency International, LinkedIn; Temitope Jemerigbe, MD, DKK, and Feyi Olubodun, Founder/manager, Open Squares.

In his submission, Borestrom opined that empathy marketing is designed to be part of a solution even beyond the marketing communications industry. He noted that businesses would have to deal with the fact that they live in the world of their consumers. Answering a question on whether brands are holding enough conversations and campaigns to earn the trust of their customers, the IAA UK boss said:

“Cultural perspectives have been able to see things in the eyes of the consumers. Brands must remain consistent for a long period of time to remain relevant. Our experience during the Covid-19 has taught us many lessons. Corporate Social responsibility (CSR) should not just be a campaign. It should be engrained into the company’s vision.”

For Jemerigbe, empathy-based marketing is an opportunity for brands to be consumer-centric. “It is an opportunity for brands to give a helping hand to their customers. For example, it is empathy if banks can say we are doing a rescheduling of how you pay back a due loan based on the effects of Covid-19. Ford suspended its advertising during Covid-19 just to show empathy to its customers during the peak of the pandemic.”

Buttressing her argument with the recent case of looted Covid-19 palliatives during #EndSARS protest, she noted that bureaucracies and distrust were probable factors that fuelled the looting. “While not holding brief for anyone, I think the excuses by those governmental agencies for keeping the palliatives couldn’t fly for certain reasons. If you are empathic to the feelings of the people, formalities and ceremonies are not needed. If empathy is there, speed is of essence. Brands are also expected to think in such direction.

Lending his two cents on the issue of timely empathy from brands, Olubodun noted that institutional mechanisms of governments usually have the challenge of corruption, hence the need for private organizations to collaborate to strike a delicate balance by ensuring an effective and timely distribution of palliatives in such a situation. He cited the example of 7-up’s innovation of turning around manufacturing capability through the production of 2-sure sanitizers during the pandemic. He noted that the innovation saw the sanitizer’s bottles going through a lot of development to meet customer needs.

In conclusion, Olubodun noted that organisations should get involved in empathy marketing not only during crisis situations but at all times well beyond CSR.

“Don’t waste a good crisis,” he concluded.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.