Marketing and brand eggheads convened for hours of a keynote, panel discussion, inspired conversation, purposeful collaboration, networking and meaningful takeaways. Select makers and innovators from across Nigeria’s manufacturing and service sectors —exceptional leaders and doers shaping the future—were also present.

Participants and attendees representing the country’s leading brands (both on client/agency sides) bustled about excitingly within the genial atmosphere of Balmoral Event Centre, Oregun, Lagos. In a creatively bohemian twist, the organisers served coffee-break before the conference. And everybody breakfasted to nourish and energise their body before the banquet of their minds. The wholesome breakfast was made available by Peak Milk, the number one diary brand from the stable of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria.

It was the National Marketing Stakeholders Summit, an annual blue-ribbon event of IMC professionals, media and brand custodians organised by MARKETING EDGE, Nigeria’s foremost marketing magazine. This year’s summit themed “Storytelling as a New Paradigm Shift in Contemporary Brand Building: Convergence of Creativity and Technology” was quite simply a summit to benchmark with the best and shape the future of industry.

Mr. John Ajayi, Managing Director/CEO of MARKETING EDGE, declared the summit open with a rousing speech, saying the summit was aimed at initiating new conversations, pertinent to the growth and development of the IMC sector.

The witty ace comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka II, who doubled as the comic and compere of the event, entertained the audience with socially and politically relevant tall tales, which commingled with the theme of the day.

The Chairman of the day, Managing Partner, Market Space, George Thorpe, in his citation on the Guest Speaker, Senior Faculty Officer, Lagos Business School (LBS), Professor Chris Ogbechie, emphasised the need for professional collaboration and consumer engagement. He concluded by reiterating that without a meaningful brand engagement, consumers may not heartily connect with a story.

As one of the country’s top marketing and brand keynote speakers, Prof Ogbechie  kicked-off the summit in his distinctively veteran and proficient energy. He postulated that a positive attitude was the sine qua non of contemporary IMC practitioners given the current trying economic climate. He extensively drew analogies from previously outstanding global, continental and national marketing campaigns that resonated with consumers and pushed back the frontiers of marketing.

“As marketers and brand builders, we must learn how to be positive even in the most challenging economic climate. We must learn how to genuinely tell our stories and innovate through chaos, uncertainty, insecurity and periods of rapid change. Personally, I am always positive,” he posited.

Taking the summit from a paradigm shift to futuristic immersion, Prof Ogbechie revealed that about 60% of Nigerian consumers will be over 40 years by 2020, asking how prepared IMC practitioners were to accommodate the changes that will emerge alongside their consumption behaviour.

“Before the end of 2020, approximately 60% of Nigerian consumers will be over 40 years. Their buying and consumption behaviour among other things will change. How ready are marketers and IMC practitioners to adapt to their changing needs and aspirations in order to retain their loyalty?” he asked.

At the end of his keynote, Prof Ogbechie dissected the apparent complexity of the summit theme and revealed the effective storytelling strategy required to engage the consumer in the contemporary digital space.

Following the thunderous applause that greeted the keynote from every corner of the audience, an amazing selection of discussants and an excellent moderator in the person of Mr. Thorpe dived into contemporaneous marketing and brand matters of interest.

To contextualise the theme of the summit, the moderator and the discussants hashed out the convergence of the old art of storytelling and modern technology in perfect harmony.

Buttressing the foregoing views on brand storytelling, Steve Babaeko, MD at X3M, delved deeper into what the art entails, advising brands to fortify and soak up themselves in the socio-cultural milieu (past & present) if they must tell authentic stories.

“What has happened in today’s IMC world is that storytelling is changing with every new technology. The time, therefore, has come when all we have to do is to create compelling brand stories.

“Moreover, whatever story we are telling must be rooted in socio-cultural context. A good example of socio-cultural storytelling industry is Nollywood,” he said.

MARKETING EDGE National Stakeholders Summit has taken on a life of its own. The 2019 conference encapsulated and addressed the concurrent zeitgeist in industry and, no doubt, steered IMC practitioners towards inspiration and innovation for their next big projects. In one word, the summit culminated in a concentrated dose of marketing inspiration and brand insights.


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