MIPAN identifies challenges facing businesses amid economic crisis

By Abimbola Mohammed

The Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN) has held its Annual AGM with the theme: “Key Enabler To Running Healthy and Profitable Agency Business”, where the association identified the challenges facing businesses and agencies amid economic and inflation crisis.

The two-in-one event, held at Sheba Event Center, featured induction of new members of the association as well as panelist discussion. The event was attended by members of MIPAN, friends of the association, men of the press and had the keynote speech delivered by Osuagwu Chidimma, Group head procurement and material management, Flour Mills Nigeria Limited, and Dr. Ken Onyeali Ikpe, Chairman/CEO Graviti Hill Limited, Mr. Adetunji Adeyinka, Group Managing Director, Republicom Group, and Steve Babaeko, CEO, X3M Ideas as Panelist.

Femi Adelusi, the President of MIPAN, while giving the opening remarks, pointed out that the essence of inviting the keynote speaker to speak on the theme is to talk on the challenges clients face while running businesses in Nigeria in these challenging times. He added that, in one way or the other, Nigerians have felt the impact of the 2023 general elections, the removal of subsidy, the fluidity of pump price and unified exchange rate.

His words: “One common thing for all of us either at the agency side or the client said is the fact that we all just came out of the general elections. We are all affected by the removal of the oil subsidy and the floating of the Naira.

“On a general note, we have all been impacted at scale by the general elections and their outcome, the removal of subsidy, the fluidity of pump price, the floating of the naira, and unified exchange rate. Interestingly all of these factors are interconnected and can be debated, analyzed and spoken about for hours. The key question is: how do we get out of this quagmire? The Economy thus remains a big challenge for businesses & people.”

Pointing out some of the key solutions that can help businesses thrive in Nigeria, he stated three major issues that needed urgent action as Naira stability, investments in human capital and electricity.

Speaking about the impact on the challenges on MARCOM industry, he said: “Our industry remains a very engaged industry and we need to continue to look at how we can evolve and add value to the business of our clients. We must remember that they are the views of Lady Golden Wave and we must continue to be consultants and bring top leadership into how we help their businesses to grow.

“These factors all impact many of our client’s businesses; hence we see so much push-back on reforms such as AISOP. Our Agency work directly involves clients in real sectors and SMEs affected as well. Our longevity, survival and business health therefore depend on all of the above.”

Speaking on the theme of the event, Mr. Chidimma said innovation and creativity cannot be overemphasized, while noting that there is a reason why the theme is about the key enablers.

“So in agency business or any business, if you are standing on the wrong assumptions, wrong visions, wrong insights, you may think you are making progress, but it may become too late before you realize you have not made the required level of progress. I have said here that key represents nuggets, insights and vision that unlock doors, ushering in limitless opportunities and potentials.

“It’s important for businesses to constantly ask themselves, what is the vision behind my agency? Because if you focus only on buying media for your clients and making sure that you focus on your profitability, you may be short-timed and you may be short-sighted. Then you have many businesses that have been here before and they are not here anymore, principally because they did not focus on the right things.

To be successful as an agency, understanding that your success is hinged upon the success of the clients, then it’s important to have a vision that reflects customer service, customer excellence, customer success, customer engagement. Otherwise, you may be enabling something different, and the business may be short-term. Enabler is like a catalyst that helps bring about a predetermined and emphasized outcome, he said.

He urged agencies to focus on delivering tangible value to clients, positioning themselves as more than just cost factors.

At the panel session, the panelist emphasized on the significance of relevance in agency operations and the need for agencies in Nigeria to adopt new revenue streams that will enhance their brand building effort. While deliberating on agencies’ collaboration beyond organizational boundaries and recommended functional boards of directors to foster growth.

On his part Dr. Ikpe stated that “Relevance is a key that every agency needs to acquire. We build relevance by providing solutions. Hence, Relevance is that indispensable element.” He noted that for businesses to thrive, they must focus on client management. A company’s vitality hinges on the relevance of its product. While stressing the need for transformational leadership within agencies, advocating for leaders who bring capacity and gravity to the table to make a lasting impression on clients.

Babaeko highlighted that there is urgency for agencies to adopt new revenue streams and enhance their brand-building efforts. He lamented the neglect of self-branding by agencies and advocated a shift in perception.

“We must detach emotions from brand building and emulate the tech industry’s business-focused approach. Agency owners might be affluent, but their businesses may not reflect that. We must prioritize building our businesses.”

Mr. Adeyinka noted that transformational thinking and talent management are pivotal to agency success. He underscored the need for collaboration beyond organizational boundaries and recommended functional boards of directors to foster growth.


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