We must collaborate to grow our market – Kelechi Nwosu

By Kasim Bakare

MD/CEO TBWA/Concept, Kelechi Nwosu has charged stakeholders in the Integrated Marketing Communications(IMC) industry to collaborate at different levels in order to grow the burgeoning Nigerian advertising market.

Speaking at the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria(BJAN) event themed; Partnerships: The future of Building Vibrant IMC Ecosystem” , Nwosu reiterated that the Integrated marketing Communication(IMC) space has become more complex and therefore requires collaboration and partnerships for economic productivity.

According to Nwosu, the Nigerian advertising market has been characterized by stiff competition and low productivity. He stressed that low oil price, economic recessions in 2016 and 2020, Covid-19 only made the situation worse. Nwosu noted that the Nigerian market is largely under-performing and shallow despite its huge population .

Hear him:”We still operate within a shallow market. Growth requires market structure that allows people to innovate and growth. The structure of our market is not supporting our growth. Policies help growth. Mindset helps growth. What is our mindset about growth? Are we aggressive about it? Are we doing full backward integration in all parts of the industry?. We are not a productive market. We are a receptacle market. Our poor education and how we understand and view life also contribute to it”

Citing comparison between the Nigerian and U.S markets, he stated that while Nigeria’s 2020 annual adspend stood at $243 million compared to the U.S figure of $243 billion, its GDP of N 152.32 trillion Naira($400 billion) was a paltry sum relative to the U.S $20.3 trillion for the same period at 205 million and 332 million population respectively.

Contextualizing the issue, Nwosu stressed that the economic realities and indices present an ugly picture for the Nigerian advertising market.

Hear him: “We are a prevalent poor country. It is estimated that 82% of our population live below the poverty line. Despite the slight GDP growth we have recently recorded, poverty will continue to rise if its not accompanied by population growth. However, our huge market and our population remains a big attraction. This is why there has been a lot of interest from the BRICS(Brazil, Russia, India and China) to come to our market to do business”.

Making a case for collaboration as a tool to grow the industry, the TBWA boss  stressed that the complex nature of Integrated Marketing Communications makes it  imperative.

His words: “Advertising has evolved into IMC. The IMC has become a lot more complex. No one knows it all. You always need to rely on partners to work it out. Advertising is built as a collaborative industry. Great creative works usually come out when agencies collaborate with clients. Besides, we are dealing with a very shallow market and it requires that we collaborate if we want to grow the market”.

Responding to claims that trust has been a major albatross of mergers& collaboration in the IMC, Nwosu noted that such fears could be dealt with if partnerships are legally consummated.

“People will naturally have fears towards such business relationships but they can be dealt with if the terms of the partnerships are well documented and agreed by parties involved. Collaboration is key is if we must grow the industry. For instance on the MTN project, TBWA works in collaboration with PR, Experiential and media agencies. While some of these agencies are from the Omnicon group, we also compete against each other in other areas.”

On how the association (BJAN) can collaborate with partners and stakeholders in the IMC, the consummate adman stressed that BJAN can partner with agencies through research and knowledge.

“A lot is happening in the industry and BJAN can lead the conversation in challenging cultural idea behind our creative work. There is a lot of cultural attack from abroad in terms of the content we consume on our platforms and we are still at a point where we even adapt ads from foreign lands. We are telling stories but our stories are not being told. A lot of our ads do not reflect our culture and I think an association can lead conversations in such areas”

Lending his two cents on how the brand journalists can stay relevant in the scheme of things, Nwosu noted that a conscious and deliberate effort is required to achieve this.

” Again, it’s all about collaboration and I believe BJAN can do better by taking advantage of many opportunities and partnering with other bodies.  Besides, you also need to play well in the digital space to function properly in the knowledge economy. Ultimately, you need to own your own space and maximally use such digital platforms like John Ajayi’s MARKETING EDGE is doing”.




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