We want to bring crisis management to the front burner in Nigeria-CMC Connect Boss

By Kasim Bakare

Group Managing Director, CMC Connect BCW, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya(YBO) has advocated for a robust crisis management plan by businesses and corporate bodies in Nigeria following the cataclysmic effect of the Covid-19 on businesses in the country.

In an exclusive interview with MARKETING EDGE, Badejo-Okusanya expressed concerns on the effect of crisis on businesses and efforts at mitigating and recovering from such crises. He noted that the Covid-19 global pandemic and the resultant damage to businesses and lives brought the need for crisis management further home.

“Crisis by their nature could be inevitable especially if they are unknown, just like the Covid-19 global pandemic. But given the right plan, an organization can learn how to manage, control or recover from such crisis. Crisis could be known or unknown and the pandemic has shown us how an unknown crisis can be”.

While describing crisis as inevitable, the CMC boss noted that the huge information deficit on how corporate bodies can manage, control and recover from such remains a huge challenge in the country. He stressed that crisis could be a micro thing if it’s happening to an individual but if looked at it from the point of the pandemic, it could bring down the economy of the entire country or even the continent.

According to Badejo-Okusanya, crisis can happen at any time, hence the need for corporate and individuals to have a crisis management plan to address such emergencies.

In his words: “We have seen several crisis situations in Nigeria. I can tell you four crises that have happened in the last one year; First Bank, NPA, FCMB , Pantami e.t.c. These were crises and the brands were apparently confused as to how they could manage it.  When I was looking at these crises, I realized that many people do have crisis but they don’t know where to go to”.

Providing further insights on why the foremost PR company is leading the campaign to bring crisis management to the front burner of national discourse, Badejo-Okusanya said: “The pandemic brought home the need for businesses to have a crisis management plan. During the pandemic, we conducted a crisis survey to determine the effect of crisis on businesses in Nigeria. The survey shows the impact of crisis on businesses. We did a comprehensive report from that survey and the fallout of that effort is our new product on crisis management that was launched in February.

Interestingly, we got some traction but we intend to make it granular. We want to be in the forefront of addressing crisis management in Nigeria. We are looking at bringing the consciousness of Nigerians to the issues around crisis management and how crisis can be prevented, managed and how one can recover from it.”

He continued: “We want to push crisis management to a point that when you want to get an approval from the housing or land officer, some of the things he would ask you for before certifying the house for habitation would be; Do you have fire service equipment because that is one of the things you need to have before you can build a house? The pandemic has shown us that a lot of people were not prepared as they were caught unawares by the crisis.

Continuing, he said: “There are known and unknown crises. If it’s known like you know that a plane could crash, you could plan to prevent or manage it but the pandemic was quite different because it was unknown. It happened like a natural disaster. We want to push crisis management to a point where government would say, even before you register your business, you must have a crisis management plan on ground so that when crisis comes, you are ready to deal with it. Speaking on his agency’s experience in crisis management, the quintessential PR specialist recalled a brief handled by its agency to manage a major crisis in the aftermath of a plane crash.

“We have a long history of managing crisis. For instance, some years back, we managed a crisis for Bellview Airlines after the ill-fated crash. That was about 15 to 16 years ago. We had a lot of goodwill on that brief to the extent that the people brought by the insurance company of the airline, Lloyds Insurance, commended our efforts in managing the crisis”.

He added:  A lot can be achieved if we businesses can have a crisis management place in case of any eventuality. We intend taking crisis management to a front-burner issue in Nigeria. We want to be known as the foremost in bringing crisis management issues to the front burner in Nigeria”.



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