How advertising can respond to digitalisation —AAAN President

President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Ikechi Odibo, has declared that advertising practice needs to undergo a sea change to cope with the demands of post-digital age.

Odibo, who made the declaration in a paper presented, in Abuja, recently, at the National Advertising Conference, organised by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) in conjunction with other sectoral bodies, stated that practitioners must acquire new business mindsets and approaches, crucial to the business in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

He noted that the evolution has been marked by the emergence of e-commerce, with television advertising transferred to digital platforms such as Youtube, Instagram advertising taking the place of print advertising, and with celebrity endorsements mutating into influencer marketing.

This process, he said, is still treated by practitioners as requiring just a few changes when wholesale changes are required.

“We congratulate ourselves a lot for adapting things that have been done before, making minimal changes and feeling like we understand the modern world. However we cannot force-fit old templates to new expectations, new objectives and expect to be regarded as relevant, strategic and indispensable by the clients,” he said.

He noted that in a fast-changing business environment, clients seek up-to-the-moment partners, who are ahead in terms of proffering understanding, thought leadership and fresh solutions to their marketing problems.

We need to accurately understand and embrace our digital reality, continuously broaden our perspectives and take creative responsibility without waiting for marching orders from clients,” Odibo stated.

In similar vein, the AAAN President advised practitioners to embrace new tools, which are multi-functional and not limited by geography.

“In the digital age, devices do a lot of things well and also work together across physical geographies thanks to telecommunications and the internet. Consumers now move seamlessly between devices, with data providing borderless interconnectedness and continuity. We can seamlessly engage our favourite apps, social platforms and skits across various devices, anywhere and anytime,” he observed.

On account of these, he stated, the lines are blurring, as devices are becoming more similar and convenient, with newspapers being read on miniaturized devices such as phones.

“Brands are also able share and have communion with real people not an archetype over passion points and trending issues. Our target audiences, market segments have transformed into real individuals, real people with a strong voice and creative verve to contribute online. The primary takeout from this shift is that our advertising has to also shift from selling monologues to storytelling to triggering real conversations with the brand community,” he counselled.

He called on practitioners to share resources and assets through mergers and collaborative ventures, nurture world class talent by all sectoral groups coming together to establish a credible and reputable Advertising school.

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