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Femi Adelusi, MIPAN President girds loins to propel industry growth

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Twenty one-old MIPAN is an association of media independent companies with present 31 members who control about N90 billion annual Above- the- Line advertising budgets. It recently elected Femi Adelusi of BrandEye Media to lead it in this challenging time and beyond Covid-19. The new president appears equipped for the task as he gathers momentum to add velocity to industry wheels. Daniel Obi writes.

For next two years, Femi Adelusi, the CEO of BrandEye Media will be on the driving seat of Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN). With 25years working experience in Sales and in various Marketing Communications roles, behind him, Femi already knows the best road with fewer pot holes.

He emerged the MIPAN president at a time when marketing communication industry is going through rough times worsened by Covid-19 but he has already tied his loins to bring his members into the bus to navigate the challenges.

In addition to the hard economic environment, with GDP growth at low 2.7%, oil price sliding to as low as $30 in international market, poor electricity and insecurity, the pandemic has further laid prostrate a number of businesses with organisations and institutions adversely affected. As economies slide, the first reaction of most brands is to cut down advertising budget, a development which has unwittingly become a tradition but should not be the norm.

When records are taken at the end of this year, it might show that advertising budget was drastically cut which affected media agencies resulting in trimming of business and staff.

However, Adelusi appeared prepared for the challenges ahead. Speaking at Nosak Nigeria organised agenda setting stakeholder Forum for newly elected President of MIPAN recently, Nosakhare Uwadiae, the moderator who looked at Adelusi’s career success and his manifesto, was confident that Adelusi is poised to take MIPAN to another level.

“Femi and his Exco have their vision of getting MIPAN to greater height. The mantle of leading MIPAN through a Post-Covid Era is not an easy task at all but from what I can see from the manifesto of the new MIPAN team, I think they are headed to the right direction”, Uwadiae said.

Who leads MIPAN established in 1999 is important to stakeholders as the association perhaps is top in the organogram of agencies. Their members who are 31 presently control about N90 billion annual advertising budgets of local and multinational companies.

Recognising the importance of MIPAN at the Nosak stakeholders forum, Uwadiae further said that “essentially, MIPAN member companies control the bulk of Above the Line spending in Nigeria. Most of the TV, Radio, Press, Out-of-Home adverts you see, the large number is controlled by MIPAN executives and MIPAN companies”.

Uwadiae recounted the enormity of the role played by MIPAN members within the media spectrum. For instance, in 2014 a total of N93 billion was spent on ATL (Above the Line); in 2015, N97.9 billion was spent; in 2016, N91 billion passed through the MIPAN companies in Nigeria specifically; in 2017, N88 billion was the general billing; in 2018 there was not less than N81 billion.

This spending “means that substantial part of this industry contributes substantially to the GDP no matter how you look at it. So MIPAN essentially is a force to be reckoned with. At lot of companies are getting their Bread and Butter from MIPAN, in the sense that they are linked to media houses, entertainment, they are linked to every aspect of media and marketing communications because everything you do in terms of creativity somehow ends up being exposed to the media. So they are not a push over association at all. It is the goose that lays the golden egg”, Uwadiae stated.

Femi Adelusi who took over from Ken Onyeali Ikpe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Insight Redefini Group, Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest Marketing Communication & Advertising group plans is to improve most performance indicators in MIPAN which will rub off on the entire industry.

On his approach, Adelusi coined his strategy into THINC as his game plan. Under the plan is Technology Data and Innovation; Human Capital Development; Industry Thought Leadership; Inclusiveness & Collaboration; and Commercial stability of the media ecosystem.

Speaking on technology, he recognised that Data is a very critical on the account of complexity of Media today, the consumer sophistication, the proliferation of Media. He said the industry needs fresh consumer insight, needs fresh media insight to be able to make scientific and well informed media decisions and that’s why technology plays a big role.

According to the new president, the industry needs to work together to migrate from what has served the practitioners for the last 15 years or there about and then begin to move towards a new audience measurable platform. He said at the Nosak forum that pitches for right partners in this regard are on the pipeline but expressed worry on funding. He however got consolation that this has gotten the attention of the Federal Government.

In the area of building capacity, he said that there are different levels at which the association can build capacity; at junior level from the entry-level to the executive or to the senior executives level.

On industry thought leadership he said the association need to work with other bodies such as ADVAN, AAAN, EXMAN, BON and of course the regulators APCON to achieve some milestones and goals.

According to him, an underlining word in his agenda is collaboration and partnership. “So we anchor all of these programmes under what we called the ‘Partnership For Growth”

Femi Adelusi will be working with his executive members to facilitate the development of an enabling environment for the media advertising industry in Nigeria, among other objectives.

Some of the executive council members include: Dozie Okafor, Managing Director of PHD who emerged Executive Vice President; Samson Oyebamire, Finance Controller, Intenciti Media Ltd emerged Financial Secretary.

Others are Yetunde Adegbite, Managing Director, Postersope (Mediafuse Denstu Aegis Network) emerged Assistant Secretary; Akam-Ekpo Enoch, Head Buying & Investment, Starcom Media Perspectives emerged Assistant Publicity Secretary; Henry Ononiwu, Business Development Manager, PHD Nigeria emerged Publicity Secretary and Eki Adzufeh returned as the Executive Secretary.

Similarly, the Ex-official members are: Tolu Ogunkoya, Regional Managing Director, Media ReachOMD; Emeka Okeke, Group CE, Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis Network; Oba Ayodele Kupoluyi, Managing Consultant, Ashmaukups; and Dr. Ken Onyeali Ikpe, Group Managing Director/Ceo, Insight Refefini.

Femi in his acceptance speech thanked the members and industry stakeholders for their support and appealed for their continued support as the new executive commences work to take the association to a greater height.

“In the weeks ahead, we will re-constitute some of our various working committees and welcoming them as well. I thank you in advance for your cooperation, sacrifice, and contribution to moving our association forward,” he said.

In addition, he explained, “This unique year marks the 21st anniversary of our association. It is no longer news that we are in a pandemic and we live in a new normal where most aspects of life and business have been disrupted.

“The world and indeed Nigeria is faced with a health crisis and a financial crisis in which we are forced to decide on which matters most, Lives or Livelihoods? We must find the right balance as one cannot exist without the other.

“We therefore must face the challenges and opportunities of a rapidly changing consumer and marketing landscape by finding new insights and pivot continuously to leverage new opportunities.

“As a nation, we must face these changes boldly and creatively leveraging our non natural resources i.e intellection capital, creativity, youthful population, technology adoption, resilience, hard work, and can-do-spirit as we know, ‘Naija no dey carry last.’

“This unusual time calls for a new type of skills, resilient and data/technology driven business and communities.”

On his own apart, Ken urged the new executive to continue from where the past executives left and strive to make the association achieve even much more.

“Clearly our association has come a long way and made some giant strides. However, there is still much to be done. We still have some key issues like quackery in our industry; unprofessional and sharp practices that still need to be addressed; ensuring that we bring more agencies into our fold; making more revenue for the association to be able to purchase landed property and official car for the use of the secretariat, among other things. I am therefore very confident that the future is bright for the association.

In the same vein, Eki said “Our association has come a long way and needs to occupy its rightful place among the sectoral groups in the advertising industry. This association was birthed over twenty years ago and although it has gone through thick and thin and through a lot of learning curves, the maturity time has come and we must do things as a matured association”.

“To do this, however, we need a sincere change of attitude towards the issues and activities of the association by many of our members, especially the heads of our agencies. We must all take ownership of the association and be more interested in its growth and success as we would like it to be.”

Interesting to note, the new president holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees as well as an MBA – all from the University of Benin. Before founding the agency in 2015, he was at various times the Head, Media and Marketing Communications at Guinness Nigeria, Integrated Marketing Communications Manager at Coca-Cola International, Director, Media Planning & Strategy at MediaReach OMD, and Client Services Manager at Tequila Nigeria Limited. A self-motivated man with a vision to ‘finish strong’​in his career, family, health; and to positively influence the new generation of business entrepreneurs and leaders in Nigeria, Femi is a philanthropist per excellence who always aspires to give back to the community and his country at large from the abundance of God’s blessings and favour that he enjoys.

There is no doubt that Femi Adelusi and his exco have daunting task ahead and the pandemic has further dug potholes on their way. But the new president appears energised to move on. All he needs is industry support to achieve his dreams especially in this challenging time.

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