In the upwardly mobile world, tech-based brand campaigns and deft innovations are indispensable in ensuring that consumers have undiluted understanding of the goods and products offered them for consumption.
Mastering the ability to understand the consumers, the market and the competition offers a clear edge in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC). One key factor in brand is the creative ingenuity marketing firms to go beyond mere branding and embrace business solution. Innovative marketing experts have moved from messaging or road show to a level where you have deep understanding of the brand you are working on – the insights and the competition.
Mr. Owolabi Mustapha, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Max Connection, said as brand expert good understanding of the consumer and the market stands a firm out in understanding the competition. To him, such understanding makes it easier to know the kind of solution to proffer.
In Max Connection, Owolabi said “we look at the bottom-line across all the activities we do because we measure. After our campaigns on brands, the number has grown by double digit because we measure our campaigns using different metrics and pushing the brand into the next level. One of our greatest assets is the ability to measure our campaign on brands before and after activation. This is the best way to track the growth numbers”.
He noted that experience is very essential in successful brand marketing. “We think of what kind of experience we want to create for consumer because the brand now sits at the heart of the consumer. Gone are the days when an agency could push anything to the consumer. Now, agency’s communication, messaging and activity sit at the heart of the consumer.”
Owolabi said the erection of a giant Trophy beer bottle mounted at the Ikeja City Mall is a creative concept locally made. “The idea was fully conceptualised by Max Connection and I am quite happy that Nigeria is getting into that space of realising ourselves.
“Before now, we say that Nigeria will not be able to host Big Brother because of infrastructural challenges, but Nigeria has hosted about two editions of it. We have partnered with foreign agencies and companies to execute events in Nigeria because of the belief of the client.
“But gradually when clients started seeing capacity locally, they started having a change of mindset. With support of government in terms of policies and facilities, all these campaigns can be done here”.
He stated that most of the partners his firm, Max Connection, started working with about a decade ago are still on board till date because of their belief in the delivery acumen of his firm.
“This is because we are partners. We are more or less an extension of our partner’s office. While they are thinking of growing their market and brand, we are also thinking in our office. If brands believe in the local content they have, they can get more. Nigerian agencies have the potential and capacity to do better campaigns”, he said.
The firm, which has worked for several multi-national and local brands, had in a recent campaign underscored the peak status of Trophy Lager beer enjoying large volume sales across Nigeria, especially in the South West, after deep thinking came up with a giant fibre 14-meter-high-bottle of Trophy mounted at Ikeja City Mall to showcase the beer as a foremost local-to-national brand in Nigeria.
Max Connection started as experiential agency, though it also saw opportunity in other areas. “We see that innovation and technology are taking the centre stage in business; therefore, we had to change the model which we run. Now we are more of a business solution agency where we proffer solutions across all the degrees of marketing and communication business”.
Max Connection, which prides itself as an agency that innovates and believes so much in technology, since inception has had its creative touch on major brands in Nigeria, such as Coca Cola, ABinBev, Campari, BAT, Reckitt Benkiser and Dangote, among others.
He added that “In terms of consumer experience, we pride ourselves as one of the leading business relations agencies due to the major landmark campaigns that we have conceptualised, designed and executed. Many clients like working with us because we make life very easy for them over and above the conventional way of just passing a brief for execution. We conceptualise, design and execute. Internally, we look at the challenge a brand has and proffer the solution”.
To him, the huge Trophy bottle at Ikeja City Mall was in celebration of Trophy Lager being the number one beer brand in Lagos aside other campaigns conceptualised, designed and executed by Max Connection.
“Another social campaign we debut in this agency is ‘Raise a Trophy to Honour’ in which mobile bar was deployed across South Western states. That bar had no attendant and no security. It allowed customers to ordinarily pay when they take a beer from the chiller to test how honourable people are. About 70% of the customers paid for the beer they took. This shows that most Nigerians are really honourable.
Owolabi also said there is hardly any environment where business operates that is devoid of socio-economic challenges, but the ability to be solution oriented is key.
“Nobody expected Covid-19, but interestingly, Max Connection changed its operational model about three years ago from waiting for clients to send brief. We have been creating our briefs ourselves knowing fully well some of the challenges our client partners had. For instance, when Covid -19 came, it was very easy for us to adapt and we were able to work despite there was Covid as we were able to share great ideas that do not require so much physical interaction.
“This was enabled as we have taken some of our activities into the digital space. For inspiration, we also pre-empt competition and the market.”
He added that government can assist the marketing communication industry through engaging multinationals to reduce payment duration, as he cited South Africa as an example where government sat with the multinationals to reduce payment duration terms for their partners to allow them to still be in business. “We are looking towards this kind of support”, he said.
Owolabi said Max Connection has changed its model of operation by not waiting for brief because there is a dedicated unit that is proactive. “When we think about our brands and look at the milestones they have achieved and their projections, we then come up with strategic and tactical activity that will add value to them.
“In the course of building the Trophy bottle, we evaluated the brand which we have been working on for some time. We know where the equity of the brand is and we feel that there is a need for the brand which has stepped up from being a local to national brand to have some level of international recognition.”
He said the giant Trophy bottle being the largest beer bottle ever should not elicit argument as the Guinness Book of Records, the benchmark today for history, is there to settle the controversy. “We have done our research, and there was no bottle created in terms of size of that magnitude of 14 meter high and 3.8 meters in diameter. This speaks about the innovation about the brand. Trophy brand is about innovation, it is about seeking new opportunities and ensuring that it listens to the consumers and attends to their needs. In coming up with this ingenious innovation, we looked at different records and we wanted something that is different. We want to stand out.”
Owolabi said the brand Nigeria is a project that can’t be conceptualised and executed and get result in one day. To him, Nigeria is work in progress. “Though we are not in a position where we should be, we are moving in that direction. Some years back, Nigeria relied on foreigners for most things, but things are changing. Without local practitioners in different sectors achieving some levels of height, it will be difficult for project Nigeria to achieve some milestones. “For instance, Okonjo Iweala has said that people are making inquiries on her cloth and she is, therefore, challenging the fashion sector to come forward. We have great people in fashion, music, media,etc.; but what they need is some forms of backing to make necessary impact”, he said.