Why I’m devoted to Nigeria PR Report

Nigeria PR Report 2016

So we had an AMA ( ask me anything chat) session on BHM‘s Facebook and Periscope yesterday, and someone wanted to know why we are doing the annual Nigeria PR Report and what impact I  think it’s had.

It’s a question I get asked a lot. Why are you doing this? What’s in it for you and your agency? Are you building some sort of credentials so you can run for PRCAN presidency? Or you’re just using all the campaign to position your agency? Someone even suggested it’s a covert spy operation to help us know what’s happening with competition. And I laughed in Itsekiri

My answer? None of the above could be farther from the truth. But it’s not the first time I’m being asked such. In 1998 when I started organising the Youth Awards for Excellence in Music, YAFEM, there were many at the time who thought I was doing so many of such free, popular events to position myself to run for PMAN presidency. You’re laughing too? Hahahahahahahahaha!

I believe in building ecosystems. I believe in baking bigger pies so everyone can have a bigger share. I believe in making communities better than I met them. I believe in building tomorrow today.

That’s why we do NECLive every year, for free. That’s why we publish Nigeria PR Report every year. That’s why I do most of the things I do. Chatting with a friend this morning, about this article from The Atlantic, it suddenly dawned on me that all the industries I work in are endangered: PR = endangered. Media = endangered. Entertainment = endangered. To fold one’s arms, and continue business as usual, is to be digging one’s grave without knowing it.

I believe the PR Report brings something we desperately need to save our businesses: data. We need to know what’s happened, what’s happening, how it happened, why it happened, etc etc if we are to plot a good future for ourselves and those coming behind. We must have the kind of insight that takes us into the minds of the market, the minds of the consumer, the minds of government, the minds of our customers, and other stakeholders, if we are to potentially make informed decisions around our individual businesses and the industry in general. We need to know what areas to invest in, what skills to build, what new markets are opening up, what new tools could make distribution and reporting better; what technology we could utilize to transform our work, and ultimately our businesses and our clients’. How do you build a multi billion dollar industry while you’re winking in the dark? You simply cannot!

As PR people, we like to use that quote Richard Branson has denied owning: ‘If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR’. We like to tease potential clients, asking them to not ‘wink in the dark. We like to complain about so called ‘digital marketing’ pulling the rug from our feet; we like to give advertisers and media buyers the side eye, insisting they’re getting paid so much for doing so little.

But the joke is on us, really. If we really want anyone to ‘spend their last dollar’ on public relations, then we must do better than we currently are doing. To do better, we need to know better. To know better means having the right data to help with strategy and planning and measurement and billing. We must pul the wool from our own eyes first, before asking multinationals who have built big businesses, or SMEs building amazing businesses, to stop ‘winking in the dark.’

One of two things eventually happens to endangered species: the are either rescued and preserved, or they go extinct. I see a big opportunity for PR now and in the future (I see the same future for entertainment and media, and it’s not even because I’m afraid of what will happen to me and my family should these three industries go down :|); a big opportunity with governments, with consumer companies, with technology and media. There’s a higher probability that our industries will morph into something formidable if we continue to do things differently, if we continue to innovate and self-disrupt. The entire BHM vision is built on the belief that Africa will deliver the brands, businesses, leaders, thinking, tools and nations that’ll run the world in a matter of years. And we believe it is possible.

Let’s just say it’s time to build tomorrow!

Why I won’t be leaving Snapchat for Instagram Stories. Or will I?

Instagram-Stories

I am a Facebook fan. I love the platform and the thinking behind their business model. I understand the vision of the founders and believe companies like Facebook are a very important part of today’s and tomorrow’s world – in whatever way you look at it.
The world will continue to get interconnected, as we all work together to solve local and global problems, and build better lives for ourselves and the next generation.

Because Facebook has implications for our organisation, BHM, I have taken the pain to understand how the company works. I studied Google for years, even attending an FT meeting with Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg in London in 2014. Then I faced Facebook and became a self-taught expert. When the opportunity came to attend F8, Facebook’s developers conference this year, I grabbed it with both hands, even though it was days away from our own conference NEClive.

I left San Francisco convinced that Facebook could be a gift and a curse to the media, tech and advertising industry. The telcos see Mark Zuckerberg and his company as a frenemy, the media see them as enablers and enslavers, I don’t know if the ad industry sees them the way they see Google yet.

Ayeni-Adekunle-and-Facebook-Engineering-Manager-Brian-Dewey

With Facebook Engineering Manager, Brian Dewey

We’re at the cusp of something important and it is difficult for anyone to actually accurately predict what the next few years will look like. We are all at best, speculating based on what we can see from where we stand. What is certain is that there will be major losers and gainers, short term and long term. When it finally happens, we would have inadvertently created a new era where the words media, technology, advertising, public relations and computer science would mean something entirely different from what most people understand them to be today.

Facebook likely has a better idea of what’s coming, as one can tell from their recent acquisitions, priorities, products and partnerships. I loved the thinking behind snatching Oculus and Whatsapp and Instagram. I’m excited by the power of 360 videos and VR. I supported Instant Articles from day one, even though I understand the concerns of those who vehemently criticize it. There’s a lot more that Facebook is working on, most of them commendable; most of them stuff that governments and the leaders of the respective industries should have been, ideally, driving.

But what I saw yesterday after tempting my Snapchat friends with photos of my six-course dinner in Milan, left a bad taste in my mouth. I had heard earlier in the day that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook was to launch something called Instagram Stories. Smart move, I thought. Reminded me of how Instagram videos came at the point everyone was on Keek’s dick. But when I left Snapchat to catch up with IG, I was shocked to find a copycat of Snapchat right in my face: if you’re a Snapchat user, you know what tapping your camera screen twice does: it switches the camera from front to back. You know what the eye sign says: suggesting who has viewed your snap. You know how to edit your photos and input text in many colours. These basic Snapchat features were what Facebook introduced yesterday on Instagram. I don’t know if there’s a term for it in Silicon Valley. But in the media, it’s called plagiarism. It’s an illegality. A shame. It’s low and dirty and petty and unpardonable.

Google was late to the social media party and is paying dearly for it. We’ve seen what happened to Nokia and Blackberry and Yahoo and others who didn’t see the future early. So I understand Facebook’s determination not to be caught napping. I also understand they may not have broken any laws, but what’s bad is bad, no matter how much filter you use to beautify it.
Facebook has been eyeing what Google had with YouTube for years, and I recall the criticism that trailed their free-for-all approach to videos from 2014. Looking away as copyright infringements thrived on their platform, they just wanted people to post videos natively on Facebook, no matter whose. They even tweaked the algorithm to prioritize native video content over links. They tweaked the algorithm to show us more video in newsfeed. Facebook wanted a seat at the video table. They now have it.

For many years, Facebook became, for many people, the social media app where your father and grand uncle liked your photos and made snide comments on your tattoos. So millennials jumped out in droves and began cavorting with cooler platforms like Tumblr and Snapchat and even Twitter. To win the kids back, Facebook has had to do a lot of things, including Facebook Live – a product designed, in my opinion, to battle Twitter for relevance in live news, and battle Snapchat in live video.

Instagram’s Stories, launched yesterday, is the recent episode, in this battle for users’ photos, videos, time and data, and it would have been popcorn-deserving, if it were not scary. It would have been entertaining if it were not unfunny.

I’ve been told moves like this are not new in the tech industry. My response: it doesn’t make it right, especially for a company owned and run by someone with Zuckerberg’s vision.

Facebook has used new ideas, good thinking and technology to connect over 1.7 billion people in 12 years. I see a future where Facebook.com will be the home page of the internet, winning in media and tech and advertising. It’s bound to happen, whether we like it or not.

Facebook has done, and will have to do a lot to make sure this possibility is not truncated. Bullying every small Organisation to hand over their businesses or get run over is definitely not one of them.

Sadly, for now, Snapchat will have to reinvent itself or die a fast, painful death.

The Concept of Virality – The Olajumoke Orisaguna report

Olajumoke

Something from BHM Research & Intelligency I believe you’ll absolutely love. Highly recommended if you work in public relations, advertising, media, entertainment, digital marketing, social media, brand management or the academia.

You’re welcome

Concept of Virality cover

Please download the full report here

 

Celebrating Davido With Media Friends At BHM Lounge

24-Tosyn Bucknor, Davido and Gbemi OO-001

So we hosted a media party for Nigerian pop star Davido in celebration of his recent global deal with Sony Music.

25-Ayeni Adekunle and Davido-001

Couldn’t find my glasses. And my cap.

Davido

Are you in a photo if it’s just your hand in it? Davido

Davido and his NET cover

Davido was a bad boy. Proud of how he’s cleaned up his image and used his music to show young folks what’s possible.

01-Ayeni Adekunle and Davido 1-001 (1)

Frosh

The BHM Team and Davido

The BHM Team pose with Davido before he had a chance to enter the lounge.

Using Our Own Medicine – My speech at the Public Presentation of Nigeria PR Report

Ayeni Adekunle at first ever annual Nigeria PR Report unveil

 

Something happened in 2015.

 

A poor 72-year-old, unpopular, retired army-general ran to be president of Nigeria, an oil-rich West African country with population of about 200 million people.

 

His opponent, the incumbent, was a 57-year-old Ph.D. who, three years earlier while he was VP, was so popular and favoured that influential citizens marched the streets protesting, when it appeared some powerful interests were determined to prevent him from becoming president after it was clear his boss, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had passed on.

 

That election, to elect the 15th president of Nigeria, finally held on March 28 and 29, 2015.

 

But it had been won and lost months before. Won by General Muhammadu Buhari of the Action Congress of Nigeria who comparatively, had little money and plenty obstacles, but deployed an almost-excellent political strategy and reputation management.

 

The defeated sitting president as we have since discovered, had limitless access to funds and other resources. But his campaign strategy was lousy. As lousy as some of the people who were the faces and voices of his re-election project.

 

One party found a big idea (Change) and rode with it. The other was hijacking a campaign to bring back kidnapped schoolgirls from Chibok, a little town in Borno, South-eastern Nigeria. One party proactively used research data to develop PR strategies for youth and citizen engagement, the other, as we also have now seen, used cash and mercenaries and sophistry, until the last minute.

 

Buhari was a mean military dictator, despised by many discerning Nigerians. He was an old, eighties man who, as many agree, was out of touch with the tools and trends required to transform a paralyzed country like Nigeria. Yet about 15,424,921 million Nigerians in 36 states voted for him to return as president, defeating his young, ‘better educated’, rich and powerful opponent by a 2,571,759 margin.

 

It’s not fiction.

 

The role of public relations in politics and governance in Nigeria cannot be over emphasized. The ‘Buhari-GEJ’ story would have been remarkable if it were rare. Yet if you look deeply into the affairs of the private and public sectors in Nigeria and indeed elsewhere across Africa, what presents, is an increasing intervention by PR to help communities and organizations and governments solve problems they thought were insurmountable. In Buhari’s case, he had contested and lost three times in 12 years.

Panel

 

In 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin completed an orbit of the earth, effectively becoming the first man in space. If there had been no records of the event, if there were no pictures taken and circulated, no reports made, did he really make the trip? Did he accomplish the feat?

 

A historic moment becomes myth, fable even, if there are no evidence and facts to support claims and silence sceptics. Who here will call a party to celebrate a child’s excellent result without first laying hands on the report card?

 

There’s little data, if any, on the role of public relations in the last national elections. Little data, if any, on how in-house PR teams and external consultancies are helping local and international brands make sense out of a chaotic business environment like Nigeria. You will go very far to see case studies on all the great work I’m aware have been done by Nigerian professionals on brands like Wole Soyinka, MTN Nigeria, Nigerian Breweries, Dangote, Indomie, Etisalat, GTBank and Airtel.

 

We complain regularly that the quality of our work can be better. We excuse clients’ lack of trust and investment with the belief that we really haven’t shown value. But how do we get better if we do not have records of the work we do – the good, the bad and the ugly? How do we train beginners? How do we engage globally, in a space where the lingua franca is billings and case studies?

 

The global PR Agency industry revenue is put at over $13 billion. I can assure you Nigeria, which by BHM estimates, makes over $68.75 million, is not in that calculation.

 

We all know why.

 

That’s why our company BlackHouse Media created the campaign #PrisDead in 2015. That’s why we decided, after relevant consultations, to begin this hopefully annual report on the Nigeria public relations industry.

Public Presentation of Nigeria PR Report

Of course it’s inspired by The Holmes Report’s World PR Report, which, I hope, starting 2016, will begin to feature great Nigerian agencies doing amazing work.

 

We have a lot to do, to make that happen. We have even more to do, to accomplish our dreams of increased billing, attracting and retaining super talents, and becoming big regional and global players.

 

The ball is in our court.

 

It is possible

Presentation of Nigeria PR Report

Download Nigeria PR Report 2015 for free on AmazoniTunes and on the BlackHouse Media website.

Surprise visit by City People publisher Seye Kehinde

Dr Seye Kehinde with Ayeni Adekunle

Dr. Seye Kehinde, publisher of City People stopped by BHM this morning.

Dr Seye Kehinde with Ayeni Adekunle

With Publisher, City People Magazine, Dr. Seye Kehinde

Of course all we talked about was the past, present and future of the media industry in Nigeria

Dr. Seye Kehinde at BHM with Ayeni Adekunle
He said he came to interview me. But I ended up asking all the questions and picking every part of his brain.

Publisher of City People, Seye Kehinde With Ayeni Adekunle

City People is one of the most successful celebrity magazines in Nigeria. Now in its 19th year, SK and his team are now plotting a future in an industry that’s increasingly under the influence of bloggers and social media influencers.

I’ll be glad to see Nigerian brands face the digital challenge and not only survive, but use the advantage technology provides to enter new markets and – as we say at BHM – ‘go global’.

You see, to survive in this business, you have to ‘see’ tomorrow.

Publisher of City People, Dr Seye Kehinde with Ayeni Adekunle

 

Dr Seye Kehinde leaving BHM after his interview

Now employing 18,000 people, Biodun Shobanjo couldn’t get N10m loan 28 years ago

Biodun Shobanjo pictured at Civic Centre in Lagos, during MTV Base's real talk where he was a panelist.

‘Baba Niyen’

‘That’s the godfather’

Yomi Badejo-Okusanya couldn’t stop gushing after seeing a portrait of Biodun Shobanjo while descending the stairs at BHM last week.

Nigerian pop icon 2face Idibia poses in front of BHM's 'wall of inspiration', during a visit to the Lagos agency ahead of his 40th birthday celebrations, September.

Nigerian pop icon 2face Idibia poses in front of BHM’s ‘wall of inspiration’, during a visit to our agency ahead of his 40th birthday celebrations, September. Shobanjo’s portrait is seen below his left arm.

Shobanjo, Nigerian advertising legend and chairman of Troyka Holdings is one of the many great men our bandits are mandated to study and emulate. As a reminder, we have their portraits at the entrance of one of the busiest places in our building – The BHM Lounge.

There’s Michael Jackson and Steve Jobs and Mahatma Ghandi. There’s Jay Z and Wole Soyinka and Gani Fawehinmi. There’s Edelman and Marley and Mandela.

But it was Shobanjo that caught YBO’s attention as I saw him off on Tuesday.

I’ve never met Shobanjo personally, but I’ve encountered him twice. The first time, he was on a discussion panel at MTV Base Real Talk, in Lagos. I remember Mo Abudu moderated the panel, with my friend Kelvin Orifa of MTN also among discussants.

Biodun Shobanjo pictured at Civic Centre in Lagos, during MTV Base's real talk where he was a panelist.

Biodun Shobanjo pictured at Civic Centre in Lagos, during MTV Base’s real talk where he was a panelist.

But it was the second encounter that came to mind as YBO sang his praise last week. I was at the back of the hall on June 19 2015, in company of our finance head Oyindamola as he gave a keynote during the annual Yes! Magazine Anniversary Lecture Series.

And this man, whose insight gave Nigeria an agency that can rub shoulders with any other from anywhere in the world, stood there, talking about not being able to secure a bank loan some 28 years ago.

We all know the story of Insight. We are familiar with Shobanjo’s history and exploits. But prior to that moment, no one had put it to me in such simple details. No one had broken it down the way he did himself. It’s the kind of moment I wish I captured in video.

28 years ago I was chasing the banks to get a N10million loan. We were trying to raise money to buy different things, including three Volkswagen cars for our senior staff. Of course no bank gave us the money.’

Each of the cars was N3k at the time.

‘Now, 28 years later, we are being offered N2 billion credit line’, he told the packed hall.

Shobanjo (who’s now 71 by the way) said many things at the Yes! Lecture, as you’ll find HERE.

But my takeaway is simple: I’ve visited Insight at least twice in the past one month. I have an idea of the organisation’s exploits and Shobanjo’s standing, in spite of all the tsunami that’s sweeping many in that sector away.

I’m fascinated by how his 11 companies are spread across various industries, from real estate to public relations and security. Stunned by how Troyka is employing 18,000 people. Eighteen thousand!

I know many young people who want what he has. I know many who are dreaming big and hoping for fortune.

I know many who have only spent five years but are already wondering why it’s not happened yet.

Just look at where Shobanjo is coming from. Ask around about all the lost pitches and bad deals and wasted accounts. Ask about all the ‘NOs’ he’s received on the way here. Ask about all the headaches and heartaches and nightmares.

Then ask yourself: what are you doing today that can prepare you to become bigger than Shobanjo tomorrow?

What are you doing today that can make people who have never met you decorate their office with your portrait?

What are you doing right now that can make people see your portrait someday and go on and on about your greatness?

YBO and Steve Babaeko joined many others for the #PRisdead event at BHM last week.

YBO and Steve Babaeko joined many others for the #PRisdead event at BHM last week.

Let me know the answers!

 

MEANWHILE: Did you read this? WHY YOU MUST NEVER TAKE ACCESS FOR GRANTED