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Why It Is Unethical For PR Agencies To Mark Their Own Homework—Philip Odiakose

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Why It Is Unethical For PR Agencies To Mark Their Own Homework—Philip Odiakose

Philip Odiakose

The first independent communications/PR measurement agency in Nigeria, P+ Measurement Services, recently set a new feat by becoming the first member of the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) in the country.

In a recent chat with BrandArena, Philip Odiakose, Lead Consultant of the firm, spoke on the benefit of being AMEC member and why it is unethical, unhealthy and unprofessional for PR agencies to mark their own homework. Excerpt:

Communications/PR measurement is very key to the growth of any business. How well is this practice in Nigeria?

I will begin by stating the meaning of AMEC, AMEC is the International “Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication”. The PR measurement practice is a budding industry in Nigeria. Brands are gradually warming up to the idea that value measurement is a core aspect of every marketing communications campaign. Benchmarking has become more important, PR measurement is gradually taking centre stage and definitely trend setting will complete the revolution for future performances of businesses and brands and we are glad that P+ is at the forefront of this evolution in the Nigerian business space.

In South Africa they have an Independent Association called SAMMA (South African Media Monitoring and Measurement Association) governing the Monitoring and Measurement consultant. There are no independent associations in Nigeria for the consultants in Nigeria, that is the reason PR agencies can take Independent monitoring briefs; which is unethical, unhealthy and unprofessional for an agency to mark their own homework. It is not right for you to be the accused, the judge and jury of your work”.

Can you expatiate more on that?

From my experience in the IMC industry, I can tell you that sometimes, agencies trim down on the negative report in order to look good in the eyes of the brand owners. Especially if the story is being published in one of the second tier publications that they feel doesn’t matter. That is why part of the service we also provide to our clients is crises management advisory. We understand the behaviour of the online media; we have monitored them and their feeders for a long time to know how to engage them when we want to.

As Lead Consultant at P+, how do you feel becoming the first member of AMEC in Nigeria?

We are excited to be the first member of AMEC in Nigeria. We are also happy to be the first Independent Communications/PR measurement agency in Nigeria. Our drive has been to improve the value proposition of brands so as to create an environment where brands can improve their services after reviewing the results of their campaigns. We want PR agencies to start seeing Independent Communications measurement agencies as partners (friends) rather than foes as our work helps to reflect the effectiveness of their activities.

We look forward to becoming a member of FIBEP, FIBEP is the world’s media intelligence federation with over 120 corporate members employing over 13,857 people in over 60 countries.

Due to the harsh economic situation of the country, many brand owners have been cutting cost on marketing communications, how has that affected P+?

The economic situation has affected brands no doubt, but we have been able to play a vital role in the growth of several brands even in this recession. A communications manager once said “if I had my last penny to choose between a PR agency and a PR measurement agency, I will choose a PR measurement agency, because I’m a communications person so I can still handle the PR for my brand, but I won’t want to take the risk of evaluating and measuring my own homework as I tend to be biased naturally”. We have proved through this period of recession that our consistent services are valuable to our clients by constantly providing them with access to information about their brands and supplementary information about the economic situation, so the effect on us has been minimal.

Tell us briefly about some of the things P+ has done so far this year?

As new entrants into the Nigerian market, we are proud of some of the work we’ve been able to do this year. We have provided PR measurement and media monitoring for clients locally and internationally across diverse industries ranging from financial institution, airlines, mobile technology, politics and government, tourism and resorts (South Africa), beverages and regional carnivals. It is evident that there is a market for P+’s services in the Nigerian business landscape as we have been able to build trust of multinationals, government and PR agencies in less than 2 years of our operation.

P+ has been one of the fastest growing agencies that offer PR measurement service in the country. Where do you see P+ in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I see an industry where brands will put a stop to the practice of allowing PR agencies to handle their media monitoring and reportage, an industry where professionalism is paramount and one in which P+ is bringing in new innovations to help PR agencies and communications managers implement the new public relations measurement standard of the industry.

Lastly, what are your thoughts about the future of Communication/PR measurement generally? And what does being a member of AMEC mean for P+ as a young agency?

AMEC membership is internationally representative, with members in over 48 different countries, providing an opportunity to network and do business across borders which P+ happens to be the only member in Nigeria currently.

I have always said that measurements and evaluations are destined for top management capacities; from the creative strategy sessions and the processes of determining results. The future of the measurement industry is an industry where measurement consultants are called in during the planning phase to help determine a scope for how to measure results of their campaigns on all platforms from the start.

We are gradually leading the evolution by monitoring 26 print publications daily and 71 print publications in total within Lagos, part of the south, east and west; knowing full well that it is impossible to do selective monitoring and provide a competitive analysis report for brands. Timeliness stand us out in the industry, as our daily report gets to clients as early as 5am around the clock (first of its kind in Nigeria), every communication/PR directors and managers want to see their daily media highlights when they are still on the bed or on their way to work; that’s what P+ provide.

We received testimonies from clients, that “our timely daily report has helped them to make quick management decisions”. P+ is a believer of the human analysis report as against machine generated reports, we currently subscribe to 3 online media monitoring tools for near real time monitoring for our clients, but we do not allow the tools to generate reports for us because when measurement is built into a news monitoring platform the general metrics used can be a horrible reflection of your actual impact, Studies have revealed that automated measurement can be, at best, 55% accurate at times. So here you have to ask yourself, can I afford to be wrong almost half the time?

Philip Odiakose1

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Banking

We Have Done Well to Stabilise Nigerian Banking Sector—NDIC

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Nigerian Banking Sector

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) says it has performed the duties of keeping the Nigerian banking sector stable since its inception about 32 years ago.

Chairman of the NDIC, Mrs Ronke Sokefun, disclosed that the agency has ensured that members of the public have a strong belief in the financial system in the country.

According to her, the NDIC, when necessary, provides financial assistance, technical assistance to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Microfinance Banks (MfBs) and Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs).

She further said in addition, the insurer assists financial institutions with mergers and acquisition, purchase and assumptions, as well as the application of the bridge bank mechanisms.

“Besides deposit protection, prompt resolution of bank failure in Nigeria by the NDIC in its over 32 years of its existence has succeeded in steering the banking sector off systemic failure and collapse of public confidence, thus safeguarding the role of financial safety net,” Mrs Sokefun said on Thursday at the 2021 NDIC retreat for members of the House of Representatives Committee on Insurance and Actuarial Matters in Lagos.

The NDIC boss noted that, “It is only when all these options could not rescue a bank that it is allowed to go into liquidation.”

She said so far, a total of 467 DMBs, MfBs and PMBs have been completely liquidated or undergoing the process of complete liquidation.

“As of date, 49 DMBs, 367 MFBs and 51 PMBs are either completely liquidated or undergoing the process of complete liquidation by the NDIC, following the revocation of their operating licenses by the Central Bank of Nigeria,” Mrs Sokefun informed the lawmakers.

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Banking

Otedola, Odukale First Bank Leadership Tussle Excites CBN

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First Bank Leadership Tussle

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed satisfaction with the power tussle between Mr Femi Otedola and Mr Taiwo Hassan Odukale, over who owns the single largest shareholding in First Bank of Nigeria, also known as FGN Holdings Plc.

The duo recently became a news item over the issue after it was announced that Mr Otedola was now the single largest shareholder in the financial institution. The company later released a statement, stating that Mr Odukale was the largest shareholder.

On Tuesday, after the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting for 2021, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while addressing reporters, said the development was a testament to the positive decisions taken by the apex bank to keep First Bank alive.

A few months ago, the CBN sacked the board of FBN Holdings and First Bank of Nigeria Limited, its flagship bank, over a leadership tussle.

It was after the news that Nigerians knew that the central bank had been providing funds to the company as an intervention in order not to make it collapse because of huge non-performing loans (NPLs) bedevilling the organisation.

Justifying its decision to provide funding support to the lender on Tuesday, Mr Emefiele said First Bank, as the oldest bank in Nigeria, was too big to fail.

According to him, “If anything happens to First Bank, it means something has happened to the Nigerian banking system. That is why we are taking advice on how to get the bank afoot seriously.”

He then declared that First Bank was too big to be owned by an individual, adding that the tussle was good because “six years ago, as I said, because of an aggressive build-up of NPLs, the share price of First Bank was about N2. We took it up. Then, everybody was running away from the shares of First Bank.

“We have cleaned the balance sheet now, people are seeing that the money-making machine, First Bank, is back on its feet. They are in the race for profitability. They are now competing for the shares of First Bank. As of the last time I checked over the weekend, the share price was more N11.

“Why should I quarrel about that? “I am happy to see that they are competing for the shares. Of course, we all know that First Bank is so large that no single person can own it. In running the banks, they should see themselves as representing others.”

The leadership tussle between the two billionaires seems to have been put to rest after the clarification made by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

First Bank had earlier said Mr Hassan-Odukale controlled a 5.36 per cent cumulative equity stake in the company through direct and indirect shareholding, stating that it was more than the 5.07 per cent holding of Mr Otedola.

Mr Hassan-Odukale’s stake rose to 5.36 per cent because of the addition of the stake of Leadway Pensure Limited, which he also has an interest in.

But PenCom explained that the shares of FBN Holdings purchased by Leadway Pensure belonged to Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders and not Mr Hassan-Odukale because the funds actually belonged to a pool of investors, who are mainly Nigerian workers.

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Banking

Heritage Bank CEO Clinches Banker of Year (SMEs & Agric) Award

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Heritage Bank CEO

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank Plc, Mr Ifie Sekibo, has been named as Banker of the Year 2021 under SMEs and Agric category.

The Heritage Bank CEO won this award at the New Telegraph 2021 Awards held recently in recognition of his leadership position in delivering sterling development and growth of the agricultural sector and the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Receiving the award on behalf of the bank’s CEO, the Executive Director, Jude Monye stated that the bank was honoured and motivated to do more for the sustainability and growth of the Agric and SME sectors following the award received from the New Telegraph newspaper.

“We are highly honoured to receive the award as the Banker of the Year (SMEs & Agric) from the Board and Management of New Telegraph Newspaper.

“This validates the hard work and success story of the bank to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations, as amongst other sectors of the economy, we have continued to ensure our efforts to support the Agric and SMEs sector in Nigeria counts.

“This is a result that will continue to motivate us to deepen our supports to Agric, SMEs sector and the economy at large for sustainable growth,” he assured.

Mr Sekibo vowed that in line with its core mandate to create and transfer generational wealth, the bank would continue to make farming profitable to stakeholders and attractive to the youth, as Heritage Bank had taken the front seat in financing critical agricultural projects in several states in the country, especially in Oyo, Kaduna and Zamfara and recently in Plateau Jos.

He noted that most of the ventures in the agriculture sector fall within the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) sectors of the economy, which Heritage Bank in close collaboration with CBN has been championing.

According to him, in complementing the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Heritage Bank has made a huge success of the established agricultural schemes by making funds available to both small holder farmers and SMEs (Prime Anchors) in their efforts to increase agricultural output especially rice and wheat productions.

He explained that Heritage Bank has deepened support of small holders’ farmers and anchors in Ogun, Niger and recently Plateau state in rice and wheat seed and grain production under Prime ABP, which would help tackle gaps inherent.

“Heritage Bank in partnership with CBN is set to reverse the adverse trends by eliminating dependence on imported wheat which currently stands at over $2 billion and the unavailability of high yield wheat seed that stands at 63,000 MT through a strategic approach which would facilitate import substitution and promote self-sufficiency in the wheat value chain in Nigeria, by funding the local production of wheat and encouraging backward integration by wheat millers,” he stated.

Earlier, in a letter to congratulate him for his nomination as the Banker of the Year (SMEs & Agric) of the year 2021, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of New Telegraph, Mr Ayodele Aminu, explained that, “after a thorough scrutiny of Heritage Bank’s laudable support for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), as well the country’s agricultural sector, in the last one year by our Panel of Judges and Editors, we at the New Telegraph 2021 are pleased to award Heritage Bank, Banker of the Year (SMEs & Agric).”

Meanwhile, Heritage Bank has recorded notable success stories in the Agric and SMEs’ spaces which in 2017 the bank won the maiden award from CBN for Sustainable Transaction of the Year in Agriculture.

In 2018, Heritage Bank emerged as a winner in the Agriculture Category during the year’s CBN Sustainable Transaction of the year award. The Nigeria Agriculture Awards (NAA), announced Heritage Bank as the Agric. Bank of the Year. According to NAA, Heritage Bank was selected in recognition of its footprints in the Agribusiness space.

In 2019/2020, Heritage Bank secured mandate as Transaction Advisers and Settlement Bank on Agribusiness and Solid Minerals to Lagos Commodities & Futures Exchange.

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