Client Wants Creative PR Partner That Enhances Growth - Okeme

L-R: Yomi Badejo –Okusanya,MD of  CMC Connect  Burston- Marsteller -Sponsor of the event, Vincent Oyo, MD, Image Consulting, David Okeme, President of ADVAN & Guest Speaker, John Ehiguese, PRCAN President, Vice President Muyiwa  Akintunde, and Secretary General, Adetola Odusote, both of PRCAN
The President of Advertisers Association of Nigeria, David Okeme has said that clients are desperately looking for that PR that can change perception and societal behaviour with just one image.
Okeme, who is also the Brand Building Director at Unilever Nigeria, made the statement while sharing business insights on the topic ‘What Do Clients Really Want?’ at the September 2015 edition of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria Breakfast Meeting held in Lagos on Wednesday, September 23, 2015.
He explained that at the heart of client’s expectation from any campaign was PR that connects with the people and also delivers values that enhances growth. 
He explained that Unilever became the most competitive company in the world because it had developed three pillars strategy in creating brands namely; putting people first, building brand love and unlocking the magic.
 According to him: “In putting people first, Unilever sees people as the reason for its existence and therefore creates brands that offer real value and provides solutions to everyday lives. Secondly, in terms of building brand love, we create a purpose that becomes a high level anchor that consumers buy into and thus enhance business growth. Thirdly, to unlock the magic, the consumer must find the logic to believe in the superiority of the brand.”
Stressing further on how the company puts those three pillars into use, Okeme shared video case studies of campaigns that were purposefully created to offer real value to the society, including one that led to the provision of safe water for a community.
Since brand align ideas that both affect societal change and drive business simultaneously, Okeme said the challenge was for PR to create a point of convergence that connects with the society in order to remain relevant.
In his words: “ PR needs to get  the point of convergence right in a way that is creative and strategic to elevate PR from being a transactional activity – which is how we have handled PR for quite some time – to a creative and strategic partner that brings about change in the society and growth in the business.”
 He advised PR professionals to explore the potentials of using word-of-mouth to achieve consumer conversion in brand usage.  He added that in some parts of the world, powerful PR tool yields positive results because it is more believable.
To emphasise the importance of memorability, Okeme quoted Maya Angelou as saying “people will forget what you said and what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel”, as he challenged his audience to adapt a creative and strategic story telling approach that people could connect with and remember for a long time to a point of becoming the brand ambassadors themselves.
He added that how you make a consumer feel was critical to the delivery of memorability, conversion and for unlocking growth. According to him, memorability is crucial because growth is driven by light users – people who buy very infrequently. 
“For clients, growth happens not with the loyal consumers but when there is a conversion as a result of a top-of-the-mind awareness that is brought about by creative story-telling,” Okeme stated.
Okeme said that PR was integral to helping the brand create social impact that would ultimately unlock growth and therefore, practitioners needed to elevate themselves to the position of strategic partners with organisations to become indispensable in all the discussions on brand building.
In his remarks, John Ehiguese, President of PRCAN, pointed out that the take-away from the session was that practitioners needed to change their strategy paradigms and embrace creative and strategic story telling that creates convergence with society.
“The learning from this session for me is the clarion call to practitioners to be more creative in their story telling approach that would ensure that people start talking about the brand and not necessarily the organisation, ” Ehiguese said.
The highly interactive session was sponsored by CMC Connect Burston-Masteller, a member-firm of PRCAN. It was well attended by CEOs and senior executives of top flight public relations consultancies.