Charles O’Tudor, arguably one of the best brains in the brand management sub-sector of the integrated marketing communication. He came into prominence with its communication’s buzzword ‘O2Generation’. He also one of the first true advertising guys who broke away and championed brand management practice in Nigeria. The Principal Consultant at Adstrat group of companies, in this chat revealed how his company came a bit late to safe former President Goodluck Jonathan’s failed bid to reclaim presidency. He also said advertising is going through a decline. The brand oxygenation proponent reappeared recently with Brand Arise and Compendium after a long absence.


Gone for too long
I have not been silence in the real sense but at the background doing the backburners, most especially with the Cross River State government.
Adstract Arise served as a consulting firm to the state government in brand evolution, strategic planning and information management, and sharing in terms of marketing the state and portraying it in the best light.
Adstract’s project with the state was multifaceted but not private driven; rather a public private service (PPS).
In order words, Abstract partnered with Cross River in almost every aspect of its project planning and execution, doing strategic, re-branding, and robust execution plans.

Experience of consulting for a state
It was really an eye-opener to so many things. It broadened one’s experience in terms of capacity building, intellectual development, and sophistication, and so on.
Former Governor Liyel Imoke demanded a lot; he does not take a ‘no’ for an answer and does not believe in impossibilities.
Since Adstract interfaces between the government and its agencies, we were saddled with lots of responsibilities in terms of planning and execution, articulating those plans in the areas of information dissemination and brand marketing.
This in turn sells the state very well and enhances its growth and development.
Also, we created initiatives for ministries and parastatals in order to create a viable and buoyant economic development for the state in the long term.
We did not only create initiatives for ministries and parastatals alone but projected a long term and viable way with which the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR) would grow through marketing and branding.

Effect of silence on Adstract
O'TudorAdstract has not really been silent; it is undergoing brand metamorphosis. It is working but doing the back burners well. We may say it is silence because we left the front burners to our clients.
Adstract is known for intellectualism, professionalism, and quality standards in creativity and we have been doing that even in silence due to our absence from the media.

New ideas again?
Adstract has always been involved in intellectualism, professionalism, creativity and quality in standard of content. We will never stop doing that consistently.
We are coming up with a project known as Brand Arise, to be launched later this year. It is all about youth empowerment, branding youths to arise to the unemployment challenge by being creative minded through entrepreneurship.
The Brand Arise project will be a Nigerian renaissance for the youth in the brand and marketing industry with the launch of a compendium that serves as the project’s prospectus.
Beyond intellectualism, Abstract will also add values to life, initiating enlightenment and awareness campaigns in cancer and heart attack that could be either prevented or managed.
In essence, we believe sharing information in this regard to the public will go a long way in either preventing or managing it from personal experience and medical point of view.

Capacity to implement
We are partnering relevant authorities like the Federal Ministry of Health. We would synergise our collaborations in a way that will give us the required result.

More politics, less branding
I have not been involved in any active politics at all. Our deal with the Cross River State government was based purely on professionalism.
However, we did some political branding for former President Goodluck Jonathan which we thought was lacking then due to poor articulation of his brand, but it was late at the time we were consulted.
I am only a card carrying member of a political party, not an active party person. But I don’t know what the future holds.

Industry challenges
OTudorSome of the factors hindering the growth of the brand and marketing industry are practitioner’s lethargy in research, recycling old ideas without coming up with new ones, and suffering intellectual retrogression rather than promoting progression.
It is shocking that the global income in brand and marketing suffers a sharp drop of about 45 per cent.
A reliable report last year showed that clients are moving away from the conventional way of advertising to digital.
Story telling is an art on its own while digital advertising is also on its own. Content gets more branding in digital advertising and gets down even to the downtrodden more easily than the conventional.
More so, you do things more differently in style so that nobody gets bored reading or looking at the content of the brand.
It is left to all practitioners in the brand and marketing firm, the PR firm, and the media to move to the next stage of marketing and advertising, which Abstract has been doing.
Discipline is also very important on the part of practitioners, saying yes to everything at the expense of standards should be disregarded. Quality Standard must be set and strictly adhered to.

There should be strict regulation in content branding. There should be originality in branding because originality is gradually leaving the industry.
Near impossible deadlines from clients are also a major setback for quality standard.

Adstract’s score card in 15 years
We led the revolution in terms of strategic planning, intellectualism, professionalism, and high quality standard.
We set the standard for others to emulate. We initiated brand creativity and also brand pioneers. We add empirical values to the industry.
We make content strategic in human materials itself – our staff and content. We were marketing and brand consultant to 14 Nigerian banks, back to back, for some years.
We facilitated the consolidation of three Nigerian banks, which are all doing well today. We were the first to handle a state branding architecture, and that is Cross River.
We gave birth to the Cross River Advertising Agency, which took up the branding of Obudu Mountain, Calabar Carnival, and so many spheres of life in the state.
We pioneered state re-branding, cutting across all the ministries and parastatals of the state. We have also been involved in political branding both at state and federal levels.
And we have come with Brand Arise Project and its compendium.

Future plan
To consistently add value to upcoming practitioners in terms of intellectualism, creativity, professionalism, and high quality standards; and to increase the value chain in the industry between the practitioners and the clients.
In addition, to promote content for digital advertising, be the search-engine for quality in content branding.
Draw, as always, strategic and enduring execution plans for branding. And lastly, make discipline, confidence, and competence prevail in the industry.


Credit: The Niche on Sunday