Brand activation is the kernel of the integrated marketing communication (IMC) template of most brands or organisations, hence the proliferation of agencies that specialise in creating experiences for brands. Hardly is there a marketing campaign without experiential marketing. Oracle Experience Chief Executive Officer, Felix Eiremiokhae, argues that brand activation is the future and agencies without new skills will struggle.
Direction of experiential marketing
Brand activation is the future. We have moved away from dancing on the streets to seeing ourselves as storytellers, to how you can touch the sixth sense; that is, the emotive sense. That is the direction.
That is why most agencies that are not into ideation will struggle as we progress in the industry, because every brand wants to tell a story. A story people can remember over a very long period time.
But how many agencies can tell a story through activation? That is another story for another day.
It has been very exciting, it has been from glory to glory and every single day. A lot of challenges keep coming our way in terms of delivering on promises we made to clients. We just keep doing it, and that is the magic for us.
Outstanding activations of last year
We had quite a lot of outstanding jobs last year. We have also found ourselves deciding on the creative ladder; we want to play and we choose to play in the groundbreaking side of the ladder.
Some great activations we have done, such as STAR Bottle Tree, were amazing. Gulder relaunched Gulder Yacht and Heineken Green Light Experience; all were groundbreaking activations that left a good taste in the mouth of Nigerians, consumers, and brand owners, which have gone global in clientele.
Challenges in radical activations
Life itself is a huge challenge and what separates you from others and makes you outstanding is how you manage challenges. You need to take risk to be able to stand out.
The biggest challenge we keep seeing in the industry is ourselves. We keep doing things that have never been done, and that is a huge challenge for us because you are required by clients to surpass your previous feats.
So, it is already difficult for people to understand the direction we want to go.
What we do here at Oracle is like a painter who has all the ideas but those ideas are inside of him. Trying to reinterpret those ideas sometimes could be really challenging.
The good thing is that clients are always patient with us and give us the opportunity to express our inner thoughts, and that makes it easy for us.
Sometimes budget can also be a very big issue. Besides that, man power and third party supplier are huge challenges an agency like ours could face in delivering on these innovative brand engagement activations.
But somehow the clients are happy with us despite the challenges and they are always ready to stay in a journey with us.
Outstanding activations in 2014
It is always very difficult for me to say which of the jobs we have done is most exciting. I am always excited about all the works we have done because the vibe and originality that go into each are all unique in their own sense.
All of them represent different things. The concept and ideation of Heineken Green Light Experience, are totally different from the Star Bottle Tree. The concept of Gulder Yacht is equally very different from that of Gulder relaunch despite the fact that it is the same brand. We create to fit every experience.
But again, which one can we you say could tickle the fancy of consumers, which made them believe that it was not possible that I could say it is STAR Bottle Tree.
We had to break the world record and build a Christmas tree from the Star Bottle to 36 feet. That was quite amazing and it got international recognitions, one of which is creating a new record in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest Christmas bottle tree on the continent.
It was broadcast all over the world too.
It is the grace. Here we are under the grace and when you are under the grace anything you set your mind to do you have the enablement to achieve it.
However, we try as a business to see ourselves as people driving the creativity process for the industry.
We take a lot of learning from how things are done globally, we try to expose ourselves through training and retraining, and that has cost us so much. Most times we try to think outside the box because that is the only thing that can keep you a step ahead of competition.
Moreover, this is possible because we enjoy the story we tell. So, for every opportunity we have been given we just want to tell those stories that can really make a brand feel that ‘this is who we are and what we represent’.
As they say, the reward for hard work is more work. Therefore, the awards have put pressure on us to do more. Our clients, particularly Nigerian Breweries, always want to see what we can do next.
Only leaders feel pressure, followers do not; they are only expectant.
So, everyday people are expecting us to perform another magic and because of the pressure, we’ve always found ourselves getting better.
This year we are going to shock the industry with breathtaking activations which have been approved by clients. These will come to live in the second and third quarters of the year.
Nigerian Breweries as risk taker
Most fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) businesses like to play safe when it comes to taking risk in brand engagement platforms. They are not ready to take risks but before a brand can become exceptional and outstanding it has to take risk with remarkable activations. Nigerian Breweries likes to take risk, it believes it has all it takes to embark on the journey with us.
As a global company, Nigerian Breweries is not just playing around at the local market, it is also playing on the international stage because Heineken is a global brand.
Therefore, whatever you are creating locally you need to also showcase it internationally.
Hence, it is easy for them to set the pace as a leader in the industry. And somehow they find in us a very comfortable partner in making all these amazing magical activations.
Oracle industry ranking
I will throw that question back to you. What do you think the industry thinks about Oracle as an agency?
I will tell you what the clients think. Clients feel we are the best; that is why we keep having opportunities to do the kind of things we do.
But you are one of the industry watchers, so tell me what you think?
Again, MarketingEdge magazine, an influential integrated marketing communication journal, thinks we are the best. That is why we won the Most Outstanding Experiential Marketing Agency Award in 2014.
We have also won several other awards such as Brand Journalists’ Most Innovative Brand Activation Agency in 2013, amongst other distinctive awards.