IN marketing communication industry, the principle that ‘the customer is king’ has continued to define how businesses response to people’s needs and desires. And the ultimate goal is always to build a network of brand loyalists.
In Lagos on Wednesday last week, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) hosted a stakeholders’ forum designed, according to the agency’s Managing Director, Mrs. Oluremi Oyo, “as an interactive platform for assessment of our operations and products for better service delivery.”
But in the audience also were some of her professional colleagues including the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Engineer Yomi Bolarinwa; President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye; Editor-in-Chief of Media Review, Mr. Lanre Idowu; Director of Marketing, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Alhaji Bola Agboola among others.
And the venue of the forum, the newly constructed NAN Media Centre is a testimony that the Federal Government outlet is living up to its bidding as foremost wire service agency especially in the continent of Africa.
Indeed, this feat is not lost on Mrs. Oyo telling her guests, who are mainly corporate and individual users of NAN services that “it is particularly gratifying to host you at this beautiful edifice – The NAN Media Centre – whose construction was still on the drawing board when we had the last edition of this event on December 9, 2009 at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja; and December 15, same year at De Renaisance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.”
NAN’s ability to put the centre in place between 2009 and now, Mrs Oyo noted, “underscores the grace of God on our modest efforts and the giant strides it has pleased God Almighty to make us record with your collective corporate support as clients.”
Flanked by the NAN Executive Director (Marketing), Jide Adebayo, she went on with a catalogue of infrastructural facilities put in place to retool NAN delivery and offerings. “We have given a new face to media outposts, with the successful completion of 19 states and zonal office buildings and massive renovation of seven others for proper warehousing of our operational equipment and provision of more conducive work environment for our growing work force.
“The growth in our staff strength has made it possible not only to open more district offices in line with our plan to have presence in all the nation’s 109 senatorial districts but also re-open our offices in London, Abidjan and Addis Ababa.
“In order to also enrich the foreign news content of our General News Service (GNS), we have continued to complement the efforts of our foreign correspondents with inputs from Reuters, AFP, PANA, XINHUA and AGI of Italy with which we maintain news exchange agreements.
“We also hope to revive our MoU with the German news agency, DPA, very soon to strengthen our undisputable position as Africa’s biggest media content provider.”
These efforts, she stressed, have “translated into bigger news/feature stories (200-250 daily average) and photo outputs from our newsrooms to meet the desires of you our esteemed clients.”
Besides infrastructural development, she added, “our product portfolio has also been expanded with additional products, especially in multi-media services.
“Our premium SMS news alert service, which was on test-run during our last meeting has now become an inseparable ally of top government functionaries and business executives who don’t usually have the luxury of devoting enough time to newspaper reading or radio and television monitoring.
“Within the new couple of weeks, we would also be launching our latest product, the NAN Media Wall, a news platform designed for the nation’s airports, office and hotel lounges. The platform will not only provide breaking news but also steam the nation’s major tourist destinations and daily flight schedules for air travelers,” Mrs Oyo said.
The forum, she asserted, is to keep the agency’s stakeholders abreast of “our programmes and products in order to get the benefit of your highly valued professional opinions on how we can serve you better.
“At this interactive session, we are going to show-case our reworked website and demonstrate the workings of our Internet based news exchange portal to enhance its easy accessibility by clients.
“In order to facilitate subscription payment by clients, we are also evolving a bank automated payment system and a Web-Pay Solution. The latter will go a long way in giving Nigerians in the diaspora access to our news services via on-line payment.”
But all these offerings will task the purse of the clients minimally, Mrs Oyo remarked with a low tone indicative of sympathy and concern. And the upward review of the charges will not be effective until January 1, 2013, she assured.
Her words: “As I hinted at our last meeting, may I also alert you of our management’s plan to minimally (25 per cent) review our GNS and Photo tariffs of N700,000.00 and N400,000.00 respectively with effect from next January 1. The planned review will be the second, which we are considering since January 1, 2000. It is our hope that you, distinguished clients, will show understanding of our increasing operational challenges in quality service delivery.”
She ended her speech with an admonition on why media organisations should, as a matter of urgency, invest in “Information Technology in order to meet the requisite industry standards and practice.”
She attributed the inability of some broadcast media outlets to avail themselves of NAN services to lack of Internet access.
“In this rapidly changing era of the New Media, it is as sure as day and night that media organizations which fail to embrace IT will lose all chances of survival in the highly competitive media market.” She warned, while reiterating the willingness of the agency “to assist all non-IT-compliant media organizations with necessary skill acquisition opportunities at our training centres managed by NANBizcom Ltd., our second-line company.”