The Zain PR pitch involved three stages. The first, involved expression of interest by the pitching agencies, followed by a brief sent by the telecom firm to the short-listed agencies that competed for the mouth-watering account.
The third and perhaps the most complex of the exercise, invoved the company (Zain) creating a scenario drawn from its experience as a brand and posed the challenge to the PR agencies that pitched, asking them how they would tackle “the situation” if any of them eventually became its consultant. The strategic moves of the competing agencies was to be finally unveiled when Blueflower Limited presented a strong strategic understanding as well as an execution plan that the brand could relate with. This did magic! It convinced the management of Zain, including two officials from the telecommunication headquarters who witnessed the pitch, that Blueflower was the right choice.
It was gathered that the agency won the account based on the understanding of the corporate communication challenges of the organisation. According to the Chief Executive Officer of Blueflower, Chido Nwakanma, "it is a matter of ideas and value to client and not size. The agency should have the understanding of what the client needs and the necessary manpower to create and execute those solutions."
Nwakanma, who kept the worth of the pitch to his chest, stated: "We are looking at a brief contract until they sought out issues around the ongoing ownership. We are supposed to have a contract that will manage the transition and then review it. The agreement is that we will do what is needful, particularly at this trial time. We will work with the internal corporate communication team to manage the communication and reputation challenges of Zain and the network as an ongoing business entity."
The chief executive officer revealed that behind the Blueflower, which started business in 2007, are a robust experience in corporate communication, brand management and in the entire gamut of public relations practice.
According to him, it appears Blueflower is not known in the industry because "our work is more of strategy. We do a lot of more content development for clients." Describing the success in the pitch as "exhilarating experience," Nwakanma said: "Blueflower is committed to working with the internal communication team to strengthen the brand with their other stakeholders. This account win is in line with our initial five-year plan. We are progressing along that line. What we want to do is to broaden our portfolio to have clients across sectors.
On the PR industry, he said there was growing awareness and acceptance of the importance of PR in corporate Nigeria which is in tandem with the growth of PR across the world. "If you are in PR practice, therefore, the challenge is for you to benchmark yourself against global best practices. And because there is also competition and increased awareness, a lot of professionals are setting up proper PR consulting outfits," he said.
Nwakanma, who maintained it was unethical to handle two accounts in the same industry, regretted the dearth of manpower in the industry which he attributed to the decline on the job training and short term skill acquisition.