Mr Taiwo Kazeem is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Limelight Media, a media planning and buying agency with a difference. Limelight Media under the leadership of Mr Taiwo has become irresistible to brands because of its DNA for disruption in the media buying industry. Thanks to his massive background in creative agencies, where he spent most of his years. No wonder, his genre of creative media buying is unrivalled. In this interview with MediaConsortium team, he talks on media planning and buying industry and exploits of Limelight Media Excerpt:
Assessment of media buying industry
First of all, Limelight Media is an integrated marketing communications company that offers strategic services in the vital communication fields of creative solutions (advertising), mass media marketing, digital marketing, and media production. For the benefit of our clients’ enterprises, we offer strategic marketing communication solutions backed up by in-depth media research. We make sure that each approved media spends, result in a consistent Return on Investment (ROI) through effective and efficient communication.
Generally, media buying industry has evolved like every other industry. Covid 19 pandemic really taught us a big lesson. Unfortunately, nobody was able to predict the onslaught of the pandemic and it drastically brought destruction which made everybody to realize that things can change across the world and cause great effect. Media buying is not an exception.
It has shown that the day of waiting for physical meeting somewhere has gradually gone. Meetings are being held on Zoom, Google Meet and others. Also, the day where all staff will be in the office daily has also gone. Today, most staff members do not come to office everyday any longer, and most offices don’t open every day, things are being done remotely now. The beauty of it is that you can do two or three things at the same time and conveniently too. Not only that, it has also affected the way we do advert placement now.
Regrettably, in terms of revenue things have not been the same. Though, we have new entrants coming into the industry to ply their trade, while the big guys in the industry are also cashing out, the pandemic slowed the industry down. Like any other industry Covid-19 has serious impact on the cash flow in the media planning and buying industry.
Experience from Covid 19 pandemic
Covid-19 pandemic taught us to be ready for surprises in today’s world. The days when we used to take artworks to media houses are gone. Now, you don’t need to go to any television or radio station to deliver tapes. These days you can send all these from your phone. Don’t be surprised also that tomorrow foreign clients can have meetings with you without coming to Nigeria and business deals will be concluded.
The unfortunate thing is that government is not opening up the system. While government is milking us, we are not sucking from anywhere. If globalization is actually to our advantage, an average person in the country does not need government. What we just need is an enabling environment and things will happen. Sadly, that is where we find ourselves. I hope the system will change. It has got to a level that we never imagine. Pandemic taught us to be ready for any paradigm shift every year, and media should particularly get ready for it because it will hit us first. There is no room for being complacent anymore.
There is hardly no agency that is not actually gravitating or preparing for it however, you cannot beat your chest and be sure that this is coming to you because, everybody is coming up with great Ideas. For Limelight Media, we had done quite a lot, and there are people who know what we are capable of doing, and they are still looking forward to our services. I must tell you that most of the people that give you political adverts are not practitioners but, friends of the aspirants, political office holders and members of political parties.
We are in touch with a lot of people in that circle and our door is open. We have done things that had made them marvel before and we are capable of replicating that even much more. Sometimes it’s not about money and that is why they usually look to who can do it well. Somebody can spend two times of what the other person is spending still, the spend may not commensurate with what the other person is spending. For us, we are apolitical. So, if a business is meant to come our way nobody can stand on our way. Media Buying generally is like law or medicine. Doctors do not have enemies and a lawyer does not have a friend in the real sense of it. Anybody that has audacity to invite us to prosecute the work we go to town with it as if we don’t know anybody.
Previous jobs of Limelight Media
Our DNA is media arts and not just placing media. We introduced arts into media planning and buying. Media is scientific while arts is geometry, science is about calculation. We have brought both the scientific and arts of our business to bear in our media planning and placement. We cannot begin to mention the names or what we have done because these people are more research oriented than you think. We want people to know that when they come to Limelight Media, they will be wowed with the kind of work we will do for them.
We have over 100 media agencies in the country and in spite of this, the sky is big enough for everybody to fly. The truth is that brands are actually much more. If our environment is highly regulated everybody should be satisfied. In fact, we should have more than enough.
At Limelight Media our edge has always been that we are nimble. We are crafty and young, though not in the real sense of it, in numbers, but in a way, we approach media buying and placement, in the way we respond to brief. We go extra mile to ensure that we are not just talking about what needed to be done or what clients give us to do but, what will give us that edge. We are continuously looking at the target audiences of the brands. We take into consideration the target audience of the brands and give them what willmake the consumers fall in love with the brand. We play our game differently and that puts us ahead of the competition in the industry.
Our focus has always been that we don’t want to play the same game the competition is playing. We make sure that we disrupt, and in disruption good is an enemy of great. We are not just going to be good with whatever plans that come our way. We want to do something that will be marvelous. We always do something that differentiates us, which people can share free of charge. I do challenge my team that until we continuously do work that people share freely, we are not there yet. We want client to reap from what they do not sow just because they entrust Limelight Media with their work.
Desired change in the industry
It will be unfair to start from lack of satisfaction even though we are not satisfied. But I believe that the current administrations of regulators are working hard on this and gradually they are making headways. We have many unprofessional people that actually place adverts than satisfied practitioners. So, how do you want me to be satisfied, when you have actually worked and earned this position you find yourself? Not only through academic undertakings but, by being certified by ARCON and possibly other recognized bodies. Why is it very difficult for us to recognizequacks in this industry? Why will people place adverts in Guardian, Punch and we will not know who place it. Why will anybody run advert on radio and we will not know who places it?
I think we will get to a level where our certification will actually speak for us. If you are not a registered practitioner you cannot practice. If an ordinary person cannot open an auditing firm without being an accountant, the same thing should apply in media buying industry. Our industry should get to a level where people will know that until you are registered you cannot practice in media planning and buying industry.
Experience of brands Limelight Media has work for
We are irresistible because our response time is great. We also go beyond our call of duty. We have been in this industry for sometime so, we should know better than clients. That is why some of the clients that left us still come back to us to handle their projects. This is possible because of our cordial relationship with them, and our prompt response. Also our DNA is disruption.
Personally I am one of the few people who came into the industry with the background in creative agency. I have worked more in my career with creative agencies. With that background I cannot just do media planning anyhow with that massive experience setting up media planning and buying agency. It has to be creative media planning.
What is giving us satisfaction is that we have worked with clients who cherished our work and are still looking forward to work with us. It is interesting to know that we are not an agency in the real sense of Nigerian agency. We are professional colleague to our clients. We are the extension of their marketing department so, we should do things together with the intension that the brands must go to market and dominate. Honestly, some of the brands know our capability. They know that we sleep and wake up with their brands and new ideas.
Merger and affiliation
It’s a thing that we will like to do but, it has to be on our terms because, we have seen agencies merging and dissolving quite fast. This is because some of them did not actually study themselves well before hand. It is a good thing to do, no doubt about that, except if somebody is actually deceiving himself that, he does not want to have an affiliation. Merger may be a no-go area but, affiliation actually helps both parties. Though there are some affiliations that are like master and servant relationship. We have to ask ourselves if they are profitable why all these mergers and affiliations dying. Some did not even last up to five years. For us, we are very open and we know it’s something that can be rewarding and profitable.
Banning of voice over artistes
One thing must be certain; there is no body that can play a local game than the local people. Like they say in politics, politics is local, advertising is also local. For instance, government just shut the door against foreign artistes in voice over. It is because audience may not understand some people when they are talking on the radio or television. It is unfortunate that we have to go this far in this part of the world before we come out with that kind of policy. What is it that these foreign artistes have that you cannot find in Nigeria artistes? Are we saying we cannot get people that can do it like them or even more thanthem? We need to project our industry. People go to even South Africa to do their work and bring it back to the country. Is it that bad? Can you get Chinese and Indian commercials done abroad? And why is it difficult to use our brands? My take is that we should support the regulation and make sure that we consume what we produce locally too.
Projection for Limelight Media in the next five years
We want to be one of the leaders in the industry in the next five years. There are indications to that. We will actually expand to have our creative arm just like creative used to do by acquiring media. We will also have our creative agency. The truth is that media is where the money is but, creativity is where the idea comes from.