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IAA To Partner Practitioners, Varsities Against Knowledge, Skills Gap

Boosted by its recent successful registration, the International Advertising Association Nigeria (IAA Nigeria) is now focused on building a solid foundation and future for marketing communication in Nigeria by addressing the knowledge and skills gap challenges in the industry, among others.

   IAA President, Dr. Tunji Olugbodi, who formally introduced the body to stakeholders at a cocktail evening in Lagos Thursday, said “the interest of practitioners in marketing communication has to do with capacity building, strong leadership and representation of interest, as well as young professionals in all the genres of marketing communication.”

   However, he acknowledged the existence of “a lot of gaps” in the industry, especially “knowledge and skills gaps,” just as “there are specific areas in our industry that are not growing as many people to quickly take up those responsibilities as soon as possible.

   “For instance, there is a dearth of concept or copy writers, strategic planners and people in different areas, but these two areas come readily to me as areas we need to fill and ensure that it is not a dying vocation.

   “That is why it is necessary to engage different stakeholders so that we can take things from their perspective, have an understanding of what it is and the challenges that they face, then see how to ameliorate these.

   “What is clear is that there is need for a central coordination to identify where the challenges are about the skills and knowledge gaps, to understand what needs to be done and harness that; not just from the local but a global point of view.”

   Alongside these, IAA is also designing projects that will help it engage the different universities in the pilot scheme, as well as encouraging student-membership with as low as N5,000 per year, “which gives them access to a lot of benefits.”

   Modelled after ISEC, Olugbodi said the plan, basically, is to nurture “young tertiary students to become very active players in the economic setting of their nation. It turns out that locally, that is also the strategy that we have adopted – one area we are going to use to encourage students to become members of IAA, not just for today but tomorrow.

   “The only way you can grow and grow into the future is when you have people who have more active participation in what you stand for.”

   Meanwhile, Olugbodi stressed the need to engage government structures concerning the interests of the industry, including “all the dynamic changes confronting practitioners in the business, such as technology, analytics and programmatic,” and how pragmatically the practitioners could respond to them to sustain interest in the industry.

   According to him, “more seriously, there is nothing to an organisation or group of people if there are no clear objectives and clear benefits. So, what we stand for is basically taken from, first, the global perspective in terms of the interest of IAA as a global organization.

   “In the second quarter of this year, IAA relaunched its grand essence, which is basically to bring a compass for marketing communication globally, and what that means is that there will be serious and continuous engagement.”

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