Its 2013, an age of viral marketing, memes, social media stunts and African dotcom millionaires, and it is gradually becoming suicidal for any company, corporate brand, government or public figure not to be on top of their digital online destinies, and although the change has been met with mixed feelings in Africa,many companies have eventually done what they have to do, which is- “To Create a Brand presence on the internet”, now the question of how active the brand should be, is another issue for another day.
So the huge buzz around the #OgaAtTheTop drama has finally fizzled out, and what many saw as the public annihilation of one man, I see as rather a public torture of the NSCDC brand, of the Nigerian government as a whole, and whatever PR agency they use; it’s quite saddening that a Man that can represent a government agency on national TV isn’t adequately prepared or have sufficient knowledge about several issues that affect the government agency as a whole.
Kuluya made a very interesting game out of it, Amebortalk did a viral video out of it, Pierce Morgan even tweeted about it, several jokes have come out of it, etc, a friend of mine called me from the USA and spoke for 5 mins about how corruption is all that exists in Nigerian government agencies, and I tried to defend our agencies, but he kept on asking why the #OgasAtTheTop had said nothing about the issue and when the NSCDC boss finally spoke, he said: “It is an internal measure, we will keep you posted. We are still on course because he has not committed any offence. If a person is being interviewed and in the process he could not comport himself that does not result to a crime, it is a question of maturity,”
Silence from the #OgaAtTheTop can be suicidal for a brand
I worked at iROKO Partners Limited, a startup valued at several millions of dollars and with top internet brands, iROKOtv, iROKING and Kuluya, and if there is one thing I learnt, it’s the importance of the #OgaAtTheTop manning up during times of crisis. I remember a particular incident that happened on July 2nd 2012; iROKOtv was making a transition from its paid platform, and there were lots of issues on the website and some staff (myself included) had to be called in at night to help customers via the website live chat, and as tired and grumpy as we were, the one thing that motivated us to work was the presence of top management helping out, we had iROKO CEO Jason Njoku, COO Bastian Gotter, former CFO Seyi Yerokun and also Analytics head Ifeoma Nwakwesi online with us that night answering questions, etc; just imagine yourself as a disgruntled customer and you meet someone that says “Hi, I am Jason Njoku, CEO of iROKO Partners”, and he goes on to help you solve your problem, you would probably come back to that platform, no matter how disgruntled you had been”
I read an article by Dr Anderson Uvie-Emegbo on handling backlash on Social Media, and the good doctor made several points; L-Leadership, S-Speed and L-Like For Like.
The main point I would pick out from all of that and from the hashtag being circulated is “Leadership”-#OgaAtTheTop; my pastor, Bowale Abrahams once told me that;
A good excuse means bad leadership
When he made this point, it took me back to my time at iROKO and what happened in that period and all the wrong steps taken by the NSCDC Ogas At The top;
- They were silent about the issue for too long.
- They eventually spoke, and rather than look for positive spins, they took a negative angle, attributing the virility of the issue to “external influence because of the commandant’s resolve to take legal measures against those who defraud the government through oil theft”
- No further comments on measures taken by other agencies to help avert a reoccurrence (will anything be done?)
- No tactical response on Social Media, T.V, Radio or print
As a CEO or Agency head, it is your responsibility to take the lead in different areas of the business, every backlash, failed product launch, or poor performance always comes back to you. It is sometimes very difficult for C.E.Os. to move with innovation, and this has seen the exit of several CEOs, but I recently read an article on Socialboost.com about how CEOs can get involved in Social Media and it was very helpful on how a CEO can be on top of things even with all his responsibilities in the company. Several brands miss out opportunities of gaining positive points with customers by missing out on opportunities, I have been on twitter severally and seen comments being made about several Nigerian brands like SwiftNG, Tastee fried Chicken, but these comments go unnoticed, I think it is time for companies led by CEOs that respond to innovation to cross the digital divide/get their digital strategies right by hiring people with requisite knowledge and gradually becoming experts themselves so they don’t end up shooting themselves in the leg when something like what I am writing about in my next article on “Tastee Fried Chicken Needs to FIRE or HIRE Someone Fast” happens.