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Trend Analyses

Thursday, November 13 was a remarkable day for me. A day in which I sat through two intriguing, research-driven presentations on emerging trends among two segments of the Nigerian society: entrepreneurs and the youth population (I understand that the new fancy word for describing them is ‘millennials’, meaning people between the ages of 18 and 34).

The first presentation was titled: “Job Creation in Sub-Saharan Africa – Entrepreneurs, Governments, Innovation”. It was essentially the report of a research project jointly undertaken by Forbes Insights (the research arm of the Forbes media conglomerate) and Djembe Communications. It looked at the attitude and perspectives of young Nigerians on entrepreneurship, and how the inherent entrepreneurial drive in them can be purposefully harnessed to tackle the pervasive, worrisome issue of youth unemployment. Djembe Communications, by the way, is a Dubai-based, Africa-centric PR consultancy firm taking its first tentative steps into the Nigeria market.

The second was by Chain Reactions, a leading Nigerian PR consultancy firm, and it went by the rather sexy title: “Unwrapping The Nu Natives – A Bespoke Report on Trends Among Nigerian Youths”. This was about the identification and analysis of current and emerging trends among the Nigerian youth population, and it was based on a study conducted in a collaborative effort between Chain Reactions and UK-based research firm, TrendWatching.

Both reports presented very useful and though provoking insights from the populations surveyed. But such details are not really my concern here. I am particularly interested in highlighting this new positive trend by which our PR firms are beginning to make the investment of sponsoring research that will not necessarily only benefit them directly, but that can also be useful for the ‘public good’.

It goes without saying that research is integral to the Marketing Communications project, across the entire value chain. At one end of the spectrum research throws up data which is analyzed to elicit information and insights that drive the campaign strategy. At the other end, research again comes in to help evaluate the results of the campaign, in terms of the outputs and outcomes, providing a scientific basis for ultimately computing the campaign’s effectiveness and ROI.

It is noteworthy that even the research itself is evolving, from the traditional emphasis on audience demographics and psychographics, to the new paradigms of trend spotting and analysis.

As important as research is to the work we do though, it is regrettable that very little investment is made in it in Nigeria, largely because many clients appear reluctant to pay for it. One might probably be justified to draw a direct correlation between this state of affairs and the poor quality of work that many of our agencies turn out.

There has been so much talk, it’s so reassuring to see Nigerian PR agencies that are finally beginning to ‘walk the talk’, spending their money and resources to commission research which throw up consumer and audience insights that are not necessarily campaign-specific, but can also serve as invaluable inputs for planning and policy formulation in the wider economy.

Way to go, guys!

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