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Mr. Felix Eiremiokhae is the CEO/Chairman of Oracle Group, he  talks about the impact experiential marketing has made in the marketing communications industry and his recent Award by the Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria (IDMN) and other sundry issues. Princewill Ekwujuru reports.

Congratulations on the award, how does it feel to be the best in your industry?

Thank you very much. When we started Oracle seven years ago, our vision was to be number one and our mission was to ensure that any brand we work on achieve its set objectives.

Helping brands achieve their set goals has become my life and this is what I have lived for

in the past 13 years.  If I look back to my first five years of industry experience and the things I did and how it all ended, I was encouraged to do the things industry watchers think are magical today and it just kept expanding my horizon and approach in activating brand specifics.

My desire to be the best has been incredible; I literally sleep, eat and wake up creating and executing breath-taking activations. In those early years, I did not see what I was doing as a means to earn a living but as an opportunity to make a huge impact and  be part of an evolution.

I thank God industry watchers are beginning to recognise our little contribution. Being recognised by the Institute of Direct Marketing of Nigeria as West Africa's World Class Experiential Marketing Services  Consultant of the year 2011, is an encouragement to get even more ambitious.

This laurel comes with huge responsibilities, how prepared is your firm?

In any event, it will serve as a spring board to achieving greater successes in subsequent activations because the clients deserve it and we owe them that. The awards will serve as a re-awakening call on the company's vision and mission.

Did you expect to win out of the lot?
Honestly, I did not expect it,not because we have not worked hard enough, but because it has never crossed my mind for a second. The award I always look forward to is that moment when at the end of each activation, a client tells you, great job!

In your opinion as an industry expert, what would you say was most memorable in 2011?

The industry is evolving, even more rapid than people would have thought. Most brands are moving away from the classical road shows as it were, to more creatively structured concepts that can really enhance the consumers' experiences. However, the state of insecurity

in the country is becoming a setback for the industry.

How does experiential marketing platform impact brands?

Marketing is really about ensuring that your designing strategy can personally catch a person's lifestyle. So, it is really about enhancing consumers' experiences to that

brand from a personal perspective. It has been proven that experiential marketing drives fast purchase amongst consumers. Intuitively, experiential marketing is best suited to motivate a target audience to action because it provides them with a platform to interact and no other communication element can do this.

What is the importance of experiential marketing in brand building process compared to advertising, PR, brand management and other channels?

Sincerely, there is nothing as ever so relenting with experience. When the consumer try it, they will know it.  That is the importance of experiential marketing.  In today's marketing communication, I really don't see any of the above channels working in isolation.

Presently, I must be honest to say that advertising still remains the hero of the marketing communication. All the brands have to first and foremost go through it and create their images which the experiential activities will now bring to life to the consumers

What is the estimated worth of this industry in Nigeria?

The industry has grown to be a multi billion naira industry judging by the amount of events and activations on a daily basis by different companies. Data are not there to empirically quantify the industry for now.

Can government deploy this platform to communicate its policies and programmes?

Why not. Take for instance the last oil subsidy removal that almost grounded the country.  The simple reason why the subsidy became so much an issue was because the populace didn't even understand what it was all about  neither the palliatives.

There was a connection gapbetween the government and the masses. President Barrack Obama campaign became a huge success because of the emotional connection he was able to create through the help of foot soldiers who engaged and connect with the voters one-on-one  using the platforms of door to door and town hall meetings across the country. The gospel of Christ spread so quickly and rapidly because he exploits experiential approach and the people could connect with his message and miracles, he involved the people.

How would you also describe CBN's communication strategy on cashless Lagos?

You look at places like Europe and America, the trend is to move towards experiential and experiential is the fastest way to drive your message into an understanding point when dealing with the polices that involves the masses.

Today, the cashless Lagos campaign is an elite campaign which has no relevance to the market woman, the building material seller, the farmers, the Okada riders etc.

I have had jingles on radio and I have seen print advertisement in the dailies, but the question is who are they targeting with their message?

I have conducted a mass oriented research on people's understanding of what it is all about and you will be shocked on the level of ignorance on how to activate the process.

How best could government utilize the channel to achieve a seamless process in communicating the policy?

Very simple, you delineate the entire country; identify individuals that's of great relevance to the people in their niche communities, then you create a platform where they can engage their people through different creative strategies most suited for each community.  Most critical approach is people's engagement and emotional connection.