|Israel Jaiye Opayemi|
In a statement issued in Lagos and signed by the Managing Director and Chief Strategist, Israel Jaiye Opayemi, the firm disclosed that the repositioning is a proactive response to changes within the business, technology and media landscape.
Opayemi disclosed that the re-engineering process took about two years to complete and it involved engaging the services of a reputable firm of seasoned HR Consultants with International exposure, with whom the leadership of Chain Reactions described the vision to re-position the business with, in line with global trends. “The first thing we did was to shut down what used to be our client service arm and converted it to a Strategy and Business Group populated by Business Analysts, Strategists, Pop Culture Specialists, Trends Analysts, Research Analysts, Experiential Specialists and so on,” he said.
He explained that under the new business model, it takes more than having the traditional skills for any Executive who desires to work in Chain Reactions to do “client service”. His words: “you must be able to crunch data and draw meaningful insights that will guide a client. So for us in Chain Reactions going forward, the minimum any client-interfacing Executive of any rank must be is an Analyst. Every client-interfacing Executive must be a Data Analyst or Data Miner. We are putting this at the very heart of our business.”
He said further another component of the new business model is the redesign of what used to be media department to content and creative department where message development, message management, content development, copying writing, creative design, video production, earned media and paid media are dealt with.
The third arm of the business also restructured is the digital arm which is now restructured into what is called Data and Digital group peopled by Data Analysts, Infographic Specialists, Online Community Specialists, Online Reputation Managers and Content Marketing Specialists under the headship of Consultant on New and Emerging Media. “This is also where our Creative Technologists who will deal with App development and other mobile solutions will function. So, again you can see the importance we have placed on big data”, he assured.
Last but not the least, Opayemi also disclosed that the firm has reorganised its Finance and Administrative department into Finance and Strategic Planning group. That arm of the firm deals with resource allocation, resource management, operations, priority management, and team welfare management as its HR Unit is domiciled here. He further clarified that one of the most important responsibilities of this group is what the firm has dubbed “outcome management”, saying, “This is how we now do self-assessment. A client has paid us to deliver XYZ as value, these guys check to ensure that we just don’t deliver that but we exceed it. This is piggybacked by a Consultant whose job involves Planning and Integration. He is the connector within our system who ensures the qualitative inputs from strategy, digital, content and creative all come when they are needed so we can deliver the value we have promised to clients. Our clients are in for a better deal with our new 4G model.”
Expatiating on the significance of the new 4G model, Opayemi said Chain Reactions through this strategic step is seeking ways to future-proof its business. His words: “It is an intensive process inspired in me after attending the Global PR Summit in Miami in October 2014. It changed even our recruitment policy. We hired our first Creative Director with an advertising background about that time. It has determined how we perceive the roles of Psychologists, Sociologists and what role a Psychiatrist has to play in our team and in understanding the workings of the human mind and purchase decisions. It’s been a two-year journey. What we are doing is to prepare Chain Reactions Nigeria for the next 10 years from now!”
According to him, advancing the kind of thinking Chain Reactions brings into its clients businesses was the driving force behind the restructuring exercise. “So what we have just done in Chain Reactions is that, we tore down the remnants of the old agency structure most marketing communications firms still operate under. We realized that, while the business, technology and media worlds have changed since the start of the 21st Century, yet many of the world’s largest PR networks, midsize PR firms outside and within Nigeria have continued to operate as if little or nothing has changed. So we decided to change,” he said.
Opayemi lamented that most PR firms have continued to operate the same old structure and same silos such as Client Service, Business Development and Media Departments from a different age in the 21st Century as though nothing has changed. “The structures of most PR firms today have become vestiges from the past. Examples of those vestiges of yesterday are reflected in what we still call our departments today and the designations we give to our people. Here in Nigeria, the same structure of client service departments, media departments and so on we inherited from the founding fathers of our profession at the onset of the 20th century is the same structure many marketing communications agencies till run today. So for us in Chain Reactions Nigeria, we will not continue to operate as if nothing has changed in our world even in the 21st century!