Biennially, I review my car ‘wish list’ of my choice of a functional car. My location and businesses influenced my choice per time; a couple of years back – it was the latest model of Toyota Rush. I talked about it so much, that it was common for my children to say “Mummy, see your car!” as we passed by one on the road.
Last year, I did a review of my choice. I wanted something locally available, classy yet simple that would not cost an arm and a leg to maintain. I stumbled on the GAC GS4 compact SUV. Loved it! It fit my spec to a T – until I started seeing it all around me.
No, this is not that phenomenon where you begin to see that object of your fascination or need. At one point in my life, it was wedding reception venues; later, it was available properties for rent. Now, it is available for properties for sale. This wasn’t that.
Instead, I realised that with the launch of the All-New GS4 last year and the increased capacity of GAC to assemble the GS4 in Nigeria, it became the go-to purchase vehicle for many who had always desired to buy brand new cars but did not quite have the capacity. Now, here is the SUV that is relatively more affordable without the stress of shipping and port duties.
Bismarck Rewane’s Banana Republic/Failed State presentation at the LBS Breakfast Session on November 1, 2023
What economic predictions about 2024 will demand innovative communication approaches, and how should organisations respond to these changes? I made similar postulations for 2023 and 2022 which mostly played out as predicted. Ahead of 2024, these are five areas in businesses that will be impacted that will require quick thinking from communication professionals:
- Exits of Private Sector Experts to Public Office Portfolios: It started with the high-profile exit of Taiwo Oyedele, fiscal policy partner and Africa tax leader, at PwC, who exited to chair the presidential tax reform committee of the new government in Nigeria.
Social media post by PwC congratulating Oyedele on his appointment
More and more as the government realises that old political hands cannot deliver the economic recovery that Nigeria needs, private sector leaders will be headhunted, cajoled and encouraged to contribute their quota to national development.
If you have followed the trends, you may have noticed that appointees are now being sourced locally. As appointees are assigned to offices, they will in turn look to their private sector colleagues to set up a team that will support them to deliver results.
What does this mean for communication? Apart from the obvious website content updates (be sure to include this in your 2024 budget if your web development team is not in-house), profile development for new executives, and in some instances press announcements to communicate new appointments, we will experience an increase in internal politics and quiet wars in the private sector as mid-management professionals jostle and position themselves to be considered suitable replacements for those who are exiting.
There will be horizon-vertical movements across industries and positions as mid-management professionals look to secure more juicy positions. The multiskilled professional with cross-functional expertise will be in high demand. This will add another layer to the talent crunch in the global, even as more talents exit to Western countries.
What can communications do? Refocus your employer branding strategy, both to attract the best and retain key staff. Competitors will be on the prowl in 2024 offering juicy perks and very attractive wages. You must creatively articulate your organisation’s unique edge beyond salaries and bonuses.
- Manufacturing companies (both large and small) will require internal communication support and creative strategies to reduce the impact of work pressure on staff’s mental health. Check out this post by Oluwatobi Ajayi FICA about the Nord A5 which sold out within two business days after launch, blowing their 60+ days sales projection out of the water. Think about my GAC GS4 SUV, which is now a regular sight on the roads.
Think about the locally sourced alternatives to the imported variants you have been purchasing. This is a fantastic boost for the manufacturing sector in any economy as such a boom will lead to increased employment and other indices. But it is the staff on the factory floor who will churn out the goods. The higher the demand, the higher the pressure to deliver on staff. Potential increases in wages will likely be wiped out by the high cost of living, with inflation in Nigeria projected to reach 23% in 2024.
Again, the conversation from a communication perspective must do more than “we will pay you more”.
Communication teams, in collaboration with HR and senior management, must create structures for consistent mental health wellness checks, bonding exercises and creative engagement activities across all levels of staff.
Pay is important but communication teams in the manufacturing sector must weave a sustainable narrative for staff retention beyond salaries and wages.
- Expect more issues and crises from the manufacturing sector: given the increased demand and supply of goods, more consumers will continue to leverage social media platforms to articulate their discontent, ranging from customer service issues to product complaints. Business leads and their communication teams must realise it is now essential to develop a proactive issues and crises management framework that will guide responses when these situations eventually come up. 2024 is not the year to wing it. While many brands may be able to escape significant fallouts from crises, given that there would likely be other crisis situations contending for consumer attention, and perhaps amusement, the few who don’t escape will have a sad tale to tell.
This advisory is not only for large-scale manufacturers; Instagram vendors and small businesses are not exempted. Expect the rise of more consumer activists who would seek to copycat Martins Otse and his fight against unlicensed skin care products and companies in Nigeria.
- Everyone will remember who owes them. As the UK plans to increase real living wages by 10% to £12/h, and increase in prices of food items in Nigeria by up to 70% and more without corresponding wage increase: everyone will forced to become deeply reflective before monies are spent. This reflection will also mean that people will become less patient with debtors and investments that have passed due dates without payouts.
Crowdfunding platforms that failed in 2022/2023 will likely be subjects of fresh call-outs, founders who may have moved on to other ventures will become exposed to personal brand crises, and likely experience regulatory intervention to recover payouts owed.
Communication teams must carry out executive brand audits of all senior management team members to identify executives whose personal brand crises can become a conduit that affects the reputation of the current organisation where they are serving. 2024 is the year when C-suites must pay closer attention to brand positioning that organisations can benefit from.
Mosron Communications consulting for Jobberman Nigeria at the How Young People Survive without Jobs documentary viewing. #PartnersnotVendors
About the Author
Tolulope Olorundero is an executive communication advisor for C-suites, business communication trainer and Lead Consultant at Mosron Communications.