Recounting George Noah’s Strides at LASAA’s Helm

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As the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) looks forward to a new person at the helm, this report reflects on the era of the agency’s immediate past managing director, Mr. George Noah, beaming the spotlight on some notable achievements witnessed during his eventful  four years in the saddle.

Upon assumption of office in 2011, George Noah embarked on reforms aimed at repositioning the agency to meet emerging trends and challenges. To achieve this, the agency’s human resource was reevaluated – paving the way for the redeployment of staff to departments where their core strengths lay – thus improving service delivery and efficiency. This set the wheels in motion for the actualization of other goals on the agenda.

Regulation of Outdoor platforms at Military/Police formations:

One of such was the resolution of a long-standing imbroglio over regulation of outdoor advertising platforms at military and police formations. This impasse previously cost the state an estimated revenue loss in the sum of N1 billion annually.

The breakthrough was the outcome of a two-day historic retreat brokered by LASAA in 2013. It had in attendance consultants to the police and the military on outdoor advertisements as well as top police and military officers. At the end of the programme, all parties agreed to work with LASAA and engage in continuous discussions to ensure LASAA’s vision for the regulation of the out-of-home sector in Lagos State is achieved.

The stakeholders also agreed, that all advertising structures at the formations that were not in compliance with LASAA’s outdoor master plan, would be upgraded, redesigned or removed.

Outdoor advertising measurement audit:

While Noah was in the saddle, the agency embarked on an outdoor audience measurement research. This was borne out of the need to enable outdoor advertisers make informed decisions. First of its kind in West Africa, the research makes use of cutting edge technology and  entailed the audience split into categories comprising: gender, age, class, and lifestyle.

It also provides detail of the realistic opportunity to see a signage, with eye tracking studies. Data gathered would enable advertisers know the number of people that view outdoor advertisements across different locations in the state and the frequency.

Opening up untapped outdoor advertising markets:

Under Noah’s leadership the industry witnessed the unveiling of incentives designed to jumpstart investments in the outdoor sector in densely populated areas in Lagos State – such as Alimosho.  Consequently, LASAA offered 50 percent discount for the first year on new outdoor advertising platforms erected in the community. It’s also offering 25 percent discount for the second year.

“Following the   growth witnessed in outdoor advertising spaces on the Island and some parts of the Mainland, the time has come for us to explore relatively untapped spaces which abound on the outskirts of Lagos. Such areas, especially Alimosho, in view of its huge population density boasts huge potentials if harnessed.  If advertising is about numbers of people it can reach, then billboard operators are bound to have a greater audience in densely populated areas,” he once said to newsmen.

Formation of Association of Poster Distributors:

The period under review also witnessed the formation of the Association of Poster Distributors (APD) in Lagos. Designed to put paid to the menace posed by indiscriminate pasting of posters, the APD is a group borne out of collaboration between professional poster distributors and LASAA.

The formation paved the way for the introduction of alternative modes to poster distribution – such as the use of poster panels on pedestrian bridges.  This initiative, in no small way, improved the image of poster distribution in Lagos – which records an average of 20,000 posters pasted indiscriminately daily.

Posters recycling:

In the course of his stay, Noah put modalities to ensure LASAA and the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) developed a sustainable and eco-friendly means to dispose of posters through recycling. This scheme which kicked off with the recycling of an estimated 1.5 million campaign posters used during the general elections has been commended by environmentalists.

Increased mobile branding revenue:

LASAA recorded 300 percent increase in its mobile branding revenue in the period under review.  This was achieved through a reduction in rates on mobile branding.  The strategy resulted in greater compliance and eliminated the urge for motorists with branded vehicles to register in states that offered more competitive prices.

 Formation of OARAN:

Noah was also the brain behind the formation of the Outdoor Regulatory Association of Nigeria (OARAN). The body which comprises outdoor advertising regulatory authorities across some states of the federation is charged with the responsibility of promoting sustainable economic growth in outdoor advertising across the country and providing solutions to common challenges faced by regulators.

Birthing outdoor regulators:

The period also witnessed LASAA play a pivotal role in the setting up of outdoor regulatory bodies across some states of the federation. These include: Kwara, Osun and Ekiti states .

Skype customer care:

Under Noah’s leadership, LASAA pioneered the use of Skype as a customer service platform.

Africa Sign Expo and Conference:

During Noah’s era LASAA initiated the African Sign Expo and Conference. Held last year at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event provided a medium for outdoor advertising practitioners to exchange ideas with their peers across Africa and the globe.

Adjudged a huge success, the three-day event was attended by over 4,000 visitors. It paraded some of the leading minds and brands in the business of outdoor advertising across the globe.  Insightful presentations which sought to chart a new path for sector were delivered and culminated in the making of recommendations to advance the sector.

 Lagos Countdown: 

Under Noah’s leadership, the agency successfully organized three consecutive editions of the Lagos Countdown – Africa’s largest new-year crossover celebration.  Making its debut in 2012, the Lagos Countdown has since been instituted into the city’s annual event calendar. It also offers a viable platform for commerce, brand development – for sponsors, leisure, tourism and provision of   job opportunities.

City rejuvenation through collaboration: 

The agency also collaborated with leading outdoor firms and agencies of the Lagos State Government to devise means of using outdoor advertising to complement the state government’s efforts at rejuvenating blighted areas in Lagos. Such areas include: Obalende Terminus, Apapa-Oshodi Express Way and the under bridge tunnel by Muson Center to mention but a few.

Growth:

The period also witnessed tremendous growth in the industry, evident in a range of cutting edge innovations introduced by practitioners and an increase in outdoor advertising spend, contained in the most recent study published by Mediafacts – a key media resource for marketing professionals operating in West and Central Africa.

Protecting rights of practitioners:

Noah, it will be recalled recently led practitioners and stakeholders in the industry on a protest march to register their displeasure in the face of injustice meted out on them and officials of the agency in the buildup to the general elections – following the imposition of campaign materials on outdoor mediums already paid for by practitioners.

Fostering ties:

His period also witnessed the fostering of ties between the agency and the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria, (OAAN). Both bodies recently pledged to work closely, with a view to promote professionalism and mutual understanding. This culminated in the formation of a joint committee to achieve the set goals

Lagos Man of the Year:

Noah’s strides didn’t go unnoticed. Last year, he bagged the prestigious Lagos State Man of The Year Award in recognition of his visionary leadership.  Noah won the award having polled the highest number of votes among the contenders.

Background:

 A political activist, Noah has over 30 years experience in the media having worked with Nigeria’s biggest advertising agency, Insight Communications Limited and Universal Communications Group (UCG), the Greater London Council (GLC) and British Telecom International (BTI) in the UK. A prolific publisher, Noah was also a founding member of Radio Kudirat – an anti-military rule radio station that operated from Norway.

 

Article written by Dominic Nwelih of Media Accent