The Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship (DoME), of the University of Ghana Business School, UGBS, held the maiden edition of the Covid, Busines and Society Seminar (COBUSS) on 7th May 2020. The seminar sought to talk about issues arising as a result the global pandemic, with special focus on marketing and tourism. Speakers for the seminar were Professor Marina Novelli, a professor of Tourism and International Development, University of Brighton, UK, Mr. Chris Wulff-Caesar, Marketing Director, Friesland Campina, WAMCO, Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Salia, Senior Lecturer with Accounting and Finance, De Montfort University, UK, and Dr. Kobby Mensah, a Senior lecturer with DoME, UGBS. Professor Bawole, the Dean of UGBS, served as the facilitator for the webinar.
Prof. Bawole welcomed all participants to the seminar, stating that it was the first-ever to be done in the pandemic. He expressed his gratitude to Professor Robert Hinson, Head of the DoME, for putting together the conference on short notice.
Professor Novelli, who spoke on “The Covid-19 Induced Tourism Crisis: What Now, What Next?” gave an overview of the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector in Africa. She emphasised that tourism in Africa relies on Small and Medium Enterprises and the informal sector, which are also heavily impacted by the pandemic. She indicated that as a way of combatting the impact, the sector went virtual, with the help of online tours. She then put across a few suggestions; that affected companies in the sector be supported, the need for visa regulations to be relaxed, and planned interventions be consolidated, if the industry is to survive the pandemic.
Mr. Wulff-Caesar also presented on “Marketing in Uncertain Times.” He began his presentation by stating that the purpose of the business is to create and keep a customer. He also stated that about 48% of Nigerians were optimistic that their economy will recover, which is slightly higher than other countries like the UK, South Africa and Spain. Despite the optimism, however, the ability to sustain livelihood is the main concern for a lot of Nigerians. He then suggested that in the short term, businesses could set communication guidelines, responsibly sustain sales, think long term, engage all stakeholders and audiences, and activate and live their brand purpose. These, according to him, will aid in sustaining brands during the pandemic.
Dr. Salia, in his presentation on “Doing Business in a Global Pandemic,” made mention of the fact that the pandemic has brought about some uncertainty among businesses. This uncertainty, he said, makes risks go high. He proceeded to compare the strain in the economy with the 2008 financial crisis, citing that, in that year, the main issue was from the supply side and was remedied faster. However, Covid-19 poses an issue on both the demand and supply sides, making the situation dire. This then negatively affects spending, as people tend to spend less due to uncertainty, he added.
Dr. Kobby Mensah, delivering his presentation on the theme “Marketing in Crisis: Interrogating Marketing from a Covid-19 Perspective”, gave a brief synopsis on marketing and what it entails, and explained how the Maslow’s theory of needs and the consumer decision model are used in a crisis. He mentioned that health, job sustainability as well as water and food are the things considered essential in these times and that there are no evaluations for alternatives for these. He then suggested that for effective marketing during the crisis, marketing activities should be geared at giving customers relevant information that they can hold on to. This not only creates visibility for the brand, but also keeps it in the mind of the consumer.
All presentations were followed by interactive Question and Answer sessions. The full discourse of this webinar can be accessed via:
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