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Following work to market a carbon-absorbing material, Nick O’Quinn of purpose consultancy Revolt dwells on how to position innovations with dreams of changing the future.

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Following work to market a carbon-absorbing material, Nick O’Quinn of purpose consultancy Revolt dwells on how to position innovations with dreams of changing the future.

“Technology needs more humanity”, wrote the Washington Post recently, questioning why crypto is still a “thing” and despairing at the tech bros who’ve made it so. In a world that constantly craves the ‘new’, innovation lies at the very center of how we see and drive the notion of ‘progress’. It’s a craving that drives us to fixate on the functionality of new tech, and forget what it’s there to serve.

The marketing community has long been guilty of this fixation. From VR experiences to brands scrambling to ‘do something in the metaverse’, it always comes back to a question – what’s the idea? If Vodafone’s new ‘Together’ positioning last year is anything to go by, real progress lies in the connection of technology with humanity; unlocking the emotion from innovation; finding the purpose at the heart of progress. But how can this humanity and sense of purpose be unlocked?

1. From complexity to clarity
New technology is often complex; communicating its potential even more so. It’s often built on clever science, reliant on foundational knowledge of a problem, or saturated with diverse and revelatory benefits. Take Revolt client Partanna, for example, a building material that absorbs carbon.

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It absorbs carbon throughout its lifetime, and it minimizes emissions by utilizing waste materials from other industries in a process that requires no heat. Its one-surface prefabricated manufacturing process lends itself to building efficient, affordable housing, fast. And given the fact it gets stronger with salt water, Partanna presents a powerful solution for building climate-resilient homes in the coastal communities most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

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There’s a lot there. The key to finding human resonance is to be focused: to navigate through complexity, make a choice about your most relevant message, and deliver it with clarity. Apple has been masterful at this – choosing a single product feature to hero and unlocking the human stories that can bring it to life.

Working with Revolt, Partanna focused on the single most revelatory function: its ability to absorb carbon. This single-minded focus laid the foundations for how it could be powerfully brought to life.

2. From function to flair
When innovation has genuinely transformational functionality, it’s tempting to simply say what it is. But the key is to remember to make people feel something. Creativity is our industry’s superpower for elevating a brand message into something memorable.

Oatly’s ‘It’s like milk but made for humans’ is a great example. How to introduce the world to milk made from oats? Not only does it reframe our perceptions of cows’ milk (and in doing so completely reposition an entire category); it finds humor and human resonance in what is ultimately the juice squeezed from a seed.

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Back to the Partanna example, its ability to absorb carbon is compelling, but it doesn’t absorb carbon through magic but through simple chemical exchange. The challenge is to find a human way to explain it. The exciting elevation comes in reframing Partanna from ‘a material that absorbs carbon’ to ‘a material that breathes’. It’s a metaphor for the most human exchange there is: bringing flair to function and making it feel both more relevant and resonant.

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3. From innovation to inspiration
With innovation, it’s tempting to only focus on the ‘what’. Not least because its raison d’être is that it brings a brand new ‘what’ into the world. But the bigger potential lies in the inspirational ‘why’ that can guide not only what you do now, but where you’re heading too. Tesla doesn’t make electric cars; it exists to ‘accelerate the advent of sustainable transport’. It’s the radical (albeit, at times, dangerously delusional) ambition of Musk’s vision that elevated Tesla into a pioneer that defined an entire category.

For Partanna, their narrative could have stopped at the articulation of what it is, but the real excitement lies in pushing further. Because Partanna isn’t just creating a material that breathes; it is ‘Building a World That Breathes’. This vision talks about the idea of a new world as much as it talks about the material with which we can build it, ushering in a new urban era against the backdrop of a suffocating planet. It’s a dream of a world where there is greater harmony between our built environments and our natural ones. Where both people and the planet are able to thrive.

Any new technology can feel shiny and exciting, especially for the people who created it. When that innovation has the potential to fundamentally change the world for the better, you could be forgiven for thinking it sells itself. But the usual rules of marketing still apply. Innovation is nothing without the powerfully human storytelling that can bring it to life. Technology is nothing without humanity. Progress is nothing without purpose.

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Zenith Bank Achieves Historic Milestones in 2023 With Stellar Triple-digit Topline and Bottom-line Growth

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Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the year ended December 31, 2023, achieving a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125% in gross earnings from NGN945.6 billion reported in 2022 to NGN2.132 trillion in 2023.

According to the audited financial results for the 2023 financial year presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX), this impressive triple-digit growth in gross earnings resulted in a Year-on-Year (YoY) increase of 180% in Profit Before Tax (PBT) from NGN284.7 billion in 2022 to NGN796 billion in 2023. Profit After Tax (PAT) also recorded triple-digit growth of 202% from NGN223.9 billion to NGN676.9 billion in the period ended December 31, 2023.

The increase in gross earnings is primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Interest income increased by 112% from NGN540 billion in 2022 to NGN1.1 trillion in 2023. Non-interest income grew by 141% from NGN381 billion to NGN918.9 billion in the same period.

The increase in interest income is attributed to the growth in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, alongside the rise in the yield of other interest-bearing instruments over the year. Growth in non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and an increase in gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

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The cost of funds grew from 1.9% in 2022 to 3.0% in 2023 due to the high interest rate environment while interest expense increased by 135% from NGN173.5 billion in 2022 to NGN408.5 billion in 2023. Notwithstanding the 32% growth in operating expenses in 2023, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio improved significantly from 54.4% in 2022 to 36.1% in 2023 due to improved top-line performance.

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Return on Average Equity (ROAE) increased by 118% from 16.8% in 2022 to 36.6% in 2023, underpinned by improved gross earnings, as the Group sought to deliver better shareholder returns. Return on Average Assets (ROAA) also grew by 95% from 2.1% to 4.1% in the same period.

The Group has continued to deepen its market leadership in key corporate and retail deposit segments as customer deposits increased by 69% from NGN9.0 trillion to NGN15.2 trillion in 2023. Its retail drive continues to yield dividends as retail deposits now constitute 46% of total deposits (compared to 44% in 2022) and grew by 77% from NGN3.97 trillion in 2022 to NGN7.04 trillion in 2023, also reinforcing increased customer confidence in the Zenith brand.

Total assets increased by 66% from NGN12.3 trillion in 2022 to NGN20.4 trillion in 2023, largely due to growth in total deposits and the revaluation of foreign currency deposits. Gross loans grew by 71% from NGN4.1 trillion in 2022 to NGN7.1 trillion in 2023 due to the revaluation of foreign currency loans and the growth in local currency risk assets.

As a result of the disciplined and diligent approach to risk assets creation and management, the loan growth did not significantly impact the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio, which increased marginally from 4.3% to 4.4% despite the heightened risk environment and challenging operating environment, an attestation to the Group’s resilience despite headwinds and a challenging macroeconomic environment. Also, the prudential ratios remain within regulatory thresholds, with the Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) and liquidity ratio at 21.7% and 71.0%, respectively, at the close of 2023.

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As a demonstration of its commitment to shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend payout of NGN3.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to NGN4.00 per share.

In 2024, the Group will complete the transition to a holding company structure, which is anticipated to position it advantageously for exploring emerging opportunities in the Fintech space while bolstering its digital and retail banking initiatives. Furthermore, the Group is undertaking urgent necessary actions to meet the new minimum NGN500 billion equity capital requirement to maintain its international authorisation within the timeframe stipulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This will strengthen its presence in key markets to continue positioning for sustainable growth and value addition for stakeholders.
Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, including being recognised as Best Bank in Nigeria, for the fourth time in five years, from 2020 to 2022 and in 2024, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; the Best Bank for Digital Solutions in Nigeria in the Euromoney Awards 2023, being listed in the World Finance Top 100 Global Companies in 2023; being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 14th consecutive year, in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023, in the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022 and 2023; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 2022; Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa, for four successive years from 2020 to 2023, by the Ethical Boardroom; Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria in the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation in Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.

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Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021; Bank of the Year 2023 and Retail Bank of the Year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. Similarly, Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.

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Advertising Industry Stakeholders Converge To Chart Course On Responsible Advertising At ASP Forum

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Responsible advertising has become a critical issue in the marketing communication industry, as businesses and consumers alike grapple with the impact of unethical practices. While some markets have experienced growth through the adoption of responsible advertising strategies, others have faced significant declines due to a lack of adherence to industry standards and regulations.

The advertising industry in Nigeria is no stranger to these challenges, with growing concerns over the proliferation of misleading advertisements, the lack of proper adherence to vetting and approval processes, and the need for greater accountability and transparency.

It is against this backdrop that the Advertising Standards Panel (ASP), a statutory organ of the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON), has convened a high-level Stakeholders’ Forum to address these pressing issues.
Themed “Promoting Responsible Advertising in Nigeria,” the forum, scheduled for Thursday, April 25, 2024, at the Sheba Event Centre in Ikeja, Lagos.

It aims to bring together industry stakeholders, including Advertising Sectoral Groups, Digital Space Owners and Providers, Capital Market Operators, Trado-Medicals, Real Estate Practitioners, Content Creators, Skit Makers, Hospitals, and Educational Institutions, among others.
It is also expected to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss critical issues surrounding ethical advertising practices, penalties for engaging in unwholesome advertising activities, and the challenges and benefits of complying with the law.

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This was made known in a press statement signed by Martha Ugbomma Onyebuchi, Director of Regulations at ARCON, copying its Director-General, Dr. Olalekan Fadolapo. She stated, “The Advertising Standards Panel recognizes the importance of fostering responsible advertising practices in Nigeria. This Stakeholders’ Forum is an opportunity for industry players to come together, share insights, and collectively work towards upholding the highest standards in the marketing communication sector.”

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One of the key topics to be addressed at the forum is the issue of exposing advertisements without presenting the materials for statutory vetting and approval by the Advertising Standards Panel. The event will also delve into the penalties for such violations, as well as the overall benefits of obeying the law.

She added that attendance is free, and industry professionals are encouraged to register and participate in the important event.
“We believe that by bringing together the various stakeholders, we can foster open dialogue, address challenges, and ultimately promote responsible advertising practices that benefit both businesses and consumers in Nigeria,” Onyebuchi concluded.

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Diesel price drops as Dangote sells N1,225/litre, supplies petrol May

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The pump price of Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel, has dropped from about N1,700/litre which it sold for a few weeks ago, to around N1,350/litre in some locations across the country following the sale of the commodity by the Dangote Petroleum Refinery.

It was gathered on Tuesday that the $20bn worth refinery started pumping out diesel to the domestic market last Wednesday.

It sold a minimum of one million litres to each registered oil marketer that got the product from the plant since it commenced diesel sale.

Officials of the multi-billion dollar plant and oil dealers confirmed that the product was dispensed to marketers at between N1,225/litre and N1,300/litre depending on the volume of purchase.

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This came as it was also gathered that the refinery would start releasing Premium Motor Spirit to the domestic market in May this year.

“They started pumping out diesel to marketers since last week. They also promised to sell aviation fuel soon. Some of my members confirmed this to me after making the purchase,” the National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abubakar Maigandi, told one of our correspondents.

He added, “So some of our marketers have started getting the product, but as an association we have not got the product yet, because we want to get the actual rate that it will be sold to us when we buy in bulk. However, they have started selling diesel because some of our marketers have started buying.

N1,225/litre

“They are selling at N1,225/litre and the minimum volume they are giving is one million litres per marketer. Also, they assured us that they will release more products, but for now this (diesel) is what they are starting with. So we are expecting them to release PMS anytime from now.”

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Maigandi said the move by Dangote would definitely lead to a crash in diesel price, as the commodity rose to a high of about N1,700/litre recently.

“The price of diesel is going to fall because of the release of products from Dangote refinery. In fact, it is already coming down in Lagos,” Maigandi stated.

Another oil marketer, who is the Chief Executive, AF Ralph Oil and Gas Ventures, Dr Ralph Arokoyo, confirmed that the refinery had started the sale of diesel to dealers, adding that the plant started dispensing the product last Wednesday.

Asked if Dangote refinery had started supplying diesel to the market, Arokoyo replied, “Yes they have started. They started diesel sales last Wednesday and they have sold to many marketers including members of IPMAN and MEMAN (Major Energy Marketers Association of Nigeria), as well as other private registered independent dealers.”

Price drops

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When also asked about the minimum volume being sold to dealers and at what rate, Arokoyo said, “One million litres is the minimum and the rate is okay considering what other major tank farms are selling, which is why people are trooping to the refinery now.

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“The price ranges between N1,250/litre and N1,300/litre depending on the volume you are buying. This is good news for Nigerians because in the last few weeks the price of diesel hovered between N1,600 and N1,700/litre.

“But in many locations across the federation, the prices are beginning to drop due to the emergence of products from that refinery and as the products are being dispatched since last Wednesday. Now you can get AGO (diesel) in some stations at N1,400/litre.

“Some are even doing N1,350/litre now and I want to believe that in a couple of weeks to come, we should see more reduction in the price of the product as more products from the plant hit the market and spread very well across the country.”

On whether the company informed dealers when it would start releasing petrol into the market, Arokoyo replied in the affirmative.

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“They (Dangote refinery) said it (petrol) will be available between now and May, which is next month. We are optimistic about this, because PMS is largely used by Nigerians,” the oil marketer stated.

A senior official at Dangote refinery confirmed the sale of diesel to marketers, as the source noted that Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, would soon be released to the market.

“The product (diesel) is everywhere and they (marketers) are accessing it with ease. The product has been on sale to marketers since last week and the transactions have been better.

“The price of the product in various locations of the country will come down, and it is already coming down in many parts of Lagos since we started releasing products to marketers,” the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to lack of authorisation to speak on the matter, stated.

The Dangote refinery has faced a series of hurdles as it strives to release refined products into the market after it was officially inaugurated by former President Muhammadu Buhari in May last year.

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Recall that on February 8, 2024, The PUNCH reported that indications emerged that lingering regulatory approvals stalled Dangote Petrochemical Refinery’s plan to release aviation fuel (Jet A1) and diesel for sale in the Nigerian market in January.

The report had stated that weeks after the January 31 timeline set by the management of Africa’s largest refinery to begin sale of its petroleum product in the local market, the refinery was still battling to cross the hurdles of the several layers of regulatory approvals.

It stated that the development came after the refinery began the production of refined petroleum products at the expansive facility.

On January 12, 2024, Dangote refinery announced that it had commenced the production of Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel, and aviation fuel or JetA1.

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Aliko Dangote, in a statement issued by his firm at the time, thanked President Bola Tinubu for his support, encouragement, and thoughtful advice towards the actualisation of the project.

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Dangote also thanked the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NMDPRA and Nigerians for their support and belief in the historic project, as he revealed that the facility would pump out diesel and aviation fuel in January, subject to regulatory approvals.

He said, “We thank President Bola Tinubu for his support and for making our dream come true. This production, as witnessed today, would not have been possible without his visionary leadership and prompt attention to details.

“His intervention at various stages cleared all impediments thereby accelerating the actualisation of the project. We also thank the NNPC, NUPRC and NMDPRA for their support. These organisations have been our dependable partners in this historic journey.

“We also thank Nigerians for their belief and support in this project. We have started the production of diesel and aviation fuel, and the products will be in the market within this month once we receive regulatory approvals.”

The refinery, Africa’s largest with a nameplate capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, was built on a peninsula on the outskirts of the commercial capital Lagos.

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Nigeria has for years relied on expensive imports for nearly all the fuel it consumes but the $20bn refinery is set to turn it into a net exporter of fuel to other West African countries, in a huge potential shift of power and profit dynamics in the industry.

Dangote exports products

The commencement of diesel sale in Nigeria by the plant is not actually its first refined products sale, as TheHeute reported in February that the refinery issued tenders to sell two fuel cargoes for export.

This was actually the first from the new refinery, as the report stated that this was confirmed by trading sources with knowledge of the matter who spoke to Reuters at the time.

Nigeria has for years relied on expensive imports for nearly all the fuel it consumes but the $20bn refinery is set to turn it into a net exporter of fuel to other West African countries, in a huge potential shift of power and profit dynamics in the industry

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Reuters had stated in its report that Dangote declined its request for comment. The oil firm also remained mute to several enquiries by TheHeute at the time.

The report stated that the first cargo was 65,000 metric tonnes of low-sulphur straight run fuel oil, which Dangote awarded to Trafigura, which was due to load at the end of February, three of the sources said, according to Reuters, as it added that Trafigura declined to comment at the time.

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At least one refiner said they had been offered the cargo by Trafigura without elaborating further.

The second tender was for about 60,000 tonnes of naphtha, three other sources had stated. Two of them added that the tender closed on February 15. Loading details were not immediately available at the time.

Sources had also told Reuters that the refinery was preparing to deliver its first fuel cargoes to the domestic market within weeks.

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The two fuels on offer were typical products of running light sweet crude through a crude distillation unit in a refinery without further upgrading capacity.

The refiner began buying crude in December last year and Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has been the main supplier.

Dangote has also purchased some US oil and reportedly received two million barrels of US WTI Midland in early March, according to LSEG and Kpler ship tracking.

Dangote sells diesel

Meanwhile, the National Vice Chairman of IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, also confirmed that Dangote refinery had commenced the sale of diesel to marketers.

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However, Fashola said IPMAN had yet to start receiving diesel from the private oil refining company.

“Yes, it is correct (that Dangote has started selling diesel), but not yet to IPMAN. Some marketers are already getting allocation, we are still waiting for our own. We’ve put in our request, and I am very sure that at the appropriate time, they will call us,” Fashola stated.

On the current price of diesel, he said, “In filling stations now, diesel ranges from N1450, N1500 to N1600, depending on the location”.

Fashola noted that Dangote’s diesel would have a positive effect on the price of the product, saying “at least there would be a difference from the imported one”.

While saying there was no financial commitments made yet, he expressed confidence that the independent marketers would fuel from Dangote this month.

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“No financial commitments made yet, but we’ve put in our papers to make known our intentions and our requests. When they issue allocation, then we can talk of financial commitments,” he stated.

Meanwhile, a diesel distributor in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Kayode Lawal, said the pump price of diesel is now between N1420 and N1500 as of Tuesday.

Also, an attendant in Badagry Lagos State, Bose Opeyemi, told our correspondent that the product now sells at the rate of N1,395 in some parts of Badagry, Lagos State, while some sell at N1,450.

In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Saheed Babalola, who is a quarry agent, also said he got a litre of AGO at the rate of N1,45O

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