ONE OF A KIND

Ghana 2018 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks Norbert Rufu, CEO of DDP Outdoor, on what it takes to do something spectacular, how to remain a perennial market leader, and offering the country something unique.

Norbert Rufu
BIOGRAPHY
Norbert Rufu is the CEO of DDP Outdoor. He has more than a decade of experience in outdoor advertising across Africa in more than 13 countries in West, Southern, and East Africa in various senior management positions such as regional operating officer, head of procurement, head of business development, and territory manager. Under his leadership, DDP Outdoor has already completed one acquisition in Ghana and is poised for more growth. Prior to joining Outdoor Advertising, Rufu worked in the hotel industry in Zimbabwe.

As you take the helm of DDP Outdoor, what are your priorities?

Our major priority is to grow both locally and internationally. We want to expand into new countries, starting with West Africa. Right now, to do something spectacular, we have to go outside of Ghana. Our approach is to seek partners in each country, so we can rely on their local expertise when running the business.

What does your upcoming 45th anniversary in Ghana and more than 50% market share mean for the company and country?

It is a proud moment for Ghana to have a local company that is both large and sustainable. As a company, we are proud to be a leader despite the vast influx of new companies. Our motto is to always focus on offering the highest quality services; hence, our competitors and customers recognize us as a perennial market leader. We are constantly looking at new and innovative types of media not yet present in the country. We pioneered various types of advertising in the country, which allow us to maintain a dominant position. We have many opportunities in the digital space and are trying to capture this opportunity by offering the country something unique.

What role does technology play for DDP Outdoor?

Technology is changing everything so rapidly. From where we started five years ago, a vast amount has entered the country. We have been constantly shifting and adapting, and right now we are focused on migrating to digital platforms. There is a great deal of progression in this space. Of course, our progress may not be quite as fast as Europe or America; however, it is impressive for Ghana. We are trying to ensure that we introduce technologies at an optimum time for the market and for us, and have to balance the investment required with the expected potential upside. There is a lot of transformation occurring, and in the next two years we will see a lot more digital technology entering the market. We will use technology to increase quality in our local markets, expand our client base, and effectively manage the back-office processes. We deal with almost every type of advertising medium. Integrating new technologies will allow us to serve our customers in a more holistic fashion, improving their satisfaction and business, as well as our bottom line.

How has your client base evolved over the last two years, and how do you project demand to develop?

Our client base has been consistent. Telecoms have declined a bit, but their position is now improving and will bounce back in the near future. The beverage industry and finance sector have been improving, and compared to two years ago, there has been an increase of more than 200%. We have seen a general positivity in the market, and when our clients are positive about the broader economy, they are more willing to spend on advertising. The belief that the economy is going to grow is widespread these days, which positively impacts everyone.

Are there any policies from the government that could enhance the advertising industry?

It is a difficult to discuss limitations or opportunities for advertising in terms of government policy because advertising is often regulated at the municipal level. Obviously, we would like a situation where there is a reduction in the billboard clutter, because this gives value both to the client and to us. However, when clutter is allowed to continue, it diminishes the value we get from the media we offer. It also impacts our ability to invest. If the assemblies or municipalities can control the clutter, then the industry will improve.