By Victor Angula |
In a classic example of another David vs Goliath, Omutumwa goes on a war-path with her banker, namely FNB Namibia.
During previous communication exchanges between the two at the end of last year Omutumwa, being an online news platform, asked FNB to start advertising with Omutumwa since the bank has never done so ever since the newspaper was started 10 years ago.
Thus on 22 February 2021 FNB responded by email as follows:
“Dear Mr Angula (Victor)
“Thank you for your interest in FNB, and the sharing of your media platform for consideration of placements going forward.
“As you will appreciate, our media spend over the past few years has reduced. At the same time, basic media planning for widest reach, specific target markets and tonality and credibility, continue to influence our placement decisions over time.
“Regrettably your platform does not yet offer similar reach and engagement as others in the market and until this is clear, we will not be able to allocate our limited spend to your online publication.
“For the record we note your negative commentary online regarding demands for FNB advertising support, and respectfully offer that where it is budget and reach appropriate, we certainly do support services of some clients.
“It is not a feature of our own service offering to customers, i.e. we do not request that customers have to work exclusively with us. When we do take up services of customers, it is a clear business decision with no return expected other than the specified and disclosed service level agreement details.
“We will continue to monitor the growth and reach of your publication, and wish you well as you work to grow its reach. Your content is the hook; adverts are not the main draw for readers.
“With the above in mind, we look forward to engaging with you in the future.
“Tracy Eagles, Chief Marketing Officer, FirstRand Namibia Ltd.”
In response Omutumwa replied to FNB (FirstRand Namibia) as follows:
“Thank you for your clear and candid communication.
“But let me take you through it a bit and let you in on my perspective with regard to the tug-o-war between FNB and Omutumwa.
“I know and understand very well that as a marketing executive for FNB your explanation is correct; your perspective is not wrong in that it is set along the fundamental business principles of putting a dollar only where you are assured of earning an extra dollar or two.
“But then Omutumwa was established not only to be a platform for news and information dissemination but also to be a proactive and critical confronter of the practices which could be right and based on business principles but which have failed to create a sustainable and equitable Namibian society.
“So let me briefly say the following:
“1. Your media spend over the past few years has reduced.
The decision to reduce your media spend must have been based on a sound business strategy. But at the same time the Namibian economy has been experiencing negative growth. One may get to think that as a significant roleplayer in the Namibian economy surely FNB’s strategies could have been a catalyst to such negative growth.
“Instead of promoting widespread positive growth (increasing the size of the cake) some of the strategies you have been implementing in the past few years might have been shortsighted and self-centred and helped in back-pedaling the economy.
“2. FNB will not allocate limited spend (resources) on Omutumwa.
You will therefore not allocate the limited or reduced spend or resources on Omutumwa because Omutumwa is a small media platform. As you put it frankly that it ‘does not yet offer similar reach and engagement as others in the market’.
“This approach of yours cannot be faulted when considered from a business perspective. But if considered from a business perspective which is future-focused and broad-based, then such an approach is certainly short-sighted. Please take note of the fact that Omutumwa has been a client of FNB for the past ten years. But FNB has gained little from this relationship because Omutumwa has not grown much during that period.
“In addition it sounds a bit exclusionist to have FNB allocate resources only to those big platforms which provide widest reach, tonality and credibility while such platforms do not represent the whole society but FNB’s client base represents the whole society.
“3. You take note of Omutumwa’s negative commentary.
I can honestly speak on behalf of Omutumwa and say that Omutumwa is committed to the approach of giving negative commentary on whoever will not want to have a productive working relationship with her.
“For the past ten years we have conveniently ignored each other; but Omutumwa has come to a stage of which those who will not be friends – they become enemies. Negative commentary comes from the fact that after seeking for the hand of friendship, we have been offered the tail.
“4. You will continue to monitor Omutumwa’s growth.
You say that you will continue to monitor the growth and reach of Omutumwa, and so you will only engage with us if and when we have grown enough that you can only climb on our back for your benefit not taking into consideration as to how did our growth come about and who supported us during the time of our infancy.
“That should be too much of honesty on your part!
“Best of regards,
And then FNB replied as follows:
“Thank you for your response below and the sharing of your honest perception and insights.
“We wish all customers well in their businesses, and I trust that you, as a valued customer, will continue to receive the service from us as a bank that you deserve always.