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Cona Creative Concepts Ltd: Celebrating A Master Brand Strategist And Pr Guru Par Excellence


Cona Creative Concepts Ltd: Celebrating A Master Brand Strategist And Pr Guru Par Excellence

By Chuks Ahanonu

He is undoubtedly a creative genius when it comes to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). He is easily regarded as one of the best in the industry and has received numerous awards for his creativity. Over the past four decades, he has developed proven competence in key areas of IMC like brand building, political marketing and campaign advertising, reputation management, behaviour change communication, print advertising and promotion, advocacy and Corporate Social Responsibility.

His clients can be found in all nooks and crannies of South East Nigeria and beyond. One thing you can’t take away from him is the high quality of his delivery. Ask him to describe himself and he will simply tell you he is a brand consultant, a humanist and altruist. Indeed, he is a colossus and an authority in his chosen profession. He is a pragmatist and a man filled with the milk of human kindness. To openly give for the happiness and well being of others naturally comes to him compulsively.

Many don’t know his real name. He is addressed almost everywhere he goes by his corporate identity – Cona. Mention the name Cona in Imo and neighbouring states, one thing that comes to mind is brand consulting. But the man behind the Cona Creative Concepts Ltd. brand is the reverred Apostle Professor Chinedu Asinu-Anosike. He is an illustrious son of Obazu – Mbieri in Mbaitoli Local Government Council of Imo State.

The journey into the exciting world of marketing communication began for Cona sometime in 1978 during the formative stage of the then Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe of blessed memory. NPP was one of the major political parties that contested in the general elections of Nigeria’s Second Republic.

As a student of the then College of Technology Enugu (now IMT), he got introduced to Chief Jim Nwobodo (former Governor of Anambra State) who was a top-notch member of the about to be formed NPP by his late uncle, Mr. Isaac Iheukwumere, then the Chief Accountant in Chief Nwobodo’s popular Link Group of Companies. Placing implicit confidence in the young man, he was commissioned to design the popular NPP logo. The design came out well to the consternation of those who gave him the opportunity to showcase his talent. It was approved with minor adjustments to reflect the brand essence of the political party. The party leaders who were gathered that day to listen to young Cona make his presentation and explain the design concept were held spell bound. Many of us who were grown up in 1979 will not forget in a hurry NPP’s popular radio jingle rendered in Igbo language: olebe anyi ga abianye aka, ebe esere mmadu (vote for the party with images of people). It was a product of Cona’s prodigious brain.

Chief Nwobodo later took him to Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe for introduction at his Onuiyi Haven residence near the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). Through Chief Nwobodo, Cona further got to know Chief Samuel Onunaka Mbakwe (ex Governor of Imo State), Chief Francis Arthur Nzeribe (Senator representing Orlu Senatorial District between October 1983 – December 1983) and a host of other top politicians in NPP. Consequently, during the run up to the 1979 general election, he handled the printing of the campaign materials of most of these politicians. Recently in a chat with this writer, the master brand strategist recalled that it was printing of Chief Mbakwe’s coloured campaign materials that took him overseas for the first time in his life. Since then, Cona has remained unstoppable as he has worked with successive administrations not just in Imo State but in the entire South East. This working relationship has endured purely based on recommendations irrespective of whether it was a civilian or military administration.

Within the life of our present democracy, Cona has handled the packaging of the campaign materials of former Governor Achike Udenwa, Governor Ikedi Godwin Ohakim, Governor Hope Uzodimma and Chief Jerry Chukwueke etc. His imprimatur remains indelible in most of the government printed materials during the administrations of Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, Governor T. A Orji (both of Abia State) and that of Governor Emeka Ihedioha. Within the period under focus, he has also packaged candidates for both the Senate and House of Representatives seats in different states in the federation.

Cona is unabashedly apolitical. He is purely a professional in his chosen field of endeavour. Most of these politicians know before commissioning him that he is or was in the past involved in the packaging of their opponents. It is purely a consultancy work and not tied to party affiliation.

And when some of the past civilian governors and military administrators of Imo state died, the government of the day reached out to him to put together their burial brochures and other promotional burial materials. Cona Creative Concepts put together the burial brochures of Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe, Chief Evans Enwerem, Navy Commander Amadi Ikwechegh and lately that of Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu.

Apostle Professor Chinedu Asinu – Anosike has demonstrated a real grasp of political campaign advertising hence he is much sought after and always getting recommendations and referrals from those he had worked with. His staying power in the industry has been the attention he gives to detail and the quality of his service delivery. He does not cut corners and tells his clients how best to achieve results using the right messaging methods in modern political campaign packaging. Political campaign advertising has become imperative in our democracy due to the growing awareness of voters. The advent of the new media (websites, blogs, email, podcasts, social media networks etc) has become a challenge for candidates vying for elections and even for governments of the day. There is the need to reach out to voters and the ruled, change negative narratives because accessibility to the new media is just at the finger tips of almost everyone with a smartphone and data. Anybody with an evil intention can spin any negative narrative and this might be taken as truth about a candidate or government

To say that Apostle Professor Chinedu Asinu – Anosike and marketing communications are inseparable is an understatement. He knows the industry in and out. He is into advocacy and has carried out Corporate Social Responsibility services through his NGOs. These are purely public relations services carefully tailored to impact on his environment. A self confessed altruist, the head consultant of Cona Creative Concepts in 1988 founded and registered the CONA Anosike Support Foundation – CONASUF INC. According to him, it is a “non – governmental, non – profit making organization primarily committed to the overall development of the nation through the restoration of rights, provision and protection of the poor, abused and vulnerable children”. CONASUF has presence in 12 states in our federation and draws its volunteer staff from the Clergy, students, professionals, public servants, movie/music stars and other individuals. In the more than 30years of its existence, this NGO has been involved in countless intervention services in the areas of health, food, education and counselling for disadvantaged Nigerian children.

In 2009, CONASUF INC initiated the Safe Child Project aimed at reducing the overwhelming population of orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria and to restore a feeling of self worth in them. The pilot edition of the SCP was successfully held then in partnership with the Imo State Government and Association of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (AOVCN). (This is another non governmental organization which he incorporated with the CAC in 2008 at the behest of “eminent Nigerians and reputable child welfare professionals to provide protection, care and support to the large population of the poor, neglected, abused, sick, orphaned and abandoned children”. The NGO is active up to this day). During the SCP programme, 302 most needy children were identified and linked to indigenous humanitarian organizations and philanthropists who have continued to sponsor the provision of their basic needs. Over the years, several of these outreach programmes have been carried out and the number of beneficiaries has continued to increase.

In October 2021, his altruistic nature further led him to found another non governmental, non profit organization called Advocacy for Equal Social and Human Rights in Rural Areas of Nigerian Community Foundation (AESHRRAN). This NGO has four cardinal focus areas: to fight for the abrogation of the obnoxious and segregational Osu/Ume Caste System in Igbo land; stoppage of the unhealthy practice of female genital mutilation; fight for the stoppage of child abuse and dehumanization of persons through human trafficking; support and create awareness for the promulgation of stringent penalties against rapists.

Together with others, they lobbied the Imo Stat House of Assembly to act in this direction. The House did. In 2020, Hon Dr. Mrs. Uju Onwudiwe, the member representing Njaba State Constituency sponsored the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill. During the public presentation and hearing on the bill by the IMHA, Apostle Professor Chinedu Asinu-Anosike submitted a memo to the committee. Despite the efforts by different interest groups wrongly claiming to disparage the bill on the grounds that it will encourage same sex marriage and abortion, the bill was passed last year by the House of Assembly. In December 2021, Governor Hope Uzodimma signed it into law.

Even though the new law does not cover one of AESHRRAN’s focus areas of abrogating the Osu/Ume Caste System, the dogged head consultant of Cona Creative Concepts and his team are unperturbed. They have started creating awareness and consulting traditional rulers in Imo State and other states in the South East where the Osu Caste System is practiced. Hopefully, their efforts will yield positive results. The Osu/Ume Caste System is a very big embarrassment to Ndi Igbo and challenges our claim to being real Christians and our brother’s keeper.

Cona’s altruistic nature and his resort to the use of NGOs to impact on his community further portrays him as a complete public relations practitioner. By deploying NGOs to help the needy and stop the obnoxious practice of Osu Caste Sytem in our society, he has involved himself in advocacy, Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) and Behaviour Change Communication(BCC). These are specialism of public relations. His use of philanthropy which is one of the four aspects of CSR eminently positions and sets the Cona Creative Concepts brand apart from others. This means it is a caring brand.

As the years go by, Cona Creative Concepts has continued to raise the bar higher and higher in brand communication within our environment. He is not about to stop. According to him, the “sky is not even my limit”. We wish him well as he continues to bring his creativity to bear on what he does.

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