Wale Ekundayo: The Marketing demi-god shares critical lessons you will want to learn from

When you look around, you see human beings, for us, we see stars. And we try to connect with these stars, to tell their stories, to learn from them. After all, the world would be better when everyone is a star and Share of Voice is yet another medium to identify and connect with extraordinary people. We have had conversations with people like Arinola Adeniyi (Venivici spa), Samuel Ajiboye (Alpha and Jam) and other bright minds who lead conversations in their respective fields.

For today, we have Wale Ekundayo, Vice President, Cerebre Digital Limited – A full fledge Digital Marketing Agency with a 360-degree approach to Marketing Communications on the Digital Platform and Value Added Services on the Mobile platform.

Let’s allow him to do the honours.

The Lessons, the Challenges, the Successes

Let me start with how I got into Marketing Communications in the first place. I had a stint in IT, and for a while I enjoyed developing solutions, solving problems and generally marketing and selling those solutions. This was when solutions in IT had started getting into the retail space, where individuals could have interactions with IT, so I sold school solutions, and Human Resource solutions with self-service capabilities.

Then I realised I could scale this up to the point where products and brands can be built the same way. This was what brought me into Marketing Communications – I started out with Lowe Lintas as their Digital Director.

Let me start out with the first success recorded at Lowe Lintas. We got into the Guinness Book of World Records, by organising an activation that had over 35,000 children washing their hands at the same time, which was pioneered by Lifebuoy soap.

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is the aspect of preparing for the rainy day. I had worked in two agencies before setting out to start mine, and I saw how we could easily be blind-sided by winning streaks. I took certain decisions upfront – from hiring to managing cash flow – and that I like to think, helped us into the future.

The other challenge I witnessed in working in Marketing Communications is complacency. It is very easy to get into a routine mode, and the major currency an agency spends is ideas. The mode of transaction remains execution of those ideas to the letter. Once you lose those two major factors, you can as well go home. Therefore, navigating this challenge from the get go made us recruit certain types of people and train in certain ways, so we don’t get into a mold.

Success is a destination. I will say our biggest success story is the fact that we see talents leave the agency and they are replaced by even better successors; and seeing the progress of the ones who leave, in their various endeavours. This for me is the measurement I can point to.

What has changed in Wale’s leadership style this pandemic period?

Before the pandemic, we have always operated a result-oriented type of system, from the lowest level on our organogram to the highest. I like to think most agencies understand the KPI acronym, which we take very seriously and apply. Thus, even with the lockdown extension, we do not have a break – we are getting briefs and executing them accordingly.

In these times, we are fine-tuning areas in which we can be better at delivery, basically optimizing service delivery.

Any changes in Cerebre Digital Limited because of the pandemic?

The significant change is the fact that we don’t have a resumption and closing time. It wasn’t like we had any before now, as we typically work round the clock, but I am beginning to see, first-hand, how the lives of my colleagues are affected by this pandemic, especially the people who were affected by robberies in different areas of the city.

As Cerebre, prior to the pandemic, we have been toying with the concept of launching the “Virtual Agency”, which we have been working on for a while. We realised that a lot of people are looking at transiting from what it is they do into the creative industry, and they have the requisite skill. We want to give them the opportunity to use those skills and earn at the same time. We were able to launch the “Virtual Agency” and our hypothesis and theories were proven right.

How does Wale think the Marketing industry will look like after the pandemic?

As much as everyone is alluding to the fact that a lot of things will change, (I doubt it very much though because we resist change as humans), I see the experiential aspect of the industry being affected, as social distancing looks like it has come to stay at least until 2021. There will more marketing opportunities as there is the need to recover what has been lost, ingenious and creative ways of marketing in our new reality.

The run of the mill type of advertising can no longer work, and the need for everyone to dig deep and bring out creative solutions beyond eyeballs will be much in demand. Call me an incurable optimist, but these things are what we have seen and backed up by requisite sample size.

Changes he will like to see/experience in the Digital Marketing space once the pandemic is over

The fact that most brands equate likes, followers, and all that to mean progress, is what I sincerely desire will change. There is the need to focus more on results, which is conversion on acquisition of customers and repeat purchases of their brands or whatever service they are offering.

Secondly, I will like to see a lot more research-led strategies, that are specific to the brands.

If you were to use one word to describe how it will be for you personally after the pandemic, what word will it be?

One word- EXPONENTIAL.

Why?

I think we have started seeing the signs. As we speak, the opportunities to advertise using alternative means across digital platforms is on the rise. After the pandemic, there will be more of those.

What does the world not know about Wale Ekundayo?

LOL. I’m a Chelsea Fan, if that suffices.

What do you do when you are not working?

Pray, Watch Football, Read.

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