Branding, Communications, Strategy. Put those words in one place and you know you are on your way to winning the hearts of customers and ensuring loyal customers stay loyal. Indeed, Corporate communicators play a key role in how investors, employees and the general public perceive a company. We know this and this is why ‘Share of Voice‘ exists. But it is not just about what Corporate Communications, Brand Management does to the soul of a company. It is about connecting with the players in the fields and telling their story. Previously, we have connected and conversed with Olajumoke Bolu-Kujero, Adenike Fagbemi, Ladi Ogunseye, Wale Ekundayo, Chinedu Oparaku … and now Aderayo Bankole.
Aderayo Bankole, is the Head, Corporate Communications, Lagos Business School, where she is responsible for developing brand strategy and managing brand reputation.
This is how it went:
Education and Professional journey
I have an undergraduate degree in Economics and a Masters in International Marketing Management – I have worked in broadcast, telecoms, banking, public relations, investment banking and now management education. In these industries, I have functioned in internal audit, operations and majorly corporate communications. I have managed brands such as Accenture, Baileys, Johnnie Walker, Investment One, Samsung, MasterCard and many more.
Leadership, necessary changes and the pandemic
For someone who is a problem solver and directs her own activities and timeline, the pandemic initially made me feel powerless. The inability to predict at least the near future was not something I was used to. The lockdown taught me not to rely on myself too much, and realise that some things are out of my control.
For my leadership style, it buttressed my employee autonomy approach. My team comprises completely of millennials and I had given them free rein as long as organisational values were being adhered to. This autonomy ensured that they learnt how to self-manage, as I have always focused on delivery and accountability. We already had several collaborative apps with which we did our work and simply transitioned to using them as the primary medium of communication. Because the work from home has persisted for a long time, I have had to manage my team with a lot more emotional intelligence as many people are dealing with several stressors, while also having to deliver on the job.
Customers’ needs, now and post-pandemic
Yes, we have had to make changes to adjust to customers’ needs. Listening is a very important tool for understanding customer needs per time. Knowing these needs have changed as a result of the new reality that we currently live in, my team and I are continuously finding new ways to meet these needs. As all our work is now delivered online, we create new content and repurpose old ones, and schedule them appropriately so our audience is not inundated with information overload.
Is the Lagos Business School making any adjustments?
LBS already had a business continuity plan that was implemented even before the lockdown. All our MBA programmes had seamlessly transitioned to full online learning in March. We also transitioned to full WFH mode a week before the total lockdown. Resources and training to empower staff to deliver from home were provided. We are constantly reviewing and adjusting as required.
Personal selling – among colleagues
I am a corporate communications leader with expertise in brand identity and reputation strategy plus stakeholder management. A brand storyteller who is the soul of the business, because I have to paint vivid pictures in the minds of my organisation’s audience. And, I understand brands and their audience, therefore I communicate effectively and efficiently.
Staying ahead – the Corporate Communications way
The world is changing rapidly, right before our eyes. Organisations now have new priorities, and customers’ needs and expectations continue to evolve. In the midst of these changes, we must not forget how new technologies are dominating the media landscape. Thus, making social and digital the top options for consuming information. It is up to everyone who works in corporate communications to build on their skills, understand how consumers engage, become conversant with these technologies, create value and communicate their relevance to their CEOs and organisational leaders.
Expressions in other ways
I did a bit of radio presenting earlier in my career and I have recently been interested in voice-overs and event hosting. I hope to hone these skills and explore them in the near future.
Now for the youth…balancing work and lifestyles
i. Specific advice for this season
Starting out in this field especially at such a time like this can be frustrating, considering a lot of rapid changes are happening. Some new entrants have never had to work from home and are having trouble navigating work demands amidst a pandemic. My advice for everyone who finds themselves in this situation is to first all breathe. The current situation is beyond your control and it is important that you emerge from this pandemic with your mental, physical and emotional health in top form. Also, do not let this crisis go to waste. There are so many opportunities to build on your skills, expand your knowledge base and freelance. Maximise every opportunity.
ii. For general advice
Be clear on how you want to measure your life. Decide on what you want to achieve and develop a plan. Go for your dreams, but be flexible in your execution. Sometimes life leads us through seemingly usual journeys and we somehow end up at our desired destination. Be strategic about your personal brand. Fill your life with things other than work; make sure you experience things… really experience them. Surround yourself with a great support system, go out and conquer, we only get to do life once.