Why local agencies are better at delivering brand message – Dentsu Nigeria’s COO

In an industry that is fast changing in trends setting, Dentsu Creative Nigeria has capsulized its operations to strengthen its quality of services and improve its standing. FUNKE ADEKOLA, the chief operating officer for Nigeria, in this e-chat, tells DAMILOLA ODIFA more about the firm’s new plans.

What are your expectations from the merging of two of your agencies into Dentsu Creative Nigeria?

The transition to Dentsu Creative will enable us to do our best work, alongside the best talent and be a force for good in the world while growing our business. This new agency will bring together all the agencies across creative at Dentsu including our award-winning DentsuMB, Isobar, and creative agencies. It will also involve modern capabilities in entertainment, digital experience, and earned attention, which will be supported by next-generation creative, production and data capabilities.

What sets you apart in an advertising industry highly saturated with competition?

Dentsu Creative transforms brands and businesses through the power of modern creativity and is a creative network designed for today and tomorrow.

What are your thoughts about Nigerian firms contracting their creative accounts to foreign agencies?

Well, that depends on their objectives as a business. But it is a no-brainer really. Your local agency will be more attuned to local insights, and local market conditions and deeply understand local culture and how it will affect the delivery of the brand message. If you want your message to connect locally, it is best to go local.

As the COO, how has your journey been and what in your background prepared you for this trajectory?

It’s another challenge to surmount and another step in the right direction. In terms of how it came about, I was promoted. I believe that no experience is a wasted experience; so every personal and professional experience has prepared me. I encourage younger creative women and girls seeking to climb their professional ladder by guiding all those within my direct line of influence positively, personally, and professionally.

How do you think the persisting issue of the gender pay gap in modern Nigeria can be addressed effectively?

It persists, and we still have a long way to go in rendering balance. But we have seen a lot of improvement in recent times. I believe women speak up more and are asking for more today.

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The 35 percent gender inclusion bill that was not passed sparked major protests from women leaders and activists earlier in the year. What’s your take on it?

The denial of women the opportunity of inclusion and representation in governance by voting against the gender bills makes it clear how far we are yet to go and the sort of dent we have made in gender equality. We must be persistent in our pushback; educate and sensitise lawmakers and politicians alike.

Do you agree with stereotypes branding women in business as hard and unfeminine?

There will always be assumptions and stereotypes but proving the stereotypes wrong is key. All the women I have had the pleasure of working with were more focused on mutual learning, growth, and breaking glass ceilings.

What is the hardest part of the job that you do?

There is no part of the job that is easy. The important thing is to enjoy and love what you do, then it will all seem easy.

You have worked with a lot of brands in different capacities. What are the lessons learnt?

Consistently adding value will make you invaluable.

Can you walk us through your educational background and when your professional career started?

I hold a degree in Economics from the University of Buckingham UK and an MBA from Nexford University. My professional life (If you could call it that) started pretty early as I bagged my job at the age of 17 straight out of high school and I have always retained one job or the other through the course of my education. I however began my journey in advertising at DDB Lagos in 2009.

What recognitions have you garnered as a leader in the industry?

Dentsu Creative Nigeria is a culmination of two multiple award-winning agencies one of which is currently ranked the second most creative agency in Nigeria at the AAAN’s Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival LAIF 2021.

How do you keep a balance between your personal and professional life? Can women really have it all?

I believe it’s key to know when to switch off, leave work at work and take some time for oneself as often as it is needed. Self-care is important and in response to your second question anyone can have it all be it a man or woman. Balance, resources, and a good support system are key.

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