CEO of SBI Media, Rotimi Bankole, who has more than 15 years experience in marketing communications, speaks with Omolara Akintoye on his company’s involvement in the new influencer deal between Tecno and superstar pop singer Wizkid. He also touches on the vision and operational philosophy of the SBI Media.
Why was Wizkid the perfect brand ambassador for the Camon15 series?
Tecno is market leader across Nigeria and in Africa. It is strategic that the brand partners with a pop-culture icon and personality that accentuates the brand’s position and stature. It is not just a brand ambassador deal; it is a partnership that will transcend marketing into lifestyle.
Tecno is a Nigerian brand that has gone global with a strong and unrivalled foothold across Africa. This partnership with Wizkid will see the brand breaking new grounds and remaining ahead of the curve in mobile technology and lifestyle innovations.
Does Wizkid’s engagement cover the entire Tecno mother brand or just Camon 15 series?
It is an end-to-end partnership.
How involved was SBI Media in the Wizkid project?
This partnership has been a long time coming and, thankfully, it finally became a reality. It was the brainchild of teamwork, resilience and painstaking planning between the SBI and Tecno teams.
SBI Media imagined and executed the concept of the biggest brand endorsement for Tecno Mobile. Why?
That’s what we do because we aren’t just a media and communication agency; we are a next-generation group. What you are seeing is a result of teamwork and dedication that we put into our work.
How long did it take altogether from conception to execution?
At least, more than three quarters.
Why does Tecno see itself as an authentic African brand?
Africa is unique in everything. Wizkid and Tecno are rich with unique stories, too. From an ordinary person’s perspective, Tecno stood no chance when we entered the market. But with tenacity, teamwork and dedication, we triumphed. That’s the Wizkid story; that’s the African story.
As the brand with the largest market share in the Nigerian mobile device market, what do you say is Tecno Mobile’s secret of success?
Market knowledge, teamwork, innovation.
In what ways can you leverage on this achievement and the learning you’re taking from it for the good of your other clients and the industry?
At SBI Media, we acknowledge this as a big feat but we will not rest on our oars, as we will use this milestone as a launchpad to break new grounds. The opportunities are limitless. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 is a learning curve for everyone and we plan to make the best of it.
Speaking of the big leagues, SBI Media is about six years old yet is spreading its tentacles across Africa, describe the current reach of the agency at the moment.
We are a global agency with one of the strongest networks in the world. We are a member of Masscom Global, the largest marketing network in emerging markets. We have presence in more 150 countries across the region we play in and we continue to partner, collaborate in the aim to always be the best at what we do.
If you were to compare growth of your agency to the entire industry’s, what would the numbers look like?
In the last three years, we have been growing by more than 50% year on year. Industry average is below this rate but we are still yearning for more.
What would you say is responsible for SBI Media’s tremendous growth within this short period?
Teamwork, dedication, client-focused and a learning culture.
How do you bring your membership of the Masscom group to bear in the services of your clients?
We leverage global best practices, case studies and business leadership that further standardise our quality of execution and delivery.
What do you see in the future of Nigeria’s telecom sector?
The mobile telecoms market is perhaps the most exciting and promising at this moment. We are proud to be in a partnership with 9Mobile, a brand known for its innovation and leadership. We believe the market will lead information and communication technology innovation as more investment and leverage of artificial intelligence, big data analytics, quantum cloud computing, and real-time automation becomes major business drivers. With the coming of 5G technology, the industry will see more investment and need to innovate and communicate.
SBI has expanded to include Streams, an advertising agency. What informed that?
The need to further strengthen our capacity, pursue our vision and become more valuable to our clients and partners.
As the models of the past continue to give way to AI and other forms of technology, what do you see in the future of the marketing communications industry even with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Especially with the way and manner businesses have had to adapt to remote operations during this COVID-19 outbreak. Digital marketing will further take centre stage; TV will also further evolve into digital forms becoming more mobile and real time. Streaming and on-demand (OTA) platforms will become mainstream and people like us will need to adapt and fit in.
You are famed for your excellent client management skills. If you were to mentor junior practitioners, what advice would you give them to help them win new clients and improve their relationship with existing ones?
Understand your client and always be there for them.
You’ve said that talent is often overrated and that hard work remains more valuable than talent. How do you extract consistent world-class performance from your teams?
Teamwork and dedication. Once you have a solid team, you can never go wrong. You will face challenges but with the best team, you will win.
How has your organisation been able to adapt and continue servicing clients in the face of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown?
We are client-focused in our culture and so our work process is built for mission-critical and disruptive times such as this. With the use of cloud and virtual technology, our operation is running optimally.
You referred to a solid team: in what ways can you identify and select the people to include in a solid team?
Their antecedent, open-mindedness, team-playing ability, and most especially, their work ethic and personal values.