Marketers, communicators renew call for gender equity, equality at WIMCA 2019


L-R: Caroline Oghuma, Executive Head, Corporate Affairs, MultiChoice Nigeria; Bunmi Oke, Managing Director, Ladybird Limited; Charles Nnochiri, Head of Marketing, PZ Cussons; Tosin Adefeko, Managing Director, AT3 Resources; Joshua Ajayi, the Convener, WIMCA and Publisher, Brand Communicator; Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head, Sustainability, Access Bank Plc and Dr. Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, Group Chief, Sustainability & Governance, Dangote Industries Limited at the 2019 edition of Women in Marketing & Communications Conference/Awards (WIMCA) held at Muson Centre, Onikan Lagos at the weekend.

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In today’s world, marketers are currently seeking for new ways to connect and engage the female population globally, a population growing remarkably. According to Worldometers, female population stood at 49.56 % in 7.62 billion of the world's population in 2018.


Specifically, in Nigeria’s marketing and communications industry, a women conference and awards tagged ‘Women In Marketing & Communications Conference/Award (WIMCA)’ has been at the forefront of renewing the call for gender equity and also chattering the way forward for professionals in deploying new ways of marketing to women and seek long time engagement.


The third edition of WIMCA held on August 30, 2019 in Lagos themed “Better the Balance in the Brands and Marketing Communications Industry” was in line with the theme of International Women's Day (IWD) this year, 'Better the Balance'.

Findings indicate that there are so many girls/ladies at the secondary and tertiary levels of education in Nigeria, in spite of this, few women are only at the top in the corporate world.

A cursory look at the global scene revealed that the number of female CEOs in 2019 according to Fortune 500 now stands at 6.6%, a considerable jump from 2018’s total of 24 of 4.8%.

L-R: Anurika Azubuike, Founder, Marketplace Innovation Africa; Bridget Oyefeso-Odusami, Head, Marketing And Communications, Stanbic IBTC; Emmanuel Agu, Group Marketing Director, JOTNA Nigeria Limited; Joshua Ajayi, the Convener, WIMCA and Publisher, Brand Communicator; Bukky Bandele, Marketing Director, Electricals Africa, HPZ, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc; and Tolulope Adedeji, Marketing Director, Abinbev West Africa at the 2019 edition of Women in Marketing & Communications Conference/Awards (WIMCA) held at Muson Centre, Onikan Lagos at the weekend.


Also, industry analysts reveal that, only four out of the top 20 Association Of Advertising Agencies Of Nigeria (AAAN) member agencies have women at the helm of affairs in different agencies. In the commercial banking sector, two out of the 21 commercial banks in Nigeria have female Chief Executive Officer. The ten major Media Independent agencies on the other hand do not have any woman as the head. Other sub-sectors of the industry cutting across both agency and clients’ side have very few women piloting the affair of their organisations. However, a good number of women are calling the shots as CMOs with opportunities for more women engagements on the client’s side of the business.



Hence, according to the organisers of WIMCA, the event was designed to identify the current trends in marketing communications while addressing the career challenges of female marketing professionals.



Corroborating on this, Joshua Ajayi, the Convener of WIMCA, and Publisher, Brand Communicator, said “For the past few editions of this conference, the theme of the International Women's Day (IWD) Celebration commemorated every March has always informed the theme of WIMCA, and this year is no different. Hence, the theme for this year's conference is ‘Better the Balance in the Brands & Marketing Industry,” after this year's IWD 'Better the balance' theme.


“The theme is a reminder to us in this industry that the race is on for gender-balanced boardrooms, government, workforces, media coverage, income and wealth distribution among others. Interestingly, the industry, the nation, the continent and the world generally have in the few couple of years recorded history-defining achievements in gender balance, though, there is more to be done.”



Speaking on the theme, Ademola Adebise, MD/CEO of Wema Bank and Keynote speaker, represented by Tunde Mabawonku, Chief Finance Officer at Wema Bank Plc said a lot of women in marketing and communications industry are doing great, he therefore urged women to support each other, be focus and be deliberate about their goals in the quest to ensure that more of them get to the top in their career and to the boardroom.



Contemporary Trends In Marketing To Women
Similarly, John Ugbe, CEO, MultiChoice Nigeria and keynote speaker also while speaking on contemporary trends in marketing to women explained that his organisation has more women who have risen to the top in their career and more are still springing up. He urged other organisations to deploy creative ways in addressing female related challenges.


Proffering solution to a case study which involved an agency that has about 25 female staffs while 18 of them got pregnant at the same time, Ugbe suggested such an organisation should provide an enabling environment in terms of where they can get medical attention close by to make them comfortable and as well go all out to win the account of brands attracting pregnant women and mothers because the pregnant women in the agency can relate better with the brand than any other person.


He added that his organisation will continue to seek more ways to empower women, one of which is the MultiChoice Women’s Forum.


Meanwhile, during the panel discussion, moderated by Anurika Azubuike, Founder, Marketplace Innovation Africa, the panelists proffered new ways of marketing to women.


Bukky Bandele, Marketing Director, Electricals Africa, HPZ, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc said that today women are the biggest influencers and spenders and they are loyal once a brand is able to effectively engage with them. 


Bridget Oyefeso-Odusami, Head, Marketing and Communications, Stanbic IBTC said that women are really interested in the functionality of any goods or services they key into, explaining that more women invest 90 per cent of their earning in their financial and investment services.


“We look at our customers and what their needs are and we offer them  services that suit their needs. For instance, during the raining season where flooding is predominant, we educate our customers on how to stay safe and if you look at our business, the aspect of insurance brokage plays a major role here.


“We create communication to encourage people to save and invest, and we do that through various technological means in which digital is one of them,” she said.


On another note, Tolulope Adedeji, Marketing Director, AB InBev West Africa said that women are in the season of empowerment and are readily interested in anything that will empower them and make their lives better.


Speaking further, she cited that in South Africa, an insight was gotten that more women were been abused at home by their husbands especially when their football teams lost and after taking beer, and as a beer company, AB InBev decided to launch campaign against domestic abuse with #No Excuse campaign and among others which helped grow their brand and at the same time reduced the vices. She added that women’s stereotypes and believes can also help build a brand.


Similarly, Emmanuel Agu, Group Marketing Director, JOTNA Nigeria Limited pointed that in Television commercials and advertising campaigns generally women are often projected in a bad light either as a domestic worker or as a sex objects which is also often portrayed in the movies and musicals. He therefore explained that there is need for diversity which a balance of male and female in the work place and the need for organisations to stop lip services to issue of gender equality, “What an organization does is a reflection of who they are,” he said.

Equity Vs equality
The issue of organisations choosing between equity and equality in their corporate philosophy has always been on the front burner. Equity is the quality of being fair and impartial while Equality is the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.


At the second session of the conference, Dr Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, Group Chief, Sustainability & Governance, Dangote Industries Limited who spoke on the sub-theme, ‘Better the Balance in the Work Place; Equity or Equality?’ said women in business are always dedicated and for them to find the way to the top they need to “define and understand the problem, align with a global movement.”


She revealed that men usually networking, seal deals when at pubs, adding that they usually reach consensus before a board meeting. She therefore advised women to borrow a leaf from that, embark on networking, support each other to rise to the top and equally learn to complete favourably with men.



Meanwhile, during the panel discussion moderated by Tosin Adefeko, Managing Director, AT3 Resources; Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head, Sustainability, Access Bank Plc urged women to be more deliberate in their approach and stay on top of their trade irrespectively of men domination or not. She said that her organization, Access Bank has made the working environment easy for women irrespective of the stage of life they are.


Charles Nnochiri, Head of Marketing, PZ Cussons, on his own part said that irrespective of being a man or woman, people should be treated equally and their expertise should be the criteria to pick a potential employee not necessarily the gender. He said that equity should be favoured ahead of equality.


In the same vein, Caroline Oghuma, Executive Head, Corporate Affairs, MultiChoice Nigeria, stated that today’s organisations are making conscious effort to ensure equity in the workplace irrespective of the gender. She therefore urged women to be diligent and innovative in order to remain relevant in the work place.


On a different note, Bunmi Oke, Managing Director, Ladybird Limited said both equity and equality are needed in the work place, pointed that all women have a role to play by being the best they can be, have a positive mindset, work hard and fight for what they want.


Interestingly, the event was chaired by Udeme Ufot, Group Managing Director, SO&U while sectorial heads and members from NIMN, IAA, NIPR, AAAN and among others were also in attendance to give their support to women and WIMCA 2019.


Award winners are……
Prominent and outstanding female marketing professionals in the Nigerian Integrated Marketing Communications industry were awarded from different sectors for their contributions to the growth of the industry.


Cross Section of WIMCA 2019 Awardees
WIMCA since inception, has been a platform that recognizes, encourages and rewards excellent female professionals, brands and organisations for their contributions to their various industries and the country at large.
Speaking before the award session, convener of the conference, Joshua Ajayi said “for this award, selection of the awardees went through a select panel of assessors for the various sub sectors to come out with the list of deserving female professionals,” he said.
In the individuals’ awards category, Ore Famurewa, Corporate Affairs Director, FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc was crowned the Outstanding Female Corporate Communications Professional of the year (In the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Category).


Also in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Category, Nsima Ogedi-Alakwe, Marketing Director, Unilever Nigeria was awarded the Outstanding Female Marketing Professional of the year.


For the IT & Telecoms Category, for her outstanding performance in the sector, Omasan Ogisi, General Manager, Corporate Affairs MTN Nigeria was crowned the Outstanding Female Corporate Communications Professional of the year.


Interestingly, in the creative adverting category, Yinka Ogunde, Managing Director, Goals & Ideas Limited was crowned the Outstanding Female Creative Advertising Professional of the year.



Similarly, Tola Obi, Chief Operating Officer, Centerspread Grey was awarded the Emerging Female Creative Advertising Professional of the year for her remarkable performance.


Meanwhile, for her creative excellence in chunking out international advertising campaigns and also being the only woman in that position, Sinmisola Hughes-Obisesan, Creative Director, Leo Burnett Lagos was crowned Female Creative Advertising Director of the Year.


In the Public Relations space, Tokunboh George-Taylor, Managing Director, Hills+Knowlton Strategies was awarded the Outstanding Female Public Relations Professional of the year while Bidemi Zakariyau, Founder, LSF|PR clinched Emerging Female Public Relations Professional of the year.



Other individual awards are: Ify Onukwuba, Managing Director, Nigeria Advertising Services Limited, Outstanding Female Out of Home Advertising Professional of the year; Khadijat Okunnu-Lamidi, Founder/CEO, Slice Media, Emerging Female Out of Home Advertising Professional of the year; Nana Milagrosa, Founder/CEO, Mabatpro Experiential Agency, Outstanding Female Experiential Marketing Professional of the year; Buki Osunkeye, General Manager, Mindshare, Algorithm Media; Outstanding Female Media Independent Professional of the year; Bukola Akingbade, Founder/CEO, Neukleos, Outstanding Female Digital Marketing Professional of the year; Bekeme Masade-Olowola, Chief Executive Officer, CSR-IN-ACTION, Outstanding Female Sustainability Professional of the year; Cherry Eromosele, Chief Marketing Officer, Interswitch Limited, Outstanding Female 0f Marketing Professional of
the year (In the Financial Technology Category); Margaret Mwantok, News Reporter, Guardian Newspaper, Outstanding Female Brands and Marketing Journalist of the year; and Julia Oku Jacks, Chief Executive Officer Treewater Limited, Lifetime Achievement Award, for her role in creating and sustaining a thriving marketing communications business.


For the brand category, Maggi Cubes, Nestle Nigeria Plc emerged the Outstanding Seasoning Brand of the Year.


Access Bank Plc, went home with the biggest two awards, emerging the biggest winner in the award.  They emerged the Outstanding Female Friendly Bank of the Year for her THE W Initiative and also emerged as the Most Outstanding Brand Supporting Sustainability.


The Outstanding Female Centric Foundation of the Year went to Felix King Foundation while the Female Centric Microfinance Bank of the Year went to LAPO Microfinance Bank and Haier Thermocool emerged as Outstanding Female Centric Home Appliance Brand of the Year.
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