Today we had the great pleasure of interviewing Adekoya Ayomide Andre, a brand and consumer specialist for Redbull. His experience makes him the perfect person to interview on the blog. He is a great example of hard work and determination for anyone who wants to be more successful in being a brand or event strategist and he was ready to share his insights with us.
Thank you, Andre!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Adekoya Ayomide popularly known as Andre. I graduated as a Medical Lab Scientist from The College of Medicine, University of Lagos. I currently work with Redbull, Nigeria. I’ve been working there for a couple of years, first as a student brand manager but now I work as a Brand and Consumer Specialist.
What experience do you have as a brand strategist?
I’ve always been involved with different brands right from school, fine it’s not exactly what I studied but I’ve worked with several brands basically on social media promotions in terms of strategies and execution of campaigns. That’s how I started before joining Redbull officially in 2017 and moved those strategies on campus to build a fan base for the brand.
So you’re a solid brand strategist yeah because I keep hearing brand… brand… brand!
Yeah because the question you asked is related to brand lol. I won’t say solid yeah definitely solid but I wouldn’t say I’m an expert like a full-time expert yet.
Okay! So what does branding mean to you?
To me, branding is basically trying to get customers to fall in love with what you’re selling. If I for example want to brand an event what I’d do is to make sure I create top awareness about that event using every brand asset, such that it would make you want to relate that brand with a particular situation.
Can you tell us the difference between a brand and a product?
Your brand and product! Though they work together most companies would actually like to live as entities, the reason being your brand may project more than your product does. Your brand encompasses all the characteristics of not just the product but the staff and company goals. Whereas your product is basically the bottom line that you’re selling out.
What are the tools to communicate with your target audience?
It depends on the campaign. In a physical event, there’s definitely a need for branding materials to be available and associated with the consumers around and if it’s social media campaigns it’s just to create content ranging from videos, still images, press releases, actual articles, and texts.
Can you describe a time when your work was criticized?
Definitely, if you’ve been working in a particular field for a long time, and your work is not criticized at some point no one likes you! Again, criticism comes in different ways, it may not be exactly that your work isn’t good but people giving you more advice on how to improve on certain parts. I’ve had a number of experiences that a certain plan I forwarded was critiqued and I was made to actually adjust to what wasn’t my original plan, to be honest. But one thing I’ve noticed is once a critic comes, it’s best that you actually try to reason with what the person is telling you especially when you know it’s someone that’s more experienced in that field. There’s definitely this level of they’ve seen it happen before and they know how you should do it.
What makes an event successful and how do you measure that success?
The success of an event depends on the type of event you’re executing. For example, if it’s a participatory event like a sporting event, the success of that event is not dependent on the audience but the number of people you can actually get to participate. You wouldn’t want your audience to witness a shabby number of people who don’t pull up to participate. It makes them lose interest but if it’s a show you’re putting up for example what makes it successful asides from the audience is the look and feel you leave people with. You’d want them to leave at the end of the day with a good and lasting memory, something they can remember and always point back to.
Have you ever planned more than one event at a time and were they all a success?
Definitely, I have. To be honest they were all a success just that one almost crashed and I at the same time almost broke down in the process. But the truth is if you can it’s best to always plan an event at a time but if a situation comes and you have to plan multiple events at the same time, you’d have to deliver at the end of the day. It’s a very interesting experience and I know people who plan multiple events would tell you to always take a break to recover mentally and physically because it’s a lot, I won’t lie to you.
What was your most successful event?
I’ve had a number of events in my life so far lol. I can’t pick the most successful one in particular because I think I’ve actually been able to pull people right from the time I started doing events in my 200l. It’s always been a situation of I know my audience and I try to target them. So once I get the right number I’m satisfied and the event is successful for me.
What steps do you take to handle last-minute or unexpected setbacks before and during an event?
Last-minute setbacks! One of the major that usually happens is the technology sector. You can’t predict technical problems. Imagine your light or sound going off. The basic thing is just improvisation and having a vast network of people that can provide you alternatives if an issue should spring up. I remember last year December an event I did with my friends, not Redbull related. The sound guy didn’t deliver on time and it was time for the event, everybody just started calling different people. Looking back in January, I realized that if not for the fact that we all had that on the go ability to think of other options instead of lamenting. At the end of the day, the sound guy came when we already figured out everything.
How do you stay motivated when things to wrong?
Hmmm… This one is hard! Motivation comes in different ways. My mood gets lifted by music, conversations with people trying to encourage me. Past successful events lift my mood too but there are definitely some times when these things don’t work, I’ll just need to take a break and clear my head.
I know in the long run, you’ve dealt with so many clients. Have you ever dealt with the difficult ones?
This is probably before I started working with the brand. Individual clients that just approach you with requests that would just piss you off and you deliver and they come back with feedback totally different. Clients like that, I don’t think anyone would want them.
What is the best way to choose an event venue?
Venue for your event basically depends on what type of event it is. I don’t think the fact that Balmoral Centre is big enough, all events should be organized there. Just a typical example. The venue of your event should be dependent on what you’re trying to achieve; the view and the number of people you’re looking at.
What about class? Shouldn’t it be a factor?
I don’t think class, definitely everyone wants a top-notch look but if that’s the only thing you’re considering, you might end up with a fine event that doesn’t fit your plan.
What are the promotional strategies you use for your events?
It varies. Social media is a very powerful tool. Physical conversation and offline promotions in terms of billboards and handbills also but then the combination of both is necessary.
What are the common challenges you face or generally event strategists?
As an event and brand strategist, some challenges I’ve faced, to be honest, is Nigeria related lol.
I saw an article yesterday “being a Nigerian is it a blessing or a curse”
Its both actually. The experience here, you can’t get it anywhere else. The most challenging part is the consumer perspective. They’ll definitely have a different perspective on everything and convincing them most times is a workload because of the fact that there’s certainly some set of people who would never agree with you on a soft note. You can pull a top-notch event and some certain set of humans would still bullshit it lol. It’s not really a factor of the personal challenge per se but I think that consumer perspective is one every business would always face. In terms of event strategists, in particular, another thing is timing. Not for the fact that they don’t plan ahead but some people would mess you up. There was an event I did one time, we already paid for everything and by the time we got there, the person assigned to open the venue was stuck in traffic. Also the way Nigerians never keep time because they already have this general ideology of African time and they show up late even when the event starts before the stated time.
How do you handle the stress and pressure of your work?
The first thing is to try not to focus on it. Definitely, there would be stress and pressure but don’t give in to it to weigh you down. When I feel choked, I take a break and occupy myself with playing games or watching movies just to relax and gain strength and then get back to work when I’m fit.
How do you keep up to date with industry trends?
Nigerian industry is constantly moving. New things every week, every month. You find out that what was working weeks ago isn’t anymore. The only way you can keep up basically is to understand your consumers.
How’s your day like asides work?
Ahhh… I’m a boring person. Asides from work, I just play games and hang out with friends. Watch a movie or two. Series preferably because I love it more. Anime too.
That’s cool… at least you’re better than I am. So how do you balance work and family demands?
I’m not married lol. Well, it’s been a topic for a while with me personally. I need to find my personal balance at the end of the day because there’s nothing anybody would say that would work out for you so I’m still trying to find out time even when there’s no time. To be honest we all work 24 hours every day but I still find them to reach out to them.
Family is very important you know. So if there was something in your past you were able to go back and do differently, what would that be?
I’m trying to think because I mean my past led me to where I am right now so I don’t think there’s anything I’ll like to change, just move one and learn from past mistakes. There’s nothing actually.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
The day all my phones died. I was setting up for an event on the island and I needed to get back to my house on the mainland. There was no way I could order a ride back and there was no one around to help. The only thing that was on was my iwatch. I was stuck, I just sat down looking all shabby and frustrated. I just said ahh like I legit said “Ahh”.
So how did you get home?
My watch. It saved me lol. I found someone later actually and I used his phone to call someone from the contacts on my watch who helped me order a ride. I mean it could have been the next day who knows. Mehn! Charge your phones before leaving the house!!!
That’s very necessary! Or if you can’t just take a power bank along with you.
To be honest!
Yeah! So we’ve been talking about work and branding since and I’m about to ask a weird question lol. Let’s say we finish the interview now and you step out and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10million. What would you do?
(Laughs) Definitely, free money but my conscience would tell lol. At that moment different things would just be running through my mind. What if I pick it up and turn to yam! But if I pick it up and win the $10million I’ll let you know.
Alright. We’ve come to the end of the interview. Thank you very much for your time, Andre. It was a pleasure talking to you.
Thank you for choosing me.
Thank you guys for reading.
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