The ID Africa team
So, on February 27, 2015, BHM Group founder, Ayeni Adekunle, wrote an article on how the launch of his new company, Info Digital Africa Ltd. (ID Africa), a digital communication and marketing agency, was such a “big deal”. For those who know the man, ATG is such a good storyteller, that one can get quickly carried away by his ‘sweet mouth’. So, we caught the bug back then, innocent little children that we were. SMH.
Now, after reading the founder’s article, our team of 4 was quite fired up and ready to go, excited about the prospects of the future and all the great stuff we were going to achieve, considering the fast-growing opportunities in digital communication & marketing, social PR, design and content marketing in Nigeria. These were the core competences we possessed, and our naive little heads had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Maybe, we should’ve been smarter and not entered this mess?
You see, I joined BHM Group as team lead of the digital media department of Black House Media, the PR agency in February 2014. The department was made up of 2 designers who combined roles as art directors and web developers, while I handled social media, strategy and content. This department grew and later transformed into a full fledged digital agency, officially launching a year later in 2015.
Today, ID Africa isn’t yet where we want to be, but considering all the factors that tried, but failed (thank God!), to kill us over the past 24 months, I dare say we deserve some self-pats on the back and some thanksgiving service on the prayer mountain. We are not yet billing in hundreds of millions of dollars, but we are nicely getting by for a 2-year old Nigerian business.
ID Africa’s revenue increased by 140% in 2016, salaries were always paid on time and our team of 7 brilliant young professionals built a stronger bond as a unit. We were also privileged to work with some of Nigeria’s biggest brands in telecommunications, food and beverages, media, the public sector, and so on, while creating some crazy cool campaigns that we are eternally proud of.
True, we lost pitches, messed up some internal projects, killed some shameful ideas, and failed to deliver on a few promises. Dang, we even lost business to competition! But all in all, we have gained much more in experience, skills and confidence. Today, we are better at what we do and more motivated than ever to create sexier digital magic this year, so do watch out for us.
In the 24 months since we launched, a few internal and external factors came up that could’ve actually killed our company:
1.) Recession: When your country’s economy suffers from dwarfism and prices are afflicted with gigantism.
2.) Bills, Bills, Bills: Taxes, diesel, internet, maintenance… all those things you pay for but never seem to get served.
3.) Clients: They want Champagne parties on a Paraga budget. But we can’t stop loving them now, can we?
4.) Dollar Rates: When you earn in Nigerian Naira, but your 3rd party spend is in US dollars, and the two currencies have not been mates since the 1980's.
5.) Lagos: This city can either inspire or expire your soul’s creativity. It’s a constant battle.
6.) Frustration: This pot of hot beans called life, sometimes just comes at you real hard.
7.) Creative Block: Sometimes the brilliant ideas refuse to come when you need them. Either that, or you have the stupid ones playing mind tricks on you. Urgh!
8.) Finance: There’s just never enough money to do things with, as a result of factors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 above.
The ID Africa team is very much grateful to God, clients, partners, friends and colleagues that got us through. The renewed desire to keep winning these battles continues to serve as wind in our sails on these rough waters.
Here’s to another great 24 months of digital delight!
Femi Falodun, COO, ID Africa.