Why I Ditched Law for Marketing/Brand Management – Damilola, Young Brand Manager of the Year
From law to brand management, one of Nigeria’s fastest growing brand managers, Damilola Owolabi has proven that excellence in brand management is not about your first love but passion. A student of Richard Brandson’s business school of thought, Owolabi believes that a business/vocation has to be involving, fun and an exercise of one’s creative instincts. This drove him to dump his erstwhile legal voyage for Integrated Marketing Communication and Brand Management. Guess what happened to him? “It has been fun all the way”, he said in this interview.
What is your recent award all about?
I was recognized with the award for Young Brand Manager of the year by Marketing Edge in the 2016 Brands & Advertising Excellence Award. I have been in the Industry for 7 years and functioned in different capacity.
What’s your current role in your organization and how challenging?
I am the Head of Brands & Corporate Communications at Deekay Group, a trading and manufacturing company in Nigeria. The role has been fun and challenging, as I am responsible for delivering high performance brand and comprehensive marketing strategy and overall brand equity build for Deekay Group and its businesses in about 5 subsidiary brands with over 80 SKU’s ranging from different sectors of high consumer preference. I would say the major challenge has been the transformation of the various brands from predominantly B2B to B2C, most especially the Nexus Home Appliance brand.
What do you think stood you out to warrant the award?
Really I wish I have an answer, because I know myself to be quiet, and would rather make my brands do the talking. But to answer this, I would say my employer believes in me, my dedication, consistency, consistent rising profile, and my contribution to the growth and development of the brands I have worked and currently working on and the management of brand business in Nigeria stood me out for this award.
What inspired your passion in brand management?
Interestingly, I studied Law at the University of Lagos and subsequently followed my passion as I believe according to Richard Branson that a business/vocation has to be involving, fun and has to exercise ones creative instincts. This drive made me dump my erstwhile legal ambition for Integrated Marketing Communication and Brand Management and it has been fun all the way.Also, while in Unilag, I was involved with a couple of social activities, Youth Magazine Production, where I was in charge of sourcing for adverts and was mostly on the road to Advertising/Media Agencies to source for Ads and I just used to love the relaxed environment and cool lifestyle. Also with my critical mind of Ads and jingles since I was younger, I just knew this was what I wanted to do. So I simply followed my passion and here I am.
How will this award fire you up for greater exploit in the industry?
For me, this award is not justarecognition of success, but a point to greater responsibilities. This awardwill further boost my drive and inspiration to be a pacesetter in brand and marketing management business in Nigeria and gear me up to position the brands I work on for success. The fact that I am aware now that someone is watching, will keep me on my toes to add more value to myself and the ideas I chunk out and also make me promote the industry and be a great ambassador of the industry just like every professional body. And of course to win some more awards
Tell us about yourself and your sojourn in the industry?
Just like most people, I started my Marketing Communications/Brand Management career in an Agency; SO&U and its then subsidiary Quest Publicis where I worked on brands across FMCG, Telecommunications and the Banking sectors. I proceeded to Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC Nigeria) as Marketing Manager for the Nigeria business where I had an overall leadership role in driving all marketing activities, Portfolio and Program Management to ensure end to end planning and execution of the Marketing plans to achieve the overall business objectives and consumer experience for KFC Nigeria. And now my current role in Deekay Group as Head, Brands & Corporate Communications, where I oversee all Branding, Marketing and Corporate Communications activities of all brands under the group.
You work in Deekay Group. Tell us about the group?
Deekay Group,is a premier mixed trading and manufacturing company that is in the business of importing and assembling wide range of finished goods in the Nigerian market and has been a prominent player in this industry for over forty years (see www.deekaygroup.com). Deekay Group has its headquarters in Lagos and to effectively serve the entire country, there are branches in Ibadan, Kano, Port Harcourt and Asaba. Deekay Group deals in Nexus Home Appliances, Saisho Kitchen Appliances, Haano Foods (Tomato Paste, Sardine and Seasoning Cubes), we also deal in Building materials and some other franchise business.
Caption: Seni Adetu, former, MD/CEO, Guinness Nigeria presents award plaque to Damilola Owolabi at the just concluded Marketing Edge 2016 Brands & Advertising awards at the Civic Centre in Lagos recently.