WIMCA 2019: Experts Call For Equity and Equal Gender Balance in Work Place
It was a gathering of intellectuals, experts and marketing communications practitioners at the third edition of the women in Marketing Communication Conference and Award (WIMCA) themed: ‘Better the Balance in the Brands & Marketing Industry,” which held on August 30, 2019 in Lagos.
The conference and award put together by Brand Communicator, a brand and marketing communication magazine serves as a medium to celebrate women in the marketing communication industry, to identify the current trends in marketing communications while addressing the career challenges of female marketing professionals.
According to Mr. Joshua Ajayi, the Convener of WIMCA, and Publisher, Brand Communicator, he said the theme of the event is informed by the theme of the International Women’s Day (IWD) Celebration commemorated every March
“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.”
While speaking, the chairman of the event and Group Managing Director of SO &U, Mr. Udeme Ufot maintained that the role of women is huge to sustainability of the industry hence the need to give them more opportunity to express their ingenuity. He, however, pointed out that before women can have an equal or equitable treatment, certain measures need to be addressed which include the home front.
According to him, “in some homes, culture set limit to the achievement of women. Husband should understand that support is needed for the wife social fulfillment”. He also added that companies should maintain gender sensitivity and have a sustainable way of managing diversity instead of seeing offices as glorified pub where decisions are made in the bar. Meanwhile he pointed out that women should also have a strong desire to break barriers “success or failure is a personal decision individuals can make”. He added.
Delivering the keynote presentation, MD WEMA Bank plc, Mr. Ademola Adebise represented by Tunde Mabawonku, Chief Finance Officer at Wema Bank said culture is very important to the inclusion of women in the workplace. He urged organisations to create organisational structures that encourage growth and diversity while also calling on women to have confidence to stand up to prove themselves and encourage each other.
Innovating for Change: Contemporary Trends In Marketing to Women
Speaking at the first panel discussion on Contemporary Trends in Marketing to Women, John Ugbe, MD, Multichoice, called for balance in the workplace and enabling environment for women. Using Multichoice as example, he said the organisation has over 50% of the workforce as female while in the executive cadre, females occupy significant positions.
The lead Speaker, therefore, urged organisations to recognise and celebrate the achievement of women in the industry, provide greater gender equity in organisation, project women in more positive light and give women adequate mentorship and networking system.
Also speaking, Mrs. Tolulope Adedeji, Marketing Director, AB InBev West Africa cautioned that brands use demographic to create campaigns around people but neglect the psychological nature. “Topical issue is the best way to appeal to people—women don’t dance while washing clothes again, it doesn’t happen anymore. Use insight for campaigns because the belief and value is more important than demographics”
Drawing an example from her company, 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.
In similar vein, Bukky Bandele, Marketing Director, Electricals Africa, HPZ, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc noted that segmentation should be properly imbibed to appeal to the women because they are biggest influencers and spenders therefore a campaign should be strategically made to engage them.
In her contribution, Bridget Oyefeso-Odusami, Head Marketing and commercial Stanbic IBTC Bank submitted that traditional stereotype doesn’t actually affect digital communication but the functionality and believability of what you say your product is.
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, she disclosed.
“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,” Oyefeso-Odusami said.
Emmanuel Agu, Group Marketing Director, JOTNA Nigeria Limited, agreed with speaker and other panelists there are lot of stereotypes in the society that portray both gender in certain ways, declaring “these should be addressed”.
According to him, in knocking some beer advertising campaigns as gender biased, he said “women are often projected in a bad light either as a domestic worker or as sex objects which is also often portrayed in the movies and musicals while the males are seen as superpower especially during beer campaigns but the females are seen as just visual varieties. He also maintained that in most visuals, a particular tribe would always be portrayed taking the role of a gateman”.
He therefore submitted that there is need for diversity with 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.
Better the Balance In Marketing Communications: Equity Or Equality
The second panel discussion themed: Better the Balance in Marketing Communications: Equity or Equality charted ways of maintaining balance in the treatment of both genders in the work place while dissecting the notion that women have always been treated unfairly in the society.
The keynote speaker, Dr Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien, Group Chief, Sustainability & Governance, Dangote Industries Plc explained that there should be a balance and commensurate treatment for both genders while adding that it’s much better to give people resources that will make them grow. “Give right environment that will make each gender to perform to the best ability”.
Speaking on this, Omobolanle Victor-Laniyan, Head, Sustainability, Access Bank Plc said already, the society is bias arrogating specific roles and functions for man and woman in the society and at home.
“The society has given some professions for women and men even between parents and their male and female children at home. We need to be more deliberate and conscious in helping women maximize their goals” she added that Access Bank has been a pioneer of gender equity through the Access Women Network. She added that the bank also provides 6 months maternity leave for women and 1 week leave for men.
Also speaking, Caroline Oghuma, Executive Head, Corporate Affairs, MultiChoice Nigeria said the future for the women is hard work, as they don’t want to be seen as victims so they are fighting hard. She therefore urged women to be diligent and innovative in order to remain relevant in the work place.
While keeping it real, Mrs. Bunmi Oke, Managing Director, Ladybird Limited said both equity and equality are needed in the work place, she 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.
However, Charles Nnochiri, Head of Marketing, PZ Cussons said it’s much better to equitably give each gender opportunity and level playing ground while sustaining the best among them . According to him “on a level playing ground, there is no gender, it’s what we have that matters”
The event ended with presentation of awards to outstanding female marketing professionals in the Nigerian from different sectors for their contributions to the growth of the industry.
Some of the awardees are ; Ore Famurewa, Corporate Affairs Director, FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc was crowned the Outstanding Female Corporate Communications Professional of the year; Nsima Ogedi-Alakwe, Marketing Director, Unilever Nigeria was awarded the Outstanding Female Marketing Professional of the year; Sinmisola Hughes-Obisesan, Creative Director, Leo Burnett Lagos was crowned Female Creative Advertising Director of the Year; 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 amongst others.