Brandzone Conference: Turning The Spotlight On Shobanjo

The Brandzone Brand Innovation Conference which held Wednesday at the Oriental Hotel Lagos was a remarkable event in many ways. One of which is that it drew a large number of the egg heads in the integrated marketing communications sector in Nigeria under one roof. It was indeed an iconic roll-call of giants in the IMC sector in Nigeria.

But even in the company of great men, some still stand out. Those often referred to as mentor of mentors or leader of leaders. That was the situation with Mr. Biodun Shobanjo, Chairman, Troyka Holdings and Chairman of the conference as he sat in the same room full of great men, many of whom have passed under his privileged tutelage and have moved on to make their own mark.

For a moment during the conference, it seemed like the spotlight pointed exclusively on him as several of the speakers took a break from talking brands and publicly extolled and celebrated him for the indelible impact he made on their lives and for providing the ladder for them to climb to great heights in the industry.

Diran Olojo, Regional Head, Brand & Marketing, West Africa Standard Chartered Bank started it all when he took time out from his contribution as a panelist to pay glowing tributes to the 70-year old IMC icon.

Olojo, sounding very excited spoke to the hearing of Mr. Shobanjo who sat quietly on the front row listening. He commented that everything he knew about marketing communications came from him, adding that it was a great privilege to be in the same room with his mentor.

“I have actually sought this opportunity to thank Mr. Shobanjo for his impact in my life and I won’t let this chance pass me. Everything I know today, that has brought me to where I am, I learnt under him,” Olojo said, attracting a very loud applause from the audience.

And as soon as he was done with talking and dropped the microphone another protégé of the great man Lanre Adisa, CEO, Noah’s Ark seized the chance to thank Shobanjo for his mentorship. He noted that his time at Insight Communications where he rose to become Associate Creative Director before he left to join TBWA as Executive Creative Director was a very impactful moment in his career and provided a sure foundation for his rise. A couple of other sons of the great man also took turn to praise him including Dayo Adefila COO of Hot sauce.

Mr. Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, though he never worked directly with Shobanjo, didn’t want to be left out of the euphoria of commendations, so he took his time to also pour encomiums on Shobanjo. “Some of us may not have worked directly under Mr. Shobanjo, but we have benefitted from his wisdom and so can also be considered his children too,” he said.

Shobanjo later gave a hint to why many great names in the sector have risen from his platforms. “Some people come into an organization, do what they are asked to do and at the end of the month they get their checks. It doesn’t work like that. There are organisations that deliberately encourage entrepreneurship.

“Organizations are deliberately looking for people who can bring about that change. And I can assure you because I can position myself to say that I am an employer of labour. We deliberately look for people who will change the way we do things so they can become better and when you do it, the owners of your company will appreciate you and in fact that will begin to fast track your movement in that organization,” Mr. Shobanjo said.

From starting Insight with Mr. Jimi Awosika who is now the CEO of the agency Shobanjo has gone on to establish other flourishing companies like All Seasons Mediacom and Media Perspectives, Optimum Exposures, The Quadrant Company, Hot Sauce, and Halogen Security. In all, over 18 000 people are under his employment.


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