Digital has brought storytelling back – Julia Oku-Jacks

A renowned and celebrated genius; and one of the legendary Amazons in the creative genre of the Nigerian advertising industry, Mrs. Julia Oku-Jacks has identified resurgence of storytelling as one major advantage which the digital evolution has delivered to the advertising industry globally.

Oku-Jacks, who is the Chief Executive Officer of TreeWater Retreats Limited, a personal discovery, leadership and learning organisation, made the submission in a webinar organised by the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, AAAN, the umbrella body for all creative advertising agencies in the country.

In her words, “Digital has brought storytelling back”, adding “good storytelling would always catch anyone’s and everyone’s attention, regardless of medium, demographics, geographies and generations”.

She commended the current generation of creative agencies for being not afraid to tell their clients’ and their own stories, globally. This, she said, was reflected by the fact that they have continued to put up their works for global competition and winning some well deserved laurels on international stages.

Oku-Jacks mater-of-factly stated that Nigeria’s creativity is already out of the woods; expressing her wish to see the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival, LAIF, which is the industry’s flagship creative award event grow into a continental and global creative competition in the coming years.

According to the Nigerian creative icon, the success which several creative eggheads had recorded in running their agencies had clearly proven the fact that “creative people can do well in business”. This, she opined, was contrary to the belief which some practitioners and business leaders held in those days that “creative people would fall like a pack of cards”, should they attempt to manage their own businesses.

She offered some insights on how partnerships in business could survive; or be steered away from collapsing. Her major antidote centres around the conversations (without confrontations) which partners should not shy away from, including, but not limited to:

  • Schedules and sessions that must take into cognizance the parties involved and their personal/private lives, like when ladies/women are involved
  • Commensurate earnings for values placed on the table by the partners
  • Policies about recruiting partners’ family members into the organisation
  • Who would be “the face” of the organisation”, given the fact that when success lands, would the other party/ies be comfortable with staying anonymous?
  • When the company is not doing well; and many more.

All of this, the professional cum entrepreneur warned, should be frankly and sincerely discussed well ahead.

The webinar was anchored by Mr. Lanre Adisa who is, himself, a creative wiz kid and a highly successful entrepreneur.

A first class honours graduate of English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. Julia received her Master’s degree in Development/Area Studies, with emphasis on African American/Afro-Caribbean Studies, from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Her diverse and rich professional career spans academia, marketing communications and philanthropy.

Her foray into the world of advertising creativity began at Insight Communications in 1987.

In 1990, she, along with two partners, formed an advertising agency which became a foremost marketing communications agency in Nigeria and is currently known as SO& U Saatchi & Saatchi.

Julia is recognised as a leading, ground breaking creative mind and outstanding writer. A strategic thinker, she initiated, designed and operationalised SO&U Saatchi’s much acclaimed creative work in her time there.

She served the advertising industry through the training committee of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) and ran it’s then sought after Creative Training and Writing Courses for five consecutive years. As a testimony to her prowess in this line of work, Julia is still a sought after facilitator in marketing communications and branding.

Between 2003 and 2005, Julia served as Program Officer, Media, Arts and Culture in the West Africa office of The Ford Foundation. Currently, Julia heads the Corporate Strategy & Development Department of Moni Pulo Limited, a leading indigenous Oil Exploration and Production Company based in Port Harcourt.

She is an acknowledged authority on creativity in marketing communications and presentation skills and serves as a resource person for numerous public and closed lectures and workshops on creativity, branding, marketing and marketing communications.


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