With glass ceiling and several data showing that only few women are able to make it to the boardroom in Nigeria and globally, stakeholders at the Women In Marketing and Communications Conference/Awards (WIMCA) have urged female marketing and communications professionals to be deliberate in pressing for progress to the highest position of leadership in their careers.
The assertion was made at Muson Centre, Lagos where the crème la crème in the marketing and communications industry gathered to celebrate women at the second edition of WIMCA, an initiative of frontline brands and marketing publication, Brand Communicator Magazine with the theme “The Press for Progress”.
Data show that few women make it to the top in the corporate world. On the global scene, women currently hold 4.6% of CEO roles of Fortune500 companies (according to the current ratings) i.e. there are only 23 women that are CEOs in these companies. This indicates a decline as against 4.8% of 2014 ratings.
In Nigeria, Industry analyst reveals that only 4 out of the top 20 Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) member agencies have women at the helm. Other sub-sectors of the industry cutting across both agency and clients’ side have very few women at the helm.
With these trends, the organisers of the conference and awards said it is imperative to change these narratives in the interest of building a better society.
“In our industry too for instance, only three out of the top advertising agencies in Nigeria have women at the helms of affairs. The ten major Media Independent agencies on the other hand do not have any woman at the helm. Other subsectors of the industry cutting across both agency and clients’ divide also have very few active women at the helms.
“This obvious lacuna of women in key positions among other challenges gave birth to WIMCA four years ago. WIMCA was therefore designed to identify the current trends in marketing communications while addressing the career challenges of female marketing executives” Joshua Ajayi, Convener of the event and Publisher of Brand Communicator disclosed.
Men Say The Glass Ceiling Is Just A Mindset
Glass Ceiling is defined by Encarta Dictionary as an unofficial but real impediment to somebody’s advancement into upper-level management positions because of discrimination based on the person’s gender, age, race, ethnicity, or sexual.
Glass Ceiling is seen as a global phenomenon but some men at WIMCA say women thought about Glass Ceiling is just a mindset and can be overcome when female professionals change their perception and have a mindset to achieve whatever they set out to achieve.
Ayo Oluwatosin, Group Managing Director, Rosabel and Chairman of the occasion, pointed that “the glass ceiling is real but more and more women are breaking through the glass and are making remarkable statements in their various field of human endeavours and Nigeria is not an exception”
He adds, “the glass ceiling is just the thing of the mind and as long as you and I can fight the battle of the mind, then nothing is impossible”
Engaging Female Consumers In The Digital Age
Female consumers are changing and to capture the attention of women, brands need to chunk out engaging contents, promos and marketing activities both online and offline. Iquo Ukoh, Managing Director, Entod Marketing and one of the keynote Speakers in the session tagged “Engaging Female Consumers in the digital Age” at WIMCA said “Consumers are no longer just king, that are equally Queens” while the digital space offer brands the opportunity to reach their target market.
She urged marketer to understand the digital space and provide tailored made messages to specific audience on a social media platform because the right engagement will lead to Return on Investment (RoI) and not the numbers of likes on the social media pages.
Ukoh pointed that for brands and entrepreneurs targeting women their attentions should focus on owning a good share of her (consumers), wallet make deposits in her emotional account, sustained loyalty and offer value to customers.
She explained further that technological disruption is already here and more will be invented in the nearest future but how best it used by women will define how best the gender will rise to the top.
Similarly, Steve Babaeko, CEO/Chief Creative Officer, X3M and one of the panelists said, “The new media today, is going to be the old media in another two years, but one thing that will remain with us is storytelling and sharing of that human experience, if we understand that as marketers we are going to be fine”
Nsima Ogedi-Alakwe, Marketing Director, Unilever Nigeria PLC on her own part called for proper consumer understanding before embarking on a digital campaign. “You cannot engage a consumer that you do not know and beyond the product benefit, to emotion know your customers, Lagos is not Nigeria.”
Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Interswitch said consumers trust of e-commerce and online businesses is growing, this growing trend open up a lot of opportunities for brands and their businesses considering that women constitute the large churn of consumers, engagement should strategic in order to increase sales.
In the same vein, Funmilayo Falola, Head Brand and Marketing Communications, Wema Bank urged brands to build a women community and build their brands on trust.
Progressing For Progress To The boardroom
Women are often described as multitasking, bold, beautiful and diligent yet only few of them make it to the boardroom.
The Second session of WIMCA 2018 tagged: “Progressing for Progress to the Boardroom” was an eye opener for many especially when Alex Goma, Managing Director, PZ Cussions and Keynote speaker of the session stepped on stage.
He explained that leadership comes with responsibilities and the boardroom is the position of responsibility. To get to that height, he urged women to be deliberate and work diligently to be outstanding no matter where they find themselves.
He stated that most women do not support each other, rather they antagonize each other, he said for the gender to succeed they have to support themselves.
According to Julia Oku Jacks, Managing Director, TreeWater Limited, women should not wait to be treated special, rather take the bull by the horn, thrive in men dominated industries and rise to the top and at the same time inspire more women to rise to the top of their career.
In line with this, Folake Ani-mumuney, Chairperson, FBN Insurance Brokers & President, Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) explained that women have to be deliberate in their approach to life and work, part of which is forming a community which support each and encourage each other to rise to the top through mentorship and other support they outline.
Similarly, Lampe Omoyele, Managing Director, 141 Worldwide who said his organization plans to support women within the group to get to the board but pointed that they would not be given such positions on a platter of gold without having the right skills and competency for it.
How WIMCA Has Bridge The Gap
The event had over seven hundred Female professionals who networked and shared ideas on ways to better the female population despite the fact that they constitute the larger percent of the country’s population.
WIMCA offered the exchange of new ideas, trends and proffering solutions to issues affecting female professionals. Women who attended the event said they were inspired and would aspire to do greater things and also press to excel in their career path.
“Have never been inspired like this, with the quality of Keynote speakers and panelists, am ready to take on challenges and press for progress to the boardroom,” an enthusiast delegate, Okoro Joy stated.
The WIMCA has further shown the need for the female population to be active and dedicated as it also raised the importance of women to organizational growth and the country at large.
According to the organisers of WIMCA, the event is to recognize and encourage excellence and at the same time reward outstanding women in marketing communications industry and corporate organizations. In all, 10 outstanding women and 4 corporate organizations were rewarded for their contributions to the growth of their various industries and the country at large.
The award winner in the individuals categories are: Nkiru Olumide Ojo as the Female Marketing Professional of the year (Banking); Rosemary Akpo, Female Marketing Professional of the year (FMCG); Bunmi Oke, Female Creative Advertising Personality of the year; Sinmisola Obisesan-Hughes, Female Creative Director of the Year; Nkechi Alli-Balogun, Female Public Relations Personality of the Year; Chizor Malize, Female Branding Personality of the Year.
In addition, Maureen Umanah won Female Out-of-home Advertising Professional of the Year; Tolulope Medebem, Female Experiential Marketing Professional of the Year; Ada Adheke, Female Media Independent Professional of the year; and Bola Thomas, Life-Time Achievement Awards.
For the corporate organization category, the fours are PZ Cussons which emerged Dish Washing product of the year (Morning Fresh), Felix King Foundation, Female- Centric Foundation of the Year; PZ Cussons Company, Cool World-Female-Centric Home Appliance brand of the Year; Access Bank Plc, Female Friendly Bank of the Year (The W Initiative); Natures Gentle Touch Hair, Hair Care Product of the Year; Nestle Nigeria Plc, Seasoning Brand of the Year (Maggi).