I find that leaders who focus on selling the vision and empowering their teams to succeed not only achieve better results but also have loyal, happier associatesOnome Dibia
For this segment of Women In Marketing, we had a chat with Onome who is Heineken’s International Brands Manager. Currently based in the Netherlands, Onome is Nigerian and she shared with us wonderful tales of her childhood. As we navigate these crazy times we live in, Onome also shared with us how she maintains a work-life balance and the importance of developing a routine for yourself. Let’s dive in!
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria.
The daring girl-child! My childhood was a delight. I grew up amongst 3 brothers and lots of cousins. Oh, we played!! Riding on the wings of my maternal grandmother who encouraged me to keep exploring and discovering, there was never a scarcity of adventures or limits to what I would dare to discover!
More recently, my first years working on the Star Brand in Nigeria. I had such an amazing team of the most intelligent and fun men. Work was a roller-coaster of learning and unforgettable experiences built managing the No.1 Beer brand in the country at the time.
Visiting my family in Nigeria last December was way too much fun!
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I can cook and dance like I was born to do either of them. Super ironic traits for the stereotyped working-class professional woman
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
At this point, I believe I will spend at least $7 million of it working with private organisations to set up rehabilitation centres for drug addiction in Nigeria. This is becoming an increasing menace and we have neither the awareness, infrastructure, or sensitivity to handle something that is literally an epidemic affecting the youth.
The remaining $3 million will be split in 2. One half going to members of my family and the other half to set up a business of choice for me.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Hahaha- only a Nigerian that hails from Delta state will understand my love for ‘Starch and Banga Soup’ it’s a local dish from the south-south part of Nigeria and is the one meal I can never say no to!
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
I accidentally stumbled on marketing. As a fresh graduate, a friend of mine suggested I try out part-time work as a brand-ambassador since I was really good at striking up conversations with random people. I interviewed, got the job and travelled around the country for 2 years working part-time. I fell in love with the concept of understanding a brand’s essence and USP and selling this to others. For me, it was about understanding consumer needs and generating insights to meet those needs on the go!!
It was no surprise eventually that I ended up in marketing despite being an international studies graduate.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY
I would most likely be an eagle. I love how high it soars, that it can see the big picture from so far away, it’s fearless and independent nature and of course the freedom of feeling the wind kiss my face.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I am an INFJ personality and so mostly introverted. Yet in reality, I am a bundle of contradictions, as I can be the absolute life of the party since I love to dance and the next day be the person avoiding clusters of people…lol
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I would probably stack myself in the team no-routine. Can’t seem to do the same thing every day for the life of me! Some days I wake up with the urge to meditate or listen to a message to tune my mind, other times it is a quick session of yoga, or grabbing a cup of coffee/tea to jump right into it. As you can see, there is no real correlation amongst these, it’s really a matter of how I am feeling when I get up.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
In the last 2 years, I have incorporated habits that help me ensure a healthier work-life balance. For one, I try to ensure that short of emergencies, I am not working by 6 pm (we officially close at 5 pm).
To maintain this I started religiously following ‘The Bold and the Beautiful’ Soap opera (you normally would not catch me dead watching this). Since it airs at 6 pm, it indirectly motivates me to shut down for the day and find some time to breathe and do some mindless TV binging. I have also incorporated new hobbies like cycling, tennis and walks/drinks with friends to keep fit and maintain my social network at the same time.
WHAT APPS/SOFTWARE/TOOLS CAN YOU NOT GO A DAY WITHOUT UTILISING?
Hmmm, WhatsApp and Google search most definitely!
HOW BEST WOULD YOU DEFINE GREAT LEADERSHIP?
For me, a great leader should always seek to inspire and motivate. From experience, I find that leaders who focus on selling the vision and empowering their teams to succeed not only achieve better results but also have loyal, happier associates
YOU ARE CURRENTLY PURSUING YOUR MBA IN BUSINESS CONSULTANCY AND MARKETING STRATEGY FROM THE LONDON SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND FINANCE (GIRL YOU FANCY!). ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME SEEMINGLY EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
For women who are unable to afford formal graduate or postgraduate education, I always advise keeping their pulse on free courses available online in their area of interest. I find that the google search tool is an ever-giving friend and it pays to keep checking things out. There are so many options like Udemy, Coursera and even google offering free courses with certificates. While this might not be the same value as paid schooling, I believe it tells a tale of a woman who is continuously improving and eager to learn new things; and this trait is invaluable in the business world of today.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
Aha, this is such a controversial question in my industry.
I do agree that it is becoming increasingly common and believe that if well-timed/planned, it is probably a more sustainable way of climbing up the professional ladder. The keyword is, however, ‘well-timed’. HR experts generally opine that job hops of less than two years over two or more roles usually signify more red flags than star-employee.
Truth be told, companies generally try to avoid the stress and reputation of a high turnover rate and might be more inclined to avoid such recruits than counterparts perceived to be more stable/structured. Regardless of that though, I personally think a 2-3 year duration on each role is a good enough time to learn, master and grow on the job in readiness for the next challenge.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
I believe this is an emerging trend at different levels of expression across regions. In the Western world, the issue of gender equality is topical and the quicker organisations are ensuring a seat or two at the management table for women. In my opinion, a female CMO brings both good marketing expertise and female intuition to the table. In today’s world, the brand’s closer to its consumers (like Apple) and intuitive enough to manage this relationship are leading their categories. So, who better than a smart woman to lead this move?
COVID19 HAS BROUGHT WITH IT AN UNPRECEDENTED DISRUPTION TO THE WORLD. SEVERAL COMPANIES ARE NEARING BANKRUPTCY WHILE OTHERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO SHUTDOWN OR LAY OFF THEIR STAFF. WHAT SHOULD THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION BE ESPECIALLY IN THE MARKETING CONTEXT AS WE ADAPT IN THIS ENVIRONMENT? HOW HAVE YOU AND YOUR DEPARTMENT COUNTERED THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC?
I don’t think there is a one cap fits all answer to this. Each organisation will have to formulate coping/recovery strategies based on the COVID impact on their company/industry and available company resources. Within my team, we did a huge adjustment on budget allocation for the year, shifted focus from BTL spend to Digital ATL spend and have focussed on helping our export partners develop smart marketing and sales strategies; while maintaining real-time interaction with our consumers.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO THE INFOGRAPHIC CREATED BY VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
Basically, companies with better digital infrastructure and information sharing systems like SAP and Microsoft teams have found that migrating to doing business almost entirely online is not so bad after all. For companies with little investment in these systems though, it has been a massive climb uphill to install and train employees to use these platforms. It is also the peak period for tools like Zoom and Teams since almost all organisations are using these as their main working tools, thus the usual transformation support might not be as readily available as normal.
Finally, we see that workplaces with Flexi-work ethics are faring better. We are all learning that we do not need to be sitting behind our office desks to get those success stories in!
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
Companies are developing creative ways to encourage employees to take their mental, emotional and physical well being while working from home. Some of the interesting ones I have come across are:
- Company-wide enforced no-meeting week to ease the pressure of un-ending meetings
- Virtual drinks for teams, where everything but work is discussed
- Virtual team workout sessions
- Flexible work resumption time- more emphasis on task completion and well- being than hours clocked
In summary, we arrive at such a time where it becomes clear that a healthy, happy employee is more productive than an over-tasked, stressed or pressured one. It would be beneficial for organisations to explore ways to reassure and motivate employees to find and maintain a healthy and enjoyable work-life balance while remote working.
MARKETING OBJECTIVES WILL MOST LIKELY CHANGE DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. HOW HAS YOUR ORGANISATION PIVOTED WHERE MARKETING IS CONCERNED, AND HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY AMID THE PANDEMIC?
As the impact of COVID-19 began to hit and the work environment transformed, we have made stringent efforts to not only recalibrate marketing spend for the year but also to reshuffle spend focus to give more priority to digital marketing. The insight driving this is that more than ever, brands that remain connected and in tune with consumers through this time not only have more of their attention but are also able to build closeness and affinity through shared experiences.
Consumer trends show that more people are spending more time online during the pandemic than before and this makes the digital space the N0.1 place for a brand to be now.
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE? HOW DO YOU DEFINE INNOVATION AT THE HEINEKEN COMPANY?
Innovation for me means newness. A new way to do an old thing or a new way to look at an old problem. At Heineken, innovation lies at the core of our business strategy. We challenge ourselves to constantly find new ways of meeting consumer needs and doing business in a sustainably profitable way
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING, THE DIGITAL MARKETING INSTITUTE ESTIMATED THAT THE INFLUENCER MARKETING INDUSTRY WILL HIT THE $10BN MARK BY 2020. WHETHER B2B OR B2C, IT’S EVIDENT THAT BRANDS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE HAD THEIR SUCCESS WITH THIS MODEL OF MARKETING. HOW WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECT THIS INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD AND DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
Covid-19 has led to the shrinking of a lot of companies’ marketing budgets. Influencer marketing is on the periphery of the marketing mix and as a result, has unfortunately been knocked off most budgets for now. However, as put by Diana Pearl- Deputy Editor of brands at Adweek, ‘No, Coronavirus is not the end of influencer marketing, but it has put it under a microscope’. Consumers are being more careful than ever for choosing who they listen to, where they shop and where their income is directly contributing to.
I personally feel though that brands who are able to pull off good influencer marketing now are more likely to put out more relevant, content than brand-owned platforms
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARKETING AND SALES ALIGNMENT? HOW DO YOU ALIGN YOUR MARKETING AND SALES TEAM AT THE HEINEKEN COMPANY?
It is commonplace for marketing and sales teams in organisations to be at loggerheads. This stems usually from a gap in objectives and goals set. At Heineken, we maintain that the consumer is the reason we exist and both units are within a single commercial team to ensure we bring the right goods and services to our TA in an enjoyable way. In more practical terms, we have a Trade Marketing department which acts as a mid-point between sales and marketing agendas. We also develop annual brand plans with inputs from marketing, sales and trade marketing departments; with all parties being responsible for the execution of signed off plans.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
Currently reading ‘The Attention Merchants’ by Tim Wu. Paperback is my preferred way of reading books. However, with random information consumption, online google search is the way to go
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Inception, House of Cards, Greenleaf, Dear White People
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
A nice foot to foot tap looks chill and fun!
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My best friend from primary school, Ibiela.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Do not underestimate the value of hard work.
When you work, put in your all and be known for excellence. However, it is just as important to build a network of meaningful connections throughout your career. Remember that it is your ability to connect and network that will take you higher when competence becomes a given.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Never stop dreaming, girl! know that you can achieve anything you set your mind to with faith and consistent hard work.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
It’s challenging for me to combine my MBA studies with full-time work. I am having to come up with more motivating/creative ways to study.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AWESOME WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO INTERVIEW IN FUTURE?
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
Hahaha, I need to finally learn how to swim!
Evolve in my career to be more in brand/company strategy