Tolulope is a Nigerian business woman and is the CEO at Plumdale Co. She initially had plans to be a lawyer but after enrolling for a degree in Communications, she never looked back since. We discussed with her a myriad of topics such as workplace wellness particularly during a pandemic. Tolulope also explains why mentorship is an important aspect for career growth. Let’s dive into this segment of Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, TOLULOPE. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in the city of Lagos, Nigeria.
I mostly had fun memories while growing up. Particularly “Sunday Funday” memories of my Dad and Mum taking my sisters and me to get ice cream after church. If my parents were in a good mood, we would either go to Amusement Park, Apapa or Fantasy Island, Ikoyi.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I remember my first week of resumption vividly. In that same week, I discovered I possessed athletic speed.
Here is how the brief conversation with my Boarding House Master/Sports Coach (Mr Otu) went. “Hello, Tolulope, welcome to Federal Government College Odogbolu (FEDGO). You look like a runner, are you a runner? Let us try out a 100 metres sprint to gauge your speed” and voila! That was how I got in the 100 metres and 4 x 100 meters relay team.
I also served as the Vice President of the Interact Club (a subsidiary of the Rotary Club) of my High School.
I could have been easily described as a sporty nerd with a social life.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would certainly be a bird because there would be no better way to fly and go anywhere you want.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
I love a delicious seafood platter!
I would not feel ashamed for not sharing anything from my platter. Especially my tiger prawns!
I am a food connoisseur with a food blog on Instagram (@thegramfoodie), so I am always willing to try anything, even just once. I have discovered a lot of my favourite meals from culinary adventures.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Whoop! If I won $10M tomorrow, my first action would be to invest a large portion and set up a Mental Health Foundation that supports people with Mental Health issues that aren’t focused on in Nigeria currently.
I am passionate about giving back as those efforts made to help out someone in need reaps more satisfaction and gratification.
In addition to all that, I would focus on building generational wealth in partnership with family and friends by investing in real estate, cryptocurrency and the stock market. The very last extra small thousands left would be used to experience the world and go on a well-deserved holiday! 2020 has been such an eventful year.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!
I am a “Handy Woman”!
My Dad was the “Jack of all trades” and did a lot of DIY work at home such as painting, changing a light bulb and slight renovations. I learnt so many DIY skills from my Dad that I still use if needed, which makes me feel less like a “damsel in distress”.
It is interesting to have you know that I can change light bulbs (as far as my hand can reach), use a hammer for a quick fix and fasten screws too.
In addition to that, I enjoy doing dishes. I think it is therapeutic!
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
The story behind that is interesting because coincidentally I wanted to be a Doctor when I was much younger. Then, when I was in high school, I aspired to be a Lawyer.
Studying Media and Communication studies at Afe Babalola University was an adventure I consciously decided to embark on based on my passion for the art of communication in its entirety. I have not regretted my decision to date.
It brings me joy when brands benefit from marketing by an increase in revenue or leads generation and having companies and brands positioned as thought leaders within respective industries.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I typically start my day from 6.30 am, I put on my incense or scented candles right before I start my morning devotion, then I do a bit of exercising before I hit the shower.
Afterwards, I head into the kitchen to prepare a refreshing cup of tea. Then my actual day can start. My days are quite dynamic and usually involve working with a lot of different people. I am always eager to have a variety to keep things interesting.
I am #TeamTea all the way! Earl Grey is my favourite.
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Reserving some time daily to unwind and rejuvenate my mind with some music or by watching a movie.
My love for music is unmatched! I have a taste for a wide range of music genres. However, my top 5 preferred genres would include – RnB, House, Contemporary Classical, Pop and Afrobeat.
I am team Burna Boy, Yanni, Sam Smith, FireBoy, Uhuru and Wizkid any day!
My top 5 movie genres include – Action, Comedy, Adventure, Drama, and Animation.
For a more zen vibe, I put on an incense or scented candles while listening to music or watching a movie.
YOU HAVE A GREAT RESUME. YOU’VE WORKED FOR COMPANIES SUCH AS FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA LIMITED, COOL FM NIGERIA, NIGERIA INFO FM AS WELL AS NBC. HOW IMPORTANT HAS LINKEDIN BEEN FOR YOU AND WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN LOOKING TO ESTABLISH THEIR PROFESSIONAL BRAND FOR NETWORKING PURPOSES?
LinkedIn has been such a productive and inspiring platform for me.
My LinkedIn profile has served as a pathway for some remarkable opportunities that have helped my career grow tremendously. I landed my second job opportunity via LinkedIn. I still receive opportunities via LinkedIn.
I would give the same advice I give my friends to young women looking to establish their professional brand for networking purposes. They should see LinkedIn as a stage where they can highlight their achievements for the whole world to see without boundaries.
SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?
Having a mentor is vital, especially while you are in the early stages of your career growth. Here is how I see it, there is always someone doing better than you in your area of interest, so why not learn and excel as well.
There are so many first-hand career tips and tricks that I received from some sessions with my mentor that I have imbibed as life principles. After all, being said, I would advise you to get a mentor to help nurture you and transfer knowledge that would be beneficial to you.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Always have a to-do list and check tasks you have accomplished judiciously daily. My notes (both digital and hard paper) are my best friends.
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?
Job Hopping only hurts when it is not in line with one’s career plan.
As it relates to the world of advertising and marketing, my advice would be to practice your expertise in varying sectors as this qualifies you as a “Well-Rounded Expert Marketer”.
What I would advise against is hopping sporadically without a career plan.
FOR IT’S 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?
I would say that this narrative is changing. A lot of women are drawing inspiration from other powerful women to take on C-Suite roles.
We have amazing women like the current Vice President of the United States of America, Kamala Harris. She is the first back female Vice President of the United States of America.
As there is a gradual shift in the narrative, in future (which would not be long enough) more women would occupy more C-Suite roles.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?
The business world is no longer just a man’s world. It is exciting to see women aiming for and winning leadership roles, especially knowing the oppositions they’ve had to contend with along the way. Although most companies are putting effort into building gender balance, there are some things women will still face which men don’t.
One of the uncomfortable realities of being a female is walking into a business meeting and noticing that you’re one of the few women (if not the only woman) in the room among your male counterparts. It is also relatively difficult to build a support network in a “Boys Club” world.
I am sure most people have probably heard the common stereotype that women are “emotional thinkers” and, therefore, less competent business leaders than their male counterparts.
The overall truth is: Yes, women continue to face unfair gender biases in the workplace. However, addressing these challenges presents an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact on the current situation of Women in Marketing and those of future generations.
ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY THE TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER. THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
For most companies, I think it was the initial fear of staff not being able to deliver when working remotely.
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the thought of working from home seemed counterproductive. The pandemic forced us to change our ways of working. As companies reflect, they are now aware of the efficiency of this method of working, which has made more companies adopt this method fully and partially in some cases.
It was a simple case of “you never know until you try”.
WORKING FROM HOME IS AWESOME! MOST OF US CAN AGREE. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT WITHOUT IT’S SET OF CHALLENGES. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS HAS TAKEN A SIGNIFICANT STRAIN WITH PEOPLE WORKING LONGER HOURS AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYEES BEING ‘ALWAYS ON‘ AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR IN THE WORST EVENT, LOSING THEIR BEST TALENT?
I encourage employers to ensure that work-life balance despite remote working conditions is a priority and enforce a policy in that regard.
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?
AI is a subject I particularly find intriguing! The fate of the future world we live in is technologically advanced. AI has come to help make this easy.
What I would qualify as “innovative” is anything that you can create to meet a particular need and make the process of accessing the solution easy, especially with the use of technology and data.
HEMAL THAKKAR, BRAND MANAGER FOR BURGER KING INDIA IS A RECENT WOMEN IN MARKETING FEATURE. ONE OF THE KEY AREAS SHE IDENTIFIED FOR CONTINUED GROWTH IS THAT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF MARKETING LOOK LIKE ACCORDING TO YOU?
It is 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot, which has led to a rapid increase in the use of social media. Currently, we have approximately 4.14 billion users active on these varying social media platforms.
I can categorically say that in the future, marketing would experience a shift towards Data-Driven marketing. We have to unlearn the former 4Ps of the marketing mix (Product, Price, Place, Promotion) and adapt the new approach that embodies Engagement, Experience, Exclusivity and Emotion (4Es).
CRM-powered advertising enables marketers to create more relevant, engaging ads. Social Media is the point of convergence for the 4Es. Hence, marketing strategies like Influencer Marketing, App Collaborations, AI technology amongst others are the most effective for marketing now and in the future.
While the current marketing trends are bringing new channels and interesting strategies we need to adapt, the future of marketing is considerably uncertain. As many significant events are happening in the background, more research needs to be made available.
Ultimately, the business environment and technology are going to reshape the industry as well as marketing skills. Hence, we should reconsider the ongoing evolution in business and adapt.
Market Researchers need to pay more attention to the “Generation Alpha“.
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
“You should have stepped out of your comfort zone earlier…”!
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE?
Challenges are inevitable in life because it is always an avenue for learning.
Professionally, one significant pain point I am currently trying to resolve is data collation. Achieving this will allow me to meet the needs of some clients in Nigeria. It has not been so easy, considering that most data resources are not readily available and within total reach.
However, there are some innovations to assist in achieving this. and so far evident progress has been made.
Personally, there has been a struggle to maintain sanity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, as far as my wellbeing is concerned, I have been successful in safeguarding it thus far (especially as the year is gradually coming to a close).
I totally cannot wait to scream “Yay! We made it!” at the beginning of 2021.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Plumdale Co. taking over the Marketing space globally.
To serve on the board of a blue-chip company.
Visit the Cave Hotel Santorini.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
Mina Seetharaman – EVP, Chief Strategy and Creative Officer, The Economist
Oprah Winfrey – Global Media Mogul
Folorunsho Alakija – Business Mogul
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I am currently reading ‘Year of Yes’ by Shonda Rhimes.
I consume information both via paperback and digital sources.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
Maybe a Data Scientist because I am a Data Science enthusiast.
I always say I found my purpose with my career in marketing.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I am currently watching Ozark, Emily in Paris and Crown on Netflix.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I had this classmate from High School named Vivian. We prepared for exams on a few occasions back then in school. Although I have tried to still find her with technology without success, I hope she is doing great wherever she is.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
Onyinye Nwachukwu, AG Personal Banking Manager at Stanbic IBTC bank.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
The Marketing Industry is a very dynamic and fast-paced space!
However, you will win as long as you are willing to continue reinventing yourself by unlearning and relearning, moving with the trends and being resilient.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME TOLULOPE. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
You can join the Plumdale Tribe on Instagram @theplumdalecompany.
You can catch up with me on Instagram – @mstoluchi and LinkedIn – Tolulope Folaranmi