The aim of the mentor-mentee relationship is not for either to seek validation or approval but solely for guidance to achieve a goal.Phoebe Dami-Asolo
Raised by parents with an entrepreneurial spirit, Phoebe was lured into the world of business and subsequently fell in love with marketing. An advocate for education, she also provided her insight on how companies can navigate the new workplace, especially where Remote Work is concerned. Let’s dive into this segment of Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born in Lagos Nigeria. Fondest Memories: My wedding day, the day I became a mum, May 2020 when I was recognized as one of the top 50 women in Marketing in Nigeria.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I sing really well. I also cook really well. I’m a DIY lady- I style my hair myself in most cases
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I’m married to an investment guru so I am sure we will invest some for our future and kids. Then set up a company solely responsible for rebranding Nigeria as a country. Also, set up a training school for aspiring Marketing Professionals
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Plantain, Sprite, Cakes(Lemon, Red Velvet)- These are my addictions
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?
Yes, I also at some point wanted to be a doctor, however, my parents are both Business Owners. Following them to their offices and seeing how they managed their businesses successfully, ignited my passion to study Business. After I got my first job, I was made to work in several departments- Marketing, Sales, Logistics and CSR. It was a no-brainer for me. Marketing stood out instantly- Love at first Experience perhaps lol
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
A LION- The Lion is my favourite animal. It’s no coincidence that I am a Leo-born in August. The Lion is loyal, protective of its own, extremely passionate, principled and calculated.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
One can see from my Linkedin profile that I have managed 9 brands in 8 years of Brand Management. You may think I managed a brand per year but no, I have had to manage multiple brands across categories at different stages in my life. Those times were extremely tough but the best moments in my career so far
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 don’t drink Coffee at all however, I always end my day with a cup of tea. I start my day with prayers, then a to-do list to guide me on all activities for the day
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Priorities. I have my priorities very clear to me. I wear many hats-. I’m a wife, a mom, a career woman, church leader, certified counsellor and more but I always say to myself, three hats are major to me- Wife, Mum and Career.
For the remaining hats, I ensure I plan my time well, I work with my calendar always. I also ask for help a lot- I have a nanny, a chef, a driver, I have someone who volunteered to be my PA too. I have a lot of help around me so I don’t lose out on self with the many hats I wear
YOU OBTAINED YOUR MSC IN INNOVATION, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND MANAGEMENT FROM THE IMPERIAL COLLEGE BUSINESS SCHOOL (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?
I will advise young women to strive to obtain an education. Through the internet, you will be able to know of scholarship programs which will support financially, if there is a case of finance constraint
If the cause is physical or travels constraint, many schools now have online learning options where you can finish up your course at your convenience.
There are also other online learning tools that the internet provides. Linkedin learning has tons of certified courses that we can all sign up for.
The job market is highly competitive and what gives you the edge in most cases is education and then your experience (the impact you make across organizations)
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?
It depends on the individual’s intent. In 8years of Brand Management, I have worked across 3 different multinationals. I intended to learn different business models to be a well-grounded Marketing Professional.
I learnt Marketing from a storytelling model and also learnt Marketing from an entrepreneurship model. I’ve been able to handle digital, trade, ATL, BTL, customer – all arms of Marketing. It seemed like a crash course, tough but I’m glad I have those experiences that have molded me to who I am today.
The intention should never be just for pay, or because you are tired of a system and hopping should also not be too many as it reflects negatively on your CV.
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 a more effective team is one with gender equality. Both men and women contribute equally. One major thing women bring to the table is empathy. Women seem to be more empathetic than men. They can understand their associates better, understand consumers and customers better too.
Women also have natural nurturing skills- This is key for developing their sub-teams as well. Identifying talents and grooming those talents to make the best of their team members
Multitasking is another key trait for most women: I believe most women can take on several responsibilities, projects, tasks at the office while still maintaining a healthy home
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO 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?
Honestly, the COVID19 pandemic took the world by storm. No one saw this coming and even when we sensed it, we did not imagine that it would have this magnitude of an impact. I know of organizations who, before the pandemic, invested in larger office workspaces, bigger infrastructures etc. The companies that are currently struggling are probably still in the research phase. Trying to see which decision(remote work or physical work) will benefit both the employees and the company at large.
It’s not an easy decision to make especially when recent investments have been made- how do we get returns on our investments? How do we ensure we maintain employee productivity? Is remote work less expensive? Would it not require any additional investment from the companies P&L? Is the pandemic slowing down? What’s the possibility of it rising again? What are our competitors doing? What are the government policies and directives?
There are so many elements that leadership team members need to consider before making the decisions. It’s best to take time to carefully make this decision to avoid any losses
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?
First, organizations must manage their employees’ work schedules at this time. Working from home is not as easy as many individuals thought. I did a small survey on my Social Media page (@phoebedamiasolo) and found out that anxiety and stress levels increased especially for mums in the month of March-May 2020 when we had a lockdown in Nigeria, people were required to work from home
Below are my suggestions:
1) If the organization is truly serious about managing employees’ work schedules, then they need to pass on a Work From Home Policy, documented and signed. This should include clear and very specific terms for employees Working From Home
2) Line Managers should hold themselves responsible or should be held accountable. Line managers should closely monitor their teams to ensure tasks given and workloads can be managed/completed within an agreed time in line with the policies.
3) I know of an organization in Lagos, Nigeria that shuts down its system tools at 4 pm every day. Except for the employee then chooses to log onto another network, all system tools will not be available. Employees are forced to shut down work at 4 pm daily.
4) Surveys: HR should also send out frequent surveys as trackers to understand how employees are feeling and also hear how to make the situation better. This can be done weekly or monthly, depending on the particular situations in different organizations
SHERYL SANDBERG MADE AN INTERESTING REMARK IN HER KICK-ASS BIOGRAPHY ‘LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK, AND THE WILL TO LEAD’ THAT “SEARCHING FOR A MENTOR HAS BECOME THE PROFESSIONAL EQUIVALENT OF WAITING FOR PRINCE CHARMING”. SHE IS ILLUSTRATING THE NOTION OF WOMEN HAVING TO SEEK APPROVAL OR VALIDATION, ESPECIALLY FROM MEN WHO ARE AT MOST TIMES THE MENTORS. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON MENTORSHIP?
Mentorship is important especially for those who have just started in their careers. I have a mentor and I have mentees. I always say your mentor is not just someone you admire from a distance, your mentor is not just someone you want to be like- Your mentor is someone who has been on your path or a similar path and will provide guidance, be your accountability partner to ensure you attain a goal you both have agreed on, preferably using the SMART principle(which is what I currently use with my mentees)
With my mentees and even with my mentor, we agree on where we want to be in the next few years, set action plans to get there and track monthly, how we are faring towards achieving this goal. We meet regularly, take points as well as tasks to be done. This is not something, someone you admire can do for you. I used to call people I have never met my mentors but now I know better that a mentor is someone you talk to regularly to get the guidance, accountability to achieve a goal.
The aim of the mentor-mentee relationship is not for either to seek validation or approval but solely for guidance to achieve a goal.
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?
Influencer Marketing is huge and will remain relevant as far as Social Media remains relevant. Research has shown that consumers perceive adverts from Influencers as more authentic than TV, Radio or Billboard advertising. Some consumers purchase items based on loyalty as well after seeing these items with their favourite influencers. During the lockdown across countries, more people went online, people became more active on Social Media as well as other digital platforms. However, I believe the COVID19 pandemic will impact specific sectors of influencer marketing.
The pandemic has caused consumers to focus on mandatories- food and other basic amenities. Influencers who have majored in these sectors seem to still have it better than those who major in fashion, makeup etc. Although some influencers have also seen the need to “shift their niche”, we notice some fashion bloggers now creating content on wellness/emotional upliftment during the pandemic etc.
In summary, there will be a place for influencer marketing despite the pandemic especially those who have carved a niche for themselves in sectors termed as mandatory
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Currently watching Greenleaf, The Governor, Working Moms
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?
The Wakanda Pose 😊
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
Oh, this for me is a mantra. I always tell this to people to ensure they drop a message to friends randomly, just say hi, just send text messages. I am sure there are a number of people I have not spoken to for a long time but I do try to constantly stay in touch with my friends as often as possible. “As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person. – Tiny Buddha”
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Marketing is amazing and I am glad you have chosen this career path, however, it takes few characteristics to be successful-
Be flexible: Marketing strategies evolve, consumer needs change so often, you need to be ready to respond quickly(if necessary) to consumer needs, competitive activities, economic events etc regardless of whatever plans you had made for your brands. A rigid marketeer cannot thrive
Understand Purpose: Marketing is key to the profitability of every organization. Ask around, do research to know the purpose or role that your specific brand plays in the grand scheme of your organization and ensure you play that role perfectly to make an impact. Without understanding the purpose of your role and your brand, you may not be able to make meaningful/transformational impact in your organization
Focus on the right things: For me, learning and making an impact has always been key in any organization I work for. Don’t lose track by focusing so much on salary, promotions, etc. These things will come. Focus on building your professional network, learning within your team and across functions and give your absolute best to the organization you work with
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?
Being too ambitious. I want to learn how to laugh so much, dance without remembering the targets I have set for myself. I am that woman that takes her laptop on vacation and even if I am not working, I am possibly planning how I will be the best at work when I return. I am always in planning mode and never really relax to have fun. Luckily, I’m married to someone who knows how to balance both and now I am a mom so I am slowly learning how to play without my notepad, pen and calendar by my side