Olamide  Jasanya: I Dream of Being  the First to Sell  Ice to Eskimos

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Olamide Jasanya is a storyteller, event planner, PR expert and lots more. He has grown himself to a man of great repute and hangs outstanding achievements on his shoulder. Jasanya talks to Tosin Clegg about how he skillfully helps clients manage their image for productivity 

I like to describe myself as a storyteller

Currently, my storytelling is channelled through my work as a corporate and marketing communications professional. I work in the areas of strategic marketing, event planning and management, public relations, and brand management. Besides work and my other interests, I am a real fun bag, I like to think, although I would choose my couch over an outing except, of course, the trio of Asa, John Legend and Chris Daughtry are performing. 

I grew up in a closely-knit family

My parents, teachers that they are, were disciplinarians who would not condone any form of indolence. I learnt quite a lot from them, especially the importance of being people-oriented, which is something I treasure to date. It comes in handy as it helps me better understand and meet clients’ and consumers’ needs. 

I studied Dramatic Arts at the Obafemi Awolowo University 

I majored in Playwriting. Honestly, I thought I would end up in Nollywood but somewhere along the line, I fell in love with suits, ties, and cute briefcases then later presentation and strategy—till I finally discovered Marketing Communications was the way to fuse my skills. Since then, I have continued to develop capacity, taking relevant courses and certifications. Now, all I dream about is brands, marketing and, perhaps, being the first person to sell ice to Eskimos. I hope nobody beats me to it. 

I started out as a journalist with Nigerian Entertainment Today

The job was quite tasking as I was a young school leaver and Osagie Alonge, who was my direct boss, and Ayeni Adekunle, the owner of the company, were no-nonsense individuals. I was stretched thin, but I’m really grateful for how it turned out. Working with them helped me better understand the techniques of storytelling, presentation, interviews and, of course, gave me access to VIP events where I met with a number of celebrities, some of whom I still have relationships with. From there, I developed an interest in Public Relations and, expectedly, Black House Media was my first point of call. Thereafter, I joined Brooks and Blake, and later Red Media Africa. In the over seven years I have practiced, I have worked with fantastic colleagues and together we have created magic for several clients, notable of which are Unilever Nigeria Plc, GSK Nigeria Plc, Access Bank Plc, Suntory Beverage and Foods Nigeria Limited and product brands like Star Lager Beer, Gulder, Heineken, Guinness, Sensodyne, Knorr, Pepsodent, Mamador, Olympic and several others. With hindsight, I am grateful I started out as a journalist. The knowledge I gained back then helped me immensely. It got me by-lines on websites like Pulse, Bella Naija, 360nobs, and BrandCrunch where I currently run a column, BrandTalkWithLamide, where I share my two cents on happenings and trends in the industry. It also helped me to be able to put together sales-driving and reputation-enhancing collaterals for clients. 

The industry so far this year 

To say the industry fared well this year is describing it modestly, I think my colleagues and I did an amazing job this year. A lot of creativity was brought to fore despite the limited budgets and other unpalatable factors. This fact is evident in some of the ads that graced our TV screens, billboards etc., in the stories that splattered our dailies, the partnerships that emerged, and the general outlook of the industry. I am not the only one who thinks so—over 50 per cent of the respondents in the 2018 Nigeria’s PR Report think so too. 

The energy this year was amazing 

So was the creativity and it can only get better. With regard to the projection for next year, I am quite optimistic the industry will enjoy massive attention. The first quarter is the election period and with that comes the need for a lot of storytelling and other related services. Besides that, 2019 will see the birth of more daring campaigns and strategies, and this will be largely inspired by the need to meet the yearnings of consumers, who will most likely grow exponentially. Also, I see virtual intelligence coming to play and strongly too and this will also be in a bid to create memorable experiences for consumers—that is speaking to experiential marketing. Customers will want to experience first-hand what it is you are selling before making decisions and virtual intelligence will come in handy. 

I like to think the future is now 

And that’s because now is really all that we have, so rather than go on about what I will do in five years, I will tell you what I did already, what I am doing and will do today that will guarantee tomorrow or as it is being called; ‘the future’ will be bright. People, who know me, know I have a thing for knowledge and I have these past years pursued it actively. Essentially, all of these are so I can better add value to organisations, brand and clients I work with. I am presently partnering with an e-learning platform, Virtual Tutors, where I teach Brand Management. The videos have been recorded and will be available by end of January 2019 and I am looking forward to other possible meaningful partnerships across various sectors. I am also writing a book on the travails of women who have suffered domestic violence and marginalisation. It should be ready before my 28th birthday, hopefully. It looks like there’s a lot on my table, but I am enjoying the process, learning to take it one step at a time, excelling at my present responsibilities while positioning myself for bigger challenges. 

I do not subscribe to the concept of role models 

But I have a few people I admire, and whose inputs have helped my career tremendously. I have been blessed to work under the supervision of some of the most amazing individuals whose ability to tell exciting stories amaze me always. Taiwo Ogunwumi, Executive Director of Brooks and Blake, remains one of my favourites; he is always available to listen to my ideas. Ayeni Adekunle’s strides and his belief in possibility remind me there is a lot more to be done and more importantly that everything is possible. Damilola Owolabi, the Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Lumos Nigeria is another person I appreciate and regularly bounce ideas off, same for Tunde Asekun, Account Director at Dijo Communications. Tunde Success Osideko, HR Manager at MTN Nigeria, knows how to help me calm the storm and see clearly, same as Chude Jideonwo who is more of a friend than a boss. I have several close allies in the industry and the strength in their energy pushed me to keep developing my craft.