I’m in Lagos, on my way to meet Clara Chinwe Okoro, the founder and chief operating officer of Brandworld Media, a media and branding company that has set out to show Africa the potentials of branding. Since 2008, she has received numerous awards and nominations for her work on branding and media engagement, including Big Ad’s Award 2008 and the Recognition Award, champion of the people’s cause SERA 2009.
I’ve known Clara for several years now – we’ve met several times in Lagos and at the Cannes Lions Festival – and have come to know her as a driven entrepreneur who is not afraid of making tough choices in order to pursue her passion. Upon graduation, she even turned down an opportunity to work with the American oil company Chevron in order to follow her dream to drive innovation in the field of African branding and media.
Clara has asked me to meet her at Casa Del Habano a trendy café on Victoria Island, where we find a quiet corner. After we order two café lattes, I ask her to tell me about her vision for Africa’s future and her aim to inspire African youths through branding.
“I believe that brands are the new wealth creator in any modern economy,” she tells me. “Brands are more powerful than governments these days and this means they have very huge potentials! This is also why I created Brandworld Media in 2003 to ‘preach the gospel of branding’ to Africa.”
“So you want to harness the power of brands to bring prosperity to Africa?” I ask.
“Right! We need to build brands for the future and to do this we need to involve the next generation,” says Clara. “I want to show Africa’s youth that they have incredible potentials; I want to show them that they could be the next African Steve Jobs or Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates. Once they can see what they are capable of and what the future could hold for them, it will start a quiet revolution. The combination of brands and youth could change the face of the continent for good.”
“It sounds exciting,” I say. “What media are you using to engage these youths?”
“I am working through various channels,” says Clara. “First of all I launched the first-ever brand-focused TV show in Nigeria, Brandworld TV 2003. The show has become a platform for brands to tell their stories beyond the standard sixty-seconds commercial and has been hugely successful.
“Secondly, I created ICE, a branding and marketing magazine that focuses on the connection between Nigerian youth and the brands they consume. ICE also hosts the first ever youth and brands connect famous ICEBERG event, a party where young people and the brands that target them get to party once a year.
“A real multimedia approach,” I say. “You really combine all aspects of media, how do you manage to juggle all these activities?”
Clara thinks for a moment and says: “Tenacity. I have always been extremely determined to make my vision reality and I have remained focused on that. But you also need persistence and patience to see the fruits of your work.”
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