We met Clara Chinwe Okoro in Cannes during the Lions Awards Festival.
“I’m from Nigeria,” she said. “I love the landscapes, the untouched virgin spaces and the almost invincible way of life that defines my country.” We were having a coffee at the Mocca, opposite the Palais des Festivals when she said: “If you are looking for a true definition of the word ‘chaos’, you need look no further than the way we live. But the chaos has steeled my spirit.”
As to our question what she was doing at an advertising festival in Cannes, she answered: “I’m the founder of a company called Brandworld Media, which was set up to preach the gospel of branding to Africa. I am here to listen to and interview people with an interesting vision on branding. I can then share those stories back home with my audience.”
“Interesting,” I said. “What was your vision on brands and branding when you set up Brandworld Media?”
“My belief was that brands were the new wealth creator in any modern economy and my assignment was to use the media as a tool for bringing prosperity to Africa. Twelve years on and the dream is still soaring, despite the scars and sometimes even nightmares.
“Actually, speaking of the people I am interviewing,” Clara continued, “why don’t I interview you for Brandworld Media here in Cannes. When you come to Nigeria for your project Around the World in 80 Brands, you can then interview me for your book.”
“That sounds like a plan,” I said. “But why don’t we combine our forces and find the stories worth sharing in Nigeria together?”
“Sounds good, let me think about it, and we’ll talk more when you come to Lagos,” she had answered.
And here we are, in Lagos, Nigeria, six weeks after our first meeting in Cannes. The meeting is set on the campus of the University of Lagos, bordering the Lagoon. “I love this place,” Clara says. “It’s like an oasis in this huge city. I come here quite often and just sit by the waterfront overlooking the lagoon.” We look at the large surface of water, which is cut in half by the Third Mainland Bridge that connects the mainland to Victoria Island, aka VI.
“Another reason why I like it here is being in the presence of young people. Not too long ago I started ICE, a platform for trend forecasting on how youths consume brands.”
“Interesting,” I say. “That brings me back to our previous discussion about you being our CoolBrands Curator for Nigeria, did you think about it?”
Clara laughs: “Yes, I surely have. I would love to be your curator for Nigeria, since I think there is a huge need for Nigerian brands and people with a vision to be known outside of our own country and even continent. The time is right, so let’s start finding the coolest stories!”
Tags: Anouk Pappers, CoolBrands NextWorld Storytelling, NextWorld, CoolBrands Storytelling, Storytelling, CoolBrands, curator Nigeria, coolbrands curator Nigeria, clara chinwe okoro, meeting clara chinwe okoro, clara, chinwe okoro, okoro7 July,2013