Tunji Olugbodi is a big player in the Communications and Marketing Sector of the economy. Years back, that sector was simply called the Advertising industry. But right now the industry has grown phenomenally and many companies have scaled up their services to take on a multitude of roles.
This handsome and very stylish CEO of Verdant Zeal has taken his marketing communications company to the next level. lt has become a multi-dimensional marketing communications company. In fact, it has grown to become a Group.
He recently spoke to SEYE KEHINDE, the Publisher of City People Online Magazine about his life and career. Read on. lt’s interesting.
Your name is a big one in PR and Advertising. How does that make you feel?
I feel humbled, privileged, and thankful for the grace of God and the opportunities I have had over the years in my personal and professional journey. I must also say there is the burden of responsibility that comes with such a reputation. To whom much is given, much more is expected. How do you keep the torch to remain a beacon of hope and inspiration for others? How do you remain focused with your feet well-rooted, knowing that no matter your achievement, you must continue to break new grounds to guarantee growth and resilience? The truth is that there is always more work to be done, no matter what. Success is always relative.
You manage a big PR brand. Tell us the range of services you offer?
Ours is a multi-dimensional marketing communications company. For over one decade, the Verdant Zeal Group has been on a progressive trajectory, morphing from a multi-disciplinary organization into a multi-contextual group with expertise in brand marketing competences, Media Strategy & management, Digital & Interactive Media, Public Relations & Custom Publishing, Activation & Experiential Marketing and finally Specialist Communication. We run what is called OTOBOS- On Time, On Budget, On Strategy. Our interest and assets cover West Africa.
l have always seen you as a happy and bubbly person who loves his career and is very serious-minded. How did you evolve over time and what sort of a person is Tunji Olugbodi?
I am a man of many parts who has tried to abide and adhere to some set of personal rules and principles over the years. Largely, these have shaped my attitude and outlook on life and living. I believe only those who dare win. I believe that there are always other options if one way fails. I believe that what takes you there never keeps you there. I believe that God will always make a way no matter what. I believe that the glass is always half full. I am an incurable optimist because every situation has a silver lining. I believe in hard work and diligence. I believe that the basis of my joy is in the simple things of life- and God. I believe I am responsible for what I make of every situation. No one is in charge of my happiness but myself. I believe in responsibility as a core value of leadership. Above all, I believe that bible verse in Isaiah 15 that says “in quietness and trust shall be your strength”. I always prefer to look at the big picture because life itself is one big jigsaw puzzle.
Let’s talk about your industry where you play big. What is the state of the PR and Advertising industry today and where is it headed?
My industry is quite challenged today in particular because other forms and platforms have evolved to impact the way the market consumes products and services and the way consumers fraternize with brands. It is the most dynamic and disruptive climate. Taste and technology are central to these disruptions. Our duty is to appropriate these trends and turn them to advantage.
Clearly, there is a massive learning curve that we need to study and use as a stepping stone to our next Eldorado. I foresee greater professionalism from a fragmented prism. The market will grow even more diffuse and demanding. We need to always be a step ahead of the ‘new normal’. We need to help the brands offer better experiences through empathy and compassion. That never fails with the consumer who seeks bonding and trust.
What are your thoughts about COVID-19 and how will it affect Nigeria and the world?
Disruption is the new normal and this affects everything social, financial, economic, medical, psychological, and so forth. We will need strong and purposeful leadership to get our fiscal and economic priorities right otherwise our problems will multiply and rapidly, too. The containment exercise by the government looks sincere but we must not slip into the mode where the pandemic becomes an industry in itself due to profiteering. We have seen this happen with Boko Haram. We must take care of the fundamentals and now look for new growth impetus beyond oil. We must move from being a consumptive economy to a productive one. For the world, the greatest impact will be the curtailment of socializing but also the strengthening of human empathy and mindfulness in deciding things.
Tell us a bit about why you left Journalism for Advertising?
I did not totally leave journalism. I just felt strongly early on in my career that I would enjoy more fulfilment if I explored a different arm of the communication dynamics. A career at The Guardian, the flagship was a great privilege for me. But I loved the intricate but expressive nature of advertising. I love the didactic intrusion into people’s lives, liberty, and the prospect that you can be sanctioned if you take the relationship with your target for granted. But in truth, my foundation in journalism has a profound impact on my advertising journey. I do not regret it at all.
Tell us about your growing up years Where were you born? Where did you grow up and schools attended?
My growing up years was fun and interesting. I come from what is regarded as a middle-class family. I was born in Lagos and spent most of my childhood in Surulere, Lagos. The bulk of my education was mainly in the southwest states of Osun and Ogun. My primary school was at the Salvation Army School, Surulere. For secondary, I went to Ejigbo Baptist High School and for HSC I went to Ede Baptist High School, both in Osun State. For tertiary education, I studied English at the Ogun State University (O.S.U, now Olabisi Onabanjo University, O.O.U) where I graduated in 1987.
Tell me a bit about your beautiful wife and family.
I met my wife Olabiyi Atinuke while on national service in 1987/ 88 in Katsina-Ala, Benue State. We got married in 1990 (30 years this December) and its been nothing but gratitude to God for having a reliable, loving, and trusting helpmate like her. I believe that the measure of a man’s success is attributable to the level of peace and support he enjoys at home. My wife has been super supportive, holding the ladder as always. She is a fantastic individual who daily challenges me to do better.