Born: Eastern Nigeria
Worked in: Nigeria
Enyi Odigbo is a visionary, but he’d prefer to be known as an integrator. His group holding company, Casers, offers complete advertising services through a number of strong, individual companies; however he insures that all strategic thinking works through Casers Group Integration at the heart of his operation. Enyi won the DDB franchise in 2000, and in the last decade his group has expanded to include Capital Media- one of the region’s largest independent media buying companies, Magenta—a digital company, and now a new partnership with Fin International, the financial branding consultancy.
Without doubt, he has made a profound impact on Brand Communications in Nigeria, but is also working hard to change the perceptions of that African country.
Nigeria’s largest advertising categories are telecom companies and banks. (In comparison, the top ad categories in the both the US and Japan are automobiles and soft drinks.) Given Enyi’s client base, he’s certainly in the center of Nigeria’s advertising world.
Name an innovative idea or business solution for which you are most proud. Always looking ahead, Enjy says that as of today, he is most proud of winning the MTN—Mobile Telephone Networks South Africa pitch, because it demonstrates how an agency group that starts with integrated, strategic thinking can make a difference to a client—even if they are based in Lagos, Nigeria. In fact, MTN originally planned to search for two agencies given the sheer scope and size of the company’s marketing needs. However, after the presentation by Enjy and his team, MTN
changed their minds about a second agency as they did not want to dilute the work planned by Casers.
Dictionary definitions aside, how would you characterize innovation in the work you do? “Innovation is any form of marked improvement on current thinking. At Casers, we don’t benchmark again others. We have to think about our environment and be one step ahead. Innovation must be original, it cannot be copied.”
What are some of the biggest challenge you face in Nigeria? From the standpoint of doing advertising in Nigeria, we have two challenges—diversity and IT infrastructure. Few people recognize that Nigeria has 279 ethnic tongues and many tribes and religions. It is a task to plan a national campaign, and budget issues can certainly result. Also the infrastructure of the digital age is not yet built. Although internet access will come via mobile, there is a tremendous need for technological development.
Of course, the other large challenge is the perception of Nigeria to the rest of the world. There is a need to brand Nigeria as it boasts some of the most hospitable people in the world. They are welcoming and are happy, even if some live in adverse conditions. I often tell the story of how I left my wallet with £3000 in the back of a London taxi.
The cash was necessary as sometimes Nigerian credit cards are not accepted in other countries. I was able to track down the cab driver and reclaim my wallet and my cash. When he saw my relief, the driver remarked, “There are more good people in the world than bad.” This is no different in Nigeria.
Any other interesting aspects to your international background? I speak three languages—Igbo, one of Nigeria’s 3 major languages, pigeon English, and
My parents were both teachers, and my mother went to school in London. I attended
the University of Edinburgh. I’m learning how to sail at the Lagos Yacht Club on the Atlantic Ocean. I promise it will be my obsession—for just 1 year. (I have a short attention span.)