Steve Babaeko: 20 YEARS OF INSPIRATION

Ayeni Adekunle, Ayo Animashaun & Steve Babaeko

Spent Monday evening at the BHM Lounge, in company of some of the brightest minds around, as we gathered to celebrate the founder of X3M Group Steve Babaeko.

SB had announced last week that September 1 made it 20 years since he ventured into advertising.

As we shared hot amala and orisirisi; with canapés and cognac and cocktails, everyone spoke about the power of Steve’s imagination;  about the determination and drive that got him here. Everyone agreed this gentleman that arrived in Lagos broke and hopeless changed his life and his story by doing the work- from artiste management to equipment leasing, to copywriting and music.

Music gave him the fame; advertising gave him a career and much more.

Steve Babaeko

Steve Babaeko

But it’s the inspiration – the one that pushes him; the one he gives to others even when he doesn’t try, that gave him a name.

That name may be what his parents gave him. But it’s no longer a basic nomenclature for a random guy from Kabba in Kogi state. That name now belongs to a trusted brand that’s fulfilling a promise: that Nigerian advertising can be great again; that copy writers and creative directors can build a business too; that you can make it if you dare. That an agency CEO can sag his pants and wear Giuseppe Zanotti . The promise (and message) that everything you want is chilling on the other side of fear.

The full story of Steve Babaeko will be told someday soon.

Happy anniversary, boss.

Kelvin Orifa, Steve Babaeko & Toni Kan

Kelvin Orifa, Steve Babaeko & Toni Kan

Kelvin Orifa, Steve Babaeko & Ayo Animashaun

Kelvin Orifa, Steve Babaeko & Ayo Animashaun

Ayeni Adekunle with Yetunde Babaeko

With Yetunde Babaeko

Modenine with Steve Babaeko & Yetunde Babaeko

Jonah the Monarch, Modenine with Yetunde & Steve Babaeko

Steve Babaeko,  Ayo Animashaun & Ayeni Adekunle

With Steve Babaeko & Ayo Animashaun

Ayeni Adekunle & TEE A

With Tee A

Chris Ihidero

Chris Ihidero

Ayeni Adekunle, Ayo Animashaun, Steve Babaeko

 

Interview: Media Consumers Now Have More Power Than Before – Ayeni

ID Africa

By Funsho Arogundade (The News Nigeria)

 

In this interview with FUNSHO AROGUNDADE, the young media entrepreneur fondly called “Ayeni The Great” gives a rare peek into digital marketing agency ID Africa, his latest business venture, which will see a spread of the BHM Group’s clientele and content across more nations on the African continent

Q: How did BHM Group begin?

A: BHM Group started in 2006, while I was still a reporter, from my two-bedroom flat in Akute (Lagos). My wife and I had no furniture so I bought a small chair and table, and could only afford to pay someone to assemble a computer. We started out working for musicians, actors and record labels that had smaller budgets, so it was tough but fulfilling work.

A few years later, my friend Ayo Animashaun (owner of Hip TV and The Headies) gave me a desk in his office from where BHM operated. Eventually, we had to rent our own office space and today we have 60 employees and various consultants across the world. In 2009 we began working for corporate clients, and they tapped into the experience we had built with entertainers and young people. It has never happened in Nigeria that an organisation with experience solely in entertainment – working for artistes and actors – to begin working for various multinationals. That’s our story and we are proud of it.

Ayeni Adekunle1croped

Q: You recently launched ID Africa, a digital agency and subsidiary of the BHM Group? What do you hope to achieve?

A: With Digital Marketing, disparate uptake rates exist. Brands across regions in Africa are very late to the party, while those trying to get into the party are not in the appropriate attire; I mean they are not using the right tools to speak to, or listen to the people. Africa is a continent of up to 2,000 languages from numerous tribes, with over 1 billion people becoming increasingly globalised, yet retaining the peculiarities that categorise their individual heritages – the status quo is changing. We all know that the latest arrivals to a party can still make the atmosphere electric, so this is an opportunity for practitioners.

We are fortunate to have an extensive understanding, based on our PR background, about people who consume and publish content on the Internet. We know what they are looking for, so we have an understanding of how to use that social space better to create the kind of conversations that can help people meet each other and have a nice time, whether it’s a brand meeting the consumer or just consumers interacting, or even brands needing to engage with each other.

ID Africa is the digital agency that can make this happen because it is not just a service agency; more of Africa’s audiences need to be communicated with and listened to via channels and outlets that best conform to their social, cultural and personal proclivities.

Q: So, what are your experiences as you roll out ID Africa with more continental clients?

A: I cannot divulge research data we have obtained at prohibitive costs, but I will share some insights.

A: To successfully communicate with the diverse audiences and demographics that constitute Africa’s cities and navigate the sociocultural nuances therein, all brands- entertainment or corporate- must treat the term media very loosely. If I can get on a Mutatu in Nairobi or a Danfo in Lagos and speak to 50 passengers, and try to get them to try or understand my new product, then that bus as far as ID Africa is concerned, is as valid a media vehicle as social media is in Johannesburg.

 

Read full interview on thenewsnigeria.com.ng

 

I Started BHM In My Three Bedroom Flat – Ayeni Adekunle

Ayeni Adekunle1 cropped1

By Charles Okogene (Daily Independent Newspaper)

 

Ayeni Adekunle is the PR practitioner, journalist and businessman behind Black House Media (BHM) group, a public relations and digital communications agency based in Lagos, Nigeria, with offices in London, UK. He founded BHM Group in 2006 from humble beginnings that manage strategic communications programmes for companies with interests in entertainment, lifestyle and ICT.

While studying for a degree in microbiology from the University of Ibadan (UI), Ayeni started his career with Hip Hop World magazine, worked with Encomium Weekly, Thisday and The Punch  before leaving to concentrate on the BHM Group. He founded Nigeria Entertainment Today, a niche website on November 23, 2009, five months before launching its print version in April 2010.

Since 2013, Ayeni has convened the annual Nigerian Entertainment Conference, the largest gathering of artistes and professionals in Nigerian entertainment, and in 2014, he led the BHM Group to conceptualise and build BHM App, Nigeria’s first PR mobile application.

BHM’s clients include MTV Base, Nigerian Breweries, Nickelodeon, Hennessy, Interswitch, Verve, as well as BET and Comedy Central.

In this interview with journalists, he gives a rare peek into digital marketing agency ID Africa, his latest business venture, which will see a spread of the BHM Group’s clientele and content across more nations on the African continent.

How did BHM Group begin?

BHM Group started in 2006, while I was still a reporter, from my two-bedroom flat in Akute (Lagos). My wife and I had no furniture so I bought a small chair and table, and could only afford to pay someone to assemble a computer. We started out working for musicians, actors and record labels that had smaller budgets, so it was tough but fulfilling work.

A few years later, my friend Ayo Animashaun gave me a desk in his office from where BHM operated. Eventually, we had to rent our own office space and today we have 60 employees and various consultants across the world. In 2009 we began working for corporates, and they tapped into the experience we had built with entertainers and young people.

It’s never happened in Nigeria that an organisation comes from entertainment  – working for artistes and actors – to begin working for multinationals. That’s our story and we are proud of it.

ID Africa

You’ve recently launched ID Africa, a digital agency and subsidiary of the BHM Group? What do you hope to achieve?

With Digital Marketing, disparate uptake rates exist.  Brands across regions in Africa are very late to the party, while those trying to get into the party are not in the appropriate attire; I mean they are not using the right tools to speak to, or listen to the people. Africa is a continent of up to 2000 languages from numerous tribes, with over 1 billion people becoming increasingly globalised, yet retaining the peculiarities that categorize their individual heritages – the status quo is changing. We all know that the latest arrivals to a party can still make the atmosphere electric, so this is an opportunity for practitioners.

We are fortunate to have an extensive understanding, based on our PR background, about people who consume and publish content on the Internet. We know what they are looking for, so we have an understanding of how to use that social space better to create the kind of conversations that can help people meet each other and have a nice time, whether it’s a brand meeting the consumer or just consumers interacting, or even brands needing to engage with each other.

 

Read full interview on dailyindependentnig.com

 

Digital PR to the Rescue

id3

By Raheem Akingbolu (ThisDay Newspaper)

 

Like other aspects of marketing communications, the goal post for effective public relations practice has been shifted from traditional to a blend of traditional and digital. A survey of the industry shows that most companies now rely more on agencies with the understanding of the new trend for their briefs than those with only traditional experience. This, according to a source, informed why most of the PR businesses won in recent time were as a result of the winners’ depth in digital application.

The Chief Executive Officer of Black House Media (BHM), Mr. Ayeni Adekunle, whose agency is currently making waves in this regard told THISDAY during the week that the best way any agency can survive in today’s market is to be dynamic in skill acquisition and understanding of the global trend.

Ayeni Adekunle

Sharing insights on how BHM has been able to weather the storm, despite the global technological advancement which has redefined the PR space, Ayeni said his agency’s staying power lies in the ability to read between the lines as trend changes.

“With PR, our approach has always been to understand how the media landscape has changed, is changing, and therefore ascertain what tools we need to use to deliver value to brands and audiences alike. Before, the media was a brick wall you had to pass through, to get to the consumer. Today, every consumer, every brand, is a publisher and recipient of content. Just as there are billboards on the roads, there are digital billboards to draw in and engage the consumer, but their construction for Africa-focused demographics is a whole different field which we are excited to have the privilege of labouring in.

So ID Africa is here to further the premise on which the BHM Group itself is built – ensuring that as manufacturers and consumers, we do not lose sight of the ‘social” in social media, and the “media” in media communication.

With PR, our approach has always been to understand how the media landscape has changed, is changing, and therefore ascertain what tools we need to use to deliver value to brands and audiences alike. Before, the media was a brick wall you had to pass through, to get to the consumer. Today, every consumer, every brand, is a publisher and recipient of content. Just as there are billboards on the roads, there are digital billboards to draw in and engage the consumer, but their construction for Africa-focused demographics is a whole different field which we are excited to have the privilege of labouring in.

Enters ID Africa

The practitioner also spoke about the recently launched ID Africa, a digital agency and subsidiary of the BHM Group, which he said was established to further deepening the practice.

“With Digital Marketing, disparate uptake rates exist.  Brands across regions in Africa are very late to the party, while those trying to get into the party are not in the appropriate attire; I mean they are not using the right tools to speak to, or listen to the people. Africa is a continent of up to 2000 languages from numerous tribes, with over 1 billion people becoming increasingly globalised, yet retaining the peculiarities that categorise their individual heritages – the status quo is changing. We all know that the latest arrivals to a party can still make the atmosphere electric, so this is an opportunity for practitioners.

 

Read full interview on thisdaylive.com

African Businesses are late to Digital marketing, says Ayeni

id2

By Goddie Ofose (The Niche Newspaper)

 

Genesis of BHM Group

BHM Group started in 2006 from my two-bedroom flat in Akute, Lagos while I was a reporter. My wife and I had no furniture so I bought a small chair and table, and could only afford to pay someone to assemble a computer.

We started out working for musicians, actors, and record labels that had small budgets. It was a tough but fulfilling work.

A few years later, my friend, Ayo Animashaun, gave me a desk in his office from where BHM operated. Eventually, we rented our own office space and today we have 60 employees and consultants across the world.

In 2009, we began working for corporates, and they tapped into the experience we had built with entertainers and young people.

It had never happened in Nigeria that an organisation comes from entertainment – working for artistes and actors – to work for multinationals.

That’s our story and we are proud of it.

Exploring digital marketing

With digital marketing, disparate uptake rates exist. Brands across regions in Africa are very late to the party, while those trying to get in are not in the appropriate attire; I mean they are not using the right tools to speak to or listen to the people.

Africa is a continent of up to 2,000 languages from numerous tribes – with over one billion people becoming increasingly globalised, yet retaining the peculiarities that categorise their individual heritages. The status quo is changing.

The latest arrivals to a party can still make the atmosphere electric, so this is an opportunity for practitioners.

We are fortunate to have an extensive understanding, based on our PR background, about people who consume and publish content on the internet.

We know what they are looking for, so we have an understanding of how to use that social space better to create the kind of conversations that can help people meet each other and have a nice time, whether it’s a brand meeting the consumer or just consumers interacting, or even brands needing to engage with one another.

ID Africa is the digital agency that can make this happen because it is not just a service agency; more of Africa’s audiences need to be communicated with and listened to via channels and outlets that best conform to their social, cultural, and personal proclivities.

Ayeni Adekunle1croped

Observing the space

I cannot divulge research data we obtained at prohibitive costs, but I will share some insights.

To successfully communicate with the diverse audiences and demographics that constitute Africa’s cities and navigate the sociocultural nuances therein, all brands – entertainment or corporate – must treat the term ‘media’ very loosely.

 

Read full interview on thenicheng.com

 

Why You MUST NEVER Take Access for Granted

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 8.02.05 PM

I just read a pitch from a 19 year old that entirely lifted my spirit. My day is made already. There are so many brilliant kids out there looking for opportunities. If you have knocked on doors that never opened or had doors slammed on your face you’ll know what it means to have a foot in the door.

Never take access for granted. Never abuse an opportunity. There are many who will give anything to have the ‘Yes’ you’re taking for granted, and what determines if it’s a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ is NOT ALWAYS within your control. You can only do your best. Be good, Very good, at what you do. Be ‘exactly what the doctor recommended’, but know that you are enjoying an opportunity. Use it well

For 2 years (1995 and 1996), I wrote to everyone that mattered in media & entertainment. I wanted an opportunity to intern. I did not get a single response. In 1998 it took me the entire year to get a venue (Party House on Allen) and financial support (Zmirage) for my first major event (YAFEM).

In 2004, fresh out of UI, I paraded Encomium Magazine for several months, wrote plenty pieces, & begged for opportunity to be a reporter. Between 1998 and 2004 I spent time squatting with Ayo Animashaun and Charles Mayomi (Father U Turn’s elder bro). When Animashaun faced hard times and ‘moved’ into his office (a ‘shop’ actually, inside Sahadatu plaza, off Allen), I moved in with him. We shared bathroom and toilet with the guards. Only a few people knew we slept there.

One day 2face and Blackface came visiting. We gave them a ride in Animashaun’s beetle and dropped them off at Toyin roundabout. In the rain. 2 and Black were going to see a potential financier. They were looking for a ‘YES’. You know the rest of the story

Long journey really. Plenty story

Do you think you’re doing well because you’re THAT good? Know this: a couple of ‘YES’ can change your life for good. A couple of ‘NO’, for bad

The lesson for me is this: although I am now in a position where I can say I’m living my dreams, I do understand that I’m here because I had people give me opportunities, I was prepared for those opportunities and I was fortunate to use them well. I got a ‘YES’ from those I needed to squat with as I tried to escape from Okokomaiko. I got a ‘YES’ from the venue owner (Jerry Anazia) and Zmirage. I got a ‘YES’ (finally) from Encomium and THISDAY and Punch (I had earlier failed a test to work at The Punch). I got a lot of ‘YES’ from all the musicians and actors that came on board when I set out in PR and I also got a ‘YES’ from the corporate brands that joined us much later

I’m an average writer at best. I finished Uni with a 3rd class and had no formal training in journalism or PR. But I had dream. I learned all I had to and I worked hard and looked for opportunities. God used men and women to open the doors, and here we are

I still have a long way to go but I can see clearly how far I’ve come. Since 1995. I see what the future holds if I don’t mess it up.

I’m sorry. The document from a 19 year old set me off on this rant. I’m dazzled when I see young people determined to change their lives

I’m going to do something. Can you please send me a mail if you’re between 18 and 25, work in PR, media or social media. Subject: twitter rant. I’m going to request you do just one thing (as a test) and I will commit to supporting as many as I can in different relevant ways.

 

In Celebration of Kunle Bakare: A Man Who Doesn’t Want To Be Celebrated

Kunle Bakare

It was 10 years in June, since my first byline appeared in Encomium Weekly. My first byline anywhere, really. It was one of the most difficult periods of my life. Let me explain:

My mother died in April, just as I was rounding up work on my final year project at University of Ibadan. I fell ill shortly afterwards, and was hospitalized for weeks. I was too ill to attend my mom’s burial. Continue reading…