If you are familiar with the advertising industry in Nigeria, then you should also be familiar with one of the most prominent advertising practitioners in the country,
In a recent interview with ThisDay Style, Steve Baba-Eko bares it all, telling his story and highlighting the motivations that have pushed him from a random member of the Creative Writers' Club at the Ahmadu Bello University, Kaduna, to building a multi-million naira company and cementing his place as a leader of repute within the Nigerian advertising industry.
Here are five things about Steve Baba-Eko you probably didn't know but should know:
1. Advertising came to him by chance: "Advertising is something I stumbled upon," says Steve. "I used to go to the Kaduna library to read about advertising, what departments advertising companies had, where I could fit in and that was how I stumbled on copywriting." This then spurned a desire to develop on his love of commercials as a kid, and the rest, like they say, is history.
2. His favorite part of advertising is creating: You need to be creative in advertising and it's not hard to see why Steve is so successful at it. "Creating a new campaign, pitching for a new business, anything that has to do with creating is where my passion still is … I roll up my sleeves when I need to contribute ideas," said Steve.
3. He achieves work-life balance through 'division of labour': We all know running a business and being successful at it can take a huge chunk out of family and friends time. Steve does not let this stop him though. In his own words, "It has been challenging but negotiating those duties upfront has helped us find balance. I always drop the kids at school and she picks them up. She oversees homework."
4. He doesn't believe there is an ideal age to start a business: Steve started his business at the age of 41 so he is something of a late starter. However, he believes that regardless of one's age, the discipline to do it is the most important thing. "A situation has been created now where people say ["if Steve can do it, so can I."] and I am very flattered by this but the discipline required to be an entrepreneur is a lot. If you are not able to be disciplined to manage clients, talents, money … If you're the type that can't manage success, you can be a danger to yourself and a danger to your business …," said Steve.
5. He would like to work on Nigeria as a brand: Nigeria undoubtedly has its image issues which has plagued it for years on end. Anyone with a green Nigerian passport will tell you that the reception in foreign embassies is usually less than friendly. Steve believes the challenge to change this global perception will be worth it. Here's what he thinks: "We must be one of the most maligned countries in the world asides from North Korea. It has to be a hammer and anvil approach, clearing misconceptions both within and outwardly."
Steve Baba-Eko has come a long way and achieved great things. The dread-locked advertising guru, who was recently selected as the only Nigeria juror at the New York Advertising Festival, has proven that conquering the world is achievable if you believe and stick to what matters.