Updated: Feb 22
When Abiodun Oshinibosi launched out with his experiential marketing outfit, Abelinis, about ten years ago, he did not envisage fully where his creative instinct and divine providence will land him in just one decade.
Today, this experiential Project Marshal has wowed the industry with excellent managerial capacity and ingenuity. With his battalion of intelligent and tested managers, Abelinis has climbed the heights of experiential marketing to deliver maximum satisfaction to his long list of top-notch clientele.
In this chat that took place at his world-class office with a serene ambience and state-of-the-art facilities, Oshinibosi shared with the ExperientialNG team those lines of thoughts and actions that have continuously inspired and impacted him and his team to great accomplishments.
Oshinibosi, who is also the Vice- President of EXMAN, takes every project as a war that must be conquered. He explained that his goal and that of his squad of fighters has always been to build a brand that their clients and the team will always be proud of. This goal, he said, has always motivated them to deliver on the vision of emerging as the foremost provider of project management solutions in the experiential marketing space. It is a loaded and incisive package. A reference material. Read it. Keep it.
Your organization just celebrated ten exciting years of operations in Nigeria’s experiential marketing space, how has it been?
We started off on a very shaky note, We weren’t sure of the future in the sense that we were not certain of the channels: what kind of clients we are going to have. Of course, we didn’t have so much money to start up. We started off using a friend’s office. So starting off was pretty difficult. What we had was creativity, a couple of concepts and, of course, our greatest assets at all times- dedicated people who were very interested in going all the way with us. Starting off was quite difficult but we were very determined and I think that is one area of strength that has been working for us.
We were so lucky because at the end of the first quarter of that year, 2011, we got our first brief. Not too many agencies have that luxury. That gave us great energy to push for more. Ten years, it’s been good and, sometimes bad but in all, we are very grateful.
Share a little bit of those good times.
Like I said earlier, getting our first brief was huge for us. It was a point of rededication for us that things can actually happen. It was the highpoint and we believed those clients were happy seeing us deliver on the set objectives. It was also the redefining stage for us, that we are on the right path.
Another highpoint was when we got our first referral from a client. It worked so well -in fact, 80% of the client we have come in through that process. Those we worked for were always excited introducing us to other clients. For me, those were key highpoints as well. Another exciting one came during our seventh year when we actually decided we were going to have our own building. When we also see some of our staff moves from being just an executive to a professional manger by way of certification or going for further studies. That brings big joy and excitement to us.
Can you tell us some of those specific projects that you have done that brought you great excitement within the last 10 years?
The truth is that we are a project management outfit, a project intelligence company. So, we treat all projects uniquely and there is an excitement that comes with each is distinct. None is exactly the same. We reach out differently depending on the scope of the project. So, for me, each of them has their fare form of excitement. Let us look at the one with MTN in 2016, we had a challenge with telecommunication companies generally, MTN in particular because of the registration exercise they had to embark on. It came as a tactical initiative. We started with a very clear scope. We started small.. We started one, two, three and, suddenly we were Pan Nigeria in no time. It was a very challenging experience, but it was very exciting as well, seeing us pull it through and clients were very happy with us.
We were not the only agency that handled the brief, but we took the major chunk of that project.
You have shared the high point; can you also share some low points, those key challenges and how you surmounted them?
Yes, we operate in Nigeria. Some of those challenges are not hiding. Starting off, you need funds to run. Though, we run a creative agency, a project management office. Having said that, we also need funds to run those projects. So, getting fund from banks can be difficult. Getting funds and the right people. People are moving in every instance. When a new agency opens, it is offering juicy remuneration and people always feel the grass is always greener over there.
Though, to be fair to our system, our staff turnover rate has been okay because we‘ve had the majority of our staff retained. I think that is a good one for us, both temporary and permanent staff, we have a good churning rate as it were.
For most startups, funding and the people, are the major challenges. For us to be successful, it is not just by name, the quality of people determine the quality of output we churn out.
Your title, Project Marshal, where does it come from? Do you have a military background?
While we were starting off, it was important that we distinguish ourselves. Blue ocean strategy tells us that if you want to compete in any space, you have to be unique. So, it was a point of strength for us to be unique. Asides from that, why are we in this space? It is not to win the battle for our clients?. Who are those that win battles? They are people that enforce and go to war. So, we positioned ourselves as the force in the marketing industry. If we are a force, we should be seen as one. It is just to motivate us that at any point in time, we must win: we are fighting this war and we must win for our client. That is the main idea behind it.
To watch more clips from our interview with Abiodun Osinibosi, click HERE
Tell me a little bit about the structure of the organization.
We have the Project Marshal who is like the General Manager, then the Brigadiers, Colonels, Lieutenants but the entry point is Corporal and we have them across the country basically.
So, it does not mean that the company is run in a military fashion where nobody can question what the hierarchy says.
No, no. The organization is run more like a family. Our ideas can come from anywhere. We believe in diversity. For us, there is no boss even though there is a line of responsibility. We run like a body and we all know that there is no monopoly of knowledge.
Let’s talk about your subsidiary, Hybrid studio. It was projected as an experiential tech solution, how has it been relevant during this Covid 19 period?
You know before now, we never thought we could be operating the way we are doing now even though all of those platforms existed before now. Like the zoom platform we are using now, it existed long before Covid started. So, covid actually exposed us more to all of those. Hybrid came as a way of intervention, tapping into resources that existed before now to meet current relevant needs. We run a production outfit as well.