Lolu Durojaiye: A Life of Service Delivering the AVEDGE At Events

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

Lolu Durojaiye CEO of AVEdge, has been the silent technical partner to countless events and shows staged by agencies on behalf of brands in Nigeria over the years. EMNG spoke to him about his passion for event AV and the edge he has always delivered in the experiential marketing industry.

Lolu Durojaiye CEO AVEdge.

I deploy the best and latest technology as well as engage professionals in all my projects. The audiovisual business is very personal to me as I am always researching into new, better and innovative ways of service delivery.

I cultivate a healthy working relationship with my clients that creates a better understanding and facilitate meeting their expectations to such an extent that they can leave their brief with me, being rest assured that that the ball will not drop.

I always encourage my client's to form a partnership that is mutually beneficial.

“Reliability and dependability of our service has been our most import success factor. When our clients brief out a job to us, they can go to sleep knowing that we will deliver come rain or shine.”

Can you please tell us a little about your background. (your personal story)

I was raised by a single mother with my younger brother. Had my primary school education in Corona School, VI, secondary school in St. Gregory’s College, Obalende from where I proceeded to Lagos State University for my first degree in English, later acquired my Masters degree in Media and Communications, from the Pan Atlantic University

How did you get into AV production

In 2003, I established my own AV/Multimedia Production company, AVEdge Limited, a cutting edge audio visual service provider, setup to service the events & experiential industry. I also freelance in lecturing and training. Prior to this I worked in a production company Scharf Weisberg (Studio 77) as the Production Manager, one of the members of the IMC group, worked as Client Services Executive in an advertising/PR Agency – Ruyi Communication owned by Soni Irabor before then. Other work experience include holiday jobs I was doing while in university in a mortgage institution, then served in Radio Nigeria Ibadan during my service year. On completion of my service year I made my entry into the entertainment and experiential industry as the Manager of a recording & performing artiste, Blackky, Wired MC, Adewale Ayuba as well as consult for a few other artiste. I have interests in other ventures such as printing & set designs and fabrication.

What is AV content production all about?

The activities of all human and living organism revolves around communications. The marketing industry and indeed commerce as we know it today is driven by communication. AV content production is an integral part and a key driver of marketing communication, any body that is playing in this sphere is one way or another involved in AV content production, in such an instance as creating a powerpoint presentation for a pitch to a client or presenting performance reports to company management, board and shareholders or creating advertising, persuasive or behavioural change messages. All this comes under AV content production as the name connotes – audio visual. Practically all marketing communication activities revolves around AV content be it billboards, electronic messaging – radio or TV jingles, social media campaigns, directing marketing and experiential campaigns. The driving factor in all these activities is AV content production which amplifies the messaging and makes it more attractive and appealing.

How does the AV content producer partner with experiential marketing agencies and client

The main aim of clients and by extension experiential marketing agencies is to get their

audience to take a positive action. The relationship between these three groups of people is a symbiotic one. The client gives the agency a brief of what the message it wants to put out there, the agency devices and develops creative messages which it passes on to the AV Content producer who produces it either in an audio, visual or both formats. The AV specialist then goes ahead to disseminate this message by amplifying and broadcasting to the identified potential customers.

When did you start AVEdge and what has the story been like

The company was established in 2003 from my study room with one computer and it has grown over the years to owning our own production gear and state of the art facilities. It has birthed about 3 other companies and produced 10s of professionals that are doing great things in the industry. However, it has not been an easy ride. We have had financial challenges from getting money to execute briefs to being paid for work done by clients. There has also been staffing issues from recruiting to training and retaining manpower. There have also been issues of dishonesty as we have recurring incidences of equipment theft and destruction. Then there is the lack of faith in indigenous industry practitioners as they would rather brief out jobs to foreign producers, who invariably still contract our services. Finally is the prevalence of encroachment into our professional sphere by ancillary service providers who are poorly trained and resourced for the job.

What will you say has been your edge in the market

Reliability and dependability of our service has been our most import success factor. When our clients brief out a job to us, they can go to sleep knowing that we will deliver come rain or shine. My life philosophy is to keep my word, no matter what. When I make a promise to a client, we ensure we deliver. When we make a commitment to a client we understate our deliverables but go over and above to ensure that we deliver beyond client’s expectations.

"When I make a promise to a client I make sure I deliver"

How has the industry fared in Nigeria in recent times

Due to the tough macro economic situation in the country, clients have been hit by waning demand, low purchasing power and the adverse effects of some of the government policies. There has also been a drastic reduction in the manufacturing sector who are our major clients. This means there are less goods and services to sell, which leads to reduced revenue and reduction in the marketing budget and spend which, ultimately impacts on us. Clients are also in the habit of wanting a Range Rover but they only have the budget for a KIA Sportage. The responsibility now falls on practitioners to finding creative means to bridge the gap which greatly hampers our ability to deliver. This not the case when the job is given to international production companies. There, strangely enough we find that they pay what is asked for.

What are the major challenges that you have faced in the business

The advancement of technology has had both a negative and positive impact on the industry, the easiest analogy I can use here is the case of a smart phone, it is in fact replacing or the appropriate word is devaluing the worth of professional services providers. Everybody is now a photographer because they can take selfies on their phones. Services are priced based on information gleamed from google irrespective of training, years of experience and investment in the craft. Youtube has led to the emergence of quacks who believe that after watching a few videos of ‘How Tos’ they have become proficient  enough to take on client briefs, they bungle the job thereby giving local practitioners the label of being incapable.

How can AV Producers and agencies collaborate to achieve better results (What advice do you have for agencies and clients who use your services)

Agencies should involve AV practitioners right from the brain storming stage so that they can advise not only on the practicality of an idea but also on the cost implications so as to do away with this ‘no budget’ syndrome. Appropriate pricing, timely payment and above all recognition of the value we bring to the table. No matter how brilliant an idea is, the engagement of the best artiste and creatives, without the AV practitioners’ skill sets, everything comes to not. Davido cannot perform without the use of a microphone and a PA system and even if he did, its only a few people within the first three of four rows that can see and hear him. It requires AV skill sets to not only make his performance magical, but also amplify it and document it for prosperity. We also provide documentation for agencies as verification or proof of delivery as well as tool of capabilities. The current practise of relegating the service to the back seat on the scale of priorities should stop as we remain a critical pillar on which the successful execution of any campaign rests.

Which special or landmark projects have you worked on that you are proud of

Recently, I worked on the visit of the French President to Nigeria, the town hall meeting at Eko Hotel and the donation of a French Cultural Centre in Ikoyi. I also worked on the visit and parley of the Global MD of Master Card with Heads of financial institutions in the country and Mark Zuckerberg's town hall meeting in Lagos. The commissioning of the Eko Atlantic city by President Clinton, quite a number of premium private corporate and individual events, which I can not mention because of their sensitive nature. I have also worked on a lot of events, dealing with product launches and engagement with premium brands like Coke, NB plc, Globacom, MTN, Airtel and Guinness.

What lessons do you have for up and coming AV content production professionals.

Regardless of your talent, seek mentorship and undergo apprenticeship in order to hone and sharpen your talent. Serve your boss or organisation diligently and honestly to the best of your abilities as you would require the same in the very near future.

So tell us what Lolu Durojaiye is doing when he is not work..hobbies, interests, passion.

I love history – so I seek and consume information as much as I can find, in the easiest way possible. I love to travel and experience new and different cultures and practises. I like to share my experience and impact the little I know to others. In terms of hobbies I love riding my bicycle and watching films. In terms of passion, I am passionate about my family, my relationship with God and about treating my fellow human beings the way I want to be treated.

Get in touch with Lolu

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