Tade Adekunle is the CEO of Keskese a leading Experiential Marketing and activation agency and winner of the AGENCY OF THE YEAR at EXMAN’s inaugural Awards for Excellence in Experiential Marketing staged in 2017. A consummate professional and multi-facetted operator in the marketing communications field. He is seen as the front runner to take over the leadership of EXMAN from the Kehinde Salami Exco. He recently chatted with ExperientialNG and shared his vision for the future of the industry body.
"We need to continue to reinvent ourselves in order for us to remain relevant in the scheme of things. The marketing mix itself is dynamic; therefore, for any experiential agency to survive in future and be relevant, they must be ahead in terms of creativity, innovation, ideation and above all impeccable execution."
Can you introduce yourself briefly?
My name is Peter Tade Adekunle abbreviated to PTA by colleagues and friends. I work with Keskese Limited as Project Consultant.
Can you briefly tell us about your agency? What do you do and which clients do you currently work for?
The agency is called KESKESE Limited and it started operation in 2010. It is an experiential marketing communication and brand activation company. We bring brands to life; creating interaction between brands and consumers. Over the years we’ve been privileged to work for some multinationals and their brands. Some of the clients that we still work extensively for are Cadbury Plc, MTN Nigeria Communications, Google, InBev, Lafarge among others.
Take us back to the beginning of the agency. How and when was your agency founded and what were the early challenges that you and the founding team faced?
When I retired (that was what I told my Boss then, Mr. Funmi Onabolu), all credit should be given to him as one of the pioneers in experiential marketing communications in Nigeria for nurturing the creative instinct in me and for giving me the opportunity to serve as pioneer General Manager of Towncriers Limited. While people say they need new challenges, I wanted that as well as to actually create marketing properties of our own and not just waiting for clients’ briefs.
As usual as a new agency, the usual challenge of having the opportunity to be invited for pitch, win new account to kick-start the organisation. Part of the challenges also was even when you are invited for a presentation, we have to rely on portfolio of companies where we worked before and not necessarily the job executed directly by Keskese.
However, we were fortunate (by God’s grace) that some doors opened on personal relationship and interaction in the past. Fortunate too that some of the early pitches we went for, our presentations “spoke” for us. The next challenge was sourcing funds to execute. Again, Towncriers prepared me for this and we were able to overcome this as well.
Can you share the major high points and memorable moments in the course of the agency’s history. What would you consider the secret of your success?
Cadbury was the first major account we won as an agency and I can still recall the Bournvita one million activation sampling in the South East. It gave us the opportunity to be part of the success story of that brand in which over two years it moved from 5% market share to over 40% market share.
Secret of our success …hmmmm …for each brief we always tell ourselves that it has to be something new. Especially when it is a pitch, then for us in Keskese it is WAR! Client or the brand must see that we are bringing something new, fresh and innovative that will add value. We pride ourselves as having fresh ideas, innovation and strategic in our thinking and execution.
Above all, not derailing so far from the vision; to create and develop marketing communication properties of our own. Over the years we’ve conceptualised and birthed Nigerian Sports Award (which is rated as the No 1 sport award in Africa right now), Naija Street Champ and Got Swag
Who is Tade Adekunle? (Please give us a brief autobiography)
I hold a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from the prestigious University of Ibadan
and has acted and directed stage productions in Nigeria’s vibrant theatrical scene
since the early nineties. I have worked in various companies among which are
Automania, Collective Artistes, SO&U Limited, Fidelity Bank. I joined the Cosse Group
in 1999 overseeing two companies (Videolab and Audiolab) and later, after
Towncriers Limited commenced operations in 2000, I was appointed the pioneer
General Manager in 2001.
In the theatre arena, I have served as National President of National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) 1998 – 2003. Also, I was a member of the Ministerial Committee on the review of Cultural Policy (2000 – 2001) and Ministerial Committee on the establishment of the National Endowments for the Arts (2001 – 2003).
In my own little way, I contribute articles on socio-political and cultural issues in leading national dailies in Nigeria. I am a member of International Special Events Society (ISES), Experiential Marketing Agencies of Nigeria (EXMAN) and Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR). I have delivered papers at various cultural conferences or gatherings both home and abroad. I was a pioneer Steering Committee member of the pan Africa cultural organisation, Arterial Network and I am still a Steering Committee member of International Network of Cultural Diversity (INCD), Canada.
What in your opinion is it that experiential marketing agencies offer the client, and what is the future of the industry/practice?
As part of the marketing mix, we bring brands to life through experience; using the various senses to connect the brands with the consumers. The opportunities are enormous not only from clients’ briefs but through creation of new concepts that brands can leverage.
You have indicated interest to serve as the next President of EXMAN. Can you please share what your vision is for the association going forward?
Certainly, I have always been an active member of the association and have served in various special task forces set up by past excos so I am fully conversant with the issues prevailing. So I see my mission to be one intended to build on the successes of the past executives and by so doing, lead a dynamic and vision focus executive to ensure that achieve on eight key areas:
1. We improve and consolidate capacity building for our members in the various departments
2. Incorporate clients to be part of the faculty for our training programmes
3. Finance is one major area of challenge for most of our members – how do we address this?
4. Work with regulatory agencies especially APCON to get registered and recognised officially as a sectorial body
5. Work with other associations of like minds to tackle the issue of multiple taxation as well as this idea of four-month payment circle by clients.
6. Drive growth of quality membership, by attracting new players into our fold
7. Hold an annual Experiential Summit as part of our AGM
How well in your opinion has the association done since its inception a few years ago?
Slow and steady as they say wins the race. The Association has not done badly in all sincerity. Within a short time, we’ve developed a Code of Conduct not only for our members but other sectors can also key into it. We’ve developed a training faculty to empower our members so that we can remain relevant and up to date with new trends both locally and internationally. And we have established a framework for recognising excellence within the industry through our awards. The various agencies though competing with each other are becoming well-structured to serve clients better and effectively. That for me tells you how far we have come. We can only build in this going forward.
What would your core priorities then be out of the eight mentioned earlier?
I hope to lead the association to focus on the following
Continue in the area of advocacy
Develop initiatives to attract young minds to the field
Engage clients at the appropriate level
What in your opinion, is the future of experiential marketing in Nigeria?
It has come to stay. However, we need to continue to reinvent ourselves in order for us to remain relevant in the scheme of things. The marketing mix itself is dynamic; therefore, for any experiential agency to survive in future and be relevant, they must be “ahead” in terms of creativity, innovation, ideation and above all impeccable execution.
Do you have any final advice to those coming behind?
The sky is big enough for all. You only need to create a niche for yourself so that what you stand for will be very clear.