Today Eddie talks about iBlend’s humble beginning, people he admire, competition, Nkataa and why he can’t seem to stop talking about work. Eddie equally talked about Abuja cliques, misconceptions about Abuja and how he took advantage of a vacuum. Eddie despite the art in him still ended up at the corporate world, but it was for the best. The corporate world trained and prepared him to be who he is today; an Integrated Marketing and Communication Consultant.

Corporate World; One of the best things to happen to me

Youth services posted me to the bank and that was one of the best things that ever happened to me. This is because I wanted to be part of the structure that had to do with corporate marketing. Though my original plan was to be in the banking sector for about two to three years but I ended up being there for nine years. I went through Oceanic bank, Eco bank and then left Union bank as a manger and that was August 2015″.

Origin Of iBlend

“Because I’ve always been out spoken, so alongside banking I always compère and host events consistently. iBlend started and was registered officially in 2010 and over time we’ve been fortunate to work across all sectors like corporate, NGOs, government and private sectors. We’ve worked with multi-nationals like Diageo, NBC, Unilever and also startups like hotels, clubs, restaurants, fashion houses and more. As God may have it iBlend is now a global brand going by the kind of clients we handle.

Back to Eddie the Publicist

“So yes am a publicist, media consultant, certified events compère and because I needed to know the science of all these things, I went for proper training and certifications. In all modesty people tend to listen when I talk and honestly it’s a gift from God. Harnessing your inner gift is a lot more rewarding. My goal is to entertain, educate and inform and that’s what I mostly do with my new media handle”.

“Integrated marketing and communication is the art of using different medium to present and amplify a product or service. It’s integrated because you cannot wish away the TV or radio or print or new media because there is a market segment for all that. Integrated marketing uses real time strategies to effectively reach the target market because it’s not all about making noise. But a new media influencer is someone that can sway public opinion based on their popularity. A typical example is Kim Kardeshian. I happen to be both integrated marketer and new media influencer”.

“Traditionally when people wanted to advertise or present their product to the market, they go to the radio or TV stations and place adverts but it got to the point where people needed better communication”.

We asked him who an effective influencer is and he said:

“An effective influencer is someone that can start a conversation and influence the spending habits of people”.

Eddie said he is more than a social media influencer.

“Me on the other hand, am an integrated marketing and communication consultant. Funny enough I actually studied architecture but growing up I’ve always been involved in performance and art. So my architecture background notwithstanding, I’ve always known I’ll eventually end up in marketing”.

Let’s now tell you how Eddie took advantage of a vacuum

“People were constantly coming to us asking us where they can we get this and that and it got to a point we realized there was a vacuum. we then started asking ourselves how we can turn this thing into a business. That was how we came about iBlend as a digital integrated marketing and communications company”.

“And because I wanted to deliver on it very well, I went for every marketing training and certifications I could jump on. we have all the skill set we require in the iBlend network”.

“After work, instead of going to hang out and drink, I used that time to work on the iBlend brand and gradually the business evolved. We always knew that there was a future in digital marketing because people were not getting the needed communication from TVs and radios”.

Eddie explains Plug-in Company

Plug in basically means integrating your product and services into the media. Take for instance you have your music ready, It’s not enough to just send your songs to record labels, TVs and radios. There’s a strategy and that’s why within the industry, brands and stars are created two ways. Either the product is fantastic that it can’t be ignored or you have the right marketing and plug-in team to ensure it’s in everybody’s face.

Now let’s tell you the Job Eddie enjoys the most

“In all these things I do, the one I’ll say I enjoy the most has to be the business of marketing communications. This is the thing, what I find most rewarding is to see an idea go from concept to fruition and becoming a going concern. For example Nkataa that’s one of the biggest e-commerce site. We handled the PR of Nkataa from its launch date to the first six months after which they took over. Seeing all these companies do well is our biggest joy”.

iBlend’s Humble Beginning And Growth

If you know the kind of fees we got from our earliest jobs you’ll wonder what’s the point. But it’s a thing of joy now to look back and say yeah, we work with a global brand like Diageo. The truth is I’ve not even scratched the surface of where I want to be. The truth is some of the people I work for today I will like to employ them in future.

People in the industry Eddie admire

“There are some people in the industry I look up to and call them mentors. I want to be able to stand side-by-side with them. One is Steve Babaoke. He is one of the most amazing advertising person and he’s called the Prince of advertising in Nigeria. The other is the chairman of Insight Communications who is called the king of advertising in Nigeria. I actually hero-worship Steve Babaeko of Xtreme Ideas and the day I met him at his office in Lagos he made me understand that he has been doing this for over 17 years and all that didn’t happen overnight. It’s no flash in the pan. I want to be able to in future go to US and UK and handle accounts. That is one success story I’ll like”.

Why Eddie can’t stop talking about work

Work is a major denominator of my life and why that is; am the first born of my family. Like I said my dad was a uniform man and he had this obey before complain style of raising us. At a very young age he didn’t let us feel like we were pampered or anything. By the time I was nine to ten years, I was already working for my father. He was a professor at law so he made us work for him. Work became a habit for us. As a growing boy, for relaxation I loved to read and explore”.

The main Reason Eddie took to hosting events

“Our generation actually work more now so we just have to find a way to create a balance. Sometimes the events that I host is not for me to make money but for me to hang out with my friends. When we started iBlend, that was the whole essence. We used to do something called private blend. So there is a two side of me. The loud outgoing person and the other me is the one that likes his quiet sanctuary. When I go home, I wouldn’t take calls”.

Competition in the PR space

Really I don’t even see competitor rather I see collaborators.

Does Eddie satisfy every client?

“First thing first, all sales is done at an emotional level. Not every money is your money and not every account is your account”.

Is iBlend all about cocktail mixing?

“That question comes up a lot but the truth is that iBlend is a business solution company and cocktail is just a bit of what we do. Clients that know the core of what we do always come to us. When we shoot emails to clients like MTN, NGOs and the likes, that is not for public consumption. Now we have Eddie MPR so we can be more accessible”.

Abuja clique conspiracy theory

“It’s a yes and a no for me. Referral marketing is a global concept. In Hollywood there are people that are stars because their father was a producer. In social space and commercial space same thing is applicable. So here is the thing, you either offer value or you work with people that have a track record of success because reputation is very key in business. Reputation takes you far but if you’re new and you come up with something that offers substance and value, clique or not people will jump on it. You can thrive in Abuja but you just need to put in the work to understand how this place works. There is no magic wand that we have so don’t come and say “all I need now is just iBlend to be on board and all will be well”. You must be passionate and have something of value for the Abuja people.

Misconception about Abuja and fun places

People say Abuja has very few channels for fun and relaxation. First of all it’s not true and if you happen to have only few places of fun for you in Abuja, I tell you to change your friends. It’s not true that culturally and socially Abuja has no soul. There’s actually a whole lot going on and if you’re not connected you won’t know. Abuja is not all about club and restaurant. There’s more to Abuja but you just need to know how to find it. I for one can never be bored in Abuja”.

Photo Credit : Ejike Manny
Location : Laguru GYM

Look out for the concluding part tomorrow. It’s gonna be a bit more personal.

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