The puzzle on why global and local brands fail to connect with the African consumer as well as if there’s anything about the African market that is hidden from brand owners may have been given a serious attention in a book that premiered in Lagos,
April 19. Feyi Olubodun, MD/ CEO of one of West Africa’s leading creative agencies , Insight Publicis , author of the book began to reflect on his own rich marketing experiences and out of this emerged the framework for The Villager. In his view, the African consumer begins his life’s journey by moving from the village, his rural dwelling, to the city, carrying with him not only his own dreams but also the dreams of his community. He is a highly aspirational consumer, motivated to succeed, and he becomes the economic portal for the rest of his community back home.
But although the African consumer may be exposed to global influences and technology, Feyi says his essential identity remains largely intact. This is why Feyi calls the African consumer a Villager. According to him, The Village is no longer a physical space; but a psychological
construct that defines him and the filter through which he engages with and consumes brands. In developing his construct, Feyi posits that if you wish to engage successfully in a market you do not understand, you must have the right ‘lenses’ to view a people. He believes the secret lies in applying these lenses at the confluence of commerce, culture and consumer. Data, he says, is not enough to understand the vagaries of a particular market. Drawing on his wide experience and wealth of astute observations, he provides a highly readable and indis-pensable guide to the mindset of the African consumer today, yet it is true to say that his insights apply, albeit in a more nuanced way, to consumer behavior across the globe. The Villager is essential reading for brand owners wishing to conquer new markets.
Before Feyi Olubodun got to his present height, he spent four years at medical school before changing to another course of study. He transferred his interest in humans from the anatomical to the psychological and graduated with a degree in psychology. Feyi began to follow the questions in his life – questions about humans, brands, businesses and African institutions. These questions led him to the path of working as a Data Analyst and Market Researcher, at TNS-RMS for several years. The same questions led him to Insight Publicis, where he was Strategy Director for some years before being promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Along the way Feyi got his Global Executive MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, and in 2016 he was appointed Managing Director/CEO of Insight Publicis Nigeria. Feyi is still following his questions, reflected in his daily work with clients who want to win in the African market, and in working to build an African creative agency for the future.