Ever wondered what it is like to work in the exciting world of Beauty PR? Well myHairmyBeauty had a great sit down with Banke Ade-Ojo of the Bobby Taylor company, to give us the low down on representing some of the biggest international beauty brands.
Can you please give us an introduction to yourself and how you got started with the Bobby Taylor Company?
My name is Banke Ade-Ojo, I’ve been with the Bobby Taylor company for over a year, my background is in events planning, marketing PR and branding. Upon coming to Nigeria I met with Bukky Karibi Whyte who is the CEO of the Bobby Taylor company and we hit it off straight away and I decided to come and work for her on a few projects, and the rest as they say is history.
I look after the high end beauty clients of the Bobby Taylor company.
What is it about Beauty Publicity that you love?
Beauty PR gives you the chance to be creative. With PR in Nigeria, people think they can just pay and that is PR, whereas the grassroots of PR is strategically placing your clients where the brand can be noticed and still fit in with their target audience.
I love the fact that I can be creative and that I can create a story for the brand. For example if I need this product to be in this magazine, I call the magazine ahead of time to find out what they’ll be talking about that particular week. If they’re talking about skin, I’ll look for my best skincare product that I have and speak to various clients to see if they can send samples so we can get write-ups. We can look to get testimonials or just get advice on what someone did that worked for them.
Another great thing about Beauty PR is that I usually get to sample a majority of the products before they even hit the shelf!
What are some of your favourite products?
I’m definitely a girl’s girl and I love makeup. I love the transformation it gives you and for me, makeup is NEVER about anybody else, it is about how it makes me feel. Public perception about my makeup does not bother me; what’s more important to me is how the makeup makes me feel. In the morning when you get up and you put that first layer on, you see how your face just kind of lights up. I always feel different when I wear makeup versus when I don’t.
What do you think about the Beauty Industry in Nigeria?
I think the beauty industry in Nigeria is evolving more so because fashion is evolving. The beauty industry itself has kind of platooned, it was kind of going through a crazy boom in the past 5 years, but it has platooned now and kind of balanced out. The industry is more competitive now as well.
What is your take on some of the current Beauty Trends?
I actually think the makeup look in Nigeria is very “same-y”, I don’t think people really step outside of the box, everyone has the same eyebrows.
My pet peeve at the moment is bleaching, toning, or whatever you want to call it. There’s nothing wrong with having your skin one color, but I choose not to bleach, I rather sunbathe and make my color one shade of black. I’m not with the bleaching culture; I don’t think people really realize the damage it is doing to their skin. It makes them very susceptible to skin cancer and other diseases, had they not been peeling off layers of their skin.
I actually had a friend of mine who bleached very often, she was very lovely and fair, but when she takes the makeup off, she’s very veiny, and patchy. I told her, you’re going to start smelling funny soon.
I saw her the other day, and she stopped bleaching and she looks amazing. It’s not even like there was anything wrong with her color in the first place, it just that the media has put this idea in her head that if you’re not yellow, you’re some kind of second class citizen. We should embrace the natural beauty that God has given us and enhance it of course with MAC cosmetics!
What aspect of your job do you like the least?
The aspects of my job that can be difficult is actually getting people to buy into the brands. When you’re trying to publicize for a brand, people automatically assume that you’re advertising.
For instance if I walk in and mention Clinique, people assume you’ve got hundreds of thousands of millions to spend on advertising, a budget that does not exist. They don’t realize that we’re publicist and not actually advertising managers, so getting people to buy into the brand and understand the story and understand that we’re giving them content is where the challenge lies.
What’s a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me starts by 6 when I get up, get ready and take my son to school. I then come into the office and I start by checking emails. Afterwards, we have our morning strategy sessions then we review what everyone has done and plan on the next action steps.
No two days are alike in my industry, we’re not handling crisis, we’re just trying to find out ways to push our brand forward into the foresight of our target audience, then we go out and explore.
We often go out to have lunch or a meal, that’s how we meet different people from different walks of life. A big part of our job is socializing and building relationships. I have amazing relationships with many people in the media.
Building relationships is paramount in our profession, especially in PR and even more so in Beauty PR.
Being in PR my day never stops because I’m always on call answering emails.
What advice would you give our readers interested in a Career in Beauty PR, because there aren’t a lot of beauty publicist.
Funny enough, publicists are publicists, you shouldn’t really section yourself off. I don’t think there are Beauty publicist, there are just publicist. But not everyone that says they’re publicist are publicist.
First, research exactly what a publicist is, and DON’T go by the Nigerian standards. Instead, understand what a publicist is and mold it in a way that satisfies the Nigerian needs. A lot of our clients are international brands so we go by international Public Relations standards.
Another piece of advice I would give is to please listen to what the client wants and don’t promise what you can’t do. Try and be as open as possible, let them know what is realistic, and be creative.
Dream up ways to place people or products strategically, try not to part with money. Educate the rest of the world or Nigeria on how to share your story without spending money.
Would the Bobby Taylor company take on smaller indigenous brands?
Why not?! We’re very willing to take on brands we believe in. People assume we’re very expensive, that’s because of the international brands we represent. But I think we can tailor fit to the need of the brand.