In her interview with us, Njideka Akabogu is candid about what the day to day tasks of her role looks like and like she says, it is not a glamorous career. But it is clear that her passion and love for public relations/ marketing keeps her going.
Read Njideka’s profile and enjoy her interview with The Comms Avenue:
A graduate of Information Science from Abia State University, Njideka Akabogu has over 6 years’ experience working in Media and Communications in different capacities as content strategist, content creator, fashion editor and communications consultant.
She currently serves as a Lead PR & Communications Adviser at ID Africa (BHM Group), and has consulted for a variety of international brands including MultiChoice, ViacomCBS Networks Africa and its in-house brands – MTV Base, BET International, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central; as well as Betway, among others.
Prior to her role as Lead PR & Communications Adviser, Njideka was the Editor at the fashion and lifestyle platform, 234Star – a role which saw her grow the platform to become a recognized voice among industry players and fashion enthusiasts on social media, consequently earning her a spot on Y!Naija’s New Establishment List in 2019.
Tell us about what you do as a PR and Communications Adviser?
My job as a PR and Comms Adviser involves developing strategic communications and marketing plans for the brands that I work for. I work on the agency side of things so I get to be the eye, ear – and sometimes even mouth (LOL) – of the clients I represent. This means I’m expected to detect and help mitigate situations that could lead to crisis for their brands and just generally make them look good in the public’s eye.
Take us back to how you began your career. What steps did you take and how did you rise through the ranks?
I started my career as a content creator, writing for a number of media publications before landing at BHM Group where I’ve done everything from content strategy to community management, a short but memorable stint as a fashion & lifestyle editor; digital marketing and now Lead PR & Comms Adviser. I didn’t exactly set out to be in PR but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by media and communication so I kinda always knew the lights – and my writing skills – would lead me here.
What major challenge have you faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
I think a major challenge for me and for most of my friends in MarComms is how difficult it is to have a work-life balance. And I’m not going to sit here and tell you I have figured it out, because I haven’t. I still find myself working way into the night and even on some Sundays. Sometimes you find yourself lugging your laptop to dates or hangouts. It’s a very demanding job, moreso if you work for an always-on brand. And it can take a toll on your mental health. One way I’ve learned to manage it is to be very selfish about what little time I’ve carved out for myself. If it’s not a crisis or a campaign breaking, or somebody dying, it can wait until the next day.
What key things do professionals who want to have a successful career in PR need to be aware of?
First, you have to disabuse yourself of the notion that it’s a glamorous career. This ain’t no Samantha Jones in Sex and the City. It’s hard work. It’s lots of late nights and early mornings. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to work.
Second, because a lot of the work you do as a PR person is behind the scenes, it’s easy to get lost in the job and forget to sell yourself. You have to learn how to smartly put yourself out there and own the amazing work you do. Be your own PR. I’ve found that oftentimes, the people who get all the best jobs in our line of work aren’t necessarily the best people but the loudest people. So, do the work, sell the brands you work for, but don’t forget to also sell yourself.
Trends in Public Relations are you excited about right now?
Not sure if this counts but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed planning and hosting media briefings from the comfort of my bed. LOL. I hope virtual events are here to stay. You have even more appreciation for them if you live in Lagos.
How do you relax after the stress of executing a huge brief/ project?
I usually plan my leave around my major campaigns. So as I’m wrapping up on the final report for a project, I’m booking my flight to go spend some time with my folks or just switch off my work phone, sleep, beach and not have to worry about work calling for a few days.
What professional advice would you give to your younger self?