In this week's exclusive Loeries Creativity Q&A series for Bizcommunity.com, Sindy Peters chats to Yaw Nsarkoh, MD of Unilever Nigeria.
How can innovation and creativity make a difference for Unilever brands?
Yaw Nsarkoh: If we define innovation and creativity in the full context of serving consumers by providing solutions that improve their lives, then this question is moot. Our world is not at a steady state and brands have a major role (or can play a major role) in restoring some of the lost equilibrium. Innovation and creativity best make a difference when they enable brands to "understand consumers and serve consumers" as human beings in their fullness and with dignity and integrity.
Earlier this year Nigeria was named Africa's largest economy and is now seen as the gateway into Africa by some international investors. What key changes have you seen taking place in the region and how do these changes affect Unilever and other brands in general?
Nsarkoh: Successive years of economic growth (even if not as inclusive as we would all want) as well as a trend of improving governance - relative to the dark days of a stark, naked absence of democratic rule, has gained global attention for Nigeria. Nigeria will remain attractive as a result of demographic factors (large youth population, fast growing population, etc)
What's your favourite Unilever brand?
Nsarkoh: Dove - Simple idea, delivered with integrity.
What has been the most invaluable piece of advice offered to you during your career?
Nsarkoh: All certitude must be viewed with some suspicion - keep humble.
Name a brand campaign that you wish you had done?
Nsarkoh: Evian - Live Young Forever. Simplicity of the campaign in a category that could be as close to commoditisation as any other. Simplicity based on true insight (people associate drinking water with healthy living). What Evian achieved is to take this and do truly creative and engaging stuff with it, so that a category that could be as boring as water became electric.
Don't miss the DStv Seminar of Creativity at Cape Town City Hall on Friday 19 September. Yaw Nsarkoh will be joined by other international leaders including Facebook's Rob Newlan, McCann Sydney's Executive Creative Director, Patrick Baron; Thimoteus Wagner, Executive Creative Director at Jung von Matt/Alster Werbeagentur GmbH; PJ Pereira, CEO and co-founder Pereira and O'Dell, San Francisco; Stephen Doyle, Creative Director, Doyle Partners, New York City and Alii Ali the acclaimed commercial's director from Egypt and former Executive Creative Director and Founder of Elephant.
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