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Doing good is good for business

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There is value in giving. Apart from admonishing man to love his neighbour as he loves himself, Jesus Christ declared the Divine principle that blesses the hand that gives more than the one that receives.

In business circles, it has become an integral part of international best practices to incorporate business sustainability initiatives into operations, such as voluntary programmes and projects that impact on society, which in turn, enhance the business interests of organizations.

At SO&U Group, a foremost marketing communications solutions provider, it is a corporate understanding that volunteering has a direct social impact on the community. While it promotes the goodwill and support an organization needs from its host community to be able to function effectively and optimally for the benefits of all its stakeholders, it also establishes it as one that loves its neighbours as it loves itself. This creates a win-win situation for both the organisation and society.

The Group demonstrated the universal truth in the value of giving on February 14, 2018, when it decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day with its neighbours at Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos. Armed with clothes and food items donated by its staff, the organization set out on the day the world celebrated love for a practical demonstration of its initiative called Give Love, to show love to residents in its host community.

The exercise promoted in the staff the culture of giving, and was practical proof of the Group’s belief in the social impact of volunteering on business, which leaves everybody – the volunteer and the beneficiary – as winner, and forms an integral part of its corporate culture of volunteering and supporting worthy causes.

The SO&U Group is known for its involvement with some of the biggest local and international brands that have impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians over the years, through very creative concepts and exciting advertising campaigns. Its involvement in philanthropy is a way of showing that it is not in business for the sole purpose of making profit.

The Group recognises the relevance of the society in general and its host community in particular to its business, hence its involvement in volunteering, the latest of which is the Give Love initiative.

The SO&U Group has five subsidiaries under its umbrella, namely SO&U Limited (advertising); Soulcomms (engagements and perception management); Maximedia Global Limited (media planning and buying); Vyrus (digital marketing) and Lucid (visual and audio-visual production).

Through these subsidiaries, the Group has remained actively involved in support of causes and encouraging volunteering amongst its staff in a manner that benefits the society.

Some notable causes and organizations the group has been supporting over the last 10 years at the least include the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Special Olympics Nigeria, LEAP Africa, Fate Foundation, to mention a few.

It is easy for the Group to engage in volunteer activities because it encourages volunteering and cause support amongst its employees, especially the management team, as a way of making them imbibe its culture and philosophy, having been known for years within and beyond the industry as a Lovemark company.

For instance, the Group Managing Director of the SO&U Group, Udeme Ufot, has the dual identity of head of one of Nigeria’s most creative advertising groups, as well as a volunteer and supporter of various causes, including LEAP Africa, of which he is currently the board chairman.

He is on the board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, also a director of Special Olympics Nigeria and a volunteer facilitator at Fate Foundation. Indeed, he wears many caps.

Ufot loves volunteering and support of causes, especially through his expertise because for him, they form second nature. Apart from the organizations of which he belongs, he finds fulfillment in mentoring young entrepreneurs to success and also giving hope and practical assistance to the less privileged.

He is a source of inspiration to many young people who see him as a role model. He has been able to keep the Group focused on its business sustainability practices because those practices come to him naturally.

An Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR), Udeme is a leading light in the Nigerian advertising industry, having been a chairman of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) and the immediate past chairman of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria. He is also a former president of the Lagos Business School Alumni Association.

The Group’s culture of volunteering has rubbed off on Biodun Adefila, executive director, brands and client management. This has enabled her to see motivation of teenagers as a favourite pastime.

She encourages young people to imbibe the natural ingredients that can help them create the future they dream of, which include determination, self-confidence and a mindset that rejects discouragement by temporary setbacks.

Adefila has had a distinguished career in advertising, from Rosabel Advertising, where she cut her teeth as a research and planning executive, through Sunrise D’Arcy, where she was a relationship marketing manager, to the SO&U Group which she joined as a senior account executive.

She joined the board of the SO&U Group in 2014 and, in her position as executive director, is responsible for formulating and implementing the Group’s strategies for the achievement of set objectives.

A Bachelor’s degree holder in Linguistics from the University of Ibadan, Adefila holds an MBA (Marketing) from the University of Liverpool, in the United Kingdom, and also did the Advanced Management Programme of the Lagos Business School in 2016. She is a member of the Steering Committee of Women in Advertising (a group within AAAN).

For Mojisola Saka, chief operating officer of Soulcomms Public Relations Limited, volunteering is part of the job. Her involvement in volunteering is two-fold – official and private. She ensures the subsidiary remains actively involved in providing strategic communication and media support to the Nigerian Special Olympics and LEAP Africa. On a personal level, she has, in the last four years, been actively involved in the planning of the annual Nigerian Economic Summit, as a member of the Planning Committee.

Saka

Mojisola owes her effortless involvement in volunteering to her competence in strategic communication, experiential and direct marketing, as well as engagement and messaging. With training received in some of the best communication schools in the United Kingdom, including the London School of Public Relations and Chattered Institute of Public relations, Mojisola has worked with a highly competent and professional team at Soulcomms to deliver on the highly successful communication projects the subsidiary has executed.

A holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, as well as a Diploma in Issues and Crisis Management from the London School of Public Relations, Mojisola has an Advanced Certificate in Social Media Management from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, (CIPR) in the United Kingdom.

A member of the CIPR and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), she is an alumnus of the International School of Communications, London.

Ayodeji Atunwa is the chief operating officer of Vyrus Digital Engagement. He has over the years volunteered his expertise to small businesses, offering branding, creative support and communication services, to achieve sustained growth.

Atunwa, who began his advertising career in 1999, leads a team of highly dedicated professionals who have seen the successful execution of digital marketing for household brands like Unilever, Globacom and Tsogo Sun Hotels, among others.

He has also brought his expertise to bear in the execution of high profile projects for clients in the oil and gas, finance, manufacturing, hospitality and education sectors

Atunwa is a member of the Chattered Institute of Marketing and an Adobe certified expert. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Fine and Applied Arts (Graphic Design Major) from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; a CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing (with accreditation by CIM), and is a member of the Chattered Institute of Marketing.

Abiola Williams joined the SO&U Group eight years ago, and is the chief operating officer of Lucid Audio Visuals. An audio-visual expert trained by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), she is the brain behind popular and award-winning television programmes like the Gulder Ultimate Search, Maltina Dance Hall and Star Quest.

She believes that attention to details makes all the difference. That belief is evident in the production and post production projects she has handled.
Olufemi Adefowokan is the managing director of Maximedia Global Limited.

He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Lovelyn Clair Foundation. His involvement in volunteering sees him use the platform of the Foundation to work for the restoration of pride and dignity among the less privileged. Adefowokan, who is committed to the welfare of those on the lower socio-economic ladder, encourages them to believe in themselves and helps them to work their way out of their present situations through mentoring and counselling.

His position as managing director of Maximedia thrusts on him the responsibility to develop new businesses and also handle strategic client services. He also oversees planning and implementation of agency’s budgets.

Adefowokan, who joined the SO&U Group in 2001 as a deputy manager, is an expert in media planning and buying. A member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, his over 20 years’ experience in the industry is evident in his dexterity in negotiating across media within and outside the country.

The SO&U Group has been able to demonstrate in practical terms that there is, indeed, need for the promotion of volunteering and support of worthy causes, because of the social impact they have on society. Its Give Love initiative will go a long way in reinforcing its commitment to causes that benefit society, with which it has been identified over the years.


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