Chief Executive Officer, MultiChoice Nigeria, Mr. John Ugbe, has called for better balance and increased diversity of perspectives in the country’s brands and marketing communications industry. Ugbe made the call on Friday in a keynote address delivered at the third annual Women in Marketing and Communications Conference and Awards (WIMCA), organized by Brand Communicator magazine.
The conference, which held at the MUSON Centre in Lagos, is a foremost industry thought leadership platform. This year’s edition was conceived to address issues of equity, equality and balance in the Brands/Marketing Communications sector.
In his address, Ugbe noted that balance transcends gender and is actually about diversity in thought, skills, age, gender, socio-economic and demographic strata, ethno-religious lines as well as across experience.
Balance, Ugbe contended, is about “more representation and the ability to represent our target communities and audience”.
He stated that the survival and relevance of the brands/marketing communications industry rests on ensuring it has more diverse perspectives
“We need to talk about how we can be a more representative industry; that is, representative of the population we represent, our customers, clients, communities, organizations and societies.
“When we speak about balance, it is beyond gender balance, so not only ensuring that we have more women in our industry, although this is important, very important in fact.
“It is also ensuring that we move beyond focusing on an element of balance – the gender element, to asking ourselves, how can we be more representative of the communities we serve, the industries we serve, the organizations we serve and our society,” he said. Ugbe explained that having a board on which both genders are equally represented does not exactly indicate balance, given that its members could be from the same state, ethnic or religious group.
“How representative is this for an industry that seeks to be truly innovative? How are we ensuring better diversity across socio-economic demographic, experience, age, ability and disability, skills disability? We need to expand our understanding of balance, and start to see how we can be truly representative,” he added.
He admitted that the starting point for balance should be gender, noting that there have been many extreme cases of bias against women.
“Gender balance is really important across every level in our organizations. One way to achieve this is to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in our organizations and in our industry.