An Interview with Enyi Odigbo

Enyi Odigbo is the founder and Chairman of Casers Group, a marketing communications and media investment company, with interests in a diverse portfolio of businesses in the integrated marketing communications space. Casers Group offers services in advertising – DDB and BBDO; media planning and buying – Capital Media, NEXUS and Space: digital communications – Mobius; production – WOW; experiential marketing – ACTIV8; and design/brand consultancy – MAGENTA. All these competencies are available in every country in which the group operates, thereby ensuring better synergies between markets for their clients. Here Enyi Odigbo provides an overview of Casers Group – from its beginnings to its most recent achievements.

What were Casers Group’s beginnings and how did it develop into the company that it is today?
When Complete Advertising Services (CASERS) opened its doors for business in January 1987, we were determined to deliver unassailable value for any brand that entrusted us with their business. We avoided the temptation of benchmarking against older agencies because we believed that we had the preparation and creative energy to bring original thinking to the marketing communications industry. Our approach was different not just for the sake of being different, but solely to find a better way. In 1999 we got affiliated to DDB Worldwide, a relationship that has since blossomed resulting in OMNICOM their parent company entrusting another advertising network, BBDO in our care.
In 2008 we decided to review our business and come up with plans and strategies that will help us navigate a rapidly changing environment. At considerable cost we hired the services of KPMG and told them our story. After 18 months that investment paid off. In May 2010, at Oriental Hotel Lagos over 100 of us in Casers Group, committed to a new vision “to be the most influential shaper of choice”. Our job is to help people make choices and so we decided that any activity that influences how people choose will be of interest to us. We also realized that the implication of this vision is that we will become a multifaceted business with footprints across cultures and geographies. We can therefore attribute our success to staying focused and keeping faith with our vision.

What were some of Casers Group’s major achievements in 2015?
Our landmark achievement in 2015 was the acquisition of MAWAL GROUP, the leading marketing communications network in French West and Central Africa. MAWAL GROUP is comprised of MW DDB, WOW Sound Factory and MOBIUS Digital Communications. The Group operates in Cameroun, Cote D’Ivoire, Benin, Guinea Conakry, Congo Brazzaville and Guinea Bissau. This combined with Innova DDB Ghana in which we hold substantial equity enables us to cover Ghana and Liberia.

How does this acquisition benefit your clients?
This acquisition demonstrates our commitment to prudently deploy resources that will deliver unassailable value to existing and prospective local and multinational clients
Casers Group is now an unmatched solution for any multinational brand looking for world class service delivery throughout West and Central Africa – to either launch or extend within the region. This strategic combination eliminates the need for businesses who require a regional marketing communications solution to seek partners on a country by country basis, which
often results in disparate service levels in terms of quality and resource deployment.

As worldwide business moves even further online, are you finding that companies are increasingly looking for online marketing and branding assistance?
The truth is that we do not wait for clients to ask for any service whether online or not. We proactively suggest and provide services that will grow every brand we are privileged to work for. We are basically creative business solutions providers. We live in a digital world and so there is hardly any marketing activity that does not include online and mobile components. This is especially true in Africa where mobile telephony has become the major infrastructure for life and living. To illustrate this point, one of our major Clients expects to allocate 85% of their marketing budget to digital in 2017, up from 25% in 2015.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank our past and present clients whose business have made us one of the better marketing communications group in Africa. Special mention must be made of Diamond Bank, MTN, Interswitch, Diageo, Wakanow, Guinness, Unilever, VISA and Fidelity Bank. To my colleagues, the most passionate and persistent people on this planet, its Onwards and Upwards.