Leo Burnett Lagos: The Full-Service Marketing Communications Agency

Leo Burnett
Leo Burnett Nigeria Team.

Guided by a vision to be the best at what it does without exception, Leo Burnett Lagos, a full-service marketing communications agency, is undoubtedly an iconic creative brand in the mould of its global affiliate – Leo Burnett Worldwide.

The Lagos-based agency commenced business in Nigeria’s bustling Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) industry in 2015 with the twin goals of creating very distinct voices for brands in the marketplace and expanding the advertising frontier in the country.

Leo Burnett Lagos has solidified its iconic creative credential within the local creative industry by propelling itself into the number four position on Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) Awards ranking table in its first outing in 2016.

Based on such incredible performance, the agency has served notice to players in the nation’s highly competitive advertising industry that it is here for business and has the wherewithal to play at the highest levels.

Led by Mr. Sam Osunsoko, Leo Burnett Lagos, in its short time in the practice of advertising enterprise in Nigeria, has productively combined global standards with local appeal to give it a ‘glocal’ edge over competitors in the industry. Little wonder, the agency carted home 13 medals in all at the 2016 edition LAIF Awards to the amazement of industry watchers.

The agency disrupted the status quo at the 2016 LAIF Awards and joined the elite of the advertising industry by placing fourth on the medal table winning three Gold, five Silver and five Bronze medals.

Among numerous campaigns executed by Leo Burnett Lagos on behalf of clients, the Konga campaign which incidentally is also the agency’s first campaign is already on the way to attaining iconic status. Barely five months old in the business, Leo Burnett Lagos entered the Konga campaign for the Cristal Awards in 2015 and the entry was short-listed.

The Konga campaign also won Campaign of the Year 2015 (Marketing World Awards) and tied neck to neck with Guinness Made of Black campaign.

At Leo Burnett Lagos, there is a strong culture which has enabled the agency to acquire a number of businesses that are doing exceptionally well in the marketplace. The secret of the agency’s outstanding success in less than two years as a player in the industry can be traced to its commitment to professionalism and dedication to best practices in the advertising business.

One major plank on which Leo Burnett’s remarkable growth rests on is its young, forward-thinking and wholesome team that is made up of tested professionals. By deploying distinct and engaging communications strategies that help clients to share their campaign messages with the target audience in the most effective manner, Leo Burnett Lagos has become a sweetheart to leading brands in the country.

According to Franklin Ozekhome, Head of Strategy, Leo Burnett Lagos, the performance of the agency in its two years of existence is superlative. He said, Leo Burnett currently has a good score even when measured from an outsider perspective. According to him, the agency has performed well in the 10-point metric for performance evaluation which include, “performance” with different indices – workplace culture, talent acquisition, retention and capacity building, external network, revenue networth, new business acquisition, service model design, brand management and experience. He added that the agency will continually be working hard to top it year-on-year.

Speaking on the core values and operational philosophy of Leo Burnett Lagos, Ralph Idu, the agency’s Creative Director says, “we have a mantra of trying to use creativity as a force for good against the wrong idea of guarding our tradition. In Nigeria, everyday, the wrong thing seems to be prevalent, but we, as an agency that is globally known for creating works that tries to change the mind frame and mind set of the people, we are being driven to do businesses with that frame of mind. Another thing that we try to do is to internally change ourselves and create an ambience that people can relate with.

“We create a beautiful and conducive environment for anybody that comes around to have a good feed for their eyes, although it cost an arm and a leg, but if you have to set standards, those standards will have to start from you. We’ve had many international clients come in and take pictures of our office to replicate in their offices. Though, it comes at a cost but then, we have to set a good pace and a very good standard.”

Similarly, Tunde Shobanjo, Account Management Director, Leo Burnett says, “The good thing is that the agency is under an umbrella that fosters avant-garde creativity. I believe that the founders of these businesses started well. They knew they had to do something different to make the competition to sit up. This thinking is also behind how Leo Burnett Lagos was set up.”


Competitive Edge of Leo Burnett

From all indications, Leo Burnett is one agency to watch out for in 2017 because the young agency is poised to bring excellent innovations into the industry. According to Tunde, what will make Leo Burnett Lagos to stand tall in the industry in 2017 is the array of dedicated group of individuals that are available in the agency. He says, “The agency is blessed with members of staff who are in their early 20s and have found themselves working in an environment that fosters creativity.”

Tunde goes on to say that the spirit of dedication at Leo Burnett is second to none as members of staff go about their work diligently. According to him, “while most people shut down and go home around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m., we have people that stay up till 10:00 p.m. and even up till 11:00 p.m. For instance, during the Christmas holidays, many of us were coming in to get work done and get ready for the year. So, I will say the group of individuals we have here is our major asset.”

For Ozekhome, Leo Burnett Lagos is blessed with multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled talents. “Our people are very passionate about what they do; they are entrepreneurial and have a can-do spirit; and firmly believe in the vision of the agency and its missional values. ; Secondly, we have purposely championed an open and integrated culture that amplifies the career and personal goals of every single Leo Burnetter,” he said.

According to him, the agency is also guided by its insight which is regarded as the beginning of every great work. “The quality of thinking and discourse and ideas that are generated by the team to solve a business solution is remarkable and unquantifiable. We have a 360-view of distilling insights that inspire creativity and innovation – starting from business to marketing and brand insights; and next, analysing consumer trends, human insights, product and channel insights,” he said.

Ralph also weighed in. He says, the agency is blessed with a leadership that is vastly experienced in the business. According to him, “Sam Osunsoko was among the first set of people to work on the Samsung brand in the Nigerian market. I was also part of the creative team that worked on the Tecno rebrand campaign when they came into the country.  I also worked on Golden Penny, MTN pulse. If you begin to check, you will find out that all of us have worked on breaking brands into the market place and all these experiences gathered together have given us advantage. Apart, we also get to participate in pitches outside Nigeria which has really helped in shaping our mentality to deliver as a global brand.”

Beyond the conventional creativity, Leo Burnett Lagos prides itself as a solutions provider to brands’ challenges in the marketplace by looking into their business problems. Being a 360 degree marketing communication agency having competencies in diverse areas, some brands the agency has worked for will never forget in a hurry the contributions of Leo Burnett to the growth of their brands. Some of them are Heritage Bank, Nestle, Crusader’s Sterling Pensions, Pfizer and Phillip Morris.

Interestingly, the agency is not resting on its oars as it is set to become a market leader in the business of advertising in Africa. Tunde explains that Leo Burnett Lagos will soon become a force to reckon with in the African market as the agency is poised to change the narrative of advertising business on the continent. Also, Ozekhome said, “as a future-determining brand; Leo Burnett doesn’t react to trends, instead we start and ride on them. We have designed a new business model that will position the agency right at the heart of the clients’ business value chain. Over the mid- to long-term, we are looking at creating and championing the design of transmedia platforms that will help us connect more powerfully with consumers.”

Leo Burnett Lagos is an affiliate of Leo Burnett Company, Inc., otherwise known as Leo Burnett Worldwide, Inc., Leo Burnett Worldwide is a globally active advertising company, founded in 1935 in Chicago, USA, by Leo Burnett. Part of Publicis Groupe, the agency is one of the largest global agency networks with 85 offices and more than 9,000 employees.











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