Eduvie is Group Internal Comms Manager at BAT with over a decade long experience in internal communications and brand building for global brands and start-ups.
She started her comms career in banking, leading a team of comms consultants, launching an internal news channel, creating a brand champion network, hosting a magazine show, launching intranets, and onboarding multiple tools for measuring and disseminating comms.
She volunteers her time on the board of the comic book start-up: Comic Republic, leading the marketing and comms efforts which has led to media visibility for the start-up known for its authentic universe of African superheroes.
She holds an Executive Masters in Corporate Communications from the IE Business School in Madrid, a certificate in Broadcast Journalism from the New York Film Academy and comms certificates from the Ghana Institute of Broadcasting, the Lagos Business School and most recently the London Business School.
Eduvie is also passionate about start-ups and measurement of comms having led multiple panels and initiatives on how to attract the media to start-ups and measure outcomes of comms initiatives to deliver results.
She serves as a board member with the International Association of Business Communicators UK and Ireland and the IE Business School UK Alumni chapter.
Describe yourself/your background in 5 words max?
Passionate, enthusiastic communicator, proudly African.
How did you get into PR/communications?
An interview panel that dared to challenge the status quo and hire this science student with a zeal for comms to lead a team of comms experts led me to PR.
I was fresh out of college, still in my teens, bursting with the most contagious smile you had ever seen. After one attempt at the entrance exams, I would become the youngest graduate trainee at the bank at the time, a feat recognised by the CEO. I was ecstatic and keen to start my rotation across the various departments. A few months into the role while on my customer service rotation, the Group Head of Transformation walked into the bank to carry out a transaction. I had no idea who she was and went on to provide the required service to her with my signature smile and resilience. I really loved it there, knew all the right stakeholders and exactly how to deliver results when needed even in the direst circumstances.
What happened next became the springboard into my comms career. I was told that my exceptional customer service had landed me my chance at my first comms interview for a role in the pioneer contact centre leading a team of 4.
I got the role, later went on to interview for the comms department, got that too and later went on to lead a change management comms project for the biggest bank transformation – all in the span of 7 years.
What do you love about your job?
I get such a thrill from seeing a plan come together, a concept implemented, the desired outcome achieved. I love measuring campaign outcomes to uncover if the intended value was generated. My eyes glisten as I stare at all the raw data, analyse them, then convert them into fancy slides that tell a compelling story about our internal campaigns at BAT.
It is not easy to make sense of all the data, but I find that I love to deduce what it means for our initiatives, and I can bore you to death talking endlessly about how we came to the results, what we can do differently. I even bring it up at lunch time, asking colleagues outside of comms if the intended outcome was what they perceived.
We mustn’t underestimate the power of what we do as comms professionals. It is so satisfying to evoke the right words to impact the intended audience.
What are you most proud of?
Many years ago, I met an artist and before it became trendy to do so, we built an African superhero empire with nothing but his gut and our passion.
We put in the resources needed to promote the importance of storytelling through comic books using characters that look just like us. And we did not play by the rules, we put all these books online for free so everyone could access them, get inspired and understand the importance of African superheroes as icons. Everyone thought we were crazy.
In 2015, while leading the comms efforts, our Nigerian based start-up – Comic Republic went viral for the quality of our books with major news outlets flying from around the world into our home to interview the artists at no cost to us.
We are often approached by investors and clients not only to invest in our start-up but also to have our start-up create content for them.
Looking back, I can’t believe how quickly we’ve grown, the stories we’ve told and those we have inspired to create African superhero universes. The fact that we have a movie deal in the works with some major movie studios makes me giddy with joy. Soon enough, more people will experience the incredible storytelling and the world of authentic superheroes by Africans for a global audience. We’ve brought it home.
What’s been the hardest lesson to learn?
I went through a period where it became evident that I still had a lot to learn in an area I thought I was so ready for the desired outcome.
As a deep thinker, often reflective of the outcomes that come with taking the right action at the right time, I hold myself accountable for each decision I make and the consequences of indecision or illogical actions.
I now take out a chunk of my time and savings to invest in learning and surrounding myself with what I need, constantly striving to be a better version of myself so I am ready for my desired outcomes.
Who is your favourite person in PR and why?
Rachel Miller. Her insightful podcast is a must listen for anyone starting out in internal comms. I find her blog very organised, visually appealing, and valuable. Her personal branding is just right and her newsletters, well balanced. She reminds me of my early days in comms when I was consulting back home, though the only thing we would have had in common was my love for the blue colour variants in my company brand assets.
What skill do you think every PR/comms person has to nail?
Stakeholder management – everything is easier when you nail this.
My husband would often say – at the end of the day Eduvie, it’s all about people – this is so true.
What is your favourite social network and why?
No other platform has been consistent in driving conversations that lead to real changes. On these Twitter streets, you get called out, you see what your consumers think about your product real time and gain direct access to some of the most influential voices. It is one big conversation influencing sentiments, tackling discrimination, calling for resignations, deciding what is morally acceptable…
Though often riddled with unverified facts, cyber bullies and faceless judgmental messages, there is no denying that some of the most compelling movements from #BlackLivesMatter to #ArmUkraine to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and not forgetting #MeToo, were started and influenced by conversations on Twitter. Twitter allows the audience to drive conversations that have led to real change, connects brands, and brings people together. With Twitter, you can also analyse sentiments from trending topics across locations. It’s brilliant, powerful, a great asset and a huge responsibility to own such an influential platform.
What’s your favourite podcast and why?
So many but the one I’m loving right now as our start-up evolves is: The diary of a CEO with Steven Bartlett. It’s raw, authentic, insightful, and so well produced.
A new episode starts off with an amazing teaser highlighting the failures of someone you know as a very successful entrepreneur amplified through punchlines and some admission of surreal circumstances. Less than a minute in, he has you hooked and just as you’ve made up your mind to keep listening, to learn from it, he goes on to say:
“Without further ado, I’m Steven Bartlett and this is the diary of a CEO. I hope nobody is listening but if you are, then please keep this to yourself”. Goosebumps! I love an unusual opening, always. And I’m doing just what he intended, telling everyone about his incredible 4.8-star podcast. It’s brilliant.
Who is your favourite journalist and why?
Now this question, I struggled with. To answer this, I started out thinking I would type out one of the names of my inspiring colleagues on the Xec. 2022 programme largely because my career has been centred around the internal comms audience with a few interactions with journalists for my start-up. Several hours after stalking my Xec. colleagues on LinkedIn, I still couldn’t decide on a name. Everyone’s so brilliant!
Probably doesn’t count as a journalist but I absolutely love Graham Norton. He is the right amount of humour and professionalism I always wanted to embody as a public speaker. I think he’s gotten it just right. When I moved to the UK and was introduced to the concept of Eurovision, I couldn’t get enough of Graham’s fantastic narration and on his show, I am often in awe at how he manages multiple complex personalities with ease. I know how much work goes into that and admire his wit.
The skill that comes with navigating topical issues with a slight amount of British humour is something I absolutely love. Someday, I will be applauding to my heart’s content in his live studio audience. I have a notification that reminds me to apply every time he does a recording – never gotten in but I’ll be shouting all about it on LinkedIn when I do. Bucket list!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Maya Angelou – “If you don’t like something, change it and if you can’t change it, change your attitude” – I am a planner often planning as far out as five years in advance. The pandemic taught me to let go a little. I was the one who mistook my job for my life and found my way back. Now, I take immediate action to change what I can when I can or change my attitude to circumstances I cannot change but must stay in until such a time that I can.
Biggest PR campaign fail and yay of 2022 so far?
Yay! – Marvel’s Black Panther 2 campaign
At the 2022 San Diego Comic Con, the trailer of the Black Panther 2 movie was released. Chadwick was a force and will be sorely missed and what Ryan and the team up at Marvel did was silence the critics with the most compelling teaser, respectful of the African culture, of his death and filled with hope of what will be another intriguing celebration of our heritage, people, culture, and fashion. I can’t wait for November. What the movie will do for our culture, for our industry… The world is ready.
Nay – Boris Johnson and the PR handling of the crisis leading on to his resignation. It was almost as though there was an intentional attempt to make things worse. I watched in disbelief as events unfolded almost straight out of a badly told story and was proud to be associated with a group of people demanding integrity of their leaders.
Finally, on the D’ word… What can the sector do to encourage diversity?
Give a passionate person a shot and intentionally look out for your confirmation bias when hiring. We can find the solution to diversity in PR in the hiring process right from the very start of one’s internship journey.
As an individual, are you hiring diverse talent and how are you showing up for those interns in your organisation? Are you providing an enabling environment for them to thrive? Would they fall in love with PR because of the experiences you’ve given them or run off never to return because you’ve chosen to ‘drill them in preparation for the real world of PR’?
It’s quite simple. Hire a diverse talent – someone with diversity of thought, personality, opinion, ethnicity, gender etc, treat us with respect and see our difference impact on your campaign outcomes.
Campaigns like the H&M coolest person on the planet (which made me seethe so much, I insisted we did our own comic book illustration with a crown in protest on the Comic Republic pages), Pepsi’s Kylie Jenner campaign (which showed a clear lack of understanding on campaign impact), all point to what could go horribly wrong when you don’t hire diverse talent. It is beneficial for the business so why not do it?
Connect with Eduvie on LinkedIn.