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Let’s Talk Marketing with Adebola Williams – Keys to Reaching the Youth Market {RECAP}

We must give Kudos to Daniel Iyam for doing a great job on Let’s Talk Marketing by hosting marketing and brand gurus of our time. Last week Saturday we had one of the most exciting sessions on Let’s Talk Marketing with Adebola Williams on keys to reaching the youth market. Without much ado let’s dive into the RECAP.

Moderator Introduction

I am excited to welcome everyone to Let’s Talk Marketing Live Chat! I hope you have had an awesome day despite the loss to South Africa in the football match that just ended.

My name is Daniel Iyam and our Lead Discussant for today is Adebola Williams. Co-Founder of Red Media, Ynaija and Future Awards.

Today, he will be talking about ‘Keys to Reaching the Youth Market’.

Adebola has extensive experience building brands in this space. He is passionate, driven and understands the core essence of putting in the work to succeed in life.

⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Hello Adebola, welcome to Let’s Talk Marketing

Adebola Williams

Thanks, Daniel.



Let’s jump right into our chat proper now.

Everyone is talking about Millennials, Generation Y and what not. Let’s begin with a clear delineation of the youth market and why they hold so much power?

Adebola Williams

Good evening everyone. I hadn’t looked at the POWERFUL line up of numbers. I’d have cancelled earlier. I see my Mentors and Ogas (both male and female)



You’ll be fine.

Adebola Williams

I hail sirs and ma’s.
#BasedOnLogistics, this is no longer an interview but a general learning session. I will learn and share the tiny little I know.


So yeah,
Let’s get to the first question,
Shall we?
Everyone is talking about Millennials, Generation Y and what not. Let’s begin with a clear delineation of the youth market and why they hold so much power?

Adebola Williams

I’ll try to focus more on Africa and Nigeria which is the relevant market in question and also because that’s our focus as an organisation.
The youth market currently boasts of 70% of Nigeria’s population and 65% of Africa. Largely between 16 and 35.
There’s a generational shift across the continent.

Not just because the internet has democratised power and access, broken down monopoly of communication but the spirit of innovation and enterprise has also increased the spending power of youth therefore brands have found a new sweet spot to focus on so as to get a share of that spending power.

It’s also key to connect emotionally and build allegiance because these are the customers they will grow with over the next three to four decades.

We call them the millennial because they are driven by a new set of values mostly self inspired. Brands like Apple gets the generation. Experience, Innovation, Coolness, swag, sleek, individuality; iPad, iMac, iPhone, iPod I I I.


GreatI suppose in reaching this market segment they are certain keys (marketing do’s if you will) brands need to observe. Shall we dive into your top 5.

I suppose in reaching this market segment they are certain keys (marketing do’s if you will) brands need to observe. Shall we dive into your top 5.

You mentioned a few in your answer

Adebola Williams

1. Authenticity. Be you, do you. Trump was authentic and radical. Hilary always looked like she wasn’t ready to rock the boat and would do anything the establishment wants. It’s a generation looking for radical authenticity. A generation looking for messages that speak to THEM. Individualizes its message and gives me a sense “you get me!”

2. It’s a generation driven by Pop culture and “coolness”. A) Colors, B) lingo, c) Package, D) Vessel, all those matter in connecting to these demography. When we started The Future Awards Africa, our mission was to inspire and sell HOPE to young people but we knew they’d be bored in another talk shop so we packaged an award to excite and entertain whilst inspiring and it became a hit.

3. It’s a generation driven by outward validation and attention. This gives brands an easy inroad to engage them with campaigns that meet those self aggrandizement

4. It’s a generation looking for inspiration. Wants to be fired up. Constantly looking for models, people, platforms and things to aspire to. That’s an opportunity

5. It’s 140 characters, 60 seconds and picture/selfie generation. Brands must be able to pass their messages in 140 characters, with powerful images and engaging videos.

6. It’s no longer B to C, it’s now H2H. Human to Human. Brands need to begin to view their products from a user’s perspective and growth cycle. What does Close up mean to a 12-year-old? What does it mean when he becomes 18 and in University? What does it mean at 25 when he has a job or at 30 when he is married? Then begin to tailor communication to connect to the depth of needs of target market different phases


Talking about short-form messages. Are we saying long form messages are a no no with the youthful population

Is there a place for long-form messages?

Because some will argue that if it is packaged right they will consume it.

This is a follow up question to your 5th point

Adebola Williams

Not entirely.

On one of our companies The team spends a lot of time simplifying content to deal with a generation that wants summaries but interestingly when we Commission long reads that sometimes are up to 6000 words they still get to trend if the content is compelling.
Back to brands and Comms, it’s all about engaging content but the shorter than easier to engage with.



Moving on swiftly. Let’s get inside the head of a young person. What comes first for them; price, quality or it depends?

Adebola Williams

I just had a good laugh. I’m sitting with two singles ladies and one married, all between 26 and 31 and they all echoed; It depends!!.
One says for hair it’s quality the others screams never, price.
Bags, shoes; quality.

This they all agreed.

And it went on and on…….

But one thing that will always prevail is aspiration and validation. Especially between the ages of 16 to 25 then extends to 25-35.

Brands people aspire to they will save to buy.

Even for men when you sit at the bar, the man with the Heineken feels like a Chairman over the guys drinking the other brands. He paid more. The brand has a consistent message of global quality control. It’s international so he feels like a man of the world.

Brands that have consistently engaged the market with strong and relevant communication like Coca-Cola over the years.

Coca-Cola hugely tapped into the validation and aspirational value of the generation with the “share a coke campaign”. Writing names of celebrities and influencers, putting others in “panic” when they hadn’t received theirs. No one wanted to be left out. No one wanted to feel they were not deemed worthy.

That’s very key for this generation.


Since you mentioned influencer marketing. Let’s talk about that for a bit. How effective is influencer marketing when it comes to controlling brand narratives within the Nigerian youth market?

It’s 7:33 pm and the floor is open for questions and contributions from our distinguished members. That’s after he answers the question I just asked.⁠⁠⁠⁠

Adebola Williams

Let’s do the math. Thisday 100k copies, pass on rate 5 x 100= 500K engaged.
Funke Akindele = 3.4M

A brand looking for 16 to 30 should advertise through which medium?

This doesn’t mean Thisday doesn’t have relevance.

What I like to say here is both the Media and influencers are platforms, what’s key is how we strategically use them. The quality of content, the depth of narrative, the presentation then fit of vessel based on clear understanding of TG

When you see Aunty Iquo Ukoh typing ????



Audience Question 1

Don’t you think fatigue effect is gradually creeping into influencer marketing for brands?

Adebola Williams

Ah, brilliant ma.

It’s the weakness in strategic content and deployment that’s coming through.

The same could be accused of television and other platforms. What makes us remember “bagco super sack we done win!” Or Agip tank advert is the quality of content.

Agencies need to do more before putting content on any platform. They are just vessels, they are just channels.

Audience Question 2

Hi Debola.. What do you think Payporte did right during the last Big Brother Naija that made the brand establish it’s presence in the minds of this ‘movement’?

Adebola Williams

The content sir. The content shook the nation. Some of the people were relevant to pop culture. Several moments of pop culture were leveraged. BBN has a model of virility via audience participation. It’s synonymous with the brand. Nigerians are also MUCH MORE passionate about the NIGERIAN edition that Africa. PP leveraged with very smart amplification channels on top of this

Audience Question 3

Please how do you craft a message that will speak to the working class adults as a market you want to target?

Adebola Williams

If you check the no 6 point to no 2 question it might help. You can then further breakdown to economic class. Social strata, etc. then work with a team.

Audience Question 4

What is the major winning strategy for marketing within the service (particularly FINTECH) industry versus FMCG? Financial Services Sectors provide nearly the same products, what stands out for this TG?

Adebola Williams

Haha! They are not the same in that sense. People generally struggle to pay for services until they NEED it but people MUST EAT/USE FMCG products.

Let’s begin to find the cultural tensions for fintech the back it with the required Comms. 737 is a success both because it was solving a cultural tension and also because they SPENT on Comms.

Tapped into major cultural moments. The bank went hard and drove it. Segun once said I will spend MASTERCARD and any other platform dollar for dollar because this is my market


Whilst we await more questions if there are any

I have got some more from my end

Most brands (even conservative ones) now believe that harping on social media lingo is a must in connecting with the youth market. Do you think this narrative is a false one? Are they compromising on language all in the name of imbuing pop culture and it’s trappings?

Adebola Williams

No, they are not. Every generation has its own inventions, innovations and channels that will be relevant to it.

Some went to space, we bring space here with Insta Live.

Some invented computers we innovated with iPads.

It’s a continuous change cycle

You don’t need to compromise on your core, you can tweak the presentation but your essence must remain. It’s to your own advantage actually.



Audience Question 5

But how do you start to change the perception of some banks within this TG?, an example is Union Bank whose strength has been garnered from being in existence for a long time and thus have a perception as an old and archaic bank. The market opportunities for the millennial is huge and many businesses are looking to tap from it.

Adebola Williams

Union in particular is on a drive to do this. You either go big and make bold moves you organically evolve. They have chosen a balance. They launched an elite banking that’s aspirational, currently running an innovation challenge with very cool communication materials, they had that breakout campaign with the model on Afro two years ago.

For them, their national spread is also important to their narrative so they are doing engage series across the country with cool influencers but not forgotten the Oba’s, etc

Brands like GT maintain their space with bold moves like Food and Drink, Fashion Weekend, Ndani. These are huge investment platforms which wouldn’t make financial sense for the first three to five years but depends on the boldness , courage and awareness of leadership

There are other banks you would think will also make such bold moves but …..

Audience Question 6

A premium brand like apple do not advertise. How can one carve such a Niche for oneself in Nigeria?

Adebola Williams

They advertise and also plug themselves massively in cultural moments but most importantly their USP is innovation and they gradually built the community they reap today. It was brick by brick.

Many brand here don’t have the patience of innovation…… :(:(:(:(:(

Bold innovation.

Remember they told him he was MAD SEVERAL TIMES….

Audience Question 7

One last question, I believe customer experience is very important to this TG. In your business experience, how relevant is this?

Adebola Williams

Absolutely. It’s a generation that can shut down a brand via Twitter.  But everyone cares about customer service really. It behoves on brand owners to meet up with this standard. Today I fixed a new internet at home and first Day hasn’t been satisfactory. Be sure if I am not pleased and they don’t manage me properly, neither me nor my circle will touch them.

Audience Question 8

@Ade W sir I’m sure we have all heard of the new Wema bank’s Alat app with all the new cool features. How do you think they should go about getting a share in the already saturated E-finance market (still targeting the youths )


Adebola Williams

Haha. Asides from all we’ve shared today, next will be core strategy, therefore, they should hire a team that has deep understanding of TG

Audience Question 9

There are different tones when it comes to marketing, In your experience, what tone has been the most effective? And do you think Nigeria is ready for disruptive marketing especially with clients who are old and have refused to accept the new generation youth

Adebola Williams

Depends on TG really
You onboard then gradually
Show them the numbers and opportunities
Keep encouraging them subtly
I understand the pain but what shall the righteous do 🙂


Great so far. For the future, where are we headed when it comes to youth marketing? Are there things in particular we should be keeping an eye on?

Adebola Williams

For marketing generally, brands and custodians need to begin to pay more attention to cultural tensions. That’s reaching the core of TG because it’s solving their problems or meeting a “need” in that sense. It’s not enough to communicate, you must speak to heir problems.

That’s why the churches have the largest amount of customers at any point.

Coca-Cola has managed over the years to lead on this as well.

See this ad for example

I’d advise we study the church model…. there’s much to learn for mass marketing


In closing, let’s play this game. Its called ‘Over Killing it with Just a Word’. I’ll ask five questions and you will answer with just a word.

First question.

Describe your personality?

Adebola Williams



Describe Lagos?

Adebola Williams

Compelling city. Very high energy. Pushes you hard and you’ve got to push it back to get the best of it.


One word!!!!

Adebola Williams

Lagos; Opportunities


Oya Describe Nigerian Music?

Adebola Williams



Naija Jollof?

Adebola Williams



Finally Donald Trump?

Adebola Williams


That’s my answer


Nice one

Thank you so much for coming through Adebola. Any last words?

Adebola Williams

Join the #HalelujahChallenge with @nathanielblow on Instagram. 12 AM to 1 AM until 30th June. Amazing experience m, amazing TESTIMONIES. There’s a revolution going on and it’s going to be

Amazing experience, amazing TESTIMONIES. There’s a revolution going on and it’s going to be digitised.

From a branding perspective, this further shows the power of the social media.

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