We love a success story that involves young people finding their purpose and pursuing it passionately. But we love it even more when a young person carves a niche and sets the bar for the standard of excellence in that field. Rounding up our special women’s history month edition of The Big Showcase is Adebola Williams, a pacesetter in the Brand Storytelling field in Nigeria and a proper tech sis blending creative storytelling and marketing through her current role at Moni, a fintech startup.
Adebola Williams, also known as the fairy godmother by her storytelling community, Brand Storytelling with AWZ, is passionate about mentorship and teaching people aspiring to be better writers, storytellers, and tech marketers. She does this through top global mentorship platforms for creatives, including ADPList and Coachli.
When she is not sharing and exchanging ideas with executives and other professionals on LinkedIn, Adebola Williams shares her extroverted, vibrant, open self with over 13,000 followers on Instagram, who are equally drawn to her personality and wisdom. So stay glued to this article to the end if your interests revolve around marketing, writing, storytelling or tech.
Breaking New Grounds in Africa’s Brand Marketing and Tech Sectors
Adebola Williams is no new kid around the block. Before pioneering the brand storyteller niche in 2021 via her current job at Moni, Adebola ‘Zoe’ Wiliams had developed expertise in content development, writing, analysis, marketing, creative directing, and theme editing at different marketing and creative agencies. Adebola Williams starts with her reasons for boldly claiming that she’s Africa’s #1 Brand Storyteller.
“Firstly, I pioneered the role in the tech space in Nigeria and, by extension, Africa. Brand Storytelling is both a career path and a role. It’s also a very specific kind of role, depending on the type of company you’re working at. I’ve helped other startups connect with possible Brand Storytellers. If you’ve ever met one (a brand storyteller), you know that their job description keeps changing. When I interviewed for my role, I didn’t know that the brand storytelling niche would be as widely embraced or popular as it is now. Now that I’ve pioneered the niche, I’m helping other creatives and marketers like me step into the role and path.”
It’s common for leading storytelling brands to hire top marketing brands or in-house brand marketers to help define and constantly shape their unique brand stories. However, the niche and job role that blends marketing and storytelling around growth and impact is still relatively novel in Nigeria and Africa. Adebola Williams explains what breaking the ground in that niche is like.
“Honestly, growing into this role has been rewarding. But it has also been a 360-degree experience. I’ve been learning and understudying consumer behaviours, the failures and successes of tech brands, making mistakes, and charting my own path. No one day is the same, and I love that. Today, I work with customer data and try to understand how to connect it to growth. Tomorrow, I’m writing creatives for ads or just listening to customer interviews. The impact part started as a cherry on the cake, but now it’s so important to me that I’ve built a community out of it.”
Who better to learn the ropes of brand storytelling from if not the savvy storyteller? Adebola Williams shares the essential traits of an excellent brand storyteller, which goes beyond just possessing good writing skills.
“I’ve talked about this many times before. I even have a workbook on it. An excellent ‘Brand Storyteller’ has to understand the concept of ‘Marketing’ the way legends like Ogilvy understand it. You need to be super interested in strategies that have worked in multiple sectors across different nations of the world. You must also understand how to communicate ‘Products’ to prospective users. You must also understand how to communicate their ‘Product to prospective users without sounding too technical. You must be highly creative enough to turn one concept into ten ingenious concepts. You also have to be an excellent writer. Much of the work involves ensuring you get the right message to the right people at the right time.”
Life as a Tech Sis, Mentor, and Community Builder
Adebola Williams embodies her role as Moni’s leading brand storyteller the same way someone in love would eagerly show off their lover. Below, she shares her dynamic workflow, which you can incorporate into your daily work process.
“I always start each day differently. But the flow remains to create an MIT list (a Most Important Task list) that helps me prioritise what I should focus on per time. But my work flows from strategy to ideation to execution. I am always in conversation with the founders on what we should focus on per time. I think a lot. Most of my work is thinking. And then research. That’s how I form the right strategy, and then work continues. I’m also a collaborator. I never work alone. I’m always bouncing off ideas with my colleagues and working with them to bring things to life.”
Furthermore, Adebola Williams highlights the best parts of working with the Moni team across Africa.
“The solution we are building is what I love most about working with Moni. We aren’t building a product or offering financial services but partnering with business owners and people to build wealth and lasting prosperity. The way we build in Nigeria is different from how we build in Benin Republic, Guinea or Senegal. We look at each terrain and meet the exact need they have there. And I get to work on the stories of all these different terrains. It’s exciting!”
Adebola Williams further shares her thoughts about the tech industry as a whole.
“The tech industry is exciting to work in. One of the perks most people don’t talk about is the exceptional talents you get to meet and connect with. I love that I now know and am friends with these amazing founders, designers, and developers changing the continent one product at a time.”
Many people are rushing into tech because it’s the new gold, and the engine that will power almost all future work. Adebola Williams shares with us the most challenging thing she found hard to adjust to while transitioning into tech.
“Tech marketing was the shock. It’s very different from what you’re used to. You can’t just open social media accounts and roll with the flow or just jump on every bandwagon content trend. Every marketing effort is a calculated step and must appropriately represent the company’s goal. As for working remotely, I was already used to the remote lifestyle, which was good for me.”
To further expand on her earlier comment about helping other creatives become excellent brand storytellers, Adebola Williams tells us about her mentoring activities.
“I know there are many people who want to thrive in their creative careers also; that’s why I created a process that helps me to stay connected to them. I offer free mentoring sessions on ADPList, a platform where you can connect with global talents worldwide. I’ve done over 500 minutes of mentoring on ADPList. I also offer advanced coaching services on Coachli for creatives, brand storytellers and writers.”
Indeed, not all angels have visible wings; this fairy godmother has grown a strong brand through her unique qualities that promote constant connection to her mentees and online community.