psLondon in conversation with Seun Ariyibi, Strategist

Seun Ariyibi, Strategist

1 November 2023

Shade ThompsonSocial & Content Marketing Manager

Seun has a natural skill for simplifying complex information and finding out more than what meets the eye.

Journeying from the vibrant land of Nigeria to the buzzing city of London, and making the transition from a practising Lawyer to a savvy Strategist, we caught up with Seun to get some more insight into her adventure to psLondon and more...

Seun: I am a Strategist working in the Insight and Strategy team, and my journey began in Nigeria. I initially lived there and formerly trained as a lawyer, and did this for five years across corporate finance, project finance and energy before pivoting to strategy.

Strategy is a very interesting yet specific role, and out of all things to pivot to, I wondered what led Seun to this line of work…

Seun: Strategy wasn't the first decision I made off the bat but I did some thinking about my next steps and what I naturally liked and what I was interested in, and I narrowed it down to a couple of things; Interior Design, or anything that represented Branding, Advertising, Marketing and Media.

Looking at these options, I was even more curious which led me to check my skill sets, and the areas of these fields that I would enjoy the most – along with transferring the skills I already had. Once I narrowed it down, I landed on Strategy.

This sounded like a happy discovery. Based on this transition, it was great to hear how Seun’s law experience helps in her day-to-day strategy work…

Seun: Definitely, research! In law, so much research is involved, you need to look into tonnes of data and information, and I would say that’s a skill I brought back into strategy as well.

Understanding is also a key component. Looking at how different brands work, and what makes them tick. This is similar to Law, although the research is for different reasons (for example in law, you are looking for the red flags or things to change), when it comes to Strategy, it all boils down to understanding your audience, researching and digging further into what makes each brand authentic and potentially unique.

There is definitely some synergy between Law and Strategy with research and understanding being high on the list. But there’s more to it than that...

Seun: Law and Strategy both involve a lot of defining and simplifying the complex.

When working with clients, sometimes, they don’t always know what the challenge is, however, they do know that they’re trying to get from point A to point B.

As lawyers, the job is to figure out how to get to that destination which often involves building things from scratch, creating structures, and frameworks, helping solve challenges - and working in strategy is a lot like that.

In advertising for example, with our higher education clients, one of the main goals they’d like to achieve is an increase in student recruitment and it’s the strategist’s role to help identify how they can reach their ideal destination.

Being from Nigeria and having lived there, I wondered what differences and similarities she discovered…

Seun: Speaking more broadly on differences, I would say the weather. It’s something I am slowly getting used to, and when it’s cold here, it’s really cold – we don’t have winter in Nigeria. The transport system and level of walking in the UK is another difference. Walking is more part of the culture here, in Nigeria I didn’t walk as much. But living here has definitely helped me get my steps in!

In terms of similarities, although there aren’t so many, I do have quite a good Nigerian community in London which makes me feel more at home.

Given her global experience, her perspective on how cultural differences impact the advertising world was quite interesting…

From the moment I step out of my home, I see different people from very different places, backgrounds and cultures. It makes sense that advertising should mirror that.

Seun: It’s so important! Personally, I believe advertising should reflect and be largely influenced by the world we live in today. Looking at London, as well as other parts of the world is so multicultural. From the moment I step out of my home, I see different people from very different places, backgrounds and cultures, and it makes sense that brands and advertising should mirror that.

Whatever campaigns or strategy project we do should be relatable, and it’s vital to speak with as many people as we can to get the best outcomes... for our audience to feel understood, seen, and heard.

People like to see themselves in advertising and campaigns so the work itself needs to be relatable to your audience for it to truly be effective.

Looking beyond strategy and advertising, I wanted to know what she enjoyed doing outside of ps…

Seun: I am quite faith-driven, so I spend time at the church with my community there, and of course, being in London, I take the time to explore the city, taking random walks and seeing what’s out there.

I’ve started getting into theatre which I enjoy a lot and gives me a little break between watching period K-Dramas.

I knew little about K-Dramas but always heard about how great they were. I was intrigued by what Seun loved about them…

Seun: It’s interesting because I have never been to Asia and to my surprise, I found that the Korean culture was quite similar to Nigerian culture when I started watching K-Drama shows.

I think there are many parallels in their culture, including the emphasis on respect, family and multi-generational homes. It felt like I watching something I could relate to but from a completely different group of people which is fascinating and I love it!

Being the great strategist that she is, I asked her if there were any marketing insights that she noticed from watching these shows…

Seun: Absolutely! The product placement in K-dramas is so prominent, many brands are tapping into that scene. For example, Netflix’s produced K-Drama shows tend to have Subway product placements due to the popularity of their shows. In terms of storytelling, they do a great job at it, especially with stories that are authentic to their culture. They tend to steer away from stories that are far removed from who they are or what they find relevant, which is admirable. K-Drama mirrors their community so their programmes tend to reinforce their cultural values.

I found this insight fascinating, and it reminded me of our market research piece that looked into the impact of the anime market on brands. I was curious to know if there were any other insights Seun picked up from watching k-dramas…

Seun: Another insight I noticed was the attitude towards education. I discovered that within their culture, it’s extremely important for college students to excel and get good grades. As we’ve worked with private organisations or international-focused brands in the higher education sector at psLondon, I was also able to draw parallels between markets in that region particularly around status. For example, through K-Drama I noticed that University rankings are very important and the more prominent your university or college is, the more it gives you that status which gives you a bit of a scope of what people value more in comparison to other regions.

With all this insight to Seun, I was eager to find out who her ideal psLondon client would be…

Seun: Monzo! Haha Perhaps a collaboration between Monzo and one of our clients in higher education?

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