While reflecting on ID Africa’s 7th anniversary, I wondered if the company could already be considered as a successful one, and by what metrics should success be measured?
Longevity? After how many years can we officially declare success?
Revenue? Profitability? Just how much is enough?
Awards and recognition? How prestigious and how many should they be?
Should business performance be evaluated relative to one’s local context, or should it be measured against global standards? This one is quite tricky for businesses domiciled in Nigeria since you can be growing your revenue year-on-year, but the rate of Naira’s depreciation can make the business look stagnant, when the figures are dollarized.
At the end of the day, ‘success’ may just be a relative term, a construct of the appraiser who gives meaning and validation to whatever metrics they choose.
After a bit of pondering, I concluded that Info Digital Africa Limited, the company that Ayeni Adekunle announced to the world on February 27, 2015, has indeed been successful. And I’ve chosen to define our success by impact: the effect, influence and impression that the company has had on real human lives!
I consider ID Africa successful just for the fact that it stayed alive for this long. Long enough to have been a worthy workplace for over 80 talented professionals who at one point or another in the past 85 months have used the company to build valuable life skills, while earning some money, with which they paid bills and took care of their loved ones. Plus the hundreds of freelancers and vendors across the world who grew their businesses on the back of our briefs. That’s real impact. That’s real success.
Success is having over 30 incredibly talented IDAfricans from diverse backgrounds who today call this company theirs. Some even have little children who depend on their IDAfrican Daddies and Mommies for survival. It is a great privilege to be a company that takes care of these wonderful parents, and by default, their beautiful kids. Not just through the payment of salaries alone, but also through the Gold Standard healthcare that our people and their dependants enjoy, the group life assurance, the unlimited leave days, the flexible work policy, and all the other perks that make people live well enough to enjoy the fruits of their hard work. It is because of these that we are successful.
ID Africa is successful because of the people we serve daily. The over 1.2 million social media users that follow and engage with the content on our media platforms, Netng, Neusroom, 234Star, and Orin. The over 12,000 in-person attendees, 500 contributors, and millions of TV viewers of our annual entertainment conference, NECLive, since 2013. The over 50,000 users who signed up to our platforms and channels, and happily consume what we share. It is because of them that we are successful.
ID Africa is successful because of the world class brands and corporations that took a chance on us before we became ‘famous’; who handed us their decades-old, multi billion naira brands to look after, and who often signed off on our unusual ideas and proposals. Even though they’d comment back then: “You guys look so young!” “Are you sure you can handle this brief?” Yet, they still gave us a chance. For this, we are eternally grateful. Thankfully, some of us have now added some weight, grown a few grey hair, and started wearing Kaftan trads, all of which make being mistaken for a teenager less likely these days. Phew!
You see, IDA’s success story is embedded in the tales of real people and businesses we touched; those who made money from us and those for whom we delivered value: profits earned, brands built, reputations mended, SKUs sold, crises quelled, issues managed, products launched, behaviours changed, stakeholders engaged, sentiments shifted and the million and one positive media mentions! That’s true success!
The story of IDA’s success is the story of Femi, a banker of 6 years who took a big leap of faith to start a new career in PR & Communications at the age of 28, and 8 years later, now leads one of the fastest growing communications consultancies in Africa. It is the story of Prince, who started out earning less than N100k per month, and is now a world class Design Lead, building digital products and mentoring others.
The story of IDA is the story of Sharon, an undergraduate intern that was just having fun assisting with social media posts, who is now a Senior PR Consultant advising arguably the biggest brand in Africa, 5 years later. It is the story of Iretomiwa, a law graduate who dumped her wig and gown, and opted for the more exciting world of Marketing and Comms, who is now a Lead Adviser to some of Nigeria’s most important corporations.
The IDA story is the story of Njideka, Sewa, Stacy, Michael, Abiola, Damilola, Kingsley, Tosin, Fadekemi, Tolu, and 20 other young women and men who are building themselves while helping to build ID Africa.
It is their story that has today birthed our ability to advise world class brands and execute impactful PR and communications programmes for high valued clients across the African continent. It is their story that makes us able to produce high quality multimedia content from our in-house studio (The Bang! Studio), serving an audience of millions on our own youth and pop culture focused media and third party channels, which generate valuable consumer insights, which we use in advising brands. This cute little strategic loop is a key point of differentiation for our business today. The story of this loop and the talented people behind it is indeed a success story!
We can choose to measure IDA’s success by financial metrics from the past year: EBITDA grew by 56%, revenue grew by 76%, everyone got a pay raise, staff size grew, clientele grew, and we are even venturing out of Nigeria to open up offices in Kenya and Ghana!
However, none of these things matter as much as the lives we’ve touched and those that have touched us in the last 7 years, because it is through them that ID Africa’s true success story is properly told.
April 6, 2022