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Meet Joel Karubiu, CEO of MSK
I was born and raised in… Nairobi, Kenya, to a small family with only one sibling much older than me, so I had to fend for myself and make friendships. I learned to become independent and to think innovatively from a very young age.
I studied… business administration, during which time I developed a particular interest for marketing; I loved the aspect of unpacking marketing strategies and understanding different market segments.
The biggest change I see in the advertising/marketing industry today is… the disruption of marketing principles, with the industry seeking more innovative ways to reach their target markets. Traditional marketing media, especially above-the-line, have been surpassed by digital and online media. These new media require a different mindset on the creative to achieve the expected return on investment.
My proudest career achievement is… to have been part of a rebrand in the banking sector during my time as Brand Manager at the Commercial Bank of Africa, going through the rigour of customer feedback and ensuring these sentiments were reflected in the new brand positioning. I was actively involved in the look and feel of the new brand right from the branch level to logo selection as well as the exciting cultural change process for the bank. To have been able to walk the shop floor, have one-on-one sessions with clients and roll out a new brand positioning gives me great joy.
I have also worked in the FMCG, airline and professional services sector prior to joining the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK).
Our priorities are… focused on four main areas for 2019 and beyond:
- Growth of the membership database and ensuring all marketers in Kenya are part of MSK;
- Development of marketing communication standards and codes that provide guidelines for the industry;
- A marketing charter binding the industry and marketing professionals to the code of conduct and adherence to standards;
- Enhancement of training programs as a bridge between formal education and professional competencies.
The Marketing Society of Kenya was officially formed in 1977. The Society’s main objective is to develop the knowledge and practice of marketing, to provide services to members and offer a platform for self-regulation for practicing marketers. Some of the services we offer are training, marketing and strategy consultancy, judging events, networking events, mentorship, an industry publication called the SOKONI Magazine (sokoni means “marketplace” in Swahili) and our annual flagship event, the MSK Awards Gala.
A very specific challenge in the marketing industry in my country is… trying to understand where to draw the line in terms of customer information versus customer interference. How much can we put out as communication and what is suitable for which audience?
If I could change one thing about the industry today, it would be… placing marketing and marketing practitioners in the board room and at the heart of the business. We help shape the customer journey and as such we should be involved in the corporate decision-making process.
What most people don’t know about me… I love reggae!
Two things about my country… Kenya is a land of cultural diversity, enormous hospitality, beautiful flora and fauna and welcoming smiles. Also, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 was a Kenyan – activist and environmentalist Wangari Maathai.
This is part of a series of monthly interviews with heads of national advertiser associations in WFA membership.