Journalism in the service of society

Don’t be afraid to be different

‘For those who are judgmental and always have a cynical opinion about what others do or how others look, the truth is no one must be like you. Don’t believe that your way is best and that people who are different from you are wrong. So, in business or in life, understand that just because you don’t like something, or you prefer doing things in a particular way doesn’t make it wrong or right’

ONE of the reasons I loved working at the agency is the no uniform or dress code rule! The fact that I could show up in jeans, a shirt, and high heels on Monday, and a short dress with trainers on Tuesday, I can show up in a suit and heels while my hair is local all back weave called didi; it’s the freedom to be creatively corporate that thrills me.

So, when I resumed at the office in January after the December holiday with golden hair, scrapped bald on the side, and curly avatar middle; everyone went low cut crazy. That was when I realized people want to express themselves and do many things but fear what people will think or HR’s reaction to it.

People who met me for the first time in wild-looking golden cut and nine earrings felt I was crazy. Some people said I looked like a motor park tout while some said it was beautiful. The truth is that I wanted to look different in the new year and what people think won’t make me change what makes me happy.

The creative idea that won us the Golden Penny Pasta account was tagged ‘Your way is best’ and we talked about everyone being different and special in their own way. We used the pasta characteristics to describe the individual differences and the need to embrace you. For those who saw the campaign, we had copies like “some like it short”, “some like it long”, these are about the long and short pasta while “some like it colorful” and “some like it plain” is about how we cook our pasta. It wasn’t easy convincing the brand team to go against stereotypes and be daring without sounding or seeming rebellious.

A guy on the brand team called me one week after the presentation to say he had always wanted to wear dreads but didn’t have the guts to go along with it. After seeing my new look and listening to the presentation, he knew he had to follow his heart. He sent me his picture and I screamed in the office. He scrapped the sides of his head and had woven dreads like my avatar. He looked so different and lovely, even in his late 30s.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not asking you to be rebellious or be a criminal. If there is something legal you want to do that will make you happy and fulfilled, please stop thinking of what people’s reactions will be. They will get used to it and move on. If you don’t try or do it on the other hand, you will be unhappy and will never know what people’s reactions will be. I will say “do it”

For those who are judgmental and always have a cynical opinion about what others do or how others look, the truth is no one must be like you. Don’t believe that your way is best and that people who are different from you are wrong. So, in business or in life, understand that just because you don’t like something, or you prefer doing things in a particular way doesn’t make it wrong or right. Acknowledging this will make it easy to get the best out of people.

*Olateju Ogunyomi is a Marcoms professional and behavioral analyst. She left Ogilvy Nigeria in 2020 to start her own agency. She is an APCON member and was a member of the AAAN women in Advertising committee, and the AAAN Event committee. She is currently the CEO of Aspora Nigeria Limited, a Digital Marketing, Strategy, and Consultancy agency.

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