PR Lessons To Learn From BHM’s Research On The Olajumoke Orisaguna Story

By March 5, 2016PR Tips
The Concept of Virality

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The growth of technology and new media has birthed the rise of instant celebrities all over the world and Nigeria is no exception to this trend.

The case of Olajumoke Orisaguna has taken the country by storm seeing as just over two weeks ago she was a bread seller but is, today, a model and eye candy for companies and brands across the nation.

Olajumoke Orisaguna, walked onto TY Bello’s photo shoot featuring international superstar, Tinie Tempah in late January 2016 and her story has since changed.

Olajumoke as at February 7, had gotten a modelling contract, a THISDAY Style cover, catwalk and photography jobs, as well as being profiled on international and local media including Huffington Post, CNN, The UK TelegraphDaily Mail, TheNET.ng, Star.ng and more.

BHM Research and Intelligence conducted a research on the Olajumoke Orisaguna incident to find out what made Olajumoke go viral and here are a few PR lessons to be learnt:

  • Get your platform right:

What made Olajumoke go so viral? Olajumoke was first introduced to us on Instagram and Twitter and seeing that these media in themselves are mobile and facilitate sharing and immediacy, virality was inevitable.

  • Get your content right:

BHM R & I found out that Olajumoke’s story possessed the right “ingredients for a hearty virality soup” seeing as it was a grass to grace story featuring “an amateur/unknown/underdog in an unscripted moment”. Her story also evoked emotions, which is key in getting anything viral.

  • Your story should be sustainable: After the initial buzz, the continued search for Olajumoke, the gifts and endorsements given to her and her family, her husband stepping out with her and her modelling, interviews and even speculation about her marriage and a potential divorce due to her instant success aided the virality of the story, made it sustainable enough and garnered the attention of millions of people around the world.
  • Novelty is key: The combination of a local-bread seller and a global superstar made the story all the more special seeing as it couldn’t have been made up. Olajumoke’s story rose and drew from Tinie Tempah’s popularity as he himself keyed into her story by making her his Woman Crush Wednesday, posting her picture online and sending her greetings.
  • Audiences crave a resolution or happy ending: There was no better ending for Olajumoke’s story than a happily ever after as her dreams came true and people could key into the story as we all have dreams and Olajumoke’s came through. The story in itself was overwhelmingly positive.
  • Be conscious of trends and also know when to fall back: Brands should be aware of trends and always be ready to make use of ‘strategically placed “PR” baskets’.  There is also the need to plan ahead for cultural moments.

Stanbic IBTC joined the Olajumoke bandwagon through the use of a simple message with an already-viral image of Olajumoke stating that: “We’re inspired by Olajumoke, we’d love to move her forward ‪#neverstopmovingforward”. The bank moved on to make her its brand ambassador, and set up trust funds for her children.

On the other hand, when businesses fall over themselves to associate their brand with a celebrity, it might not necessarily be the best idea to also jump on that wagon. The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) learnt this the hard way when they tried to cash in to the Olajumoke trend but suffered a backlash.

The NIMC tweeted a picture of Olajumoke, using a spin-off of the viral “Be Like Bill” campaign to ask Nigerians to register for their National Identity Number (NIN) and “be like her,” who by their own accounts walked into the NIN centre “unsolicited.”

The backlash was almost immediate as people noted that they were yet to receive NIN cards despite walking into NIN centres over a decade before Olajumoke. Commenters also asked the agency to “get serious” “stop pandering” and realize it had “let people down” while one pointedly called the organizers “bastards trying to jump on the Olajumoke bandwagon” leaving the NIMC to handle a salvo of complaints.

  • Retaining the USP of the “commodity” is key: Olajumoke was first introduced to Nigerians as a natural beauty and the surest way to distort her image would be to meddle with it, as evidenced by the backlash that greeted Olajumoke’s spread for designer, April By Kunbi. Some people responded negatively to her look not taking into cognisance the fact that Olajumoke was a working model and the pictures were serving the client’s purpose. When an Instagram account was opened for Olajumoke, with a translator posting in English, some took to social media to express their disapproval stating that Olajumoke should tweet, Instagram or Snapchat in Yoruba, pending her learning of English. This in itself could maintain the uniqueness and simplicity that endeared her to the public in the first place.

As with trends and instant celebrities, like Olajumoke, and brands planning ahead and being careful is key. Trends come and go but the lessons learnt will always be relevant and could be used in other PR circumstances.

Download the full report here

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