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ELEVATING TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Again this year, I attended the GTBank Fashion Weekend. It was a place to be and be seen in Lagos, especially as Nigeria has a dearth of places you can go to with your family to have a relaxing time. It was also open to all people across the socio-economic spectrum, which was good. My observation is that many banks do not open their events to all of their customers, which I believe should be addressed. I was impressed by what I saw and experienced in terms of the high street theme, the esthetics and displays which were an improvement from last year.

There was an international flavor to the whole event, with the master classes, run way shows, locations for photographs and strategically placed mannequins, etc. It was really well organized.

I must commend the bank for supporting small and medium enterprises. Many of the companies I patronize online had their goods displayed. The bank also surpassed itself in the quality and quantity of social media and direct marketing it did for the event. Many enterprises had high quality graphics advertising their businesses designed for them and sent to them to advertise to their customers and communities. I also learnt that the selection of vendors was done randomly at no cost to the vendors. Again, this is commendable. More organizations should give a thought to GTBank’s example and give back to their customers and communities.

One of the things, I always tell banks, is the fact that many of their customers do not think they support them enough. Many bank customers have said, the banks are not interested in their welfare. They complain that to get a loan to grow their business is a herculean task at very competitive rates. After the loans are given, relationship officers are only out to collect money. They feel no support whatsoever is given in ensuring their businesses thrive and become more viable for the mutual benefit of both – bank and organisation.

So, GTBank consistently providing this platform to its customers every year is an example other banks should emulate. According to Frontstream, “companies that take an active role in giving back to their customers and communities are generally viewed more favorably than those that do not have highly visible programs. Having goals and a vision for your company that go beyond products and profits definitely provides a warmer image of your business that consumers will be more eager to engage with”. Can we attribute this fact to why GTBank’s customer base is so large? Food for thought!

I interviewed customers who attended and like in all good things, there is always room for improvement. Many commented that the vendors on display were too “high end”, meaning too expensive. In view of this, they found it difficult to buy anything. It was therefore a sightseeing expedition instead of it being an opportunity to see a variety of goods and be able to purchase items at an affordable rate.

I remember last year, on display were vendors who sold good quality clothes, nice bags (Made in Nigeria), jewelry, shoes, etc that you could get at very affordable prices. It was not the case this year and if they were, maybe those I spoke to did not see them and neither did I. The bank may want to see how this gap can be bridged. I like the idea of raising the bar and bringing in high end retailers to the fair, but since the bank caters to people across the socio-economic spectrum, this demographic must be considered in the selection of vendors.

An observation was that the area designated as food court was not adequate. There was also not without enough variety of snacks and food to buy. Since the experience is meant to be some form of retail therapy and many see going to the fair as a family outing or friends hanging out, the bank may want to consider how they make it a lot more relaxing for attendees. Last year, after shopping, I had to go to Hardrock Café next door for rest and relaxation because I really shopped till I dropped and needed to celebrate the bargains I had gotten.

The size of the booths is another area for improvement, which I may not be completely correct about but I felt that the booths were too small. Since, I did not measure them, I cannot be certain of this; I however, felt everywhere was cramped. It is either the fact that the booths were too many this year or the size of the booths were reduced, because we were almost stepping on each other and on customers in the next booth as we shopped. Then again, it may be that there were a lot more people in attendance than last years’ which gives this illusion.

In conclusion, I believe GTBank has impacted its community very positively and should continue for more effective engagement with its customers and stakeholders, which is supported by research. A 2014 study by Nielsen revealed that “55% of consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.” Additional research from Cone Communications/Echo Global showed “90 percent of shoppers worldwide are likely to switch to brands that support a good cause.”

In addition, a company’s greatest asset is its people. According to Jack Welch, the famous CEO behind GE’s monumental growth, “You build the best team, you win.” Companies with published impact initiatives have an easier time recruiting talent. According to the Net Impact’s What Workers Want report, 45% of employees would take a 15% pay cut for a job that makes a social or environmental impact. Another 51% of workers say that helping “make a better world” and making a “contribution to society” are essential for their ideal job.

GTBank is on a winning streak and should continue to improve on the good the bank is doing.

BUSINESS

All Set For HighPoint Event Centre Opening – Omolara Adebiyi (C.E.O)

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A new date has been fixed for the opening of the latest super event center in Lagos: HighPoint. With Thursday, February 3 2022 confirmed as the D-day, the opening of the HighPoint Event Center will be nothing but spectacularly grand.

The brains behind HighPoint, Mrs. Omolara Adebiyi intends to give the guests something to think and talk about as 2022 unfolds. Thus, with her status as HighPoint CEO, her colorful achievements will be matched with the colorful event in which her relatives, friends, business associates, and admirers can clink a glass or two in her honor.

Mrs. Omolara Adebiyi CEO HighPoint Event Centre

Lest the public assumes that HighPoint is like every other event center in Lagos, a trip to the heart-beat of Lagos, Alausa in Ikeja should wind down any such erroneous assumption. Omolara established HighPoint over an enormous stretch of land that is estimated at 10,000 square meters. Inside this superb piece of real estate are features that can send the mind into a trance. These include two fitly framed floors that can accommodate a total of 3,000 individuals, For the capacity, Banquet style is 1000, while theatre style is 2000.

HighPoint’s VIP lounge is something else that stretches the natural limits of the eye. The 18 single-bed rooms can only be described as Dubai-level luxurious. And how does one describe the 2-bedroom suites for lodging and accommodation or the 500-vehicle car park with its air-tight security? Indeed, HighPoint as a masterpiece is set to change the face of event centers in the city of aquatic splendor. It is a testament of class, pristine and exquisitely polished.

HighPoint Event Center

Really, the building emphasizes without much effort the sheer tastefulness of the owner. The attention to detail that characterizes the structure is excellent. Irrefutably, both the interior and exterior decor were carefully chosen and planned with flawless finesse.

All of these will be showcased to the event guests come the third of February. Naturally, the lucky guests are expected to delightedly help Omolara inaugurate the next-level edifice, laying the foundation for future copies from peers.

With the introduction of HighPoint, it is now clear that Omolara’s ceiling of vision and achievements is farther than the azure sky. She continues to distinguish herself as an industrious woman of substance, accomplished industrialist, and entrepreneur par excellence.

As a virtuous woman, Omolara will always find reasons to add more to her husband’s high-flying fortunes. She will continue to take great steps in this dimension, especially when her husband is widely acknowledged as being in the vanguard of great achievers and pioneers in Nigeria.

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FASHION

‘KO READY-TO-WEAR’ Announces Mega Black Friday Deals

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KO Ready-To-Wear, a Lagos top fashion retail store, has announced a three-day sales extravaganza ahead of the 2021 Black Friday discount season.

A statement from the fashion outfit noted that the store will be offering its numerous customers the best fashion deals of the season ahead of the yuletide from Friday 26 November to 29 November.

Kiki Okewale, style icon and CEO of the eponymous fashion brand, noted that this year’s Black Friday falls on November 26 but KO Ready-To-Wear will be hosting a three-day shopping extravaganza tagged E Choke!!!

“Handily, Black Friday falls just before the countdown to Christmas, so it’s a great opportunity to get a head-start on your wish list,” Okewale stated.

“For our ‘E Choke’ Black Friday Sales, everywhere will be jolly because shoppers will have so much to save up to 50% discount. This means that they have the chance to buy at half price. And if this one ‘no choke’, I don’t know what else will choke for black Friday.

“From quality fabrics, seasonal wardrobe essentials, hard-to-find designer handbags and jewelry, whatever you are hunting for, our fashion store ticks plenty of boxes and there’s no better time to snap up a bargain.

“It’s never too early to start crafting your Black Friday wish list —even if the discount season is just some days away. You can shop up to 50 percent off thousands of items, and the discounts will only get better closer to the big day,” Okewale said.

It will be recalled that all through the month of October, the fashion retail outfit hosted an ‘Ember To Remember Sales’ where it offered numerous customers huge discounts plus free gifts on all items purchased in the store.

Okewale’s distinctive stock and creations have seen her shoot to the top of the fashion and clothing business in Nigeria within a short period of time as she boasts of several of Nigeria’s women of class and elegance as clients.

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LIFESTYLE

UBA’s Abiodun Coker Buries Grandmum In Lagos

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Eminent personalities from all walks of life, on Friday 22nd October 2021, converged in Lagos, for the burial ceremony of Mrs. Joanna Tokunbo, the grandmother of Abiodun Coker, a journalist, public relations expert and core member of the media relations department of United Bank for Africa (UBA).

The late matriarch slept in the lord on September 23, 2021, at the age of 87.

The three days event kicked off with a Christian Wake Keep on Tuesday, 19th of October, Service of Songs on Wednesday, October 20 which was followed by a requiem mass and interment on Friday 23rd at Ikoyi Cemetery.

The memorable Requiem Mass was held at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Lafiaji on Friday, October 22, and was attended by family and friends of the deceased who came out in their numbers to pay their last respect.

The event climaxed with an elaborate shindig which saw guests being entertained at NAF Base, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

In his tribute, Coker extolled the virtues of his late grandmum, describing her as compassionate and an epitome of love that cared for all. He said Mama’s humility and selfless service to God and humanity were second to none.

According to him: “My special Grandmother, may you rest in the bosom of the lord till we see to part no more.

“These words felt like a dagger to the chest, knowing that you are gone. But I know you will never be forgotten. I know for a fact that I will never forget you and how much you’ve impacted my life. Not only that but also the lives of every single person you came across. I know for a fact that you touched many lives. Little wonder you were adored so much and I know that they will all miss you to bits.

“You truly were a special, special woman! You may have passed on, but your memories are etched in my heart. In there you will always live on.

“As I write this piece, I do it with a lot of struggle. Losing you on that 23rd of September brought a pain that cut so deep! Thank you for your sacrifices, your care and concern, your love, compassion and everything that you have done for me. Wherever you are. I look back to when I was so little when you put me on your back to pound Jero while mum was at work and also attended to the neighbours who depended on you for so much because they were not lettered.

“You worked so hard and multi-tasked, doing so much at once yet perfectly, helping others. You were more like a rallying point for all the neighbours who all came to you for help, support and guidance. I guess it’s from you and Papa that my Mum and we the children learnt how to be passionate and dedicated to any course we embarked upon.

“You loved your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren unconditionally. You were truly an epitome of love and taught us all how to effortlessly stand by others genuinely and selflessly. l am proud to have had you as my grandmother. Mama General, I will miss you sorely! I know it is important to be strong for others so as to advance your wonderful legacy.

“When I summoned up the courage to tell Fadekemi about your passing after she asked about you repeatedly, I was shocked when she hugged me and said, I know my great-grandma is resting in Heaven and GOD will look after her. Without a doubt, I know an angel spoke through her and I am certain that indeed you accomplished all that God sent you here to do and he has called you to be with Him.

“I am consoled by the fact that you are in a much better place!

“Love you Mama General. You truly were a treasure to all of us,” He penned.

The late Mrs. Tokunbo was born on 31st August 1934.

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