Many say creativity comes naturally and that people are born with it. To some extent that is largely true as many in the creative space have it as a God-given gift from birth. But sometimes, creativity is learned. And there are those who learn and perfect it as though they were born with it. That is the story of Kofi Akrofi, the man behind the scenes of some of the biggest advertising campaigns of top brands like Twitter, Vodafone, Renault, Olam, among others. Read more about his journey into the creative space.
Just like many, Kofi Ayeh Akrofi completed University, not sure he will one day find himself in the creative space. Not because he would not find his feet, but the course he read did not ring that bell. However, he was sure to give his all wherever he found himself, and actually, he has found his feet.
Ayeh Kofi Akrofi is a product of Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School and University of Ghana, Legon where he majored in Psychology and Political Science. His creative journey started as a learning process, picking a bit from all the organisations he had worked with, but notably being discovered by people who saw the potential in him.
He started as a freelance copywriter in Accra, Ghana. After stints in fashion, investment finance, business development and event management, he took on a role as a copywriter in the Rave Media Group and then joined Publicis Africa Group about a year later. Over the years, he has worked on about 180 brands in 26 countries with a special focus on West, Central and Southern Africa and Southeast Asia.
The brands he has worked on include Nestlé, Vodafone, Olam, UNICEF and Renault, to name just a few. He has worked on national advertising campaigns such as Guinness Made of More, and Vodafone Icons. He is also one of the brains behind the recent Twitter campaigns, putting tweets on billboards in Accra. His work has won over 16 local and international awards, including ‘Best Ghanaian TV ad’ and awards for impactful messaging.
Mr. Akrofi joined Social Ghana in 2017 as creative director and has overseen works for some of Ghana’s most iconic legacy brands like Melcom, the Royal Senchi, and the more recent revitalisation of the FanMilk Ghana and Nigeria brands.
“For now, I have worked on about 180 brands in 26 countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Dubai, US, Germany, and other countries the West and Central Africa, Middle East and Southern Asia. From a local point of view, with international reach,” he said.
Mr. Ayeh Akrofi said though he did not have any communication background as others do, taking into consideration his choice of course in the university, he got his training on the job, and now he is an expert at what he does and even mentoring others.
“I do not have any communication background, mostly it is self-thought, and it came from just being discovered by Emmanuel Amankwah and Dr. Hammond. One day he saw my writing and said I have a future in Advertising and one thing led to another, he introduced me to Emmanuel Amankwah and he took me under his wings and has been guiding me all the way up throughout. It has been interesting.
“With all my marketing strategy, it is mostly self-thought but I will attribute my knowledge to my mentors, Colin Charles, Akua Owusu Nartey, Nii Darko Doudu and others who literally held my hand and drag me along. And now, I can describe myself as someone who has a burning desire to use my powers of creativity to build things,” he said.
Life at Social Ghana
Social Ghana is an award-winning full-service advertising agency with a focus on social media and digitalisation, based in Accra. It manages brands’ social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and so on. It also develops their online strategy, manages their advertising, and come up with creative ideas for digital campaigns and projects. Social Ghana is made up of a young, vibrant team of writers, designers, animators and thinkers who live, work and play on social media.
Social Ghana develops seasonal campaigns and creates all content in-house, including photography, images, motion graphics, voice-overs and jingles. It is one of the leaders in social media marketing in Ghana and has a proven track record since 2013. It recently won the Digital Agency of the Year award at the 2019 Africa Digital Awards. In addition to that, it is also an expert in branding and traditional marketing, including radio, billboards, TV and others.
In 2011, Mr. Ayeh Akrofi joined Social Ghana as creative director, to work with the founder Yanfo Hackman, whom he had earlier worked with at Publicis. He described this phase of his career as amazing, especially, seeing the growth over the years. “I can boldly say I have one of the best creative teams in Africa”, he said.
Joining Social Ghana with his expertise, he said what sets them apart is the culture of creativity, the culture of being able to speak up and the culture of inclusion that enable them take nuggets from everyone.
“Social media is the future. At Social Ghana we will make sure your company is part of it! We live and breathe digital. Social media, as a communication tool, has revolutionised the way in which brands talk and interact with their consumers, and we know how to make this work. We will develop campaigns, create content, handle community management, manage influencers and ensure your brand is relevant and ‘always on’ everywhere on the internet,” he noted.
Looking into the future of creativity
Mr. Akrofi believes that not every solution needed in the country and beyond is a political solution; rather, creative solutions that are capable of putting the state on a different pedestal, hence, he is hoping to channel his expertise in ensuring that.
“I sit in a position where I see the evolution and revolution of creativity in Ghana, and how much importance is being given to it. Once upon a time, if you present yourself as a creative, nobody takes you seriously, but as it stands right now, there are a lot more creatives coming from different spots in the world. Some creatives are engineers, creatives who are coming from academia, and even some without any tertiary education.
“My vision in the next five years is to be in conversation with and help embed creatives in search for solutions. Because sometimes it is not always the political solutions that are needed. At times, it is creative solutions – the power of design, and sometimes the power of thinking. So in the next five years, I want to be able to get to the point where creatives or creative art persons are given a seat at the table and being part of the solutions,” he said.
Mr. Akrofi argues that a lot of education and sensitisation is needed in the marketing and advertising space as people are stuck in their old marketing ways. He said trying to convince people to move from the old era to the modern era is an ongoing challenge.
Advice to the youth
When asked about advice to young people, he said: “One thing I would want to say is for them to educate themselves. Stay in school, gather as much knowledge as they can, it is very important. Also read a lot of books, just keep reading, read wide because creativity is intelligence having fun. As a young person, you must be observant. Read patterns, observation opens up your portal for appreciation. Lastly, associate yourself with the right people; if you want to be creative, associate with creatives, and be within the creative space. Be in the spaces of those you want to be like”.