Muhammida has extensive experience working in influencer marketing before it was known as influencer marketing.
“I’ve been doing this for a really long time. My first sort of industry job was at William Morris Agency as a talent assistant. That’s where I started to understand negotiating on behalf of artists. They represented big celebrities, music artists, film artists, TV artists.”
She moved to Nike’s entertainment marketing department and led the music division.
“I got to understand the brand side and manage all of our relationships with music artists, sneaker design collaborations, booking artists for Nike commercials, anything related to music and Nike, I was like the point person. I worked on projects with Eminem, Pharrell Williams, Nelly, Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys and Mos Def.”
Moving to Ghana and Running WaxPrint Media
After leaving New York City seven years ago and moving to Ghana, she is now Director of Strategy at WaxPrint Media, a digital marketing and PR agency based in Accra. Most of the agency’s work is in West Africa (including Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger) as well as South Africa and Kenya. WaxPrint Media also does some work for clients in the US and Europe, she says.
“Our vision as a company is to help businesses grow using digital platforms. It could be social media, Google Ads, SEO, PR. So that’s our mission as a brand. It just so happens influencers are one of those areas that help businesses grow if they are done the right way. A lot of businesses don’t have a lot of information about it. That led to our work focusing on influencer marketing.”
She has worked with multiple international brands operating in Ghana and West Africa.
“I do a lot of work with Martell, a cognac company. I worked with a rap artist called M.anifest. He does a lot of work with Martell in terms of content and in terms of participating in some of their brand’s events and experiences. And then also with Bombay Sapphire, I did some interesting things. Partnering influencers with a mixologist to create very cool videos. Some of the Influencers created a cocktail with the mixologist for Bombay Sapphire. So that was really exciting. Right now I’m working on something with Don Simone which is a juice company from Spain where we are working with various influencers to try out new products, talk about the products, create interesting drinks and meals in different ways.”
Muhammida formed Influencer Africa to bridge the influencer marketing information gap.
“Some of the biggest influencers in the world are in Nigeria which is the most populous country in Africa. Artists like Burna Boy or Davido or Wizkid are huge globally. They’re doing things with Nike, Apple and Samsung. So it’s happening but no one is really talking about it. We want to put some structure, some discussion, some best practices. People want to know but don’t always know who to ask, where to go. It was important to get these conversations going. That is what inspired us to have the webinar.”
The first Influencer Africa webinar was based in Ghana.
“We had speakers from Nigeria, South Africa, Los Angeles and Ghana. We had people from all over the world who tuned in. We had a wide range of influencers. We had a music artist, we had an actress, we had a blogger who’s evolved into a media content creator person. People got to see these different types of influencers so they can see you don’t have to be a celebrity person.”
She plans to make the webinar a long term project.
“It was the first one but there is so much more to be said. There are so many more voices. We are just trying to do a snapshot of talking with influencers, talking with brands, looking at projects, looking at the technology side of it. It was just the tip of the iceberg. It’s definitely something we are going to do more of.”
Key Differences Between Influencer Marketing in Africa Compared to the US
The influencer industry is still in its infancy in most African countries when compared to more advanced markets like the US, Muhammida observes.
“It can be more difficult for influencers to make money from it. I would say sometimes because they don’t know what kind of rates to charge. Some influencers are requesting unrealistic money. There is not always brands with big budgets. Some of the big international brands who understand influencer marketing or working with influencers may be there in South Africa or there in Nigeria. For the other countries, people are not getting it. So it can be more difficult for influencers to navigate working with brands.”
Businesses do not yet understand the value of influencer marketing.
“It is definitely a challenge if you need to convince a brand to work with influencers because they don’t know that this is something that they should be doing or that could really impact their business or how much they should spend on it. It is all so new here. Those things are not necessarily in place whereas in the US, they kind of know they’re going to use someone and need to pay them this amount. The bigger brands are more used to it and so they have a better understanding of it. The smaller companies maybe not so much.”
Advice for Brands on Influencer Marketing in Africa
Brands should check that the influencer they choose to work with is the right fit, Muhammida says.
“I find sometimes the brand wants to choose the person with the most following. But this person has nothing to do with the company. They would never use the product. It’s not just the numbers. Maybe they only have 40,000 followers but like they are the people you want. And you have this other person with a million but like none of them would support your business. That’s something that’s really difficult to get brands to understand.”
Eventually, Muhammida would want to have an influencer division within WaxPrint Media. The agency would represent influencers who need access to structured representation.
With Influencer Africa, she is looking to have monthly or quarterly conversations with brands, with influencers, and with other people in the space.
“Initially virtually and then perhaps at the end of year or next year, we may have live or a half-virtual-half-live event.”
Muhammida El Muhajir is Director of Strategy at WaxPrint Media and the founder of Influencer Africa. Muhammida previously held roles at William Morris Talent Agency and as Music Marketing Manager at Nike before moving to Ghana from New York City. WaxPrint Media’s list of clients includes Remy Martin, KLM/Air France, Versace Collection, Pernod Ricard, and Alliance Motors (Jaguar and Land Rover). In 2020, Muhammida was named on a list of Africa’s Leading Women in PR and Marketing. WaxPrint Media’s handle is @WaxPrintMedia on all social platforms.