“Tech is more than coding”: Here’s Abiola Bonuola’s journey in shaping the African Tech PR industry

Beyond Coding: Abiola Bonuola's journey in shaping the African Tech PR industry

Some people think that only people with programming language abilities qualify as tech bros/sis. When most people consider entering the tech industry, the first thing that springs to mind is learning to code, but there are many options that do not even require basic coding expertise.

Thankfully, the narrative is experiencing tremendous change, and the importance of other fields like media and Public Relations are being talked about in the tech industry. Abiola Bonuola, a media, marketing communications, and technology industry veteran with over nine years of experience, is a woman who has not only made a space for herself in the tech PR industry but is also redefining that landscape.

As the founder of Abiola Bonuola Communication Service (ABCS Africa), one of Africa’s leading technology Public Relations firms, Abiola shares her personal journey, the challenges she’s faced as a woman in the tech PR sector, and her insights on the evolving field of PR in the Nigerian tech industry.

A Journey of perseverance to becoming a tech PR expert

Abiola’s journey into media and public relations began at the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, where she served as an Assistant Programme Officer. Although she had already familiarized herself with the world of media having interned at a radio station.

However, from there, she pursued her NIPR Diploma to deepen her knowledge of PR and gain insights into the profession’s culture and ethics. While pursuing the career path, Abiola Bonuola joined ID Africa, a sister company to Black House Media, a leading PR firm in Africa, where her foray into Technology PR began.

She shared,

“I first came across Technology PR while creating plans and strategies for tech-driven companies. Some of these Tech Companies were into online trading or betting at the time but it was a great space to learn the ropes in the niche market.”

Abiola’s entrepreneurial journey started with the founding of Abiola Bonuola Communications, born out of her desire for a life free from the pressures of deadlines and late-night client demands.

When I started Abiola Bonuola Communications, I had no idea I was going to start an Agency. Honestly, I had resigned from Plaqad, a Tech company and I just wanted to travel with my savings and experience a different life where the pressure of deadlines, late nights, and clients wasn’t on my mind.

I needed time off period but I got a call in January 2021. It was from a previous client I had worked with and she explained she had changed jobs and needed me on a project because I had met the majority of their KPIs on a previous project.

Exploring the tech PR landscape

Beyond Coding: Abiola Bonuola's journey in shaping the African Tech PR industry

In 2021, Abiola Bonuola established ABCS, a Tech PR Agency with a singular mission: to empower tech brands across Africa in crafting compelling human narratives that resonate with and captivate their intended audience, employing proven strategies that drive sales.

Since its inception, this PR firm has collaboratively partnered with more than 14 clients, forging relationships with over 150 influential media partners throughout the African continent.

Speaking about some of her significant moments in her tech PR journey and impacts on her clients, Abiola Bonuola shared her pride in two significant projects: her work with Bossbus Technologies and the official launch of the VBank 3.0 app.

I have two clients actually. One was my brief time with Bossbus Technologies, especially when they partnered with Jim Iyke for his movie; Bad Comments. While we managed the partnership details and the media for Bossbus Technologies, they confirmed an increase in revenue from our Tech PR activities.

According to her, Abiola Bonuola Communications (ABCS) has also seen remarkable growth since its inception in 2021, which she prides to be a testament to her agency’s dedication and personalized approach to each project.

Challenges and opportunities as a woman in tech

Abiola acknowledged the unique challenges faced by women in public relations. She emphasized the importance of providing women with access to opportunities that can help them grow in their careers and businesses.

I’ve realized that many women in public relations don’t really have access to opportunities that improve their businesses and careers. It’s literally the same story in different professions all over the world. It takes more work and dedication to achieve anything as a woman.

Education, according to Abiola Bonuola, especially in tech, is vital to achieving gender diversity and addressing the gender gap in managerial positions and even the tech industry. Her emphasis was drawn from a report by the IMF. She explained that because of the role disparity, ” women are at a high risk of displacement by technology.”

According to a report by the IMF, women are 15 per cent less likely than men to be managers and professionals, and 19 per cent are more likely to be clerks and service workers performing more routine tasks, which leaves women at a high risk of displacement by technology. Education of women especially in tech is really important if we ever want to reach the SDG Goals.

Beyond Coding: Abiola Bonuola's journey in shaping the African Tech PR industry

What does ABCS bring to the Tech PR table?

According to Abiola, what sets Abiola Bonuola Communications apart from other PR agencies, particularly in serving tech clients, is their genuine care for each client. Abiola explained, “We take our time to understand your needs and your history, and then we apply our expertise in PR to deliver the best strategies that yield positive results.”

The PR agency also recently launched its Press Release Distribution Service to cater to tech startups and Agency partners in the EMEA region. 

According to Abiola, ABCS is already utilizing AI tools and is looking to explore more AI tools to achieve their projects’ successes. Speaking on this, Abiola emphasized the importance of research and data. Abiola Bonuola Communications relies on research and data to simplify intricate tech concepts, making them accessible to target audiences.

Nigeria needs more tech PR experts like Abiola Bonuola

Public relations in the Nigerian tech industry requires more expertise. I personally need more colleagues in Tech PR so we can rub our minds together, compete, and grow. What we currently have are Consultants who are professionals in the PR space taking up the task.

This is great however more education must be done so these professionals can practice and take on in-depth projects on cybersecurity, networks, and other related technologies. We are very few in the Tech PR space and it is pertinent we groom more professionals to build a great industry, especially in the AI-driven era.

The future of tech PR

There will definitely be more use of artificial intelligence to carry out otherwise time-consuming tasks. We may also find an increase in other PR professionals migrating to the Tech PR space.

Looking ahead, Abiola Bonuola foresaw more extensive use of artificial intelligence in PR, professionals migrating to the Tech PR space, increased partnerships between PR agencies, and potentially more significant foreign investment and support for the tech PR industry in Africa.

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