This week, we spotlight Ukonwa Kuzi-Orizu Ojo. She’s the Global Chief Marketing Officer, Amazon Prime Video & Studios.
We’d like to congratulate Ojo and the Amazon team on the recent acquisition of MGM. As a result, MGM is now part of Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Studios.
MGM, as you may know, is a production company that’s almost a century old. It boasts of 4,000 film titles, 17,000 TV episodes, 180 Academy Awards, and 100 Emmy Awards.
And the price tag for that purchase? A cool $8.45 billion.
But that’s not the only cool thing that happened at Amazon recently.
The trailer for the upcoming Amazon-exclusive TV show The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power set a record for the most-watched trailer to debut during a Super Bowl.
That’s some really great marketing. And it’s brought to you, courtesy of Ukonwa Kuzi-Orizu Ojo.
Ukonwa’s Start at Amazon
Ojo started with Amazon in September 2020.
Before joining the company, she served as Global Chief Marketing Officer for MAC Cosmetics. Her responsibilities there included a brand position in markets all over the world.
And prior to her 10-month stint at MAC Cosmetics, she served as CMO for Coty, another beauty brand. During her tenure there, Ojo managed brand development, advertising, social media marketing, creative planning, and media purchases.
Ukonwa has 24 years of experience delivering business results and leading teams to achieve more than they think possible.
In her role with Amazon, she handles global brand marketing.
“As an award-winning marketer, Ukonwa has a fantastic two-decade track record as a builder of top global brands,” wrote Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios in a memo announcing Ojo’s new role. “Her wide-ranging experience will give us a broader perspective on how to connect customers to the Prime Video brand and grow our business by marketing our content in innovative ways to develop an even stronger emotional connection with our audiences.”
The Hopkins memo also itemized the various awards and recognitions that Ojo received over the years. Among them:
- Business Insider’s Most Innovative CMOs
- AdAge 50 and A-List
- Adweek 50
- WWD Brand Builder of the Year
- WFA Global Marketer of the Year List
- Financial Times Upstanding 100
- Black Enterprise’s 25 Women Changing the World
Hopkins also linked to a YouTube video that shows Ojo talking about the importance of empathy in marketing.
Empathy in Marketing
Ojo says flat-out that the most important skill for any marketer is empathy.
She asks her people to listen “as a founder.”
“Because I found that when they do that, it’s a mind-shift to listen more intently,” Ojo says.
And that mindset leads to a higher level of empathy.
Further, Ojo also says that empathetic people act more quickly to solve consumer problems.
That empathy “allowed us to really do some things in our businesses this year and our brands this year that actually makes people’s lives better,” she says. “And I love that.”
Ojo says that good marketing isn’t necessarily about the brand itself. It’s about the people behind the brand. That includes both internal and external team members.
Ukonwa Kuzi-Orizu Ojo: Accolades at Amazon
I’ve already mentioned several of the recognitions that Ukonwa Ojo earned before joining Amazon, but her track record of excellence in marketing continues to this day.
For starters, she helped manage that MGM acquisition. That gave Amazon the rights to the James Bond franchise.
Those movies never get old.
Additionally, she promoted movie titles, including Borat 2 and The Tomorrow War.
She also promoted Coming 2 America, a remake of the 1988 classic comedy movie starring Eddie Murphy. She did that with clever ploys that ranged from an infomercial series to partnering with black-owned businesses.
Ojo even threw in a line of makeup created in a partnership with stylist-to-the-stars Zerina Akers. She drew from her own history for that one.
Ojo also promoted Without Remorse, a Tom Clancy story starring Michael B. Jordan as John Clark. We should note that Jordan was the first black actor to play Clark. Whether that was Ojo’s call, I don’t know.
But it would be pretty cool marketing if she drove that.
One way she promoted that production was by sending more than a hundred drone deliveries to military families. In nearly a dozen countries.
More recently, Ojo promoted another Cinderella reboot by partnering with Mercedes Benz.
Keep in mind: she did all that while dealing with the cutthroat competition that accompanies streaming wars.
A Voice of Inspiration
Ukonwa is an inspiration to women everywhere; including women of color.
She is a founding member of the Black Executive CMO Alliance. This group creates opportunities, access, and equality for Black marketers.
These marketers work to facilitate meaningful corporate diversity and inclusion. They know how important it is to share experiences, learn from others, elevate those around you and ultimately pay it forward.
“I am excited about the community that BECA will foster among Black Executives and Leaders, and I am particularly energized by the mission to identify and develop the next generation of Black Executives,” Ukonwa states about the community at BECA.
Wrapping it Up
Ukonwa Kuzi-Orizu Ojo has an outstanding track record when it comes to marketing cosmetics. And, more recently with Amazon, she’s also proven that she can manage marketing for a streaming service and production company.
So where to from here? I don’t know, but I’ll enjoy watching where she takes that company.