Kehinde Ajose: What Tonto Dike Can Teach You About Publicity

There is a quote which says: “In your work be legendary, in your life, make history”. Tonto Dike seems to be led by this mantra.

How else can you describe her amazing swift rise to the top of Nollywood’s pinnacle where she sits atop as one of the most talked about and controversy ridden public figures? Any news about Ms Dike undoubtedly gets reliable page views and comments in Nigeria social media space.

She was ranked by Google as one of the overall trending Nollywood celebrities in 2012, and have over 213,000 Twitter followers (and still growing) who constantly talk about, praise, promote, support, criticize, her brand. Like her or not, Tontolet can teach entrepreneurs and showbiz practitioners about fanning the flames of publicity.

From her insatiable hunger for the crazy, her ‘I no send you’ way of life, her relentless desire to be relevant, we cannot get enough of Tonto Dike. I know you cannot wait to learn one or two publicity tips you can adapt from her and adopt to your business pursuits/career. So welcome to Poko 101: The art of gaining visibility for you and your brand.

1. Be clear about who you are

Tonto’s media coverage starts from her clarity about who she is and what she wants. So she magnetically attracts certain groups of people, who feed on her antics and become her evangelists preaching the ‘Gospel’ of tontolet. In the same way you should shine the light of your brand identity strongly, so that you can attract customers and clients who share your beliefs and values. Once the media knows what you stand for and your unique offerings you will get a tsunami of visibility that will wow even your competitors.

2. Give them something to talk about

When she took the bold step of stretching her star power to pursue a career in music with the release of her singles: “Its Ova and Hi’, her stubborn insistence on promoting those singles gave her leverage and a lot of publicity. She went from 500,000 downloads to 5,000,000.Though she cannot be categorized as an artiste one can listen to nonstop, as Charles Novia, the Nollywood Film maker called her singing ‘Angry tremolos that would have been reserved for a horror movie’s sound effect,’ this single feat made her singles go viral and it worked together for her good .Tonto is in the business of throwing herself in the news so should you. If the pouty lipped actress is not falling on stage and her boobs falling out, she is busy taking shots at Burnaboy for daring to criticize her music. The lesson here is giving the media something to talk about.

3. Understand Your Fans

Ms Dikeh understands her fans. She knows they have three motivations for spreading the word about her. Functional: They desire to obtain information especially if its insider, and they have a tendency to share it. Social: They want to express their uniqueness and enhance their image by associating with someone they admire. Emotional: They enjoy sharing their emotions and experiences.

Your business’ fans have similar motivations; demonstrate you understand them by adapting Tonto’s best practices.

4. Own a word

What comes to mind when you think of Tonto Dikeh? #Poko! Just like D’banj gave us ‘Koko’ and Olamide gave us ‘Are you a learner?’ Tonto gave us ‘Poko’, even though she is yet to reveal what it means. If you want to gain publicity, you must concentrate your publicity efforts on owning a word; a word that is synonymous to you. Words are key to gaining visibility and sparking people’s curiousity. To get into the mind of your prospects you need to reduce the essence of your brand to one single thought or attribute. Create a code word that exemplifies your uniqueness.

5. Be consistent

From entering for The Next Movie Star, a reality TV show for aspiring actors, to clinching the ‘Actor of the year’ plaque at the 2012 Future awards, not forgetting her involvement in philanthropy, Ms Dikeh is committed to being relevant and being in our faces. She doesn’t deny herself of that extra step that ensures her name remains on everyone’s lips. She has gotten to this stage in her career as a result of her consistency and even taken it further stretching the limits of a Nigerian sex goddess template whose antics gets her a front seat in magazine stands and newspaper headlines. Publicity is not gained overnight, it is a daily effort. A brand cannot get into the mind of people unless it stands for something and is consistent about that thing it stands for.

Tonto Dike may not be your favorite actress, but she is nonetheless living life on her own terms and creating her own piece of living history.’ Whoever said success was a slow process was most definitely not talking about me’ says Ms Tontolet.


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Kehinde Ajose is a talent development strategist. He tweets from @splendidkenny // KehindeAjose.com

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