Brands & Advertising
Global competitiveness necessitates Nigeria’s urgent brand re-positioning
Hand holding a Brand 3D Sphere on white background.
Discussion on the search for the right purpose of Nigerian brand has been tabled again in Lagos where speakers and participants who are passionate about Nigerian image posited that it has become highly imperative to position Nigeria among comity of nations, especially in this exceedingly time of global competitiveness.
Nigeria is competing with other 194 countries in the world for global attention, greatness, FDIs, regional and sub-regional influence, as well as product and cultural export and these, according to the speakers at the ‘Meeting of Minds’ forum organized recently by Brandish, a brand publication portal, cannot be achieved unless Nigeria, in spite of its challenges is well positioned.
There had been efforts in the past to re-position Nigeria but according to one of the speakers, Lampe Omoyele, managing director of Lucent Consulting Company, these efforts resulted to little or no success due to faulty premises, bureaucracy, politicization, inconsistency, poor investment, lack of clear and shared purpose and sustainable vision which led to poor execution.
Among the previous efforts include ‘Heart of Africa’ project by former President Olusegun Obasanjo ; ‘Good People, Great Nation’, rebranding campaign under Goodluck Jonathan presidency. Today, there is ‘Change Begins with me’ by Muhammadu Buhari government which is yet to connect with Nigerians.
Lampe said evolving a positioning for Nigeria should not be seen as an academic exercise. “In developing the positioning strategy for Nigeria, we need a SWOT analysis of the nation, in order to gain insights into what Nigeria’s competitive advantage can be. It is important to measure awareness and to understand perceptions — both favourable and unfavourable — held by target audiences, home and abroad. This indicates that key audiences need to be identified”.
He said every strong brand has assets. And the truth is: Nigeria is a strong brand albeit with its weaknesses. According to him, the Nigerian band is not non-descript like some other nations and in positioning Nigeria, the country should leverage its strengths. “Nigeria has assets such as our people, music, movies, natural resources, a burgeoning IT industry and more”, he said.
It was recognized at the forum that over the years, corruption, poor leadership and infrastructure deficit have all combined to hamper the journey of Nigeria to becoming a viable nation brand. Therefore there is the need for Nigeria to become assertive as a nation of power in Africa and the world and the forum identified leadership as critical to evolving a strong nation brand. As a result, the country’s leaders should be the ambassador plenipotentiaries of the positioning.
Also speaking, Bolaji Okusaga, Managing Director, The Quadrant Company, who believed that branding Nigeria should be driven through PPP said there is need to redefine Nigeria’s Investment Brand Essence with a view to creating a clear purpose of both appeal and direction.
“Branding Nigerian must take the form of a precise purpose statement with clear emotional and commercial opportunities. Such precise purpose statement must embody and be a functional summary statement reflecting the direction the country wish to go. Nation branding is usually a long term project that outlived the government of the day. Nigeria must therefore design it in the form of national development plans to ensure the aggregation of economic opportunities as well as the intangible emotional selling propositions”
Ikem Okuhu, the Analyst in Chief of Brandish and the convener of the forum believed that it is difficult to create a brand out of a nation without first of all building all the structures and fittings that are critical to delivering the promises and purposes ascribed to the brand.
The forum was attended by captains of industry in various sectors, brand managers and analysts.
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