With the failure of national campaigns meant to position the country as an investors’ destination, marketing communications stakeholders have called for the repositioning of the country’s rebranding effort through positives story-telling and leveraging on competitive advantage to sell the country to the world.
Leading marketing practitioner, Lampe Omoyele; public relations practitioners, Bolaji Okusaga and other marketing communications experts present at BRANDish Meeting of Minds, themed “In Search of the Right Purpose for the Nigerian Brand” held at the weekend in Lagos made the disclosure.
Recall that the country has had series of national campaigns like the Heart of Africa project, Good people, Great Nation Campaign, which all failed because it experienced a disconnect with the realities of the Nigerian system. The Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari is running a national reorientation campaign tagged ‘Change begins with Me’.
Experts at the event pointed out that when people think of certain national brands like India, America, South Africa, Dubai and others, certain positive images come into mind despite some challenges that the countries are facing.
The opposite is the case in Nigeria. Images of corruption and crime seem to be the order of the day, a problem the government and its citizens have aggravated through emphasis on the negative commentaries in international fora and unnationalistic commentaries by Nigerians on the social and the mass media.
Omoyele, who spoke on the topic “The Economics of Evolving a Market-led Nation Proposition for Nigeria,” urged the government and all stakeholders to think inwards by focusing on the comparative advantage that the country has and promote it locally and internationally.
Similarly, Okusaga who spoke on the “Foreign Direct Investment and the Power of a Made-for-Purpose, Non-Emotional PR for Nigeria” explained that the country has lost foreign direct investment because of poor reputation issues.
He stated further that a country like France has positioned itself as the destination for the best wines in the world and people believe that. To become a respectable brand among communities of nations, he said all hands must be on deck to actualize a greater Nigeria through story telling about the great potentials that country boost of and the government providing enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Also, on the part of citizens, they should ensure they are good ambassadors of the country.
Analyst-in-Chief, BRANDish, Ikem Okuhu, pointed that Nigeria should borrow a leave from India in repositioning the brand Nigeria.
“I may be wrong. But each time I read literature on nation branding and marketing, the case of India comes to mind. India is not one of the most loved nations in the world. There is a terrible caste system, there; cities and traffic jams like we witness in Nigeria that ordinarily should be enough to make the country unattractive to the world. They also have very ugly cities and traffic jams like we have in Nigeria. But India over the years, invested in the IT space and did well to also build capacities in manufacturing.
“Having looked at this and the status of China as the factory of the world, India created a preposition known as Made in India, which is a clear message to the worlds that the country is a production and productivity machine. The campaign does not even seek to own the bragging rights of the like of German machine or The power of Japanese technology. They just want you to come “make your products in India. The logo alone, a lion filled with sprockets and in a forward movement makes the message very clear-we are strong; we are moving forward; we are tech savvy and we deliver” he said.