14 January 2009 11 Comments

National Branding:why the fuss?

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

brand-flagA strong brand is a rich brand and richness implies a complex and satisfying mix of many different elements, but these do little to diminish its equity’.-Simon Anholt

From the research available, the brand equity of the USA appears to have significant portion of negative elements like drugs, teenage pregnancy, abuses among others. But these negative elements have not diminished her strong brand status and richness. If in doubt, look at yearly green card seekers. Brazil on the other hand has a stint of pollution, overpopulation, poverty, drugs, and lawlessness. These countries from branding point of view are still strong because of application of branding principles. Simon Anholt says ‘when dealing with youth, the suggestion of risk is highly attractive. These are consumers after all, who wish to challenge and be challenged’. In terms of national branding, Nigeria has great potentials that can be positioned; it is just that we have chosen to ignore them and magnified the negatives. Like an African adage says ‘it is the owner of the calabash that calls it dirt parkers before others use it for that purpose’. Nigerian media have called it calabash, the youth has called Nigeria a calabash and we have all amplified the negative elements over the positive ones. Hence we are where we are today.

My questions today are many, and I hope I get an answer from someone out there. Why the fuss over Nigeria if strong brands, rich brands have complexities-both positive and negatives? Why have Nigerians at all strata refused to make decisions to brand this country well? Why are we damaging our own strategy-if we have one at all? Why is the leadership not committed to corporate Nigeria branding? Why are the followers not making demands on leadership by doing it right? Indonesia has started with ‘honesty shops’. What will be our own strategy? Please, someone let me have your opinion please. I am doing my part. Can I count on you too?

11 Responses to “National Branding:why the fuss?”

  1. Tom Humes 14 January 2009 at 9:52 am #

    Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

  2. John king 11 March 2009 at 9:57 pm #

    I want to say – thank you for this!

  3. John 11 May 2009 at 11:30 am #

    Excellent site. It was pleasant to me.

  4. John 25 May 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    I bookmarked this guestbook. Thank you for good job!

  5. DJ Sobanjo 2 June 2009 at 6:43 am #

    Thanks for a really well thought out and well presented article, Yinka.

    I really love your blog.

    I agree with a lot of what you are saying on here. I love Nigeria as a country and I still believe that the future is bright even if most people think I’m nuts to believe that.

    I would like to highlight though your illustration of the US brand. USA as a nation was built on certain values that have made it the nation it is today. The people of America have built the country into what it is today.

    Surely there are flaws because people have flaws. Generally a country is a reflection of the behaviours and values of its people and the unfortunate fact is the average Nigerian is morally corrupt.

    I know this sounds harsh but it’s a fact. I have had the privilege of interacting with people of diverse cultures all over the world and there are flaws everywhere, there is no perfect culture.

    However with the Nigerian culture what I’ve observed is a culture where people would do anything for their own benefit regardless of who gets hurt, trying to play the system and get something for nothing and not valuing people for just being people where the rich oppress the poor and where public servants are public exploiters.

    Do we need to re-brand Nigeria?

    We most definitely do.

    But I don’t mean packaging, oh no. That’s putting the cart before the horse.

    What we need first is to re-invent the product because the product as it is is not marketable.

    So many times I’ve had people come up to me asking me to help them create a marketing strategy for their business and after consulting with them we agree that they have to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate the product or service they are bringing to the market.

    In re-branding Nigeria my thoughts are that at the moment we should focus less on the promotion of the ‘brand’ but on the re-invention of the ‘product’.

    What do I mean by this?

    Changing the culture. Now that’s easier said than done but is possible.

    I believe that organisations like the church and our schools have a role to play in doing this. People like you and I also have a role in helping to change the way the average Nigerian thinks.

    I don’t think the government can do a lot in re-branding because the government is a reflection of the society i.e. morally corrupt.

    The change must come from people who are in Nigeria but not corrupted by the culture. People like you and a few others who have restored my hope in the brand called Nigeria.

    Nigeria does not have a poor reputation because of negative reports but because people have had negative experiences.

    This can all change.

    We can re-brand, we will re-brand and Nigeria will be great.

    This is my tupence.
    Keep up the good work, Yinka.

    To your success,

    • yinkaolaito 2 June 2009 at 8:12 am #

      Thanks DJ, I love your response. If you have read my follow up piece titled: Rebranding nigeria: my fear for Prof. kinyuli, you would notice I did mention some of these things you observed.But we must keep hope alive. I wil appreciate your continous observation, comments.

  6. Dr. John 6 August 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    Every time I visit this website – I enjoy new information that is very useful and interesting.

  7. Anibal Mehr 5 May 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    Nice post! You truly have a wonderful way of writing which I find captivating! I will definitely be bookmarking you and returning to your blog. In fact, your post reminded me about a strange thing that happened to me the other day. I’ll tell you about that later…

  8. Jacquline Youell 31 July 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    I would like to say “wow” what a inspiring post. This is really great. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

  9. International Background Check 14 October 2011 at 10:04 am #

    The quote you quoted in your post by Simon Anholt is the favorite quote of most of the best Brand managers.

  10. jack 22 October 2011 at 6:30 am #

    Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So nice to find any individual with some unique thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this web site is one thing that’s needed on the web, somebody with just a little originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the internet!

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