Saturday, September 28, 2019 1:46 pm
By Kehinde Oluboyede
Every nation of the world is trading in the same market and a common‘commodity’, their reputation. This is what attracts tourism, foreign investment and is a critical driver of their economy. Itis what determines the manner of reception their citizens get when they cross international borders.
So, most first world nations and even the so called ‘third worlds’ have consciously devised creative means of laundering their image in other to enhance reputation which is critical to attracting interest.Some have so mastered this art to the point of yielding immeasurable return in terms of investment and reputation.
The Nigerian nation brand has not fared so well in this market, more so because there hasn’t been a substantially measurable positive outcome from most of our nation brand attempts. More appalling is when we talk down on our most important asset, which is our brand. The fact is, the value of the Nigeria brand DIRECTLY AFFECTS all of us as individual andthepremium we can attract to our businesses.
The moment you crossed these bothers, there are two common questions you are often asked- The first is ‘what is your name’ and the second is ‘Where are you from?’ The person asking hardly pay attention to your name, however, he always recall where you are from. Your reputation or value is a function of the reputation of where you are from, regardless of your qualificationsor experience.
This then leaves us with the responsibility to do everything within our capacity to promote, protect and if need be, defend the Nigeriabrand, the same way we defend our names, personal reputation, careers and businesses. Many other nations of the world understand this necessity, so despite their challenges, they are always out making compelling narratives about their heritage and why they should be your business and tourism destination. Even nations with the world record violent crimes, rape epidemic, mass shooting, drug abuseetc.
We have our myriad of problems, no doubt, but please tell me a nation without its own fair share of undesirable situations? This is not by any means talking lightly of our problems. Maybe God made us here for times like this, because He expect us to do something about it.
This is what is driving a number of us to initiate#IAMBRANDNIGERIA. A private sector driven initiative towards enhancing the value of the brand Nigeria where we create events and use stories of individual and corporate brands that has been able to achieved success against all odds as a better narrative to enhance the value and perception of the brand.
This is called the Nigerian Spirit. It is what made people like Alibaba who was once homeless, leaving on the Bar beach with only a pair of dress to keep driving till he achieved success, raising others who are now masters. Same made Dr. Ola Brown, one of the youngest medical doctors in UK history to start Flying Doctors, a pioneer Medical Evacuation services in West Africa.
It is the same spirit that made Nnamdi Ezeigboto go and learn how to repair computers as an apprentice after his University because he couldn’t get a suitable job. Today, Slot operates a chain of over 60 stores across many states in Nigeria.
Mo Abudu doesn’t need much introduction. She started Ebonylife TV in 2006, she is now rated by Forbes magazine as the Africa most successful woman. The spirit even drive us outside of these shores. Records in recent time showed that Nigerians are the most educated and successful ethnic group in the United States.
Talk about our music taking the world by the storm. Our film industry, Nollywood, rated as the 3rd largest in the world, fashion and style, with growing number of Nigerian designers featuring on international fashion shows. Remember our outing at the last FIFA world cup in Russia where we ‘won’ as the best dressed.
And our Jollof which is the best- just wait till we set a Guinness World Record shortly. The first person to buy a product, demonstrating believability is the owner, in this case, the 200 million stakeholders. President will come and go, one political party after the other, Nigeria remains. There is therefore the need to positively project and drive the Nigeria brand, if for nothing at all, the fact that it directly affects you and I and our businesses, and invariably, our incomes.
So, as we mark another Independence Day celebration, how about we try a positive perspective, dwell more on our positive? Perhaps, this will attract better outcomes.
Happy Independence Celebration Nigeria.
-Taiwo Oluboyede is a brand consultant and the Project Director at #IAMBRANDNIGERIA