The Nigerian brand can thrive better with attention on products export
The euphoria of Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary has kept me reflecting on the Nigerian brand, the different ideas it represents globally and its future.
Everyone says that the Nigerian people are the country’s biggest asset and that is very correct. But can that be the reason we “export” people legally and illegally, believing subconsciously that their success in the foreign lands will rub off on Nigeria?
Most times, we lose. We lose because we are exporting people instead of products. You already know that as much as “their success is Nigeria’s success”, their failure is also Nigeria’s failure. Needless to say negative sticks better than positive.
Another way to know its not the biggest idea is to think about all the famous exported successful Nigerians you know and find out if most of them are not regarded as other countries’ citizens in foreign media.
Yes, from personal glory, we draw positive attention to our country and help promote the right perception, but I strongly believe that the beautiful ideas, successful businesses, innovative products and services that are made by us will do a greater job of nation branding for Nigeria.
Don’t get me wrong, our biggest asset remains our people, our brains, our “I can do spirit” but our key to nation branding is not just those qualities but what comes out of us that the world needs – our well branded and exportable works.
Economically prosperous countries have focused on exporting brands, not commodities. Germany is synonymous with automobile excellence because of the successes of BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and Audi.
Switzerland, respected for their wristwatches, didn’t invent the art of watchmaking but they have stuck to the original century-old knowledge and craftsmanship of watchmaking which is already extinct in many countries.
The result is that Swiss watches like Rolex, Cartier, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Patek Philippe are the world’s most expensive and prestigious watches also known to be made of original materials and most durable.
You can easily tell countries that are synonymous with wines, shoes, cigar, ice cream, technology…etc. We know the magic Hollywood and Bollywood have done for their countries.
Developing brand marketing campaigns, changing taglines and claiming every successful sportsman as “our son” alone will not make Nigeria a good brand. We need to start creating and exporting great brands that can stand the test of time.
If we insist on building the Nigerian brand on the success of our people who mostly have dual citizenship and will continue to do, I doubt if their stories will ever be loud enough to sink stories about the few bad Nigerians whose crimes might continue to be the more prominent narrative about us and our brand.
Thanks to Nollywood and the pop music industry for promoting the Nigerian brand so far, but in practical terms, I think Nigeria’s tech industry and the food industry (or maybe agriculture), if well supported, can turn the fortune of the Nigerian brand around for good, forever.
Having worked with some exciting brands in those sectors in recent times, I think they stand a great chance.
God bless Nigeria.
- KENIakintoye is a seasoned marketing communications consultant and the founder of KT Communication, a digital media and integrated marketing communications company based in Lagos.