Friday, November 21, 2008

Marketing and the Promise of the Nigeria Nation

Marketing and Vision 2020: The Promise of the Nigeria Nation

Discussion at the National Marketing Forum of the Nigeria Institute of Marketing

by Olu Akanmu

Brothers, Sisters and Compatriots.

Overnight, thousands of miles away in America, we watched a presidential candidate delivered and impassioned speech to his nation which he titled the American Promise. About this time last week, in the Far East, in the city of Beijing, we watched the Chinese deliver a major experiential marketing program of the Olympics, and its closing ceremony with the objective of reinforcing the equity of the Chinese brand in business and politics. And bigger for the Chinese, is the promise of China for the Chinese people; that China under its current leaders can restore the ancient hegemony of the Chinese nation in global affairs, make the Chinaman very proud and renew a new sense of patriotism, pride and national identity.

America is a brand with a clear promise to its people as a major constituent. The American brand promise is freedom and opportunity to be whatever you want to be with your GOD given potential. It is the promise which pulls the people of other nations, including our own Nigerian brothers and sisters to emigrate and be part of the American dream. You will notice in the early part of my presentation it, the common language that politics and marketing share,, “ Nation as a brand, the Promise of a nation to its people just like brand promise to customers, national identity or brand identity with a clear brand or national essence”.

Brothers, Sisters and Compatriots. What is it, about the nation such that we cannot clearly articulate a Nigeria dream that truly resonates and endures with the mass of our people? What is the promise of the Nigeria nation to its people, to its business and to its children? We do not have a clear elite consensus, on the Nigeria dream; neither do we have a popular consensus on the promise of Nigeria. Yet, if there is a vision of a national eldorado, a top 20 nation by year 2020, that vision needs to be sanctified by a clear elite and popular consensus on the Nigeria promise. That promise must guide the behaviour of our leaders and the ethics of our nation. That is what great brands do, they behave in a certain way, guided by a clear brand, or national essence which is sacrosanct, which endures over time and every constituent of the brand; politicians, businessmen and workers understands their role in delivery the national brand promise.

It will look to me that our polity including the Vision 2020 program can use more professional marketing expertise, to design a structured and coordinated program of mobilizing our people, our resources and energy towards the dream of a prosperous and democratic nation. Such methods are what Professor Ogwo has brilliantly enumerated in his lecture. The leaders of Nigeria, in politics and business must as professional brand managers understand the promise of the Nigeria nation, its value proposition to its people, the basis for which they have as free citizens submitted themselves to be governed by the Nigeria state. Our leaders as true brand managers must defend, protect and live the values of the Nigeria brand, a Nigeria nation and its promise that guarantees opportunity to prosper and liberty for its citizens. The expression of the freewill of our citizens is critical to choose and elect their leaders just as customers in an efficient market can choose their products with freewill. Free choice and purchase of products and services are the foundations of good markets. Free choice, democracy and liberty are also foundation of a good nation. We must therefore work to strengthen our democratic institutions and the civil society to become genuine and credible platform for the expression of the freewill of the Nigeria people. This will be critical to achieving the Vision2020 objective and the marketing community can clearly play a role in making the dream a reality.

Olu Akanmu
National Marketing Forum
National Institute of Marketing
August 29, 2008


twicesuccessful said...

Well written Olu.

The absence of a well articulated Nigerain promise has left us as a people with a high degree of identity crisis. But then, we can resolve this dilemma, if we as leaders at different levels/ stations in life encourage our followers to develop a strong person brand based on an altruistic model they can relate with. The coalition of these individual efforts could result in a "tipping point" that will catalyse the the creation of that which we all yearn for - a clarity of what we mean by the Nigeriam Dream and indeed the hope that it is attainable

Tokunbo said...

A collective sense of mutual co existence as against the prevalent individualistic culture has made it difficult for us as a people to have a sense of common identity. To articulate a Nigerian promise that is believable, differentiated, and that connects deep with all Nigerian, we will need to search deep within our diverse cultures and people to find some set of shared values. This will serve as the core or essence upon which the brand Nigeria will be built. To set this process in motion we need visionary leadership that will build bottom up and be able to present this essence in a simple but yet compelling way. The Nigeria dream, what actually should it be?

ofuma said...

Wonderful articles. I have had the opportunity to see some of these articles in the past. I will take time out and read all of them again. And the review of your presentation at the launch of Global Marketing Network, last month in Sheraton, is up in this week's edition of M2.