July 26, 2010
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Nigeria is regarded as one of the most corrupt countries in the world today.It’s record of Governmental misfeasance and malfeasance is viewed as difficult,if not impossible,to match any where else in the world.Put simply Nigeria,in the minds of many people,both Nigerian and foreign alike,has a negative connotation.The fact that the Government has seen fit to launch a re-branding campaign,in a self-confessed effort to give Nigeria a positive image,lends credence to this view of Nigeria as a byword for infamy.To re-brand effectively however,Government must resist the temptation to limit it’s efforts to mere propaganda.Headmaster-like exhortations in the print and electronic media will not change people’s view of the country.
A brand is a sign,image,trade mark,symbol that is used to identify a product or service.Brands have psychological as well as experiential aspects.The experiential aspect covers the totality of experience at every level of contact with the product.On the other hand,the emotions,feelings,thoughts,perceptions that people associate with a certain product constitute the psychological aspect and is known as the brand image.In time the brand,in the minds of people,comes to represent all their expectations and information with regard to the product or service.The key to branding is to align the expectations and the product experience by basing the expectations or the brand image on the brand experience with the result that the product comes to be seen as possessing certain unique qualities that distinguish it from other products.
When it comes to branding,what works for products and services will work for countries as well.The key to a successful re-branding of Nigeria is simply drastically improved governance.The image of a great and serious country which we all crave,must be aligned behind the reality of a country that actually works.We must improve the Nigerian experience first.The primary target audience of the re-branding campaign has to be the Nigerian public.If we can improve the quality of life of our people by providing functinal public infrastructure,improving security,fighting corruption,improving regulatory oversight of all service providers such that they actually provide the services for which they are charging so much,holding free and fair election,e.t.c.,not only Nigerians but also the rest of the world will attest to the dawning of a new day indeed.The foreigners will take their cue from Nigerians.