In my never ending search for absurd displays of branding I feel fortunate to be able to discuss Nigeria. And their brand <and branding … and brand building>>
Nigeria’s new branding campaign was developed to bring in tourists and economic development.
Nigeria: Good People. Great Nation.” (this was a follow up to their last campaign … “Nigeria, heart of Africa.”)
Okay. I have never visited Nigeria so I may have a naïve point of view. But. Here are three news items in the last month about Nigeria:
- A prominent Nigerian comic actor who is famous for singing a song about e-mail scams has been kidnapped.
- Nigeria appears to be shedding the toga of being one of the most corrupt nations in the world. In the 2008 Global Integrity report released recently, Nigeria is listed among the gainers, with a plus 10 marks from its 2007 rating. This means that Nigeria has improved from its previous rating.
- James Ezuma, the embattled proprietor of Ezuma Private Hospital, Aba, who is standing trial at an Umuahia High Court for illegal sale of babies, can no longer move around like other free people do. He moves around under the protection of heavily armed Bakassi Boys, a vigilante group that operates in most states in the South-East.
In addition, a consultancy specializing in economic development assessment listed Lagos <largest city in Nigeria> as the world’s worst place for expatriates to live because of poor sanitation, horrible roads and violent crime.
Hmmmmm…“Good People. Great Nation.” Okay. Maybe the good people don’t live in Lagos and live elsewhere in the great nation.
Look. I am sure there are good people doing their best in this country, but an outsider would have to question how many … and are there enough <so you were able to live long enough to enjoy the Great Nation>.
This all becomes a huge disconnect for me on this.
First and foremost this has all the signs of someone overthinking … unrealistically. And as a corollary to that thought … no one of the Good People stood up and said “is this Good for us? Really?”What really baffles <or befuddles … I get them confused> me is that this seems a common sense issue.
To me this has become an example of someone developing a brand image of “who I want to be” and deciding to tell people “I am this already” and reality suggests “hey, you have a ways to go yet before I may believe this.” <that is a marketing formula or postulate or something in there>
This campaign becomes wasted money. In addition I could argue it is detrimental to future work in that Nigeria will be eventually digging itself out of a ‘distrusted’ hole to try and become trusted in some way.
Would I tackle this problem? Sure. It can be done.
But before they begin another marketing campaign they probably need to remember something – marketing has to be an extension of who you are as a company/brand/country. Because the rubber hits the road when words are faced with actual human interaction. I believe it was The Limited who said “the brand is what is delivered in the store every day.” (and they didn’t do any advertising).
In the end a brand is not words but actions (and the net result of interactions). Nigeria seems to have some work to do to meet these criteria.They seem to need more Good People <in marketing and living in Lagos>.
Think about all of this the next time you talk about a branding campaign.