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Evolving a market-led positioning for Nigeria_Lampe Omoyele
Evolving A Market-Led
Positioning For Nigeria
Lucent Consulting Company
Marketing 101: Positioning is the space that a brand occupies in the mind of the target market
relative to other brands.
“You guys are Aggressive, domineering, loud,
corrupt, and not to be trusted”
Panic mode ‘Nigerien, Nigerien!’ on sighting my green passport
Often times, these perceptions
and stereotyping have
translated into unfavorable
attitudes and behavior towards
Nigerians by non-Nigerians.
The world is telling our
story whether we approve
of the version or not
The story is told of the Kenyan
woman who declined her husband’s
request to have a fifth child on the
premise that she had heard that
‘Every fifth African is a Nigerian’!
Nigeria occupies a space, a
positioning in the minds of
citizens of the world that are aware
of the country
Is Nigeria in Brazil?!
“In positioning the nation state’ ‘having a clear,
differentiated positioning gives a country an
advantage in attracting investment,
business and tourism, and in building
markets for its exports. Positioning and national
image also matters greatly in public diplomacy
and cannot be taken for granted. successful marketing
involves a long-term commitment to consistent and
comprehensive execution of a positioning
strategy that sets forth the distinctive
strengths and benefits the nation offers to the
people and businesses it wishes to attract’. ”
John Quelch and Katherine Jocz,
These Countries battle for mind positioning
against all odds
Columbia & Drugs
Indonesia focused on our strengths despite
the struggle with human trafficking. Recently
changed their branding from ultimate in
diversity to wonderful
Top of mind positioning
Kenya: Safari and
animals; hakuna matata China; manufacturing and
Brazil: football and
and Usain Bolt.
USA: dreams fulfilled,
and these days, Trump;
England: cool, traditional
and the Queen.
So are we saying nation-branding can be handled like product positioning?
“Equally challenging, though,
is repositioning countries that,
In the absence of
positive impressions, have
become, rightly or wrongly,
tarnished with a negative
(Kotler and Gertner, 2002).
The real question is:
what is Nigeria’s
Attempts have been made by previous
administrations to ‘reposition’ Nigeria
How did this do?
Too little or no success mostly due
• faulty premise
• poor investment
• lack of shared and clear
purpose & sustainable vision
which led to poor execution.Many Nigerians felt disconnected from the
campaign and found it difficult to effectively
promote the initiative organically.
How did this do?
Tried to overcome the problems
of its predecessor by being
more people-driven and inward
in its approach, and aimed at
reorienting the people to focus
on their strengths and not their
However execution lacked
depth, participation, funding
and inadvertently restricted the
campaign to a mere logo and
Business and political leaders
jointly worked to restore national
pride and economic performance.
The1992 Barcelona Olympics
successfully showcased the new
Spain to the world.
Spain backed up its new image with
public sector reforms and improved
infrastructure; Spanish GDP
accelerated throughout the 1990s.
Real Madrid and Barcelona, and the
prominence of actresses as
Penelope Cruz have also impacted
on Spain’s imagery.
Gilmore, 2002; Olins, 1999; Fiona Gilmore, 2001;
John Quelch and Katherine Jocz, 2004)
Tony Blair government’s ‘Cool Britannia’
marketing programme launched in the late
1990s, to update perceptions of Britain.
Britain’s policy makers wanted the world to learn
about British creativity, adventurousness and
entrepreneurship in science, technology and
business — a positioning presumably intended to
accord with the emergence of a new knowledge
economy where Britain has competitive
The resulting campaign was widely derided in the
Not surprisingly, the research showed that people
in other countries continued to see Britain as
highly traditional (but favourably so).
The campaign lasted around three years before
(Gill, 2001; The Economist, 2002; Quelch and Jocz, 2004).
South Africa repositioned from the apartheid country to
the rainbow nation, turning a weakness to strength.
Nelson Mandela was South Africa’s major brand asset,
who was milked to the hilt.
Tourism was a key driver and the country leveraged the
successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
South Africa’s equity was also enhanced by pan-African
brands such as MTN, DSTV and SABMiller.
Despite recurrent race tensions and xenophobia, South
Africa which like Nigeria fell into an economic recession
in the first quarter of 2017, a recent report by Reuters
estimates a 13% growth in its Tourism sector this year
compared to previous years.
The USA is positioned as the country where dreams are
fulfilled (hence, the American dream).
Individual states promote themselves internally and
externally to tourists and investors to the benefit of the USA
The strong brand equity of American-originated brands
reinforces the country’s positioning and equity (according to
Interbrand’s 2016 brand equity measurement, 7 of the 10
leading brands globally by equity are American-grown).
Having control over global media also enables the USA to tell
its own side of the story more prominently and favourably.
As part of a nation building initiative
and plan to reposition India as a
global design and manufacturing
hub, the prime minister launched a
Make In India Initiative in 2014.
The result is that in 3 years, the
country moved up 9 places in the
World Bank 2017 ease of doing
With almost 200
nations in the world
Nigeria needs to
win the battle for
the minds and
citizens of the world
This is not an academic exercise
It is about driving for global competiveness for the overall
good health and wealth of the citizenry.
In order to gain insights into Nigeria’s competitive advantage
What is it that we do or can do better than
most other countries of the world?
What is the Nigerian brand essence?
What are the brand values?
What is the Nigerian differentiator?
Who are our key audiences?
the core of a country’s brand must capture the spirit of the people
of that nation and their shared purpose. The spirit of
the people and the spirit of their place are deeply
connected. Part of this spirit consists of values that endure no
matter the times because they represent what the
nation’s’ citizens believe about themselves
‘do Nigerians have a shared purpose and
E go better!
resourceful Survivors and
confident and gregarious
our culture and
we love ‘jollofing’,
euphemism for loving the
Drawing inspiration from Nkiru Asika’s poem, ‘I am Nigerian’
I am one in 5 Africans. I
am one in 8 Black people,
anywhere in the world.
I am a Nobel Prize
Winner. An Olympic Gold
Medalist. A Grammy
A Soccer Champion. A
Prince of the Vatican. An
Oscar Nominee. A Giant
A Distinguished Scientist.
A Musical Icon.
Nigeria has assets such as our
people, music, movies, natural
resources, a burgeoning IT
industry and more.
The Nigerian spirit is captured
by the word ‘Naija’ which
connotes ‘strength and
Within these words, lies the
Nigerian brand and
So food-for-thought for a work-in-progress
positioning statement for Nigeria
‘Nigeria: where hope and
‘Nigeria: more than oil. ‘
for the brave,
Positioning using the
Spirit of the People
Media & Telco Business
We need to support this positioning
Good marketing cannot always make up for negative product perceptions, or
observable negative reality on the long run, so we would need to fix what
is wrong about Nigeria such as address infrastructure deficits; ease
of business; the increasing poverty line etc.
We Need To Accentuate Our
Austria, was able to ride out the negative
image impact from the rise to power of Jorg
Haider, thanks to positive associations with
Mozart, Salzburg and the Vienna waltz.