‘Why communication experts, others must tell Nigerian stories’
Professionals, governments workers and stakeholders in the marketing communication industry have been tasked to make conscious efforts at promoting positive stories about Nigeria as a way of boosting its reputation index globally.
Chief Creative Operator at Noah’s Ark Limited, Lanre Adisa, made the charge recently while presenting a keynote address at an industry evening parley convened by brand analyst, Goddie Ofose.
Tagged, ‘Industry Evening With Goddie Ofose’, the event attracted high networth guests and top industry workers, who used the opportunity to fashion out ways of growing the industry.
Adisa, who spoke on, ‘Advertising and the Power of the Nigerian Story’ lamented the negative stories churned out by outsiders on the country, hence, communication professionals must be at the forefront of eradicating this ugly trend.
According to him, “in a brand new world where digital disruption drives every aspect of our lives, life itself becomes too mechanised and regimented without the soothing balm of storytelling, otherwise known as content.
“Everyone has a story. Everyone tells his/her stories. Some have made an art of it and have spawned a whole new industry teeming with influencers, content creators of all sorts and a host of hitherto unimaginable vocations.
“Nations tell stories. Sometimes, they tell it themselves through what they do or what they say about themselves. Sometimes, their stories are subsumed in the stories and heroics of their people. At other times, outsiders tell their stories, cobbled together from a myriad of odds and bits done by them or their people. The latter is never desirable. In that instance, you’re not in control of the input, and therefore, cannot determine the output.”
The advertiser said powerful countries have gone beyond jostling for control in the real world to extending their frontiers in outer space to dominate cyberspace.
Sharing the advantage of advertising, which he believes has a huge mind-power with both intended and subtle messages, Adisa said every piece must be seen as an opportunity to shape minds and make impact for a particular era. Saying, “When the full power of advertising is unleashed, it changes the fortune of brands for good. Its power is unbelievably transformative,” he stressed.
To Adisa, every piece of communication arts, be it an ad, music or film work must provide a veritable platform to project Nigeria’s story and condition valuable positive projections for the country, adding, “every form of content that we come across speaks to us at two levels; the level of the intended message as well as that of the unintended. Every piece of advertising done in a particular epoch mirrors that era and beams the light on the future. By this, I mean the entire industry inadvertently creates a body of work with anthropological import.
“Advertising, when done properly, comes embedded with the traits of its time. Think back to Enjoy the brighter life with Star. You can still remember the happy folks raising their glasses in merriment, speaking to a time when life was simple and enjoyable. Think back to Weke-weke with Vitafoam or to Obron 6. Think back to Black thing good o with Guinness. Take it down the lane to the Milo clap and down to Thermocool’s Making things better, making better things. Remember Who get this rain coat from Gold Circle condoms? What about ‘Bagco Super Sack’ and the jolly fellows that turned a mere commodity to a super brand? And don’t forget ‘Tally Number’ from ETB. Interestingly, the last example wasn’t just about reflecting a period in time; it also reshaped the future of banking.
He emphasised the need for relatable stories that connect with shared human situations, so, the audience is able to identify with the conflicts, emotions and resolutions that make up the story.
He further said, “our nation may have a problem agreeing on the best way to represent itself, but we as an industry have a lot to do to sell Nigerian imagery and monuments for them to attain iconic status. As beautiful as JP Clark’s poem, Ibadan, is, I do not know if it has evoked any action from the people of Ibadan to make it their own and part of their legacy in the modern age.
“Think about it, the American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, came from a poem by a lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key. The same country refers to itself as the land of the free, home of the brave. Here in Africa, the South African national anthem started its life as the anthem of the ANC. That nation brands itself as the Rainbow Nation. I’m not too sure if Ghanaians will argue about the part of their country where the kente fabric came from before accepting it as a national treasure. Go to the East and the North, you find people celebrating weddings with the aso oke caps and head gear. Yet no one dare project it as a national treasure.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Ofose explained that the event was designed to bring together industry leaders that he has interacted with over the years in the quest to rev up conversations that will move the Nigerian marketing and communications industry forward.
The panel included Dr. Felix King Eiremiokhae, Martin Mabutho, Jaiye Israel Opayemi, Mrs. Bunmi Oke, Moji Saka and Odion Aleobua, among others.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Lagos State governor, Gboyega Akosile, said, “programmes like this will inspire increased awareness on ways advertising and marketing can stir up businesses to grow the value of Brand Nigeria; the states and city destinations as well as deepen the relevance of marketing communications in the country.”
Also, on the night, three marketing communications experts were specially recognised for their outstanding achievements in the last decade. They are Udeme Ufot, CEO/GMD SO&U, former APCON chair; Lolu Akinwunmi, GMD, Prima Garner, former APCON chairman and Nn’Emeka Maduegbuna, CEO, C&F and foremost PR practitioner.