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The Change Marketing Communications Stakeholders Expect From Buhari




STAKEHOLDERS within the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) industry in Nigeria are not leaving any stone unturned in their quest for increased relevance in the incoming administration that would be led by the President-elect, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari.

Analysts unanimously agree that unlike the Nigerian film industry, the IMC industry in Nigeria has remained incognito. The value of Nollywood industry, for instance, is estimated at a staggering N500 billion annual budget.

Despite this, marketing communications experts hold that the business environment remains underutilised and neglected by successive governments. Speaking with The Guardian, AAAN President, Kelechi Nwosu averred that Nolloywood is an integral part of the creative industry.

He proposed some brand building initiatives that would help the country rediscover its essence and compete favourably. “The incoming government of Muhammadu Buhari should review the national communication architecture in order to re-ignite the Nigerian spirit and project brand Nigeria positively,” Kelechi opined.

Nwosu equally urged Buhari to re-configure the national communication template to give impetus to a robust economy, promote national re-orientation, inspire innovation, enable entrepreneurship and create choice.

‘‘The incoming government should pursue local content, affirmation policy and allow experienced professionals to run its communication to avoid the lack of public support for some policies of the outgoing administration,” he added. He also proposed nation-building initiatives such as a National Re-orientation Project.

“Nigeria needs a re-orientation project that will build civic pride, promote ethical values and get Nigerians believing in Nigeria and her assets.

A corollary to this is to ensure that Nigerians begin to appreciate and support made in Nigeria products and brands”. Other concerned stakeholders also advised the incoming Buhari government to appoint professionals as heads of bodies like Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) and Ministry of Information.

They believe that marketing communications bodies should be as professional as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), among others.

Sharing his thought on his expectations from the incoming administration, the Managing Director of DDB Lagos, Mr. Ikechi Odigbo stressed that advertising plays a vital role in building a nation, as most advertising sell products by promoting the culture and lifestyle of the indigenes.

His words: “Even as we see the country going into a new era of definitive change it is going to require advertising to create and nurture a new consciousness whereby Nigerians will begin to see that we need to go beyond our ethnic frontiers and join hands as patriotic citizens to build a nation that we can be truly proud of.”

He also stated further that Nigeria needs a robust national orientation campaign. “It is not enough for our leaders to say we want to drive change.

The people need to take ownership of the change. People need to understand what change requires from them at a personal level, in terms of how they conduct themselves, how they go about their businesses, how they make use of public service utilities and their responsibilities as citizens of a new Nigeria,” Odigbo explained. He advised Nigerians and governments at all levels to constantly deploy deliberative engagements in fast-tracking the desired changed in the country.

Odigbo further said: “All of these is going to require a very robust awareness campaign that will begin to remote the mindset of Nigerians — that government is not just about building roads or hospitals, but government also depends on their citizens to achieve those objectives by being a responsible tax-paying citizen who is also contributing to the development of the country.”

Brand writers in Nigeria have also expressed their views on the needed change the new administration can create. While congratulating the President-elect on his victory in the March 28 presidential elections, the Chairman of Brand Journalists’ Association of Nigeria (BJAN) charged him to ensure that professionalism comes to play when making choice of Information Minister in his cabinet.

According to him, “professionalism must come to play in the choice of Information Minister if the president really wants to make quality impact.

We charge the President-elect that whoever emerges as the new Information Minister should have brand management experience, be it public relations, advertising, marketing or media.”

He maintained that the change that marketing communications experts crave requires a thorough-bred professional who will be vast in knowledge to manage the country’s image within and outside the shores of Nigeria.

He added: “It is on record that Nigeria had played significant roles in managing image crises of some African countries like South Africa, Liberia, Lesotho, Seychelles and others which has placed us in a vantage position ahead of other countries in Africa.”

Also sharing his view, the President of Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), John Ehiguese stated that “we are also excited at the fact that the peaceful conduct of the elections has somewhat redeemed the image of our country, and look forward to Nigeria getting set to reap the huge benefits that will accrue therefrom.”

Ehiguese appealed to Buhari to commission a nation-branding campaign that will ride on the goodwill that the country currently enjoys, which is planned and executed by experts in strategic communication.

He believes that if Buhari takes the advice of industry experts, particularly in the appointment of Minister of Information, the industry will see astronomical growth.

“As the biggest economy in Africa, and arguably the choice investment destination globally, Nigeria now stands on the threshold of history, set to take its rightful place among the leading and fastest growing nations of the world,” he submitted.

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