SUPER EAGLES’ EQUITY: Give Nigeria Brand the Respect It deserves.

Forget about playing the big brother Africa! Let us not deceive ourselves; we all know how the outside world perceives Nigeria. We’ve a very poor brand image and most people would not want to identify with us.

You see, I recently got talking with Gary Price over the telephone – Gary is the CEO of e-dynamx, an electronic engineering company in California, USA. The company produces CCTV and Micro camera systems – I was trying to get his company to partner with us on a certain reality TV show we were putting together. “Hello Mr. Price, I am Benson from Nigeria.” And he replied, “Hi Benson, how-a-u-doing? You said you’re from Nigeria?” “Yes, do you Nigeria?” I asked. “Yeah, everyone knows about Nigeria. They’re the people that steal credit card details… They’re the people that tell you there’s oil and when you pay, you don’t get anything…” I was so embarrassed by his answer, but I quickly got myself together and thought of what next to say, “We’re not that bad Mr. Price, after all, we play good football. What’s your take on that?” Yeah, yeah” he got excited and his tone change, “I know your Olympic soccer team won Gold in Atlanta’96… It was a great performance against Brazil… I know your star player Kanuu and now, Mikel plays for Chelsea… Yeah, yeah, one thing I respect Nigeria for is you play good football. I enjoy seeing your national team play…”

Well, it’s quite unfortunate that the world has the impression that we’re all fraudsters. It’s our own making, it’s bad marketing! We’ve not managed the Nigeria brand so well. We’ve often allowed only the few negatives – fraud, kidnapping, ritual killing, assassination, terrorism etc – to find it’s way to the outside world. Take Nigeria movie industry (Nollywood) for instance, there’s no proper censor. The movie makers are more interested in personal profiting rather than the commercialization of Nigeria as a brand. It has never crossed their minds that the films they churn out could have marketing and public relations implications on the brand called Nigeria. So they make films that portray Nigeria as unsafe place and unsafe people to deal with.

It’s not the true picture! Nigeria is a great country and we’ve lots of amiable people doing great things that we can be proud to showcase to the outside world. In re-branding Nigeria, we should have a clear-cut vision on how to deliver our brand essence to the world, using the right marketing tools.

Come to think of it, the Super Eagles delivers the best brand equity for Nigeria. According to Obi Asika, CEO of Storm Vision, producers of BIG BROTHER NIGERIA, “The Super Eagles, anytime anywhere remains the biggest change agent for Nigeria. That’s the one thing that everybody knows and appreciate about Nigeria everywhere you go in the world.” It’s good to know that Super Eagles gives Nigeria the respect it deserves from the rest of the world. As Mr. Asika puts it, if you want to see people that have used football to market their national brand, look at Brazil. Brazil has taken their football team as the driver of their culture. The national team (otherwise known as THE SELECTION) is the pride of the Brazilian nation and they have used the team so well to draw positive response from the International community. Nigeria can also take advantage of the Super Eagles’ equity to position the country well among committee of nations.

Three Ways Nigeria Can Take Advantage of Super Eagles’ Equity

The attention of the world is shifted to Nigeria during international matches involving the Super Eagles and we should utilize such opportunities to:

1)      Showcase Nigeria Culture and Value: We should use such time to run documentaries or adverts on international television stations such as ESPN, Super Sports etc, especially during world cup, Olympics, Commonwealth games, International friendly and Charity games. At such times, we could as well talk to the world about our foreign policies and projects that require international partnership.
2)      Use Super Eagles Team as Agent Of Peace: We should organize international football matches for Super Eagles with the aim of promoting peace and social responsibility to troubled nations around the world.

This kind of games can easily attract International media and emotionally connect Nigeria to the International community.
3)      Use Super Eagles’ Star Players as Nigeria Diplomats: Super Eagles’ players like Nwankwo Kanu, Austin Okocha, and Mikel Obi… are well known faces all over the world and that’s a plus for Nigeria. These star players should be used for diplomatic missions.

The international community can easily recognize the players and connect with them emotionally. We should give specialized training to these players on International relations and use them as Nigeria ambassadors on certain diplomatic missions.

Let us give the world opportunity to know Nigeria people better.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.