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Atiku’s Better Nigeria Campaign: A case for strategic brand communications

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The 2019 Presidential elections in Nigeria was a gargantuan contest of messaging. This battle cut across the different platforms of Print, Digital, and Social media; a strategic tussle ensued over who could captivate more minds and hearts and above all else, attract and hold the attention of the polity long enough to get them to commit to voting.

The main opposition candidate; Atiku Abubakar, had a communications consulting firm at the core of the campaign known as INK Business Design. Headquartered in Lagos servicing domestic and international clients, the firm was initially engaged to run just the digital campaign. That engagement quickly escalated to encompass planning, design and production management for Print, outdoor and Merchandising, call it the cost
of exceeding expectations, if you will.

Having over a decade experience in brand strategy and communications for the private sector and subsequently, the public sector, including consulting for the Kaduna State Government and the World Bank, to mention a few, INK came on the Atiku team radar thanks to their headline-grabbing work on the “Grow Nigeria” presidential primaries campaign of Bukola Saraki. In the world of political advertising, it usually takes anywhere from at least 3 to 6 months or more for a messaging strategy to pique the interest of the polity. However, within 40 days, the INK team made the “Grow Nigeria” movement the talk of the nation leading up to the PDP Primaries. 

The primaries campaign weekend ended with an overwhelming positive appraisal of the ‘Grow Nigeria’, with many advising Atiku to adopt the ‘Grow Nigeria’ team. In fact they already did by adopting the most iconic line the team had developed; “Follow person wey sabi road”

With INK’s work speaking for itself, the team launched itself into voluntary service by creating a self-funded mini-digital campaign labeled #GNWA (Get Nigeria Working Again) which sought to introduce the PDP presidential candidate to young Nigerians while highlighting the pressing national issues using easy to share infographics and flashcards. This pushed even more the public acceptance of an Atiku Presidency. 

INK’s commitment, experience and strategy proposals supported their consideration and eventual engagement to being at the helm of the digital media vessel which was pivotal to influencing the eyes and minds of the voting public. What no one was aware of, was that the portfolio would get bigger.  

With more campaign responsibilities entrusted to them, the INK team became the central strategy hub of the Atiku campaign. 

Speaking with representatives of the firm; CEO – Femi Odewunmi, Strategist –  Ayobami Adekojo and project managers – Enniye Adefolaju and Kelechi Osuji, they recall detailing a team to handle the digital media assignment, only for the entire company to later become engulfed in a 24/7 operation complete with sleepless nights, constant travel and round-the-clock strategy meetings.

Working with the PDP campaign communications director, Bolaji Abdullahi, INK developed the identity system and messaging that tied everything together; from advertising to digital content and merchandising across the nation. This included an impressive content development and digital advertising program showcasing the strengths and value of the Atiku/Obi ticket thereby converting millions of Nigerians into voting advocates in the process.  All this culminated in the birth of the compelling “Better Nigeria campaign”.

Working on a campaign with multiple moving parts was not challenge free. According to the INK team, this is where Saraki’s leadership as DG of the campaign proved to be most crucial. For what seemed to be a shaky start, the PDP Better Nigeria campaign snowballed into a national movement.  

INK told BusinessDay they were able to accomplish the task of developing a successful brand identity and vibrant campaign content by taking advantage of the collaborative platform provided by Saraki. This, they said allowed them to work with varying groups and persons who brought all manner of insightful and creative contribution to what was adjudged by observers, to be the better campaign. 

Taking a macro view of campaign operations, one firm scaled all these hurdles with a team of dedicated professionals that delivered over and above on their mandate with enthusiasm and attention to detail. 

The narrative on their impending consulting exploits for this year and beyond has only just started.

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