• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Marketing expert gives Nigerian states brand positioning strategies

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It is estimated that more than US$2 billion is spent every day on international tourism and this figure is increasing. Many nations and cities including some African countries such as Rwanda are  seriously embarking on destination branding and marketing as a lucrative product to tap into the opportunities this offers as next industry.

Recently, Lolu Akinwunmi, the CEO of Prima Garnet therefore offered some suggestions to sleepy Nigerian states, using Lagos as a case study to shirk off lethargy, induced by easy oil money and key into international tourist destinations with the objective to generate sufficient earnings to ensure economic growth.

Recognising that there is no perfect brand, as nations and cities have their strengths and weaknesses, Lolu who spoke at Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria annual lecture in Lagos strongly advised Lagos State in addition to other states to set up a structure as part of  PPP arrangement for their branding project, a trending global scenario.

Under the structure, he suggested for  an ad hoc committee made up of seasoned professionals and experienced civil servants to determine the strategy and scope of the branding project. “On approval of its recommendation, the committee will hand over to a special purpose vehicle set up by the government to be known as the Lagos Branding Project Business Support Group (LBPBSG).

“The mandate of the group would be to implement the agreed strategy of the  Committee by putting a structure and strategy in place to run the project. It will also generate the funds and goodwill needed for the implementation through the agreed PPP process, but especially from the private sector, showing them opportunities and benefits for involvement”.

Lolu further said that for reasons of probity and accountability, and to assure prospective sponsors and the Nigerian public, “we propose the setting up of the Lagos State Branding Project Fund (LBPF) which will be managed under the supervision of whomever the governor designates, the CEO and the LBPBSG Advisory Board. The LBPF will be independent of direct government control and be open to regular audit from a properly appointed independent audit firm. The board and management will also ensure that quarterly reports are generated which will be made available to all sponsors and donors and all stakeholders to the Fund. We expect this to further engender believability and trust from stake holders. The state government should be prepared to add its own counterpart fund for every Naira generated through this source”.

He said what states like Lagos need is a strategic brand management plan which goes beyond the traditional approach of brand promotion. “This way, the start-up point is a holistic audit of Brand Lagos through the eyes of all its stakeholders”

However, Lolu, former chairman of Advertising Practitioners Council however said the government  needs to “live the brand”. “What you are saying must not be any different from what you are projecting”.

During the panel discussion, Mary Ikoku, a media expert encouraged marketing professionals to help states by projecting positive aspects of Nigeria. Shola Fajobi of Brooks and Blake PR, challenged government to put infrastructure in place and citizens will be the first marketers of Nigeria.

Odion Olebua, a PR expert regretted that the state of international airport in Lagos, first entry point of most foreigners is not in good condition and should be addressed by the government, while Joe Onuorah of APCON called for the strengthening of law and order as a strategy to achieve state branding.

Speaking earlier, former chairman of BJAN, Goddie Ofose said the discussion on destination branding was aimed at eliciting stakeholders’ awareness on tourism.

 

Daniel Obi