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While other states dither, Lagos eyes investment, tourism through destination-branding

…Sees huge opportunity in Nigerian advertisers’ strategy

Only few states among Nigeria’s 36 states are seeing huge opportunities for evolving brand proposition for their states and they are implementing strategies to realise it. This is on the understanding of the socio-economic potentials such as investment and much-needed tourism destination branding offers. One of such states is Lagos.
According to experts, destination branding is identifying a city or country’s strongest and appealing assets for prospective visitors and building stories from these assets that make the city stand out above its local or global competitors. Tom Buncle, long-time marketing chief emphasised that the positive stories must be run consistently through all marketing communications to achieve results.

For Lagos, apart from being former federal capital, the state with 22 million people has since fashioned itself as an appealing destination for investors and to prospective visitors, controlling the largest part of foreign investment, businesses and employment with huge accruable taxes.
To further drive home the message of brand proposition and make the state stand out among competitors, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo Olu who is following the same trend of his predecessors, recently identified Lagos Advertising Ideas Festival, LAIF, an advertising industry award for creativity, as another vehicle to push the message.

Read also: Winning the Market Through Branding and Direct Response Marketing

In his keynote speech at Marketing Edge brands and advertising awards of excellence held in Lagos recently, the expressive and eloquent governor assured the adverting industry of Lagos State willingness to partner with it to make the award bigger.
“Let me assure you of our administration’s readiness to support the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival (LAIF) Awards. Since our name is involved, we will provide the support to make it greater than ever before. Let us begin to use the platform of LAIF and similar initiatives to draw the attention of the world to Destination Lagos”.

Emphasising that Lagos is serious about the marketing of the state, Sanwo Olu explained that his government’s readiness to support marketing-related initiatives is not limited to the Advertising sub-sector of the industry.” It is open to various specialist areas that make up marketing. At the center of what we do as marketing professionals is creativity. And that is what our government is committed to promoting and encouraging”.
Rounding off his remarks, the governor enjoined the marketing and advertising community to help tell the story of Lagos through the brands they manage.

“Every year, at the annual Cannes Festival, the winning campaigns are not the ones which tell the stories of commercial brands. They are the ones who tell the stories of people and places. They are the ones that tell the stories of the triumph of the human will and spirit above adversity. I appeal to you to help tell the story of Lagos as an amazing Destination Brand in your campaigns”, the governor appealed.
On infrastructure, the governor restated his administration’s readiness to support the marketing communication industry through provision of improved infrastructure to give the scenic settings required for great television commercials and creative contents that meet global standards.

In his words: “I am not unaware that there was a time many of you needed to fly to Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg before you could shoot a good TV commercial for your clients. Today, the story has changed. Let me assure you, it can only get better from here. The infrastructures we are creating are gradually giving you the scenic settings you require for great television commercials that can earn more prestigious laurels from across the world.”
The President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Steve Babaeko in a report applauded the governor’s gesture regretting that “past governments at state and federal levels had neglected the industry despite its huge contribution to promoting socio-economic development and image of the country”.

Also appreciating the governor’s deep understanding of marketing opportunities, the Vice President of AAAN , Jenkins Alumona while commending the governor on his promise to lend his support to the LAIF award to make it bigger , said the governor’s promise indicates that he is seeing the potential the award brings to Lagos in terms of destination branding and tourism.

Tourism is an important sector in the global economy, says Centre for International Development of Harvard University. “Today, 10.4% of the world’s GDP and 7% of the world’s total exports come from tourism. The industry is worth over $ 1.1 trillion. The money earned from expenditures by foreigners is crucial drivers of economic development and can be an important source of foreign exchange. Moreover, growing tourism can help create employment opportunities for marginalized populations”, the report said.
Surprisingly, at the time states like Lagos are searching and identifying opportunities to market their states before local and international community, others still totally depend on traditional ‘Abuja feeding bottle’ to run their states.

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