PROJECT TOPIC- APPRAISAL OF THE EFFECT OF SELECTED MARKETING COMMUNICATION MODELS FOR AN EFFECTIVE REBRANDING NIGERIA
The image of Nigeria and Nigerians has been highly corroded amongst her international publics. This has a lot of implications on the country’s social, economic, technological and political relationship with other nations and people. This study was therefore motivated by the desire to discover the best marketing communications approach for rebranding programmes in Nigeria. The study had the objectives to: (i) Ascertain the extent of application of integrated marketing communications’ models in the rebranding Nigeria programme, (ii) examine the extent of effectiveness of the communications’ models in the ‘Rebranding-Nigeria’ media advertising campaigns to curb corruption amongst Nigerians,
(iii) find out the extent the use of two-way symmetrical communications’ model/strategies can go in significantly projecting Nigeria’s image positively and internationally, (iv) determine if the marketing communications’ models significantly improved Nigerian citizens’ positive change of values and attitude towards making the country a better marketable brand, internationally, (v) ascertain the extent the use of social media networks
served as effective complement to marketing communications’ tools for the success of the rebranding-Nigeria programme. Explorative research design was adopted. The population of the study was made up of all staff of the Federal Government Ministries and Agencies that manage image/rebranding programmes. They have total population estimate of 1,200,000 people. The data collection was by questionnaire. A sample size of 400 was determined by the Taro Yamane formula. The reliability and validity test was done with Cronbach Alpha, with a value of 0.85 and an inter-item (standardised) coefficient of 0.89. The five hypotheses formulated were tested with ANOVA (hypotheses 1, 2 and 4) and Chi-Square
(hypotheses 3 and 5). The results show that: The extent of application of integrated marketing communications’ models in the Nigeria’s previous rebranding programme was significant (Fcalculated = 13.712 < Fcritical 1,9df = 9.55, p = 0.001 < 0.05). Marketing communications’ models were effective as media advertising campaign tool was significant in curbing corruption amongst Nigerian citizens in the ‘rebranding-Nigeria’ exercise.
(Fcalculated = 23.110 > Fcritical 2,6df = 19.33, p = 0.001 < 0.05). The use of two-way symmetrical communications’ model/strategies significantly projected Nigeria’s image positively, internationally = 4.575, p = 0.000 < 0.05). The use of marketing communications models significantly improved Nigerian citizens’ positive change of values and attitude towards making the country a better marketable brand, internationally (Fcalculated = 24.073 > Fcritical 29df = 19.38, p = 0.001 < 0.05). Social media networks significantly served as effective complement to marketing communications tools or a successful rebranding-Nigeria programme 62.236 > X = 4.575, p = 0.000 < 0.05). Based on these, the researcher then recommended that the office of the Minister of Information should be reserved for marketing communicators, future national rebanding committees in Nigeria should at least have up to 60% of integrated marketing communicators, social marketing and social media strategies employed for such campaigns, which also should not be started with propaganda.
1.1 Background of the Study:
Over the years, the image of Nigeria and Nigerians (that is, how our external publics see us) has been quite negative. The image of Nigeria and Nigerians has a lot of implications on our social, economic, technological and political success or failure as a people. This is because our image
determines how the international community assess us and relates with us. It is based on this that various administrations in Nigeria have embarked on one image-management project or the other, including the “Heart of Africa” programme of the Obasanjo regime to the recent
“Rebranding Nigeria” programme, all to no avail.
Dora Akunyili (2009:2) campaigned that the National Rebranding Project is a systematic response to address the country’s negative image problem. The rebranding initiative drew heavily from the internal components of the previous image project, ‘Heart of Africa.’ It is designed to be people centered through Private, Public, and People’s Partnership (PPPP) paradigm shift. This campaign sought to bring about attitudinal change, reorientation, revive cultural values and instill a renewed spirit of patriotism and hope in all Nigerians. But not too many Nigerians seemed to believe in this and the style of piloting the image-management programme.
Thus, a lot of public outbursts, cynicisms and criticisms greeted the rebranding Nigeria project championed by the ex-Minister of Information, Professor Dora Akunnyili. Many social commentators argue that the right marketing communications models and strategies were not
employed by the implementers.
They insist that for Nigeria and Nigerians to effectively market themselves acceptably to the international community, they must first conduct an image and reputation management audit, which is a national re-examination of values, followed by a
holistic marketing communications programme that would change the perceptions of the international publics about us from the negative to the positive sides. This calls for a change of attitude on all Nigerians in a spirit of sound reputation management.
This, some critics argue, should have been the philosophy behind the recent rebranding project of the Nigerian government, Fakoya (2009:5). This must have informed the jettisoning of the rebranding programme by the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, and its replacement with what he calls “A Transformation Agenda” that its philosophy, ideas and implementation has remained hazy so far.
Alabi (2010: 25) argues that for any rebranding exercise to succeed it must be implemented by marketers and not non-marketers like the Nigerian case. Ajingi (2009:15) says that the rebranding Nigeria project is put up by the leaders to deceive the masses, as well as deceive themselves. That to rebrand Nigeria, we must first rebuild the nation, rebuild our concept, rebuild our way of doing things so that we move to the right direction with the right structure.
Isikalu (2009:14) agrees with Alabi that to do a proper rebranding, an understanding of the techniques and procedures required in executing a proper branding and rebranding is essential. So, public relations specialists, brand consultants, advertising agencies and brand specialists, who will channel the rebranding process through appropriate medium for optimum impact are needed.
Mustapha (2009:15) asserts that the political power holders should rebrand themselves first before trying to rebrand the masses, because they are the ones who spoiled the hitherto brand Nigeria. Manuels (2009:16) also endorses this view that the rebranding exercise should start with the leaders of the country. This must be why in Nigerians curiosity, Mustapha (2009:3) advises that what the common man needs from their federal government and other political leaders is to reflect leadership by example.
When that happens, there will be little need for re-branding as the Nigerian brand will speak for itself at home and abroad. Negalex (2009:38) also maintain that Professor Dora Akunyili took it from a very wrong angle, insisting that what is needed now is value re-orientation and attitudinal change of Nigerians.
Okiro (2009:7) agrees with this that there is no way you can re-brand Nigeria effectively and successfully without re-branding the various sections that make up Nigeria; the various organizations, units, ministries, parastatals and the individuals beginning with the Nigerian Police.
So, with all these, it became clear that the Nigerian public were not carried along with the Rebranding Exercise, leading to its failure as later admitted by Akunyili (2010: 13) herself to media men in Lagos that what is happening with rebranding Nigeria is a question of struggling to
market a product that is not very marketable and that is really posing a lot of problems.
Meanwhile, Alabi (2010: 25) says in plain layman’s language, to rebrand, reposition or repair simply put, means to change consumer’s (target publics’) perception about a nation, people, product or brand and attract positive affectation or affinity to it for the benefit of all stakeholders, particularly the promoters of the brand. Therefore, rebranding, repositioning or repairing, connotes only one thing to the man on the street – a change from negative to positive perception.
Imohiosen (2009: 3) agrees with him that re-branding at any point in time has at the heart of it the purpose of given a new look to anything and change whatever is the wrong perception hitherto experienced. Nworah (2006:3) wrote that brands are the tangible and intangible attributes of a product, service or country, comprising the brand names, logo, color, values, customer service levels, price, packaging etc. while branding is the continuous and strategic process involved in the creating and managing of all these associated brand elements and components.
Compared to products and services branding, country branding is the process whereby a country actively seeks to create a unique and competitive identity for itself, with the aim of positioning the country internally and internationally as a good destination for trade, tourism and investments, Nworah (2006:3) added. On the other hand, Marketing Communications or Integrated Marketing Communications are messages and related media used in communicating with a market.
Marketing communication is the “promotion” part of the “Marketing Mix” or the “four Ps”: price, place, promotion, and product, (Wikipedia, 2010). Practitioners in marketing, public relations, advertising, branding, brand language, direct marketing, graphic design, marketing, packaging, promotion, publicity, sponsorship, sales promotion and online marketing are usually referred to as marketing communicators. These are the people that some Nigerians are arguing that they are the ones who have the competence to properly plan, package and implement the country’s rebranding programmes.
On the other hand, integrated marketing communications (IMC) according to Clow and Baack (2007:5), entails the coordination and integration of all marketing communication tools, avenues, and sources within a company into a seamless program in order to maximize the impact on end users at a minimal cost. In our context therefore, it is the expert blending of all marketing communication tools, techniques, strategies and media (both orthodox and traditional) into a harmonious accord for an effective and successful national rebranding exercise in Nigeria, in order to optimally carry the citizens both home and abroad along.
Yet, another variant of image-management crucial in a national rebranding exerci se is the citizens’ and corporate organizations’ reputation management. Leake (2008:1) defines reputation management as the process of tracking an entity’s actions and other entities’ opinions about those actions; reporting on those actions and opinions; and reacting to that report. Reputation is generally wrapped around character, what an individual, organization, society or state is known for, and it may be good, bad or ugly.
Reputation management is effected via multi-media executed marketing communications programmes. To what extent, therefore, were marketing communications models applied in the Nigerian rebranding exercises? That, we would try to find answers to in this study, with special focus on selected major marketing communications models like: selected integrated marketing communications models (IMC), the hierarchy of effects model, the AIDA model, the DRIP marketing model, the Defining Advertising Goals for Measured Advertising Results (DAGMAR) model, the social media model and the public relations two-way symmetrical model, as the parameters for measurement in this study. Detailed explanations of some of these models could be seen in chapter two.
PROJECT TOPIC- APPRAISAL OF THE EFFECT OF SELECTED MARKETING COMMUNICATION MODELS FOR AN EFFECTIVE REBRANDING NIGERIA
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The image of the country, Nigeria, has been seriously dented by the ignoble acts of some of its misguided citizens and other negative societal factors. Some of the major negative imageinducing elements include Nigeria’s reputation as one of the most corrupt nations in the world,
fraudulent practices known locally as “419” named after the section in Nigeria’s constitution which deals with advance fee fraud. Nigeria’s other negative image problems include bribery and corruption, poor work ethics and values, unemployment, poor quality, fake and substandard
goods and services, tribal, ethnic and religious squabbles, leading to incessant bombings and killings of innocent citizens by militant groups like the Boko Haram. These scare away foreign investors (Nworah, 2004).
Marketing communications’ practitioners in the country argue that this could be addressed through effective application of some tested marketing communication models like the hierarchy of effects model, the AIDA model, the DRIP marketing model, the DAGMAR) model, the social media model and the public relations two-way symmetrical model.
However, the Nigerian Government countered that successive administrations in the country have tried to tackle this negative image problem through various national rebranding programmes like the “Ethical Orientation” of President Shehu Shagari; the Zero-Tolerance to corruption of Murtala Mohammed, the Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Reconstruction (MAMSER) of the Babangida administration, the war against indiscipline (WAI) of the Buhari/Idiagbon regime, the Heart of Africa Project of the Obasanjo administration and the abandoned “Rebranding Nigeria” programme of the Yar’Adua/Goodluck administration.
But despite all these, the country’s national image has continued to the negative side; even with the current ‘transformation agenda” of the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, which is again a form of economic rebranding programme. Meanwhile, social commentators like Ofose (2010:26) blame local and international press for their negative reportage of the country as the reason behind the failure. Talking about the ‘Rebranding-Nigeria’ project, Olukolade (2010:5) says the programme did not succeed because, “change is difficult to accept,” while a marketing scholar.
Okuhu (2010:3) believes that the image project should never have been undertaken in the first place, because to him, Nigeria as presently constituted is not yet a marketable brand. Nigeria, he said, is like an unbaked bread and no one can buy bread when the dough is yet unbaked. The country is always in the global news for all the wrong reasons, he lamented.
Okuhu (2010:3) clearly belongs to the public relations school of thought which says that “public relations does not carve on rotten woods” and the marketing school of thought which says that you must make a product good first (rebranding) before taking it to the market via a well-planned
marketing communications programme. These schools of marketing/public relations thoughts are annoyed that the country was taken to the international market without rebranding it first.
That is, without first of all correcting most of the negative internal and external dynamics that causes the bad image. For instance, Adebija (2010:12) says the entire project should not have come up at all, because it is not a national priority, hence, the rebranding campaign has clearly not lived up to expectations.
On one hand, there is an initiative to rebrand Nigeria, while on several other fronts, there is a lamentable erosion of whatever repository of goodwill the country has among stakeholder publics due to the negative impact of unfortunate socio-economic and political characteristics of our national identity, he bemoaned. In support, Daramola (2010:11) says the exercise should have started with internal institutional reforms.
For instance, if the Nigeria Police gets more efficient in the discharge of their constitutional roles that will count for more than all the appearances of the Minister of Information on national televisions. If our election reflects more sanity, it will lend more credence to rebranding than the entire jingle on radio.
Akintunde (2010:13) also says that rebuilding first before rebranding ensures that the basic needs are addressed and restores hope in the country. While Ukpong (2010:13) agrees that what is needed is not playing with words but action, because action speaks louder than words. On the
other hand marketing experts like Alabi (2009:14) believes the exercise failed because the rebranding team was mainly non-marketers.
All these controversies, thus, brings to question the extent of applications of the selected marketing communications models like the integrated marketing communications model (IMC), the hierarchy of effects model, the AIDA model, the DRIP marketing model, the DAGMAR model, the social media model and the public relations two-way symmetrical model in the execution of the rebranding campaign, which this study tried to examine critically. See figure 1.1 below for the five-fingers story of marketing communications.