Joyce: Influencers are selling this story, that’s why it’s a trend right now. So yes, influencers have a major role to play, positively.
Genevieve: I totally agree! We don’t blow our trumpets loud enough when we do good things…. But when one bad thing happens we sing it till everybody hears.
Peace: If Our influencers and celebrities can commit to selling a good image of the country and promoting our success stories, their followers (the larger population) would take a cue from them.
Joyce: We are very negative about the situation and progress of the nation. Always negative. The president is ill, rather than join hands to pray for him, we tease, insult and wish him death.
Damilola: Also, positive influencers are scarce and sometimes go under fire.
Joyce: Mandela and every other person who changed the situation of their nations went under fire also. Influencers should be mentally and emotionally ready for this.
Damilola: It’s easier said than done. Even Mandela got tired at some point.
Joyce: We’re humans. We are bound get tired and fed up. But when a whole lot of people embark on this mission, it becomes an army of change agents.
Damilola: Army of change agents!
Petra: Thank you for mentioning Mandela. Do you sense an aura of ingratitude in this nation? For those who “fought for the nation’s freedom” how well do we celebrate them? Celebrating a nation’s hero is one subtle way to get your nation a space in the mind of foreigners. The re-branding strategy must include a high level of emotional krinkun-krankun. Shalom!
Osaretin: These things start by us here promoting the good work people like Ahdora and her team is doing with “Art for A Cause”.
Petra: Nigerians don’t know who or what Nigeria is. Many Nigerians feel they just appeared here. We need to know and believe in it. That way, putting the nation in a good light would come to us easily.
The Octagon: One of the key aspects for a successful re-brand strategy is acculturation; getting the people from within to believe and embody the promise. Can this move ultimately become a tool for massive countrywide internal rebrand?
Osaretin: Yes it can. Yes it will.
Peace: Yes. Yes. Yes of course.
Peace: How we would get here though, is another matter entirely. The process would involve teaching a new Nigerian to the kids in nursery school, it would also involve the right ‘young’ people getting elected, and it would also involve our musicians singing a bit more patriotic songs than just booty and money.
Damilola: I believe this is the only move that will have the most effect.
Genevieve: Yes, definitely. Though it is easier said than done. It starts from every individual deciding to make a difference no matter how little.
Osaretin: Guys we are already on the right path, conversations should move to actions, no matter how little. It starts by showing up and making so much noise about the Next “Art for a Cause”. It starts by us sharing and talking about possible solutions to #MakingNigeriaGreatAgain. It starts by us using our platforms, no matter how small to sell NIGERIA in a positive light.
Peace: Once Nigerians – The average Nigerian. Once a civil servant can begin to believe and love Nigeria, then our conversations would change and soon, the media would focus on the new conversations and Gbam! A rebrand.
Taslim: We need to move beyond the regular jamboree campaigns and ambassador appointments. Influencers should be made to genuinely believe in the vision of rebranding the system. I also think it’s good that Civic Education has been included in the curriculum from Primary School. Maybe more need to be done on that part.
Damilola: Civil servants need an intervention
Joyce: In this light, people who have had a track record of working and preaching on making a better country out of Nigeria and her citizens. So rather than have a Davido whom I’d probably pay no mind to in cases like this, I’d respect the opinion of a Fela Durotoye. Not because he matters to me, but because I have seen his interest in making Nigeria a better place. Davido on the other hand only cares about the ladies he’s chasing after and the “tharty billion” in his account.
Taslim: Because Fela Durotoye matters to you. But Davido matters to another guy on the streets of Onipanu, Lagos. We need to bring everyone in on this one.
Petra: We need a 360 effect.
Genevieve: The best form of advertising is subliminal. When u advertise to someone and they actually don’t know you did yet they buy into what you’re selling! For this to work, we can’t make such a big show of rebranding the country. Each stakeholder – Influencers, industry leaders, etc will have to play their part like it was a decision they arrived at on their own. Most Nigerians don’t like anything “Nigerian” and making a big show of it will make the average Nigerian resent the motion. Hence the re-branding has to be subliminal.
Peace: Yes and that can be done by infusing the message in what we watch – the movies Ebonylife and co show us; what we hear – the songs Wizkid sings etc
Joyce: The best influencers here would be You & I. When I see my neighbors and colleagues are consistently telling the Nigerian story in a positive way, I’d be influenced.
Damilola: Davido is an influencer in his right. He has a wider audience and whether we like it or not is a source of inspiration to a sect of people. It’s whether or not he’s a positive or negative influence at a point in time.
Petra: I agree. The pearl of Africa – I mean Uganda. I had no business thinking or planning to visit the place not until I saw the Queen of Katwe. I also met a Ugandan one time, immediately I asked where she was from, her eyes lit up as she said Uganda and she won’t stop. She opened her laptop to show me her wallpaper. Brothers and sisters it was the picture of a hill in Uganda. She continued talking about her country, and in my head, I was like “who asked you” but I had chills because I’m like how can someone who is not American be so proud of their country.
The Octagon: What do you consider will be the course of action for rebranding internally and changing global perception?
Joyce: Getting everybody to become an agent of change. Movies. Music videos. Amount of negative news we throw out there.
Taslim: Get everyone on board. Infuse more civic into basic education. Put checks in the different government agencies to curb insolence and bad attitude. Fixing the digital presence starts from fixing the offline issues.
Peace: 1. Sensitization: Go to the rural areas, to schools, to churches. Do roundtable discussion events et al. 2. Get the Government to have a sit down with influencers and sell them the vision, let them be convinced to sell the new Nigerian message in their content – music, books, songs etc. Kind of like what one.org did with songs. Oh and Yes! Prayer. Like the Muslims pray for Nigeria, Let Christians Pray too.
Genevieve: 1. Teaching kids in the school how to be responsible citizens – don’t throw busicuit wrappers on the road, wait for the light to turn red before you attempt to cross the road etc. 2. Changing the mindset of the average youth to know that other opportunities exist to make money apart from music, Yahoo, drugs, etc. 3. Honouring (and making a big show of it) individuals who accomplish great things within and outside the country. And the list goes on.
Petra: 1. Stop abusing people in traffic, 2. Stop yimu-ing at your leaders, 3. Get to know Nigeria, 4. Believe in Nigeria, 5. Speak well of Nigeria, 6. Know your national anthem, 7. Be proud of who you are and what you’re made of, 8. Become that influencer
The Octagon: In rounding off, do share any final point as a way forward to attain the desired internal and global perception.
Genevieve: Rebranding Nigeria is no doubt a daunting task however it is highly achievable. Once a critical mass can come together and decide to create a wave of change in their own little or major way, we will begin to see the change we desire.
Peace: The Media takes and puts out there whatever we give it. The Media isn’t generating conversation, it’s us – its Nigerians that are making the conversations. If we all begin to tweet more positively about Nigeria, if our songs that celebrating our country, if we have more movies that tell the Nigeria story, if we celebrate our talents and innovations more, then the media would pick it up and the world would see us in a different perspective.
It all starts with what each of us in this room say about Nigeria on our own timelines.
Joyce: Yes, we don’t respect our leaders because of the obvious things they do. But that doesn’t give us the need to insult them on the internet and make nasty memes of them. There are leaders of other countries who may be worse than ours, yet their citizens still play it cool on the internet. Take the North Korean president for example, that dude is nasty. He orders executions like its Dominos pizza, yet you don’t see citizens of that country slandering their leader online. We have no limits with the type of things we post on social media and that has built a perception of who we are to the world. And no. We won’t start by making hash tags out of it. This just makes it a trend, and trends have timeframes. It is supposed to go on for years. Organizations, churches, schools would have to imbibe this change in the minds of their employees, members and students and so forth.
Petra: Engage the media to implement more strategic agenda setting conversations and the government should employ the use of real life participation development strategies. I know why I said real life. Talk for another day. Shalom!
The Octagon: Thanks everyone for being a part of this discussion. We’ll be in touch.
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