The Moderator: Welcome to The Octagon Room.
We are a platform of Trellis Group, aimed at cataloguing insightful conversations that can raise the level of thinking around specific subject matters and also kick-start solutions towards the problem of such matters. In the simplest terms kindly introduce yourself and tell us what you do.
Oladipupo (ladispeaks): I am Israel Oladipupo Ogunseye, knows widely as LadiSpeaks. I am the Marketing Manager of Transsnet Financials, a fintech startup in Lagos. I run the first pidgin based blog in Nigeria as well-known as PidginBlog.NG and I have keen interests in Politics.
Promise: My name is Promise Chima, a marketing communications expert and Project manager with one of Nigeria’s best Creative Consultancy agency.
Rhema: I am Tunde Rhema. I help hurting individuals recover, get balanced and live a fulfilling life. A Behavioral Change Practitioner at SOBCA (Africa’s first certifying academy for Anger Management, Emotional Intelligence. Solution providers for Mental Health First Aid, SOBCA-MHFA.)
Muyiwa: Hello Everyone, my name is Muyiwa Babarinde. Is a Senior Communication Associate at Red Media Africa and I basically help brands to shake tables in the marketplace? I am extremely passionate about Marketing, Technology and Development.
Osaretin: Chief Osaretin. Graphic designer x Brand developer x Managing Partner, Jonathan Cole
Peter: I am Peter Kajovo. I am into Marketing Promotions and events.
Tosin (Olorisupergal): My name is Tosin Ajibade. Founder Olorisupergal brand, Media Entrepreneur, Convener of New Media Conference, Author.
The Moderator: My name is Gabriel BALOGUN I am the Project Manager Facilitation and Training at one of Nigeria’s best creative consultancy. I will be your moderator for this Octagon conversation.
The Moderator: Great Introductions. Glad to e-meet you all. Now that we have fully been introduced, we have got 40 minutes left to discuss.
The Moderator: Branding is an art, a well-calculated game of positioning. In the business of politics, we have learnt that impression is one of the most underlying factors to success.
But in Nigeria where it’s citizens are more interested/drawn to the political party than the political aspirants. Do you think Personal Branding and PR is a Necessity for Political Aspirants?
The floor is open ?, let’s begin to share our opinions. Anyone can start
Promise: Person branding and PR are terms which will always be included in politics globally and this didn’t start today. The ability to make yourself be seen in a certain way and also push for everyone to see you are likely to win you a position in the heart of your electorate and also the election.
Muyiwa: More than ever before, I feel personal branding and PR is extremely important for political aspirants, especially in a time when Nigerians are actively seeking the alternative to the crop of politicians who have repeatedly failed them.
Granted the two largest political parties wield a lot of influence between them, and for any outsider to gate crash their territory and win elections even under their noses, it is important to understand the need to have a holistic PR/Marketing approach.
A data-driven approach towards engaging the electorate. A personal brand that will gain the trust of Nigerians irrespective of their tribe or religion.
Ultimately, a brand is a promise, a promise which everyone expects to be kept. In today’s evolving world, as the citizens become more interested in politics and as they ask more questions from political aspirants, a personal brand that displays elements of efficiency, effectiveness, vision will be more important than ever before.
Rhema: I’d like to focus on PR. Political Aspirants can be referred to as people who are institutions, whose fragrance of personality affect others. They are people we believe can identify a gap (Problem and/or a need) and will proffer solutions. It’s essential for aspirants to know how to communicate a process to the general public as well as the stakeholders. He or she must be spontaneous and speak the language of the people so as to gain their attention.
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Personal Branding has been known to be a way in which people perceive an individual. Relating this to the Nigerian political landscape, Nigerians largely vote based on perception. Political aspirants or those who seek or desire a political office, it’s important that they carefully manage how people perceive their image and identity.
Rhema: PR goes beyond marketing to the general public that you will make free food available for the people. It goes beyond patronizing people that there will be power supply. The aforementioned are failed, consistent promises that smart people are tired of hearing.
Tosin (Olorisupergal): I feel personal branding is key for every candidate out there. We can’t ignore the fact it is important during campaigns and even in office.
The Moderator: Great responses. What exactly then is Personal Branding and Public Relations (PR)? What’s the difference?
Muyiwa: Personal Branding is the basically the act of creating a certain perception or image of an individual or group to an audience. It is the experience that people have when they encounter you.
Tosin (Olorisupergal): P.B is where individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition, whether professional or personal, and then leveraging it across platforms with a consistent message and image to achieve a specific goal. Personal Branding also builds self-confidence.
Muyiwa: I will use the example of a football club. Different teams have their own style of play: Barcelona plays flair-driven, possession & expansive football, a Stoke City for example however employs a more direct approach. Whenever you put on your TV and you see both teams playing, you can decipher which teams they are, due to the experience you expect from their brands.
Promise; P.B is simply a perception marketing strategy for everyone to see in a certain way.
Muyiwa: However, PR is an ongoing strategic communication process which you can use to build, create, improve, protect an individual or organization’s brand.
Tosin (Olorisupergal): I will add to this that in Politics, it is continuous.
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): However, I would like to add that all activities that a political aspirant does to create, shape, manage his or her constituency’s image of him or her can be regarded as Public Relations activities.
Osaretin: Yes, you are right
Osaretin: This is true.
Osaretin: Personal Branding to me is creating and deploying a perception about an individual to people’s subconscious mind. That helps them make a decision about that person. That’s where I fell PR comes in.
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): The importance of these two for a Political aspirant cannot be overly emphasized like I mentioned earlier. Take for an example, a Politician who is from the South Senatorial District in a state. The district has a reputation for producing absolutely reckless leaders. That aspirant is faced with one challenge already which is to correct this perception. Now the activities this aspirant will do to correct this would involve Public Relations activities, for example, visiting markets to relate with the citizens there, feeding the destitute etc.
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Now this same person at these visits would need to exhume and create a personal brand at these occasions such that when people speak of this person as a brand, they can describe him or her with a word that he or she so desires.
The Moderator: We have seen a large introduction of young candidates since the not too young to run bill… Do they have a chance at winning especially with the right positioning and PR?
Osaretin: Oh yes they sure do.
Tosin (Olorisupergal): No and you know the truth
Osaretin: Why do you say so, ma’am?
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): They may not stand a chance. I’ve used ‘may’ carefully because I believe that there are stakeholders in every society that you can appeal to with good PR and get them to support your ambitions even though you’re a young candidate.
Promise: It is a 70% and 30% possibility. The system is so flawed and will take a lot of education and sensitization for us to have people (electorate) vote for value. Let the PR and P.B continue and change will come.
Tosin (Olorisupergal): The truth that we are in a corrupt country and we know where all of this will end. It is between corrupt leaders who created parties just for themselves and then move from one party to the other and the same thing happen every 4 years just to stay/remain in power.
I salute those who came out to run and it’s not like I don’t believe in them but let’s be realistic here, are they not the same set of people ruling since Obasanjo’s regime? The new aspirants are trying but until our ‘forefathers’ leave then we will know that there is hope ‘in the near future’.
Rhema: They do have a chance but they can’t WIN if they still use the same approach displayed so far. Several flaws noticed even if they have good intentions. They can communicate better.
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): To start with, people don’t believe in the NTYTR Bill and move and you’d need to convince Nigerians on the need for a new order. In fact, the African believes in the older politicians because we in Africa believe in old people have more wisdom which is a mental block for anyone planning to run as a youth against an older person.
Tosin (Olorisupergal) : A notion that needs to change here. Not all old people can rule and also have wisdom. See where they led us.
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Very true but sadly it’s a societal belief
Muyiwa: My take on this is that we don’t have to see it is a sprint but a marathon. Granted they stand a very slim chance of winning. However, we can all agree that elections all over the world over the past few years have not taken the direction people thought it would go
From Brexit, to Trump, to Macron, we have seen individuals who didn’t seem to be the leading candidate win elections, riding on the anti-establishment wave that has been spreading all over.
The Moderator: which do you think is more important for them P.B or PR.
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): PR is more important even though both can be said to be equally important.
Tosin (Olorisupergal): PR is more important. That is what the world wants to see. Personal Branding now becomes something you need to do over and over again ‘being conscious’ of your new title and all. PR is what the rest of the world wants to see. Why are we forgetting that communication is key in this context?
Promise: P.R gives you mileage while P.B gives you outlook, so P.R is more important.
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Which is where PR activities come in most especially for young candidates
Osaretin: Both are important. Branding is a journey. if you wear black shoes today it would say something about you, like it or not.
The Moderator: As subject matter experts what advice can you give them as they may read this.
Muyiwa: For our new aspirants as well, even though victory might not come at the first trial, their participation is extremely important for the growth of the country’s democracy as it takes us closer to the leaders we want.
4 years ago, it would have been almost impossible for anyone to say the incumbent government with all their power and might would lose the election.
However, the electorate sent a very strong message that if you have good branding or PR or rode on the wings of some influential godfather to get into office, and you don’t perform, you will be booted out
Oladipupo (Ladispeaks): Give yourself a positive Personal Brand. Draw up a PR Strategy that helps you connect with the people, position yourself as a plug between the old and the young and defines you as class away from other charlatans who are youths.
Muyiwa: For political aspirants who are looking to throw their hats into the ring. They must have a very strong communication strategy to sell their candidacy to various stakeholders. They must understand the power of data-driven marketing, they have to tie their plans to the pain points that hurt their constituency the most.
Most importantly they have to understand that they are fighting against the establishment. To win, they have to mobilize the English, and Yoruba, and Hausa, and Pidgin and Igbo languages and send it into electoral battle.
They have to tell a story that unites Nigerians, they have to paint a picture of the future they want to create, they have to show passion. True passion (the kind that can’t be faked). And they have to show that they are committed to Nigeria and Nigerians.
Promise: PR and PB is very important, more importantly, the education of the electorate is very important and should be taken seriously this is the only way change can happen.
Rhema: Let them focus more on reaching out to people. Data collection and utilization is all they need right now. What if one of them speaks on Channels TV immediately after 10:00 pm news for 10 minutes in 7 days. This will cost them a lot but you can’t change a 10 years old Believe in 10 days. So let the young aspirants focus on this and speak less of the old aspirants.
I also think they should know about cultural intelligence. Let them speak the cultural language of the people. Let them understand the norms, values, and communication styles that runs deeply in the people they want to rule.
Engage Influential People in different sectors. Engage musicians who can generate 10Kviews in 20 minutes. Also, reply to some people’s posts on IG and other platforms. Make the public know you are listening to them.
Cultural intelligence does not require you know everything about ALL tribes. It requires that you adapt or respect your host community. More so, automate some responsibilities on your desks.
The Moderator: Wow!!! Our time is up. This has to be the best conversation I have had on politics in a long time.
Thank you, everyone, for participating fully. Thank you for your time and for sharing valid points. Thank you for adding value.
The Moderator: Thanks Rhema for this loaded advice
Rhema: Thanks Gabriel and everyone. God bless our Nation.
Muyiwa: Thanks Gabriel for hosting us. PS: One final note. They have to build one tribe of Nigerians through their communication.
Promise: Thank you Gabriel for this panel.
Osaretin: You’re most welcome GB
Tosin (Olorisupergal): Thanks Gabriel
The Moderator: Thank you, everyone, once again. I am glad we all had this conversation.