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Is Personal Branding And PR A Neccessity For Political Aspirants?

Posted on: August 6th, 2018 by The Moderator 1 Comment

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.

Peter: 👌👍

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.

Osaretin: Yes.

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.

Osaretin: True

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.

Opinion ED: Why The Nigerian Youths Are Not Ready to Run for Office

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by The Moderator No Comments

This article was written by CHINEDU GEORGE NNAWETANMA

 

The 2019 Nigerian general election is less than a year away and preparations are predictably in top gear for the country’s fifth democratic transition since its return to civilian leadership in 1999. The atmosphere is politically charged and pre-electioneering buzz has taken over the print, broadcast and social media.

Among the issues on the front burner of conversations across the country is the role of the youth in Nigerian politics or, more specifically, the need to integrate the youth into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. The youth (persons between the ages of 18 and 35) make up about 30% of Nigeria’s population, but occupy a negligible fraction of its elected offices.

On the 26th of July, 2017, the Nigerian Senate passed the #NotTooYoungToRun bill, a historic move that will lower the ages of candidacy for the presidency from 40 to 35, the House of Representatives from 30 to 25 and the state houses of assembly from 30 to 25.

On February 15, 2018, it crossed the constitutional threshold of an endorsement by two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 state assemblies and it is now expected to be signed into law by the President in time for the 2019 polls, thereby creating an avenue for more youth to vie for elected offices in a political space that has been dominated by the older generations in recent times.

The youth have not always been on the periphery of Nigeria’s political landscape. In fact, Nigeria’s independence from Britain was won by the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mbonu Ojike, Obafemi Awolowo and Anthony Enahoro who utilized their youthful exuberance to agitate for Nigeria’s emancipation from colonial exploitation in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Upon this independence, youths were immediately propelled into political leadership positions across the country. Remarkably, Mathew Mbu, Mbazulike Amechi, Maitama Sule and Shehu Shagari became cabinet ministers in their 20s and 30s.

Nigeria’s first democratic experience would be brutally cut short by a military coup d’état in 1966, but even that ushered in 6 (out of a total of 8) military juntas that were led by generals in their 30s and early 40s. However, the marginalization of the youth in Nigeria’s political space can be traced to this era of military rule.

It is for this reason that the youth are often called upon to assume the mantle of leadership. It is believed that they possess the innovation, radicalism, and virility needed to transform Nigeria from its state of despondency to accelerated and sustainable development.

But, with the imminent amendment of the Constitution to accommodate the recommendations of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run bill – which will make all elected offices in Nigeria accessible to the youth – are they really ready for this responsibility? Do they possess the resources needed to wrestle power from the old guard?

I have no atom of doubt that there are capable, well-experienced and eminently qualified youths across Nigeria who can embrace this responsibility and provide the country with the digital leadership that it has so sorely lacked. What worries me is that there are so few of them.

For starters, a great deal of the youth in the country are not interested in politics. They are not politically conscious. They know next to nothing about Nigeria’s political terrain or its history or the recent developments therein and would rather talk about football, showbiz or fashion than engage in meaningful politics-themed conversations or make sense of economic indicators like the GDP, inflation rate, and interest rate. I daresay that the number of youths who will watch Nigeria vs. Argentina match at this year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia will be far greater than the number of those who will turn out to vote in the 2019 Presidential Election.

Out of the few Nigerian youths who are politically conscious, many of them are inexperienced, ill-equipped and unprepared for political leadership. On the one hand are those who see politics as a livelihood and a fast track to financial security. They are ready to toe the established line, kowtow to the kingmakers and propagate the status quo. When in power, they will be no different from the present ruling class. On the other hand are those who are genuinely interested in utilizing politics as a vehicle for creating positive change and rendering selfless service, but lack the requisite experience and skill sets to make a meaningful impact in government.

Out of the very few Nigerian youths who are adequately experienced and prepared for leadership, many lack the wherewithal to muscle out the moneyed older politicians, who have looted the country’s treasury dry, and their cronies. While the Not Too Young To Run bill addresses the age barrier to running for elected offices in Nigeria, it does not address the financial barrier.

Electioneering all over the world is an expensive venture. In Nigeria, the nomination forms for the presidency, governorship, Senate and House of Representatives are sold for 10 million, 5 million, 2 million and 1 million naira respectively, while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) estimates that political parties in the country spent about ₦11.65 billion on traceable media and other related expenses in the 2015 elections.

By contrast, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in a December 22, 2017 report, revealed that the combined youth unemployment and underemployment rate in Nigeria stood at 52.65%. Due to the dire economic state of the country, most youths are still struggling to find their feet professionally and financially, make ends meet and take care of basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter. How then can they run for election without soliciting the sponsorship of wealthy individuals with vested interests or the same crooked older politicians that they are so eager to dislodge?

This captures the predicament of the youth in Nigerian politics. The Not Too Young To Run bill may be on its way to becoming a law, but it is not yet Uhuru for the youth in Nigeria’s inhibiting political space. However, it is a huge step in the right direction that must be optimized.

Firstly effort should be made to conscientize the Nigerian youth so that they can become more interested in politics, gain a deeper understanding of the political and economic terrains of the country, demand good governance and accountability from their leaders at all times and participate actively and effectively in the democratic process. This will harness the power of the youth and make them a powerful, active bloc in Nigerian politics.

Secondly, the youth should avail themselves of opportunities that will build their capacity and enhance their leadership exposure. Among other things, they should explore leadership training, mentorship, an internship at public sector and civil society organizations, volunteerism, community development, and entrepreneurship.

Thirdly, pro-youth and pro-democracy civil society organizations (CSOs) should coalesce around and mobilize financial support for credible young aspirants in a bid to help them surmount the financial hurdle of running for office in Nigeria.

Finally, young aspirants must endeavor to embed themselves in their local communities. They must be visible at the grassroots level and not just on Facebook and Twitter. The power of the social media cannot be overemphasized, but it can only go so far if it doesn’t engage the grassroots. Less than half of Nigeria’s population use the internet and even far less are reasonably active on the social media. Consequently, young aspirants must make their campaigns visible on the ground as well as virtually.

Can you share your thoughts? we would love to hear from you

The Need for more Young People in Politics

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation.

The Octagon: We appreciate your taking time out to join this chat session which will end at 4pm. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? Thank you.

 

Kingsley: My name is Kingsley Ewetuya and I am a Project Engineer and Interface Manager in what’s left of the Oil Industry.

Ishan: Hi everyone. My name is Ishan. I’m a strategy and business development consultant. I have spent a good part of the last 11yrs working in the political sphere, more specifically in and around the presidency.

Seun: I am Oluseun Onigbinde, Lead Partner, BudgIT

Dare: Hello everyone, I am Dare Aliu, I am a power Engr. Team Lead of power at Honeywell group and EA to the chairman. I am passionate about the possibility of a Nigeria where things actually work . I have narrowed that passion to seeing the power sector work.

Banks: My name is Bamikole Omishore, better known as Banks. Special Assistant on New Media and Advocacy to Senate President. Strategist by volition . Been working with Senator Saraki for 5 years. I like to think of my self more as a serial investor.

Gbenga: I’m Gbenga Olorunpomi. A Digital Marketer and political animal. I currently serve at the pleasure of the Kogi State Governor as his Senior Special Assistant on New Media. I’m an incurable optimist and a lover of innovation and dancing.

Tega: I’m O’tega, a passionate Nigerian citizen who tries to know a bit about everything. I’m currently the Group Head for Corporate Communications at one of Nigeria’s largest homegrown conglomerates, BUA Group.

Mark Amaza: *

 

The Octagon: Thanks for the introduction.

Having been taught that democracy is “government of the people, by the people and for the people”, one of the major challenges facing democracy this century is how to translate citizen demands into responsive and accountable politics.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 25 constitute a fifth of the world’s population and yet decreasing levels of youth participation in elections and shrinking membership in political parties. Surveys have shown that whilst trust of government is low, trust in public services is generally high amongst young people.

Why don’t we have enough young people in Politics? Has Nigerian politics discouraged the inclusion of young people? Is It important to have more young people in government? How can we get more Young people interested in holding political office?

 

Banks: First we have to clearly define what group or who qualifies as young/youth. I honestly think Nigeria has a different definition for youth than the rest of the world.

Tega: By young people do you mean those aged 15 – 25 like you initially pointed out or are we expanding that to include those aged 25 – 35 years (or even 45 like some of our political parties’ youth reps)?

Dare: “While recognizing that member states use different chronologies to define youth, the United Nations defines youth as persons between the ages of 15 and 24 with all UN statistics based on this range, the UN states education as a source for theses statistics. The UN also recognizes that this varies without prejudice to other age groups listed by member states such as 18-30. A useful distinction within the UN itself can be made between teenagers (i.e. those between the ages of 13 and 19) and young adults (those between the ages of 18 and 32).The UN also states they are aware that several definitions exist for youth within UN entities such as Youth Habitat 15-32 and African Youth Charter 15-35.”

Gbenga: Young people will only participate in activities they find interesting, Profitable and appealing. I think the brand of politics and the quality of leadership before 2011 wasn’t exciting or inviting enough to attract the attention of young people. I don’t think we give enough credit to those who dreamt up and actualized Team Ribadu in 2010. That movement was built and sustained by social media. It had representation in every sate of the country and all the participants shared stories and encouraged each other. Many are still in touch today, 6 years after the launch of the movement. The perceived competence and incorruptibility of the man at the centre and the collective anger at the status quo ensured that young professionals gave up their time and resources to support a political cause. True, many had diverse ideologies and wanted different things but we all agreed that corruption had to go and professionalism had to return to leadership. I often imagine if we had allowed that group to grow beyond that man.

Tega: Haha. Gbenga, people must eat.

Gbenga: You’re right. Poverty and helplessness also play a role. So, what we need is a system that quickly empowers and educates the masses in the shortest time.

Seun: Poverty is a key challenge and politicians use it as leverage. This makes our politics more expensive.

Ishan: I agree with Gbenga. The short cut is a mass enlightenment campaign. The more people that are aware and knowledgeable, the more of a chance guys like you will be elected to office.

Kingsley: There are two institutional barriers to entry, that need to be uprooted.

  1. Financial: purchasing even the registration forms is independently unaffordable for most people. Even our President said he had to take a loan. We need campaign finance reform
  2. Political: Two subsets here: We have a policy of indigenization which makes it almost impossible for people to seek office in their state of residency rather than origin. That needs to go.

Also, there is no allowance for independent candidacy. This means that the political future youths are subject to the whims of party powers who simply aren’t ready to let go.

Dare: Kingsley, thanks for highlighting those two points. However I must reiterate that finance is the key factor that prevents the youth from engaging in active politics. The United States which represents the most advanced democracy has done its best limit the effect of finance in elections but still have a long way to go. Until we can reasonably separate entry into the political sphere and deep pockets, the youth will remain at the mercy of the older generation.

Seun: Our brand of politics is too expensive and does not appreciate ideas but slogan. This is why I think young people find it hard to enter politics.

Tega: Putting this issue at the doorstep of finance especially is one way we as young people ‘lie’ to ourselves and exclude us from the political process. Who says you have to be ‘elected’ to actually make your voice heard and impact felt in Nigerian politics – as an insider or otherwise?

(Continue on next page)

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