By Prince Charles Dickson
Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi, the designer of the Nigeria flag (Green/White/Green), takes a bow from this world. God bless his soul as he rests in peace. I believe in Nigeria. I believe in its people and the diversities that define such people—Chris Kwaja
A brand is a multifaceted concept that represents a combination of tangible and intangible elements associated with a product, service, organization, or even an individual. It is a unique identifier that distinguishes one entity from another in the eyes of customers, stakeholders, and the public. On many occasions, a brand has made a nation, and in some instances, a nation either has made a brand or is a brand itself.
When you talk about a brand, you are talking about identity, a brand encompasses visual elements such as logos, color schemes, typography, and design. These elements create a distinct visual identity that helps people recognize and remember the brand.
The name of a brand is a fundamental component. It can be a company name, a product name, or even a personal name. The name should be memorable and resonate with the brand’s values and identity. Brands often have a set of core values and a unique culture that guide their actions and interactions with customers and the community. These values shape the brand’s identity and reputation.
A brand is not just what the company says about itself; it’s also how customers and the public perceive it. Customer experiences, word-of-mouth, and marketing efforts all contribute to shaping this perception. Brands evoke emotions and associations in people’s minds. These can be positive or negative and are influenced by past experiences and interactions with the brand.
Brands have consistency, they evoke trust and loyalty.
When we speak of nations and brands, there is something we call the country-of-origin effect (COE), also known as the made-in image and the nationality bias, a psychological effect describing how products’ country-of-origin labeling influences consumers’ attitudes, perceptions, and purchasing decisions, and more.
So, whether it is Gap/Levis, H&M, Adidas and Puma, Zara, Gucci, Armani, Bulgari, Diesel, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Valentino, Versace, Nike, Toyota, Red Bull, Lego, Heineken, Nestle, Bombardier, Škoda, Nokia, Samsung, Mercedes-Benz, Louis Vuitton, Sony, Panasonic, and Honda. You start to think of Sweden, Japan, Australia, Spain, Austria, Denmark, The Netherlands
Switzerland, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, South Korea, Germany, and France. Coca-Cola, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, McDonald’s – you name it, all are American brands. You can call the Premier League, or Wimbledon both UK Brands.
The concept of the “Nigerian brand” encompasses the collective image, reputation, and identity associated with Nigeria as a nation. Like any other country, Nigeria has a distinct brand that is shaped by its history, culture, values, people, and international perception. Discussing the Nigerian brand involves considering both the positive and negative aspects that contribute to its overall image.
Our diverse culture is a brand, renowned for our rich and diverse culture, with over 250 ethnic groups and languages. This cultural diversity manifests in art, music, dance, and traditional ceremonies, contributing to Nigeria’s vibrant cultural brand.
Have you watched a Nigerian flick, Nigeria’s film industry, known as Nollywood, is one of the largest in the world. It produces a wide range of films that resonate with audiences globally, helping to shape Nigeria’s brand as a cultural hub.
Our entrepreneurship and innovational spirit is a brand that has suffered and one that we have simply refused to address, and as such neglected. Nigerian cuisine, with its unique flavors and dishes like jollof rice, suya, and pounded yam, is gaining popularity worldwide, contributing to the nation’s culinary brand.
Our number one undisputable brand the Diasporan influence, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom, has made significant contributions in various fields, including entertainment, academia, and business, enhancing Nigeria’s global presence.
But none of these brands would be of much but for the Nigerian Green White Green flag a vibrant emblem that encapsulates the spirit, diversity, and history of Nigeria. Comprising three vertical stripes, it holds a deep significance that resonates with the nation’s journey from colonization to independence and its rich cultural tapestry. It is the symbol of the Nigerian brand…
The flag’s design consists of two green stripes flanking a white stripe. The green color represents the lush vegetation and fertile land of Nigeria, signifying its agricultural abundance. Moreover, green embodies growth, vitality, and progress, reflecting the nation’s aspirations and determination to thrive.
The white stripe, positioned between the green ones, represents peace and unity. It is a symbol of Nigeria’s commitment to fostering harmony and togetherness among its diverse population, composed of various ethnicities, languages, and cultures.
The Nigerian flag is a reminder of the country’s hard-fought struggle for independence from colonial rule. It serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring citizens to build a strong, united, and prosperous nation. Its presence at official events, international forums, and local celebrations symbolizes Nigeria’s presence on the global stage and its commitment to shared values.
Beyond its colors and design, the flag carries with it the pride and identity of the Nigerian people. It encapsulates the nation’s history, culture, and aspirations, serving as a unifying force that brings together a diverse populace under the banner of shared dreams.
Sadly, the Nigerian brand has struggled with issues of corruption, which have led to negative perceptions both domestically and internationally. Corruption continues to affect governance, economic growth, and public trust. The country has faced security challenges, including terrorism, insurgency, and ethnic conflicts, which have impacted its image as a safe and stable nation.
No matter what we say, Nigeria’s infrastructure, including roads, electricity, and healthcare, has faced challenges, affecting the quality of life and business environment, such that we are not viewed as a serious nation or people, it makes our brand weak. With political instability, frequent changes in leadership, and sometimes controversial elections have contributed to uncertainty in Nigeria’s political landscape. Add the income inequality and poverty which remain significant issues in Nigeria, affecting the overall well-being of its citizens, what is there to celebrate?
However, with each flutter of the Nigerian Green White Green flag, a powerful message is conveyed: a message of resilience, unity, and hope for a brighter future. It stands as a testament to the nation’s past achievements and its ongoing journey toward progress and prosperity, proudly representing Nigeria’s place in the tapestry of the global community.
In summary, the Nigerian brand is a complex mix of positive attributes and challenges. It encompasses a rich cultural heritage, entrepreneurial spirit, and contributions to the global cultural landscape. However, it also faces challenges related to governance, security, and economic development. Shaping and improving the Nigerian brand often involves addressing these challenges while leveraging the country’s strengths to promote a more positive and accurate perception on the international stage.
In essence, a brand is a holistic representation of what an entity stands for, how it presents itself, and how it is perceived by its target audience. It’s a powerful tool for businesses and individuals alike, as it can influence purchase decisions, build trust, and create lasting connections with customers and stakeholders. Successful branding involves carefully crafting and managing all these elements to create a positive and enduring brand image. A lot of Nigerians do not know him, especially the younger ones, let alone celebrate him but indeed we all owe Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi, he is a genuine Nigerian brand, and like I say these days—May Nigeria win!
Prince Charles Dickson PhD, is the team lead, The Tattaaunawa Roundtable Initiative (TRICentre),
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