76 Views

Top 5 Nigerian icons and what to learn from them

The highly publicized Nigeria’s five greatest living legends voting and final selection has come and gone, but it leaves us with so much to unearth as students of brands evolution. The whole initiative, which I consider very indigenous in context, provides us a very valid basis to substantiate our quest for local insights on how global brands will emerge from this part of the world. This article shall attempt to review its conceptual imperative and also propound certain hypothesis that can engage our intellectual minds in unravelling how 5 mortal men became our adorable reference characters through the morals, lessons and the bigger purpose they consistently stand for. Like the myth of iconic brands or Saatchi’s Lovemark, these men have become our collective heroes and have earned our voluntary endearment, spontaneous evocations and deep-seated followership that transcend sentiments or ethnic stereotypes.

Vanguard Newspaper and Silverbird Group have through this democratic system given us an intellectual goldmine to understand how the emergence of legendary individuals perfectly correlates with the evolution of iconic brands. The all-involving selection process also validates how elevated conceptual entities often become archetypes whose parametric boundaries define how we navigate our way through life. Like brands seeking buyers’ attention in the shelf space, these individuals have authoured larger-than-life mental stories that are told and retold, forge meaningful connection with our unconscious extension and have secured long term tenancy with our deeper motives. They truly represent our shared and collective ideal.

This frame of thinking rationalises why we genuinely adore, cherish and hold them in high esteem; not just because of what they do but because of what they have come to mean to us. These principles remain valid for brands that play at a level near gods. Brands like Coca-Cola, Mercedes, Apple, Nike, Disney, MTN etc. have become social artifacts, mutual symbol of trust, emotional emblems and have become popular lines in our everyday lexicon. They remain our forever brands that continue to be relevant as they perfectly accentuate our collective aspirations and define the epicentre of populist ideal.

These five legendary Nigerian icons, like every successful brand have won our votes because they have consistently stood for a bigger purpose; even at their own personal detriment and their stories have become a narrative template and an inspirational platform for living. They have therefore won our hearts through consistent delivery of a compelling promise that have become the rallying cry that all Nigerians irrespective of age, gender, social class and ethnic groups and we could even go the extra mile to pay premium (confirmed with the many text messages we sent as votes) to validate this.

Ojukwu

The voting pattern provides very insightful opportunity to profile parameters that make for a legendary brand. Pastor E.A. Adeboye’s 30.8% is a proof that the deeper purpose dimension is the most elevated expression a brand can bring to the consumer. Nwankwo Kanu’s 10.4% vote means that brands must own a popular cause sufficient enough to translate into a reinforcing socio-emotional capital. Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s 8.9% from the Biafran historical perspective demonstrates how important it is for brands to define an identity that consumers are proud to uniquely associate with. Chief Gani Fawehinmi 7.6% and Professor Wole Soyinka 6.2% aptly buttress the importance of being people-centric and champion consumer’s aspiration in sincere activism.

Kanu Nwankwo

Pastor Enoch Adeboye

What does this mean for brands?

You will agree with me that successful brands are not haphazard creations; they emerge from a consistent reinforcement of a point of view that secures permanent placement in the consumers’ hallowed space as an ageless, borderless, and timeless influencer of choice. This by implication demands that such brands are not just functionality-driven and thrive on basic category membership but have evolved to earn an elevated space that weave them seamlessly with consumers’ self definition and expression.

The projection of these brands is also skewed towards consumers’ deeper motives and finding affection at the core of consumers’ sense of being. They therefore do not just sell products; but promote enduring issues like hope, optimism, relationships, nostalgia, family values etc…things that we genuinely care about. Looking through the 5 Nigerians who got the highest number of votes and cross-validating it with some high-level proprietary researches, we can advance an hypothesis that a brand will stand like a legend if it delivers on 4 stepwise concentric manifestations, which are explained below using the core attributes of the 5 winners.

Chief Gani Fawehinmi

1. Symbolic and deeper purpose dimension: Represented by the moral standing and the spiritual transformation associated with the person and the ministry Pastor E.A. Adeboye.

2.Social cause ownership: Epitomised in Kanu Nwankwo and his social impact initiatives

3.Conferral of Identity: Dim Ojukwu and the genuine search for the Igbo essence.

4.Populist activism through service (or sacrifice): doubly typified by Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Professor Wole Soyinka

1. Symbolic or the power of higher purpose allows a brand to touch the core of consumers’ being by “enhancing” consumer inner self whilst providing a “renewed” imagery of their desired self. This elevated role is anchored on the unseen power of conceptual relevance and personal testimonials (of the consumers) built on a sustained usage ritual that consumer treasures and relishes.

The symbolic power of a brand makes it to transit from the rational world where features and benefits reign to the allegorical space where associations, experiences and feelings rule. When some are talking reliability, price, aesthetic; our kind of brands are engaging the consumers at the level of deeper meanings like adventure, independence, originality, nostalgia, truth etc. Popular campaigns like Dove “real beauty from within” and Axe ‘success’ fantasies of an underdog lover are examples of how the spiritual dimension of a brand is enhanced through the provisioning of compelling answers to life, inspiring confidence in the users and challenging consumers to be the best they can be.

This deeper brand space becomes stronger when consumers can capture special and individualised meaning for the experiences that the product delivers like a personal religious testimony. The individualised “aphrodisiac” perception of Guinness Extra Stout and the Seaman’s Aromatic Schnapps association with the unseen world of the ancestors, even without any scientific proof are examples of symbolic magical moments that are compelling enough to provide a transgenerational anchor that makes for a “cult” brand. These are the magical moments every brand must seek to create as perfectly crafted memories that outlive times, heighten emotions and create a feeling of stronger bond that provide the ignition for repeat purchase and sustained referral. These local examples have shown us that brand building is far more than the intrinsic qualities of a product or service; it is about generating compelling narratives. Does a heritage bank like First Bank sees its “Elephant” as a symbolic property for brand reinforcement or a mere passive entity in the logo or a just a public offer activation gimmick? Has Nestle taken the positive aura of “Milo Clap” beyond just an identifier sound to a reinforcing mnemonics of sonic brand expression?

2. Social power of brand speaks to the ability of brand to create unending spheres of influence through a focused social intervention that intersects or overlaps a definite consumer or societal concern while making tangible impact in the world where its consumers live in. Beyond the grandiose corporate posture is the need to own a populist cause that is perfectly aligned with the brand’s eternal purpose. It is not just about corporate philanthropy, but a genuine act of involving the brand in what your defined stakeholders feel passionate about, something they will take on themselves and champion on your behalf.

Brand must grow to become a genuine giver like Kanu who gave his talent and became our Atlanta 1996 hero and also translated his personal challenge to a common good that now addresses the need of a largely neglected segment. Fidelity Bank environmental support intervention remains one of the most focused social involvements in the Nigerian brand space; same as MTN Foundation’s 1% profit after tax made available to make our world a better place to live in. Guinness “Water of life” project and the popular Nedbank’s solar billboard remain excellent references. Beyond our quest for market share, great advertising etc., we must always ask this lifelong question “what shall my brand be remembered for?”

3. Identity conferral is the ability of a brand to deliver a feeling of uniqueness to the consumers as an exclusive complement to their desired self statement. Consumers will always be attracted to brands that elevate their sense of pride, evoke individuality and create a feeling of being different from the crowd. Such brands provide tool of identity formation and forge a “mosaic of the self” within certain perceptual boundaries that ultimately hoist consumers’ self worth. These brands act like exclusive membership tag similar to the sincere drive of the great Ikemba to give every Igbo man a sense of uniqueness captured by Biafra’s collective identity blueprint. Brands must provide some form of identity like a distinct communal space that consumers desire to belong to. Users must feel like the brand says something unique that is true to their roots and must provide opportunity to explore their miniature space, cherish their differences and inspire some inimitability. Dunhill’s “Cosmopolitan aristocrats”, Nike’s “Everyday Heroes”, Ribena’s “Bullies breakers”, Tura’s “Brainy beauties” and Mimee’s “Adventurous palate” are all identity labels for brand definition and personality profiling. Brands that also facilitate consumer’s desire for customized experience, mix-and-match bundle and do-it-your-way services fall within this space. Milo in cans identify with always-on-the-move transumers, so also are Indomie pepper soup variant, Bank PHB’s Pink Account, FRSC customizable plate numbers, Mimee’s 6-in-1 Bumper pack and MTN’s Do-It-yourself CallerTunez Reloaded appealing to this identity space. How convincing have LG’s Electronics Naija Tele, Nokia with Nigerian native languages, Nollywood and Etisalat’s 9ija been articulated and configured to serve for consumer self projection?

4. The power of activism or service is the most basic expression of any brand that a mention on the legendary hall of fame. Brands that have genuine interest in the people who provide their hard-earned in exchange for its delivery. These brands understand that they must serve the consumers in a way that they feel they are getting more than he paid for. This captures the service dimension of a brand. An activist brand understands the imperatives of delivering on the basic product core like quality because its mantra is that the consumers must never at any time feel cheated in the value transfer. Activist brand develop a customer service culture that does not see customers as statistics, but as people that have the right to get what they pay for. Like any activist, these brands are burdened by consumers’ concerns, worries and agitations and remain driven by their standpoint for an egalitarian society where there is neither cheating nor deception for every customer’s penny. This for me is the most primitive expression of a brand because it reinforces the need to be of requisite quality and sold at a fair price and available whenever needed.

Like Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Prof. Wole Soyinka, service brands swear by this rule – “an injustice to one is an injustice to all” and will not consider it a loss to recall a product line if a single customer lodge a formal complaint. Like the concerns of every activist every brand owner must ascertain if you are serving the interest of the large populace of the end-users (i.e. common man) who keep you in business or serving the ambitious drive of a very priviledged few (the profit sharers). Multi-language call centre like MTN’s create a sense of equality where every Nigerian can freely express themselves in their mother tongue. Low unit portion packs initiated by Cowbell milk or Orbit’s new global campaign that claims it will refund any excess if a customer finds a price less than hers anywhere else. Deliberate concern for the downtrodden like GT Bank being the only bank that has a walkway for customers on wheelchair and HiTV’s compelling entry as the common man’s succor to entertainment are manifestations of this dimension. In conclusion, like Sir Hector Laing said “Buildings age and become dilapidated. Machines wear out and cars will rust, but what live on are brands”. This is an eternal truth to always ponder on as we continue our search for truly Nigerian global brands. We must appreciate the fact that the business of brand building is retelling collective experiences like stories that help us feel good about ourselves. If we consciously elevate our users to heroes, we elevate our brand to the status of a legend. It is law of direct proportion worth living by as we continue to etch ourselves into the consumers’ collective unconscious as an enduring conveyor of people’s trust.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Latest Posts

Tinubu Speaks on Gani Adams’ Emergence as Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland
Art, History and Culture
20 views
Art, History and Culture
20 views

Tinubu Speaks on Gani Adams’ Emergence as Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland

PH - October 18, 2017

Bola Ahmed Tinubu has congratulated the emergence of Gani Adams as the next Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland. “Dear Otunba, I congratulate you on your appointment as…

Why Nigeria Needs PDP to be as Strong as APC – Obasanjo
Politics
14 views
Politics
14 views

Why Nigeria Needs PDP to be as Strong as APC – Obasanjo

PH - October 18, 2017

Nigeria's former President Olusegun Obasanjo has reiterated that good governor in Nigeria is hinged on a strong opposition party. This way the party in power will not…

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1 Billion Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation
Food and Health
42 views
Food and Health
42 views

Nwankwo Kanu Launches N1 Billion Jackpot Lotto To Support Kanu Heart Foundation

PH - October 17, 2017

Legendary Nigerian footballer and philanthropist, Nwankwo Kanu, is launching the biggest lotto in Africa to raise funds for the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) (www.KanuHeartFoundationNg.com) and help build…

6 Reasons Why Senator Abaribe Applied To Be Discharged As Nnamdi Kanu’s Surety
Politics
60 views
Politics
60 views

6 Reasons Why Senator Abaribe Applied To Be Discharged As Nnamdi Kanu’s Surety

PH - October 17, 2017

The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Enyinaya Abaribe, has applied to the court to be discharged from the suretyship, bond and recognizance of the bail of…

Lagos State Records 100% Increase In Domestic And Sexual Violence Cases
Shocking
46 views
Shocking
46 views

Lagos State Records 100% Increase In Domestic And Sexual Violence Cases

PH - October 17, 2017

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) yesterday has stated that 950 domestic and sexual violence cases have been reported this year alone, compared…

Where Is TSTV Nigeria 17 Days After Launch? – Biola Kazeem
Business
52 views
Business
52 views

Where Is TSTV Nigeria 17 Days After Launch? – Biola Kazeem

PH - October 17, 2017

Renowned sport analyst Biola Kazeem has taken to Twitter to express his thoughts on the inability of TSTV to commence operation 17 days after launching. He also…

Davido Finally Speaks After Alleged Murder – ‘I Forgive All Those Who Called Me A Murderer’
Entertainment
72 views
Entertainment
72 views

Davido Finally Speaks After Alleged Murder – ‘I Forgive All Those Who Called Me A Murderer’

MT - October 17, 2017

Nigerian singer Davido, who has been embroiled in some controversies recently over the death of some friends, says he ‘forgives’ all those who accused him of murder.…

Omoni Oboli’s Okafors Law Becomes the First Nigerian Movie to be Screened at Film Festival in South Korea
Entertainment
65 views
Entertainment
65 views

Omoni Oboli’s Okafors Law Becomes the First Nigerian Movie to be Screened at Film Festival in South Korea

PH - October 17, 2017

Nollywood film maker and actor, Omoni Oboli is grateful for the good news she received on her movie, ‘Okafors Law.’ Earlier this year, a court injunction stopped…

Queen Chanel of Iwoland Explains Why She Wears A Crown
Art, History and Culture
73 views
Art, History and Culture
73 views

Queen Chanel of Iwoland Explains Why She Wears A Crown

PH - October 17, 2017

Queen Chanel Chin, is the wife of Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi. Born in Toronto, Canada, Queen Chanel’s dream of coming to Africa was fulfilled when…

Important Things Couples Should be Doing During Courtship Before Marriage (Must Read)
Lifestyle
65 views
Lifestyle
65 views

Important Things Couples Should be Doing During Courtship Before Marriage (Must Read)

MT - October 17, 2017

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions that you will ever make. You are entrusting the rest of your life into the care of another human…

Barack Obama Chooses Nigerian Artist Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait
Art, History and Culture
56 views
Art, History and Culture
56 views

Barack Obama Chooses Nigerian Artist Kehinde Wiley to Paint His Official Presidential Portrait

PH - October 17, 2017

Former US President Barack Obama has handpicked artist Kehinde Wiley to paint his official Presidential portrait, Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced. Wiley is best known for his pieces showing African-Americans in hip-hop gears,…

Nigeria Wins Re-Election Into UN Human Rights Council
World Buzz
60 views
World Buzz
60 views

Nigeria Wins Re-Election Into UN Human Rights Council

PH - October 17, 2017

Nigeria has won a re-election into the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva for the 2018 to 2020 term at an election held on Monday at the…

FUNAAB Produces 203 First Class Graduates
Best of Nigeria
83 views
Best of Nigeria
83 views

FUNAAB Produces 203 First Class Graduates

PH - October 17, 2017

Ololade Enikuomehin, acting vice-chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, said on Monday that the institution produced 203 first class graduates in the 2016/2017 academic session. The university also said…

Tagbo: 5 Things You Need To Know About Davido’s Late Friend
Entertainment
118 views
Entertainment
118 views

Tagbo: 5 Things You Need To Know About Davido’s Late Friend

MT - October 16, 2017

About two weeks ago, Nigerians woke up to the news of the death of one Tagbo Umeike, who was later introduced as a friend of Nigerian hip…

Lukaku Reveals Why He Do Not Put Pressure On Himself Scoring Against Big Teams
Sports
57 views
Sports
57 views

Lukaku Reveals Why He Do Not Put Pressure On Himself Scoring Against Big Teams

MT - October 16, 2017

Liverpool goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet was barely troubled by the Premier League’s top scorer, Romelu Lukaku on Saturday, but he is certain that important goals will come at…

Orji-Uzor Kalu Speaks About Buhari’s Govt. – ‘The President Is Marginalizing The Igbos, I’m Not Afraid To Speak The Truth’
Politics
92 views
Politics
92 views

Orji-Uzor Kalu Speaks About Buhari’s Govt. – ‘The President Is Marginalizing The Igbos, I’m Not Afraid To Speak The Truth’

MT - October 16, 2017

While speaking in an exclusive interview with The Sun Newspaper, achieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, state that…

The Transformation Of These Twins Has Got The Internet Buzzing (PHOTOS)
Inspiring
107 views
Inspiring
107 views

The Transformation Of These Twins Has Got The Internet Buzzing (PHOTOS)

MT - October 16, 2017

These twins’ transformation has everyone talking! Talking about transforming, here’s one. Wow! I guess They grew up Learned a few tricks about makeup and bleaching too.

In Photos: Wives Of Nigerian Senators Looking Glamorous As They Attend Birthday Party In Ibadan
Politics
106 views
Politics
106 views

In Photos: Wives Of Nigerian Senators Looking Glamorous As They Attend Birthday Party In Ibadan

MT - October 16, 2017

Toyin Saraki, wife of senate president led a group of women (wives of Nigerian senators) to celebrate Senator Akanbi’s wife’s 50th birthday in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.…

Loading...