AN EVALUATIVE ANALYSIS OF MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE REBRANDING NIGERIA CAMPAIGNS
The image of a country can make or mar it. This is the main reason why leaders of many countries aim at maintaining a favourable image in their interactions with global community. There are, however, countries that have suffered negative image within the comity of nations and this has affected them greatly. Nigeria appears to have a tremendous bad image both within and outside the shores of the country, hence, the need for the re-branding of the nation. With the flag-off of rebranding Nigeria campaign in February 2009, the media were perceived as veritable instruments for actualising the rebranding Nigeria campaign. How effective the media have been in implementing the project is yet to be understood.
Therefore, the essence of this research work is to ascertain the extent to which the media have been able to cover the rebranding Nigeria campaign. Using contents analysis, the researcher was able to analyse three national dailies namely: This Day, the Daily Sun and the Guardian newspapers. A sample of 216 newspapers was randomly selected for analysis. The results revealed that rebranding Nigerian campaigns tended to suffer gross under-reporting in the hands of the print media outfit studied. On the basis of the findings, appropriate recommendations were made to ensure adequate highlight and coverage of rebranding campaigns and consequently win support and participation of the citizenry.
1.1 Background of Study
Reputation is what predisposes parties to consider the possibility of engaging in a mutual relationship. It conditions perception towards acceptability in any socioeconomic interaction. It becomes the bases for assessing individuals and corporate entities in order to determine their rating before reasonable members of the human society.
It becomes vital, therefore, that each country acquires a reputable image projection, in other to attract goodwill that can boost her relationship with others and promote national development (Owuamalam, 2005, p. 6). It is the quest for countries to promote good image that led to the coinage of the concept country
Reviewing the concept of country branding, Nworah (2005, p. 2) avers that; Country branding is the process whereby a country actively seeks to create a unique and competitive identity for itself, with the aim of positioning the country internally and internationally as a good destination for trade, tourism and investment.
In this regard, countries such as Wales, Spain, Colombia, Ireland and the host of others too numerous to mention, have excelled in attracting foreign direct investments and tourists from various regions to their countries as a result of carefully managed country branding programmes. In Africa, countries have launched image campaigns aimed at brightening the prospect of their country at the global level. Prominent among these countries are South Africa and their “proudly South African” programme, and Uganda and their “gifted by nature” campaign.
Frost (2004, p. 8) sums up the tenet of country’s image as it affects investor and tourist when he notes that:
There’s no arguing that the image we have of another
country says a lot about how we view it as a tourist
destination, a place to invest or a source of consumer
The above statement illustrates the weight attached to image as it affects a country. Therefore good image is the hallmark of a country’s favour or goodwill at the international market. That is why many countries make conscious effort to improve their corporate image in order to advance globally. It is the need for this good image that brought about country branding as illustrated by Nworah earlier
in this section.
Though the term national branding is not that common with countries of the world, its tenets have come to stay. Therefore, countries must make effort to appreciate this new aspect of national development as the risk of not doing so can only be imagined than experienced. Olins (1999) as quoted by Nworah (2005, p.
1) warns countries of the risks of ignoring nation branding and predicts that country branding will become normal practice in the coming decades, adding that the lack of interest and belief in country branding by some skeptics is only as a result of snobbery, ignorance and semantics.
Arguing a case for the application of branding principles in the marketing of countries, Peter Van Ham as cited in Ferguson (2001) notes that;
A state just like a company requires a strong brand. To
rise above the chattered political landscape, a state must
be able to define and promote its vision… No state must
be anonymous. The goal rather is to have a brand that
makes winning friends and influences easy…. Building a
compelling brand with deep, multi faceted attributes
requires commitment. It will require politicians and
bureaucrats to understand how identity is developed,
promoted and maintained.
Nigeria, no doubt, needs the much talked about branding in order to promote her image and win favourable reputation.
As a brand name, Nigeria has its own attributes which make her unique in the face of the world. The country is located at the trigger end of African map and she is known as the most populous black nation in the world. Nigeria is an oil rich African country with an estimated population of over 140 million people and the 6th largest oil producer in the world.
Despite these enviable attributes, Nigeria’s reputation as one of the most corrupt nations in the world, coupled with other socio-political issues has greatly affected its global image and has directly impacted on its attractiveness as a potential investment and tourist destination. According to the 2004 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Nigeria still ranks as the third most corrupt country in the world in a survey of 146 countries, coming only ahead of Haiti (the second most corrupt country).
According to Peter Eigen, the Chairman of Transparency International, “corruption robs countries of their potentials… corruption in large–scale daunting obstacle to sustainable development, and result in a major loss of public funds needed for education, health care and poverty alleviation, both in developed and
developing countries” (Nworah, 2006, p. 4).
Eigen’s opinion may account for the country’s ugly state as the number of people at the craving end is still on the high side. Most worrisome amidst this situation is the attitude of the political fathers and leaders in the country. The case of money laundry is common with the political class. Thereby affecting the pace of growth and development in the country As if this situation is not pathetic enough, the actions of some citizens are nothing to write home about. Some Nigerian citizens are fraudsters, otherwise known locally as 419 people; a code used to represent the section of Nigeria’s constitution which deals with Advance Fee Fraud (AFF).
The new wave scammers comprising young boys and girls (mainly university students) are called “Yahoo boys and girls”, as a result of their information technology (IT) dexterity and their penchant of perpetrating the scams using the internet, constantly sending unsolicited scam emails using Yahoo and other free email websites to targets all over the world, promising them spurious and ludicrous financial deals (Nworah, 2006, p.4).
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