Expert Reiterates Power of Storytelling in Projecting National Identity
Industry experts, communication professionals and stakeholders in the brands and marketing communication industry, on March 6, 2020 converged at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos for the Industry Evening with Goddie Ofose, one of Nigeria’s top brand analysts and journalists.
The event themed: “Advertising and the Power of the Nigerian Story” was organised to have industry analysts and experts together to provide insight into the Nigeria advertising landscape and the effect of advertising in reshaping the nation’s history.
While speaking, the keynote speaker, Mr. Lanre Adisa, CCO, Noah’s Ark Limited, said that outsiders have been telling the Nigerian story for too long and communication professionals must come together to really portray the true story to the world. He enjoined all to make conscious, deliberate and organised efforts to tell the many positive stories of the country, if we truly desire to expand Nigeria’s reputation index globally.
According to him; “Nations tell stories. Sometimes they tell it themselves through what they do or what they say about themselves. Sometimes their stories are subsumed in the stories and heroics of their people. At other times, outsiders tell their stories, cobbled together from a myriad of odds and bits done by them or their people. The latter is never desirable. In that instance, you’re not in control of the input and therefore cannot determine the output.
“In today’s world, truly powerful nations have gone beyond jostling for control in the real world to extending their frontiers in outer space and now the next battle is the dominance of cyberspace in all its entirety.”
Picking his field, advertising – an area he believes has huge mind-power with both intended and subtle messages, as an example, Adisa feels every piece must be seen as an opportunity to shape minds and make impact for a particular era.
“When the full power of advertising is unleashed, it changes the fortune of brands for good. Its power is unbelievably transformative,” he stressed.
To Adisa, every piece of communication arts, be it an ad, music or film project must provide a veritable platform to project Nigeria’s story and condition valuable positive projections for the country.
“Every form of content that we come across speaks to us at two levels; the level of the intended message as well as that of the unintended. Every piece of advertising done in a particular epoch mirrors that era and beams the light on the future. By this, I mean the entire industry inadvertently creates a body of work with anthropological import.
Adisa added that while many nations have been able to depict their national monuments in the heart of the people, Nigeria has not been able to fully tap into the power of using national monuments and other paraphernalia of culture to help paint the image of the country to its people and the world at large. Using the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower as example, he said these have already created a sort of representation to people outside their countries.
“Our nation may have a problem agreeing on the best way to represent itself, but we as an industry have a lot to do to sell Nigerian imagery and monuments for them to attain iconic status. As beautiful as JP Clark’s Ibadan poem is, I do not know if it has evoked any action from the people of Ibadan to make it their own and part of their legacy in the modern age. Think about it, the American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, came from a poem by a lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key. The same country refers to itself as the land of the free, home of the brave. Here in Africa, the South African national anthem started its life as the anthem of the ANC. That nation brands itself as the Rainbow Nation. I’m not too sure if Ghanaians will argue about the part of their country where the kente fabric came from before accepting it as a national treasure. Go to the East and the North, you find people celebrating weddings with the asooke caps and head gear. Yet no one dare project it as a national treasure.”
He concluded that we need to dig deeper into our world and express ourselves in a way that will earn the attention and respect of the wider world.
Notable individuals at the event include; Udeme Ufot, CEO/GMD SO&U, former APCON chair, Lolu Akinwunmi, GMD, Prima Garner, former APCON chairman and Nn’Emeka Maduegbuna, CEO, C &F and foremost PR practitioner.
Others are; Dr Felix King Eiremiokhae, Martin Mabutho, Jaiye Israel Opayemi, Mrs Bunmi Oke, Moji Saka, and Odion Aleobua amongst others