Pat Utomi, a professor of political economy, says every Nigerian must consistently promote a positive image of the country.
He said this at the National branding conference 2017 organised by Brandzone Consulting in collaboration with the Centre for Values in Leadership in Lagos.
Utomi, who is the founder of the centre, urged Nigerians to take a keen interest in matters that affect the country’s image.
“Every citizen of Nigeria must take keen interest in and participate actively in the national branding process by projecting a positive image of the nation in ways that attract tourism, foreign capital, and other investments that lead to growth and development of the economy,” he said.
“We must consistently promote the external image of the nation to the world and also the internal image to ourselves.
“Just the same way that businesses attempt to influence their customers’ perceptions of their brands through strategic brand positioning, we as a nation must attempt to influence the perception of both the internal and external stakeholders of this great nation.”
Earlier in her welcome address, Chizor Malize, managing partner and convener of the conference, said the national branding conference, themed ‘Branding: A catalyst for development and growth’, was birthed out of the desire to adopt a deliberate approach in promoting a positive national narrative.
She said the conference — “the first of its kind in Nigeria” — brings to the fore the need to be strategic in building a “strong, positive, unified public narrative for our nation that citizens can own and be proud of.”
“This year’s national branding conference comes in recognition of the need to take ownership of and promote more positive narratives around our Nation’s brand,” Malize said.
“It is a strategic response to the need to consistently convey an appropriate and progressive public narrative that ensures our diversity, strengths and attributes as a nation are projected positively and consistently around the world.”
Delivering the keynote address, Ibukun Awosika, chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, enjoined Nigerians to demonstrate passion and commitment to building a “Nigerian brand of high value and equity”.