ASSESSMENT OF THE ROLE OF MASS MEDIA IN RE-BRANDING NIGERIA

Abstract: This study examined the role of mass media in re-branding Nigeria with a particular focus on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). The study was anchored on the Theory of Branding and Social Responsibility Media Theory. It is established that the role of the media is indispensable in ensuring national and international reputation. The survey research method was adopted while the data collection instrument was a questionnaire. The data were collected from the respondents within NTA while the data were analysed using the frequency and percentage method. The findings of the study showed that mass media in Nigeria especially NTA has really promoted the image and reputation of Nigeria locally and globally especially in the last 10 years through its various reportorial routine. the study further recommended that mass media should be given free hand to perform this duty as the 22 section of 1999 stipulates that the mass media shall all time be free to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people.


                                                            CHAPTER ONE

1.0       INTRODUCTION

1.1         Background to the Study

              The term,  ‘branding” or rebranding is a pretty common word in business circles  the  world  over. This is not strange since there is an increasing  mass  production of goods while services are taking different shapes on daily basis. Notwithstanding,  it  won’t  be  a  surprise  if  one  who is   not  involved in advertising,   marketing or public relations  find  its  meaning a bit hazy.  In reality, a brand is much more than a single image or string of words.  A brand is not tangible. A successful brand lives in the minds and hearts of the prospective audience, likewise the bad brand. Place branding which is the focus of this research can be defined as the process whereby a town, region, country (Nigeria) actively seeks to create a unique and competitive identity for  itself,  with  the  aim  of  positioning  it  in  formally  and externally  as  a  good  destination  for  trade,  tourism and investments (Olakunle, Felix, and Ishola, 2012).

              The image of a nation might as well be its destiny. Nigeria’s disfigured image in the global village has become an insignia of dishonesty, dishonour and disrespect. It is a known fact that majority of Nigerians are industrious, God- fearing and law-abiding, but a tiny minority is destroying the image of the country through their activities.

The positive perception of a country’s image is therefore an important gauge for judging her stand in the international political system. A good image translates into respect, influence and prestige. On the other hand, a bad or negative perception points to the contrary. Consequently, all countries endeavour to build, maintain and enhance their images in relation to other countries (Ubani, 2015). There is 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 goods (Frost, 2004:8).

Nigeria for a very long time has witnessed an abysmal rating among the comity of nations. According to Saliu (2002) “it could be argued that the negative image of Nigeria was part of the biases of the global system towards the African continent”. He pursues the argument “a section of the international system – often derives pleasure in advertising negative occurrences in Africa while the positive aspects of the continent are conveniently ignored, or half heartedly projected”.

However, the situation changed when the late President Musa Yar’Adua appointed Professor Dora Akunyili, as the Minister of Information in December 2008. She cancelled the Heart of Africa Project, citing reasons that the Heart of Africa slogan was first used by Malawi, and some other African Countries like Kenya, Libya and Congo were also laying claim to being “The Heart of Africa”.

Akunyili  subsequently  unveiled  on  Tuesday,  March  17th,  2009 at the International conference centre, Abuja, a new re-branding campaign with the slogan, “Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation”. She explained that she wanted to inspire a rebirth in the country’s belief system, repackage Nigeria and present her to the world in a more acceptable manner. “Re-branding Nigeria project is anchored on attitudinal change, re-orientation, revival of our beautiful old cultural values and instilling a renewed spirit of patriotism and hope in all Nigerians. We have to believe in ourselves so that we can define who we are, and tell our story by ourselves. For too long we have allowed others to define us the way they want.  We should do whatever we can to project Nigeria positively and responsibly manage our negatives. We should always emphasize our strong points and de- emphasize our weak points (Akunyili, 2010:21).

In order to get the buy-in of Nigerians, we evolved a competition through which Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora submitted logos and slogans of their choice. A twenty two-man committee selected from various sectors of the society assessed the almost 3000 entries and chose the slogan: “Nigeria – Good People, Great Nation” as the best which we adopted (Akunyili, 2010:21).

            Also, since the emergency of President Muhammadu Buhari the slogan has also taken a new dimension with “Change Begins with You” slogan.  President Muhammadu Buhari on September 8, 2016, launched the “Change Begins with Me’’ campaign in Abuja (Sotubo, 2016).

            President Buhari stated that Nigeria is passing through a challenging moment where hardly anything works in a normal manner. Many have attributed this phenomenon to the total breakdown of our core values over the years. He stressed that dishonesty, lack of hard work, greediness have ushered all kinds of manifestations of lawlessness and degeneration in our national life (Sotubo, 2016).

            It is against this background that the research examines the role of mass media in rebranding Nigeria with a particular focus on NTA with the few to know the extent at which media efforts have helped achieving the set goals.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

            Nigeria is regarded as the giant of Africa and one of the world’s largest oil producing countries. Her position is therefore strategic and vital in the scheme of things in the world. A lot of countries in Africa look up to her for help during conflict and in fact receive financial aid from her to drive their economy when in distress. The western world also sees her as the stabilizing factor in West Africa and a good source for business in the oil sector, However, over the years, Nigeria’ s image has eroded badly due to poor leadership and management problems. She is no longer regarded as a force to be reckoned within the international arena and Africa due to the myriad of image problems that have bogged her down and made her a pariah of sorts Her citizens have also lost credibility in the international fora because of various antisocial activities by both the citizens and government officials that portray the country in a bad light. Successive governments have fashioned out re-branding projects, which were meant to launder the image of Nigeria, positively both internally and externally. The major instrument used by the government to achieve this aim is the mass media.  It is against this background that the research examines the role of mass media in rebanding Nigeria with a particular focus on NTA with the few to know the extent at which media efforts have helped achieving the rebranding Nigeria and Change begins with you campaign. 

1.3      Objective of the Study

The objective of this study are as follows.

  1. To determine the type and function of the media in rebranding Nigeria.
  2. To ascertain the extent at which the mass media been able to change people attitude on rebranding Nigeria.
  3. To examine the extent at which the government accept the mass media as rebranding agent in Nigeria.
  4. To know the percentage of the media contribute to the rebranding process in Nigeria.
  5. To understand some of the challenges hampering mass media in performing effectively the campaigns for rebranding Nigeria.

1.4      Research Questions

  1. Of what role is the media playing in rebranding Nigeria?
  2. To what extent has the mass media been able to change people attitude on rebranding Nigeria?
  3. To what extent has the government accept the mass media as rebranding agent in Nigeria?
  4. Of what percentage is the media contribute to the rebranding process in Nigeria?
  5. What challenges hampering mass media in performing effectively the campaigns for rebranding Nigeria?

1.5       Scope of the Study

            The scope of this study covers the role of media in rebranding Nigeria which has been narrowed to Nigerian Television Authority because it is the largest television Network in Africa apart from NTA international, it has stations across the states of the federation meaning that lots of people will be exposed to the content.

1.6       Significance of the Study

            The study will enlighten public officials on how the re-branding campaign can be effectively carried out with the reviving trend of Globalization and the breaking down of international barrier of trade competition for consumers and inward investment: Countries especially Nigeria need to be repositioned to meet this challenge, and hence encourage internal acceptance for economic trade partnership and investment opportunities.

            This study will further illustrate how using TV programs that markets the great potentials of Nigeria and her people as part of a marketing mix to create the desired image around the brand (Nigeria) can be implemented and made possible. And how other stakeholders such as her public, International Communities, business partners can partner without a second thought.

            This will also help other researchers to further investigate on other aspects that this research might not be able to cover. The research will be of benefit to the government to learn from public opinion of the respondents on what is needed to be done and what other plans the government can do to renew the Nigerian image.

            Academically, the study will form an extension of knowledge to the academic study for future researchers.

1.7       Operational Definition of Terms

Role: This is the function or responsibilities expected of mass media (Nigeria Television Authority) to play in renewing the Nigerian image.

Mass Media: These are means of communicating to large, scatter and heterogeneous audience used in renewing the Nigerian image.

NTA: Nigeria Television Authority

Image: An image can be described as the impression, feeling or opinion, which somebody has, about an organization.

Rebranding: Rebranding is a strategy in which a new name, term, symbol, design. or combination thereof is created for an established brand with the intention of developing a new, differentiated identity in the minds of consumers, investors, and competitors.

Television programme: This refers to a segment of content intended for broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series.

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Related: rebranding Nigeria, re-branding programme, good people and great nation, Nta rebranding programme

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