Stakeholders Brainstorm At Brandzone’s National Branding Conference



National Branding Conference
L-R: Former Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke; Co-Founder, Transparency International, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili; Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika; Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi; Managing Partner, Brandzone Consulting LLC and Convener, National Branding Conference, Chizor Malize; and Executive Director, Sterling Bank Plc, Abubakar Suleiman, at the Brand Innovation Conference 2017 in Lagos.



Thought leaders, industry experts and nation builders recently came together to brainstorm at the national branding conference organized by Brandzone Consulting in collaboration with the Centre for Values in Leadership at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos.


The conference theme, “Branding: A Catalyst for Development and Growth” and designed with the objective of creating a strong and positive Brand Narrative for the nation, recorded attendance by prominent Nigerians from diverse backgrounds that cut across the public sector, private sector, corporations, enterprise owners, visionary Board Directors and policymakers from diverse sectors.


In her welcome address, Chizor Malize, Managing Partner, Brandzone Consulting LLC and the Convener, National Branding Conference, stated that the conference was birthed out of a burning desire to stir the nation towards adopting a deliberate approach in promoting a positive national narrative. She noted that the National Branding Conference 2017, the first of its kind in Nigeria, brings to the fore the need to be deliberate and strategic about building a strong, positive, unified public narrative for our nation that citizens can own and be proud of.


Malize said: “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. 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.”


In his opening address, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Values in Leadership and Co-Convener, National Branding Conference 2017, Professor Pat Utomi, urged participants to take interest in the matters that affect the brand of our nation: “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.


“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,” he remarked.


While delivering the keynote address, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited who is also the Conference Chairperson, enjoined Nigerians to embrace love for the nation and demonstrate passion and commitment to building a Nigerian brand of high value and equity.


“Our citizens must play an active role in promoting the nation’s brand through our positive actions. Like products, countries should be deliberate and strategic about cultivating a strong and positive image because the way they are perceived by citizens, visitors and the world at large can have an impact on both the economy of the nation and the people.


“Visionary countries are transforming the way that people perceive them. They are deliberate about becoming points of destination for tourism, business hubs and foreign investment points. Nigeria is not an exception; as a nation, we must purposefully work towards attracting economic value to our nation through nation branding,” she noted.


The conference featured four interactive plenary sessions where discussants dissected topic of discussions. The first session entitled ‘Beyond the age of Oil: Finding Growth Opportunities in Diversification’ was moderated by Executive Director, Sterling Bank PLC Abubakar Suleiman. Discussant were Former Minister of Solid Mineral/ Education and Co-Founder, Transparency International, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Former Governor, Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, FS Advisory Leader and Chief Economist, PwC West Africa, Dr. Andrew S. Nevin and the Minister of Mines and Steel Development Dr. Kayode Fayemi who was represented by Mr. Akin Rotimi.


The Second plenary session entitled ‘From Local to Global: Harnessing growth opportunities through brand export’ centred on opportunities in creating positive national engagements abroad through brands exported out of Nigeria. This plenary led by the convener, Chizor Malize.


Ndidi Nwuneli, Co-Founder of AACE Foods led the discussion on the third plenary tagged, ‘Breaking New Grounds: SMEs as Economic Growth Engine.  Discussants featured are Tara Fela-Durotoye, Founder & CEO House of Tara, Seyi Abolaji, Co-Founder, Wilson’s Juice Company, Toyosi Kolawole, CEO, AUDEO Clothing Line and Mike Oye, Head, SME Funds, Bank of Industry. The session was moderated by Laoye Jaiyeola, Managing Director, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG).


The last plenary session focused on the Entertainment, Media and Arts. ‘The Business of Entertainment: Maximizing Opportunities in Entertainment, Media, Fashion and Lifestyle’ featured  Obi Asika, Atunyota Akpobome (Alibaba), Henry Bassey and Femi Osinubi as discussants while  Biola Alabi moderated it.

Speaking at the conference, Lampe Omoleye, Chief Executive Officer, 141 Worldwide Agency and Member, Brand Innovation Conference Advisory Board, said, “The National Branding Conference 2017 exceeded expectations. The Speakers line up was broad and made up of individuals of good pedigree, strong track records and repute.


In her closing remarks Malize, thanked all who were instrumental in the success of the conference. She recapped the learning from the full day conference and expressed gratitude to media and other stakeholders who made valuable contributions to the success of the conference.


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