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Local brands should not be afraid to go global- experts



By Amechi Obiakpu

Managers of local brands in the country have been advised to think global in the operation of their businesses. By thinking global, they look beyond their present state and also ensure that the brands remain relevant for a very long time.

The advise was made by marketing experts at the 2024 annual marketing conference organized by the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN), held in Ibadan, Oyo state, with theme; “Empowering Nigerian Brands: Leveraging Local Content for Global Success”.

At certain point in the life of every brand, there is the need to begin to look at servicing beyond their immediate environment to go global. Before that can be achieved, the brands must do their homework very well among which is understanding the laws and culture of the global community.

Speaking in an interview with Espinews, Prof. Bankole Sodipo (SAN), an Intellectual Property expert and Keynote speaker at the conference said, “once you have a good product, the social media and the internet can help to promote the business and you should look beyond the Nigerian market, think internationally, because one day, something can happen and your product/services may be required internationally and therefore the culture of international business must also be observed”.

“A lot of our local content need to be used in promoting our brands, our local story, local fashion, our music even very many places in Nigeria that people do not really know exist.

“In Nigeria, there are so many wonderful places- we need to sell them… our music today is selling Nigeria and everybody is dancing to Nigerian music, they are watching Nigerian films.

“You need to have products that can meet international standards and realise that if the products don’t meet those standards, then they can be returned and you must refund people”.

To mitigate against this, the former Dean at Babcock University pointed that the need to imbibe global best practices and also align our local culture with international best culture is paramount.

“The brands that communicate the stories of our product must be registered internationally because if you have a good brand name in Nigeria and you want to sell in the global market and those brands have been registered abroad that means you can’t sell those brands in that country”.

On his part, Prof. Uchenna Uzor, a professor of marketing at the Lagos Business School, Pan Atlantic University, said change is the only constant thing in life as such Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should not hold back the change.

“SMEs should not be afraid to grow. More importantly, they should not be in a hurry to grow too fast. They should take care of the processes, take care of the network- take care of the culture and the team to ensure that together you can build the brand you will like to see not just in Nigeria but globally,” he said.

“For brands to be globally successful, they need to be very good at what they do, the quality must be good and they must understand that, the process of quality control is very important.

“Secondly, I think that the regulatory landscape of Nigeria has to support local brands better. So, we need policies that will enable our local products to move to the global stage and then marketing is important for that journey- who you know, who you work with, the platforms where you share your products and services are very important for taking the product from a local scale to a global scale”.

On the issue of product counterfeiting, Prof. Uzor advocated for proper customer education. He believes that, if consumers are properly educated, they will be able to make informed buying decisions between genuine and counterfeited products.

“Aside consumer education there is also the angle of litigation. Getting the government to also go after those who are involve in counterfeiting is key. If we can have our legal process working smoothly, I think we can reduce if not stop product counterfeiting in Nigeria”.

Idorenyen Enang, President and Chairman of the Council, National Institute of Nigeria (NIMN) advised that people should not take relationship for granted. He pointed that, because of the beauty of what relationships bring to the table, it should be valued if not, some of the benefits one can derive from it may elude us.

“You cannot grow your personal brand without valuing relationship, it is important and I have seen it open doors for a lot of people,” Enang said.

Do you have a compelling story to tell? Contact us via our email: espinewsng@gmail.com or call/WhatsApp on 08032519246.

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