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Is Baga visit boosting Jonathans reputation

Published by The Nation on Fri, 13 Mar 2015

Faced with declining brand and reputation equity, President Goodluck Jonathan hopped onto an aircraft and headed for Baga, one of the Northeast towns retaken from Boko Haram. Will the visit raise the Commander-in-Chiefs profile' Brand experts are divided on this, writes ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI.Abrand analyst andblogger, Ugochukwu Ezeagwula, foresaw in his article on January 17, 2012 that by 2015, President Goodluck Jonathan would lose his reputation equity and thwart his partys chance in for the general election campaign.Ezeagwula wrote against the backdrop of Jonathans unimaginable share of minds in the 2011 elections victory, especially among the youth whom he captured through the social media. But certain policies, which the President undertook some years ago and their chain reactions appear to have been his Achilles heels in the campaign.The implication of this loss of brand equity will definitely reflect in the performance of his political party at the 2015 general elections. Even if Mr President does anything remarkable and tangible to redeem his image within the next three years, it will only take the grace of God, the sheer forgetfulness of Nigerians and the bite of luck that he has experienced all through his life to regain this lost brand equity, Ezeagwula wrote.A brand that has lost the trust and loyalty of its consumers cannot think that the best way to earn back these key ingredients of its brand equity is to increase the price of its product without improving on its functional attributes. Neither is it sensible to attempt to increase the price of the product before improving on its functional attributes, which is exactly what the Federal Government has done, he concluded.Four years down the line, the brand loyality that gave him huge votes seemed to have dwindled going by a growing dissonance among his brand consumers in some key geo-political zones.For instance, Jonathan pulled over 2.7 million share of votes in Southwest as against Buharis 321,609 in the same geo-political zones. His dwindled reputation obviously stemmed from the removal of subsidy on January 1, 2012, when Nigerians were in festive moods of Xmas and the New Year. His action led to nationwide protest and made those who voted for him feel betrayed like a consumers, who had parted with money for a product and ended being dissonance.The reputation loss was further worsened by the inability of his team to suppress raging insurgency and its attendant bombing. The series of kidnapping of young boys and girls, loss of lives to Boko Haram until the kidnap of the Chibok girls saga dragged the government global perception rating into the red line, prompting world leaders, the media and celebrities to cry out with an # tag BringBackOurGirls.However, these issues undoubtedly are making it difficult for the President to a roller-coaster re-election bid this year as predicted by Ezeagwula.Two weeks to election, Jonathans new military offensive on the insurgents appeared to be shoring his image after the military had been equipped with more weapons and strategic cooperation with neihgboruing countries such as Chad, Niger and Cameroun to end the militants tenancy in the Sambisa forest.Will the onslaught reverse Jonathans reputation'To some of his loyalist, the success being recorded is key to his bid, especially with the postponement of the election, which gives the President an ample time to regain his lost reputation that gave him the seat four years ago. The commendation that came after the military bombardment of the insurgents has been torrential, even from members of the opposition party. Prompted by a motion of urgent national importance moved by Hon. Muhammad Tahir Monguno of All Progressives Congress (APC), Borno State, the House praised the military for its bravery and steadfastness, noting that in the previous months, Boko Haram nearly overrun Borno State. The tide, according to Monguno, is now turning against the insurgents as a result of the gallantry of the soldiers.Also, Jonathan is being scored high by some economic experts. The truth is that when placed on a dispassionate measurement platform, President Jonathan has recorded more accomplishments than people are willing to give him credits for, said the Chairman, African Centre for Business Development, Strategy and Innovation, Sam Ohuabunwa, in his article in a business paper. In the years Jonathan has been president, our economy has grown between six and seven percent per annum. This is one of the highest growth rates in the world, Ohuabunwa said.Against his renewed efforts to rebuild his reputation, brands and communication experts are divided if the efforts will rejig his brand equity. A top manager at Caritas Communication, a reputation management and brand development agency, Robert Utiko, said the president has regained his reputational equity. It has helped GEJ regain lost reputational equity. The military has been proactive, posting updates on it successes in the campaign. GEJ has visited the troops on the battlefield to encourage them. GEJ is gradually being projected as a leader, who can take tough decisions, he said.But a Managing Partner at Radi8, a PR agency, Mr. Toni Kan, believed otherwise. There are many things that can erode a brand. In Jonathans case Chibok and Boko Haram have been key brand erosion. So, it follows that winning the war against Boko Haram will help with his brand equity. What the Boko Haram insurgency has done is to show the CEO of Brand Nigeria as an incompetent and incompetence has a negative impact on public perception, which then affects the brand.While the efforts appeared enough to redeem the presidents reputation equity, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer at Ashton&Layton and former communication manager at Cadbury, Mr. Gbenga Adebija, said GEJ renewed positioning has limited gain because the timing is late. Timing is a critical factor in any brand building initiative and so it is difficult to forsee any significant benefits to the GEJ brand, especially because in the view of major stakeholders, the military onslaught against the insurgents is obviously orchestrated for political reasons.A brand equity is significantly enhanced when its objectives are seen as altruistic or at least not so transparently driven by personal motives. Brand GEJ also brought the bells and whistles with the military attire, dark shades and swagger stick, but the dysfunctional timing means limited gains to the brand Jonathan. At best, the Sambisa military initiative provided a platform for GEJ supporters to cheer, but in terms of actually winning over doubters and increasing the number of GEJ brand ambassadors, the benefits are definitely at lilliputian levels, said Adebija.A manager at Hi-Media Network, Mr. Sanjo Oyekan, said it was too late for anyone to judge the result on the president image building effort because this has worked for some personality brand in the political sphere in the past.Wether the onslaught will add up and contribute little or nothing to his reputation and brand equity, time will tell on March 28 when the election holds.The post Is Baga visit boosting Jonathans reputation' appeared first on The Nation.]]>
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