This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Zenith Bank Supports 'Made in Nigeria'

As the appetite for all things Africa continues to grow all over the world and as the voices in support of bigger investments in local Pan African content continues to grow more and more strident, it is one of the most uplifting and heartwarming things for any proud Nigerian to see Zenith Bank Plc, one of Nigeria's biggest and most forward-thinking first generation banks rising to support a made in Nigeria TV Show like Moments with Mo.

Tuning into Moments with Mo a few days ago, I could not help but heave a sigh of relief at the broadcast of the sonic and visual brand trigger, "Moments with Mo, brought to you by Zenith Bank". As an ardent follower of the long running Talk Show which has over the years hosted many highly important and inspirational local and international personalities, who through the platform have themselves motivated viewers in Africa and beyond with their stories and experiences, I have to say it was highly encouraging and cheering for me to associate the now internationally acclaimed programme with an inventive and revolutionary financial powerhouse like Zenith. In my view, more and more Nigerian and African organizations should be towing the same line.

For a bank that has supported "Inside Africa" for a number of years now, all discerning observers must find it really refreshing that it has begun to support a truly African, truly international content. (By the way, CNN's Inside Africa is a great show. However its overall relevance continues to be diminished by what I personally consider its veiled afro-pessimistic narratives that persistently portray the rising continent of Africa in such a horrid light!)

With Nigeria's migration to digital broadcast transmission technology around the corner, focus is now largely on homegrown content and brands. We need to begin to see more investments in our local content. Nigeria's, and indeed, Africa's homegrown content must now begin to get all the backing it needs, in order to travel globally and take its place on the international scene. This is where it is very encouraging and gratifying to see made in Nigeria brands such as Moments with Mo, EbonyLife TV, Ndani TV, TVC, etc, continuously making that all important foray into the international space.

The passionate support for homegrown content, such as is the partnership between Zenith Bank and Moments with Mo has many immediate and long-term positives. One of such is association marketing. Among many other definitions, association marketing or brand association is the affirmation of the position and strength of one premium brand by another premium brand. This definition holds true in the Moments with Mo and Zenith Bank collaboration.

Brand association can also be defined as the implicit or explicit attributes of a brand which pop into the consumers' mind when that brand is talked about or when the identity of that brand is visible. If this is true, the question will then be: what does a brand wish to stand for or be known for, either on the short or long term?

Positive brand association therefore helps an organization to gain goodwill, empathy with its target customers and more importantly, pride of place as a champion of a known, sustainable and differentiated cause. Strong and iconic brands must stand for and be associated with a great and desirable cause.

In my opinion, right now, no cause seems greater than the promotion of our own local stuff. And here is the trick: if content is king, then it follows naturally that the maker of that content is the kingmaker! Any brand that supports the kingmaker naturally shares the limelight as an enabler and catalyst for the cause, with all the positive values rubbing off on it. It works the same way with the support for local content.

With the increasing presence of a bank like Zenith as a frontline emerging markets bank in Africa, it must start to exert its leadership position in the continent by continuously pointing the banking industry, and possibly the vertical markets, in the direction where they start to see the significance and benefits of supporting local brands with international and futuristic appeal. This strategy should play a more prominent role in the entire marketing mix of key organizations.

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