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Otti’s footprints (II)

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Beyond the physical infrastructure, there is an intangible asset which Governor Alex Otti has gained for Abia State in just one year. He has given us an asset of great value, the asset of renewed image and perception. When the public sing the song, Otti is Doing Well, their mental conjecture is not only about the roads and the monuments but essentially about the new equity of trust, confidence, satisfaction, hope and relationship that he has regained for the state. This is what I call nation branding.

Otti has, perhaps inadvertently, rebuilt the public image and perception of the state. There is a new story about the state and outsiders can see a silver lining in the skyline. There is a renewed emotional connection and Abia is no more being displayed as an exhibit of backwardness but a place of reviving hope. The governor has peddled confidence and trust about the state by his overhauling processes and his emergency interventionist strategies. Thus, I consider his success in nation branding and rebranding as one of his key achievements in his one year stride.

The governor has gone down in our lore as a memorable story of the merit of change; the merit of stepping out of the comfort zone and trying a new thing. Outsiders in Abuja, Lagos, the Diaspora and elsewhere now talk about Abia in positive terms, as a place of the rising sun. Among the neigbouring states, Abia has become the reference point for dynamic leadership. Everyone points at the state as an example that the bones can rise again. In the buses, in the public gatherings, it is a happy story of a new Abia. The Nigerian media have embraced this new perception and have queued in support of the Abia renaissance.

Otti, therefore, will take accolades as a road builder, infrastructure constructionist, social reformist and, remarkably, an image builder. He has deployed the tools for system administration to influence the surroundings, change stereotypes about Abia and cause a new positive perception about our dear state. He has created a new Brand Abia, what public relations and marketing experts describe as “the guarantee of consistent quality”. He has created a corporate identity, the relationship between image and behaviour. These tangible assets of quality are encapsulated in his overall leadership template which is anchored on rebirth and reconstruction.

He is himself the brand ambassador and represents a consistent brand with a consistent brand proposition. His unique selling proposition is resetting and he is truly living his brand promise of service and repositioning. This vision of a new Abia has been supported, reinforced and enriched by every act of communication between the state and the rest of the world. The governor, oftentimes, takes out time to communicate directly by himself his programmes and actions and, by so doing, conveys his mental picture of the Brand Abia.

The state is about to become the paradise regained. This is the new image and the new perception. I boldly consider this as a great footprint of Otti in his one year stride.

Adindu is a media/PR consultant

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