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International Place Branding Workshop: Abuja 12-13 May

All is set for the hosting of the first ever 'Place Branding' workshop in Nigeria. This is coming at a time when discerning Nigerians are concerned about the image and brand personality of the Nigerian state.

Woodhouse Consulting, a strategic events, people development and place branding company, in partnership with selected experts across the globe is staging this two-day international workshop in Nigeria to update participants with the knowledge and skills in the discipline of place branding.

The workshop is also aimed at improving the participants' capacity to effectively market their towns, regions and countries as favourite destinations for trade, tourism and investment.

The workshop scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 13 and Thursday, May 14, 2009, at the prestigious International Conference Centre, Abuja is expected to be formally opened by Nigeria's Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan .

Speaking at an interactive session to map out the execution strategies for the workshop targeted at high profile corporate individuals and organisations, the managing partner of Woodhouse Consulting, Uche Nworah said, "The Place Branding workshop planned for Nigeria now is timely and auspicious. It is coming at a time when Nigerians are genuinely engaged in dialogue or dialectical discourse on how to re-brand the country to make it viable to compete for scarce resources in the world today."

On whether the country can be re-branded, he said, "The answer is yes. Any product, service, country, region or city can be re-branded depending on its current position in the brand life cycle. Just like the human life cycle, brands are born; they start to grow and are nurtured up to a point where market forces begin to affect sustained growth. This is the stage where such brands reach their maturity and some begin to decline in sales."

He added, "The sensible thing to do at this stage will be to rejuvenate the brand through deploying several strategies. With countries and regions, the appropriate thing to do is to reposition the country through a sustained national campaign. I wrote extensively on this in two papers I produced for brandchannel.com."

Fielding questions to the media on the seeming harsh response by Nigerians on the recently announced brand Nigeria project by Prof. Dora Akunyili, the Information and Communications Minister, he said, "I suspect the minister may be seen by some Nigerians as being a bit in a hurry considering the way the Heart of Africa project ended. Perhaps, that is why you are seeing all these seemingly negative criticisms from Nigerians. However, it should be noted that, place branding is now an accepted global best practice to attract investment, tourism and trade. South Africa, Canada, Australia, UK, Greece and even America have launched similar schemes in the past."

23 March, 2009.

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