Brands are always seeking validation in one form or another, and often the easiest and most compelling way is to have someone famous eat, wear, drive, walk in or just say something nice about your brand, there goes a living music legend, Innocent ‘2Baba’ Idibia.
Endorsement brings that extra degree of confirmation that we as consumers have made a good choice. It plays to our collective wish to make wise purchases. It tells us we got it right.
Endorsement is a channel of brand communication in which a celebrity acts as the brand’s spokesperson and certifies the brand’s claim and position by extending his/her personality, popularity, stature in the society or expertise in the field to the brand. In a market with a very high proliferation of local, regional and international brands, celebrity endorsement was thought to provide a distinct differentiation. But over the years, many aspiring brands have jumped on to this celebrity endorsement bandwagon.
It’s not about doing something new to create an image to promote. It’s about becoming conscious about what you do naturally and being more consistent and visible with it. When you become a brand influencer, your followers know they can trust the brands you represent.
When you become a brand influencer, your followers know they can trust the brand you represent. One man who has proven to have transcended from ‘talent-hood’ into a brand in every sense is Innocent Ujah Idibia. Oh yes! You call him, 2Baba. 2Baba is a brand influencer hired by brands for long-term relationships.
Becoming a brand is beyond the arts, it includes among others, building an acceptable reputation cum perception in the minds of the people. The simple question here is what comes to the minds of Segun, Audu and Emeka when the name Tuface pops up? For one, it is ‘Tu-Baba’, the other says ‘African Queen’ while the third man simply says ‘Humility’. If you care about what I think, just say ‘Quality’.
A brand is a promise to consumers or a target audience, it is a perception, and it is what people think. The promises and perceptions create expectations. People can also consider their brands as a person. Again, another question pops up, it is, what can you expect when you interact with that person? Brand persona is one that consumers will evaluate and judge in relation with promises and their perception before they do business with you. Or you could think it this way, who would you rather spend time with – 2Baba or that other guy?
Branding provides competitive advantage, the industry notwithstanding, organizations and personalities need to compete for resources, funding, talent, and more importantly audience attention to win in their category. Brands enable stable asset in the midst of different fallings and changes, strong brands carry on through turbulent times. A strong brand is the most sustainable asset of any organization. The Coca-Cola brand, which has been around for more than 120 years, in its recent taste the feeling coke anthem campaign which featured 2Baba and other music artists offers its consumers great tunes that induce the sensation to grab a chill bottle of coke with music proving to be an effective tool to sustain a strong brand asset.
It must be said though that creativity and quality are inseparable from building a brand. For instance, in early 2000s, there was a music group that rocked our world back then. I am talking about the Plantashun Bois. With the split in the Remedies (another music group that ruled the late 90s and beyond), Plantashun Bois was arguably the biggest thing in the music industry then. The threesome of Tu-face, Black face and Faze dazzled us with quality rhythm and blues with strong Nigerian flavor like we have never had it. Oh how I love the song “you and I” on the Body and Soul album and ‘’body vibration’’ from Sold Out. With creativity and quality, Plantashun became a brand and the group members rode on this into their individual solo-career.
Quality and success background were enough for a leap to break even in any industry. So it was, for 2Baba and Kennis Music, a record label, which is arguably the most successful in the country in modern times. The deal would later birth the album “Face 2 Face’’, which gave us the ever green ‘African Queen’, a song quality enough to be used as soundtrack for an international movie Phat Girls. The appreciable years of experience of Kennis Music CEO, Mr. Kenny Ogungbe in the industry suggests that he knows what quality is and who comes with it, hence, he was swift to have 2Baba on board as he considered him Mr. Right for his record label. To build a brand you must create a personality that is worth dealing with. 2Baba has moved on to be one of the most decorated and successful Afro pop artists in Africa. He is also one of the most bankable artists in Africa.
Brands are built, they do not happen by chance. In our fast changing world, business leaders must build a brand flexible enough to grab key opportunities, and strong enough to weather any storm. In this age and time, regardless of the industry, arts must deliberately control public impression, professional reputation should not be taken for granted. This underscores the importance of having Professional Public Relation Experts in one’s management team. I know a nation’s President who is widely believed to have lost his office for disobeying this rule. People make an opinion on you based on the impression and perception you present.
Building a brand also requires strong vision and the boldness to scale new height. Expansion is the word here. Having broken records in Nigeria and Africa, 2Baba intensified on building a more formidable global brand. Global brands are brands that are recognized throughout the world with global coverage and influence under the same name, companies and personal brands achieve this by identifying the relative attractiveness of markets for their brands reaching out effectively.
In 2010, 2Baba released the International Edition of his Unstoppable album with the title The Unstoppable International Edition making him the first Nigeria artist to have an appropriately priced international album. With the international edition album, 2Baba cemented his place as a global brand, the direct result were bagging the MTV Africa Music Award for Best Male and Artist of the Year and the Channel O Music Video Awards for Best African Western Award, and this is among other international recognitions, a feat that has made the undisputable tag of a Legend.
A good brand wants to be identified with brands, you know something about birds of a feather, don’t you? This explains why personalities who have created a brand out of themselves are considered as brand ambassadors. A Brand ambassador is someone who embodies the brand he or she is endorsing. He represents the cooperate identity in appearance demeanor, values and ethics.
An attractive endorser will have a positive impact on the endorsement. The endorser should be attractive to the target audience in certain aspects like physical appearance, intellectual capabilities, athletic competence, and lifestyle. It has been proven that an endorser that appears attractive as defined above has a greater chance of enhancing the memory of the brand that he/she endorses.
The success of the brand-celebrity collaboration heavily depends on the compatibility between the brand and the celebrity in terms of identity, personality, positioning in the market vis-à-vis competitors, and lifestyle/behavior. When a brand signs on a celebrity, these are some of the compatibility factors that have to exist for the brand to leverage the maximum from that collaboration.
As early as 2005, beer manufacturer – Guinness Nigeria snapped 2Baba as its ambassador, since the expiration of the deal, the music Icon has gone ahead to do things with other alcoholic brands like Nigeria Breweries’ Star Lager, he is currently on a nationwide music tour Star-Trek. Strong brands like 2Baba are more than globally recognizable, they are critical assets that can make significant contribution to company’s bottom-line. Celebrities play great role in modern culture and consumption partners, serving as arbiters of taste, style and public opinion of the world over. Their endorsement and creative input enables them to bring attention credibility and other intangible benefits to brand in a way that no other type advertising camp.
In June 2015, leading telecommunication service, Airtel Nigeria, unveiled music legend 2Baba as brand ambassador. Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Airtel in Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, at the unveiling in Lagos, described Airtel’s new brand ambassadors as respected members of the society who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields and as a result, have now become forces in the entertainment sector. He further explained that “the selection of this unique blend of brand ambassadors is a testimony of our commitment to promote entertainment, creativity and the arts in Nigeria”
He added that the selection of the highly talented ambassadors was also meant to encourage the teeming youth population and inspire them towards realizing their dreams. Stating that the appointment of enterprising and talented Nigerians as brand ambassadors is in line with Airtel’s commitment to delivering value and rewarding excellence.
He said ‘’We have carefully selected ambassadors who embody the values, character and overall image inherent to the Airtel brand, therefore making them a perfect fit for further endearing Airtel to millions of Nigerians whilst strengthening the relationship we have with our customers’’.
Speaking on the choice of 2Baba who officially discontinued the use of the name Tuface for 2baba earlier in January 2016 as Brand Ambassador for an international liquor brand – CAMPARI, a global brand with enviable demand in over 190 countries in the world, Head of Marketing, Mr. Abayomi Ajao noted that ‘’2Baba is a wonderful gentleman who is a great brand in his own right. We were particular about partnering with him because he embodies the values that the Campari brand represents – originality, passion, maturity and universal appeal. It is a mutually beneficial relationship and we can’t wait to start working with each other’’.
Ajao revealed that the brand settled for 2face because he shares a lot of attribute with the iconic brand. “We believe that there’s a lot of things that 2baba has that resonate with Campari. 2baba is a hardworking guy. Campari is for the man that has worked very hard and wants to celebrate success.
“2baba is a stylish person, a humble person. Campari is that brand that’s subtle. We feel that 2baba is a charismatic person, we feel that he has the energy, he has everything to collaborate with. So, on behalf of the company, I announce to you 2baba Innocent Ujah Idibai as our ambassador.”
In his acceptance speech, 2face Idibia’s manager, Efe Omorogbe said, ‘We are happy to be associated with the Campari brand, our collaboration with them is very strategic and in the coming weeks we’ll be unveiling more details and what the next phase of the collaboration will look like’.
Brand reputation must however be maintained to retain positive perception on minds across boards. This is called brand legacy, it enables a sustained wild appeal for personalities, company and their products. Brand legacy has to do with the current perception as it pertains to certain audience, the degree at which a brand appears relevant over others. A brand builds a legacy by retaining or maintaining quality, ensuring that they are seen as relevant and interesting in current trends. For 2Baba, the quality control has been epic, the music remains top notch and the man surely knows how to keep himself in our minds.
A good brand has an enduring legacy and is able to assert itself into current trends. Apparently, we are in a tech age and what other way could Partner Mobile have made it way into the thriving tech-market in Nigeria, if not by making 2Baba its face in Nigeria. 2Baba, in his usual cruise control as a brand influencer drove the mobile brand into the Nigeria market and it’s been bingo since then. The Nigerian Pop king announced his partnership with Partner Mobile on his “Trip & Treat” promo in which lucky winners who have purchased any of the newly launched Partner Mobile android phones will join him on a one week trip to Nairobi, Kenya.
Partner Mobile officially made its entry into the Nigerian mobile devices market On Wednesday 11th May, 2016 during an event at the luxurious Four points by Sheraton Hotel, Lagos. At the launch, the brand unveiled 3 android-based mobile phones – PS1, E15 and KS1 – to members of the press, trade partners and other luminaries who were in attendance.
The Chief Operating Officer of the company, Simon Klepper, revealed that the company ‘’ will use local languages & sponsor, support local festivals & events, spreading the word that Partner Mobile has arrived and ready to meet the needs of the company.”
Consumer satisfaction is top priority for Partner Mobile as the company has made sure that its Nigerian brand stores are equipped to cater to all the demands of its customers.
Recently, Partner Mobile launched a campaign ‘PartnerUpwith2Baba’ where Fans present got a chance to see 2Baba in person, take pictures with him, buy Partner Mobile phones at discounted prices and also win some really cool gifts.
It was an atmosphere of pure excitement as the legend himself, 2Baba touched down at Nigeria’s largest technology market to meet with teeming fans in celebration of Partner Mobile’s new store at 2, Medical Road, opposite Slot, Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos State. Dressed in a partner mobile branded shirt and face cap along with his signature dark sunglasses, the crowd went wild and sang along as the Hypertek boss thrilled them with hit after hit.
Rounding up his performance, 2Baba called on Nigerians to partner up with Partner Mobile and also invite their friends, family and loved ones to do the same.
Without doubt, the social media and internets handy weapons for building and keeping a brand legacy in this age. The social media has also proven to be a channel to increase brand influence. With a little below 3000 followers on his official Facebook page, about 1.5 million followers on his verified Twitter handle and… on instagram, 2Baba has used his social media presence to maintain an impeccable form of relevance in the industry.
Having calved a brand niche for himself, and an ever growing influence of the brand, the unrestricted Legend has not only earned lucrative deals as ambassadors, but has also qualified as role model for many. If you think of Corporate Social Responsility for corporate brands, personal brands like 2Baba also have their hands in humanitarian project. Recall that on Friday 4th July 2014, the Red Cross Society of Nigeria honored the Pop Icon at press conference to announce a partnership with 2Baba’s Million Voices for Peace campaign.
When you also consider 2Baba’s collaboration with the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) since 2009 and how 2Baba with his Hypertek and Now Music and Promotie, in a bid to take the message of NAFDAC to a wider audience, initiated the FASPAC project, driven by the theme song ‘’Man Unkind’’, you cannot but agree with me that Mr. Innocent Ujah Idibia is a brand worth celebrating.
He is socially responsible cultural icon who has the ears of millions of Nigerians from diverse demographical divides at home and abroad, a brand influencer with strong global power.
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