Nigeria’s leading indigenous oil and gas energy solutions provider Oando PLC headed conversations on heritage branding at the recently concluded Mitsubishi Motors Anniversary and Heritage Week. The weeklong activities celebrated Mitsubishi Motors and its 101 years in operations.
The celebration included various events that highlighted the many ways in which Mitsubishi identifies as a Heritage brant. These events included a heritage brunch, a master class hosted by Canon and eminent Nigerian photographer, Emmanuel Oyeleke, the launch of rapper MI’s album and more.
Mitsubishi Motors also partnered with ASPIRE Luxury Magazine to host a panel discussion on ‘Building a Heritage Brand’. The panel consisted of heritage brands like Oando Plc, celebrating just over 60 years in business, and Union Bank, who has celebrated 101 years. These brands came together to discuss the differences and similarities in their approach to instil Heritage Branding values in their corporations.
A major highlight of the celebrations was when Alero Balogun, Head of Corporate Communications at Oando PLC spoke extensively about her experiences working with the Oando Brand. When asked about Oando’s intentional steps towards building the brand internationally, she said
“For us at Oando, it has always been about creating a world-class brand. We set ourselves against the international standard and strive to be world class in everything we do. Our brand essence is BOLD SPIRIT, LEADERSHIP and PROUDLY AFRICAN and it is communicated through all our mediums. We see ourselves as solution providers in the terrain we operate and take it upon ourselves to think up and proffer workable solutions.
In order to do this effectively, you must have a bold spirit, be audacious and resilient. Through the years the brand has managed to remain strong and consistent, and we do this through the policies and processes we have created to communicate this messaging from generation to generation. We are also very thorough in our succession planning efforts. Although we are a B2B brand, we believe in communicating with all our stakeholders from the international corporations trying to understand what a Nigerian company looks like to the man on the street who in some way sees the brand as an extension of himself.”
Heritage Week was a brilliant platform to discuss how Nigerian brands can push themselves towards becoming heritage brands. The speakers at the event touched on consistency even in the face of adversity. Speaking on Oando’s ability to stay afloat amidst the chaos, Alero Balogun said
“We build strong relationships with the media that allow us to prepare a narrative in every situation. Through our extensive scenario planning efforts, we are able to think of all possible scenarios – the good, the bad and the ugly and prepare for all outcomes.
A lot of the time, we find that the media has been misinformed on an issue and we see it as an opportunity to educate the public. For example, in 2015 after we made impairments to re-value our assets post the oil price crash, it was published that we made the biggest loss in Nigeria’s history, whereas impairments are indeed a well-known business phenomenon and it is essential for businesses to conduct them in times like we did.”
Oando PLC inherited big, international brands ESSO and Unipetrol and over the years, they have been able to imprint their own Nigerian story, own the brand completely and make it a national treasure. They pride themselves in their history of consistently paving the way, being the first in every sector we operated in. Their great accomplishments, such as the Apapa Mid-stream jetty, Gas Pipeline etc. have shaped their brand essence and World-class experience.
Creating a heritage brand in Nigeria is no small feat and being recognised, as one is a great honour. It is a deliberate attempt to connect with people in a manner that allows them to form an emotional connection to your brand that transcends generations. It is less about how long a company has been in existence for but more about how they have an established track record of meeting needs, exceeding expectations, and consistently delivering on their core promise and premise.