Group Managing Director of SO&U Limited, Mr. Udeme Ufot, has reiterated the significant role marketing communicators can play in reshaping the outlook of Africa’s historical and cultural values.
He stated this in a paper titled: “Brands and Cultural Diversity: The Reality of the Threat” delivered at the just concluded African Cristal Festival Awards in Marrakech, Morocco, where he was appointed a creative juror and speaker.
Ufot threw some light on the impact of colonisation, industrial revolution, adoption of western education and technology with emphasis on digital revolution which has unleashed an unprecedented level of access to information across the continent.
He stated: “The internet and various forms of social media have made the world a more global community than it has ever been with both filtered and unfiltered information finding its way into African communities. This free flow of information in the new media age and brand communications delivered in highly westernised symbols, imagery, tonality and style has almost displaced African world views, societal norms, standards of moral behaviour and cultural values.”
Ufot posited that advertising and marketing creativity can play a strong role both in shaping and redefining Africa’s cultural evolution along its own unique patterns.
He highlighted the need for African creativity to find its voice, an identity and a creative flavour of its own that will be recognised and respected by the international creative community as our creativity does not have to be overtly western to be world class.
Recalling the reassuring examples from the creative industries across Africa, he noted that for instance: “Nigerian music has taken the world by storm. The African print, better known by Nigerians as Ankara, has become a hot fashion item globally, thanks to the dynamism of Nigerian fashion designers. Movies from Nigeria’s Nollywood have kept audiences hooked to their screens across Africa and even the Caribbean. Also African technology startups are a great testimonial to the capacity of African youths to adapt modern technology to local needs and lifestyles. What these industries have demonstrated is the capacity of African youths to integrate elements of Western culture to redefine African culture through music, fashion, the movies and entertainment.”
He therefore, urged marketing communicators in Africa to play their roles by coming to terms with the reality of the new generation of African youths.
“While being aware of the best the world has to offer, they must be made to be aware of their African identity and should not be in a hurry to discard it. It is up to African creatives to align with and contribute to this redefinition by delivering world-class thinking that is based on strong local insights that champion the best values of African culture,” Ufot said.