Football is one of the biggest enterprises commanding the highest earners and followers in the world. In our very eyes, Mikel Obi, Kelechi Iheanacho, Musa Ahmed and Ndidi Wilfred who started out in the local league have become international stars. But, what is international about Enyimba and Enugu Rangers football clubs?
As a brand strategist, I am thrilled by the followership football clubs have gathered around the world. This is the height of what I know how to do best, second to loving my wife – orchestrate brand fanaticism. One of the most important acts in brand development is brand nomenclature. The reputation of the brand and its promises stands on the brand name.
When I noticed the names of these football clubs, I was curious. I am also in dire need of compelling answers to a vital brand evaluation question: Why do Enyimba and Rangers have “international” in their names?
If I am in the import and export business, does that mean my business is an international brand? Yes, you are. But, would you say Enyimba and Rangers are more international than Manchester United, Real Madrid FC, Barcelona FC and other global football brands that don’t have international attached to their names? With due respect to Enyimba and Rangers Football clubs, they are football powerhouses in their own rights.
From history, the brand essence of a football club is community based. That is, majority of football clubs derive their names and personas from the communities of their origin. Hence, they have earned incredible place in the hearts of the people because the club represents the people’s history, struggles and aspirations.
I am at rest, knowing that Enyimba and Rangers, like Manchester United, Chelsea FC and Real Madrid etc express the history, struggle and aspirations of the people. Enyimba and Rangers International football clubs have their origins in Igboland.
The Igbos from the South East Nigeria, are one of Nigeria’s major and most enterprising ethnic groups. These are people who have penchant for international businesses…import and export of commodities. Recalling an Igbo man’s statement, “our trade and business dominance happen organically with no pre-planned efforts”.
There is much to do regarding brand development for the Nigerian league and clubs. I hope the League Management Company [LMC] can leverage on the in-depth understanding of brand development strategist to lift the local league to the highest height where it truly belongs.
However, I wish Enyimba, [the People’s Elephant], and Enugu Rangers, [the Flying Antelopes], more victories even as they “carry” their trade to the “international” frontiers of football.
written by: ‘Demola Adeshola
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