The rhetoric of 'internal' branding in Nigeria's rebranding campaign

Discourse and Interaction


This paper examines the rhetorical strategies of mobilising and inspiring a domestic audience for national identity re/construction in order to reinforce the Nigerian brand. Data for the study are composed of some branding strategies packaged and broadcast mainly on radio and television by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Information and Communications in its rebranding campaign in 2009 which was targeted at the domestic citizens' value re-orientation. The study adopts Fairclough's dialectical-relational approach which centres on "dialectical reasoning" – a way of reasoning from critique of discourse to what should be done to change existing reality, by way of explanation of relations between discourse and other components (social, cultural and political) of reality. It then applies the tenets of the theory to analyse the rhetorical strategies in the rebranding campaign, as the domestic citizens' agency is considered instrumental in bolstering the Nigerian brand. The study demonstrates that the branding strategies analysed largely invoke history, collective memory, values, traditions, and aspirations which could appeal to the domestic citizens' nationalistic sensibilities and imaginaries to evolve an enduring Nigerian brand which is domestic-driven.       

domestic politics; 'internal' branding; national identity; negative image; Nigeria; rebranding
Author biography

Adeyemi Adegoju

Obafemi Awolowo University

Adeyemi Adegoju, a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation, Germany, teaches literary stylistics at the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. His research interests span stylistics, rhetoric, multimodal social semiotics, and critical discourse analysis. Some of his articles have appeared in refereed international journals such as Discourse Studies, Critical Discourse Studies, Discourse & Communication, Discourse, Context and Media, Social Semiotics, The Public Journal of Semiotics, and Semiotica.

Address: Adeyemi Adegoju, Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, 220282, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. [e-mail:]


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