Thoughts on the current challenges and prospects of marketing the Naija Generation.
Nigerian Millennials like their global contemporaries are currently mostly in their late 20s. They yet might have begun to establish their psychography upon the national zeitgeist with the same dominance of their post Independence parents but they have certainly taken their bearings from their predecessors; the gen X who were the ones who actually created 'Naija' as a representation of their deep frustrations with a Nigeria of the 1990s and 2000s and a projected vision of a Nigeria that worked for them. In many ways, it is an indictment on the failures of the boomers who preceded them to establish social order and national identity their children have felt proud to inherit. And that perhaps is why the social rebellion masked in the explosion of creative expressiveness that came with it will always be their greatest gift to their nation.
And that perhaps is why the social rebellion masked in the explosion of creative expressiveness that came with it will always be their greatest gift to their nation.
It is a massive demographic gift indeed, as we see with the advent of Nollywood and in the emerging global cultural power of Afrobeats today, and yet which our politicians and country leaders have failed to harness for national competitiveness. (There has been over 1 Billion views between the top 10 Nigerian musical videos on Youtube for instance). That we might not realise it is soft power and a new form of cultural currency which a forward thinking government would convert into market and capital structures that work for the country before the advantage is taken away.
But the younger millennials in their early 20s are also faced with a troubling crisis of self-identity. The shift and tensions that they must negotiate between more significant individualism and a hedonistic lifestyle that celebrates materialism over a deeper expressive and altruistic self, the redefinition of what work means in an already poor country and how the shared and gig economy places new realities for them to master the new skill of crafting serially branded and socially constructed avatars and multiple personas of self. It is almost like schizophrenia which tears at the heart of being African, and it means that marketing the African millennial will require a whole new set of tools that must be mastered in time for when generation Z who eagerly come after them in their tens of millions, are unleashed in the coming decade.