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PROVIDES BANK: Nobody Should Come And Arrest Me o

LIFE is very delicate for product reviewers in Nigeria today as a negative review could have you in a pot of tomato paste with Amnesty International fighting for your freedom

But that said, let me still risk my neck since I do not think brand custodian of an elegant brand as Providus would go thru that lavish route to respond to genuine criticisms aimed at them doing better.

I have been listening to their hive campaign on radio and can’t help but wonder why they seem to have taken the GTCO Fashion and Food concept, remodelled it and thrown it out again.

The thing about this kind of thing is that, cause there is no originality at the concept level, execution usually comes out flaccid like a weak penis.

I do not knw the level of Nigerians response to the campaign but the usual hoopla that heralds the GTB own is missing. The carnival like frenzy that makes you feel that you were attending a huge rock concert or festival that attends the GTB own is markedly missing here

Providus bank is a bank that I like. It’s branding, colours positioning is quite unique in the market space and then the elegant architecture snd exquisite design concepts of its interior marks it out as a brand that is not only looking at the upper market echelon but also targeting the dwindling yuppie middle class market.

If this is their targets then their marketing is perfect esp if you put their strong presence in the online transfer market then one could be forced to think that just maybe they are doing something right.

But tarry, if we look closer, you will see a lack of confidence with its custodians. The way they have carried along like drunken sailors leaves a lot to be concerned

From flirting with literature with the almost impact less push with the well respected Prof Wole Soyinka thru sparce showings in Art you begin to see the brand as a wannabe.

You begin to think that they just may be pushing towards the Coronation Bank clean branding and the next minute you feel then going the way of Opay and Palmpay and the next moment you get them now wanting to be like GTB

This confusion also affects its MD, who at some point wants to to be a thought leader with less than credible showings in the space and at the next moment, wants to be seen as a market leader with his small bank.

This all came to a head with this Hive thing, which they have said was designed to allow for a cross pollination of ideas, talents etc coming with the usual food, fashion and creativity.

This all sounds very boring as in what else is new. GTCO have walked this road very soundly and Access bank did same at some point before they veered off to more exciting things and now Provdius have carried the well worn out template and put a Bee hive and tried to sell a Tokunbo idea as fresh and new.

The issue here is the authoritarian decision taking process within most brands. Truth is that most brand custodians cannot sign N100K and will be carrying themselves like they are all in all

I see thru them and their big English and superior facade. They talk down at you as if they know what they are talking about and still end up not taking your calls cos they have no answer to give.. Oga said No. Simple

So it’s a two way thing – external projects and internally generated projects. Both end up at the table of a Chief Executive who knows little or nothing about branding and PR and because he is being presented to by a light weight brand custodian he takes this kind of decision.

Now it gets worse for the internally generated projects. They usually come from the top where either the oga has gone somewhere and sees what he likes or is being pushed by an associate who has brought it in and the oga calls the custodian with an instruction- lets help him, he is my Pastors brother.

This Provdius Hive looks like one of those. Critical questions like – what demography are we targeting and what is our strength in that space looks like was not asked. What do we hope to achieve with this and how would it impact society and our bottomline looks like questions that were very missing in decision taking.

Another funny one is the bank filling Magodo Estate with posters asking us to plant trees. Kai, you take a boulevard lined with trees like Emmanuel Keshi in magodo and put very beautiful boards asking us to plant trees.

My guess is that someone in Provdius Bank would soon be contesting for Estate Exco hence this aggressive show of presence otherwise, why would you leave the arid areas of the North and come and do a tree planting exercise in Magodo

Brands, especially the ones within the financial space should begin to see how they would have such giants like Folake Anni – Mummuney of First Bank run their brand custody.

She enjoys the confidence of the Board and that of the industry and you can see the effect on the reputation of First Bank despite the turbulence it has had to go thru at the Board level in the last five years.

You see the seeming weakness of brand custodians in the face of an industry attack. Banks have been accused of being part of 70% of financial crimes and also the blame of the forex crises thrown at the and you see no concise defence by these people leaving such stalwart MDs standing alone in the fight.

The heads of media, corporate Comms and the rest have all gone to hide with their expensive suits and big English leaving their bosses to fight the fight alone.

Another very dangerous point is the CBN policy of capital raise. Banks have been asked to raise their capital to as high as N500 at the outer limit and it is not campaigns like Hive that will provide the vehicle for the successful push they all need.

The importance of the brand custodian is very key within the next two years and my advise to Providus and other such players is to carry out a very serious audit of their human capital in that area with a bid to pull in strength and not just people who will go and recycle projects and represent like Baba mukaila would repaint his old jalopy while ignoring the very bad faults in the engine

Lastly, you will notice that I have avoided terms like Sugar, paste and k…l in this write up as I would not survive an over night flight to Abuja and a terrible night’s sleep in a dingy cell all cos I have given a very positive review that may be termed as negative.

Thank u

Duke of Shomolu


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