February 18, 2002
Shuaib’s Financial Public Relations expresses itself in simple prose, and neat logic, and makes a strategic point about the most ignored field of financial public relations. The simple point is that the work clearly establishes the intricate balance between economic activities and communication. Indeed, the former flourishes on account of the latter. The work is made up of five chapters, and chapter one serves as an introduction to certain basic fundamentals in the field. Here the author defines. Financial Public Relation as “the application of public relations by financial organisations in reaching out to the public in achieving financial goals.” The author refers to Hakeem Bello Osagie, Atedo Peterside and Mohammed Kari, who have become household names, not just because of their managerial competence, but also because of their effective communication skills. The chapter also examines the financial environment, financial systems, and various financial institutions, which is necessary background to co-coordinated media efforts in this direction.
Chapter Two is a step forward, and it addresses public relations in a very direct fashion. Here, it is revealed that public relations practice commenced in the country in the early 1940's as a result of the World War II. “The country, which was then under the British, participated in the execution of the war. Knowing the importance of information to Nigeria on happenings in the war front, the government created a special information center for that purpose.” Basically, the chapter examines PR and clearly shows that the future of any business enterprise and corporate institution, depends largely on how it reacts to the hopes, aspirations and demands of the public. The author draws attention to marketing concepts, sales support, and advertising, as quintessential tools in the drive to attract buyers and guarantee smooth sales.
Chapter Three, which is the very heart of the work, operates on the age-old truism that those public relations practitioners who ignore research will soon discover that they are ignored (Eldon-Hiebert Ray). In co-coordinating public relations research, four areas of focus are important, and these include (a) environment monitoring (b) public opinion, (c) media research and (d) social audit. Planning is also vital to a successful media campaign programme, the author adds. Vital to this are the way press releases, media interviews and press briefing, are organised. Events planning, which attract vast audiences, and futuristic planning, which caters for unforeseen occurrences, are also deserving of consideration here.
Chapter Four is the preeminent section of the work, and its first part, is appropriately titled “Getting started.” The author refers to the PR unit and refers to basic tools of the section which are essential to its effective functioning. One of these is a flair for writing materials which are important during meeting, special events etc. which are also essential. The author later refers to the qualities which a good PR man must possess and these include a good academic qualification in Mass communications or public relations. The ability to write very well, which includes analytical and critical reasoning, backed by a thorough and inquiring mind, and sound editorial judgement, is significant quality for an effective PR man. Press releases, feature articles, press reviews and press briefings are important in drawing continuous awareness to the activities of any organisation also.
Chapter Five, being the final chapter, examines that rare but delightful arena of ‘Reputation Management.’ According to the author, “Reputation management is a new slogan in corporate imaging of private companies that pursues excellence in its drive to promote the uniqueness of its position as leaders in their field. Corporate reputation is very important to any organisation, and four areas are usually considered here. First, a big organisation naturally requires an excellent management style which easily dovetails with its corporate image. Next is the name or trademark used to identify a product by its maker. The brand should be compelling, and so attractive “that it should receive the admiration of potential customers, shareholders and distributors.” The way an organisations carries its staff along is an essential part of the public’s perception of the organisation. This is why so many organisations place emphasis on welfare packages, job security, and also on the orientation the employees receive in public and human relations.
To gain community support, the owners of any corporation need to engage in community-related activities in order to gain the enthusiasm of the host community. Meanwhile, crisis management is also vital to an effective PR, and the good public standing of a corporation. The author also examines the delicate point of determining which media a PR man ought to use to get his point across. There are largely the elitist, while there are others which can be classified as ‘midpoint’. This is because the news coverage of these papers oscillates between business, news and other items of a socio-political nature. Next is the electronic media which the author views as the most neglected channel of mass communication which is not regularly used by public relations executives.
In sum, Shuaib’s Financial Public Relations represents a humble effort at situating financial public relations in the context of an increasingly challenging environment. The work does so in an easy prose style, such that with every forward movement, all abstract concepts adopt illumination, as the author escorts the readers into the engaging universe of financial public relations.
April 6, 2002
The business community, financial, public and private institutions or organizations, to whom the need for public relations is not important, are according to the Public Relations Digest, vulnerable to sudden and unpredictable crises; whether financial difficulties, takeover, sabotage or natural disasters etc. But against this background, Financial Public Relations, authored by Yushau Abdulhameed Shuaib, is very available. Although its focus basically is on financial public relations, as the title implies, there is a room for public relations in all aspects of life.
The point of interest in this book is addressing the notable existing interrelationship between global issues of importance to mankind, economic activities and communication. This book has brought to the knowledge that in the world of buying and selling, participants explore any available information, through communication; as the means through which they could acquire wealth and take care of their daily needs and wants. This book makes it clear that public relations stands for refined information or communication process, and that these factors are sources of encouragement on how best to achieve one’s needs and wants, which largely depend on financial capabilities.
Since the economic roles of financial institutions, the world over, are becoming greatly and sensitively dispensable by the day, as such, financial public relations by the financial organizations whose needed strategy it is to reach out to the public, simply finance-wise, in achieving financial goals. Looking at the financial environment, this book is very explicit in its analysis. It brings one to the words of Ergot Beckhart: “The financial system is the family of rules and regulations and the congeries of financial arrangements, institutions, agents and the mechanism where they relate to each other within the financial sector and with the rest of the world.” The book highlights the fact that other than the interrelationship between the buyers and sellers in the open economic market, all financial entities and agents are also grouped under the financial sector. It brings to bear the definitions of Pius Okigbo: “...Financial sector is the grouping of all financial agents whose transactions determine qualitatively the financial flow in the economy.” In a country, apart from political reasons, countries relate with one another on the international monetary or financial terms for social intercourse, to obtain some assistance, perhaps for new developmental projects. All these explain the fact that there must be a relationship between two or more persons for a mutual beneficial interest. Based on this, the financial sector is a grouping of all financial agents whose transactions determine qualitatively the financial flow in the economy.” In a country, apart from political reasons, a country relates with others on the international monetary or financial terms for social intercourse, to obtain some assistance, perhaps for new development projects. All these explain the fact that there must be relationship between two or more persons for a mutual beneficial interest. Based on this, Financial Public Relations plots the route to understanding how such relationship works, particularly between the financial sector and its publics.
In this wise, this book has elaborated on the financial system. It suffices that, understanding the word finance, one ought to reason beyond identifying with only money as it is, “the art and science of managing money and is closely related to economics.” In an attempt to identify how one nation’s financial sector relates with another, this book calls for the need for one to understand the peculiar financial system operatable in a particular country or nation which determines its economic indices. This is in view of its policies and implementation. Understanding public finance, therefore, is in getting closer to how financial public relations has provided the focus for a wide-ranging discourse concerning the role of financial institutions to enhance adequate knowledge by the public, not only in developed economies, but also in developing nations. One point of emphasis here is that of the purpose of public relations practice, where the financial public relations emerged. Financial Public Relations sees this purpose in a way “to establish a two-way communication at seeking common grounds or areas of mutual interests and to establish an understanding based on truth, knowledge and full information,” according to Sam Black, one of the world pioneers of public relations practitioners.
What informs or bring about public relations is the ignorance to which the publics are also subjected by various institutions, be it public or private. In the light of the above, financial public relations seeks to close this gap, and this, according to this book, is only possible if the institutions concerned will use the process and method of public relations for their financial reporting, for effective information dissemination that could establish mutual and beneficial relationship between the economic operators and their beneficiaries. In this case, the efforts of the financial institutions would ensure that there is no room for misinformation and bashing in the media. Citing from the experience of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, established since 1988, this book posits that until after its inauguration in 1999, when Eng. Hamman A. Tukur, the Chairman of the newly instituted body undertook certain strategic public relations steps, there was no enlightenment for the public to know about the functions and responsibilities of this commission.
Concerning the attacks that the annual federal budget often encounters, even before its public presentation, and the need to maintain and direct foreign reserves and the benefit of some government fiscal policies, towards revamping the economy which hardly receives public goodwill, this book calls on the authority concerned to brace up and monitor the trend which will ensure positive response before public outcries. On this note, Financial Public Relations is yet another attempt at finding solutions to social problems relating to finance and mass communication. In this book, Yushau Abdulhameed Shuaib tries to look at the duties of the Ministry of Finance and other financial institutions and the way they handle their public awareness on matters that are quite beneficial to the public.
The areas of concern in chapter two are public relations concepts, marketing concepts, sales concepts, advertising and public relations, in-house staff and public relations consultants and the public and target audience. Beginning this chapter with a brief history of public relations in Nigerian, this book looks at the consultancy affiliates and finance affiliates. This book considers the interest of the target public and sees the way of satisfying such interest with benefit of giving an institution a good image as one of the objectives of the financial public relations. It draws on the importance of financial public relations as the need to foster a better business relationship in today’s turbulent environment characterized by fierce competition and custom who are increasingly aware of alternatives in terms of services, products and organizations or institutions that provide them.
While chapter four deals with various topics such as getting started, the public relations unit, public relations function, press briefing, features, press review, relationship management, publication, social responsibility, corporate advertising, lobbying, spokesperson, corporate gifts and information technology. Chapter five specifically concentrates on other such topics, as reputation management, and issues management, media of financial public relations, corporate identification, and membership of professional bodies. Then, viewing this book from the context of the areas and different topics it handles, it is not an overstatement that it is the most timely needed material to every public relations and corporate affairs practitioners who wish to imbibe the ethical standard in its day to day practice.
Independent May 27, 2002
This book on financial public relations attempts to address the existing interrelation between the global issues of importance to mankind- economic activities and communication. It is a known fact human beings struggle for survival by exploring all available information, through communication, in acquiring wealth to cater for their needs and wants. Therefore, refined information or communication processes which public relations stands for, are source of encouragement on how best to achieve our needs and wants which largely depend on our financial capabilities.
That was how Yushau Abdulhammeed Shuaib, Head of Press and Public Relation and Fiscal Commission opened the first chapter of his latest book which will shortly be released to the general public. The book will surely be useful to students of MASS Communication, Journalism and Public Relations as well as practitioners. In it, Shuaib looks at the issue of Public relations generally and zeros in on the financial aspect.
He describes Financial Public Relations as the” application of public relations by financial organisations in reaching out to the public, simply finance-wise in achieving financial goals.”The book is a 150-page piece with five chapters. Chapter one deals with topics like the financial environment; understanding public finance; Federal Ministry of Finance; revenue agencies; Central Bank and Financial institutions. In chapter two, the author treated topics like public relations where he looked at the history of public relations practice in Nigeria. According to him, the then colonial government created a special information Center for the purpose of disseminating information about World War11" in addition to creating better understanding between the colonialists and the colonised Nigerians, more especially, when the citizenry started to agitate for independence.” In this chapter, the author also looks at marketing concepts, sales support, advertising public relations, in-house staff and public relations consultants, the public and the target audience.
Research, budgeting, planning and regulations are the topics treated in chapter three. Shuaib contends that environment monitoring, public opinion, media research and social audit are the most important issues to be considered in research.
Basically, like an academic research in higher institutions, a comprehensive research in public relations may involve the basic stages which include identifying the problems, aims and objectives, reviewing the literature, definitions of terms, designing questionnaires, data interpretation, suggestions, recommendations and conclusion. Other research may adopt lighter methods, which may include but not be limited to introduction, identified problems and recommendations/conclusions’ Under the topic budgeting in PR, the author notes that nothing goes for free, so also does effective PR which does not come cheap’ but mitigated this by saying that certainty of programme and sellable ideas invariably eases the task of costly campaigns. Other issues as consultancy budget, budget defence and budget breakdown are equally discussed. The topic “Getting started” opened the fourth chapter. Here, the author recalls Allan Walter Steiss who said in his book, Financial Management in public organisations, the safe keeping is a traditional role of financial management and that report of past performance are prepared for internal management as well as outside groups, such as stakeholders, creditors, and the general public. “Such reports which are necessary, may pinpoint responsibility for deviations from previously approved plans” This chapter looked at others issue such as public relations functions, press briefing, features, press review, relationship management, publications, social responsibility, corporate advertising, lobbying spokesperson, corporate gifts and information technology.
The all-important matter of Reputation Management opened the last chapter of the book. Shuaib described reputation management as a new slogan in corporate imaging of private companies that pursue excellence in their drive to promote the uniqueness of their position as leaders in their field.
He mentioned four groups that make up the target of the corporate reputation of a company and these include management, employees, the brand and the community. Under crises management, Shuaib repeated the advise offered by Michael Blend that the public relations person should be prepared at all times and make sure the following are observed and undertaken: preparation, crisis room, resources, messages and target. At all crisis situations, it is the responsibility of the PR Unit to make sure that its communication technique has a timely and precise quality So as to build goodwill among its general public, showing care and concern.
While looking at the media of Financial Public Relations (FPR), the author advised that the practitioner ought to make his choice of media based on the following decisive factors: financials, elitist, midpoint, standard and electronic. Other topics treated include; a corporate identification and building brand. He thereafter explored details about the profession of public relation relating to them.
Considering that most professionals who found themselves in this field of specialisation only come to grips after long periods of trial and error, the release of this book at this point will help immensely. While it will not be correct to describe the book as perfect, its publication will surely engender an intellectual interest in the topic and thus promote further research in this direction.Some errors that have been spotted in the preview edition of this book should not be allowed to appear in the final print. Shuaib is a 1992 Mass Communication graduate. He holds a diploma in Banking and Finance from the University of Abuja and has attended the London school of Public Relations.