*            Reputation Management


*          Crises and Issues Management


*          Media of FPR


*            Corporate Identification


*            Membership of Professional  Bodies
















Reputation management is a new slogan in the corporate imaging of private companies that pursue excellence in their drive to promote the uniqueness of their positions as leaders in their fields. Some have even designated Reputation Manager as the officer to be responsible for the promotion and protection of their image in the eyes of the public.


According to Ian Wright, President Institute of Public Relations (IPR), London, the reputation asset evolved over time as a result of consistent excellent performance of organisations. Reputation is a value judgment about company’s attributes involving esteem, credibility, loyalty and trust. Just like other basic principles of public relations, it is not addressing a new thing, but reinstating the success and positive contributions of staff, operations and services, which the firms offer to the society. Ian Wright listed the competitive edge of reputation to include its attempt to reduce barriers to competition, open new markets and  attract the best recruit, so as to supply the chain and business partners. It also enhances access to capital and investors, creates a premium value for products and services and also protects the business in times of crisis.     


No company strives to fail or lose out in business. All the attributes that negate the essence of prestige and eminence are curbed. From recruitment of competent staff to the retrenchment of redundant and in-effective ones, the organisation requires extensive and strategic image building. By this, a company maintains loyalty, security and trust. It tries never to betray public trust and confidence. It maintains and sustains strong cultures and good financial results. It also achieves production targets and boosts its corporate social responsibility.


Reputation management also involves all the ingredients of effective public relations campaigns. Further effort is made at projecting the stand and brand of the company at every business opportunity. It reinforces this by effective communication with the general public, more especially, the targeted stakeholders. It also creates dialogue to meet and exceed expectations by accurately reporting the activities and direction of the business strategy, so that confidence is built up and reputation is fostered and nurtured. A company reputation is a license of its market confidence. The involvement of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and the First City Monument Bank in the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication (GSM) no doubt has the confidence of the public due to their established enviable reputation in financial management.


Four groups make up the target of the corporate reputation of a company. They are the Management, the Employees, the Brand and the Community.



In a big organisation, which has a household reputation, its management, from the chief executive to the manager, should inculcate mature and cultured habit, which should be acceptable norms. In addition, being reputable, social and enlighten high-flyer in the business, their names and experiences can further enhanced the existing corporate profile. It is when there is confidence in the management that the investors are ever willing to contribute their fund. It may not be surprising that organisations seek for the best brains who have human relations with ability to represent and boost the organisation’s image in any event. The names alone, apart from accomplished career and enviable credentials of the top shot, the regulatory bodies are rest assured of the security and stability of the firm to stand on its own in the economy with full confidence.



Brand is the name or trademark used to identify a product by its makers. It is the output of a company’s initiatives, creativity and operation, which allows the company’s image to be judged by its services and products. The brand should be so attractive that it should receive the admiration of the potential customers, the shareholders and distributors. After all, it is the brand, which is the visible manifestation of the company that provides the wealth and profit on which the company survives in the competitive market. Brand building involves a lot of creativity, ingenuity in the packaging and the message that goes with such as its values, design and promotional jingles. It may not be simply produced, but it entails painstaking research, and the use of mass-communication through appropriate mass media for expected mass response, which results to its mass production to satisfy the mass of its consumers. Therefore, brand building should be sustained in such a way that it engenders more loyalty.


Employees Relations

Another important aspect of the corporate reputation is the way the firm carries its employees along.  As the ambassador of the company, the workforce’s disposition and perception may be judged by the public and rate the organisation accordingly. Some organisations earn public confidence not merely from their welfare packages and job security, but by the kind of orientation the employees receive in public and human relations. Some are even impressed by the mode of dressing; and how the employees carry themselves in public. Effective employee relations is desirable in projecting the image of the firm to the outside world. Training and retraining on ethical standard, code of conduct and professionalism for the employees are assets that pay a great dividend to the reputation of the firm in the public court. This is achievable by communicating directly with them through their supervisors and by providing incentives to make them have sense of belonging and feel as being members of the family. A firm that treats its employees shabbily would soon realise that its image is at stake, if they resort to blackmail and revolt against the firm. No matter the financial position, the employee should always be adequately informed on any development, which may have adverse effects. They may give their best and stand with the organisation once they are treated well. The benefits of employee relations include, among other things, an improved performance, improved safety, improved quality products and customer service, and efficiency at work.


It is when there is communication gap between the management and the employees that the latter express resentment, mistrust, as well as anger, and in extreme cases, revolt as seen in the face-off between one of the leading banks and the Nigeria Labour Congress, over the formers policy on unionism and recruitment exercise. The consequences of such misdemeanors by the management are usually industrial actions, which do not augur well for any firm. Certain method should be adopted, if the organisation intends to downsize. This could be by way of well-packaged and tempting severance gratuity, so that the agony of disengagements would not be seriously felt by the victims. A justifiable reason should be proffered for any action that may be otherwise detrimental to the employees.


Community Relations

To gain the community support, the operators in a given environment must contribute to the socio-economic development of their host community and/or communities otherwise called catchments area. The reputation of the company in the community is seen by the leaders on the number of people it employs among them. A number of community-based programmes can be undertaken in areas of education, health, training in skill acquisition, donations, construction and appreciation of their cultural norms and values. Construction of Classrooms, dispensaries and the sponsorship of indigent students of the community are now very popular as some forms of community relation’s projects undertaken by companies. Julius Berger Nig Plc, the construction giant, the Bank of the North, First Bank, Union Bank and major oil companies, are few examples noted for their contributions and sponsorship of programmes in their host communities.


Above all, communication is essential in effective community relations so that whenever there is any turn of events, the community leader will be willing to render support and defend the company that has been a good guest.



One of the major contributions of public relations is in curtailing and managing issues and crises before, during and after they might have occurred. Through anticipating trends, issues and events that will destroy the reputation of the organisation, effective communication management provides public affairs solution to reduce negative impacts of a public outcry as attempts are made to influence the behaviour of stakeholders.


It is unfortunate that many organisations fail to appreciate the value of their Public Relations Officers as they often resort to fire brigade approaches at the dying minutes. This unbecoming attitude may be due to the failure of the management to take the image-maker in confidence. It is quite disturbing that it is only after the eruption of crisis that companies seek the skill of the crises manager to provide his professional services.


Disasters, which are accidental, occur unexpectedly in the productive sector of the economy like in factories and industrial sites. Most, if not all, are due to carelessness and failure to put in place an emergency team and precautionary measure to avert escalation of the precarious imbroglio.


Financial crises are predictable and can be averted once the Public Relations Manager is able to monitor trends and happenings in the operations environment of the organisation. A typical major financial crisis was the distress in the banking sectors in the 90s when many banks were closed down and their Chief Executives prosecuted for unethical practices. Needless to say that the turn of events also affected some insurance firms and reputable chartered accounting firms which were expected to audit the accounts of some of these financial institutions.


This financial crisis also resulted in the ultimate option of giving out these businesses through take over bids of the firms, which are attainable by means of merger and acquisition or lighter approach of diversification of investments.


In a public institution, any problem that arises from fiscal or monetary disequilibrium or distortion in budgetary provision, is considered an economic crisis. It is that period when the citizens and/or through the media, cry out against the government’s inefficiency in the face of galloping inflation, foreign exchange instability, capital flight, high rate of unemployment and other related economic problems which may bring down the image of the government of the day, unless appropriate actions are taken to remedy the problems.


In all of the above, what is needed in the face of those crises while decision is being made is that, the public needs timely and correct information from the organisation or the body responsible for the problem. And the best bet is to allow the Public Relations persons take charge of the situation.


Technically, the use of public relations manager in the event of crises is to advise the management on the best steps to take in winning back public confidence and acceptability. This is also to seek for their sympathy and support in the face of the challenges. In addition, it is expected that the department should delegate the responsibility of reaching out to the public through appropriate information network. This network may include the use of trained telephone receptionists to respond to enquiries and for senior officers to visit relevant institutions and publics to explain the situation at hand.  


But most importantly, the public relations officer should be able to handle a hostile public and aggressive media enquiries as this is always the time when tension rises higher. Protests and demonstrations are very likely at such critical periods when the relevant publics are disenchanted with the way and manner the organisation responds.


According to Di Burton, there are four stages (techniques) of handling difficult aggressive personalities. These, he said, include giving them time to cool down. This is by talking to them, as they are relaxed and in positive moods. Before approaching them, some specific ways to gain their attention should be prepared. This is by breaking good news, compensation and rewards or improvement in the service of the organisation to them. The manager should also acknowledge the aspects of their ideas that he believes are true and/or important. This acknowledgment does not necessarily mean agreement.


The essence of this is to diffuse some of their aggression and make them more open to organisation’s stand. And lastly, the Public Relations Manager should hold his ground and stand up for his organisation’s position. This can be achieved by consistently backing down or giving ideas to appease them, as they will not tend to reinforce their aggression.  




In the face of financial crises, the management should give the public relations department the full support to operate and discharge its duties satisfactorily. It is expected that the officer must have acquainted himself fully with the event through media reports and clips. As an insider too, he has an option of either getting out from the problems by his healthy relationship with other management staff or by an effective monitoring of the company’s services and products and its operations within a given community to be able to predict and foresee.


Since crisis is always viewed as an unexpected occurrence, a time of great difficulty when immediate and important decisions must be made, the only friend to turn to is the PR man who is saddled with the responsibility of getting and retaining public confidence.


 In a crisis situation, Michael Blend, advises  that the public relations person should be prepared at all times and make sure the following are observed and undertaken:


(a). Preparation: The organisation should maintain contact with its host community at all times. These will include the opinion leaders and the regulatory authorities.


(b). Crisis Room: A special team or think-tank should be in the organisation. Apart from the Chief Executive who should lead the team in deliberating and seeking the way out, the team should include the public relations man, legal adviser, and the head of operation or officer-in-charge of the issue at hand. It is recommended that the crisis room must be an isolated environment with minimal interference and distraction.




(c). Resources: When crisis erupts, there is a tendency to receive large crowds, who may be the organisation’s target audience, trooping in or trying to get in contact with the organisation by all means. The organisation should provide telephone numbers, mailbox, special e-mail address and relevant items that may be required to douse the tension. Also, some staff should be designated to receive and respond politely to all enquiries as they come in.


(d). Message: The spokesperson, if necessary the Chief Executive, may address the public through appropriate media. It may be in form of press-releases, paid adverts or through press conferences. The message should be designed in such a way that it gives assurance, tenders an apology where necessary and seeks sympathy and goodwill while expressing, in an honest and polite manner, the possible reason for the development. This is the main stage of all crises management, that is informing the public truthfully and honestly on the situation to avoid rumour mongering and gossips that may compound the already critical situation.


(e). Target: As in any public relations stages, the target audience of the organisation must be known. But in crisis situation, not only are the relevant audience but large targets considered too for their understanding. Therefore, the targets include stakeholders, local community, pressure groups, the government and the media.


At all crises 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 amongst its general public, showing care and concern. While anticipating action from pressure groups, whose approach may be highly demanding, a crisis management team should be raised and trained on-the-spot. The more reliable hands are involved, the better the representation to reach wider targets.



The most difficult task of any public relations man is to determine and select the appropriate media to convey his message to the relevant public. It is an undeniable fact that there are many broadcast stations and print media with their individual public, editorial policies and special interests.


It is only when one has a credible survey research on the media content and circulation strength of a medium, that one would be able to make an adequate choice. Once conversant with the major newspapers in the country, it is easier for the PR man to determine the interest of most widely read national dailies. In deciding on media segmentation, it is necessary to consider wide reach, right reach, and cost effectiveness. The distinctive characteristic of the print media is that, it is handy and readable at all times. This serves as reference materials and is passable to others. Printed materials have additional features of colours, pictures, cartoons and different sections for different purposes.


For the purpose of prioritising one’s choice, the national media that have business bias in their editorial contents can be categorised in the following order:


(a). Financial:

These are purely financial tabloids. In this category, we have the Financial Standard, Business Times, Business Day, Financial Telegraph and several rested weeklies whose interests are almost 100% business oriented. They devote most of their reports to fiscal and monetary activities in the economy. And if they discuss politics, from the headlines, it will be obvious that they are talking about facts and figures associated with business news. There are also credible magazines in this category. They include The Policy and the Industrial Leaders.

(a). Elitist:

Among the widely read dailies, there are those that are patronised by the business elite due to their large concentration on share index, investment, emerging financial market, foreign exchange rate, e-business and the general business policy. Popular among them are, The Guardian, whose Business Guardian was rested, Thisday, National Interest and The Comet newspapers.


(c). Midpoint:

The dailies in this group are those whose areas of coverage are in-between financial news and other socio-political accounts. The papers also offer a very consistent news balance and have story penchant for political events, ethical questions and entertainment. They have constant, probably weekly sections on the economy, money market and the business world. In fact, some like the Vanguard have daily special pages called Vanguard Business. The newspapers in this category, apart from the Vanguard, are The Champion, The Punch, Nigerian Tribune, Daily Trust, the Post Express and Daily Independent newspapers. Most of the highly rated magazines like, The News, Newswatch, Tell and Citizen magazines, also fall under this category.


(d). Standard:

Even though many print media have come to grip with the reality of the readership delight of mature adults in key management positions and increasing shareholders’ appetite for investment news, the general purpose dailies are switching to more business news in greater depth, through granting interviews to chief executives of business organisations. The papers in this category cover special interests, which range from government, entertainment, politics, culture, tourism, sports, technology, arts and literature. They nonetheless have occasional columns on financial management and publish stories and features on the economy. In this category, we have the government-owned newspapers like Daily Times, New Nigerian, Daily Sketch, Observer, Herald and Triumph newspapers and other privately owned dailies like The Anchor, Monitor and others.


(e). Electronic Media:

The electronic media are the most neglected channels of mass communication, which are not rightly utilised by public relations executives. This may likely be due to the difficulty of monitoring their activities on the airwave. But still, the public relies mostly on the broadcast media for accurate and current information on happenings. The major electronic media here are the television and radio. They are easily operated on electricity and batteries and so, the cheapest and easily accessible. The broadcast is usually made in understandable languages that even semi-literates can decipher. While the radio’s audio and easy mobility have their strength, the television has the combination of audio and visuals, or what is often popularly referred to as sight and sound as its unique features. In view of the importance of financial reporting, the media have specific programmes on the business world. In fact, the privately owned stations have enough covering stock market, banks, insurance, and the business world. Some of these stations that have carved a niche for themselves in this regard include African Independent Television (AIT), Minaj Broadcast International (MBI) and Murhi Televisions, among others. The Nigerian Television Authorities (NTA), which had monopolised the television industry for years, has, due to competition, increased its programmes on economic issues to attract more commercial patronage and viewers. It also invites public and private bodies to feature on its  programmes. It also has business correspondents whose major concentration is the coverage of financial and economic activities. One notable aspect is sponsored documentaries. There is also live broadcast on Fiscal Budget Breakdowns.   The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under Gaius Obaseki effectively uses network services to highlight its achievements and announce the daily distribution of petroleum products for public appreciation.

Radio stations are similar in the nature of coverage of events but have larger audience due to their light and mobility features as well as their long-lasting affordability. Financial reporting is common on the radio, with lots of financial adverts, especially for promoting products. This is a great potential for utilisation by a public relations person. But there are all indications that with the licenses given to individuals and groups to own radio stations, with also their innovative performances, all hope may not be lost in this regard. Credit may be given to the few stations that run special segments on monetary trends even though most of them are concentrated in big business cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt, Kano, Warri and Ibadan.


(f.) News Agencies

There are news agencies that support other media with transmitted information through wire services. The media coverage of those agencies is not restricted to a specific news beat as they provide all media with easy access to news and article after subscribing with them. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) is one of the effective and efficient media agencies from where most of the Nigerian and international media culled news stories. Other global news agencies with representatives in Nigeria include the Associated Press (AP), Agency France-Press (AFP) and Reuters.


In developed countries, there are many companies that offer the list of media outfits with their circulation strengths, target audience and other information for stakeholders who desire to make the right choice in media patronage. Nigeria has witnessed the same recently with the emergence of media independent shop, Media Reach Ltd which unveiled a booklet titled Nigeria Media facts. For media planners and buyers, the publication which is intended to be produced annually provides reliable information and data on all serious media in the country and their rating with regards to local, regional and  national reach  that could aid communications managers in their efforts to reach the right publics.  It also serves as a reliable easy access and top line reference material on the media.



Every organisation strives to be unique in many ways as it struggles to distinguish itself by its products and services. It is based on this perception that organisations create unique identities to depict and project their corporate image. If all banks go with the same name and the same symbol and service, then there would be no distinction or differences.


It would be observed that some organisations are popular on the negative side, some on the positive, while many, even though doing well,


are not popular. All of them require intensive image building for better public acceptability.


A good image goes with the Chief Executive who must believe in the best standard of business practices and develop a committed interest on how he expects to be seen by the public. The purpose of promoting corporate identity is not only for a company’s potential audience, but the general public who may come across its message. It must seek to be known more and more by the public with a good image.


Corporate identity is associated with mission statements, slogans, names, symbols, and colour peculiar to an organisation, its products and services preoccupation. There are times when a reconsideration of name, symbol and motto is necessary for a merger, acquisition, divestiture and introduction of new services different from others or to change from a company’s past activities which might not have been good enough.



Before deciding on trademarks, the following are to be considered.



Everything is identified by its name, no matter how big or small it is. A good name is the pride of everyone. Names may be meaningful or meaningless, but this doesn’t matter. What matters is how the owners conduct themselves in the society. An organisation’s name is appropriate if it indicates its line of business. But names are sometimes given to immortalise someone or an environment. It may also be a qualifier of an event and/or action. For brevity, it is recommended that a long name be abbreviated.



The symbol may be a sign, mark or character chosen to stand for or represent something. It may come in different forms, ranging from an ordinary drawing to artistic concepts or even pictures to project an impressive idea, which must agree with colours and the nature of the business. A good graphic artist, once given the concept, will produce an enhanced symbol to the admiration of everyone.



The motto is a worded slogan or phrase expressing a guiding principle or rule of conduct of an organisation. The message may be run on emotion, psychology or even pragmatism which will appeal to the larger public. In addition, the motto must be brief and well-crafted statements which are easy to pronounce. Some prefer to have a mission statement which expresses the philosophy of the organisation, its goals and aspirations.




Designs, graphics, logotypes and symbols, which should clearly depict the name and services provided by the organisation must be pondered on. It can even be an abbreviation of the company’s name, which is graphically expressed. It may also be to herald a product transformation. Logo and symbol are printed on letterheads, signboards, products, vehicles, gift items, stationery and on banners during special events. They are considered to be brand image of the products and services and also an in-house style and corporate image of the company. With the advent of the computer and its creative soft wares, better graphics can be produced in a matter of seconds.





No good reputation is built over night. It involves a lot of planning, good will, outstanding performance, selfless service and at times, sense of patriotism.  This also involves activities that create lasting and positive impressions for the organisation. The image is the central point of public relations practice. That is the reason why the practitioner goes with many related professional names such as the image builder, image-maker and even, image merchant. Activities bordering on social responsibilities, community relations, lobbying, and special public-spirited programmes, are all geared towards achieving a better public image. It requires careful planning, development, implementation and control.


The corporate identification components discussed above are deliberate articulations to communicate the lines of service and interest of an organisation. They are primarily intended to register in the minds of the public and be easily recalled by those who come across any of its features. For the reputation to remain indelible, the organisation must be involved in deeds favourable and advantageous to the public, so that once the symbol is displayed anywhere, the name and services of the organisation instantly come to mind. The Boxer ‘B’ of Julius Berger, the ‘Elephant’ of the First Bank, the ‘Horse Stallion’ of the Union Bank and the ‘Green and White’ of the Nigerian flag, all linger on, in the mind and create a clear understanding on their stands. From whichever way it is seen, clear and impressive images may be used to monopolise or compete with others successfully.




Brand building is another strategy for the promotion of trademarks, especially the product names, and their philosophy. It is especially part of effective  campaign development. This marketing approach is very popular in the banking, manufacturing and other related private sector organisations. Such products or services initiated are intended to have familiarity among their target audience.


Like the boosting of logo, symbol and mission statement of a company, brands too have additional features of distinguishing particular product or service from others. They have acceptable characteristics to attract patronage. They also offer advantages derivable which appeal to the general public.


Some of the strategies through which brand objectives are achieved are quite numerous. They include affordability of the product to the generality of the users. In a turbulent economy, the less privileged prefer cheap products to expensive ones. It is based on this consideration that companies introduce consolation prizes and discounts, not only to sell but also to promote the brand name. Another dimension in this regard is the sweepstakes where everything happens in jiffy; with lucky winners take away items or goods worth huge amounts of money.


Self-respect and prestige are one of the reasons why the rich go for higher quality products with comparable higher costs. Here, the companies, in their promotional campaigns, emphasise the perfection and the superiority of the objects. Celebrities and superstars are projected as the users of the products so that other personalities may be willing to associate with them.


Other gimmicks for the promotion of brand names and patronage include free sample offers, special discounts, instant presents, money back guarantees and public testimonials, among others.


It is not necessary that products must be created before the brand is built. In special cases, a product promotion may be launched and promoted before the product is introduced to the market. Some of the licenced GSM operators intensified enormous media campaigns several months before bringing their products and services to the country. This is to enable the name, symbol and mission statement of their firms fully registered in the minds of the subscribers.


According to Phil Osagie, Head Consultant, JSP Corporate Communications, “branding is achieved by all those extras on the products that make it memorable. Brands are built through product differentiation, pricing (premium on penetration strategy) public relations, event marketing, advertising, sales promotion, corporate manifestation, sponsorship, endorsement, etc.”

Only an organisation that has enormous resources and believes in long-term benefit, ventures into brand buildings. This is because, huge amounts of resources are deployed in publicity and its financial returns come after a long time. Any organisation that expects immediate returns after a few promotional exercises is surely living in fantasy because this is rare in reality.


As it is stated earlier, the introduction of GSM telecommunication into the country witnessed a high level of media campaign geared towards attracting the public to the bulk of products in the market. Before the bid for the license, which gulped millions of dollars, the companies, most especially MTN and ECONET, developed some highly effective media structures to win the battle for the license and build the brand of their products and services.


When they successfully won the licenses, they embarked, once again, on public enlightenment programmes, through the pages of newspapers, magazines and airtime in the electronic media to highlight the benefits of the expected products and support services. The campaigns afforded many potential set subscribers prior information on the planned introduction of the cellular phones. It also enabled subscribers to have a good idea about the services available.


Some may wonder why ECONET and MTN spent million of Naira on enlightenment campaigns before the full commencement of their services. The reason is not far fetched. Media campaigns are all about long-term strategy and require all the companies of public relations for the organisation to be registered in the minds of the populace, or the customers.



Any company entering into a new environment with the likelihood of encountering stiff competition, needs to examine and exploit the SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat) analysis to excel. The company studies the strength and weakness of its competitors in the market and reinforces its own strength. It utilises any open opportunity for maximum results and endeavours not to be shaken by any threat from the competitor no matter how big it may be.


In a nutshell, the purpose of building brands and campaign development can be summarised as follows:


(a). Value. The benefit of the products easily comes to mind, whenever it is recalled or mentioned. It may be due to its affordability, special discount or bonanza, or prestige.


(b). Producer. The companies responsible for the products are easily identified but with time, this may not be necessary unless the products can be acquired from the branches of the company. A bank is a good example. You can only benefit from bankers’ services through direct contact with their headquarters or branches.


(c). Products. The product is mentioned instead of a long description and specification. You may wonder why some people for lack of sense of direction always ask for Coca-Cola instead of Pepsi or other Cola drinks, or a brand of Paracetamol, the popular analgesic. Some have preference for Panadol instead of Daga and vice-versa. Those who understand the taste and effectiveness of the product know that they serve the same purpose.


A better way of making the brand register in the minds of the publics is through aggressive marketing communication. This includes advertising, sales promotion, PR and general publicity. The essence is to gain enough patronage of the products and services provided.


Some well-recognised companies have developed unique marketing techniques to get the public endorse their products. Notable among such techniques are free gifts or offers of the product to enable a first-timer to derive the benefit of the offer. It may also be in the form of a special discount where there is a reduction in the company’s market price for the public. A special reward may be offered for patronisers like the gifts of other products, a raffle draw ticket, or even a flight ticket for a honeymoon or scholarship for child education. This is popular among manufacturing companies and in the banking sector.


The financial institutions are beginning to realise that ingenuity is required in creating products not only intended to satisfy a particular public but even neglected and non-recognised targets. For instance, in its effort to be more acceptable to the home front, i.e. the family, banks have created several educational related products and services for the younger ones.


The motives behind the introduction of such products are to gather more funds through savings. The resourcefulness towards public enlightenment on the benefit of banking practice, even from child development, is a welcome development. This kind of service cannot only be described as financial products but far more, it is seen as social products that would ultimately lead to better future for the children and give the parents a sense of fulfillment.


The requirements for subscribers, on behalf of the potential account holder, who is invariably expected to be a child of school age, vary from one bank to the other. The major feature is the need to open an account with a specified initial amount of money and a mandatory minimum balance of specific amount at any point in time.


The benefits derivable from this banking transaction include accruable interest per annum, special educational grants, timely availability of funds for child education, eligibility for special bursary and scholarship awards, issuance of overdraft to subscribers at little or no extra cost and special bonus in the event of accidental death or disability of the account holder.


Some of the banks that are involved in the child and education investment products include UBA with its Save for School Account, Continental Trust Bank, with its product Continental READ, while Standard Trust Bank tags its own, Standard Care Account. The National Bank of Nigeria prefers to tag its own Children Education Target Account (CETA) and the Trade Bank simply gives its product the acronym “TEA” which stands for Trade Education Account. Access Bank of Nigeria too has what it called Kiddies Save Account, a product it says is specifically designed to cultivate saving habits among children and the Chartered Bank has a similar product with the name Children’s Educational Saving Scheme “CHESS”.


Other banks have gone a step further by introducing rather innovative banking services to discourage unethical manners of saving money. For instance, there is a bank that introduced what it calls Esusu Gulf Guarantee (EGG) for market men and women who have been defrauded by the local money collector. Many of these traders have fallen victims of fraudulent traditional collectors who claimed that they either robbed or lost such cash deposit in fire infernos. There are also other banks that offer other services beneficial to their communities. There are saving schemes that enable the depositors to embark on lifetime dreams like pilgrimages to Mecca/Jerusalem and for the celebration of Sallah and Christmas.  




Academic qualifications and experience are basic requirements to practise in organised sectors. But in several other systems, membership of professional bodies is an added requirement mandatory for one to possess before being accepted to practise. Qualifying examinations are set by some bodies and years of service are also considered as prerequisite for full membership of some of these bodies. For instance, an intending practitioner must pass some examinations before becoming a chartered accountant. The institutes of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) are the bodies registered by law to regulate the practice of accountancy in Nigeria. The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations too, has the same mandate on public relations practice in the country.


Apart from being a statutory authority to license practitioners and to sanitise the image of the profession, NIPR is empowered to make byelaws on accreditation of sectoral groups like Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) and Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN)


Aside enhancing one’s career and also being a basic requirement for employment in top positions in the field, other benefits of professional membership include the following:


Management Development: Knowledge is power which needs regular improvement on the trends and changes in managerial skills, especially in the face of advancement in technology. It is based on this that professional bodies organise training programmes for their members and interested public to broaden their scope of knowledge for optimum professional development.  It promotes and advances the standards of the profession and provides members with career development opportunities.  Some of the programmes include organised workshops, seminars, courses and conferences.


Publication: Informative materials are published and circulated to registered members to update them about happenings that are of relevance to the body and as practitioners. They keep them abreast of new developments and techniques in the profession and other related matters. Notable publications in this regard are newsletters, bulletins, journals, magazines and even books.


Job Opportunity: Many organisations that require the services of professionals always prefer to enquire from the body that regulates the profession which has a data bank containing the resume of its members who may be interested. The body therefore, creates job opportunities for its members by way of serving as referee to them.


Recognition: It acknowledges the contributions of members through the conferment of awards and fellowship and offers other special services to deserving members. It encourages and strengthens members to utilise their potentials in the field. It also provides the ultimate symbol of achievement and competence through the special abbreviation of membership after members’ names.


Special Discount: As a marketing strategy, some profit making organisations associate with the body by giving special discount to its registered members on their products and services. This is very popular in the developed countries where companies offer such discounts for car rentals, hotel rooms’ rates, postage service, restaurants and special credit card given to members.


Discipline: Members adhere strictly to the code of professional conducts which is a guide for observance of the high ethical standards.


Meeting Point: It affords members the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with professional colleagues and seniors and benefit from their vast experiences, ideas and views of veterans, especially on how to succeed. It is a melting point for healthy interaction.



As a system of moral principles and rules of behaviour, code of conduct is the totality of laws guiding members of any organisation for maximum ethical performance. It sets the expected and acceptable standards for members. The attitudes of the members and the philosophy of the profession are also set out in the Code of Conduct. It is based on the reputation and image that members create for their profession in discharging their duties that the publics form their opinion on the moral standing and their ability to deliver. Therefore the rules and regulations as stated in the Code are the principles of practitioners that govern or influence members’ character in their professional dealings. The Code stands as the regulator or gauge of members’ performances and promise of high standards of professional practice to the society.


From the foregoing, therefore, the Code is a set of laws or rules arranged in a system for the benefit of members on their day-to-day activities. Every profession, even associations, have guiding principles and regulations binding on their members, what is expected of them in their job and also their responsibilities to the society. The Codes, which are referred to as ethics of the profession, spell out the “dos” and “don’ts” for the practitioners.


The essence of the laid down principles is to further create goodwill and promote understanding between the practitioner and the public on one hand, and between the profession and the system operating in the society on the other hand. It projects its positive image as a reliable, responsible and supportive body. It also serves as security to its members, who may be victimised or unjustly treated in their professional calling.


The NIPR, like other related professional bodies, has its Code of Conducts that must be observed by all its registered members. Even though there may be similarities between its principles with those of other international bodies like the Institute of Public Relations, London, International Public Relations Association and public Relations Society of America, it is also unique for the fact that it is recognised by the law of Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Basically, the codes of professional conduct and ethical standards are formulated to guide members on their responsibilities to the following:





(a) Profession - It promotes the standing and the good character of the body. This is through the observance of all the positions of the body and its interest. Every association has a reason for its existence which includes protecting its integrity and credibility in its dealings and the control of its members through the rules and principles by which the body is governed. Adequate information dissemination towards a better-informed society is paramount in the profession, just as the observance of highest ethical standard and morality is cardinal duty for every member. Respect for the moral principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and freedoms regularly features in most of the codes of public relations bodies. It is by adherence of the members to these that the reputation of the profession is guaranteed and promoted.


(b) Employer/colleague - The regulations charge the members on the best way and manner   to maintain loyalty and relate with the employers and clients who seek for their service, so that a mutual relationship exists where no one is at a disadvantage. Practitioners also should not be a threat to each other in the performance of their duties. The colleagues may be staff on other schedules or professional colleagues who may not be in the same environment. Maintaining high confidentiality with respect to secret documents is also vital. Disclosure of some privileged information could be criminal and make the culprit liable to prosecution. Members are therefore barred from such disclosure. Double-dealing which may be in conflict with the interest of the employer/client falls in this category unless with the employers/client’s expressed permission.




(c) The Public - This includes the general public and method of communicating with them. The officer is requested to observe civil, appropriate and acceptable norms in his interaction with the public. It also includes the media and other external public, including other professions. There is legislation against mistrust, betrayal of trust and lost of confidence. Members are enjoined to operate in conformity with the statutes while weighing the interest of the employers against that of the public when there is a conflict of interest before taking any action. The media who are the appropriate channel of communication should be treated with deserved respect and be fed with the truth avoiding distorted and wrong information which the profession abhors. Due respect must be given to others’ rights and views, for balanced assessment.



(a) Legality: It serves as a legal instrument which can be cited for settling disputes, resolving conflicts and also for sanctioning erring members who violate the codes. It is an enforcement apparatus on members. It derives its strength from legislative regulation in practice - that is in conformity with state laws.


(b) Simplicity: Even though it is intended for professional members, the language and style of its writing are devoid of legal and professional jargons. It is flawlessly written in the appropriate and understandable words, which is appealing and informative for the benefit of members and non-members alike. It is stated in such a way that it may not require further interpretation or details.



(c) Brevity: It is said that brevity is the soul of wit, so the code of the ethic does not run into volumes. It briefly covers all the dimensions of ethical norms of the profession. It is short and comprehensive with all the codes standardised in articles or charter for ease of reference.


(d) Adjustability: Like any law including the constitutions and decrees, they are flexible for ease of amendments whenever necessary due to societal changes. Apart from the Holy Scriptures which have divine inspirations, all man made laws are subjected to revision, amendment and improvement.


(e) Credibility: The Code of Conduct is a source of pride and legitimacy for its members. It creates goodwill and boosts the image of the body as a responsible, reliable and respectable organisation. Its credibility may be at stake if it is contradictory, self-centred, grammatically and factually inaccurate and lacking the authority for enforcement.


(f) Practicality: The rules should be such that members can abide by it and work within stipulated regulations without any difficulties.  Good rules that are not applicable or practicable may not see the light of the day and end up not being obeyed.


(g) Supportive: No matter how credible it is, it must serve the interest of the profession and its members at all times and also not be detrimental to other parties. It must nevertheless promote healthy competition where anybody can prove his/her worth.       






It is a known fact that the financial public relations is an essential part of management, which applies to the public and private sectors concerned. The purpose of the profession is to give adequate information on organisational activities, policies and plan of action. Its success and if necessary, reason for failure in the execution of programmes, can be well portrayed.  The policy makers, Chief Executives and other officers are wholly informed of the happenings around them through the monitor and review of media contents passed to them for proper and prompt response where necessary.


Enough facilities and tools should be provided for the public relations unit, which is a welcome administrative machinery of government, serving successive chief executives and administrations, irrespective of political or social differences.  The officer responsible should judiciously use the apparatus for protecting the reputation of his boss, more importantly the organisation, and avoid using the paraphernalia for cheap publicity and unwholesome propaganda.  Once the mission statement is stated clearly, best-suited programmes are required by the organisation at the establishment and maintenance of goodwill and understanding through regular contact with their customers, shareholders, boards of directors and employees, among others.  Maintaining their understanding must be supported with qualitative service, courteous habit and commendable social service. Those are the smooth ways of achieving prospect and profitability in the dynamic society and competitive market.


It is necessary, in view of the foregoing, to conclude that any organisation that intends to succeed in the business terrain and to assert its social standing, must apply the basic steps of solving public perceptions and attitudes. It should examine the prevailing situation through sampling and monitoring of public opinions and attitudes towards the organisation. Mapping out plans of action by adopting strategic programmes and workable method is an appropriate public relations skill of executing the communication process. Finally, seeking feedbacks could not be out of place at reassessing and evaluating the outcome of the executed programmes.