Membership of Professional Bodies
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.
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
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
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.
groups make up the target of the corporate reputation of a company. They are the
Management, the Employees, the Brand and the Community.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
MEDIA OF FINANCIAL PUBLIC RELATIONS (FPR)
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.
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.
the purpose of prioritising one’s choice, the national media that have
business bias in their editorial contents can be categorised in the following
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
would be observed that some organisations are popular on the negative side, some
on the positive, while many, even though doing well,
not popular. All of them require intensive image building for better public
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.
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.
deciding on trademarks, the following are to be considered.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
a nutshell, the purpose of building brands and campaign development can be
summarised as follows:
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,
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
OF PROFESSIONAL BODIES
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Members adhere strictly to the code of
professional conducts which is a guide for observance of the high ethical
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
the codes of professional conduct and ethical standards are formulated to guide
members on their responsibilities to the following:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.