PLANNING AND BUDGETING
his book Precious Public Relations (1988), Eldon-Hiebert Ray aptly
sums up the essence of research in Public relations practice thus: “Public
Relations practitioners who ignore research will soon discover that they too are
observation could not be limited to the PR practitioners alone but all those
that are responsible for addressing social changes and trends towards improving
the performances of their organisations.
track of happenings is the fastest area of any given research. Social audit
research, which is common in the financial sector for systematic and analytical
examination of social performances as related to the organisation, is quite
inevitable in providing solutions to a myriad of problems relating to financial
fact, public relations research, as with other management researches, is at
present defined by the uses to which research is put. The essence of the
research is to study the publics’ knowledge and understanding, their opinions,
attitudes, preference and motivating factors that influence their decisions.
to Otto Lerbinger, a professor of economics and PR expert, studies have shown
that the greatest current interest is in four areas: environment monitoring,
public relations audit (public opinion), communication audit (media research)
and social audit which all rely much on seeking public opinion on an
organisation’s rating among its target publics
Environment Monitoring: Here, an organisation investigates the
happenings in its surrounding environment, which could be the community in which
it is based, or the country of its operation, to enable it knows the
consequences of its actions. New trends in the society such as democracy and
crime rate, may affect, directly or indirectly, its existence.
Public Opinion: Some analysts also call this Public
Relations Audit. As the name implies, the PR office can seek to investigate and
understand the public perception, attitudinal and behavioural patterns on the
organisation. The research must attempt to answer basic questions such as those
relating to how favourable its image is, ways of redeeming a bad image and the
best ways of doing such.
Media Research: This is also referred to as Communication Audit,
which is the mainstream of public relations research. This is where a study is
conducted on the most appropriate style of reaching the public, the method,
channels and the impact of the message as it is delivered. Such researches
involve a lot of surveys on readership, media circulation, popular media events,
content analyses of editorials and in-depth reports and advertising
effectiveness, amongst others. When to use the media, which type of media, which
page or time and date and the target readership, are research themes. If studied
properly, it would be helpful in deciding how to reach the public and get the
best results from the messages conveyed.
Social Audit: This is a study of social performance and
effect of the organisation on its publics. Recommendations are made for a
consultant or independent auditor to assess the impact of all the public
relations activities and measure their relevance in meeting its target. Like
financial firms where external auditors are required to examine the financial
account, the PR functions too can be examined to measure up its performance by
an independent body.
emergence of financial public relations has provided the focus for a wide
discourse on the role of financial institutions in imparting adequate knowledge
to the public, not only in developed economies, but also in developing nations.
starting point for the acceptance of financial public relations functions is the
greater awareness that companies and other financial institutions have roles to
play in reaching their publics and establishing, as well as retaining their
confidence for reciprocal appreciation and beneficial relationship through a
avoid assumptions, guessing and trial-and-error approaches, which may damage the
image of the organisation, the public relations research is employed to
understand a particular problem with a view to proffering appropriate strategies
to maintain and improve the reputation of the organisation in the society.
institutions believe in quantified plans of action. Therefore, to receive
management confidence and trust, the public relations unit must always present
well-researched proposals laced with facts and justifiable reasons, which are
needed for effective planning, execution and feedback. It must also propose, by
research, budget and short-term, medium-term and long-term range plans,
outlining aims/objectives and expected results. It will surely be suicidal if a
programme is embarked upon without research. In fact, a research should be
undertaken to determine the budgeting needs. This will entail identifying
activities relating to corporate plans, outlining the objectives, the audience,
message, timing and the cost.
issues in PR research using survey research technique, may include examining how
the publics see and how the organisation wants to be seen, whether or not it is
well understood through the appropriate channels; if it receives adequate and
favourable mention by the media and what are those problems encountered by the
publics; whether or not competitors fare better and what are the strength and
weaknesses that can be worked on. Certain ways of doing things may also need to
be maintained, improved upon or changed entirely.
have always talked about marketing research, which is the sampling of the market
of products and services in a particular (given) environment. Public relations
research however, may be distinct in many ways depend on the techniques and
channels adopted. In fact, opinion research is synonymous with public relations
practice. Even when marketing research fails to achieve better response from
unwilling respondents to enquiries, PR can assist in such exercise by employing
effective persuasive methods to achieve good results.
like an academic research in higher institutions, a comprehensive research in
public relations may involve the basic stages which include identifying the
problems, aims and objectives, reviewing the literature, definition of terms,
designing questionnaires, data interpretation, suggestions, recommendations and
conclusions. Other researchers may adopt lighter methods, which may include, but
not limited to introduction, identified problems and
types of research in public relations are frequently mentioned, but the most
recognised are the following:
Research- As the name implies, it is a one-position research which is
gathered from existing data conducted by others through surveys, interviews or
reports. Permission of the authors of the original works must be sought before
it is used. One advantage is that it is cheaper and quick to gather.
Research- This involves going out to conduct the research when materials or
documents are not available on the matter/issue.
Continuous Research- This is good for continued monitoring of the
trends, behaviours and reactions of the public on particular products/programmes.
This is done through the media and by seeking public opinion through
administration of questionnaires.
goes for free, so also effective PR, does not come cheaply. Certainty of
programmes and sellable ideas invariably ease the task of costing campaigns. An
adequate budget is essential to achieving optimal results. The organisation
must, therefore, benefit and get maximum returns from its spending. Whether the
PR Unit is given a particular budget to work with or asked to submit a proposal,
a reasonable, reliable and achievable cost should be made.
the objective of the programme, the audience, message, channels of communication
and activities are identified, it is easier to make a realistic budget.
realistic plan of action must be presented together with the cost of each
activity. Unless a budget was once presented and succeeded, the need to
maintain, increase or decrease it should be related to the financial position
and projects of the organisation.
major areas of costing in PR include prints and production, exhibition,
workshops and seminars, media briefings and conferences, advertising,
transportation, sponsorship, supplements and media coverage.
activities can have fixed costs of expenses, including taxes and services but a
mandatory contingency not exceeding 15% of total cost must be added for any
unexpected eventualities. This may be necessary because there is a clear
distinction between direct cost and indirect cost. For instance, a hall booked
for an hour for press briefing may extend to three or more hours, while an
entertainment provision for the briefing of a number of journalists may witness
additional attendance of some of them coming with their crews.
good budgeting plan may address the problems, objective, public, strategy,
media, message and anticipated result. There should also be a time frame for
each budgeted activity.
it must always be known that the budget estimate by an in-house PR departments
must be slightly different from that of outside consultants’. This may be so,
since in-house practitioners will not consider such expenses on salaries and
equipment, which may be at their disposal.
some programmes are better handled by the in-house or consultation on the demand
of the non-specific aspects of the programme. For instance, while a consultant
may demand for a consultancy fee and hiring of equipment, the in-house may only
request for cost of maintenance of such equipment where available.
is expected that a well equipped in-house PR Unit must have such facilities as
video, photo camera, public address system, TV and Video Machine for viewing and
editing, computer, Tel/Fax, E-mail and other relevant tools. But the consultants
may need to charge for the hiring or the use of such equipment, which may be
additional burden to an ill-equipped PR department.
fees vary from one firm to the other, depending on their reputation and size.
Their charges could be based on hourly charges for executive time. Monthly or
yearly retainership could be charged for a programme that runs for a year. Some
specific programmes, which are done on an ad- hoc basis, also attract special
fees based purely on the volume of work covered.
it is in-house or consultancy, an acceptable and accountable mechanism should be
put in place to monitor cost-effectiveness of the programme which may allow
adjustment for total success. An intelligent resource should be allocated by the
management to implement the PR advice.
charges for consultancy services vary from one organisation to the other. But
specifically for a long-time PR campaign, the considerations for the budget
include advisory fees which are charged after the firm has accepted the service.
The consultants charge the expenses to cover the days or hours of attending
meetings, its research and the submission of the report.
area is the implementation of the plan. Some in-house staff may take up this
stage unless if the consultant is given the responsibility of implementing the
plan as it is recommended in the report submitted .
costs for the real aspect of the programmes are stated and carried out. These
may include the core PR activities such as issuance of press release, media
tour, photography and the use of equipment (fax, telephone, IT and courier
level is also important for the consultant to monitor the success of the
programme. It carries out secretariat assignment by opening file for press clips
and sending media review to the clients.
budgets for all the activities above are measured on man-hours or daily
activities basis. A typical annual budget is illustrated below.
Press Release 3 x 12month x cost value
Feature Articles 2 x 12month x cost
Press Briefing 2 x 4quaters x cost
Photo albums 2 x 4quaters x cost
Video Recording 2 x 4quarters x cost value
In-house publication 1 x 4quarters x
Meetings 1x 12month x cost value
Reports 1 x 4quarter x cost value
Contingencies 10% of the total
cost value may come in different forms. It may be the cost of single or
combination of production cost, travel expenses, hotel accommodation,
refreshments, man-hour and unit price of items and materials to be used. Some
activities may be undertaken as often as required on a daily, weekly,
fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, biannually, or/and yearly basis. To convince
the client in understanding the significant of the programme, technical jargons
should be avoided. Where necessary to disclose some technicalities, it should be
attached as appendixes and or annexures.
in-house PR practitioner submits annual budget which, after consideration, the
fund involved is released quarterly or monthly to the office to carry out its
activities. Some programmes which are periodical or exceptional and
extraordinary are funded at the appropriate time. On the need, request may be
made from the approved budget estimate to take care of events and programmes as
illustration below is a typical annual budget for a big organisation that has
large audiences. The proposals are in two parts. The first part is the budget
defence, while the second part is the breakdown of the request for consideration
is to cover the cost of production/publication of monthly bulletin, yearly
handbook, quarterly magazine, seasonal cards and complimentary cards.
is required for the production/procurement of corporate items such as pocket
diaries, executive diaries, calendars and address books. These items will be
used as presents or gifts to individuals and organisations as a form of
reciprocation for promoting the organisational statues, as well as seek goodwill
from the recipients.
amount is needed for extensive media campaign and image building. These are in
the areas of media chat/courtesy calls, press conference hosting/entertainment,
research, editing, publications of articles, video coverage editing &
dubbing, photo coverage/album and entertainment for media reception. It will
also include exhibitions and sponsorships.
sum is required for the purchase of relevant equipment for the office such as
photocopiers, cameras, consumables (video cassettes, films, albums, inks, etc.)
and maintenance and services of media equipment. The essence is to enhance the
output of the PR Unit.
amount is to cover expenses for the placement of adverts on issues that concern
the organisation in the print and electronic media, and to also cover the cost
of documentaries and live events in the electronic media, including interviews,
fund is for providing the entertainment, materials and incidental expenses for
the meetings of the editorial board.
its drive to show a high level of integrity and commitment to the public, the
unit should introduce a timely and efficient way of information dissemination
through modern and advance technology. To achieve this crucial goal, the
development of a web site is imperative, where enquiries all over the world are
promptly responded to, through special media technique of a super highway. All
publications and activities will be displayed in the web site for the public to
access. These will include press releases, feature articles and profiles of the
management. It will also contain handbooks, magazines and pictures of activities
in specified pages on the Internet. The
amount would therefore cover Web Site Development, E-mail Installation/Internet
Connection, Web Hosting, Domain Name Registration, Internet Usage Training and
amount is needed to keep personnel in the Unit up-to-date in the field of Public
Relations and Information Technology. The areas include Training in Financial
Public Relations & Modern Media Techniques, Professional Seminars,
Conferences &Workshops in media management and Annual Dues & Membership
of Professional bodies, i.e., NIPR, NUJ, IPR, etc.
x 100 copies x12month
Quarterly Magazine Unit Cost x 100copie x
Unit Cost x 1000copies x 1year
Unit Cost x 100copies x 4seasons =
Unit Cost X 100copies x 1year =
Unit Cost X 100copies x 1year =
Unit Cost X 100copies x 1year =
Unit Cost X 100copies x 1year =
Media Chats/Courtesy calls
Gen. Expenses X 12month
Gen. Expenses X 2annualy
Research/Publication of Articles
Gen. Expenses X 12month
Video Coverage(editing/dubbing) Gen.
Expenses X 12month
Photo Coverage Album /Media
Gen. Expenses X 12month
Gen. Expenses X 12month
Procurement of Media Equipment
Consumables (Cassettes, Films, Albums, Inks etc.)
Maintenance & Services of Media Equipments =
Rate X Pages X 12month =
Electronic Media Commercial
Rate x Slot X12months
Web Site Development
Email Installation/Internet Connection =
Domain Name Registration
Internet Usage Training
Technical Support/ Maintenance
Human Resources Management
Advance Training in Financial Public Relations &
Media Techniques =
Professional Seminars, Conferences &
Workshops in media management
Annual Dues & Membership of
Professional bodies, i.e., NIPR, NUJ, IPR etc.
Incidental Expenses 10% of the
successful media campaign programme, whether setting up the PR Unit or general
activities, requires effective planning and implementation. It is the method of
performance from the beginning to the end.
of the time, a fire brigade approach always fails at the end of the day. It is
for this reason that before an organisation embarks on any action, enough time
should be devoted to planning.
research may be conducted with suggestions and recommendations on how things
should be done, but that is only a statement, which requires adequate strategy
of accomplishing it through planning. It shows how reasonable and relevant the
programme is to the organisation. This is a better way of controlling budget and
can come in many forms. It may be long-term, short-term or impromptu. Whichever
it is, it requires enough skill, knowledge and ability to carry out the
public relations, some of the activities that require planning include the
Basic Media Routine: This is the way and manner the practitioner issues press
releases, organises media interviews, press briefings, coordinates courtesy
calls/visits and even how points and facts are composed for feature articles.
Events Planning: These are events geared towards attracting a large
participation of target audiences. This planning is intended to outline the
roles of groups or individuals at such events. It may include a product launch,
trade fair or similar exhibitions, conferences, corporate donations, community
relations and other related public functions like the
Futuristic Planning: Every organisation has a goal it sets out to achieve, and
goals cannot be achieved in a short time, if it will take a long period.
Therefore, for achievable, attainable and continuous objective, the organisation
will require strategic planning to cater for every unforeseen and predictable
circumstances within its environment. The moment a set goal is identified, then
Manpower: The major ingredients of a good plan include utilising trained
professionals to brainstorm, propose and execute the planned programme. This may
be the public relations officer.
Goals: Since we work to accomplish a particular mission, a target must be known
and set. It is the basis for existence as it enables the organisation assess the
progress of the programme.
Timeliness: The duration it should take must be clear. This may not apply to
strategic futuristic planning. A project meant, for example next month, ideally
must be planned well ahead of the time. It forecloses the duration and man-hour
to be employed.
Material: Some programmes are capital intensive and require vital equipment for
their success. This is where budgeting comes in. It involves costing such tools
like cameras, computers, printing, transportation and such other requirements.
is one of the five steps that should be followed in devising any overall
communication programme, observed Quentin J. Heitpas in his article
“Planning” in Experts in Action: Inside Public Relations. He
demonstrated that planning is the middle of the programming cycle which has
fact-finding, followed by research, planning, communication and measurement. All
the processes perform significant roles in executing any programme.
basic principle to a good planning is the realisation that there is the need for
communication, which must be done through pungent research work, so as to
understand problems and their solutions. It is based on the findings and
recommendations that a plan of action can be outlined on a step-by-step approach
towards achieving results.
a realistic approach, Quentine has suggested nine stages that will assist in
careful planning. The steps are demonstrated in a diagram called The
Public Relations Model. The
model starts from Structure Overview and followed by Set Objective, Define
Public, Select Media, Develop Message, Establish Strategy, Devise Timetable,
Structure Measurement and Prepare Budget.
above planning model can be easily explained by taking a case study of a bank
that intends to go into the newly introduced Universal Banking, which was
approved by the federal government. The management of the bank decides to
organise a press conference to inform the public on its new move. The following
may be undertaken based on the model:
Overview: The Press Conference
must be seen as the right and appropriate channel to reach the larger or
Objective: It assumes that at the end of the conference, the public would be
adequately informed of the benefits of the universal banking in their banking
Publics: The specific publics to be reached must have been identified. Notable
publics in this regard include the existing and prospective customers of the
bank, finance community, which includes corporate organisation and business
leaders. Those are targets who will benefit from the new service offered by the
bank and which the bank hopes to generate profit from their interaction.
Media: Even though all media are important as they satisfy their respective
audiences, specific media may be selected based on their coverage, proximity,
and their interest and editorial preference. Therefore, business magazines,
financial dailies, professional journals on banking and related economic matters
are ideal choices. Apart from regular dailies that devote about 65% of their
reports to business like Thisday, National Interest, the
elite business weeklies like Financial Standard, Business Time
and others are irresistible for in-depth features on banks’ new services.
Message: The bank must equip itself with the guidelines for the operation, and
satisfy all the requirements of the apex bank and the legal authorities. The
speech to be delivered and the message for adverts and commercials in the media
must articulate the position of the bank and its ability to carry out the
service. The essence is to win the public confidence and trust in the bank.
Strategy: The conference may be
held in a commercial or business capital where there are many potential
customers. A city like Lagos where there is a large concentration of media
houses, apart from being the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, may be ideal
for timely and wider coverage. Other strategies that the bank may consider
include radio jingles, supplements in the dailies and interviews with some
selected media. Probable change of name to depict the new status of the bank, as
it was the case when First City Merchant Bank changed its name to First City
Monument Bank, is also necessary. If necessary, the logo of the bank may also be
changed to make the public know that the bank is serious in its new endeavour.
Timetable: All activities towards the success of the conference and the expected
response should be timed to avoid clumsy and unnecessary obstruction.
Invitations for media coverage should be dispatched some weeks before the day of
the event with subsequent reminders through telephone calls and other
appropriate channels. Press releases, jingles and adverts too should be timed
accordingly. The programme may be held in the morning to enable some business
editors who may research further, and photographers, enough time to process
their pictures for the edition of their newspapers the following day. Organising
the conference in the morning may also afford the electronic media enough time
to edit the story for the day’s news.
Budget: All the activities above have financial implications either in fixed
or variable cost. For full coverage with an expected favourable result, the cost
of all steps of action must be carried out according to the need.
growth of Investor relations (IR) in Public Relations reemphasises the mandatory
adherence to statutory regulations governing financial communication by listed
companies. Since financial performance appeals to the investing public,
especially as it relates to annual statements of account, stock prices and other
market determinants, corporate conglomerates are urged to abide by the rules of
information dissemination that are intended to persuade investors to deposit
their funds with them.
Hawkins, Director General of United kingdoms’ Investors Relations Society, in
his article “Wising up to Global IR” in Frontline Quarterly, observes
that it has certainly taken enough time for listed companies to realise just how
important it is to look after their investors – afterall, good IR should
enhance a company’s brand value and ultimately, make it cheaper to finance
borrowing. He argued: “the changes in UK financial regulation will no doubt be
the roles of the in-house IR practitioner being enhanced, as companies face a
regulatory minefield supported by an enforcement regime eager to bare its teeth.
It certainly concentrates the minds of a company’s board of directors to see
the prospect of being sued for selective disclosure of sensitive financial
information. So, good IR Officers will be able to put a premium on their
service. And it is difficult to envisage the regulatory environment getting
very distinct character of financial public relations is the rules and
regulations guiding the participants in the financial environment on public
disclosures and pronouncements. It is not a matter of just waking up and dishing
out information anyhow. There are several laws in place on what, how, when and
where sensitive financial statements should be made. In fact, the Central Bank
of Nigeria, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigerian Stock Exchange and
National Insurance Commission have stipulated guidelines on the way and manner
information should be made public. Even adverts sometimes are expected to pass
through regulatory authorities. A company that flouts the law is adequately
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is empowered by the Investment and
Securities Act (ISA) of 1999, which allows it to make general and specific rules
governing securities exchanges, capital market operators, securities offered,
mergers and acquisitions, collective investment schemes, investors’ protection
fund and borrowing by the tiers and agencies of government. In the said Act,
Section 85 and Rule 190 are specific on information dissemination and all forms
of communication. They also state penalties on untrue statements of a material
fact, which are otherwise false or misleading. The Commission’s rules and
regulations provide all the participants in the capital market on their
expectations in the system. It spells out the Code of Conduct and provides
fairness and equality, among others.
to the Head of Corporate Affairs of SEC, Mr. Iliasu Dhacko the act also deals
with activities related with securities trading, ranging from market rigging,
manipulation to issuance of false or misleading statements and fraudulently
inducing trading through dissemination of illegal information or insider
dealings. Various penalties including fines, suspensions and prosecution from
the market are specified to serve as deterrent.
the Banks and other Financial Institutions Decree No 40 of 1999, Section 40
precisely deals with the general restrictions on advertisements by banks. Any
bank that proposes to issue any advertisement must deliver the text with the
latest published accounts to the Central Bank of Nigeria for its consideration.
Even though the word advertisement is used frequently in the decree instead of
general publicity, it states that it includes any form of advertising, whether
in publication or by the display of notice, circular, exhibitions of
photographs, cinematography, sound broadcasting, and the likes. The
contravention of the provision is an offence, which is liable to a fine or
imprisonment or both.
the Decree authorises the Central Bank of Nigeria to make laws for the banking
industry, so also is the National Insurance Commission Decree of 1997 gives
NAICOM the instruments to ensure effective administration, supervision,
regulation and control of the insurance industry. The Commission also
establishes standards for the conduct of insurance business in Nigeria. With the
approval of the Minister of Finance, it makes regulations as to the forms and
contents of insurance advertisements, which in the same Decree, has the feature
and forms of advertising as stated in Decree No 40 of 1999. Apart from a Section
on advertisements, it has another on ‘Misleading Statements’ which
stipulates penalties for statements, promises and forecasts which may be false,
deceptive, or dishonest concealment of material facts or by reckless making of
any statement with the intention to induce another person to enter into or offer
to enter into any contract of insurance with an insurance company.
essence of the rules is to guide the investing public from deceitful and
fraudulent information. Therefore, organisations need to take note of the
following before any serious public disclosure of their financial positions is
Central Bank of Nigeria Decree No 24 of 1991 as amended by Decree 41 of
Banks and other Financial Institution Decree No 25 of 1991 & its
amendment Decree no 40 of 1999;
Investment and Security Act (ISA) No 45 1999;
SEC Rules and Regulations Pursuant to the (ISA) act;
Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (Decree No 22) 1988; and
National Insurance Commission Decree 1997.