*          Public Relations Concepts


*            Financial Public Relations


*            Marketing Concepts,


*          Sales Support,


*            Advertising PR,


*            Integrated Marketing Communications


*          In-House Staff and

            PR Consultants,


*          The Public and the

            Target Audience.












There is a purpose for the emergence of every profession in any given society and environment. So also is the public relations practice in Nigeria, which started before the country’s independence. According to Fassy Yusuf, (2000) public relations practice commenced in the country in the early 1940s as a result of World War II. The country, which was then under the British colony, participated in the execution of the war. Knowing the importance of information to Nigerians on happenings in the war front, the government created a Special Information Centre for that purpose. With this, there was better understanding between the colonialists and the colonised Nigerians, especially, when the citizenry realised the necessity of their independence. The centre later metamorphosed into the Public Relations Department in 1944, when Nigerians were employed to manage it for better and further information dissemination.

            In the private sector, the first company to establish a public relations department was the United African Company, popularly known as UAC. The unit was known in 1949 as Information Department. The Nigerian Railways Corporation, a government parastatal, also established its own unit in 1956 where Dr. Sam Opelle served as the first public relations officer. The Shell Petroleum Development Company, then BP, created its own outfit in 1969.


It was the effort of people like Sam Opelle, Chief Olu Holloway, Alhaji Ade Thani, Adewale Fashanu and Mr. Malafa that the first umbrella organisation of public relations practitioners was established in1963, known as Public Relations Association of   Nigeria (PRAN). The association was renamed Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) in 1969. It was later legally empowered by the Decree 16 of 1990. The decree made NIPR a chartered body and empowered to determine what standards of knowledge and skills are to be attained by all persons seeking to become registered members of the PR profession. The decree was signed through the efforts of past presidents of the institute which  include Chief Alex Akinyele, Chief Bob Ogbuagu, Mr. Mike Okereke and Alhaji Sabo Mohammed. 



The first known affiliate of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations is the Public Relations Consultancy Association (PRCAN), which according to Cajetan Otuekere-Ubani, was established and inaugurated in 1984 by Major General Tunde Idiagbon, the then Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters in General Buhari’s administration. Mr. Toye Ogunmorin was its first president with four consultancy firms as its pioneer members. They are Bloomel Public Relations Practitioners, Progan Promotions, Good Contact Public Relations Services and Philips, Johnson and Associates.


Some of its aims and objectives are to raise and maintain standards in the practice of the profession; and to provide facilities for government, public bodies, professional associations, industrial concerns, financial institutions, social, cultural and religious organisations. It also aims to improve the relationship of public relations professionals with employers and clients, with government and its agencies, with communications media and their agencies.


Some names have been mentioned of those personalities who are the doyens of public relations consultancy in Nigeria. Festus Akande confirmed that consultancy commenced in the late sixties and early seventies with the late Ebun Adesioye, Dr. Clarkson Majomi, Chief Dotun Okubajo, Mr. Olu Ademulegu, Otunba Kunle Ojora and Peter Hospdales as the doyens in the practice. He added that all these practitioners were practising their consultancy service individually with no merger between them.



It is said that as the human society becomes more complex and diversified, the professions of man become more specialised. In most developed societies, there are alliances of people of specialised occupation and professions coming together to form associations for the protection of such concerns. Some emerge from already existing unions as affiliates.  For instance the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) is another compartmentalisation with other affiliates like Correspondents Chapel, Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), etc. In fact, a further scrutiny reveals that the NUJ itself, according to some quarters, is just one of those organisations under the umbrella of Nigeria Press Organisation which includes the Nigerian Guild of Editors and Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria. The same thing applies to advertising where the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) regulates the practice of the profession with bodies like Association of Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (AAPN) and Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) carrying out their activities under the umbrella of APCON.


The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations too witnessed the same situation where affiliates like the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), and Association of Corporate Affairs Managers in Banks (ACAMB), emerged in 1996 and as the case with the latter has the objective of evolving and implementing strategies to improve and sustain a good image for the nation’s banking industry.


One notable researcher who has successfully identified the problems of financial public relations in reference to the distress in the banking sector is Abubakar Alhassan who states that the idea behind the emergence of ACAMB was first mooted by the corporate affairs managers at the 1992 Bank Directors Seminar organised by Financial Institute Training Center in Abuja. Subsequently, discussions were made informally among some of the Banks’ Public Relations managers in Lagos. He continued that the machinery for formal discussion of the idea was set in motion after a media management seminar held at Badagry also in Lagos in 1996 at which suggestion for the formation of the   body was extensively discussed. Subsequently, a series of meeting were held at Eko Hotel, Lagos, during which the PR managers of banks agreed to have an association. They set out the association’s aims and objectives and also laid conditions for membership.


Membership of the association is open to all Heads of PR in the banking sub-sector. In addition, all members of the association must have been duly registered with the NIPR as required by decree 16 of 1990. A member who ceases to be a PR manager in the banking industry, has automatically relinquishes the right to membership but may be considered for Associate membership. There is also the Code of Conduct for membership, which states, among others, that erring members whose acts contravene any rule or regulation of the association will be reprimanded.


The first Annual General Assembly of ACAMB was held in September 1996, during which elections were held into offices of the association’s Executive Committee. The Executives were sworn in during the Committee’s inauguration on 3rd December, 1996. Those sworn in were Kabir Dangogo,as President; Tunde Thomas, Vice President; Waheed Olagunju, Secretary General; Aduke Gomez (Ms), Financial Secretary; Steve Osuji, Publicity Secretary; and Emeka Adio,as Assistant Secretary General; and five EX-officio members are Abubakar Minjibir, Tony Ede, Toyin Abayomi-Banjo, Gbade A. Zanda and Ogie Eboigbe.


Since every serious body must have a legal framework, which is to guide it in its operation, ACAMB has its constitution and Code of Conduct. As a non-profit making body established to foster interaction among PR managers of the banking sub-sector and advise the leadership of the sub-sector on the PR implications of policies and development, the association is registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Decree of 1990.


Some of the objectives of the association include to evolve and implement strategies to improve and sustain a good image for the nation’s banking industry; educate the public on relevant banking laws and policies; represent the industry as a group on public relations matters; promote and protect the interest of the banking industry as well as carrying out public enlightenment campaigns on behalf of the industry. It is also intended to promote continuous public confidence and trust in the nation’s banking industry and to promote facilities for training the members of the association on banking practice and other related matters.



The future of any business enterprise and corporate institution depends largely on how it reacts to the hopes, aspirations and demands of its publics.  Considering always the interest of the target public, and working towards satisfying such interest can as well give an institution a good image. This is one of the objectives of financial public relations.


The need to foster a better business relationship in today’s turbulent environment characterised by fierce competition and customers who are increasingly aware of alternatives in terms of services, products and organisations or institutions that provide them, make financial public relations imperative.


The desire of financial institutions to adequately inform their customers is gradually waxing stronger. Owing to the fact that relentless pursuit of flawless service is the hallmark of excellence and a better relationship between the parties involved, is capable of enhancing profitability.


The subject financial public relations, became more pronounced in Nigeria recently due to the parlous state of the economy and the attendant high competition among financial institutions that either try to win more patronage or seek the understanding and cooperation of the public.  With the media devoting special pages, columns or introducing publications on financial and economic activities, with occasional misrepresentations, there is the compelling need by financial institutions to handle their public relations activities, including explaining the direction of the organisation and correcting erroneous impressions, which may have been created about the organisation.


Being an emerging concept in public relations, financial public relations is yet to achieve a broad definition. Terrence Collins in his contribution on the subject admitted that financial public relations people, suffer from inability to define their jobs. He added that at its most basic, the scope of financial public relations in simple investment terms can be considered as “all communications activity is based around the simple fact that money only has real value as an investment and that investors are people. Even though this may sound a bit ambiguous, he made the point in one of his observations that the skills of financial public relations people is focused on the need for publicly owned and listed companies to communicate with those that own them directly or indirectly through the media or city analysts.


Based on the above, it may not be surprising that Sam Black described the specialised sector of public relations, which has developed rapidly over the years as Investor Relations. While he sees its importance in bid, takeover and right issue situations, he suggested that a Financial Public Relations (FPR) practitioner must be familiar with the increasing number of disclosure regulations and insiders’ restrictions applicable to all deals affecting Stock Exchange.


Even though financial public relations as a subject is new in Nigeria, it is an aspect of public relations, which can be understood through a good look at general public relations principles and practices.  Public relations is defined as a “distinctive management function which helps establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organisation and its publics.”  (Harlow 1976)


The inclusion of management functions in the definition explains the reason for the appointment of public relations officers with the responsibility of operating at the management level of organisations.  Officers responsible for public relations programmes must, at all times, liaise with the public of the organisation and act as the middle man in-and-out of the firm, but not as an errand staff.


The Institute of Public Relations (IPR), London states that public relation ‘is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics’.


As a distinctive management function, it maintains beneficial line of communication, cooperation and acceptance between an institution and its publics.  It keeps the management fully aware of and reacts appropriately to diverse outside opinions while counseling it to serve the public interest by making purposeful changes toward ensuring additional public good.  It engages in research regularly, including content analysis of media reports on trends in the environment and uses professional communication techniques to achieve maximum results.


It is in view of these onerous tasks that the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) defined public relations as a “continuing and planned character, through which public and private organisations and institutions seek to win and retain the understanding, sympathy and support of those with whom they may be concerned by evaluating public opinion about themselves.  (Cited by Duyile 1987)


At present, big and small companies make their full and half year financial reports in more informative ways to attract enough publicity for proper public understanding. It can therefore, be summed up that financial public relations addresses issues bordering on capital investment patterns, budgets, economic forecasts, mergers and acquisitions as well as profit and losses in the most sophisticated terms for better public understanding.



There is confusion by many who substitute public relations practice for marketing and vice versa. As a result, it is necessary to correct the wrong impression by knowing the definitions of the two management functions.


Marketing, according to Kotler (1988) is a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with one another in harmony and respect.

On his part, a pioneer of public relations and author of several publications on public relations, Sam Black (1996) defined public relations as the art and science of achieving harmony with the environment through mutual understanding based on truth and full information.


Whereas marketing is specifically targeted at selling a product and commodity, public relations is aimed at projecting the corporate image of the entire organisation and indirectly, its products and services.


The concepts are interrelated as they aim at satisfying the targeted public. But one difference is that, whereas marketing managers are much more bottom-line oriented, public relations practitioners see the job as communication at management level.


Based on Kotler’s definition, the emphasis in marketing lies in human needs and wants, which vary from person to person, group-to-group, etc.  Strong desire for particular basic goods and services is normal for individuals.  A human need is described as a state of felt deprivation of some basic satisfaction.  These needs exist in the very texture of human biology and the human condition, hence its wants and desire for satisfaction for specific deeper needs.  Human wants are continually shaped and reshaped by social forces and institutions such as religion, school, families and business environment, among others. 


Since people satisfy their needs and wants through what they desire, the desires are the service or product, which can be offered to satisfy a need and want. The terms “service” and “product” are visibly satisfying items, which cover all vehicles capable of delivering satisfaction of a want and need.



The fact that people’s needs and wants can place values on products does not fully define marketing.    Exchange is one of the four ways in which people can obtain products they want. The four ways are self-production, coercion, begging and exchange   (Kotler 1988).


Marketing arises from the approach to acquiring products.  Exchange is the act of obtaining desired product and service from someone by offering something in return.  It is the defining concept underlying marketing.


Where marketing managers and public relations practitioners work in the same firm, the relationship should be mutual at advising management about public issues, public needs and demands. However, effective strategies to improve the reputation of the company and its services solely depend on the public relations man.


The present call by big organisations for much more market-oriented public relations is appropriate, since most businesses are profit-oriented. Marketing-oriented public relations plays important roles in the launching of new products, repackaging of a product, repositioning of a company, influencing specific target groups, defending products that have encountered negative public attitude and also building the corporate image in a way that projects its products favourably.



Sales is also another process or act of selling goods, which generally intends to persuade prospective customers to buy the products in exchange for money.


Monetary profit is the aim of all sales activities as much energy is deployed to persuade particular buyers in taking specific products. With this, only little attention is given to the reputation of producers and marketers. Public relations has enough potentials in creating a conducive environment for sales activities to take place successfully.


Some may claim that products speak for themselves, but many firms provide relatively similar goods and services and have to seek better ways of enhancing the image of the organisation for the sole aim of improving patronage. To create a better household name for the organisation in a highly competitive environment, PR provides effective news items on the organisation’s social responsibility, reputation and its contribution to the national economy. Therefore, public relations is used in sales support to build up credibility and create goodwill for the success of such sales campaigns and promotion. 



Advertising is one of the aspects of Mass Communication. An advertisement is paid for by an identified sponsor and is expected to appear at a particular time exactly as presented to the media house. The advertiser has greater and total control on the contents of the message for use in the media.


Over the years, there is the misconception that advertising is the same as public relations practice. This is far from the truth. While public relations employs all rightful channels to keep the public adequately and truthfully informed, so as to maintain goodwill and beneficial relationship between the organisation and its publics, advertising is a process of buying media space and time to persuade the public to accept its products and services’ view points. Advertising is direct and involves identified praise-singer who always blows his trumpet and credits himself as the best. How the public perceives it may not be necessary as it tries to assert its relevance among the gullible public. Take the examples of all those adverts on cigarette smoking, alcoholic drinks and nude fashion, which are not only immoral, but dangerous to health, as well as a naked abuse of morality and righteousness.


Advertising is primarily concerned with creating awareness for products and services, while public relations attends to behavioural changes, societal attitudes towards such products and services, building prolonged and honest relationship between the organisations and their target audience.


It is widely known, especially in Nigeria, that most organisations prefer to have a special section for public relations to that of  advertising. In fact, it is sometimes argued that advertising is a part of public relations functions and never the reverse.


In view of the sophistication of the mass media with their occasional biased editorial judgments in treating press releases and coverage of activities, PR activities may some times pay for the timely publication of unbiased reports by employing advertising techniques.


Some unethical advertising messages are exaggerated, while some are hardly believable. But public relations is truthful and non-deceptive.


Advertising public relations, which is the combination of the two at achieving the desired goal of the organisation, is useful in publishing institutional announcements, supplements, rebuttal/rejoinder, corporate profile, financial statements, goodwill and seasonal messages. The message to be passed across is processed from the public relations perspective, while the method of delivery takes the form of advertising


for the costing and timing. Public relations has a continuous responsibility in an organisation in advisorial roles and at monitoring trends, events and react to them. Advertising is costly and only applicable occasionally. All said, in recent times, a new concept is introduced in the communication process known as integrated marketing communication, which, like a tripod, encompasses the three professions of public relations, marketing and advertising.  



The major concept and activities of public relations as defined by professional groups and individuals are, counseling based on understanding of human behaviour and characteristics, by foreseeing future trends and predicting their consequences. It involves researching into public opinion, attitude and expectations and advising on truth and full information. It is also aimed at preventing conflicts, misunderstandings and promoting mutual respect and social responsibilities, with the desire to harmonise the private and the public interests. In addition, it promotes goodwill with staff, suppliers, customers and the general public.


From the above, it is clear that PR covers all aspects of communications. But in recent times there is also this new concept popularly known as integrated marketing communications. The integration being employed by corporate organisations and communications consultants is to have a one-way approach to facilitate effective communications. But this involves the techniques of marketing, advertising, sales, promotion, media relations and their packaging.


As a management function, a public relations department is always located at the corporate headquarters and its staff are occupied with various publics, including stockholders, employees, government agencies, community leaders and the media on whom its success or failure depends.


Other related departments, like marketing, on the other hand, can be sited at the headquarters of the organisation with other units at the company’s branch offices. Its officers are fully engaged with retailers, wholesalers, industries and prospective customers at major marketing events such as trade fairs and exhibitions. 


Based on their interwoven relationship in performance of duties, public relations and other related professions could complement the efforts of each other in product publicity, which involves various efforts to publicise specific products in corporate communications (internal and external communications) for the purpose of promoting understanding of the organisation.


 As the advertiser uses the instrument of financial power to say and get his messages across, so also the propagandist employs the instrument of state, political might to hoodwink the target audience in wrongly believing and accepting whatever is dished out from the powers-that-be. Propaganda is the propagation of indefensible action through falsehoods and tricks with the sole aim of influencing the target audience to pursue a predetermined line of action. This type of communication is used by bad governments and exploitative organisations who, for selfish reasons, fail to address the real issues at stake.


To a large extent, public relations practice, like journalism, believes strongly in fairness, objectivity and style. Even though many journalists have found a place in the public relations environment, their experiences cannot be an automatic licence into the image-making field, if they fail to adhere to those basic principles underlying the practice. The best a journalist can do in an organisation with his background knowledge is in media relations and issuing of press releases, which are just few of the functions of Public Relations.


Since the public is becoming more knowledgeable, wise and sometime aggressive on products and services, public relations supports the activities of other related professions. It creates goodwill among the public by creating awareness, maintaining credibility, minimising competition and correcting wrong impressions about products and services. In general, PR comes in different stages of product tests, launch and trade fair, among others.


The claim that products speak for themselves is untenable in the modern society; public relations provide effective communication for the enlightened environment for sales to take place. Enquiries and information boxes are provided by serious PR units to respond promptly and adequately to public complaints on sales activities. As it supports marketing and sales, so also it assists greatly in scripting for adverts, which may be inevitable in special project adverts like supplements, corporate profiles, public announcements, annual statement of accounts and rejoinders, which are all within the ambit of public relations.


From the foregoing, therefore, public relations involves awareness campaigns and promotional activities, which include events sponsorship, social responsibility, facility visits, community relations, spokesperson, publication of in-house journals and presentation of corporate gifts and lobbying with reason (Government Relations), as well as placing institutional and corporate advertising for some obvious reasons in the media.


In a nutshell, PR is the protector of the entire organisation and what it stands for. It plans all its activities at promoting, protecting and projecting a good image for the organisation, its personalities and services through the establishment, continuous maintenance and sustenance of mutual and beneficial relationship with its various publics.



Until recently, many financial institutions relied more on engaging the services of consultants to handle their public relations and advertisement programmes.  This may not be unconnected with the lack of enough materials/facilities at their disposal.  Such include Audio/Visual equipment and professionals to handle jingles and publicity copies.


It is quite advisable for a big firm to have its own PR outfit, while smaller organisations who desire such function can patronise consultants.  Sam Black, in his book noted that the quality of public relations service depends on the ability and experience of those providing the service and not whether they are operating from within or outside the organisation.


It is beneficial for big organisations to encourage their staff to identify the mission and objective of the organisation.  Being members of staff, the officers have unlimited right and access to gather relevant information, which enable them to fraternise easily with all management staff of the departments.  Where necessary, the service of consultants may be effective only in advisory capacity.


The consultants in finance-related organisations may be those who are well versed in economy and can arrange programmes involving their clients with other organisations. For instance, events involving organisations with multilateral and multinational institutions i.e. IMF, World Bank, etc., as well as organising  public awareness campaigns, seminars and workshops are activities whose scope may be too much for the internal PR Unit to handle. Another need for a consultant is when there may be clashes of events at the same period.


Many authors in public relations have attempted to show the importance of PR consultancy over the in-house staff. Many of the arguments are lopsided and to serve selfish interest since the contributors are mostly consultants. If that is not the case, how can they claim that the consultancy provides expert, professionals and technical skills to carry out some functions as well as experience to execute these project of which the in-house practitioner could not acquire and excel in the day-to-day running of the office?


Others like Nnemeka Maduegbuna, Chairman Corporate & Financial in his paper “Achieving Growth and Development of Public Relations Consultancy Practice in Nigeria” writes that external consultants are independent, objective and posses an impartial ability to ask penetrating questions; that they are experienced in other firms with specialist techniques and range of contacts. He even goes ahead to state that their overhead cost is little. These advantages, though tenable, are however not exhaustive as good in-house staff can perform better if they have all the necessary requirement, and facilities to operate.


Since in-house PR staff know that their progression and remuneration depend on their job, and are responsible for their actions and inaction, they are available for any urgent assignment and in better position to get all the required information needed for any PR programme. In fact, many have come to realise the importance of in-house PR in image projection, due to the belief of the management in their commitment and absolute loyalty to the organisation they represent unlike the consultants whose loyalty, occasionally may be divided and frequently vanish after receiving the fees for their assignments. The only way by which the staff in the organisation can receive the confidence, trust and respect of the management, the media and even the consultants is by rising up to the task and exhibiting the best practice which would enable them ward off the intruders. The consultants can supplement the PR departments by carrying out such tasks as training delivery, advert placements, mailing service, global network, printing works and other related service. 




No organisation survives and succeeds without its publics. The target audiences are the backbone on which a firm rests its programmes, projects and products. It thus anticipates favourable response from them in terms of support and patronage.


Any institution that fails to identify its publics, will definitely fail to achieve its aims and objective. The essence of audience identification is to enable the organisation fashion out a most reliable strategy in reaching out to all individuals and groups. This is necessary because the publics’ come in different forms and different environment with different behaviours, attitudes and characters. The public may be a target market, special audience or the general public. By the identification, it is easier for the organisation to recognise the information requirement of each key target.


The public of public finance institutions like Federal Ministry of Finance, Central Bank and Tax Agencies, can be the entire citizenry. This is reasonable considering the essence of governance, which they represent. Therefore, we may say all individuals in the society who have a stake in governance are the public of the government. The electorates, farmers, artisans, teachers, labourers, businessmen and women and even the common people, and many other civil society organisations look up to the government for its obligatory social and financial commitments.


The public of private financial institutions varies from one institution to the other. But it should be noted from the outset that every organisation relies solely on its internal and external publics. But most of the time, many organisations ignorantly fail to realise that internal publics need to be well oriented and seen too as target audience for their success.


The major internal publics of financial enterprises include the employees, shareholders, board members (directors) and at times, their consultants and contractors. The external publics are the buyers, potential and existing business clients, users, opinion leaders, suppliers, regulatory bodies, customers, clients, stockholders, etc.


It is necessary for organisations to prioritise their groups and study their needs through opinions and other researches. For instance, while the relevant public may need to be informed on the effect of the organisation’s new policies on share price, the marketing officers need re-orientation on new strategies. In fact, the timing and manner of launching or public presentation of new products and services are also very essential.


Some special groups may require special attention. Example can be given of a group that holds strong feelings and beliefs, which may not help in presenting new products. For instance, there are adherents of a faith that forbidden from taking interest (usury) by which other products like interest-free services and taking share can be promoted.


Identifying the public, assists greatly in conducting public opinion for effective programmes of action in convincing and influencing them towards accepting the service and what the organisation stands for.


No matter how we look at it, any action or inaction taken, is deliberately geared towards a particular individual or group. The better way therefore to have the best of relationships is to specifically identify the weakness and strength of the target at achieving maximum benefits from the interaction.


All public relations’ activities are aimed at satisfying the various publics through objective and honest information via effective communication channels. The advantages of the relationship, which are indisputably beneficial, are to promote goodwill, maximising profit, avoiding crises and conflict and encouraging good relationship and understanding.