INTERNAL PR STAFF AND CONSULTANTS
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
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.
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.
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?
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.