Requirements for Media Event
(a) Invitation: Invitation to the media through letters and/or cards, are very
essential in getting them to honour the occasion. The invitation should state the purpose of the event, conducive venue, as
well as appropriate data and time. Such a request must be dispatched well ahead of the time, unless during an urgent and emergency
briefing. Such prompt phone calls to the editors can be acknowledged, if the occasion is newsworthy. There should also be
reminders through calls and other appropriate communication channels.
(b) Materials: Where the occasion requires
facts, figures and historical perspectives, a prepared speech and relevant literature are indispensable to avoid being misquoted
by the press. If it involves tangible new products, pictures and samples may be distributed to the media.
(c) Supporting Staff: Some Press Conferences
are jointly addressed by more than one corporate body. On other occasions, the chief executive may need the support of other
officers who are more abreast with the issues at hand. In such situations, it is imperative to have the relevant staff face
the media. The sitting or standing arrangement should take into consideration those that may complement the effort of the
spokesperson in giving out the right and factual information.
(d) Entertainment: Light refreshment
may be offered at the end of the conference. But the nature of the briefing, most of the time, determines the need for entertainment.
A briefing in a crisis situation could dictate the mood of what should be provided for entertainment. Also, a conference during
breakfast period may require light refreshments.
(e) Logistics: Public relations practice
does not condone any act of inducement and gratification to journalists covering assignments but can provide some kind of
incentive to take care of inconvenience and transportation to and from the venue. This provision facilitates the task of the
journalists to carry out their responsibilities to the society with ease. Some special corporate gifts and souvenirs could
be presented to sustain the corporate image of the organisation.
(f) Executive Briefing: The spokesperson
who would address the media, preferably the Chief Executive or the most senior management staff responsible on the issue,
should be well briefed on the situation and expectation. The officer should be well armed to respond to the questions adequately.
An anticipated questionnaire may be provided by the Public Relations Officer.
Some of the keys and technical points may be rehearsed as a practical preparation for a successful outing.
The words “public” and “relations” in public relations have unified meaning, which is geared
towards the establishment and maintenance of harmonious relationship between an organisation and its publics. This can be
done through creating goodwill, understanding, building image and managing crises with the various publics. It can also apply
in many relationship objectives where relationship managers try as much as possible to strengthen the existing relationship
with their organisation’s relevant publics. It is for this reason that we have such special roles as employee relations,
customer/dealers relations, investor relations, community relations, shareholders relations, distributors
relations, media relations, sponsorship relations and diplomatic or international relations.
The relationship is intended to harmonise areas of interest and of concern between the organisation and the parties
involved. This must be mutual sharing of understanding to minimise or eradicate conflict and misconceptions and strengthen
the unity of purpose based on truth and honest information.
In public relations, more time is devoted to either customer relations or media relations, which have daily recurrence
and impact on the organisation’s goals. But understanding the two functions enables the practitioner to cover other
relationships mentioned above which are interrelated. For instance, through good customer relations technique, it is easier
to tackle investor/shareholder relations, employee relations and to some extent, dealer/distributor relations .On its own
strength, with good media relations, areas that can be efficiently covered include community relations and diplomatic or international
Customer relations is quite restrictive. It is geared towards a specific target. The philosophy behind this relations,
which is seen as a key to marketing management, is to employ the salesman’s persuasive technique. Their features include
calmness even when provoked, adequate information for the benefit of the customers, personal contact and listening and attending
to complaints lodged.
The saying that customers are always right is a point in this direction, if an organisation intends to always maintain
patronage. When there is need to disagree, it should be expressed in absolutely polite manner. Customers are neither illiterate
nor ignorant; they therefore need the support of relationship managers in understanding the nitty gritties of the products
or services to carry out their patronage.
There is nothing wrong in listening and attending to complaints even if aggressively lodged. Human composition is dynamic,
as everyone has a distinct personality and temperament different from the other. It is therefore necessary to treat the specific
target with decorum and higher regards.
Media relations, which is indisputably an aspect of public relations, covers both specific targets and the general
public. The belief is that a better and well-planned relationship with media organisations, through truthful, unbiased information
will reach more public than ever expected. A good manager of media relations must have an open door policy and respect members
of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, as distinguished professionals who should be treated with respect and accorded necessary
support in discharging their social responsibilities. Most of the activities under public relations end up with media participations,
such as press briefings, media interviews, visits and special programmes which are all well covered through an effective media
Activities under this are aimed at establishing cordial and mutual relationships with the media. Through this, the public relations officer issues to the media regular press releases, feature articles,
pictures or videocassettes and where necessary, refute insinuations or false reports through rejoinders. The unit must at all times be open to the media for enquiries and to the public who need information. The objective is to get the citizens informed on the activities of the organisation
and also, to create opportunities for them to express their views and needs. In recent times, the Federal Ministry of Finance
and other financial institutions have savoured their relationship with specialised media reporters popularly called Finance
Correspondents. Relationship with these specialised reporters under the umbrella
of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) makes it easy to deal directly with those whose beat is to cover
finance related matters.
In addition, there is also the Business Editors Forum whose members represent reputable and principled media houses
with high standards, decent and enviable professional practices, distinct from junk and unserious publications who desire
and emphasize commercial opportunism, sensationalism and unwarranted reports.
The Business Editors Forum and FICAN have been very reliable and effective at objective media coverage of financial
activities. The associations have, in recent times, been appreciated for maintaining objectivity and fairness in their members’
reports and feature analyses.
Sponsored programmes are common in the private sector where manufacturing, pharmaceutical and bottling companies regularly
sponsor beauty pageants, talk-shows, drama presentations, fashion shows and exhibitions.
The purpose, if for anything, is a reminder that they are responsible to the society.
Sponsored programmes are quite different from paid adverts.
Time without number, many individuals and organisations fail to achieve anticipated results through organised events.
This may be due to several factors. The failure may not be unconnected with shabby arrangements, lack of commitment and refusal
to put particular personnel or group in confidence. Omission of items may also be the reason for any messy events.
It is a known fact that events are carried out on a daily basis. It is either the Annual General Meetings of profit-making
financial institutions or organised seminars or conferences by public institutions. All the events have sole intention of
information dissemination and enlightenment campaigns, which seek to receive public acceptability.
Some areas where event management is imperative are in organising product launch, charity promotions, trade fair/exhibitions,
award ceremonies, conferences, facility tours, fund raising and reception, parties and training programmes.
With good planning, which is mentioned elsewhere in this book, the organisation should be able to realise its goals
through the following:
Aims/Objectives: which is a prerequisite to determining whether
or not there is the need for the event.
Timing: The date, period and a length of time for the event
to take place. There is always the need to avoid collision with other major events so that one may not overshadow the other,
unless it is deliberate for competition. The itinerary of items on the event should be fashioned out and executed accordingly.
Invitation: Invitation cards or letters must be dispatched
to special guests. The media where applicable, may also be used to announce and publicise the event; its benefit cannot be
under estimated. Care must be taken in the wordings and quality of the material for the invitation.
Delegation: In event management, there is nothing like a
one-man-show, except the officer responsible is himself a robotic computer that can be everywhere at the same time, delegation
of responsibility is necessary. Some personnel may be asked to be in charge of invitation, a master of ceremony may be invited,
and others may be responsible for contact, electronics and print media relations.
Budgeting: Everything has its financial implications. From
the initial stage of the preparation, most of the activities involve funds to execute them. Therefore, cost must be attached
appropriately to activities. The venue, printing materials, entertainment, and consultancy fees, are cost to cover the entire
expenses toward the success of the event. Accountability is however the watchword here.
Follow-up: While arrangements are going on, there is need
for a further reminder to the expected guests and participants, same with getting feedbacks from all angles. This may help
in anticipating unexpected developments, which may call for adequate arrangement and proper adjustment.
Logistics: All the requirements must be considered and met:
securing the venue for the event, transportation/flight arrangement for participants, accommodation, entertainment and refreshment.
The requirements may vary from one organisation to the other, based on their financial capacity and the nature of
the events. An event can also be jointly sponsored with other bodies. The contribution of each partner must be well
known to the other.
Review: After all said and done, there must be an assessment
of the impact of the programme for future improvement. No matter the situation, whether successful or otherwise, it is essential
to send a word of appreciation to those who made positive contributions and/or participated in the programme. They will be
willing to partake next time they are so invited.
Most of the time, the need to make pronouncement may become inevitable. The public relations office, through experienced
officers, organises special event for the chief executive for the purpose of attracting media attention. Such activities include
granting media interviews to selected media, organising press briefings/conferences, inviting the press whenever the need
to cover courtesy calls, special visits, and sponsoring public-spirited programmes arises.