PR: Waiting for the seasons

By Nsikak Daniels

“In all things we should try to make ourselves be as grateful as possible. For gratitude is a good thing for us, in a manner in which justice, commonly held to belong to others, is not. Gratitude pays itself back in large measure.” Seneca, Moral Letters, 81.19.

Everything is connected in a very concrete and systematic way. It is undeniably natural. Thus, generosity makes others feel alive and loved, especially when genuinely appreciated, well served, honoured, respected, genuinely supported in times of need, and sincerely regarded as a significant substance in one’s life. Be it an individual, a product or corporate entity.

To achieve this, as may be influenced by the involvement and its environment, public relations, in terms of social compassion and responsibility, must never be only the practice and engagement of the arts and sciences. It should be highly analytical, giving huge consideration to the core of an organization’s stakeholders.

Adopting this concept, PR should swing on the hinges of the subject’s vision, mission, objectives, norms, values, attitudes, culture, mood, and far beyond the bottom line. For the hob to run without friction, it should further focus on the present times, the people’s mythology, folklore, cultural experiences, as may be established by the tradition, norms and values of the people where the organization operates. This will help to integrate the purpose as envisioned, dictated or influenced by the future of the corporate or brand aspirations and growth, in consonance with the challenges of the times. This should be an all season’s culture for every entity that is bound to sustain its mission and vision.

It is important, may be unfortunate, to mention here that most multinational firms do not have a follow through PR culture – thus, their ‘ follow follow’ or ‘ rofoforo’ PR approach to issues of great import to them whenever they are in crisis. Any valuable idea should be very well professionally presented, promoted, publicized and marketed.

This is so far from giving two cartons of noodles to an orphanage that the cost is less than the price of a palm full of peanuts, after which they will use millions to publicize the gesture. This is the practice and most common trends stamped on our faces today in the name of Social Corporate Responsibility (CSR) or whatever nomenclature they decide to tag it.

It is unbecoming of the practice to see that, today, across the globe, a few people are bent on continuously causing the society injuries and pains. Many organization’s managements are never well counseled, and where the advice is very well accepted, lack of will power to implement it remains a stumbling block.

What do you think of a profit-making company that declares a huge income turnover year-in- year-out, but doesn’t care about the education of the youth in its host community? Some companies would rather prefer to donate vehicles and other gadgets to the security agencies to help in combating crimes that would have been nipped in the bud if the children in such environment were holistically educated and socially oriented, making them not only to believe in, but to see such an organization incorporating them into their vision, too.

All over the world, especially in Nigeria, where people are greedy and wickedly selfish, corporate irresponsibility has almost killed social compassion. For example, falsifying tax returns, which is a very serious criminal offense in the other parts of the world, is a game government officials play so well in cahoots with captains of industry here who always become rich with immeasurable arrogance and pride.

The mass media and the so-called citizen media are not immune to this cancer. Therefore, we should bear in mind that wanting to carve a completely rotten wood, dripping with stinking water into a beautiful piece of sculpture, would make raising the dead much easier a feat to attain than making a meaningful headway with this sort of PR attitude and culture.

At many organizations, from the gatekeeper to the topmost personality, all you witness and experience is insult and rudeness. The front desk personnel can keep you as long as she/he wants and daring to question such attitude might deny you entry completely.

However, some well organized institutions know and do better. At the Afe Babalola University, years ago, I attended a child’s party graduation who finished with first class and the university gave all those who had first class five hundred thousand naira each. The overall most brilliant student – a female – was given an additional one million naira and automatic employment by Ayo Fayose, the then governor of Ekiti State. What impact do you think that attitude would have made on the stakeholders?

The Zenith Bank, initiative of fixing the road on which its corporate headquarters is situated and her well maintained culture of lighting the street up with alluring ambience like beautiful Christmas Tree decorations, which, if I am not mistaken, the Lagos State government, under Babatunde Fashola, SAN, adopted till today.

As the times transcend, practitioners should strive to be more original and analytically creative and strategic in order to stand out for the advancement of the firms that engage us, no matter the form or taste. Knowing that the organization would reap in far more great measure, what she had sown in gratitude, in giving and otherwise, the planting of these seedlings should be done in all seasons. It should be truly experienced by the organization’s public, from the smallest to the greatest.

Today, practitioners should know that the public of the organizations we work for are more educated, very well informed, enlightened and seriously engaging than we can ever envisage and should never be ignored or underestimated in any manner.

Most shameful is the tragedy of sympathy PR that is wholly devoid of empathy. They want to be in the number phenomenon. An act, in the arts, that lacks the essence and substance of the real science of the subject. Also not found in it is : creativity, sensibility, and the emotion that is founded on clear conscience and real undoubted human empathy.

Many years ago, Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria stood amidst a crowd soaked in blood and tears, on a Sunday, at Ikeja Cantonment, Lagos, shouted the crowd down and said: “I am not supposed to be here…” Very insensitive, as that of an employer who would turn down his /her employee’s requests for a genuine and sincere help by saying: Don’t I pay you salary?” Some of us are so crude and cruel that even at events, where drivers are given meal tickets, we are never bothered about giving the ticket to the person in question.

Our idea of PR should not be putting that which is ours on everyone’s face even when they consciously look away. There should be a well articulated thought process of a sustained relationship building approach, anchored on all times – in and out of seasons.

What’s more, gender neutrality should be rooted in the culture and tradition of the people, bearing in mind that acceptance from brand – corporate or product is diverse. To arrive at this, holistic approach is required.

Therefore, absolutism needs to go. We need to closely look at the concept in a more friendly, gentle and subtle way. This requires a lot of cultivation of a new civilization. Domination is not PR. PR should be beyond the dictates of our environment, otherwise, the concept becomes like a religious dogma which rubbishes the spirit of the art and science in the essence of the principles of the practice. Our organizations’ planned programmes should be such that they empower, elevate and enrich with respect.

Practitioners should strive to assist their organizations to groom people in their areas of operation and across boundaries for their own good and for society’s advancement. By adding values, such efforts will immensely pay back in larger good measure.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.