The Lagos chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) recently held the second edition of the Golden Eagle Award, through which it rated some outstanding agencies and professionals. Raheem Akingbolu takes a cursory look at the industry, especially the role being played by the Institute
Public relations practice has come a long way in Nigeria. About 20 years ago, little was known of the practice. Then, companies even appoint lawyers to handle their public relations departments as company secretaries and corporate affairs managers.
But the situation has changed over the years, as practitioners have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they can add value to the marketing communication industry as a whole.
Some specialist agencies have truly distinguished themselves in the practice of public relations with innovative management techniques in the country; a development which has made discerning companies and government to appoint public relations consulting firms to handle their public relations activities.
All about Public
According to Wikipedia.com, a basic definition of public relations is to shape and maintain the image of a company, organisation or individual in the eyes of the client's various ‘publics’.
What is a ‘public’ exactly? A public, in PR terms, is anyone who ever has or ever will form an opinion about the client.
“Depending on the nature of the client's work, these publics could include clients, potential clients, voters, members of the local community, members of the media, students, parents of students, online fans groups, foreign citizens — the list is endless.
“Public relations success requires a deep understanding of the interests and concerns of each the client's many publics. The public relations professional must know how to effectively address those concerns using the most powerful tool of the PR trade: publicity.
“Internationally, public relations arrived with the development of mass media. At the turn of the 20th century, ‘muckraking’ journalists were stirring up public dissent against the powerful monopolies and wealthy industrialists who ruled the day. Early public relations firms combated the bad press by placing positive stories about their clients in newspapers.
“Former journalists, such as Ivy Lee, used the first press releases to feed newspapers ‘the facts’ about his misunderstood clients, namely the railroad and tobacco industries, and J.D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. Lee and company became so good at whitewashing even the darkest corporate sins that PR professionals earned a reputation as ‘spin doctors’.
“Much time has passed since the days of Ivy Lee, and to label today's PR professionals as dishonest would be to ignore how pervasive and important their work has become to people and organisations of all shapes and sizes — small businesses, authors, activists, universities, and non-profit organisations — not just big business and big government,” the website noted.
In Nigeria, some public relations firms have distinguished themselves in the practice. Some of leading lights include C&F, Portal Novelli, TPT International, CMC Connect, The Quadrant Company, Marketing Mix, and JSP Communications.
The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the regulatory body for the practice of public relations in the country recently recognised the efforts of some outstanding PR practitioners in the country at its 2011 PR Golden Eagle Award, and one of the notable recipients was TPT International – one of Nigeria’s foremost public relations consulting firms.
The Lagos-based PR agency was recognised and rewarded for its professional management of the crisis that befell Milcow, a dairy brand from the stable of Rofico Nigeria Limited last year.
Consequent upon this, the Institute deemed it fit to reward TPT International for the ‘Most Outstanding PR Campaign’ during the second edition of its PR Golden Eagle Award held in Victoria Island, Lagos recently.
It was not surprising however that the institute saw the effort of the agency in helping Milcow to manage and position its image in the eyes of the public.
When TPT entered the PR industry as a new face in 1998, many onlookers doubted if such a young entrant would be able to survive the heat that permeated the whole industry at that time, especially when it entered with a single client, Rothmans of Pallmall.
Survival was thought to be the focus of this young agency but the aspirations of the team was beyond how to thrive.
And since then, the agency has moved from grass to grace, helping to manage several national and international brands as well as corporate images. It is in this professional flair for team work that it has won for itself and members of staff, the meritorious award.
Little wonder then, while receiving the award on behalf of the company, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Charles Igbinidu, a seasoned PR practitioner, attributed the success of the company to the visionary founder of the company and the team of dedicated staff.
He added that the company would continue to do its best for its various clients while keeping sustaining its creative approach to PR practice.
Also speaking on the NIPR recognition, the founder and chief strategist of TPT International, Mr. Adetokunbo Modupe, dedicated the award to his team.
In his words, “the award is another special recognition of our contribution to the practice of public relations in Nigeria. It is very encouraging to be recognised and celebrated by your industry regulator, like the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and for us, we view this as a call to action to continue to provide professional service to our clients from various sectors of the economy.”
Although, this is not the first time the agency will be receiving an award, many industry watchers believe the agency has done very well especially with its innovative approach to PR practice and experience in handling various accounts over the years.
The PR Golden Eagle Awards is organised yearly by the Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to recognise and encourage outstanding PR practitioners in Nigeria.
Array of Garlands
Coming on the heels of this laudable background and achievement, TPT International recently won the Corporate and brands account of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, a fast moving Consumer goods company (FMCG), and that of the Nigerian Bottling Company Plc (NBC) 60th anniversary campaign.
Within a short time, the impact of the agency is already being felt, with positive visibility of the corporate and product brands of the company now enjoyed in the media. It is also on record that TPT is the first public relations agency to be appointed and formally retained by Promasidor after 17 years of existence in Nigeria.
TPT, which started business in 1998, is a professional, service-driven communications consultancy firm that offers premium public relations and advisory services to a select group of corporate clients, institutions and, in special cases, high net worth individuals.
TPT has grown to become a formidable public relations firm with rich experience in managing corporate and government brands in the country.
Some of the notable clients that have benefitted from its professional experience are Guinness Nigeria Plc, British American Tobacco Company, British Council, Starcomms Plc, Procter & Gamble Nigeria Limited, Oceanic Bank International Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB), Federal Government and Cross River State Government among others.