The World PR Day cocktail reception and fireside conversation held on Friday the 15th of July in Victoria Island Lagos has been hailed as one of Nigeria’s most significant PR gatherings.
Organised by PR and reputation management firm GLG Communications, the industry event was part of activities lined up to commemorate the 2022 World PR Day. GLG was also praised for creating a platform where Nigeria’s Public relations stakeholders were celebrated through its PR Power List, which was released on that day.
Anchored by ace OAP and compere Ayeni Adu, the event brought together PR practitioners, media icons, captains of industries, and entertainers to explore new trends in a rapidly changing landscape. In her address, the event convener, Omawumi Ogbe, said the cocktail reception was an avenue for stakeholders and thought-leaders to expand the frontiers of public relations while setting the agenda for the Nigerian PR ecosystem.
Present at the event were Lead Partner at Detail Solicitors and Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Section on Business Law, Ayuli Jemide; Group Principal Consultant, ADSTRACT BMC, Charles O’Tudor; co-founder of Inkblot Productions, Zulumoke Oyibo; Director of the Arise News Channel, Joseph Ushiaghale; Filmmaker and lifestyle influencer, Alex Unusual and a host of others.
In his keynote remarks, Jemide noted that truth and transparency were necessary to ensure that the PR Industry delivers on its core mandate. He urged professionals to guard their credibility. “Trust is a product of truth and transparency. People will disregard your credibility once lost. I usually advise companies to open a trust bank account for workers and managers, from which they can withdraw intangible assets.” During the event, the PR Power List honourees were officially unveiled and presented with certificates of excellence, with honourees in the icon category receiving a carved-out glass PR award statue.
Created by GLG Communications in partnership with The Guardian, the comprehensive list of 50 represents Nigeria’s best-in-class PR and communication professionals who have made exceptional contributions to the Nigerian PR industry and combined ingenuity with commercial acumen to create agencies that share global reach with local relevance.
On why GLG Communications created the list, Omawumi Ogbe disclosed that it was imperative to spotlight PR practitioners and the public relations profession in Nigeria. “Due to the nature of our work, PR professionals are usually behind the scenes making magic for clients,” said Ogbe “The PR Power List gives us a platform to celebrate these superstars who do so much to help individuals and organisations create transformation in business and society”.
According to her, the list also aims to foster creative excellence in all public relations and communications areas.
The pièce de résistance at the event was an insightful fireside conversation that explored the 2022 World PR Day theme “Trust, Truth and Transparency”. Speakers included MD & Editor-in-chief at The Guardian, Martins Oloja; and some honourees of the PR Power List: Nkiru Olumide Ojo – Africa Regions Executive Head, Brand and Corporate Communications, Standard Bank Group; Adebola Williams – Group CEO of RED | For Africa; and Bidemi Zakariyau Akande – Founder & CEO, LSF PR.
According to Oloja, public relations and reputation management has evolved globally, and it is important to have professionals in the business. “PR is an essential feature of society. You cannot make a reputation damager (journalist) to become a reputation manager (PR practitioner) without the right training,” he said.
Ayeni Adekunle, in his appraisal of the Nigerian PR Industry, said the establishment of a day to celebrate PR worldwide emanating from this country is a testament that the industry is growing rapidly. “PR is too significant and extremely important to society. It’s about honest conversations and carrying people along. World PR Day coming from Nigeria is a sign that we are on the right track. We’re not there yet, but we are not where we used to be.” he said.
Bidemi Zakariyau Akande charged the PR Industry to always put its best foot forward and ensure best practices at all times. “As practitioners, we are responsible for being truthful in what we deliver and how we deliver. When an agency fails to deliver on its work, it affects the entire industry.”
On the rise of cancel culture and the fear of offending people, especially online, Nkiru Olumide-Ojo reminded participants that digital media is an advantage and it is important to leverage digital to communicate effectively. “You need to decide what your brand stands for. No matter how lightly you walk on sand, you must leave footprints,” she said. “You cannot be out there communicating without offending anyone. Offence is inevitable; focus on how you mitigate things and be prepared to deal with offense”. According to her, one of the roles of PR professionals is to help brands prepare for and handle crises.
Speaking on burning issues in crisis communications that many organisations have failed to implement in their management structure, Adebola Williams harped on the importance of hiring public relations professionals. “You don’t wait to buy an umbrella when it starts to rain. Fortify yourself before trouble comes,” he encouraged. “Build a friendship with your customers, and they will stand by you in times of trouble” According to him, many organisations do not show the heart of their brand. “In today’s world, people are driven by personality because they want to connect with the brand,” he said.
Photo credit: Damell Photography