Lean budget bringing out PR industry's best -Oloyede [Sun, The (Nigeria)]
(Sun, The (Nigeria) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BY BISI OLALEYE
General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Cutler Ogilvy, Ms. Laura Oloyede, has been speaking on how lean budget by organisations, occasioned by the nation's adverse economic environment has brought out the best in most sectors of the economy. She stated that unlike previously when wastages resulting from excessive budgets from blue chip companies and indigenous firms was the order of the day, organisations are now more creative with management strategies.
According to Oloyede, the global meltdown resulting from stringent and very lean budget has helped to impact positively on increased creativity and innovations contrary to what it used to be. She also stressed that women in public relations in the country have been able to overcome the male dominance syndrome that almost affected their businesses and confidence.
I am a public relations practitioner, I have worked on the clients' side and agency side for many years and currently, I am with Cutler Ogilvy, a public relations firm.
Years of practice
Cumulatively, I will say it's been over 10 years, as I said earlier, I have been shuffling between clients and agency, on client's side, I was into marketing communications, and of course you would have the elements of PR, elements of advertising and total communication. I remembered that in 2004, I crossed over to core PR agency here in Lagos, and later to clients side until I came back to Cutler Ogilvy in 2010. Cumulatively, it is well over 10 years.
Niche in PR practice
It's a difficult profession, because many people do not really understand what PR is all about, both the practitioners and the clients there's this wrong perception and the media or other stakeholders inappropriate belief that people feel that public relations is all about bribing people feel that public relations is about getting people away from the truth, you want to cover something up and put out unsubstantiated claims that's not what PR is.
I will start with my former employer, the person who actually trained me in public relations, I did a lot of training, and I will say that I am a prodigy of Yomi Badejo Okunsanya and that was where I actually started off in PR. He did a lot in enlightening us what PR is all about. When you understand your profession properly you will be comfortable meeting with clients, talk with them and deliver the desired service to them.
I have a communications background from the clients side and so, I do not approach typical challenges, corporate challenges in one approach, I approach it with an open mindedness, and I'm listening intently to my clients talk about the challenges. Sometimes, the client will say this is what we want to do, and I am in the better position, based on research, based on the marketing communication background that I have to proffer an alternative solution and make them realise that this is not only going to solve the situation at hand, perhaps you may want to consider, for example, x, y, and z. And I think that has really worked for us very well in the sense that, we have gained our clients trust over the years, especially in Lagos.
That we do not have PR companies run by a female, that's another challenges because sometimes I will go for a meeting and some people will look at me and say 'when is the MD coming' because they probably are expecting a male figure. But I have been able to go beyond that, and they no longer see a male dominated industry, they no longer look forward to a male person solving their problem, rather they are looking at that intellectual person bringing solution to them, and this is what Cutler has been able to achieve, and that is working. I would say, in summary, that our works are speaking for us, our results are out there and they are speaking for us.
Challenges are part of life, and they would come and would always go. But it's for you to sit down and critically analyse the real cause of that challenge. You must understand that a typical example is that something could happen through your clients, because my clients' challenges are my challenges, not personal challenges though, but when I have a client that I am managing, if they have a situation at hand I am involved. Often times that situation becomes something that we have to solve.
And it's not so much about what is happening there in the news, but about how we can go back to the root, to find out what the problem is. But until we get to the root, to understand the cause of that crisis and most of that issue, we will not be able to successfully solve it. I will not be able to divulge challenges that we've managed because of confidentiality issues, but for us we believe either big challenge or small challenge irrespective of the client that might have gone through it.
We have a listening ear in Cutler and we will always sit down to listen to the client. But we find out in most cases because the client is right deep into the situation and may sometimes not be able to see clearly. We step back after having listened to them, to do some industry research and to identify that this is the root cause of that challenge, and then find solution to it. Sometimes we advise our clients to let the air just breath, you don't have to react to it, you don't have to do anything to it. If it's like a rumour or unsubstantiated claim, it would fade some day. You don't always react publicly to every situation that comes your way as a public relations operator.
Lean PR budget
Who is not cutting down on budget these days? It's the economy, the economy is difficult, it is not peculiar to any industry, it is not peculiar to any country, it is world-wide. Everybody is cutting down, and I won't say it's a good thing, but if you look at it carefully, it's bringing out the best in people, it's bringing out the best in organisations. People are beginning to understand how effective lean operation is, and beginning to understand how important is it to merge.
It brings in the diversity of your strength, when you merge with other companies you produce better result, you produce better services. If it was in the past, a client could give you, some amount for marketing campaign, for example, say N220 million, if there were no crisis in the economy, you could sit down and turn out ideas that really, you have not used a break of empirical formula to see how effective it is going to be. But because people are cutting down budgets, it calls for prudent use of resources including our time. Everything is now coming down to prudent use for better utilisation, if you are looking at our result, yes it is affecting our clients, everybody but it's not a peculiar situation. It should bring out the best in everybody.
Curbing quackery in PR profession
Earlier on, when we were discussing, I said that our work speaks for us. We have quacks in all professions, and it is not limited or peculiar to public relations. I am careful with my words because I am a PR practitioner, and I cannot say things that I cannot substantiate without an empirical formula. We don't have data to substantiate that there are more quacks in PR than other professions.
I can comfortably say that we have quacks in all professions, but we strongly believe in our professionalism. However, some clients will prefer to work with quacks, while some clients will prefer to work with professional people that are certified, and at the end of the day, when you have a corporate objective to meet within a specified period, you have resources, and you have the name of the organisation you work with to prove.
It will help you determine who you want to work with. Do you want to work with a quack PR company or do you want to work with a professional PR company? One that will be able to tell you, this is our courses, this is our procedure that is particular about achieving results for organisation and not unprofessional practises like it's obtainable today.
I remember when I was going through my class, you know, it's something that we talked about in terms of 'how do we solve this?' It's a process, and one of the things that I saw over the years, also encouraged me. Let me even give credit to Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR). I started practicing PR without being a member. I was going through a newspaper one day when I saw a notification where it was imploring people, practitioners to ensure that they are registered. Let's ensure that we're registered and follow due process, that distinguish a professional from a quack.
As at that time I looked at myself and I felt ashamed of practising a profession without being a professional member. However, because of what NIPR published in the newspaper, the need for wanting to regularise that profession, including the professionals, I heeded the call. We have to do the right thing, so I give it to NIPR for the step that it took. I am not saying that everyone should take my step but the fact that NIPR started it and is still continuing it, I believe it is a strong process and initiative towards an end result.
Social media killing conventional media in future
I love illustration. I was going through facebook and I saw, someone took a picture and there was a typewriter behind, and in my heart I felt goodness 'which organisation might this person be working for?' That you have a typewriter behind you, you could tell it was an office setting, I can assure you that that organisation suffered to get good result in terms of productivity.
What a typewriter can achieve, a laptop can achieve in terms of time, and in terms of quality of that result. Let's bring it back to social media, it is certainly an add on, it is meant to integrated marketing communications in the industry. We can all sit down and say' oh, when this thing comes in, it is likely going to make traditional media irrelevant in the long run, no. Again I keep saying that technology is an improvement of our procedure towards social enhancement and that includes you achieving so much with limited time.
Social media has come to stay and I believe that the more people latch on to it, the more it will give credibility and increase and improve speed in terms of news generation. Before social media came, you would wait endlessly to get a material or sort out an issue. But with the advent of social media, people are abreast of what is happening. Although, in the long run social media may become a threat to traditional media, if you take a critical look at it, it is a plus, to both the agency and the client as well. It is a plus for the entire human race.
It's our work, it's our processes. I am happy to repeat it again, we don't only focus on the result why? Sometimes you might not even see the results until after six months, you know PR is quite different from advertising. In advertising, you pay for it and you see it out there in the papers. PR is not like that, and it takes a little while to see what you are looking for in PR and I keep harping on something. We are being particular about our processes and procedures internally, so by the time I encounter you as a client, as a agency, and begin to speak with you, I won't even have to tell you that this is what our process or procedures are internally.
Our work ethics, professionalism, code of conduct, all of these come together to speak for us. And I think we have been able not only to impress our clients, but been able to successfully make our clients to be proud to work with us as partners. That has convinced them to talk about the result. There are so many ways through which we can achieve a result. Those ways could include optional means, we don't do that, I am happy to say that our clients trust us, they believe in us and they are happy with us.
(c) 2013 The Sun Publishing Limited. All Rights Reserved. Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
[ Back To Technology News's Homepage ]