‘Innovation, collaboration as drivers of professional PR practice’
Chief Executive Officer of DavebrookPR Limited, owners of one of Nigeria’s online newsroom, Mr. Seun Adesida, in this interview with BENJAMIN ALADE, explains how interconnectivity and technological adaptability has changed the face of public relations practice in the country
What is your assessment of Public Relations (PR) consultancy practice in Nigeria?
Public Relations practice in Nigeria has advanced, but it is still evolving. It has since left the state it was some five years ago. We have Public Relations firms going into international affiliations and collaborating on big projects, some of which are very new to the Nigerian PR environment. Informed clients are now looking beyond big or small names to what ‘new strategy’ you have to offer to meet and surpass stakeholder expectations.
I also want to recognise the impact of the current leadership of Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), as clients are now demanding membership of PRCAN as a precondition before appointing any agency. The sustained growth observed in the industry is premised on the entrance of more professionals and the gradual shrinking of the market for charlatans.
Going forward, we hope to see healthier competition and impactful ideological engagements with robust interactions occasioned by the advent of digital media channels as veritable Public Relations management tools.
What is the impact of technology and social media on PR practice?
Technological advancement now provides scenario analysis tools for PR practitioners to fairly project measurable outcomes, while creating interventionist strategies to augment unpredictable variables.
Technology and social media have brought us more alternatives. Rather than wait for a client’s story to appear in the papers the following day, the client will get publication almost instantly. Even media houses are adapting to this reality. So, as you can see, it has added speed to our work. It has also made it easier to manage clients’ expectations.
How would you rate the standard of PR practice in Nigeria and what obtains in developed economies?
Global PR best practice is dynamic and the industry is gradually reinventing itself along with practitioners collaborating on developing new frontiers for PR engagements from policy communication to lobby management. Though, we are currently taking leadership in some areas, but overall, we still have much to give in terms of industry development and delivering on clients’ expectation. The innovative discovery available to the PR expert in Manhattan is also what is available to the practitioner in Lagos because access to innovation is no longer a barrier.
It is no longer about geography or location. It is about expertise. It is no longer about how PR is being practised in country A, B or C. It is about global best practices. We have successfully bridged the gap between the quality of PR that is obtainable in any part of the world and what is obtainable here. And that is why you see collaborations between our PR firms and well-established International firms. It is only a matter of time for results to become visible.
With the rising uncertainty in the economy, what are the challenges facing the average practitioner in the country?
Surprisingly, brands are embracing PR tactics, not as support or backups but as lead tactics in marketing communication. This, I believe, is attributable to economic downturn and the sophistication of PR delivery, which has evolved with adaptive technologies although most brands are cutting their marketing budgets. For DavebrookPR, we are adapting and deploying new technologies to address challenges. Where others use normal and conventional ways, we deliver the same service with a dint of innovation. We may not be necessarily reinventing the wheel, but we devise new and digital ways of creating value. And our clients appreciate us for it. We have a very good and robust client base.