‘Why PR experts should manage reputation for government’
Okereke gave the advice at the Fourth Commonwealth Public Relations Congress themed ‘Strategic Management of Reputation Risk In An Interdependent World’ and held in Lagos. According to him, public relations impact all sectors of the economy and the profession is visible in both the government and private sectors.
While observing that Nigeria is operating in a competitive environment, Okereke noted that investors have options to approach other countries and invest.
“If you have good reputation people will come to you. Investors can only go to nations where they feel their investment is safe and there is security of life. They can only go to a nation where they have an improved reputation. It is important for Nigeria to management its reputation professionally so as to continue to work with other nations”.
He stressed that reputation management is the core of any venture, whether in government or corporate organisations. He added that there is need for the country to build its reputation and also build good relationship with all stakeholders.
While speaking on the risk factor, Okereke said all government and corporate bodies are exposed daily to internal and external risks. He said these risks include reputation, corporate, credit, operational, supply chain and environmental risks. Others are litigation, alternative dispute resolution, global compliance and risks in dealing with regulators.
The public relations expert explained that the role of risk management is to allow government and the private sector to handle uncertainty, including new problems that arise from changing circumstance such as the current recession in the country.Noting that the country is in a period of economic uncertainties and change, Okereke said the response of government and corporate organisations will be to put in place a transformational change strategy.
Warning that ignoring or trivialising transformational change can be costly, he urged government officials and business managers to adopt positive attitude to change.
IN a keynote address at the event, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed advised public relations practitioners to ensure they operate at the management level in order to effectively project the organisations they work for. He was hopeful that the outcome of the congress would provide government with new insights on handling public relations issues and how to launder the image of government positively.
Also, President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Dr. Rotimi Oladele, observed that public relations practitioners needed to build powerful policies, fora and events for the profession to grow and become more relevant in the country.
Oladele said the conference would afford participants the opportunity to carve out the best approach and policy that are most suited to the environment.
At the end of the congress, participants advised government and corporate organisations to institutionalise Public Relations Research to help them to proactively monitor and manage reputation risks before they assume crisis proportion.
The congress also examined the recession environment and its impact on stakeholders. They pointed out that some the fallouts from the recession include organisational restructuring, loss of jobs, unemployment, inflation, shortfall in earning by government and corporate organisations, shortage in forex and decrease in consumer spending.
The congress called on government to reflate the economy and also put in place policies that would address the fall out of recession.
It recommended to the government to enlist the support of stakeholders through effective communication during the recession period. The congress also advised government to leverage public relations to harness Nigeria’s business and investment opportunities.
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