By Stanley Olisa
The public relations landscape in Nigeria has come a long way. It has not only grown over the years but the kind of innovation and spend that the industry has recorded is tremendous. For instance, as at 2007, TV ad spend in Nigeria was estimated at N20.5billion. Just five years later, in 2012, an estimated N49.4billion was expended on TV adverts alone. This pattern was replicated across media channels and platforms and the statistics have been extremely amazing.
But beyond spending on ads, the media industry has swelled in ‘soft power.’ Indeed, knowledge has increased in the industry, with trainings, videos, seminars and books pushing the frontiers of understanding and know-how in the industry. One book that has sparked interest since it was published is Adedayo Ojo’s 128-page ‘Public Relations Thoughts and Deeds’. This book is of a different category because it is replete with case studies, history and the copious experiences of the author, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Caritas Communications.
The book is a fascinating inroad into the niceties of corporate communications and captures the fulcrum of public relations practice in a refreshingly different fashion. It eruditely explores the world of public relations, progressing from the generic to the specifics which define the proper practice of the profession.
In the last few years, the practice of public relations has been marked by the emergence of divergent technological innovations with some disruptive tendencies. These dynamics are redefining the art of image management. Thus, Adedayo Ojo combines the experience of both traditional public relations and the very contemporary practice in bringing to bear the twists and turns, as well as the nitty-gritties that have shaped the profession in the last couple of years.
‘Public Relations Thoughts and Deeds’ actually lives its title, both in content and style. The book features the thoughts and experiences (deeds) of the author. It treats public relations from two informed perspectives: that of an agency owner and that of a consummate practitioner. Though not voluminous, its content has the capacity to provoke the reader to appreciate the abundant need for every organisation to incorporate PR into its business strategy. Ojo elegantly presents insights, drawing upon his varied multisectoral communications background.
It opens with an up-to-date explanation of prevailing concepts and variables of public relations, as it details academic definitions across many schools of thought, comparing the old model public relations with the new model PR. The author then takes a trajectory into how public relations was birthed and evolved into the status it has now. This exposes the reader to the historical relevance of the profession, giving them a sense of how PR grew through the years, factoring all the challenges that the practitioners had to grapple with just to raise the standards of the profession.
The book then goes on to narrate the inputs of major influencers as well as the role of the government in ensuring that this profession enjoys a reputable status in Nigeria. Similarly, Ojo narrates his professional voyage, its vicissitudes and the requisites for becoming a thorough-bred public relations professional. He also paints an accurate and realistic picture of how to start and profitably manage a public relations agency, aligning it with both local and global touchstones.
With chapters like ‘From Iwe Irohin’, ‘Interventions’, ‘My Life in PR’, ‘Enter Caritas’, ‘How We Do Our Work’, ‘Who Do They Say We Are’, Ojo is redirecting the PR narrative, challenging the practitioners and giving them a resource that they can always bank on whenever they need to refresh their professional knowledge or even advance their career with a professional exam. With a chatty, dramatic style, the NIPR-certified Ojo has made another contribution to the growth of PR practice in Nigeria, and has dared other practitioners to convert their experiences (deeds) into books to guide the new breed of PR professionals.
Presented to the public some months back in a colourful event- Caritas Reputation Leadership Roundtable- which brought together very brilliant minds both in the PR industry and the entire communications space, “Public Relations Thoughts and Deeds” will educate, empower and activate the productive nerves of its readers, adding value to the industry and the professionals who will shape it for the future. It is certainly a reference point for individuals who are in the business of corporate communications and practise the art of reputation management.
* Stanley Olisa is a Media and Communication Consultant with Caritas Communications, Lagos. Reach him via- firstname.lastname@example.org