The desire to reach larger of the market motivates an organization into adopting public relations as an effective promotional tool, which could help it to achieve it is objectives in a competitive market. The purpose of this research was to examine the use of public relations as an effective promotional tool in the marketing of services at Keffi Community Bank Nig. Ltd. Also the objectives of this work include, investigating the need and importance of public relations in enhancing good image and help in maintaining good relationship with customers. Primary and secondary methods of data collection were used to assemble the data for this research work. The result of the work showed that public relations have contributed immensely to the sustenance of Keffi Community Bank’s objectives and competence. Meaning that, public relations are synonymous with achieving set objectives, and have a direct bearing on Keffi community Bank’s image and goodwill.
The constant changes being experienced in the business environment have further made marketing of services and business operations harder, more intensive and highly competitive. The dynamic nature of today’s business, resulting from the stiff competition from competitors, necessitate the need for a good promotional tool which can boost the image and goodwill of an organization and position it properly among its publics.
In all facets of social, economic and political interactions and interrelationships, the role and uses of public relations as a promotional tool cannot be undervalued because it is associated with success especially when it comes to establishing and maintaining good image. Public relations is therefore a powerful communication tool which is available to every organization in building up, sustaining good and mutual relationship with its target publics.
Over the years, organizations have come to realize that for them to carry out their businesses effectively and efficiently, a good environment and cooperative publics must be maintained, hence they see public relations as the best tool in achieving their aims.
The importance of public relations was recognized early at the dawn of civilization by the ‘‘Greeks who conceived the idea of the public will’’ (Bittner,
1989:229). From this recognition, public relations has grown to become a part and parcel of every image conscious cooperative organization. For public relations creates good business environment, an understanding, cooperative external public, a dedicated
and hardworking internal public, who serve the external public by utilizing the conducive environment.
In Nigeria, public relations have come a long way. Many organizations have contributed to its practice and growth. With the indigenization decree, several key
positions in private organizations afforded Nigerians the opportunity to pioneer the crusade for public relations practice. For instance, in1949, the United African Company (UAC), established its public relations department, and thus became the pioneer in the private sector (Ajala, V.2001:6). The basic aims of the company then were to inform business and commerce about business activities, as well as to project UAC as a major Nigerian industrial, technical and commercial company involved in the stability of the economic life and progress in Nigeria.
In the post independence era, there was significant development in government public relations, with the formation of Information Departments which handles and manages information-related activities in the different government ministries and parastatals. In the private sector, the UAC example and successes achieved motivated them into establishing public relations department to carry out image laundry, building of goodwill, creating and sustaining patronage for their goods and services. For long, therefore public relations practice in Nigeria has been dynamic, and has been growing with the changing tides of the country’s environment.
The dynamism of public relations in Nigeria, is that it adapts to changes as the business environment, as well as the external and internal publics changes with varying
techniques and methodologies. It is obvious therefore that the major job of public relations are to establish, maintain and sustain good relationships with its publics. Public relations are also a people oriented activity which seeks to serve a purpose: maintain or improve an image, repair an image, create an appreciable and acceptable reputation, and good market for services, and sustain its activities in order to achieve goodwill and profits.
The contribution of public relations to marketing, according to Kotler, (1988:657), includes:
To assist in the launch of new products, to
assist in repositioning a mature product category,
influence specific target groups, defend products
that has encountered public problems and build
the cooperate image in a way that reflect favorably
on its products.
A public relations is therefore the wheel on which marketing activities rotate. It creates awareness before and after the product is launched, turns awareness into patronage, and retain the patronage for as long as possible. It builds the cooperate image and reputation that projects the products of an organization in such a way that subsequent products would be effectively patronized. Furthermore, public relations carry out intensive research on the target public on their perception about similar goods and services, and
make valuable recommendations to the management. It also researches on the activities of Competitors and reports accordingly to the management on ways of checkmating them.
When one assesses the banking industry presently, it is full of what we could
call ‘‘public relations war’’. This is because each bank is trying to outdo one another with distinctive unique service propositions: offering what others do not offer, which are aimed at ensuring that old consumers are happy, while potential ones are encouraged to patronize them.
Since survival in the banking industry depends largely on individual and
cooperate patronage; it behooves on the public relations personnel to create the path to distinguish one image from the others; one service from the others, and one innovation from the others.
Public relations is defined, according to the Dansk Public Relations Klub of
A sustained and systematic managerial effort through which private and public organizations seek to establish understanding, sympathy, and support in those public circles with which they have or expect to obtain contact (cf. Wilcox, et al, 1988:131).
In similar definition, the British Institute of Public Relations, according to Ibekwe, O. (1984:166), sees public relations as ‘‘the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public.’’
The two definitions clearly show that public relations is ‘doing something to achieve a desired aim’. This will form the foundation of this work.
want it, and providing it the way they want it.
1. Are promotional tools effective in marketing?
The objectives of this study include:
a. Investigating the needs and importance of public relations in a competitive marketing environment.
b. Evaluating the general contributions of public relations in the banking sector.
c. Ascertaining how public relations could enhance good image and goodwill for an organization.
d. Finding out how public relations activities presently in use at Keffi Community Bank Nig Ltd., have helped in establishing and maintaining good
1.4: Research Hypothesis
For Osuala (1987:46), ‘‘hypotheses are guides for the investigator in the entire process of research endeavor, and they keep the researcher on the mainline of his study’’.
The hypothesis for this work will be based on the research problems and objectives which could be tested for possible rejection. It is denoted by Ho, it corresponds directly with the absence of the effect being tested.
Alternative hypothesis determines whether a particular hypothesis requires a one tail tests. It is denoted by H1 , it could be tested in any particular or particular direction at all.
This work shall be based on the following hypothesis:
Ho: Public relations as a promotional tool adopted by an organization has not been able to sustain the organization’s objectives and competence.
H1: Public relations as a promotional tool adopted by an organization has been able to sustain the organization’s objectives and competence.
Ho: Public relations has not contributed to the enhancement of good image and goodwill for an organization.
H1: Public relations has contributed to the enhancement of good image and goodwill for an organization.
1.5: Significance of the study
The essence of a good promotional tool for any organization can not be