Experts Map Out Tech-driven PR Strategies for Business Survival

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Olusegun McMedal

Raheem Akingbolu

Business operators in Nigeria have been urged not to allow the connection between their brands and consumers wane, despite the current global challenge.

Rather than being indifferent to the performance of their businesses in the market, the brand owners were advised to embrace technology driven Public Relations strategies to service the various market channels.

The Chairman of the Lagos State of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Olusegun McMedal, in a recent interview with THISDAY, expressed fear that many companies may not survive post Covid-19 because of the inactiveness of their public communications department, which according to him would have helped the brand created a longer-lasting brand recall among the public.

He said: “This is the time for savvy business owners to key into PR but unfortunately, a lot of brand owners out there have allowed their businesses to lockdown with them.

“That is suicidal because keeping a connection with the masses always bears fruit and is essential for any business.
“Having created a longer-lasting brand recall among the public helps in the marketing funnel at all stages and influences the buying decision-making.

“The pandemic has created such a negative environment around people that they are scared to trust anything new or unknown. To this end, owners of the existing brands should leverage technology to boost their PR,” he explained.

The PR experts, though admitted that the marketing communications industry, like other sectors, was under threat, he was quick to point out that PR still maintain a leading platform that brands could leverage successfully in this period.

“Like I stated during the recent virtual monthly clinic of the Lagos NIPR, with technology as focus, we are living in a different and very challenging time and the current restriction is altering business and work models for almost all the industry and professions.

“Everyone must evolve and adapt to the new work environment by unlearning and relearning the new skill sets required surviving in the fast-changing world.

“Like other leg of marketing communications, a service-led industry like Public Relations is also undergoing a critical period but it still stands a better chance of lifting many brands to the post pandemic era,” he added.

Reacting to the data recently released by KPMG Nigeria, which indicated that 94 per cent of businesses in Nigeria have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, McMedal said the report was a wake-up call to business owners to deepen their marketing. The PR chief hinged his argument on a similar report by Influencer Marketing Hub, which established that more than 69 per cent of brands have decreased their Ad and communications spend since the pandemic hit the world in the first quarter of 2020.

“No doubt, COVID 19 negatively impacted businesses but promoters of those businesses should look outside the box to communicate with their target audience. We all are familiar with the term ‘no risk, no gain’.

“These are tough times for businesses that need to float and for that, they need to prioritise their services. But, this is also the time to grab the market by the scruff of the neck and thrive.” He stated.

Meanwhile, the Lagos NIPR had recently held a virtual PR Clinic, with the theme: Technology and the Future of Work, to prepare participants with the skill sets required to thrive in a fast-changing practice environment.

The virtual clinic, featuring the, as the guest facilitator, was the first in the history of the Institute, in compliance with the lockdown, social distancing and sit at home directives by the government to keep people safe and stop the transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic