Posted by Sade Williams
Founder, JSP Communications, Dr. Phil Osagie, has offered Public Relations practitioners some tips on how they can survive, succeed, excel; retain and get more clients, even as the ‘New Normal’, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, is here to stay.
While presenting a paper titled, ‘PR-New Rules For Success’, to an audience through a Webinar organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relarions, (NIPR), Lagos State chapter, last week, he said public relations practitoners should now bear in mind that the new media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and so on, may now become their new bride as the traditional media, though stll very relevant, may have begun a journey into extinction whether the world likes it or not.
He advised that rather than stick to the old ways of doing things, there is need for them to introduce to and convince their clients, about the need to include the new media in their ‘Mass Media list’ adding the New Normal would still spring a lot of surprise.
Osagie is of the opinion that if the practitioners do not do their jobs professionally, quacks, who are bent on making money at all costs on social media, would infilterate and likely, get most of the jobs professionals should do.
According g to him, ‘COVID-19 has posed big challenge, our industry is faced by two challenges which are Proliferation and Revolution/Resistance. There is an oversupply of Agencies and PR Practitioners or pretenders, there is a huge oversupply of media, with social media democratisation we have billions of editors now. Anybody can be publisher or editor. The media fragmentation is also a challenge.
“Proliferation is a big challenge that we face in our industry. There will always be room for one or more agencies but there is huge number of Agencies that are also pretenders. In the past we used to move again them and told them to register or subscribe to NIPR but for me, the more the merrier, let’s have more people coming into the fold, more PR companies rising up, I looked at the PR industry and I see a people doing good PR work and it’s fantastic and the more we do good PR work… it’s like boats on the sea, as the tide rises, all the boats on the sea rise with it… the same way as our industry rises, as we get better and better, all the boats will rise with it. The goal is for all of us to keep the tide rising and we are going to do that by our level of expertise” , he said.
He explained that there is currently, ‘a revolution of rising consumer, rising clients’ expectation, clients and staff want so much more and the clients want to pay less, there is a revolution but that is a negative balance because expectations should come with greater reward but it doesn’t always come that way, because of resistance to request for budget increase, we are in struggle with our clients, but the goal is that I want to us as PR people to do excellent works that will be irresistible to our clients”, he added.
While lamenting practitioners’ resistance to change, he said: ‘we practitioners ourselves are resistant to change, all kinds of things are going on now that you have to change. If we are going to be successful, we must overcome those challenges that I mentioned earlier’.
While itemizing some new rules for success in the new era, Osagie said first, a PR practitiover needs to identify a PR problem that only him can see.
According to him, everybody at given time may see things in one direction, a PR practitioner should see them in a different way.
“We should have the capability to see beyond the obvious, apply the Blue ocean strategy. The Blue Ocean strategy comprises an uncontested market space, you can create and capture demands and drive value at low price, here, people just want to be the best they can be and provide absolute value.
“This is unlike the Red ocean where there is fierce competition and lack of distinctiveness, there is a mad scrambling in existing market, no winner no vanquished, quite a lot of company are in this space.
“So we all like to swim in the Blue ocean, if you are in the Blue Ocean, you want to make sure you do things that will keep you ahead, you want to create things that will make you distinctive and competitive, you are constantly innovative, you identify the market yourself”, he said.
Osagie spoke of the need to understand the New media. He said in the PR industry, practitioners tend to see the media as only the major Newspapers, ‘but as PR practitioners, to be successful in the new world of communication, we should change the way people think, we are going to go beyond the fact that clients say all they want is the major Newspapers, we are going to move beyond that space, the regular media. We should have the expertise. As PR agencies, we should have a blog on your site, that is one of the ways you fence public opinions. If we don’t understand the new media, what will happen is that we are going to become less relevant, our market shares would be dwindling, our clients would be drifting towards them’.
The JSP founder, who identified Content and good layout as another rule for success, said ‘what you put out is very important, so also afriendly presentation.
According to him, a good content should be well presented otherwise, readers would lose interest.
Speaking on another rule, he said ‘for you to do good practice , you need to have a good theoretical framework.
To him, ‘it is good to understand the theoretical framework of what you do so you can adapt it. It is good to grasp the theoretical knowledge, but it is also good to have a grasp of both sides’
Osagie, who said the sixth rule would be to think like the Rich, added that a PR practitioner should do at least, 10 percent more than he is asked. He should also set new challenges.
“The rich has one thing in common, they read a lot. They focus on opportunities rather than problems. Right now, there is Covid-19, but the rich will be creative, they tend to make more money during turbulence because they are creative. They think about creating g value and they practice discipline.
He added among other things, by saying that PR practitioners should have a re-think about philanthropy and not have the opinion that Charity is the responsibility of the bigger companies alone.
“Rethink philanthropy . As PR practitoners, we have given out very few roses. Why is it that when it comes to Charity and philanthropy, we expect the big companies to do it. We as PR people should also have cause we are identified with, we should practice CSR. We need to go beyond the motherless babies homes”, he added.