Nigerian Women in Public Relations (NGWiPR) has hosted the second edition of the Experiencing PR Annual Conference, which brought together public office holders, business executives and public relations professionals across various sectors to discuss the theme: Beyond Crisis: PR for Perception Management in Business and Public Affairs. The Conference, which took place at Alliance Française auditorium in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday March 30 recorded a significant delegate turnout as attendees learned from industry experts and experienced executives on how a positive perception can improve personal, organisational and national outcomes.
Delivering the welcome address on behalf of the President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Mallam Muktar Sirajo, fnipr, Council Member and Fellow of the Institute, Mrs Nkechi Ali-Balogun said “it is our belief that Nigerian Women in PR will provide the much needed equity for our women in practice. We welcome this initiative as a move in the right direction.”
The Conference’s first panel session was opened by Lead Speaker, Dr Yemi Kale, Partner, KPMG Nigeria and former CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics, who spoke extensively about this experience in public service as the Statistician General of the Federation: “when I got there, the workers were not even proud to be identified with their place of work. I started the work by making the workers believe in themselves and the organisation.” Other speakers on the first panel, which focused on how positive perception can impact organisational outcomes, included O’tega Ogra, Group Head and Director of Corporate communications, Bua Group who shared on how Communication professionals must explore cost-effective methods to deliver programmes and campaigns for the organisations; and Temitope Oguntokun, Corporate Affairs and Legal Director, International Breweries, where she shared extensively about the need for individual integrity and professionalism as key character traits to develop a positive perception.
Speakers on the Industry Panel, which focused on “Strategies in Perception Management for Organisations and Public Institutions” shared valuable insights for Public relations professionals and executives to utilise in their operations. Lead Panel speaker, Mimi Kalinda posited that “the PR Practitioner of the future is a conglomerate of different skills” and Tokunboh George-Taylor, MD at Hills+Knowlton Strategies Nigeria spoke about the importance of campaigns as a key strategy to secure earned media. “In Nigeria, we don’t do enough campaigns. These campaigns will lead the media to find the story behind the rave so that businesses don’t have to endorse themselves,” she said.
Other panelists included Bidemi Zakariyau Akande, Founder at LSF PR who spoke extensively about strategies to secure staff loyalty, saying “compensation is one of the key deciding factors for employee loyalty.” For Odion Aleobua, Founder of Modion Communications, “organisations that leave internal communications to Human Resources shows that they are not ready to build the right perception, and are not ready to be transparent and accountable.” Public relations professionals must be counted on to tell the truth to authorities, says Omasan Ogisi, General Manager Corporate Affairs, MTN Nigeria. “If you are not going to say something that will move the conversation forward as a brand in crisis, stay out of it,” she said.
Welcoming delegates to the Experiencing PR 2023 Conference, Public Relations Consultant & Founder of Nigerian Women in PR Tolulope Olorundero said “this is a historical moment for the development of PR in Nigeria, and the elevation of the practice in Nigeria in the global industry. It is humbling to conceptualise an event of this magnitude, articulate it and get the nod from our speakers, 130+ in-person delegates, and over 100 virtual participants.”
Nigerian Women in PR launched several impact initiatives at the Conference including the first issue of the ExperiencingPR Magazine, which explores Perception Management with article contributors from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Russia.
Others include the #trashyourtrash campaign – the organisation’s flagship citizen advocacy program focused on environmental sustainability; the Nigerian Women in PR Scholarship Fund which seeks to provide financial aid to Nigerian women at undergraduate and postgraduate levels carrying out research in Public Relations and Communications, and the Global Directory of Nigerian Women Owned and Led PR Firms – the first of its kind globally and a contribution to the gender equity conversation to aid increased income for women-owned PR firms, research, improve collaborations within the industry.
“The Conference was well organised. The perception of Nigerian Women in PR that I have gotten is very positive, and this is what we are saying. If we are as well organised as the organisers of this Conference have handled this in a lot of things we are handling in Nigeria, the country will be a much better place to live in,” said Dr Yemi Kale.