Quackery Not Peculiar To PR – Neo Media Boss | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Quackery Not Peculiar To PR – Neo Media Boss

Posted: Oct 5, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

The Managing Director of Neo Media and Marketing, Ehi Braimah, is by no means an embodiment of knowledge having traversed three reputable industries where he has carved a niche for himself based on his contributions and excellence particularly in the field of Public relations and Event management. In this encounter with our Correspondent, Olamide Bakare, he speaks on the state of the industry, its evolution among other issues.



With the advent of digital technology, how has it affected the Public Relations industry?

The digital age is here with everyone, not just our industry. We just have to keep up with the pace and the revolutions in the digital space. Even as student, it is possible to run an online program anywhere in the world which is part of the virtual classroom. These are all digital technologies. With digital, you can sit down and transfer money from your account to another account, pay bill, online, buy recharge card through the banks. In our own industry, technology is an enabler. There is now a budget set aside for digital marketing. Communication now has improved significantly particularly using different channels especially socials media. These days, with the likes of twitter, instagram and facebook, linkedlin and the rest of them, everyone of us, including the journalist, can use the platform to his or her own benefits. You can sit down in this room, do a story and file it in as long as you have internet access. That is the beauty of the world today that is internet enabled and driven by technology. The world is being globalised seriously and we all have to be part of the train. The industry is definitely adjusting to the new trend. Everybody who does not jump on this technology train will be left behind.

Fifty five years after independence, how has the marketing communication industry fared?

My attitude or response to such question is that the industry is ever dynamic because what is constant is change. We need to embrace new trends, attend conferences either in Nigeria or outside to learn new developments, or learn how to manage people or new assets. Take for instance, we just bought something called a media server. What it does for you is to help in the control of video and visuals for life entertainment. So, this kind of asset is driven by technology. So, when you are having an event, you need to up your game by bringing new technology.  As someone who is serious about the business, you must ensure that you are not stuck with antiquated technology. That is the truth of the industry where we have found ourselves. As a matter of fact, this agency is interested in competing favorably with other agencies around the world. I really don’t like a situation where if an agency intends to shoot commercial, it will have to travel to South Africa. Why can’t we shoot it here? But this goes back to the challenges confronting us as a nation which include insecurity and infrastructural decay.

In a nutshell, I think we need to have a culture of promoting excellence in the way we conduct business. Challenges are practically obvious in every sector and the marketing communication is not an exception in this regard. But if you see what is happening in different part of the world, I think we can compete favorably. We have very intelligent, right people that can take the industry to a new height. Whether it is public relations, writing a great copy, advertising or executing a great campaign, I think we are doing great. We only need to allow technology to drive the process because we cannot afford to leave it behind. So, I will say that our industry is evolving at 55 and we still have a lot of hurdle to cross.

Over the years, the industry has been battling with the dearth of talents which many stakeholders have described as being alarming. What should be the solution and step needed to be taken by agencies to retain the few talents available?

I think the problem is not peculiar to our industry. It is a general problem and now becoming like an epidemic. I think the problem starts from the quality of graduates in Nigeria today. Based on experience, I have had to speak with some young women and men with the possibility of employing them. But I have found out that you get disappointed when you listen to them talk, or asked them to write an essay. It is horrible. So, where do you start from? I hear students don’t read any more in the university. They do what they call blocking while some are paying their ways into the university which never happened when we were in school. You have to work, read to earn your degree. Reading and writing is a big problem.

So, we will continue to train our staffs and also train members as we are doing in PRCAN. We will continue to build capacity for professional PR practitioner but we must realize that the dearth of talent is in every industry. The foundations for primary, secondary, and tertiary educations are seriously under attack. So, we need to do something about it. Besides, we also need to work in changing the value system because it is really a serious thing to worry about.

No doubt, PR has come to stay both in the public and the private sector. But the worry over the years has been the challenge of quackery. So, what should the industry do to improve on standards, professionalism and regulation that will check the influx of quacks?

It is an ongoing engaging program. That is why we have PRCAN to protect the interest of members. Under this umbrella, we share ideas, argue, have common values that will guide the way we practice public relations. If you are not a member of PRCAN, you are not ideally expected to practice as a PR consultant in this country. The issue of professionalism, quacks, and brief case practitioner is in every industry. But when you come together under the umbrella group like PRCAN, it is easier to tell the clients that the association regulates the practice. Anybody who is not a member, it is important that you insist that it is a member PRCAN agency works with you as client. With that approach, standard will be maintained, practiced monitored, professionalism encouraged. I think to get rid of quackery, we just need to be together as a team. If you go to the UK, you cannot violate the rules and regulations of professional bodies. We must aim at constant improvement. We are not saying foreigners should not practice but they must follow the law. We cannot encourage Nigerians and foreigners alike to break those laws.

Comments (1)

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