Resilience is an admirable quality in business, as inhibiting growth factors could rear their heads, causing businesses to shake at their core, and this is no different for public relations (PR) agencies that have had to constantly devise creative ways to remain relevant in a relatively competitive industry in the Nigerian context.
Business resilience is bolstered by a jumble of elements, however, the one unhidden formula to a resilient PR firm is its team: set to deliver excellent and effective communication strategies for clients, who, most times, are unsure of the importance of hiring a public relations firm.
A grounded team ensures that deliverables are right on schedule using a blend of strategies such as content and digital to bring their clients’ demands to an impressive reality even in the face of limitations like the pandemic.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic spun the world into a tizzy, as agencies and businesses around the world adjusted to the new form of communication, seeking newer ways to reach clients and execute campaign projects.
Traditional public relations firms rallied to catch up with the new mode of executing PR campaigns, proof of resilience, pliant to changes, especially unplanned ones.
Speaking on the resilience of PR firms at a webinar marking the 18th year anniversary of one of Nigeria’s top PR firms, MediaCraft Associates, the Chairman of C&F Porter Novelli, Nn’emeka Maduegbuna, advised that “agencies must take note of changes,” especially “industry-centric” changes.
He mentioned that the pandemic democratized communication forms, bringing “a method to the madness,” losing the stringent formalities observed in the PR business decades ago.
Traditional PR models are threatened daily by modern practices, and to avoid being relegated to the fossil age in the business, agencies have to keep in touch with the zeitgeist.
They need to rethink what has become the norm in the way they execute campaigns, embracing reinvention so as to stay in tune with the times, basically leaving their comfort zone.
Agencies have to find new ways to satisfy their clients’ needs, creating campaigns that effectively communicate their message to their target audience in a strategic way.
Maduegbuna, in his remarks, urged public relations agencies to remain committed to their clients, adding that their PR game should remain “enviable” to stand out from competitors.
He mentioned that PR in the future will not be “described as PR anymore”, advising agencies to create content using data and disseminating their messages through various forms of media.
A report on the disruption in the PR industry by USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism stated that there’s a positive outlook in the future of the PR business, however, it identified a number of challenges that agencies would need to expect and prepare for.
The report noted that agencies would need to deliver more in terms of strategy, content, channels, creativity, and measurement and that the agency that wants to stay ahead in the game would need to embrace new technologies and take advantage of opportunities for growth.
It added that growth drivers in the industry include content creation by 81 percent, social media by 75 percent, and brand reputation by 60 percent.
Industry leaders in the report submitted that personal traits that would be critical for the future of the PR industry are teamwork at 92 percent, and hard work at 82 percent.
Another research work by Charles Sturt University drew a link between personal and professional factors that build resilience in the PR business.
On the professional end of things, the research highlighted factors such as organizational culture, seamless communication, and adaptability as crucial elements for resilience.
While on the personal side of things, it listed factors such as self-efficacy, strong support networks, positive relationships, and self-nurturing activities as important in maintaining resilience as an employee in PR.
It noted that the above-listed factors on the professional and personal spectra are a needed combination to develop a strong sense of resiliency in the PR industry, as practitioners can be drained from the daily grind and constant changes obtainable in the business.
PR agencies are advised to employ balances in their work ethics and to remain adaptive to the times to ensure prompt deliverables without compromising on quality.