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Why It Is Unethical For PR Agencies To Mark Their Own Homework—Philip Odiakose

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Why It Is Unethical For PR Agencies To Mark Their Own Homework—Philip Odiakose

Philip Odiakose

The first independent communications/PR measurement agency in Nigeria, P+ Measurement Services, recently set a new feat by becoming the first member of the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) in the country.

In a recent chat with BrandArena, Philip Odiakose, Lead Consultant of the firm, spoke on the benefit of being AMEC member and why it is unethical, unhealthy and unprofessional for PR agencies to mark their own homework. Excerpt:

Communications/PR measurement is very key to the growth of any business. How well is this practice in Nigeria?

I will begin by stating the meaning of AMEC, AMEC is the International “Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication”. The PR measurement practice is a budding industry in Nigeria. Brands are gradually warming up to the idea that value measurement is a core aspect of every marketing communications campaign. Benchmarking has become more important, PR measurement is gradually taking centre stage and definitely trend setting will complete the revolution for future performances of businesses and brands and we are glad that P+ is at the forefront of this evolution in the Nigerian business space.

In South Africa they have an Independent Association called SAMMA (South African Media Monitoring and Measurement Association) governing the Monitoring and Measurement consultant. There are no independent associations in Nigeria for the consultants in Nigeria, that is the reason PR agencies can take Independent monitoring briefs; which is unethical, unhealthy and unprofessional for an agency to mark their own homework. It is not right for you to be the accused, the judge and jury of your work”.

Can you expatiate more on that?

From my experience in the IMC industry, I can tell you that sometimes, agencies trim down on the negative report in order to look good in the eyes of the brand owners. Especially if the story is being published in one of the second tier publications that they feel doesn’t matter. That is why part of the service we also provide to our clients is crises management advisory. We understand the behaviour of the online media; we have monitored them and their feeders for a long time to know how to engage them when we want to.

As Lead Consultant at P+, how do you feel becoming the first member of AMEC in Nigeria?

We are excited to be the first member of AMEC in Nigeria. We are also happy to be the first Independent Communications/PR measurement agency in Nigeria. Our drive has been to improve the value proposition of brands so as to create an environment where brands can improve their services after reviewing the results of their campaigns. We want PR agencies to start seeing Independent Communications measurement agencies as partners (friends) rather than foes as our work helps to reflect the effectiveness of their activities.

We look forward to becoming a member of FIBEP, FIBEP is the world’s media intelligence federation with over 120 corporate members employing over 13,857 people in over 60 countries.

Due to the harsh economic situation of the country, many brand owners have been cutting cost on marketing communications, how has that affected P+?

The economic situation has affected brands no doubt, but we have been able to play a vital role in the growth of several brands even in this recession. A communications manager once said “if I had my last penny to choose between a PR agency and a PR measurement agency, I will choose a PR measurement agency, because I’m a communications person so I can still handle the PR for my brand, but I won’t want to take the risk of evaluating and measuring my own homework as I tend to be biased naturally”. We have proved through this period of recession that our consistent services are valuable to our clients by constantly providing them with access to information about their brands and supplementary information about the economic situation, so the effect on us has been minimal.

Tell us briefly about some of the things P+ has done so far this year?

As new entrants into the Nigerian market, we are proud of some of the work we’ve been able to do this year. We have provided PR measurement and media monitoring for clients locally and internationally across diverse industries ranging from financial institution, airlines, mobile technology, politics and government, tourism and resorts (South Africa), beverages and regional carnivals. It is evident that there is a market for P+’s services in the Nigerian business landscape as we have been able to build trust of multinationals, government and PR agencies in less than 2 years of our operation.

P+ has been one of the fastest growing agencies that offer PR measurement service in the country. Where do you see P+ in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I see an industry where brands will put a stop to the practice of allowing PR agencies to handle their media monitoring and reportage, an industry where professionalism is paramount and one in which P+ is bringing in new innovations to help PR agencies and communications managers implement the new public relations measurement standard of the industry.

Lastly, what are your thoughts about the future of Communication/PR measurement generally? And what does being a member of AMEC mean for P+ as a young agency?

AMEC membership is internationally representative, with members in over 48 different countries, providing an opportunity to network and do business across borders which P+ happens to be the only member in Nigeria currently.

I have always said that measurements and evaluations are destined for top management capacities; from the creative strategy sessions and the processes of determining results. The future of the measurement industry is an industry where measurement consultants are called in during the planning phase to help determine a scope for how to measure results of their campaigns on all platforms from the start.

We are gradually leading the evolution by monitoring 26 print publications daily and 71 print publications in total within Lagos, part of the south, east and west; knowing full well that it is impossible to do selective monitoring and provide a competitive analysis report for brands. Timeliness stand us out in the industry, as our daily report gets to clients as early as 5am around the clock (first of its kind in Nigeria), every communication/PR directors and managers want to see their daily media highlights when they are still on the bed or on their way to work; that’s what P+ provide.

We received testimonies from clients, that “our timely daily report has helped them to make quick management decisions”. P+ is a believer of the human analysis report as against machine generated reports, we currently subscribe to 3 online media monitoring tools for near real time monitoring for our clients, but we do not allow the tools to generate reports for us because when measurement is built into a news monitoring platform the general metrics used can be a horrible reflection of your actual impact, Studies have revealed that automated measurement can be, at best, 55% accurate at times. So here you have to ask yourself, can I afford to be wrong almost half the time?

Philip Odiakose1

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Banking

Ecobank Assures Customers Sustained Excellent Service Delivery

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Ecobank Nigeria Jubril Mobolaji Lawal

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Customers of Ecobank Nigeria Limited have been assured of excellent service delivery as the bank celebrates the annual customer service week.

“For us as a bank, we are inspired by your confidence and support to us in numerous ways. We are proud to celebrate your trust in our products and services and use and reliance on them across our touch points. Indeed, your word-of-mouth recommendations of them make us delighted to serve you better,” the Managing Director of the company, Mr Bolaji Lawal, said in a statement issued by the lender.

The financial institution lauded its customers over their continued patronage and dedication to the brand, assuring that the bank will continue to meet and surpass their expectations with product offerings.

Mr Lawal said customers’ loyalty to the bank over the years has made the Pan African bank one of the most preferred financial institutions in the country.

He pointed out that the choice of this year’s theme, Celebrate Service particularly resonates with Ecobank’s philosophy that service is a game changer.

“It is the reason we are constantly investing in our technology and equipping our staff with the requisite skills and resources to provide you with the relevant solutions you need and cutting-edge banking experience,” he stressed.

Mr Lawal reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to implement their feedbacks, noting that “we will continue to be relentless in our efforts to make financial services readily and easily accessible to you.

“As your preferred financial partner, we are happy to listen to you and remain committed to tailoring our products and services to suit your lifestyle and power your aspirations. We will continue to evolve with you and innovate our products and services to make banking a more rewarding experience for you.”

Customer Service Week is an international celebration of the importance of customer service and of the people who serve and support customers daily. It is celebrated annually during the first full week of October.  This year’s celebration holds from October 3 to 7.

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Banking

Unity Bank, Lagos Food Bank Address Hunger, Malnutrition

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Unity Bank Lagos Food Bank

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Food items worth millions of Naira have been donated to Ogundimu Ilaje, a riverine community in the suburb of Lagos, by Unity Bank Plc and Lagos Food Bank.

No fewer than 150 cartons of food items tagged Unity Box of Hope were distributed to hundreds of households in the underserved community.

The gesture is a collaborative initiative to support and promote interventions addressing hunger and malnutrition in communities.

It is also part of the strategic Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSRs) of Unity Bank aimed at sustaining the improvement of health and social well-being of communities it operates.

The lender, in a statement, further said it supported the programme because its goals align with the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, a non-profit organisation committed to providing welfare programmes to indigent people.

The donation comes on the heels of the worsening economic situation in the country, especially with the soaring food inflation at 23.12 per cent as of August 2022, which has alleviated hunger in many households.

Addressing the beneficiaries at the venue of food distribution, Mr Hillary Oguebo, Unity Bank’s Head, Corporate Resources, said the bank, as an agric-focused financial institution, was fulfilling its core mandate in line with Bank’s drive for food security, adding that the Bank is pleased to donate the food items to the community to help ameliorate the impact of the rising cost of food on them.

“Unity Bank has a financing business model that is principally anchored, amongst others, on boosting agricultural production, and it is also useful for those who have not benefitted from the bank’s Agric financing package to receive direct food intervention as it is being done today.

“Due to a lot of factors, especially growing insecurity, food production has been impacted severely, leading to historical food inflation. That has left many households struggling and battling hunger. So, this is a thoughtful gesture that we hope to sustain to reach as many Nigerians who deserve this form of intervention at this critical period,” he stated.

With a score of 28.3, the Global Hunger Index ranks Nigeria 103rd out of 116 and classifies the country’s hunger level as serious. This is a result of the country’s growing food insecurity, which has risen to more than 80 per cent from less than 20 per cent about three decades ago.

Unity Bank has led some of the most important critical interventions in the agric sector in Nigeria in the recent past and boasts significant investment in the Agric sector over the past six years and a track record of financing smallholder farmers that spur food production through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Through a CSR initiative that feeds households in underserved communities, the Bank is redefining CSR through strategic interventions that align perfectly with its business model.

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Banking

FCCPC Records Decline in Complaints from Customers of Digital Loan Sharks

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customers of digital loan sharks

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says it has recorded a significant reduction in the number of consumer complaints regarding illegal digital money lending activities.

Mr Babatunde Irukera, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, said this in a statement via the agency’s Twitter handle on Wednesday.

Mr Irukera attributed the reduction in complaints from customers of digital loan sharks to the enforcement embarked on by the FCCPC joint taskforce.

“I agree that some activities of digital money lending institutions have destroyed relationships, whether professional or personal, and that is why we are doing all we can.

“I will be the first person to agree that there is a problem out there.

“Messages are still coming, harassment is still coming, but frankly, we have been tracking this for a while,” he added.

The FCCPC boss said that the complaints were the lowest recorded in the last two years, following several enforcements embarked by the commission.

“This is the lowest it has been in two years. From March, when we started this enforcement, there has been a significant reduction.

“I will say that after our enforcement last month, we counted probably less than 25 per cent looking at the tracking of the complaints that came in.

“But 25 per cent is not it, we will keep doing what we are doing, even adding more,” Mr Irukera said.

He said that the task force would continue to set the guard rails and make the loan shark businesses difficult.

“Wherever we find their bank accounts, we lock it down, whatever applications they are using, we go to google, we take them down,’’ Mr Irukera said.

He said that in pursuant to the order of the commission, Google had taken down over 70 applications, and the FCCPC had locked out over 60 bank accounts.

The executive vice chairman said Flutterwave had also taken down a dozen applications.

Mr Irukera appealed to members of the public to send their complaints relating to illegal money lending activities to lenderstaskforce@fccpc.gov.ng.

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