Home Interview PR needs continuous training, retraining, says LSPR boss

PR needs continuous training, retraining, says LSPR boss

by Goddie Ofose
0 comment

In recent time, public relations and communication practitioners have echoed on the need for those interested in the profession to engage in training, retraining and untraining. In the chat with Charles Edosomwan, Founder, London School of Public Relations (LSPR Nigeria), the UK trained PR consultant says that LSPR Nigeria was established to ensure the industry dies not lack skilled and competent offices. Excerpts….

What is LSPR about?

I went to London School of Public Relations (LSPR) about 8 years ago, when I was about to start Teksight Edge, a PR agency. By the time I came back, I realised that industry didn’t have an adequate training curriculum. One of the shockers was that most Nigerian organisations did not even give out PR briefs, but advertising, media and/or digital marketing. PR briefs were hard to come by in the Nigerian integrated marketing communications industry.

Therefore, we started speaking to organisations about the importance of PR in business growth, and encouraged people to take courses in PR and that was what led to our partnership with LSPR. We had hope to bring quality training to Nigeria.  Nonetheless, we do not just bring quality training to Nigeria or bring people to come and train Nigerians alone, we also tried as much as possible to develop local faculties in PR, so that Nigerians would be the one taking these trainings.

Are you a PR practitioner?

I am practicing public relations. My company Teksight Edge is a PR agency. We are PR agency with a slight difference, the difference is we use data to develop our PR strategies. The company is Teksight Edge, it means we use technology and data to give brand an edge or advantage. Our strategy has always been based on data and information, because we realised that the world is just waking up to the value of data. 8 years ago, we saw that the world is heading to a data driven economy. And now, we are in digital economy and we know the currency of digital economy is data and that is why it is becoming more relevant now to get people trained in PR and other skills like data analytical, personal branding and others.

How would PR play a role in the forthcoming election?

Firstly, public relations is a critical element in communication. Therefore, you must have trained communicators or PR people. That is why we need to train a lot of our practitioners. I had conversation with someone about PR issues in Nigeria. I spoke about how people tried to solve PR issues with press releases. But looking at the training yesterday, we have crisis management. There was an example of a hotel that had a bad review and the strategy used for addressing that was a core PR. There was no press releases or billboard or radio interview done to solve that problem for the hotel but the problem was solved. We understand that PR is based on certain strategies and rules and not just press releases at every point in time or engagement of influencers. There are well thought-out strategies around PR. Some of the political candidates and parties need to be enlightened on the importance of PR because most of them believe that PR starts and ends with press releases, print, radio, television interviews and advertisements. One of the first thing to know about crisis management is that you need to tell it early, tell it all or tell it yourself, but in most cases, people find it difficult to tell early, tell it all or tell it themselves. So, that is when you realise that there is disconnect in how it is supposed to be practiced and how it been practiced.  The only way to change anything is to have good knowledge about it, good information about it and that is the bedrock of training. We see a wider gap in Nigeria in respect to training because we also have a dysfunctional educational system. You realise that people come out of school in Nigeria, without cognate experience on the field and what they need is training, resources, and development, because training is a continuous process.

When does your training commences?

This training has just started and it is the first in the series in Nigeria, but the school has been existing for about 30 years.

What is your strategy to reach out to practitioners and agencies and even tertiary institutions?

Our first strategy is stakeholders’ engagement. It is a strong PR tool or PR direction. Stakeholder engagement is something we don’t use these days, but it is very important, it is what we are doing now with your team. You cannot talk about PR without media. That is why we first engaged the media, the majority of people you see here today are either from the media or practitioners or client, but amazing percent of people here today are from the media. This is part of our strategy to make the partnership a lot stronger than to reach out to random people on the street.

How difficult it is to tell the truth in PR?

There is something called the truth and there is something called design narrative. Yes, you must know the truth.  For example, a man shot another person, you can call it murder, but you can realign the narrative, it can either be murder of self-defense, and whatever you go with will determine the outcome of that process. Once you look at data, you will always find a suitable narrative to help you come up with set of narratives. Unless your company has not been collecting the right set of data over time, but data don’t lie. We need to have a good PR professional to help you navigate and know the data you need to put out there and that is one of the differences. The practitioner is important, the media is important and the stakeholders are important, and if they don’t know how to go about it, you will not get good value even if you have the best PR agency.

Have you engaged Nigerian Institute of Public Relations?

We have to and that was actually the first move we made. We contacted the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations. We also contacted Nigeria Institute of Journalism.  We have reached out to every stakeholder that is concern. We also realise that NIPR has their own training, and there is a reason to bring trainers from NIPR and Nigeria Institute of Journalism. Irrespective of you having Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Society of Engineers you will still have engineering university that will collaborate with and for us, that is the narrative, the collaboration, the partnership and engaging stakeholders, it is really important.

We will engage everyone. The most important thing is to look for partners that would help you grow and once you start growing, you start becoming relevant and you will be able to reach out to more persons. We did free training recently, and we had about 89 people. I think that is the largest PR gathering for training in recent times,  PR professionals and people who care about PR to see new perspectives to things. To most people, managing PR crisis is lying or hiding, but the right PR strategist will let you know that coming out with the truth and having the right data to lead or knowing how to do the best kind of bridge you have is the best strategy for you .

You may also like

Leave a Comment