Your brand is in the news. Everyone is talking about it, but for the wrong reasons. Everything you have worked so hard to build is on the line. The tension is building up. You did not see this coming. You are running helter-skelter trying to get Public Relations (PR) gurus to save the day. What happened to making hay while the sun shines? People hardly see the need for PR until crises arise. Unbeknownst to them, every brand needs PR even when the going is good. It helps put your brand in good light, and creates a resistance to unfavorable conditions like crisis beforehand. In this expository article brought to you by Ejiji PR, we shall discuss how to identify and engage the best PR agencies in Lagos Nigeria to protect your interest in good and bad times.
What to expect:
Organizations do not operate in a vacuum. Whether your business is service or product oriented, you cater to an audience. The need for delivery becomes eminent. How can you reach your audience to effectively deliver your offerings? The first thing that comes to mind may be advertising.
Advertising needs no introduction. Everyone, including kids, can identify adverts because they are constantly on our faces – on TV, Radio, Newspapers and Magazines.
Although advertising is an effective marketing technique, it does not necessarily guarantee sales. Its intrusive nature renders it less effective. As you enjoy your favorite show on TV or radio, the annoying advert springs up its ugly head. The urge to tune to another station is irresistible sometimes.
Public relations or PR as it is fondly called takes a more subtle approach. It recognizes that, for your product or service to be well-received, you need to first cultivate a relationship with the consumer. This relationship creates a favourable atmosphere for your offering.
According to the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA):“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Click To Tweet
Two elements stand out in this definition: strategic communication and mutually beneficial relationships.
PR does not only promote your brand – it communicates the ideas and values behind your brand to the public in a creative way without invading their personal space.
How exactly does the message get passed across without intruding?
PR professionals are great storytellers. They create bestsellers out of the most uninteresting events. Click To Tweet They communicate these stories to the public through earned media including social media, traditional media and other avenues that may be beneficial to their targets.
PR highlights the strengths of brands, and projects such strengths to the larger society in subtle yet effective ways.
For example, your company has just been recognized by relevant authorities for making positive contributions. A good PR personnel sees this as an opportunity to sell their client to the public. He/she comes up with strategic ways to spread the word about this great achievement.
Going on the media to do an advert may spread the word, but may not deliver long-lasting outcomes. Such an advert might be seen as yet another intrusive message. Instead, he/she writes a feature story around the event, projecting reasons why the client got the recognition, and their motivation to do even more for the greater good of the society.
Liaising with members of the press, the PR practitioner gets the story featured on relevant media. Such a story does not only give publicity to the client, but also projects them in a good light. By doing so, the public develops a soft spot for the organization, and becomes receptive to the product or service it offers.
Public Relations is not exclusive to organizations. Private individuals who have vested interest in the public can also be beneficiaries of PR. These include celebrities, public figures, government officials and influential members of the society.
Many organizations do not see the need for PR until crises occur. When the chips are down, they begin to run around, desperately seeking solutions to save the day. While effective crisis management is a key function of PR, there are more benefits it brings forth to organizations.
Five reasons why PR is important to an organization
1. Attract the right investors
A lot of new and existing businesses face the challenge of limited resources in pursuing their goals. Funds are hardly enough to execute projects and chart new courses. Having investors who are willing to take a chance is the dream of entrepreneurs who want to do big things. However, these investors seem out of reach.
Contrary to popular belief, investors are not scarce. They are always on the lookout for profitable organizations they can put their money in. The question is: Is your business well-positioned to get their attention?Doing the right things in business does not always generate success – ensuring that the right things you do are seen by those who matter, does. Click To Tweet
Are prospective investors seeing your work?
With PR, your business can be strategically positioned before investors who have vested interest in your industry. With a thoughtfully crafted PR strategy, they will get to see the potentials in your business, and spot areas where they can come in.
Rather than spend scarce resources chasing investors, you should focus on doing strategic PR to have them come after you. Having investors approach you gives you a high bargaining power. You get to make negotiations that are truly beneficial to your business.
2. Generate targeted leads
Every business needs new customers. No matter how high your customer base is, to be in business for the long haul, you need new entrants into the family.
It is not smart to stay put, and wait on customers to come look for you. In a highly competitive business environment like yours, there are a thousand and one businesses doing what you do. You need to leverage every edge you can get to reach prospects before them.
PR communicates your business to prospects by giving you the right media exposure. As people who are in the media business, PR experts understand the various media, and know those that are tailor-made for your business. They know the media and content your prospects are selectively exposed to. By projecting the benefits prospects stand to benefit from patronizing you, they seamlessly sell your brand.
3. Save cost
If you think PR is costly, try advertising. Many organizations shy away from hiring PR agencies to handle their PR needs because they do not want to incur more expenditure. Unbeknownst to them, they spend much more on advertising.
PR seeks to project organizations through earned media. In cases where the media used are paid for, it is not so high compared to other forms of promotion.
In today’s digital society, PR is integrated to achieve best results using earned, owned and paid media at the lowest obtainable cost.
4. Protect your reputation
A good name is better than silver and gold. Your brand might be making a ‘kill’ in business. If the impression the public has of it is even vaguely bad, it is only a matter of time before it goes down the drain.
The success of a brand is closely tied to its perception in the minds of people. Trust and integrity are virtues that require more than a high net worth to achieve. People pay attention to your track record in your dealings with others. They want to see how you relate with your immediate environment and the world at large. If your brand comes across as unreliable, arrogant or careless, you will have a hard time winning people’s trust.PR professionals are image managers. They make their clients look their best, and protect their reputation. A good PR agency foresees the future, and develops a proactive strategy to manage activities related to their clients’… Click To Tweet
The reputation of brands is sometimes threatened by crises. No one prays to be entangled in crises, but a PR expert understands that crises are inevitable to a large extent. While some of these crises are accidental, others are orchestrated by people who see you as a threat, and want to taint your reputation. Being unprepared or leaving things to chance is not very thoughtful. By engaging the services of PR practitioners, you can go to sleep, knowing that your reputation is in good hands.
5. Project your brand identity
If you do not know who you are, and make it known to people, they will define you in their own terms. Brand identity is a serious challenge in today’s business world. Businesses are fixated on increasing profit through rigorous marketing techniques, forgetting to solidify the foundation they are built on. If you do not have a grasp of your brand persona, you might be selling to the wrong people due to a misalignment.
What you find in business today, are businesses with the same vague identity doing the same thing. There is hardly a means to differentiate one business from the next. The average customer is not motivated to seek out new businesses because there is no uniqueness. They simply deep their hands into the basket, and pick whatever they touch first. Your business may not always be first on the line to get the first touch. If there is something fascinating about you, prospects would walk past those at the front, searching for you all the way to the back.
Public relations personnel do not define brands. Instead, they help brands to articulate and project their own identity. Branding is not all about having an apt name and slogan. It is a brand’s nature. It is in your thought process, language, appearance and associations. Click To Tweet Your audiences should have an idea of who you are beyond the product or service you offer. PR gives your brand a personality – one that the public can relate with without trying too hard.
There are arguments in some quarters that PR is dead. People who subscribe to this school of thought dwell on the misconception that PR thrives on the traditional media. And with the traditional media being overshadowed by the new media (the internet), they say PR is of no relevance. People who subscribe to this school of thought fail to realize that PR is the content, not the medium. The medium might change, but the content remains the same, and can be improved on.
Media selection is important to ensure that public relations campaigns are communicated to targeted audiences. While traditional media such as Television, Radio, Newspapers and Magazine are still relevant for certain campaigns, the new media presents a new frontier in PR. Marshal McLuhan’s 1960s prediction that the world would become a global village is now a reality. The internet has defiled geographical restrictions, creating a virtual village that is just a click away. In this village, are different communities that align based on common interest. A good PR agency understands that the world has gone digital, and to be effective, they adapt to the digital environment.
PR strategies can be created to suit the new media. This is where digital PR comes in. It is an integrated communication consisting of different facets of digital marketing such as Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing (SMM), Pay Per Click (PPC), and Inbound Marketing among others.
To get the most of your PR endeavors, you need to ensure that you engage a PR agency that is well-grounded in digital communication strategies. Having great content without an effective digital strategy is inadequate.Digital savvy PR personnel do not only present your brand to an existing digital audience, they also make your brand accessible by those who have no idea of your existence. Click To Tweet
Traditional and Digital PR: Which is better?
There is no competition between traditional and digital PR. As a matter of fact, they are inclusive. Both of them can be incorporated to get great results for a brand. A good PR agency understands when to use either or both in their campaigns. Sometimes, a placement on TV is the right fit. Other times, a placement on a blog is the right fit. It is about identifying the media or medium that will give your clients the best outcomes at that point in time.
Working with people who have both the professional qualifications and job experience is important to get good results. With the advent of the internet, anyone who has a Personal Computer (PC) and an internet connection claims to be a PR expert, especially in this part of the world. They think PR is all about setting up social media accounts and running social media campaigns.
No doubt, social media is a great tool for PR, but it is just one of the vehicles for achieving PR goals. A lot of work goes into the creative process of conceiving and planning strategies that will convert. And this is not acquired by simply being social media savvy.
PR is taught as a course in tertiary institutions. This goes to show that there is a lot to learn for one to qualify as a competent PR practitioner. We have outlined qualities to help you streamline your search for a good PR agency.
Five qualities of a good PR agency
1. Good track record
Everyone could claim to be an expert in PR, but not everyone has the track record to backup their claims. PR may be affordable, but it does not come cheap. If you are going to be spending your hard earned money, you need to know that you are in good hands.
A good track record comes with having the necessary skills. Surfing the internet for PR strategies does not cut it. If it did, everyone who needs PR would surf the internet, and get it done by themselves without hiring skilled PR personnel.
Do not be carried away by big names. It is very possible to have worked with the biggest brands without being well-grounded especially in a society like ours where having the right connections can get you anywhere.
2. Industry specialization
Often times, the services of PR agencies cut across different industries. Having an understanding of how to reach the audience and penetrate the market is the main focus. However, you do not want to hire an agency that is clueless about your industry.
PR companies work seamlessly on projects they are familiar with. They do not have to rack their brains excessively to figure out how to execute campaigns. They know the right people to talk to. Riding on the coattails of the network they have built in that industry over the years, they are able to promote and protect the interest of your brand in the best way possible.
3. Results driven
PR requires a lot of creative thinking, planning and decision making. If after taking so much time to do these, you do not have substantial results to show for it, what is the point?
Working non-stop does not equate effectiveness. A good PR agency has metrics in place to measure performance. They are able to tell their clients what is working and what is not working.
However, it is important to note that PR practitioners are not magicians. Do not expect them to turn things around overnight. Given that PR is a subtle promotional activity, it takes time for audiences to warm up. Be patient, but do not wait forever. In a few weeks, the agency should be able to show you what they are doing and its impact on your brand.
PR campaigns are most effective when the agency works closely with the client to achieve their goal. As experts, PR agents are there to make the “dreams” of their clients come true. How can they achieve this if they are not willing to be transparent in their dealings with clients?
Understandably, they may not want to lay all the cards on the table in order to protect their own interest. However, clients need to be updated about their projects.
From the onset, ask to know what you will be getting from them and the impact they will be making on your brand. They may not want to give you details of how they will go about it due to fear of their ideas being taken elsewhere, but you should ensure that they deliver on their promises.
5. Willingness to serve
PR agencies work with different categories of clients – the big brands and the not-so-big ones. Having worked with some big shots over time, some agencies begin to have delusions of grandeur. They feel they are out of the league of the not-so-big brands, hence, they do not give a hundred percent of their time to such brands.
This is unacceptable.
A good PR agency does not focus on the size of the brand, but the great work they can achieve with them. They are driven by the zeal to make every brand better, regardless of their size. As a matter of fact, working with a not-so-big brand is an opportunity to showcase their expertise as they get to contribute to the success of the brand with their services.
If you get the vibe that you are not taken seriously in your first interaction with the agency, take that as your cue to look elsewhere.
Every client is important. If you are going to pay for a service, you should be treated with uttermost respect, and made to feel valuable. Sticking with an agency that does not value you just because of their clientele will not do you much good. You are better off with an agency that may not be big but values you, and has the skills to give you desired results.
The commercial hub of Nigeria and Africa at large, Lagos is home to many PR agencies. A search on Google and other search engines for the best PR agencies in Lagos Nigeria will give you countless results. Picking one might be a challenge. To make the process easier for you, we have compiled this list.
In no particular order, these are the top 10 PR agencies in Lagos.
Sesema offers PR and Digital Marketing services to brands that are looking to launch their products or services in Nigeria. It caters to organizations in various sectors including finance, technology, healthcare and telecoms.
2. Alder Consulting
Alder Consulting is the brainchild of Mr Leke Alder. It is one of the foremost PR agencies in Lagos offering services built on idea development and idea marketing. The company pays close attention to how customers relate with organizations.
3. Ejiji PR
Ejiji PR is a full-service PR agency that leverages digital technology in offering organizations a bespoke experience. It creates a fine blend with conventional and non-conventional PR tools to give brands a competitive edge. Services offered by the agency include corporate communications, reputation management, product launch, content creation and digital marketing among others.
4. Quadrant MSL
Quadrant MSL offers a strategic PR approach by using a holistic perspective to understand organizations. Leveraging its team of experts, the company offers bespoke communication packages to make impact.
Wildflower combines innovative solutions and results-oriented strategies in taking clients to their desired goals. Their core values include innovation, attention and quality. Areas covered by the agency include development communication, new media PR and corporate communications.
6. Absolute PR
Absolute PR caters to a large clientele in areas of branding, communications, media relations and health. It combines both traditional and non-traditional strategies in helping organizations achieve their goals.
7. Brooks and Blake
Brooke + Blake takes pride in creating custom communication strategies for organizations to actualize their goals. Their core values include partnership, integrity, innovation, focus and continuous improvement.
8. Media Panache
Media Panache is a tech-driven PR agency that offers clients a complete PR experience. Staying true to the meaning of their name Panache which means stylish, confident and original, they offer clients a unique experience.
9. Media Accent
Media Accent offers bespoke solutions in corporate communications, engaging stakeholders on various platforms. Its team works with clients to deliver actionable plans to achieve set goals.
10. Zebra Stripes Networks
Zebra Stripes Networks has built a reputation for offering integrated marketing services over the years. It delivers strategic cooperate communications and digital marketing campaigns to esteemed clients.
Some organizations miss the mark when they try to execute PR activities by themselves. If PR were that easy, companies dominating their industries would not set aside budgets for it. Just as you are an expert in your field, PR is the expertise of others. Let them do what they know how to do best for you.
As part of our commitment to ensure that you leverage PR in promoting your brand, we have created a free e-Book for you titled “Checklist for Building a Strong Brand.” You can download it HERE.
If you are looking to hire one of the best PR agencies in Lagos Nigeria, Ejiji PR is at your service. Please fill the contact form below, and we shall take it up from there.