The president of Public Relations Consultants of Nigeria (PRCAN), Mr. John Ehigwese, has passed through the turbulence of life and came out stronger and better. The Graduate of Mass Communication from the Polytechnic Ibadan, he is Managing Director of one of Nigeria’s largest Public Relations firms, MediaCraft Associates.
His appointment as the president of PRCAN is a resultant of the confidence reposed in him by members whom he has served in the capacities of General Secretary and Vice President. And one of his target as the helmsman of PRCAN is to set PR practices in Nigeria at par with international standards.
What can you say about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
There is no doubt the fact that the larger society has increasingly been studying the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a business strategy in for-profit institutions, and results frequently indicate benefits to the organizations such as increased reputation, sales, and reduced reputation damage during crises. However, near to nothing is known about the impact of corporate social responsibility on organizations. Effective CSR communication is therefore built on knowledge of audience interests and expectations, optimal channels of communication, impacts of communication on public and ethical practices for communicating information. In addition, report also show that public wanted to know who is benefiting from the companies’ CSR initiative.
Is Corporate Social Responsibility Private-sector driven?
While it is believe in some quarters that corporate social responsibility is the function of both private and public sector, other are of the view that, corporate social responsibility is the function of private sector alone. Most stakeholders and analysts posit that the public sector (government) is saddled with the responsibility of making an enabling environment for business to grow, while business handlers on the other hand, are expected to give back to the society in which they do business.
What is your perception on that?
CSR is essentially a private sector function, because it has to do with businesses being more responsive to the demands of the communities in which they operate in the context of an underpinning strategy of sustainability – of Peoples, Planet (the earth) and Profits. Public institutions, in my view, do not need to practice CSR because it is supposed to be already ingrained in their DNA.
Have Public Relations firms in Nigeria done well in terms of educating their clients on the importance of CSR?
I think that a lot more can be done in terms of PR agencies getting their clients to understand the impact of CSR. But I think that the problem arises because not enough effort is made to measure such impact. Until we invest more deploying metrics that can measure ROI on CSR, clients are not likely to be encouraged to do more than they are currently doing.
What is PRCAN doing on this regards?
PRCAN is complementing the work of the NIPR by regulating the consultancy side of the PR business in Nigeria. In terms of impact, we have done a lot in training and capacity building. We are also battling quackery by drawing attention to unregistered members and encouraging them to come into the fold. We are strengthening the level and quality of interface between PR agencies and those on the client side, through our Monthly breakfast Meetings. We are exposing our members to global platforms and forums that enable them to network with professionals from around the world, and to exchange knowledge and ideas. I believe the PR man of the future is a multi-skilled individual because PR form is changing. Regulation, standards of practice and external exposure are the challenges of the Nigerian PR.