1.1 Background of the study
The banking sector in recent years has become very competitive that without the use of good promotional tools, such as public relations, success in business may become uncertain and elusive, if not impossible. Since the major aim of every business is to make profit and continue to stay afloat by having its products and services patronized, consumed and appreciated by its target market, it has become important therefore that the organization must also communicate with its present and potential consumers.
The constant changes being experienced in the business environment have further made marketing of services and business operations harder, more intensive and highly competitive. The dynamic nature of today’s business, resulting from the stiff competition from competitors, necessitate the need for a good promotional tool which can boost the image and goodwill of an organization and position it properly among its publics.
In all facets of social, economic and political interactions and interrelationships, the role and uses of public relations as a promotional tool cannot be undervalued because it is associated with success especially when it comes to establishing and maintaining good image. Public relations is therefore a powerful communication tool which is available to every organization in building up, sustaining good and mutual relationship with its target publics.
Over the years, organizations have come to realize that for them to carry out their businesses effectively and efficiently, a good environment and cooperative publics must be maintained, hence they see public relations as the best tool in achieving their aims.
The importance of public relations was recognized
early at the dawn of civilization by the ‘‘Greeks who conceived the idea of the
public will’’ (Bittner,
1989:229). From this recognition, public relations has grown to become a part and parcel of every image conscious cooperative organization. For public relations creates good business environment, an understanding, cooperative external public, a dedicated
and hardworking internal public, who serve the external public by utilizing the conducive environment.
In Nigeria, public relations have come a long way. Many organizations have contributed to its practice and growth. With the indigenization decree, several key
positions in private organizations afforded Nigerians the opportunity to pioneer the crusade for public relations practice. For instance, in1949, the United African Company (UAC), established its public relations department, and thus became the pioneer in the private sector (Ajala, V.2001:6). The basic aims of the company then were to inform business and commerce about business activities, as well as to project UAC as a major Nigerian industrial, technical and commercial company involved in the stability of the economic life and progress in Nigeria.
In the post independence era, there was significant development in government public relations, with the formation of Information Departments which handles and manages information-related activities in the different government ministries and parastatals. In the private sector, the UAC example and successes achieved motivated them into establishing public relations department to carry out image laundry, building of goodwill, creating and sustaining patronage for their goods and services. For long, therefore public relations practice in Nigeria has been dynamic, and has been growing with the changing tides of the country’s environment.
PUBLIC RELATIONS AS AN EFFECTIVE PROMOTIOONAL TOOL IN MARKETING OF SERVICES (A CASE STUDY OF KEFFI COMMUNITY BANK (NIG) LTD.)