The Role Of Public Relations In Building Corporate Image

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

The Role Of Public Relations In Building Corporate Image


Abstract


The Nigerian Airways, Enugu, is a business enterprise and coporate institution in the country. It is used by the government as an effective institute to bridge the communication gap by transmitting people, goods and mails through the length and breath of the country and enhancing good corporate image. The objective of this study is to identify more efficient and effective identify way of using public relations to enhance the corporate image of the organization. The study also sets out to know how the various Nigerian airways publics perceive the organization and its various publics. The primary data were extracted from the questionnaires distributed and returned for the purpose of this research work as it concern Nigerina Airways. The research work will contribute to the knowledge of generality of Nigerians in their guest for enhancement of corporate image in government parastatals. It also identifies the need for the public relations man to evaluate the public attitude and conception of the organisation with the aim of attaining and eliciting favourable actions where necessary.


Chapter One


Introduction

In any organization, the need to maintain the image of the organization is of great importance hence this study surveys the role of public relations in building corporate image. It set out to find out whether Nigerian Airways Enugu, has in any way established rapport and good will in the course of its dealings with the various publics. It will also identify whether the customers are satisfied with the services of the organization. This study will also x-ray how far the public relations roles has helped or will help to co-ordinate the organization and its various publics. If the publics perception of the Nigerian Airways image when determined is bad, then the researcher would be in a position to advise and make necessary recommendations that will enhance its image. More so the study will contribute to the knowledge of generality of Nigerians in their guest for enhancement of corporate image in government parastatals.

Nigerian Airways is a public corporation and business enterprise and as such is required to succeed. As a public institute devoted to the servicing of the public interest it must have the interest of its publics as a major consideration in the bid to achieve public co-operation and acceptance. As a business institution, the Nigerian Airways must use business principles to operate in such a way that it becomes economically independence against crumbling.

Against this background, Nigerian Airways instituted the public relations department to help foster the activities of the organization in order to achieve its aims and objectives. This is so because no business oriented organization can make any meaningful achievement without the help and use of a public relations practitioner. It is easily identifiable that the basic philosophy underlying public relations practice is of prime importance in all spheres of activities. The public relations man engages himself in doing good and trying to get credit for the good he has done. This involves wining friend keeping them and influencing them as well as others. It also involves looking good by building and sustaining good image or good will through good deeds that will win favourable considerations for Nigerian Airways Enugu among members of the public.

Public relations, by definition according to Frank Jefeckins states that public relations is the process of assessing consumer wants, establishing communication, fostering goodwill so that the consumer wants or needs can be profitably satisfied”.

Another definition according to the editors of public relations news states that public relations is a “a philosophy and function of management, which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the polices of an individual or organization with public interest and execute a programme of actions to earn public understanding and acceptance”

From these definitions, it is obvious that the public relations man blends the public interest with that of the organization for optimal achievement. It also identifies the need for the public relations man to evaluate the public attitude and conception of the organization with the aim of attaining and eliciting favourable actions where necessary.

As a matter of fact, Nigerian Airways Enugu cannot exist in a vacuum. It cannot grow it is neglects the existence of its publics. It must function as an institution ready to communicate effectively with its publics. This include expressing her policies and practices through communication for general awareness.

However, this communication function can best be achieved if public relations manager is given its appropriate place in the management of Nigerian Airways, Enugu. Sincerely speaking, the Nigerian Airways is fast recognizing the enormous function which public relations would perform if allowed into the strategic decision making level of the organization. In this contemporary society. The public scrutiny and accountability is on the increase. It is imperative therefore that good public relation should enhance goodwill and customers satisfaction in the organization.

The image of the Nigerian Airways Enugu depends on her behaviour and financial performance, her marketing polices and the quality of her products or services, the management style, approach and resultant satisfaction. The protection and maintenance of the image of Nigerian Airways Enugu is the fundamental responsibility of public relation. As the conscience of the organization and its publics, it monitors the diffusion of the programmes of the organization to know when it impinges on public opinion and welfare.

George Flangan stated that “if an individual’s contact and experience with a corporation is extensive, his proposed image of the corporation is likely to be strong, positive and relatively stable. If on the other hand, the individual’s familiarity with the corporation is slight as in most of the cases, the image will probably be weak, (negative) and unstable”. The meaning of the statement is that if the level or degree of customer’s satisfaction in any organization is high the customer tends to maintain more cordial relationship and vice-verse. It is the image of the organization that attracts popularity among the potential customers. In this sense, the only image that can last long is the one that its stand is valid, true and authentic.

No organization can satisfy its numerous public without being perceived first by the publics as trusted and dependable. The dependability of the organization depends on the degree of the comfort given to the publics and her goodwill. In relation to this, Walter Lipman asserts, “No administrative scheme is workable without good will and goodwill about strange practices is impossible without education”. In other words, any new development in Nigerian Airways Enugu that is not communicated to the public in clear terms and with clear evidences so as to elicit favourable actions to attain mutual understanding will be an effort in futility.

It is therefore important that Nigerian Airways Enugu should acquaint itself with the publics for cordiality through continuous and systematic public relations practice. It is essential that all public relations activities of the Nigerian Airways within the frame work agree and understand the corporate personality.

The modern business organization recognizing the changes in the environment, has adjusted. It has more comprehensive and positive programmes by responding to community expectations and pressures. This is the springboard of the concept of goodwill and acceptance.

However, the activities of Nigerian Airways and prospects can better be understand when examined from the point of view of its origin. To this end, below is the mark off point of Nigerian Airways.


1.1 The History of Nigerian Airways

The history of the organization would be traced to 1945 when it was incorporated as West African Airways corporation (W.A.A.C) to undertake operation which the Royal Air force left behind at the end of world war. It was then jointly owned by the former British colonies namely, Nigerian, Ghana, Gambia and Sierra Leone. The West African Airways corporation (WAAC) was then managed by the West African Transport Authority (WAATA).

On attainment of independence in 1957, Ghana pulled out to set up its own airline, the Ghana Airways, leaving Nigerian British overseas Airways corporation (BOAC) and Elder Dempster lines as the owner of what remained WAAC.

The federal government took total control of the business on August 23, 1958 by buying out the shares of its partners, the B.O.A.C and Elder Dempster lines. In this sense, the airline became 100 percent Nigerian owned and the name was change to Nigerian Airways limited in the same vein after some years, Nigerian Airways Enugu was established


1.2 The Objective of Nigerian Airways

The objective of the airline as a national earner is to operate a scheduled and chartered air transportation services for the carriage passengers, cargo, mails and any other related business in most reliable, efficient and profitable manner.

Apart from its commercial objectives the organization also have social defense security and political responsibilities to the government and people of Nigeria as the nation’s national carrier.

For example, the airline could give back-up services to the military authorities as a transportation auxiliary in a period of national emergency such as wars.

In other words, the airline as a rule is different from other commercial airline since it must perform government function without profit when directed to do so by the authorities. For the above reasons Nigerian Airways is duty-bound to separate in the country whether it is commercially viable or not.

In a situation where communication is poor, Nigerian Airways is used by government as an effective institute to bridge the communication gap by transmitting people, goods and mails through the length and breath of the country. This is a great social and economic responsibility to the nation. Based on these reasons, the federal government offers its protection to the airline through diplomatic channel in international traffic negotiations guarantees the airline to secure local and foreign loans to purchases aircraft and equipment.

Due to the numerous aims and objectives of the Nigerian Airways and her zeal towards making them a reality the organization is departmentalized to ease activities and foster developments in a way of satisfying its customers and at the same time enhancing good corporate image.


1.3 Statement of Research Problems

There has been a good number of complaints from the Nigerian Airways Enugu public relations operations of the organization. There is no efficient, effective and systematic public relations in the establishment. As a result of this, the Nigerian Airways does not communicate to its publics as at when due.

The Nigerian Airways Enugu seems to be undergoing image problems. The problems of financial constraints deferring regulatory policies by the government. Negative attitude of employees to work, management problems, flight delays and conciliations, inefficient services and general rising of costs of goods and services seems to point to the fact that public relations has failed in its role of establishing a good corporate image of Nigerian Airways Enugu.

There has been absence of incentives to customers, which now brings about low persuasive sales strategy.

The acceptance of forged tickets, defaced ticket and checking adult passengers with infants or children tickets affects the customers.

The refund of unused tickets takes a very long time hence the customers involved usually get displeased because of the undue time spent before they are finally refunded.

Another problem is that the management of the parastatal makes it impossible for airline public relations manager to do his job satisfactorily. The resultant effect here is that most of the time the public relations manager is compelled to take actions and execute programmes that are not of interest to the various publics.


1.4 Objective of the Study

The objective of this study is to identify more efficient and effective identify way of using public relations to enhance the corporate image and good will in Nigerian Airways, Enugu.

The study also sets out to know how the various Nigerian airways Enugu publics perceive the organization.

The study will analyse the public relations strategies and management polices of the organization in question.

It is much better to identify and know the various aims and objective of Nigerian Airways to see how far the organization has achieved them.

The direct incentives due to the customers, are they really persuasive sales strategy or not.

To analyse critically the customers remarks and responses that shall be made when questionnaires are collected to see whether Nigerian Airways will succeed as a business enterprise and coporate institutions


1.5 Significance of the Study

In every organization, be it social or business enterprises, there is need for unity, harmony and peace to prevail between the organization and its publics. Any organization that fails to recognize the existence of its publics will definitely fail. More so if any organization fails to take cognizance of public relations department of the organization, such organization will not accomplish its aims and objectives.

To this end , the Nigerian Airways should always give the public relations manager his proper place in the organization and should also help him function fully by giving him the necessary tools and equipment needed for his operations.

To ascertain customer perception of the image of Nigerian Airway Enugu, if the perception of the organizational image when determined is bad, then one would be in a better position to advice and make necessary recommendation in order to build or enhance the image .

To know how far public relations roles will help to co-ordinate the organization and its various publics

To know some of the communication barriers faced by public relations department in the organization.

Finally to contribute to the knowledge of mass communicators and indeed to the knowledge of Nigerian in their guest for effect of image building in government parastatals.


1.6 Research Questions

  1. Does the image of Nigerian Airways Enugu satisfy its publics so as to help attract and sustain potential customers?
  2. Is Nigerian Airways Enugu facing image problem in the execution of its duties?
  3. Does the political interference hamper or hinder the public relations department in Nigerian Airways from effective performance of its duties?

1.7 Research Hypotheses / Null Hypotheses

The researcher will test the following:

  1. H1 The public relations role go along way in building corporate image of Nigerian Airways.
    Ho. The pubic relations role does not go a long way in building corporate image of Nigerian Airways
  2. H2. The Nigerian Airways face image problem in execution of her duties
    Ho. The Nigerian Airways does not face image problem in the execution of her duties.
  3. H3. The more political interference, the more effective the performance of public relations department.
    Ho. The more political interference, the less effective the performance of public relations department.

1.8 Conceptual and Operational Definition

Definition of terms conceptual

1. Public

A particular section of the community

2. Public Relations

The procedure of programmes of activities of ensuring a link between an organization and its publics.

3. Building

This is the construction of houses that gives shelter to people.

4. Image

This is a mental picture, idea of concept of somebody or something. It could also be seen as a sensual thing perceived as an entity or a coherent which does not necessarily have something to do with reality of a situation.

5. Airline

This is an air transport business that runs a regular services.

6. Organization

This is a group with special purpose of coming together as one to operate a business ventures. It could be government or private owned.


1.9 Definition of Terms Operational

1. Pubic

The number of people who receive the services of Nigerian Airways Enugu.

2. Public Relations

Mutual understanding between Nigerian Airways Enugu and its public, carried out by the public relations department

3. Building

This is the creation of establishment of good will and acceptance between the Nigerian Airways Enugu and its publics.

4. Image

The mental pictures that the publics of Nigerian Airways have on the effect of efficiency of services varied by the number.

5. Airline

This means the case under study, which is the Nigerian Airways, Enugu.

6. Organization

Government owned paratatal known as the Nigerian Airways.


1.10 Assumptions

It is assumed that after this study, the public relations officer would be in a better position to know the best strategy to promote the corporate image of his organization. He would be in a position to make nice goodwill for the organization as to increase its profits.

However, the management of the organization would be in a positions to equip the public relations officer, so that he can discharge his duties efficiently


1.11 Limitations of the Study

This study is limited by the logistics, time and fund problems. This is because the subject matter of this study is one which should have made the study a national one. The topic is one which attracts public attention and interest on a national one. The topic is one, which attracts public attention and interest on a national scale. Unfortunately. It would not be handled on the required scale.

As a result of this, the researcher limited the research work at Nigerian Airways Enugu because of the limited time available. This sampling is done in Nigerian Airways Enugu.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

The study dealt with the role of public relations in building corporate image. It portrayed the necessity of a public relations practitioner in any organization because he is the man on whose shoulder the building of organizational image lies. The public relations manager is expected to initiate and implement those actions or activities that guild a better result in the course of dealing with the various public of the organization. In other words the interest of its publics should be of uppermost importance to the organization.

Since attitude development is a function of experience, every experience a customer, being an external public has in his interaction with a company contributes his interaction with a company contributes to the attitude he forms about that company.

The literature review reveals what it means to have the interest of the public at heart. If the publics of an organization, there is every tendency that they will develop an unfavourable attitude towards it which may lead to tarnishing of the image of that organization.


5.2 Recommendations

Due to the enormous hob excepted to be carried out by the public relations unit of Nigerian Airways Enugu at least to build and ensure good corporate image the following recommendations are made by the researcher.

  1. The public relations manager should monitor the behavour and attitudes of the publics to help him correct any wrong impression that many adversely affect the image of the organization.
  2. The should put the interest of the publics at heart and direct more incentives to them. This could be in form of granting discount in the cost of flight tickets for passengers (customers), providing good welfare scheme for employees and also giving chances of employment for indigenes of the community in which the organization is situated.
  3. The public relations unit of the organization should carry out research from time to time towards ascertaining what the needs, feelings and aspirations of the publics are at all times .
  4. The organization should maintain a good time schedule of flight take off and must make immediate dissemination of information when changes are made.
  5. Nigerian Airways Enugu should embark on sponsoring programmes that will help create awareness of the services of the organization.
  6. The public relations practitioner must make sure that the polices of his department and that of the corporate management does not contradict with the interest of its public.

5.3 Conclusion

The study have a picture of the centrality of public relations manager in Nigerian Airways Enugu. Bases on this, the public relations manager in this organization is urged to keep up the job he is performing in building the corporate image of the organization. This is important because the more satisfied the publics are, the more the chances of achieving good image for the organization .

The public relations manger should ensure that passengers keep to the time schedule of flight take off.

Naturally, human beings are likely to appreciate friendly environment than unfriendly one, this suggest that if Nigerian Airways do not provide favourable atmosphere for its publics, there is the tendency of having problem with the publics. Therefore the public relations practitioner should take cognizance of the feelings of the publics on any issue and should not take decision in isolation of the publics. He must identify the social goals of these publics and make sure that they receive every necessary incentive as and when due. When this is done, the organization, Nigerian Airways stands the chance of realizing its aims and objectives.


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