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My wish for the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations – NIPR @ 60

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PR perfect pitch
PR perfect pitch by Eniola Mayowa

As the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) marks its 60th anniversary, the institute stands at a significant historical crossroads as a professional body. Sixty years of existence is a testimony to the institute’s resilience, relevance, and importance in shaping public relations (PR) practices in Nigeria.

As intended when it was established, NIPR has contributed immensely to the development of the PR profession, setting standards, educating practitioners, and promoting ethical practices. As we commemorate this milestone, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the journey so far and articulate my WISHES for the future of the NIPR.

One of the core missions of the NIPR has been to promote ethical practices within the PR profession. As the institute marks 60, my wish is for it to double down on this mission.

In an age where reputation is becoming increasingly important, and with the potential risk of staking other’s reputations through misinformation and fake news proliferation, the role of PR professionals in maintaining the integrity and trustworthiness of information cannot be overstated.

The NIPR should intensify its efforts to enforce ethical standards among its members. This includes stringent monitoring, regular ethics training, and swift disciplinary actions against breaches.

When ethical practices are strengthened, the NIPR would have helped to restore and maintain public trust in the media and communications industries.

The world is growing at the speed of light, with technological advancements reshaping the way we communicate. The NIPR must stay ahead of these changes by embracing new technologies and integrating them into PR practices.

My wish is for the institute to become a hub for innovation in public relations, exploring the use of artificial intelligence, big data analytics, social media, and digital marketing to enhance communication strategies.

With intentional capacity building and integrated technologies,  the NIPR can equip its members with the skills needed to thrive in the digital age and become more competitive globally.

One critical issue that has plagued the public relations (PR) profession in Nigeria is quackery. Unqualified individuals posing as PR practitioners have not only undermined the profession’s credibility but also jeopardized the quality of PR practice in the country.

I must commend the effort of the institute over time, particularly, the re-certification exercise to sanitize the practice.  As the NIPR celebrates this significant milestone, my wish is for the institute to raise the stakes and take more decisive action in addressing quackery, thereby enhancing the professionalism, integrity, and reputation of public relations practice in the country.

Continuous professional development is crucial for staying relevant in any field. The periodic training programme for new members and aspiring practitioners is commendable.

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My wish is for the institute to offer more comprehensive training programs, workshops, and seminars that cover both fundamental and advanced PR concepts with priority for resource fits.

Additionally, fostering partnerships with international PR bodies and institutions can provide members with global perspectives and best practices. Scholarships and grants for further studies can also motivate practitioners to pursue higher education and specialization in PR.

The NIPR has made significant strides in building a robust membership base over the years. The recent induction of over 600 new members largely from allied professions is noteworthy. However, there is always room for growth and improvement.

My wish is for the institute to expand its membership to include more diverse voices from different sectors and across industries.  Inclusiveness should be a core focus, ensuring that PR professionals from all backgrounds feel represented and valued.

This includes proactive efforts to engage young practitioners, women, and practitioners from marginalized practice communities. A diverse and inclusive NIPR will not only reflect the rich cultural fabric of the country but also bring a variety of perspectives that can enrich PR practices.

Public relations is fundamentally about building and maintaining relationships. No doubt, activities of the recent past have strengthened NIPR advocacy and public engagement efforts.

My wish is for the institute to take a more active role in advocating for policies and regulations that support the PR profession and enhance the profession’s profile in the business community.

This includes engaging with government agencies, regulatory bodies, the business community, and other stakeholders to shape policies that promote transparency, fairness, and due recognition.

Moreover, the NIPR should engage with the public more actively, educating them about the role and importance of PR in society. Public awareness campaigns can demystify the profession and highlight the positive impact of effective communication.

A robust institutional framework cannot be overemphasized to achieve goals and aspirations for an institute like NIPR with a long-term leadership structure. My wish is for the institute to strengthen its organizational structure, ensuring it is well-equipped to meet the challenges of the future.

This includes investing in administrative capacities and capability, enhancing corporate governance, transparent practices, and ensuring financial sustainability. A strong institutional framework will enable the NIPR to execute its programs effectively, support its members, connect more credibly with stakeholders, and adapt to changing circumstances.

Research is a cornerstone of any profession, providing insights that drive innovation and best practices. It is one of the key components that differentiate an institute as a professional body, from an association or a union.

As the NIPR marks its 60th anniversary, my wish is for the institute to become a leader in PR research and thought leadership. This involves encouraging academic and practical research in public relations, communication strategies, media trends, and related fields.

The NIPR can establish research grants, collaborate with universities, and publish journals to disseminate new knowledge. NIPR should be well-positioned to influence the direction of the PR profession in Nigeria and beyond via research-based thought leadership.

In an increasingly interconnected world, building global connections is essential for professional growth and development. NIPR increasing presence in the African PR space is worth noting.

My wish is for the NIPR to foster stronger ties with international PR organizations and networks. This can facilitate knowledge exchange, provide opportunities for international collaborations, and enhance the global visibility of Nigerian PR professionals.

Participation in global conferences, joint projects, and exchange programs can expose members to diverse practices and innovative ideas from around the world.

While not unmindful of the efforts of the current leadership, one of the most pressing needs for the NIPR is to have a permanent office at 60. A dedicated office space is not just a physical location but a symbol of the NIPR’s enduring legacy, stability, credibility, and commitment to the public relations profession.

My wish is for the NIPR to secure a permanent office that will serve as a hub for its operations, meetings, training sessions, and events. A permanent office space that enhances operational efficiency, facilitates member engagement, elevates its image, and supports training, research, and innovation.

This office would embody the values of excellence, professionalism, and innovation, serving as a beacon for current and future PR practitioners.

Conclusively, let me reiterate that the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations is a moment of pride and reflection. It is important to acknowledge and celebrate the successes and milestones achieved over the years of which I am a proud participant.

My wish is for the institute to take pride in its achievements and use this occasion to highlight the contributions of its members. Recognizing outstanding practitioners, celebrating landmark projects, and sharing success stories that can inspire the next generation of PR professionals.

It also reinforces the value and impact of the NIPR in shaping the PR landscape in Nigeria.

Here’s to another 60 years of excellence and innovation in public relations.

  • Mayowa, a Fellow of NIPR and ex-Vice Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of NIPR, is the COO of Stepcraft Nigeria Ltd., a reputation management firm

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