Interviews

THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS LIES IN STRATEGIC THINKING


Godwin Idemudia is the Corporate Communications Manager of EKO Electricity Distribution Plc, In this interview he speaks on the future of Public Relations and Communications Management and the key tools Public Relations professionals need to adopt in order to succeed

What is Eko Electricity Distribution Company limited?

Eko Electricity Distribution Company, popularly known as EKEDC or Eko DISCO is a utility provider and our mission is to empower the quality of lives of our customers, employees, community and other stakeholders within network.

As the Head of Corporate Communication Department, what is your typical day like?

Interestingly a typical day for me and my team starts with words of encouragement by as early as 5:00AM. For me, its a way to get them ready for the task ahead. After which we then go into the work proper where we all have to give updates on assignments ranging from customers crisis management to internal communication affairs. Our task also includes external communication from IMCs to Government relations.

You’ve been in PR practice for a couple of years now, how have your roles evolved?

 First, let me say that I have been in the PR practice now for over three decades.  I can tell you for a fact that what has come to play over time is the blend of my wealth of experience in traditional Public Relations and new techniques which includes the use of the new media which we refer to as the digital communication.

Where do you see PR in the next few years?

In every business, the work of public relation is very essential to the success of the business, which means that the future of PR will only be subject to the provision of new techniques I.e. Trends and skills.  This is because without the affairs of public relations, you can’t have a quality communication with your customers for clearer understanding of the business. The most important tool for the future growth is strategic planning.

Every industry presents unique challenges for PR practice. What challenges do you face in managing PR and Communications for EKEDC?

 I agree with you.  PR is no easy job to handle. It never has been. With the rise of the Internet and social media, it seems to have become increasingly challenging to get the right story to the right people. Often, our customers will first create the crisis by giving false account of their situation; after which some press men, without thorough investigation  will go ahead to promote these stories across the media. These are some of the tough challenges we PR professionals face almost daily.

Therefore, we at EKEDC ensure we explore right channels both offline and online, especially the social media, to ensure our credibility and reputation is not at stake.  This usually helps us reduce the crisis we face.

What specific ways do you and your team use to cope with the challenges?

For us at EKEDC, one of our major techniques to ensuring customers satisfaction is the employment of direct engagement methodology.  We use Town Hall Meetings, where we hear from our customers and they hear our proffered solutions. This I must tell you have reduced our crises and protests drastically.

How do you know if your PR efforts are working?

This is simple! Our positive response rates and feedbacks from customers both offline during engagements during physical engagements and online on our customer service platforms are great indicators of our success. Our customer service platforms include the social media.

Sir, we’d like you to share with us how you stay in touch with trends in the PR and Communication industry?

We take part in Public Relations conferences and other industry events. We try to track and study latest publications in our industry both online and offline. We endeavour not to limit ourselves to Public Relations alone. We try to acquire knowledge in other areas such as Information Technology, Marketing, Public Policy and other subjects that will make us integrated and well equipped to deliver top notch communication services for our organization.