1.1 Background to the Study
The common aim of every business organization is to achieve growth, increase in turn over, assets and profit while that of non-profit have similar intention except for the sales of turnover. However, all of these depend on the public perception and goodwill of the organization otherwise known as image. A popular adage will say, “a good name is better than silver and diamond” i.e if one or an organisation has good reputation and integrity such could be entrusted for many good things which could in turn make one better or leave successfully. To business firm, good name is a soft selling no wonder some people pay heavily to buy franchise in another company because of the existing reputation.
Corporate image, or reputation, therefore, can be described as the manner in which a company, its activities, and its products or services are perceived by outsiders. In a competitive business climate, many businesses actively work to create and communicate a positive image to their customers, shareholders, the financial community, and the general public. A company that mismanages or ignores its image is likely to encounter a variety of problems. Reputation problems grow like weeds in a garden (Davis, 2014).
Dominique (2002) says the concept of Corporate Image draws the company’s attention to the way in which it is perceived in the market. The market as mentioned contains the company itself. Of course, the companies are chiefly interested in what image their most important audience have of them. No matter how much or how well the company seeks to influence this, its image on the market usually never corresponds with the ideal as the managers wants it to be and as the employees perceive it.
Meanwhile, several factors have contributed to the increasing importance of corporate image in recent years. For example, the business climate worldwide has become one of environmental complexity and change. This has forced many business enterprises to significantly alter their strategies to better compete and survive. Other factors are stated below as highlighted by Reference for business (2015)
- The acceleration of product life cycles is another vital dimension of the turbulent business environment.
- Globalization has been still another catalyst in the rise of corporate image programs, as companies have sought ways to spread their reputations to distant markets.
- A related factor is that as a corporation expands its operations internationally, or even domestically, through acquisitions, there is a danger that its geographically dispersed business units will project dissimilar or contrary images to the detriment of corporate
- A final factor stimulating the current interest in corporate image is society’s growing expectation that corporations be socially responsible. Many of today’s consumers consider the environmental and social image of firms in making their purchasing.
In fact, if all organisations will suffer bad image, it should be a bank because only a credible bank can be entrusted with money because of the position occupies by the money in human society. People want to secure their money and that is why they are taken it to the bank therefore, the money must be well secured and get it as at when needed. It is against this background that the research examines the role of public relations in image branding of banks in Nigeria with a specific focus on First bank in Asaba metropolis.
1.2 Problem Statement
Public relations in many companies attracted less attention and budget unlike advertisement campaign and advert department despite the huge role playing. The research further observe that management in company such as First Bank of Nigeria Plc neither recognise nor appreciate public relations efforts in building and projecting corporate image and good reputation because they don’t want to spend money on public relations activities like advertising campaign believing that it brings little impact of company. It is against this backdrop that the research is gear towards examining the impact of Public Relations on branding Image in First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objective of this study is primarily to do the following.
- To examine the primary role of public relations in First Bank of Nigeria Plc?
- To determine the extent to which First Bank in Osogbo has used public relations to build her corporate image.
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent has public relations unit/department contributed to the corporate reputation of First Bank Osogbo?
- To what extent has First Bank in Osogbo used public relations to build its corporate image?
1.5 Scope of Study
The scope of this research has been narrowed to the First Bank in Gbogan road due to the proximity, inadequate time to study all Banks in Nigeria, inadequate fund to run around among other logistics. The demographic factors of the respondents will be studied before the structuring and administration of the research instrument (questionnaire). Such factors include but not limited to age, gender, marital status, education e.t.c
1.6 Significance of the Study
At the end of this study, the following categories of people will benefit from the research findings. Different organizations will know the benefits of public relations through the result of the findings and how they can use PR for their gain.
Moreover, this work will also serve as a working tool for Chief Executives and managers in an organization like (First Bank, UBA and others); this piece of work will actually form a basis for further development and as well contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the area of public relations on corporate image and performance.
Future researchers who will be researching into the area related to this topic will find this work relevant as a reference material. Public relations students and mass communication students will as well understand the importance of their course of study to the industrial development and success.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Public Relations: This is the department or unit of First Bank that is saddled with the responsibility of maintaining mutual understanding between management, staff and publics and enhancing good corporate image.
Corporate Organisation: This refers to the organisation like First Bank Nigeria Plc that deals with public.
Image: Corporate image refers to the overall reputation of an organization as determined by the various pictures, impression, knowledge, information and perceptions that the publics of that organizations have about it.
Public Relations Programmes: It refers to some of the PR activities that helps build good image, reputation and enhance mutual understanding between and among First Bank’s publics such as effective communication.
“ROLE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS ON BRAND IMAGE OF BANKS“
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