1.1 Background to the Study
The common aim of every organization is to be loved, succeed and achieve growth in the long run. However, all of these depend on the public perception and goodwill of the organization otherwise known as “image”. There is an adage that, “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, reputation or brand image therefore, can be described as the manner in which a company or an organisation, its activities, and its products or services are perceived by outsiders. In this era, organisation and businesses actively work to create and communicate a positive image to their target audience, shareholders, the financial community, and the general public. An organisation 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 Image draws the company’s attention to the way in which it is perceived by the publics, the organisations 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 society 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/organisation climate worldwide has become one of environmental complexity and change. This has forced many enterprises to significantly alter their strategies to better compete and survive. Other factors are stated below as highlighted by Reference for business (2015).
a. The acceleration of product life cycles is another vital dimension of the turbulent business environment.
b. 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.
c. 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 synergy.
d. A final factor stimulating the current interest in corporate image is society’s growing expectation that corporations be socially responsible. Many of today’s publics consider the environmental and social image of firms in making their preference decisions. Some companies have recognized this reality and reaped tremendous benefits by conducting themselves in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
However, organisation such as The National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, New Bussa need a good image and reputation like other business or organisation because of the objectives and mandate for it establishment. The National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, (NIFFR) New Bussa formerly known as Kainji Lake Research Project, was set up in 1968 by the Federal Government of Nigeria with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was the executing agency, while the then Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources represented the Federal Government. By 1975, FAO experts formally withdrew their participation and qualified Nigerians had to take over the management and responsibility of what came to be known as Kainji Lake Research Institute, through a decree promulgated by the then Military regime (NIFFR, 2017).
The Institute was one of the twenty-five Agricultural Research Institutes then under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. As a result of the re-organization of some of the Research Institutes within the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in 1987, the mandate of the Institute changed from the multi-commodity institution, namely:- Fisheries, Limnology, Public Health, Socio-Economics and Wildlife Ecology/Range Management, to mono-commodity research Institute based on Freshwater Fisheries and Aquatic Resources generally, with emphasis on Hydrology, Fish Biology, Fisheries Management, Limnology, Environment, Fisheries Technology, Hatchery Management, Aquaculture, Socio-economics, Extension liaison services and training. (NIFFR, 2017).
The name of the Institute in 1988 was changed to the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research to reflect the new mandate. Presently, the Institute outstations are located in the following places Tiga in Kano State; Maiduguri and Baga in Borno State, and Dadin-kowa in Gombe State. But with varied levels of activities in Yauri, Kebbi State, and Oguta in Imo State. More outstations have been planned for locations in the other agro-ecological zones of the country. The activities of the Institute are funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria while the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is still the supervising Ministry.
1. Genetic improvement of freshwater fishes and other aquatic resources in rivers and lakes.
2. Ensure the abundance and distribution of freshwater fishes and other aquatic resources.
3. Ascertain the hydrological behaviour of natural and man-made lakes.
4. Limnology of surface and ground water around natural and man-made lakes.
5. Rational exploitation and utilization of freshwater aquatic resources.
6. Ecological and socio-economic effects of the development of man-made lakes
7. Improvement in aquacultural activities among fishing communities and fish farmers.
8. Carry out extension research liaison services with the Federal as well as State Ministries, primary producers, industries and other users of research results on matters of freshwater fisheries and other aquatic resources in collaboration with NAERLS State Govt, ADP, NAERLs Private Fish Farmers.
9. Provide technical and vocational training in freshwater fisheries and related fields leading to the award of National Diploma (FCFFT) New Bussa. FCFFT Baga, Universities of Agriculture, FDF, Private Fish Farms
10. Provide laboratory and other technical services to fish farmers, industries and others concerned with freshwater fisheries problems among other mandates.
It is against this background that the study examine the role of public relations in promoting the image of the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR) New Bussa Niger state with the view to know the extent which the National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research (NIFFR) New Bussa Niger state have employed PRs in promoting her image to the outside and what kind of image is NIFFR has now.