1.1 Background to the Study
Public relations (PR) is a promotional tool for information, communication and persuasion. It deals with reputation management. The first World Assembly of Public Relations.
Associations in Mexico define public relations as “the art and social science of analyzing trends predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programmes of action which will serve both the organization and the public interest” (Newsom, Turk and Scott, 2000, p. 20).
Similarly, in a document entitled “what is Public Relations? Quoted in Tench and Yeomans (2006) the Chartered Institude of Public Relations, London, define PR as “the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain good and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics” (p.6). in other words, PR is a strategy and a planned method use by organization to established and maintain cordial relationship between the organization and its publics. Furthermore, it is a system of maintaining good reputation before the public.
Defining PR in terms of its effect on society, Maloney (2000) refers to it as “a category of persuasive communication done through the mass media or through private lobbying by groups to advance their material or ideological interest” (p.65).
Commenting on the use of PR, Seitel (1987) says that “public relations may be used in the marketing plan to realize a number of objectives such as publicizing a company and its product, introducing new or improved products”.
Stressing the importance of PR, Okigbo (1995 p. 222) states categorically that “modern advertising is not complete without public relations”.
Lending support to the authors quoted above, Nwosu and Nkanmebe (2006) state that:
For theoretical and practical purposes, the modern advertising practitioner must understand and apply public relations strategies in various aspects of his job for greater efficacy in a market or business world in which the consumer or customer (human beings) are becoming more and more powerful, critical, questioning, demanding and sophisticated. The public interest, image, goodwill, mutual understanding, consensus building, relationship building, and subtle or gentle approach orientation of public relations of today get and keep more customers for their companies or clients by first winning and keeping their hearts (p.81).
In search of a concrete definition for public relations, the following definition are put in place to really know what public relations is.
Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other. Public Relations broadly applies to organizations as a collective group, not just a business, and publics encompass the variety of different stakeholders. PRSA (Public Relations Society of America)
Public relations is communicating your organization’s messages at the right time and in the right place to the right audience. With the proliferation of tools and technologies, we can measure the value of those efforts and how they align with a business’ overall mission. Maria Aaron-MRM Worldwide.
Public Relations has been given different types of definitions by different organizations and individual practitioners. According to Osuji (1991), it is no longer the problems of definition that we have but crises of definitions. The discipline itself is a very interesting field of study. There is no organization that can function or survive without public relations.
In view of the above, the life span of any organization and how well its product can be patronized depends on how effective the public relations department of such organization is. It can be agreed that the reason some organization received high patronage for their products and services depends on the fact that such organization has been able to create a standardize two-way communication with its publics and as well relate and treat the public fairly.
The main factor that prompted the researcher to carry-out this study is the ever-increased importance of public relations in product patronage. The issue is not about the definition as stated by Osuji above, but how these definitions have been implemented in other to have the needed result. From the researcher’s personal observation, some organizations has been established for many years, yet there is no growth, while others come up recently and excelled in the same business. The excelled is the result of the enormous importance of public relations. For the sake of this study, two organization are used to measure and compare the importance of public relation in product patronage of these organization.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Kilimanjaro fast foods is a well known name in fast food business in Akwa Ibom State and its environment. Within the short stay of Kilimanjaro in the state, its has grow to be a household name in the business of fast foods to the extend of fending of competition from its competitors.
Similarly, Anchor Insurance PLC has grown so famously within the number of years its has stayed in the state thereby attracting more client to its services.
It is upon these basis of excelling in the business of fast foods and insurance services that this study seek to know the P.R. strategies adopted by these organization that makes for high patronage of their products and services by the public. The question now is, do public relations strategies has any impact on product patronage?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The purpose of this study is to carry out a comparative study ob the public relations strategy of Kilimanjaro Fast Foods and Anchor Insurance PLC. Specially, the study seeks to:
1.4 Significance of the Study
The result of this research will help to determine the effect of public relations on product patronage and as well create a greater awareness about the concept of public relations. Such awareness will enable corporate organizations to appreciate the importance of public relations in the management of corporate organizations.
This study will also contribute to the growing literature on public relations.
1.5 Research Hypotheses