The Business of Our Customer is Our Business

Adedayo Ojo is the Group Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Caritas, Nigeria’s leading reputation management agency. In this interview, he speaks on a wide range of issues affecting the PR industry and why Caritas is unique.

Q: Kindly assess the state of PR practice in Nigeria

A: The PR industry has recorded tremendous improvement over the last decade. Today, if you look across the entire world of integrated marketing communication practice, you will no – tice specialization in several areas. We now have creative ‘hot shops’, special – ized public relations agencies, market research agencies, and agencies focused on digital media. There is a noticeable improvement in the level of professionalism and qual – ity of work in the industry. Nigerian PR companies are forming partner – ships with renowned global agencies while some of them are extending their presence to other countries in Africa. Clearly, the industry is becoming more exciting and diverse

Q: What is the impact of new technology on PR consultancy?

A: When compared with folks in the developed economies of the world, we are not doing badly. Don’t forget that ours is still a growing industry. I’m happy that technology has helped us to bridge the gap with the developed economies. The PR tools used in the UK, US and other Western coun – tries are now readily available and accessible in Nigeria. The growing trend of affilia – tions and partnerships between indigenous PR firms and the more established foreign counterparts has helped improve the practice in Nigeria. The affiliations and partnerships have helped indig – enous companies improve the skills of their personnel and made these companies more competitive in terms of the quality of service they offer.

Q: What are the challenges facing PR consultants in Nigeria?

A: There are a number of challenges faced by PR consultants in Nigeria. The first one is infiltration of the profession by quacks. Everybody thinks he or she is a public relations professional. It is only when you engage a real professional that you will realize the difference. There’s need for the enforcement of the law concerning qualification to practice PR in Nigeria to promote profes – sionalism and excellence. The second major challenge is the brown envelope syndrome. Journalists often hold agencies to ransom by demanding ‘brown envelope’ before stories are pub – lished. Ordinarily, the PR agency is actually providing content, but today, it is not perceived as such. This syndrome unfortunately has become very rampant. In this vicious cycle of tipping, the place of goodwill and trust is completely lost and without it, the influence of the PR practitioner is reduced to almost nothing. The third challenge is research and evaluation. Research and cam – paign evaluation are very critical in PR practice in the 21st century because campaigns are anchored on it. Beecause campaigns are anchored on it. Measurement of results achieved helps validate the PR professional’s work and shows value delivered with regards to client’s expenditure. PR practitioners in Nigeria need to do more to improve in this area. It is true that there are challenges at times with getting clients to pay for services rendered, however agen cies need to do more in the area of research and evaluation to show verifiable results achieved.

Q: How is Caritas different from the pack?

A: Throughout our history, our core competence has been flawless execution in the delivery of our work. The principal reason why clients retain us is because of our focus on results. Our unique selling point is that our customers come first; we focus on being an integral part of the customers’ business and keep them satisfied. The business of our customer is our business. Whatever we do for clients is done with passion. Regardless of the scope of our deliverables, we are sure to beat deadlines. In addition to this, we work as business consultants who address issues through the lens of reputation. This is why Caritas is different from the pack and why we have continued to enjoy our clients’ trust to help them protect, manage and capi – talize on their reputation.

Q: Who were the clients of Caritas in the past?

A: And who are your clients now? We’ve had 100% client reten – tion in the last 7 (seven) years.

A: Our clientele spans several sectors. We work for two of the major international oil and gas companies (IOCs); a leading provider of innovative telecom services and network solutions in Nigeria & West Africa and one of the major energy companies in Nigeria. We also provide support to Nigeria’s leading conglomer – ate and the public sector, among others.

Q: How old is Caritas?

What is your take on agency affiliation? Caritas commenced opera – tion in 2009. We have been in business for over seven years. Agency affiliation is a good idea. Affiliation between local and international agencies has helped to boost the quality of PR practice in Nigeria through skills improvement and exposed industry players to global best practices.

For us at Caritas, we have assimi – lated that mind-set and that is why we floated a new subsidiary called Caritas Digital PR which provides top notch digital media support to our clients.

Q: Compare the standard of PR practice in Nigeria with Europe, US and other parts of the world.

A: When compared with folks in the developed economies of the world, we are not doing badly. Don’t forget that ours is still a growing industry. I’m happy that technology has helped us to bridge the gap with the developed economies. The PR tools used in the

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