This study focused on the impact of effective public relations practice in the marketing of banking service in Enugu metropolis. A case study of zenith bank plc operating in Enugu state. It aims at identifying the areas of potential problems in order o enable corrective measure to be taken. Although zenith bank plc maintains a corporate affairs department that performs public relation functions, yet the management is not happy because the bank does not have good image in the opinion of its customers. It was based on this that the research decided to embark on the present study, with the following objective in mind to determine whether zenith bank considers as important the public relations policy of the organization as strategic. To determine whether zenith bank communicate effectively major policy issues to its publics. To ascertain and discuss whether public relations activities of the bank has any significant impact on the existence, growth profitability an survival of the bank. Construction of the questionnaire and the formulation of other items. The questionnaires was meant for two categories of respondents as follows. The staff and management of zenith bank , the customers of the bank. The questionnaire was structured to contain both the multiple choices and the open ended questions. Major findings of the study were also obtained. The study concludes that effective public relations is a necessary ingredient for the survival and continued relevance of an organization.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The success of an organization can be derived from the efficiency and effectiveness of its own resources .public relation is one of the most difficult concepts to define .This is because it seems so easy to understand but yet quite difficult to describe in practical terms .Also many people including public relation practitioners believe they have the best understanding of the concept and so have come up with many different definition of the concept. Some organizations can do well with minimum resources but there are others which do not do well even with abundant resources, human, financial and material resources. The differences between these organizations depend on the method of allocation of resources and the use to which they are put as a result. The importance of resources management in achieving organizational success cannot be under estimated. And so, the need for planning arises. Planning is the part of management process that attempt to define the organizations future.[DALTON 2006] Said that planning is the process by which managers examine their internal and external environment , as fundamental questions, goals and objections [LVANCEVICHET 2004] Simply put , planning as the process of determing organizational objectives and identifying the ways and means of realizing them . Since the objectives are derived from plans, organizations are bound to set objectives so that they can in the long-run, achieve corporate goals and objectives. It is in this perspective of achieving corporate goals and objective that public relations is a half-way house between transforming corporate objectives into corporate goals .This is why public relations practitioners are always on the lookout for time bombs and landmines .Therefore, the first assignment of the corporate affairs people [department] in any organization is to have full grasp of an organization objectives. Having done this, it helps them to use relevant public relations strategies and tactics to achieve a corporate culture that is profit driven.
All over, whether private or public companies, organizational first aim is to make profit. This is because profit maximization is the core of a business, this claim is justified by the fact that most companies that have not been able to break even, talk more of making profits, have gone under .To this extent, profit maximization is a way of measuring efficiency, just as it ensures the sustainability of the company . Since good public relation can be a catalyst to profit making, the public relation unit of an organization as an engine room of corporate reputation of their organizations are saddled with the responsibility of not only creating sales, but also of making customers and sustaining them. And so, public relations professionals have no choice than to dabble into market research, branding, advertising and other promotional campaigns. As such public relation people are always in the vanguard of finding out how customers could be better served. As the Chinese saying goes,’’ A man without a smiling face must not open a shop’ in a nutshell, customers care is all that it takes to keep business flourishing no matter the size of the business. Consequently, the public relations unit has the responsibility of ensuring that its organization is a good corporate citizen and is socially responsible to the community in which it is situated. The central argument here is that companies which is widely accepted by their host communities is likely to translate the collective patronage of the host communities’ assistance as well as that of other customers, into revenue. It is common knowledge that some business organizations which paid up service to their host communities has left in their trail adverse, social and political consequences which effects snow-balled into negative publicity of unimaginable dimensions. In some cases, these organizations have been made to retreat rather than forward .This study is aimed at exploring the impact of effective public relation on marketing of banking services in Enugu metropolis. In the banking sectors the banks needs their customers to remain relevant in business and ensure the sustainability of customers patronage, the bank image must be maintained through stimulating quality customer services and creating good public relations. It is in this sense that public relation automatically became the basic foundation for organization, particularly bank in this age of global completion that strive towards profit maximization and marketing expansion of banking services.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Communication as a profession is multifaceted. It helps to establish and sand its various publics.
This explains why zenith bank has adopted the practices. Although zenith bank maintains public and corporate affairs department charged with the responsibilities of performing public relations functions, yet the management is unhappy because there is a lot of complaints by customers of zenith bank concerning the poor services of the bank [bad image] , despite efforts to promote mutual understanding and corporate image among its various publics.Therefore,it becomes a matter of concern to discover if the bank take policy decisions without customers regards.
· Will they prefer social or economic responsibilities as a managerial function?
· Are their accounts for effective performance of corporate social responsibilities in Nigeria?
· Do they make social negative effect on their turnover and profitability due to non-performance of social responsibilities?
· Do they consider customer background or compliant when implementing their policy.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Based on the problem identified, the purpose of the study includes;
I. To find out if the bank [zenith] increase profit from the implementation of policy, regardless of customers background.
II. To find out if the policy decision by zenith bank are taken without regard to customers satisfactions.
III. To ascertain if zenith bank in Nigeria do consider social responsibilities as a managemerial functions.
IV. To ascertain whether several factors account for their effectiveness in the performance of cooperate social responsibilities in Nigeria.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research study is of importance, because it is done at a time ,most firms including the zenith bank , are saddled with image problems. They include
I. The outcome of this research will enable zenith bank discover the extent of harm the company had suffered due to its bad public relation practices and consequently improve on it.
II. It will be used by the company’s management to decide on how to improve on its customer’s relation and public relation practices.
III. Similar organization will use it as a tool in repositioning their business practices and how to avoid negative image.
IV. It will be of help to future researchers on how public relation can be used to strengthen relationship between customers and stay afloat in business
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTION
I. Does policy decision by zenith bank affect relationship with its customers?
II. How often do the customers of zenith bank complain of poor managerial functions?
III. Does zenith bank of Nigeria consider social responsibilities or economic responsibilities?
IV. Will zenith bank increase its profit from implementation of policy regardless of people or customers background or compliant?
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is limited to the achievement of the objective of this study, impact of effective public relation in marketing of banking services in Enugu metropolis “a case of study of zenith bank Enugu”.
In other words, the study will be focused on zenith bank and its customers located at Ogbete main market Enugu as representative of the banking industry, which constitute the population of this study. Therefore, the research will be carried out in Enugu metropolis.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
BANK-is a financial intermediary and money creator that creates money by lending money to a borrower on the bank’s balance sheet.
BANKING SERVICES; The various way in which a bank can help a customer, such as operating accounting, making transfers, paying standing others and foreign currency.
PUBLIC RELATION; is the way organizations, companies and individuals communicate with the public and media. A PR specialist communicates with the target audience directly or indirectly through media with an aim to create and maintain a positive image and create a long relationship with the audience.
MARKETING; is communicating the value of a product, service or brand to customers for the purpose of promoting or selling the product, service, or brand.
SERVICES; Intangible product such as accounting, banking, cleaning, consultancy, education, insurance and enterprises, medical treatment and transportation.
ASTROUTURFING; The practice of a company, industry or interested group creating “front group” and organization to make it appear relevant publics or decision markers as if they are truly spontaneous grass root groups supporting the companies, industries groups position.
COLLATERAL-Property that you agree to give to a bank if you fail to pay back, you have borrowed.
BANK STATEMENT- A document that shows all the money that went into or out of the of your bank account during a particular period of time.
COMMUNITY RELATIONS- The communications functions used to convey facts and data about a client to the public or specifics publics and to educate and inform them about the clients work in the community and on its behalf.
DISCOUNT RATE- The rate of interest that a central bank charges another bank that borrows from it.IMPACT OF PUBLIC RELATION ON MARKETING OF BANKING SERVICE