This work is aimed at looking into the impact of public relations in First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters. First Bank is a corporate organisation with network of branches. Public Relations role in First Bank of Nigeria PLC cannot be over emphasized because the services of First Bank must satisfy the aspirations of its publics. This research identifies how public relations can help in maintaining high acceptable corporate identity, corporate image and corporate communication in First Bank PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters. The survey research method was used in this study as the population was picked amongst the internal and external publics of First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters. Copies of questionnaire were administered to the respondents to elicit information that helped in the organisation of data and presentation. The researcher showed that public relations can help in uplifting the image of First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters. The researcher recommended that First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters should consult a public relations practitioner in dissemination of information to its publics.
Background of the study
For proper perception and understanding of this work, it will be wise to trace the historical background of the bank under study which is First Bank of Nigeria Limited in line with background of Public Relations.
According to Edward Louis Bernays, Public Relations is “Practically as old as society”. Patrick Jackson, a publisher of the Public Relations society of America (PRSA) asserts that Public Relations arose from the basic need of building and improving human relationship which existed immediately God created Adam and Eve. The concept of Public Relations has been with man. The creation of Public Relations between the creator and the creature both bought harmony and understanding in their relationship. Public Relations, however, existed during the days of Moses. Moses was a stutter and needed someone who would convey message to the Israelites on his behalf. Aaron, his brother was appointed; therefore, he was a link between the Israelites and Moses. From the biblical perspective, Aaron was a public relations officer. Thus, public relations has been practiced, even if only amateurish, since the beginning of mankind.
In ancient societies, human communication was limited by space and time. Due to the absence of modern technology, majority of the people lived simple lives in farms and small settlement. Therefore, communication flow in the olden days was primarily personal. The potentials and application of Public Relations increased as societies became more urbanised, civilized and complex. As population increased, so did the need problems of Public Relations.
Public Relations as a paid profession began in 1900, when the first public relations agency, the publicity Bureau, was founded. Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays, who are both referred to as the father of Public Relations, helped etablish the field as a professional practice in the United State. Arthur W. page is considered the father of corporate Public Relations. The field became more established after world war 11, in part due to talent from war-time publicity efforts moving into the private sector. Trade associations, industry publications and academic journals were developed. Some of today‟s largest Public Relations agencies were founded in the 1950s and began competing globally in Europe and Asia in the beginning in the 60s and 70s.
The 1900s were marked by „explosive growth‟ for the Public Relations field- Internet technologist and social media changes public relations tactics, agencies consolidated and new specialties were introduced such as investors relations and community relations.
Public Relations practice in Nigeria was introduced from Britain through the vehicle of colonialism. The introduction of Public Relations practice in Nigeria was done through the initiatives of the colonial government and its obedient servants. Being an adjact of Journalism, Public Relations became an important element in public communication in the colonial days. The pioneers were non-natives. Many of the existing newspapers were already enjoying patronage of the people and those in government. The government felt the need for another branch of communication which would convey subtly, its feelings to the people without really going through the rigours of mental composition of communication acts. During the Second World War (1940), the government urged for more channels of communication which became more pronounced, especially the need to present and analyse information about the war.
This eventually led the government to establish an office of information where correct information about the war efforts was sent out to people through the wireless.
This was in January 1, 1944. Later in 1944, this information office was changed to Public Relations office to really make its functions strictly tailored towards image making and creating favourable impressions about the war itself. The Public Relations office began to play a role which served the Nigerian press and their consumers tremendously. It placed its information facilities at their disposal and provided them with photographs on the prosecution of the war. Two Nigerian newspapers, the West Africa Pilot and Daily Service wrote edition on this development calling for the setting up of a permanent Public Relations office as early as the early forties. It was this Public Relations outfit set up by the colonial government that metamorphosed into the Federal Information Service in 1950.
In 1963, the Nigerian Institution of Public Relation s (NIPR) was established as a regulatory body for Public Relations practice in Nigeria.
Background of First Bank plc.
The Bank was founded in 1894 by a shipping magnate from Liverpool, Air Alfred Jones. The bank Commercial as a small operation in the office of Elder Dumpster company on March 31st, 1894 with head office in Liverpool it started business under the corporate name of the Bank for British West African (BBWA) with a paid-up capital of 12,000 pounds sterling after absorbing its predecessor, the African Banking corporation, which was established in 1892. Due to their impressive growth, they worked closely with the colonial government in performing the traditional function of a central bank such as issues of species, in the West African Sub-region.
To justify its West African coverage, a branch was opened in Accra, Gold Coast Ghana in 1896 and another in Freetown, Sierra-Leone in 1899. These, marked the Genesis of the banks operation. The second branch of the Bank in Nigeria was in Calabar of Cross River State in 1990 and two years later, service spread all over Nigeria, with a network of 315 branches opened throughout the branch network in the industry.
To satisfy the needs and service of its customers, First Bank of Nigeria has corporate and retail banking, registration trusteeship and insurance brokerage. Diversified into a wide range of banking activities and services, these include corporate and retail banking, registration trusteeship and insurance brokerage to take advantage on several restructuring initiatives. In 1957, it changed its name from Bank of British West African to Bank of West Africa.
In 1964, the bank was incorporated locally as the stands Bank of Nigeria Limited in line with the company‟s decree of 1968. Change in the name of bank also occurred in 1979 and 1991, the name of the bank was changed to First Bank of Nigeria PLC respectively. In 1985, the bank introduced a decentralized structure with five regional administrations.
This was reconfigured in 1992 to enhance the bank‟s operational efficiency.
In 1966, the bank introduced the First bank of Nigeria (FBN) century 11 projects to resolutionize its operations in line with the dynamics of the environment. The bank has continued to be leader in financing long term investments in the economy, which was demonstrated in 1947, when the First long-time loan was advanced to the colonial government. To demonstrate its commitment to its customers and the development of the Nigeria economy, the bank has since broadcast its loan and credit proportion to various sectors of the economy.
The bank has grown tremendously, judging from a number of branch parameters including number of branches, growth in deposit base, asset size of loans and advances.
Public Relations Practice of the First Bank of Nigeria PLC Public Relations Department.
Public Relations stated fully when the performance of the Bank was shaky and size of the evaluation of employees performance by not measuring and reporting the employee‟s behaviour and accomplishment for a given period for the purpose of improving job performance. So, the bank was way backwards. It lacked improvement in the economy development in which is an objective establishment.
Infact, the responsibility of the Public Relations is to protect the image of the organisation to the general public. The Public Relations practice was designed to protect the image of the bank, plan and execute all approved Public Relations programmes for the bank. Such programmes include:
(a) Organizing workshops, seminars and facility visit for staff.
(b) Ensuring effective flow of information and promote the company‟s view point among government bodies.
(c) Enhancing goodwill between First bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu zonal Headquarters and its publics through distribution of corporate gift.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Corporate organisations have been embarking on Public Relations to create and maintain a mutual understanding with their publics.
Therefore, the statement of problem is to know the relevance of Public Relations in a corporate organisation, using First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters as a study.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1. To know whether corporate organizations should continue in Public Relations.
2. To find out whether Public Relations is expensive or not.
3. To know how Public Relations helps in creating and maintaining a mutual understanding between a corporate organization and its publics.
4. To determine whether Public Relations can attract new customers to the bank.
1.4 Research Questions
1. Has the Public Relations practice of FBN Enugu Zonal Headquarters been able to create and secure understanding on the part of the publics in order to patronize the bank?
2. Does First Bank derive her continues profit posting as a result of efforts of the Public Relations outfit of the Bank?
3. Has the Public Relations program of the First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters contributed to the overall improvement the FBN (PLC)?
4. Does the practice of Public Relations in First Bank of Nigeria PLC Enugu Zonal Headquarters attract new customer to the Bank?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses are to be tested so as to ascertain the extent of the effectiveness of public relations by a corporate organisation using First Bank as a study.
H1: (Alternative): Public Relations practice has been able to create and secure understanding on the part of the publics in order to patronize the bank.
H0: (Null): Public Relations practice has not been able to crate and secure understanding on the part of the publics in order to patronize the bank.
H2: First Bank continuous profit posting is as a result of efforts of the Public Relations outfit of the bank.
H0: First Bank continuous profit posting is not as a result of efforts of the Public Relations outfit of the bank.
H3: The Public Relations program of the First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Enugu Zonal Headquarters has contributed to overall improvement of the First Bank of Nigeria PLC.
H0: The Public Relations program of the First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Enugu Zonal Headquarters has not contributed to overall improvement of the First Bank of Nigeria PLC.
H4: The practice of Public Relations in First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Enugu zonal headquarters attracts new customers to the bank.
H0: The practice of Public Relations in First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Enugu zonal headquarters does not attract new customers to the bank.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is focused on the impact of Public Relations on a corporate organisation. For clarity and concise, this study is basically a study on First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Enugu Zonal Headquarters.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study will be of immense help to the following:
(3) First Bank PLC.
It will help the customers to know about First Bank PLC and their competency. It will help to provide an in depth knowledge for the better understanding of the relevance of Public Relations in a corporate organisation to the researcher. It will be of great benefit to First Bank of Nigeria PLC. Thus, it will make the management to recognise that the corporation of the publics is very important to the existence and progress of the bank.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
It is of importance to define most terms used in the study for clearer understanding.