The banking sector is one of the most competitive sectors in any society. This is premised on the ever-growing need to adapt to economic and political trends in the society which could affect the organization within a split second. So the public relations officer in this sector is always engaged in environmental scanning, media relations activities, constant two way communication with both internal and external publics, among other activities with a view to spotting any possible negative development and nipping it in the bud.
Despite this scary picture, public relations in the banking sector is very exciting for a PR person who loves facing challenges on the way to the top. To become a public relations officer in the bank or any other financial institution in Nigeria you need to know the process of being a PR officer in the first place before decided where to practice, whether in a financial or any other sector. So all you need to know is how to become a public relations officer in Nigeria then you use the knowledge to look for a job in the bank where you can actualize your dream.
How to become a PR officer in Nigeria
Public relations (PR) is one of the most exciting areas in mass communication. But guess what? You do not necessarily need a degree in mass communication to become an excellent public relations officer. All you need now is to read this article to see how you can become a PR officer in any company in Nigeria or even have your own PR consultancy firm. If already have a degree in mass communication you also need to read this article for a better direction on how to achieve your dream of becoming a public relations officer in Nigeria.
What is the job of a public relations officer?
Public relations (PR) officers are responsible for maintaining a favourable relationship between an organization and its publics. They engage in managing the reputation of a company. As a PR officer you’ll write press releases, deal with press enquiries, monitor the news across Nigeria and possibly abroad to what could affect your organization in anyway (environmental scanning), and sometimes manage crises. This is exactly what you will be doing for a bank or any other financial institution where you are employed as a PR officer. Your job could include:
- planning PR campaigns and strategies
monitoring the public and media’s opinion of your client or employer
- writing and editing leaflets, brochures, press releases, speeches, newsletters, websites and social media
- representing the company at events such as press launches, news conferences, exhibitions, open days and sponsorship
developing good working relationships with the media
- arranging for advertising or promotional films to be produced
- public speaking at presentations, conferences, or radio and TV interviews
- You also require very good communication skills to do this job well.
A bit about the banking industry
To become a successful public relations officer in a bank you need to understand how banks work. This is essential in order to understand the terrain where you are today operate. Public relations thrives on information. You could have an upper edge by knowing a little or more about banking in order to have a good grip of how to apply public relations in enhancing the banking business for your organization.
Banking is an industry that handles cash, credit, and other financial transactions. They provide a safe place to store extra cash and credit. Banks offer savings accounts, certificates of deposit, and checking accounts. Banks use these deposits to make loans. These loans include home mortgages, business loans, and car loans. So you see, knowing about this puts you in a position to know who your organization’s public’s are.
Banking is one of the key drivers of the any economy. This is because they provide the liquidity needed for families and businesses to invest for the future. Bank loans and credit mean families don’t have to save up before going to college or buying a house. Companies use loans to start hiring immediately to build for future demand and expansion.
Types of Banks
As a public relations officer you need to know the type of bank you are working for in order not to focus on the wrong publics or even get confused in the field. So which basic rules of banks can a public relations officer work in?
We have the commercial banks which provide services to private individuals and to businesses. There is retail banking which provides credit, deposit, and money management to individuals and families. There’s also community banks which are smaller than commercial banks. They ficus more on the local market and make available more personalized service, including building relationships with their customers. The public relations officer has a serious task in this aspect of building strong relationship with customers and other public of a community bank.
In this digital era a public relations officer could be engaged by an institution specialized in Internet banking. These banks provide services to customers through the world wide web. This sector is also called also called E-banking, online banking, and net banking sector. A public relations officer grounded in digital public relations will not have any problem succeeding in this sector. Though most banks now offer online services, there are many online-only banks. This is not yet very popular in Nigeria but the public relations officer could be consulted from time to time by such online-only banks to handle jobs on contract basis.
A public relations officer could also work for Savings and loans institutions in the financial sector. Such institutions specialize in promote affordable homeownership.
You also have credit unions which are owned by their customers. Through this ownership structure the unions provide low-cost and more personalized services. Beneficiaries must be a member of their field of membership to join. That could be employees of companies or schools or residents of a geographic region. Such unions are scattered across Nigeria and managing relationships could be a challenge which the PR officer might be required to handle.
Investment banking finds funding for corporations through initial public stock offerings or bonds. They also facilitate mergers and acquisitions. Third, they operate hedge funds for high net worth individuals.
There are also institutions engaged in merchant banking which provide similar services for small businesses. They provide mezzanine financing, bridge financing, and corporate credit products.
Sharia banking conforms to the Islamic prohibition against interest rates. Also, Islamic banks don’t lend to alcohol, tobacco, and gambling businesses. You need to know this in case you’re employed to work in any of such banks.
Central Banks Are a Special Type of Bank. You could find yourself heading the Public Relations Directorate of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) so you need to read about central banking to know where your public relations skills fit in.
Banking wouldn’t be able to supply liquidity without central banks. The central banks manage the money supply banks are allowed to lend. You can read more about central banks on your own.
What do I need to do to become a public relations officer in Nigeria?
There are no set qualifications to become a public relations officer. This means that anyone with any degree can become a PR officer but to understand the environment and do well you might need to get a diploma in public relations from the NIPR to sharpen your skills. However having a degree in marketing, mass communication or a related qualification is highly desirable. Some organisations may ask for you to have a qualification from the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
How do I study Mass Communication, Marketing or related degree in Nigeria?
You have to check the UTME (JAMB) brochure to know the requirements for seating for exams in these disciplines. But English and Maths are compulsory. Then for WAEC or NECO you also check the requirements for entry to study these courses. For mass communication Literature is always compulsory.
Check university entry requirements for these courses as we advised earlier. Meanwhile some some schools in Nigeria have school of mass communication with various departments, including public relations department. So you could as well get a public relations degree from any of these schools.
A PR executive should be very versatile because that’s what the job requires. However, here are some specific schools you will require to excel on the job.
- Problem solving
- Time management
- Attention to detail
- Customer service
- Interpersonal skills
Journalism/Mass Communication degree
Business and media
Note that these are desirable degrees but anyone with any degree can work as a PR person in Nigeria if the person acquires requisite diploma training with the NIPR. You can then grow on the job by taking professional courses on media and related courses.
Where to find out more
Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR)
Which office or department will I work in?
PR professionals could work in a company’s in-house public relations (PR) department, or as an account executive at a consultancy that manages PR activities for a number of clients in Nigeria and even abroad. Sometimes you will be expected to do flexible working, such as on weekends and evenings.