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PUBLIC RELATION PRACTICES OF THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY
(A STUDY OF AFRICAN PETROLEUM PLC WARRI)
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Public relation regularly known as “PR” is often confused with “press release” or “press relation”. These are in fact only a part of real public relations.
Public relation is one of the marketing communication elements designed to build goodwill for products/services, personality or corporate image of a firm. It is a complementary tool in the hand of marketers to cement together the overall promotional by attempting to garner a favorable public perception, a better imaging of the worth and value of the firm an its product in the eye of its publics.
Good imaging is crucial in public relation and is essential for creation of respectability, clout and prestige. Good image is often equated to character. It is popular to hear the maxim “….. if a man loses money he has lost nothing, if a man loses his health, he has lost something, but if a man loses his character, he has lost everything”. This underscores the pride of place good image occupies if a product and its firm is to find acceptability in a market and in society. PR expert therefore strives to build character and integrity for their organization and their products. If PR people attempt to hide the fact and tell lies in the attempt to promote company image and product, they become mere “propagandist” in the eyes of the public. If they tell the objective truths backed with facts people can believe and not attempt to fool the public, then they become “valued partners” in marketing the image of their company and by extension contributors to growth and development of the firm and society.
PR is a two-way street and the same time a double edged sword. In this respect, PR creates reciprocity of respect and value between the market and producers of the goods/services. It therefore can be used to propagate and build goodwill, respectability and reputation. Likewise, PR can be used to put down, dismember and destroy a person’s image and reputation. Most products in the market fail because they have been branded as “clones and imitations”. Others have succeeded because they have been promoted as “the real and the original” that will deliver in value and satisfaction at consumption.
Public relation plays on the mental perception of people and consumer by aligning product messages, appeals, etc, with what customers want to hear. Or out rightly manipulate customer’s psych to believe positive things about the product or firm. The task of managing these complexes of customer’s emotions, perceptions and believe constitute the art and practice of PR. It can therefore be said that PR works on the platform of the 3Ps it is used to propagate, promote and protect the image of the product, organization or person. This is with a view to perpetually retaining the positive feeling most favorably in the sub-conscious and mind of the target market.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:
Most publics of African petroleum plc are not satisfied with the way and manner AP relates to them. They want more precise understanding and cordial relationship. Public relations has remained a major tool in building goodwill of both the product and organization
African petroleum plc is an organization that has a lot of branches in areas like Kaduna, Kano, Lagos Port Harcourt and Warri. It has depots at (Apapa) Lagos, Jos and Kano but its main source of Petroleum Company (NNPC). Presently the company entered into the marketing of chemical, real estate development and manufacturing of insecticides.