The study focuses on the impact of effective public relations practice in the marketing expansion of banking services in Enugu metropolis. a case study of All State Trust Bank Plc operating in Enugu state. It aims at identifying the areas of potential problems in order to enable corrective measures to be taken. Although All States Trust 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 it’s customers.
It was based on this that the research decided to embark on the present study, with the following objectives in mind;
i) To determine whether All State Trust Bank considers as important the public relations policy of the organisation as strategic.
ii) To determine whether All States Trust Bank plc communicates effectively major policy issues to its publics.
iii) To ascertain and discuss whether public relations activities of the bank has any significant impact on the existence, growth, profitability and survival of the bank.
iv) To make appropriate recommendations based on the findings.
Both primary and secondary data were used. Some high – ranking executives of the bank were interviewed. The information gathered from the were quite helpful in pursuing certain areas of inquiry and which later formed the basis for construction of the questionnaire and the formulation of hypothesis.
The questionnaires was meant for two categories of respondents as follows: the staff and management of All States Trust 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:
a) The management of All States Trust Bank does not considers as strategic the impact of public relations on its customers.
b) There is no effective communication between All States Trust Bank and its customers.
c) The public relations department of All States Trust Bank is not adequately funded.
d) The company does not meet the expectation of its customers in services delivery.
Base on the findings the following recommendations were made
i) The management should consider the public relations practice of the bank as a strategic decision.
ii) The public relations departments should be adequately funded.
iii) The bank should organized on regular basis customers forum/meeting so as to meet the expectation of the customers.
The study occludes that effective public relations is a necessary ingredient for the survival and continued relevance of an organisation.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The success of an organisation can be derived from the efficiency and effectiveness of its resources use. Some organisation can do well with minimum resources, but thee are others which do not do well even with abundant resources – both human, financial and material resources. The difference between depends 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 attempts to define the organisations future (Dalton, 1986) it is the process by which managers examine their internal and external environments, ask fundamental questions about their organisation’s purpose and establish a mission, goals and objectives (Ivancevich et al, 1994).
Simply put, planning is the process of determining organizational objectives and identifying the ways and means of realizing them. since objectives are derived from plans, organisations are bound to set objectives so that they can, in the long-run, achieve corporate goals.
It is in this perspective of achieving corporate goals and objectives 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 organisation is to have full grasp of an organisation’s objectives.
Having done this, it believes them to use relevant public relations strategies and tractics to achieve a corporate culture that is profit driven.
All over, whether private or public companies, organisations’ first aim is to make profit. This is because profit maximsation 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 les of making profit, have gone under. To this extent, profit maximization is a thigue measurement of efficiency, just as it ensures the sustainability of the company.
Since good public relations can be a catalyst to profit making, the public relations unit of an organisation as an engine room of corporate reputation of their organisations 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 relations people are always in the vanguard of finding out how customers could be better served life 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.
In a hostile environments, companies would face a lot of troubles because of negative attitudes by their host communities. Instances abound where companies have been made to lose a great chunk of their host communities.
Consequently, the public relations unit has the responsibility of ensuring that it’s organisation is a good corporate citizens and is socially responsible to the community in which it is situated. The central argument here is that companies which widely accepted by their host communities is likely to translate the collective patronage of the host communities assistance well as that of other customers, into revenue.
It is common knowledge that some business organisations which paid up service to their host communities has left in their trail adverse, social and political consequences which effects snow-baled into negative publicity of unimaginable dimensions. In some cases, these organisations have been made to retreat rather than much forward.
This study is aimed at exploring the impact of effective public relations in marketing expansion of banking services in Enugu metropolis. In the banking sector the banks needs their customers to remain relevant in business and ensure the sustainability of customers patronage, the bank image must be maintain through stimulating quality customer service and creating good public relations. It is in this sense that public relations – automatically becomes the basic foundation for organisation, particularly bank in this age of global competition, 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 promote goodwill and mutual understanding (rapport) between an organisation and its various publics.
This explains why most companies in this country have adopted the practices, and All States Trust Bank is not an exception.
Although All States Trust Bank maintains pubic/corporate affairs department charged with the responsibilities of performing public relations functions, yet the management is unhappy because there is a lot of complains by customers of the bank of poor services (bad image), despite efforts to promote mutual understanding and corporate image among it’s various publics.
The following problems arises:
i) Most policy decisions by companies operating in Nigeria, including All States Trust Bank are taken without regards to the effects they will have on the life’s of the people in the area in which they operate provided such policy will maximize the companies profits.
ii) Majority of companies operating in Nigeria do not consider social responsibilities as a managerial function and as such they regards it as an obligation not as a right of society or community in which it operates.
iii) Several factors accounts for their effectiveness in the performance of corporate social responsibilities in Nigeria.
iv) Non performance or discharge of social responsibilities creates instability in operating environment of these companies, thereby having serious negative effect on the companies turnover, profitability, growth and survival.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Base on the problem identified, the purpose of the study includes:
1) To find out whether All States Trust Bank Management consider the public relations effects of it’s policies to it’s customers as strategic.
2) To ascertain whether All States Trust Bank Communities effectively major policy issues to it’s public.
3) To ascertain whether corporate gifts contributes to good image management of the organisation.
4) To ascertain the factors which are responsible for the effectiveness of the performance of corporate social responsibilities in Nigeria that contribute to bad image.
5) To ascertain and discuss whether public relations activities of the bank has any significant impact on the existence, profitability and survival of the bank.
6) To make recommendations based on the findings.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research study is of importance because it is done at a time when most organisations, including the All States Trust Bank, are saddled with image problems. The significance includes:
i) The outcome of this research will enable All States Trust Bank discover the extent of harm the company had suffered due to it’s bad public relations practices and consequently improve on it’s promise to provide effective, efficient and reliable services to its customer publics.
ii) It will be used by the company’s management to decide on how to improve on it’s customers relations and public relations practices.
iii) Similar organisations will use it as a tool in repositioning their business practice and how to avoid negative image.
iv) It will be of help to future researchers on how public relations can be used to strengthen relationship between customers and stay afloat in business.
Ho1: The management of All States Trust Bank does not considers the public relations effects of it’s policies on it’s customers publics as strategic.
Ho2: All States Trust Bank does not communicate it’s policies effectively
to it’s customers.
Ho3: The company’s public affairs as well as public relations department is
not adequately funded.
Ho4: The public relations practice of banks is not effective.
Ho5: The banks social responsibility profitle has no significance effect on it
performance and image management.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is limited to the achievement of the objectives of this study, impact of effective public relations in marketing expansion of banking services in Enugu metropolis – a case study of All States Trust Bank Enugu.
In other words, the study will be focused on All States Trust Bank and it’s customers located along Okpara avenue 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 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In carry out this study, a lot of problems were encounter by the researcher. Among the constraints encountered include some logistic problems and lack of co-operation from some of the respondents. Financial problem also affected the study since the researcher could not afford the finance to enable her widen the scope of the study and visit all branches as well as corporate customers to generate as much data as available.
Time also has it’s share, as it was also the period for lecturers and examinations that this study was carried out.