CEO ID Africa, Femi Falodun was recently a guest on Hi-Impact’s Tea Or Coffee to give informed insights on ‘Digital Resources In Public Relations’ and its application to the business of brand management.

The Marketing Communications (Digital Media, Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations) industry is rapidly evolving across the world largely due to new technological inventions and advancements, and Femi encourages young professionals to constantly explore available resources to aid their work.

For those who will find the term Digital Resources quite ambiguous, the marketing expert explains that the broad term is mainly used to describe technology tools, platforms or resources that aid the work that communicators or marketers do. These tools and resources, he says, could be as simple as a mobile device, apps, software, or social media platforms.

On the importance of Public Relations to all businesses, Femi says it’s simply a form of marketing which involves getting the public to have good relations with an individual or organisation.

“It’s the art of bridging the gap between a brand (person, company, government e.t.c) and the public (the people that matter to the brand or company or individual,” he says. “As consultants, our job is to make those relationships smooth and easy, such that they see the organisation in a good light.”

Technological advancement has ensured that a lot has changed since the turn of the millennium, even more so in the business of Public Relations. The creation of new digital tools and resources has largely affected traditional media, which Femi highlights as being as helpful as it is a challenge in today’s PR practice.

He says, “The major impact that technology has had on the work that we do is in terms of engagement with the audience (public). In the past, the only way you would reach an audience is through traditional media (newspaper, radio and TV). We have to be very aware about what technology has done (mobile phones, internet and how quickly information travels).

Part of the work that PR people do is crisis management. It may have made our work more complicated but because of that same technology and these digital tools, we now can do better in preempting, preventing and even studying what’s going on in the public,” he adds.

He, however, goes on to say that the task to manage challenges with digital tools as a Brand lies in unflinching authenticity.

“Social media has given power to the consumers. There are no longer gatekeepers and people can now directly engage more with brands, whether positively or negatively. This has complicated the work for PR people. Other challenges a PR person will face in the digital space include issues of cyber-bullying, trolling, fake news. It’s so easy now to go wrong as a brand,” Femi says.

“How to contain it is to imbibe the culture of being authentic. People can always detect authenticity. Stick with what your brand represents and not just jump on trends without making sure that they fit. Also, allow professionals manage your public perception (image).”

Femi also advises young Nigerians willing to pursue a career in the industry to sharpen their skills by seeking opportunities to intern with agencies or organisations that practice digital marketing, PR or advertising, depending on their area of interest.

“Another option is to go through a traditional school or professional education system e.g NIPR, PRCAN, CIM, CIPR (in the UK) and other global bodies that offer marketing training. These bodies offer the theoretical framework for the profession and the needed skills,” he adds.

“The big digital communications companies like Facebook, Google have online training; Some are free and some require payment. You can learn these things on your own by taking these online courses. And by spending time on social media using all the tools e.g if a new feature is released on Facebook, go ahead and try it out and experiment with it. Then try to find your way into an agency and intern.”