PR Must Innovate Or Die

CEO, Black House Media, Kunle Ayeni
As the Public Relations industry in Nigeria tries to finds answers to its plummeting economic prospects and weak regulatory framework, Kunle Ayeni, CEO of Black House Media, has called for some soul searching, and challenged practitioners to rise up to the occasion by being more proactive and creative if they must survive the turbulence of the present moment.

Ayeni’s main worry is that the PR practice in Nigeria is not evolving with the time and have refused to see use of technology as an indispensable tool in the industry, thus giving room for non-practitioners on social media undermine the industry. He noted that except practitioners change their approach to the profession, there may be no PR in the near future.

“As PR practitioner we should have been at the forefront of big data sciences, of social media of location and habit mapping. We should have been the pioneer of digital marketing and experience design and brand story telling. Public relations itself is undergoing an assault by new ideas and tools. New technology has ensured that every industry today must innovate or die,” Ayeni noted.

Ayeni who is intent on a change of approach has seized the opportunity to stir up a public debate which he believes can lead to some intense discussions among practitioners and possibly results in a change of approach. He has also launched #PRisdead on social media to keep the discussion going.

He recalled that as the global public relations industry face the biggest threat in decades some are admitting that indeed PR is dead. But he quickly added that the admissions are however, not to nail the coffin on the profession and move to something else. “Rather, it is information to help us understand what has happened so we can adapt and survive,” he said.

Ayeni’s poser “PR id dead” has obviously ruffled feathers within the industry. Some of the practitioners have questioned if his intent was to begin a campaign that may eventually consume the industry. But the CEO of BHM, who created a revolution, last year when he became the first PR company in Nigeria to launch an app, have insisted that his intention is just to wake practitioners up from their slumber and get them on their toes so that Nigeria PR does not at some point end up in the grave.

But for PR to survive, he noted that the profession must be more innovative and pay more attention to proper regulation. He took a swipe at the like of DKK and XLR8 Limited who instead of supporting PRCAN have chosen to drag the organization in the mud saying that they “are biting the finger that feeds them.”

“We have bigger battles to fight as an industry. it’s time to get together and put in the work required to guarantee our future. If we continue to put our personal interest, ego and sentiments ahead of the industry’s interest it will remain impossible for us to build the kind of ecosystem that can ensure PR does not die a painful death,” he concluded.
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