This work was centered on the role of Public Relations in building Corporate Image in organizations, using MTN Ziks avenue Uwani Enugu as a case study. In carrying out the research, the researchers adopted survey research method, where, 15 close ended questionnaires was designed and used for the collection of primary data. Four tested hypothesis were formulated. From a population of 722,644, a sample size of 400 was taken using taro yamane’s statistical formula. The data collected were presented on tables and analyzed statistically using simple percentages and Chi-square measures. Evidence from research data shows that MTN do not have good relationship with her numerous publics in Enugu. Data collected revealed that MTN employ PR strategies in building corporate image. However, Research data reveals that MTN has not invested much in Public Relations Strategies in managing her Corporate Image. The researchers concludes that the research findings were in conformity with the research objectives and assumptions earlier made. Consequent upon the results of this research, the researchers recommends that regular studies should be carried out by the PR department from time to time to ascertain the needs and feelings of customers.
1.1 Background Of the Study
No doubt, every organization that wants to succeed must not only consider its image among her numerous public, but must continue to invest in the management of its corporate image. A corporate image refers to how a corporation is perceived. It is a generally accepted image of what a company stands for. Typically, a corporate image is designed to be appealing to the public, so that the company can spark an interest among consumers, create share of mind, generate brand equity, and thus facilitate product sales. Tudolo (2007).
A corporate image is not solely created by the company. Other contributors to a company’s image could include news media, journals, labour unions, environmental organizations, and other NGOs. Corporations are not the only form of organization that create these types of images. Governments, charitable organizations, criminal organizations, religious organizations, political organization and educational organizations all tend to have a unique image, an image that is partially deliberated and partially accidental, partially self-created and partially exogenous.
MTN is a multinational organization and business enterprise therefore it is required to succeed. As a corporate establishment, devoted to servicing the public, it must have the interest of its publics in a bid to achieving public corporate image. As a business institution, MTN must use business principles to operate in such a way that it becomes financially independent against crumbling.
Sequel to the above, MTN instituted the public relations department to help foster the activities of the organization in order to achieve its aims and objectives. The public relations department is necessary because no business oriented organization can make meaningful achievement without a public relations practitioner. The PR practitioner engages himself in doing good and trying to get credit for the good he had done. This involves making friends, keeping them and influencing them as well as others. It also involves building and sustaining good image or goodwill through good deeds that will win favourable considerations for MTN Ziks avenue Uwani, Enugu among members of the public.
Frank Jeffkins defined public relations as “the process of assessing consumer wants, establishing communication, fostering goodwill so that the consumer wants or needs can be profitably satisfied.
Public relations news defined public relations as “a management function which evaluates public attitudes, identifies the policies and procedure of an interest and plan and executes programme of actions to earn public understanding and acceptance”. From these definitions, it is obvious that the public relations man blends the organization for tremendous achievement. It also identifies the need for the public relations man to evaluate the public attitude and conception of the organization with the aim of attaining and eliciting favourable actions where necessary.
MTN cannot exist in a vacuum, it cannot grow if it neglects the existence of its publics. As a telecommunication organization, it must be ready to communicate effectively with its publics. This includes expressing her policies and practices through communication for general awareness.
However, this communication function can best be obtained if public relations is given its right place in the management of MTN corporate image. Frankly speaking, MTN is fast recognizing the multiple function which public relations would perform if allowed into the strategic decision making level of the organization. The corporate image of MTN depends on her behaviour and financial performance, her marketing policies, the quality of her services, the management style, approach and resultant satisfaction. The major responsibility of her public relation department is to protect and maintain good image for MTN. as the conscience of the organization and its publics, it monitors the diffusion of the programmes of the organization to know when it impinges on public opinion and welfare.
George Flangan stated that “If an individual’s contact and experience with a corporation is extensive, his proposed image of the corporation is likely to be strong, positive and relatively stable. If on the other hand, the individual’s familiarity with the corporation is slight as in most of the cases, the image will probably be weak, (negative) and unstable”. The statement means that if the level of customer’s satisfaction in any organization is high, the customer tends to maintain more cordial relationship and vice-verse. It is the image of the organization that attracts popularity among the potential customers. In this sense, the only image that can last long is the one that its stand is valid, true and real.
There is no organization that can satisfy its numerous public without being perceived first by the publics as trusted and dependable. The dependability of the organization depends on the degree of the comfort given to its publics. In line with this, Walter Lipman asserts, “No administrative scheme is workable without good will and goodwill strange practices is impossible without education”. Meaning that any new development in MTN Uwani Enugu that is not communicated to the public in clear terms and with clear evidences so as to elicit favourable actions to attain mutual understanding will be in a futile effort.
Therefore, it is very important for MTN Uwani to get herself acquaints with the publics for cordiality through continuous and systematic public relations practice. It is essential that all public relations activities of MTN with the frame work agree and understand the corporate personality.
The activities of MTN and prospects can better be understood when examined from the point of view of its origin. To this end, below is the mark off point of MTN.