Project Topics



The study: The Role of Public Relations in Building
a Corporate Image, A study of Fidelity Bank PLC was set out to investigate how
public relations can be used to build the corporate image.  Consequently, the researcher employed the
survey research method to investigate. The
findings of this study show that Fidelity Bank PLC to engage the PR in reaching
out to their customers, inform them about their new policies and services and
in managing the grievances of their customer.

The results of this study
show that crafting compelling content, leveraging on online platforms in
reaching out to teeming potential and existing customers, learning the PR
strategies of the competitor and understanding of the culture of the audience
of the banks have been PR activities that Fidelity Bank PLC in Abuja have been
employing in order to better manage the corporate image of the bank.This study
also found that PR has helped the Fidelity Bank PLC in managing their corporate
image well to a very large extent. This has manifested in the increasing in the
rate of customer retention, the reduction of customers complaints they get on
the banks onsite, increase in their popularity and increase in their online
Based on these findings,
the study concludes that for public relations to be very effective in building
and sustaining the bank’s corporate image, the bank should embark on different
programmes, knowing that image building is not a product of just one good
action but a totality of good practices put forth by an organisation. It
finally recommends among others that the agency should accord greater
recognition of public relations by establishing an in-house department with
qualify professional staff who would ensure efficiency in initiating and
executing tactical public relations programmes that will give surety to the Bank
image. Also opinion research should be constantly carried out to understand the
publics’ perception of the bank and to evaluate the efficacy of the existing
programmes which will help the bank or to either maintain or change its



1.1       Background
of the Study

The importance of
public relations in any organization cannot be overemphasized. This is largely
buttressed by the fact that the public relations unit of an organization is an
important factor which aids in the success of any organization through building
and sustaining its corporate image.

In many
government, Parastatals and private organizations whether seeking profit or not
in their operations, public relations practitioners and public relations
practice play a very important role. As Rensburg and Cant (2003:34) indicate,
public relations exist in every company and institution, irrespective of
whether or not the company or institution wants it. Within an organization,
activities such as phone calls, newsletters, public letters including its
everyday encounter with its public, to name only few, form a perception and an
image in its public’s minds about the organization. Various images come into
the public minds based on how the organisation has identified itself to the

According to
Lukusa (2009:1) if an organisation’s portrayed identity does not coincide with
the image perceived by its public, the organisation’s reputation and corporate
image might suffer and as a result this might also affect the management of the
entire organisation. The roles of public relations practitioners are thus very
important and crucial in building the corporate image of their organisations to
the public. These roles contribute to the development, the sustainability and a
good functioning of the organisations.

Public relations
practitioners’ roles also contribute to identifying, establishing and extending
the organisation’s sphere of influence. The practitioner’s roles help in
monitoring, controlling and establishing its corporate identity and corporate

image making functions of public relations are principally counseling based on
the understanding of human behavior. By analyzing trends and predicting their
consequences, through research of public opinion, attitudes and advising a
necessary action, public relations establish and maintains two-way
communication based on truth and full information. This is to say that public
relations are concerned with maintaining public image for high profile
organizations, programs, or individuals (Seitel, 1998:6).

Building the
corporate image of an organisation is not an easy task that can be achieved in
a day within an organisation by a public relations practitioner. Some
industries, financial services, chemicals factories, etc. suffer from a serious
(corporate) image problem. In the eyes of many, they are seen as exploiters,
inefficient, having fat-cat bosses, etc. Varey (2002: 193).

Meanwhile, according
to Dowling (1994: 8) quoted in Varey (2002: 195), corporate identity is the
symbols (such as logos, colour scheme) that an organisation uses to identify
itself to people. Since corporate image is sometimes deemed as the organisation
reputation, therefore, reputation is considered by a growing number of
management practitioners and scholars to be an intangible asset that enables
the enactment of relationships among the corporation and their public.

importance of the foregoing according to Nwosu (1992:8) is that: The time has
come when professional public relations are made to play its proper role
towards promoting the type of positive image which the organization needs. This
can be achieved, if the public relations professionals are allowed to influence
the policies at the stage of initiation, analysis and preparation of programs.

According to
Dozier and Grunig quoted in Grunig et al. (1992: 395), “Public relations must
be placed high in the organization hierarchy and must be practiced
strategically if it is to make the more effective and, thus, to be excellent”.
Meanwhile, in many existing organizations the roles of public relations
practitioners in building the corporate image of the organization to the public
are taken for granted, neglected and even attributed to other departments
within the organizations. It should also be noted that, public relations’ roles
have become the subject of extensive research by public relations scholars.

Roles define everyday
activities of the public relations practitioners and practitioners’ roles are
keys to understanding the functions of public relations in building the image
of an organization to the public. Practitioners’ roles are at the nexus of a
network of concepts affecting professional achievement of practitioners (Dozier
and San Diego in Grunig et al, 1992: 328).

According to
Kitchen (1997: 16), public relations practitioners fail to realize their full
potential because of how their roles are perceived within organizations. He
adds that the question whether public relations practitioners are allowed by
management to fulfill their potential various roles played in organizations are
considered, along with implications for the profession (Kitchen, 1997: 7).

is in the light of the above issues that the research examines among other
things, the extent at which roles played by public relations practitioners in
building the corporate image of an organization.

Statement of the Problem

on the role public relations plays in building and sustaining corporate image
of an organization have being an area of importance in public relations
research. Scholars are of the view that a corporate image is powerful; it helps
to determine how a person will behave towards a company. How that company is
perceived a weak or strong, open or dubious, warm or cold, rigid or flexible.
The role of PR therefore is to assist in building and protecting an
organization’s image (Bernestin, 1984:103).

are lots of Public criticisms bordering on the attitudes of Fidelity bank staff
over tax issues and the nature of tax to be paid. People complain that the organization
does not carry out adequate public education on its activities generally. Also,
the organization is alleged as exploitive since the monies collected by it are
allegedly spent by those working there. These sundry criticisms are likely to
give a bad image to the organization.

problem this study investigates is therefore, Fidelity Bank PLC uses public
relations strategies in managing its corporate reputation in order to avoid
having negative image among its teaming publics.  

of Study

broad objectives of this study are to determine the extent to which public
relations has been used in building corporate image:

To determine whether Fidelity Bank PLC utilizes public relations in building
the organizations corporate reputation.

To determine PR activities performed by the PR unit of Fidelity Bank PLC in
building the corporate reputation of the organization.

To find out how the usage of public relations activities has contributed to the
corporate reputation of the organization.

 1.4 Research Questions

To what extent does the management of Fidelity Bank PLC utilize public
relations in building the organizations corporate reputation?

What activities do the PR practitioners of Fidelity Bank PLC undertake to build
the organization’s corporate reputation?

How has the usage of public relations activities contributed to the reputation
of Fidelity Bank PLC?

of the Study

research was conceived in full realization of the various interests it would
serve. The corporate institutions and public relations practitioners would
likely be activated by the findings to invest their utmost creative abilities
in marketing communication- commensurate with current image building challenges
facing their esteemed profession.

the public relations and mass communication students, the study is intended to
motivate further study on other much unattended subject matter on product
branding, and provide them with a storehouse of knowledge as well as provide
direction to enable them exercise high prudence in their daily economic
decisions especially on how they brand themselves. The study will also provide
corporate marketing executives in Nigeria with an insight into the dynamic
nature of image branding activities in the economy.

1.6       Scope
of the Study

study is concerned with the distinctive and effective role that public
relations can play in building a image for public institutions. It is limited
to Fidelity Bank PLC in Abuja..

1.7  Conceptual Definition of Terms

Publics are specific groups of people who are linked by a common interest or
problem Heath (2005:718).

Public Relations:
Is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain
mutual understanding between an organization and its publics Jefkins (1998:6).

Corporate Image:
Is the set of meanings by which a corporation is known that can be used by the
observer to describe, remember and relate to it via the interaction of beliefs,
feelings, perceptions, and impression Copley (2004:276) in Akin and Dimerel