The global public relations (PR) market experienced substantial growth in 2023, reaching approximately 107 billion U.S. dollars, a 6.6 per cent increase from the previous year. Projections indicate a continued upward trajectory, with an anticipated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7 per cent, positioning the market to exceed 133 billion dollars by 2027 (Statista). The Nigerian public relations (PR) landscape is set to witness significant transformations in 2024, influenced by global trends and unique local factors. As we delve into the year, several key developments are poised to shape PR practices within the Nigerian context.
1. ESG initiatives will take strategic space
Mirroring global trends, the Nigerian business environment is expected to see a continued emphasis on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives. With geopolitical and domestic political challenges affecting global economic stability, Nigerian businesses may navigate uncertainties in investment strategies.
There has been an increasing focus on the need for businesses to demonstrate a strong social conscience through social impact, environmental stewardship, community engagement and building a great place to work. This year, consumers will ramp up these values as digital media whips up social values advocacy with aggressive activism and cancel-culture visited on brands caught on the wrong side of positive impact.
2. Globalisation decoupling will drive hyper-localisation
Globalisation is quickly losing steam as the resurgence of protectionist and nationalist sentiments in various countries is steadily taking the centre point in economic planning. These changes will have unique implications for Nigeria. Geopolitical fragmentation and increased economic competition may reshape how businesses navigate the global market. PR strategies must focus on diverse messaging, leveraging localised and proactive engagement with stakeholders. This strategic home approach will require a careful balance between understanding local nuances and maintaining a cohesive global narrative.
3. AI will level the playing field
Any professional still remotely studying AI’s impact on the Nigerian PR practice this year is already late to the party. The role of AI in Nigerian PR strategies is fast evolving. Nigerian communicators must harness AI for robust content creation and distribution, enhanced monitoring and analytics as technology advances. The accessibility of AI tools is expected to enhance creativity and efficiency in PR efforts in Nigeria, presenting opportunities for innovative campaigns. It is an exciting time ahead.
4. Humanisation will shape winning content strategy
As the growth in generative AI levels the capabilities to develop compelling content, the focus on authentic, human-centred storytelling becomes crucial. PR professionals in Nigeria should prioritize personalised content, influencer relations, and a heightened focus on public affairs and crisis management to align with local values and expectations.
5. Integration is the new cool
The Nigerian audience is becoming more selective in consuming content. PR professionals need to offer comprehensive and integrated services beyond traditional news coverage. Tailoring messages to specific Nigerian audiences through personalized and authentic storytelling will be critical. Trust and empathy in brand communication will be vital for success in the Nigerian market.
6. Crisis Management in the Digital Era
The fast-paced digital landscape in Nigeria demands a proactive approach to crisis management. PR professionals must vigilantly monitor social media, respond swiftly to potential crises, and maintain transparency. A comprehensive crisis response plan tailored to Nigerian cultural sensitivities will be crucial for successfully navigating the digital environment.
In summary, the Nigerian PR landscape in 2024 will be characterised by a unique blend of global trends and local considerations. Adapting to these changes requires a nuanced approach that considers the cultural, political, and economic landscape specific to Nigeria. PR professionals in Nigeria have the opportunity to innovate and lead in this dynamic and evolving market.
Odion Aleobua is a multiple international awards-winning PR consultant based in Lagos