The labelling of Public Relations professionals as Spin-Doctors has been associated with the operations of quacks in the marketing communications practice. This was revealed over the weekend during the Edubrainics Africa Lecture delivered by the Senior Consultant of Brandfit PR & Events, Anthony Elikene ANIPR.
Edubrainics is an educational platform with a mission to spread education all over Africa. The organisation invites seasoned professionals to impart knowledge on African students by lecturing on specialized industries and disciplines. The lecture was transmission to a global audience generated engagement from students and young professionals from around the world who during the interactive session asked questions as it relates to their countries.
With the topic “Spin-Doctoring, a Prerequisite or Parasite to the PR Profession”, Elikene explained that Spin-Doctoring as a process is a strategic process not just in politics to turn around negative situations for brands and save them from demise. He blamed the negative perception of PR practitioners as Spin-Doctoring to the influx of nonprofessionals in Public Relations claiming many of them are bereft of strategic solutions leading them to replace facts with lies and deception.
According to Elikene, “The father of modern PR, Ivy Ledbetter Lee, made the distinction between PR and other related professions such as Advertising and Journalism, especially when everyone wanted to practice PR leading to wrong practice hence the phrase Spin-Doctors. Today we have many practitioners who are not professionals in PR and the negative connotation of Spin-Doctoring is back.” He said.
He further said: “The denotative meaning of Spin-Doctoring in the dictionary has no negativity attached to it because it is a process that enables professionals innovatively generate solutions using verifiable facts and information and your client benefits from the crisis rather than suffer from it.”
“Take for instance when there was a negative news about Indomie being poisonous, it took great Spin-Doctoring by professionals to turn things around and change the narrative by taking the CEO of the company to the mass-market where he ate uncooked Indomie straight from the pack. TV, print reporters, and photojournalists covered the event and ended the rumour died. The problem is when you apply this strategy to politics it is over sensationalized by vested interest and a lot of negativity and character assassination takes over.” Elikene concluded.
In a related situation the regulatory body overseeing the practice of Public Relations in the country, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) is also getting ready to start weeding out practising nonprofessionals.
Zimbabwean businessman and philanthropist – Dr Strive Masiyiwa commended the lecture and the Edubrainics Africa Team “This is an awesome venture! So proud of you guys. Well done.” He said.