In this exclusive chat with MarketingWorld, the dynamic Managing Director at RedGecko, Cornelius Onuoha shares on values, challenges and affiliation. Excerpts…

For a relatively young PR agency, RedGecko has been able to sustain its growth and dynamism. What unique values have made this possible?

Our unique values in RedGecko PR have distinguished us in the industry. As an organization, we do everything within our reach to give each client a custom-made solution, as such; we provide services based on the peculiarity of each client. For us at RedGecko, it is all about clients’ satisfaction.

It is ultimately about making our clients shine, making our clients to raise up his head in pride, shoulders high in whatever niche or market their brands play-in either it is in the public or private sector because that is what tells how successful we are. Our operations is guided with a maxim to always surpass clients’ expectations through timely delivery, great strategy and within budget.

Our clients have recognized us for this exceptional offering and it has been largely responsible for our high rate of client retention. These and more have set us apart and have helped propel our growth experience.

What are the peculiar challenges in the business especially with the bad economic indices in the country?

There is no business that is isolated from the economic challenge that is being experienced in the country. However, it is often said that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. We are trudging on confidently believing that the storm would soon come to an end and Nigerian businesses would thrive again.

Some of the peculiar challenges being faced with the business include the reduction of the client’s budget for their communications activities; some clients on retainer switched to engaging the agency on project basis and there has been a surge in the cost of operation for agencies. These challenges affect the deployment of the agency’s ideas.

Do you think the Federal Government can alleviate the pains for PR practitioners in any way?

We have the same experience like other businesses in the country. The Federal Government should continue to intensify effort on improving the indices on the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria, these include- starting a business, getting electricity, registering a property, getting credit, paying taxes, trading across borders amongst others. It is a fact, that businesses need electricity to thrive. Once this is improved upon, organizations will equally contribute meaningfully to the growth of the economy.

The government, both at the federal and state levels also still have much to do if they must be seen as encouraging and advancing the practice of Public Relations. Situations where offices, roles and functions that are supposed to be performed be qualified and certified Public Relations professionals are given out to non-professionals should be re-looked. This also relate to cases where jobs that should be handled by Nigerian professionals with competencies on the job are given out to foreigners and foreign firms and in most cases at a higher cost compared to what will be charged by local firms. I can say it affirmatively that local PR firms have the true knowledge of the local market needs and concerns.

A large proportion of the growth that the industry has witnessed, to a great extent, can be attributed to the support and patronage of the private sector. Should the manner of patronage from the private sector be also witnessed from the public sector, the Nigerian PR Industry will witness a huge leap from its current placing.

What is your view concerning corporate companies using in house communication team to handle their PR and related activities?

There are different school of thoughts to it. One school of thought is of the opinion that In-house communications team are redundant because PR-services are outsourced while another school of thought is of the opinion that the in-house team should justify their monthly pay by getting the job done.

It is dependent on the organizational policy. However, PR agency staff has shown their prowess whenever they move to the client-side and we have also come to see top Corporate PR Executives establishing agencies at certain times in their career. They are two sides of the same coin. The most important goal is getting the job done, achieving the set objectives, which is to effectively and accurately pass the key messages across to all stakeholders.

Is the agency interested in expanding to neighboring countries or affiliating to an agency with global presence?

As you may already know, RedGecko is a member of the Verdant Zeal Group, it is the PR Subsidiary of the group which is a Pan-African company and we share in the vision of the group. At the moment, Verdant Zeal has got offices and operations in Ghana and Gambia and we as RedGecko provide PR support to the Ghana and Gambia operations.

We are not in any way averse to affiliations, the possibility is being explored but one thing we will ensure is that at any point we decide on entering into that marriage with any global firm, it will be a union that will be beneficial to both parties and not just a name change.

What do you enjoy about this job?

The opportunity to work on diverse brands across industries. The insight and learning that comes from each brief and each project. The fact that PR is a management function thus makes it that in most cases your interaction is with the best of each industry, this thus brings with it, much learning, high level interaction and insight.

How do you relax when you are not in the office?

Hmmm…Ordinarily, when not in the office, the two most likely places to catch me will be at home (watching movies, catching up with family or just having my ‘Me with me time’) or at Church (For one meeting or the other).

These largely depends on what time or day of the week it is.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Succinct, Caring and Committed