Crisis Communication to the Rescue on KEDCO – TCN Saga By Sani Ibrahim Paki

Bill Gates, a onetime richest human being on earth once said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on Public Relations”. This submission no doubt reaffirms the place of good relationship management in creating and sustaining mutual benefit between individuals or corporate organisations and their relevant publics. It has been argued that no human being, either as an individual or as corporate organisation could prosper without the use of appropriate Public Relations strategies, as people no longer buy products, services or ideas, but relationships and brands.

In today’s world, Crisis Communication has been able to save individuals and corporate organisations huge sums of money that should ordinarily be spent on other ways in trying to recover battered images.

Understanding these principles among many others are part of the open secret that helped transform the brand identity of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company (KEDCO) in just seven months, courtesy of its hardworking Corporate Communications Unit under the leadership of Ibrahim Sani Shawai, a talented relationship management expert and Crisis Communication guru.

Though assumed this responsibility in June, 2019, a very trying time for the electricity distribution company, particularly when it had some misunderstanding with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), battling with them at one hand and confronting other customers related challenges, Shawai, within this short time has been able to fully used his journalism and Public Relations (particularly Crisis Communication) knowledge garnished with practical experience in changing KEDCO’s narrative to the better. He has ensured that the narratives about the company are not only good, but that the customers’ impression about it as well as having a shared experience with them is equally maintained.

Having more than two decades of experience in the fields of journalism (both print and broadcast) and Public Relations, Shawai has been able to use his vast knowledge in the area to strategically manage internal and external stakeholders thereby saving and uplifting the image of the company in several challenging situations. Now, virtually all the stories in media organisations about the company are of good taste, courtesy of his role.

With his sustained campaigns and customers’ mobilization, KEDCO customers are now aware and fully embrace the policies of the company. Policies and campaigns about adopting the metering system, ensuring prompt payment of monthly bills, discouraging meter bypassing and illegal connections, adopting digital transactions to comply with NERC’s cashless policy in the nations’ energy sector target among other issues are now familiar to virtually all their customers. It wasn’t like this before. In fact, it is on record that the rate of electricity related crimes has reduced drastically in the DisCo’s franchise area of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states.

Recall TCN had faceoff with DisCos in the country that led to suspension of some of them? That time, Shawai used his Crisis Communication experience in assisting KEDCO to survive the difficult terrain, to the extent that the company exited the challenge without suffering any damage. Only competent reputation managers could achieve that within the very short time.

Similarly, in the area of media relation, KEDCO under Shawai has been enjoying a mutually beneficial relationship with media outfits across the country. Understanding the power of well-planned and strategically implemented media relations strategies, the company has now surpassed its colleagues in the area of reputation management, without necessarily spending on advertisements.

Be that as it may, the company during its Managing Director’s Dinner and Award Night held recently honoured him with a special award of recognition for his outstanding performance in changing its brand identity. This timely award

In terms of human relation also, Shawai’s personality in terms of humility is second to none. He’s very jovial and friendly, not only to the external public, but also among his junior colleagues who work under him. I remember the first day I had an encounter with him when I went to his office, the way he interacts with his unit staff is enough to give any doubting Thomas a good testimonial of who he is.

It is therefore justifiable for one to conclude that anybody who exhibits such attitude to people under him when he could ordinarily choose to do otherwise will no doubt extend more of it to the external public – the customers and other stakeholders of the company. It is obviously justifiable for KEDCO to therefore honour him as a way of showing corporate appreciation and encouragement.

Sani Ibrahim Paki is Head, PRNigeria Centre Kano

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here