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Customs Equips PR Officers With Digital Communication Skills

In a digitalized world with many technological disruptions aimed at making work easier, the Nigeria Customs Service has identified the need to upgrade officers’ crisis/internal communication skills and compelling storytelling in the digital age.

The Service organized a three-day training and retreat with the theme “Upscaling PR Tools and Strategies for Optimum Performance” for its public relations officers across the nation at Customs Training College, Ikeja, Lagos.

The training according to National Public Relations Officer of Service DC Timi Bomodi was organized to equip officers of the Service spokespersons with advanced skills on the use of social media for public communication, how to detect and manage crisis in the present age using digital tools and writing effective stories.

“The aim of this event is to strengthen our Public Relations Officers in managing and responding effectively to issues in the present digital age. This is considered necessary due to vital roles played by Nigeria Customs in protecting the nation’s borders and contributing to the economic development of our dear nation”

The event featured lectures and practical sessions by seasoned public relations practitioners, scholars and broadcast journalists. Yushau Shuaib, editor of PR Nigeria facilitated the session on the use of social media for public communication and contemporary issues in media relations. Ganiu Okunnu of the Department of Public Relations and Advertising, Lagos State University conducted the simulation sessions on crisis management tips in the digital age and harnessing internal communication for reputation management. Abayomi Adisa of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Africa) provided techniques for writing an effective story on digital media.

The event is part of a series of ongoing intellectual empowerment programmes aimed at strengthening the capacity of the officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.

Speaking on the theme of the programme, the Commandant Customs Training College (CTC), Ikeja, Comptroller Kalamu Ayinde Aremu pointed out that the management of the online reputation and brand identity of an organisation through the purposeful use of digital and social technologies are essential in the digital age.

While urging the Customs spokesperson to utilize Digital Media for Public communications he said “Public communicators should develop a passion for their profession by being innovative and creative in their messaging, especially in this digital age,”

In his presentation on ‘Effective Public Communication in a Digital Age,’ the Editor-in-Chief of PRNigeria, Yushau Shuaib said the advancement in technology has transformed public relations with social media expanding the channels used to engage with new audiences in build reputations.

He said: “With the Immediacy of social media, some of the characteristics of online PR campaigns include deployments of hypertextuality by utilising hyperlinking and web-Linking to posts. Similarly, multimediality of integrating video, audio and images in Digital media platforms enhances interactivity through comments and engagements.

“The notable tools of engagement are computers, smartphones, editing software, search engine and sharing platforms.” He added

Other speakers including Ganiu Okunnu of Lagos State University (LASU) and Abayomi Adisa of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in their different presentations on crisis communication and Story Telling urged participants to utilise modern tools of engagement as they practice their profession.

According to them, doing so will help them sustain mutually-beneficial relationships with their target audiences.

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