Interviews

We provide the best services to our clients for every engagement – Theodore Nyingifa, Lead Consultant, Without A Box

Theodore Nyingifa, Lead Consultant, Without A Box

Theodore Nyingifa is the Lead Consultant of Without A Box, a young, thriving PR agency in Nigeria with significant prospects for growth. In this interview with the MediaConsortium team, Nyingifa spoke about the agency’s innovative ideas, competitive edge, and other key issues.

Overview of PR Industry

Post-Covid, the importance of public relations and marketing communications has increased significantly. Many individuals, small enterprises, big organisations and government agencies now understand the value of public relations. Poor communication has been a significant factor in many challenges, leading clients to prefer engaging experts. Truly, the industry has made progress, but there are still challenges, especially in how agencies operate compared to other countries. The question is, are we truly doing it right compared to other climes? However, I know that there’s a room for improvement.

Public Relations and Quackery

Many people mistakenly believe that PR is easy. Some individuals who manage information within organizations consider themselves PR professionals, but they often lack a true understanding of the field. Because of how the industry is, many people feel that, it’s an easy field. In my early years in the field, there was this concern I had about who true PR professional was. For instance, today if you put out vacancy for a role as a PR Consultant, we receive applications of so many applicants with zero PR background, even when criteria is clearly stated, when you engage a few applicants about their past roles, the will say they had worked as P.R.O. in some organisation. And because of that, these applicants feel they are communication experts. When you engage them further, you will discover that, they don’t truly understand it. Experience and training are crucial; studying mass communication alone does not make one a professional.

While quackery is not the main challenge, clients in this clime of our sometimes like to dictate to agencies how to do the work. Some clients often prefer agencies they can dictate to, however you will come to understand that this is not just a PR issue but a wider Nigerian problem.

What Makes One a Communications/PR Professional?

To be considered a communications or PR professional, one must have a background in media and marketing communications, which includes public relations. Theoretical understanding is essential, however actual on field practice, training and experience is key. I’d say to call yourself a PR professional or an expert in this field, you must have a thorough understanding and experience in the areas of; creative writing, strategic planning, crisis communication/stakeholder management. Etc., To call yourself an expert, we are talking successful practice for no less than 10 years.

Innovative Ideas of Without A Box

One of the most innovative projects we’ve undertaken is the Mamador August Women’s Meeting. This meeting, a tradition in the East, brings women together from far and wide to discuss developmental ideas and chart a way forward for their community. Mamador, one of our clients, had been repositioned to empower and support women, which aligned perfectly with the spirit of the August Women’s Meeting. However, due to travel restrictions caused by Covid-19, there was a need to innovate. This birthed the organization of the first virtual Mamador August Women’s Meeting, where women of all tribes and walks of life came together to discuss ideas. The goal was to foster growth and development.

Another recent and ongoing project is the relaunch of the Joy Soap brand. We created a campaign called “My Life, My Script” to address the stereotypes women face. Society often dictates how women should look, what they should wear, and how they should live. Also, the society has created a standard for beauty. For some people, a woman has to be curvy before she’s considered beautiful, forcing women to do a lot of things just to fit into society settings. We wanted to challenge these stereotypes and empower women to live authentically. To do this we, we produced a documentary that exposed what many of these women suffered or are suffering due to societal pressure and stereotypes they’ve had to put up with. This campaign #MyLifeMyScript was designed to promote beauty in its natural and authentic form, every woman is beautiful, the world should not determine whether they are beautiful or not. For us to achieve this, we must continue to change the narrative and how people think. The documentary went a step further to engage some advocates of these stereotypes to highlight the consequences of their actions. The campaign has received encouraging feedback.

The last project I’ll mention is Premier Cool BRB, which stands for Blue Room Banters. Men often struggle silently with various issues, because again society say that a man must be strong and tough, making many suffer in silence. Premier Cool, one of our clients, felt it was important to address this concern, and this brought about the creation of the Blue Room Banters (BRB) a show that provides a platform for men to come together and talk about their challenges, encouraging men to speak up, talk and seek help where and when necessary. Through that, Premier Cool now celebrates Men’s International Day in line with BRB, aiming to encourage men to seek help and support, as record has shown that suicide rate among men is on the rise.

Competitive Edge

Having worked in several agencies before starting Without A Box, I have gathered significant experience. At Without A Box, we aim to provide the best possible service our clients. We give our all to every engagement, which reflects in our performance and why clients choose us. We also prioritize staying youthful and energetic. We understand the responsibilities that come with this and are up to the task. Like many agencies, we face challenges with staff turnover. You find out that about 20/30% of staff are joining the Japa syndrome and there’s nothing you can do about it. But we are creating opportunities for fresh graduates to join us and receive on-the-job training.

Global Affiliation

Absolutely, innovation is key to survival. What sets us apart is our commitment to doing it at the right time and with the right partners. We are open to collaborations that will further enhance our services and provide bigger and greater opportunities for service.

Expectations

As a fast growing agency, we are working towards developing an idea/property of our own very soon that will become our mark in this space, not affiliated with any of our clients. An idea that we can proudly say is a Without A Box proprietary idea.

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