The Role of Research in Contemporary Public Relations Campaigns: A Case of Nigeria’s Change-Begins-with-Me Rebranding Initiative
Nigeria’s Change-begins-with-me campaign is aimed at instilling discipline and patriotism among the citizenry. Though it is intimately tied to the electioneering campaign mantra of the All Progressive Congress (APC), it took the Federal Government 15 months after taking over office to unfold this national rebranding initiative, thereby presupposing that the initiators of the campaign were not really prepared for it. This paper, therefore, aims at evaluating the empirical and theoretical role of research in this public relations campaign, from implementation checking, that is ensuring the target audience is reached; to in-progress monitoring, that is ensuring the campaign goes on as originally intended; and ending with outcome evaluation, which involves assessing the impact the campaign so far has. The survey research method was used within-depth interview of100 respondents and 10 top Government officials involved in the campaign. Hebert Kelman’s processes of opinion change, Fritz Heider’s attribution theory and Leon Festinger’s cognitive dissonance theory formed the theoretical framework for this study. Findings show that adequate research was not applied at all phases of the initiative; and to ensure this trend is reversed, it was recommended, among others, that the operators should be more research-oriented in the monitoring, evaluation and implementation of the campaign.
Keywords: Campaign, Change-begins-with-me, public relations, rebranding, research, and attitudinal change.