Bijl PR’s work often transcends national borders. To be able to tell our clients’ stories outside of the Netherlands, we are happy to rely on the help of our international colleagues from the Global Communications Alliance. A worldwide network of like-minded, independent agencies that together have many years of experience in the field of communication, PR and public affairs. Continuing our “Partners Abroad” series, we explore in three different editions what characterizes communication in Nigeria, the United States and Argentina. In this edition, we talk to Grace Alegeh, Partner at Credo Advisory in Nigeria.

The agencies of the Global Communications Alliance share local and international knowledge with each other. And we work together. By doing so, we support our clients as broadly as possible. We are proud that Bijl PR is part of this network that consists of 16 agencies, spread across Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Africa. Including Credo Advisory!  Credo is based in the city of Abuja, the captial of Nigeria. In 2023 they expanded to Washington D.C. and opened a new office in the American Capital.  Their expertise lies in development communications, public relations, corporate communications, community & event engagement, government communications, digital communications, and public affairs. Their work often has a social impact, using the Sustainable Developments Goals as guidelines.

Reduce hesitation and mistrust

In our work we want to reach different target groups for our customers, each with their own needs. But how do you deal with the different needs of these target groups? With a large population of about 200 million people and more than 250 ethnic groups, more than 500 languages are spoken in Nigeria. These different target groups must all be informed about the national Covid-19 vaccination campaign in which Credo Advisory participated. It was the team’s first time implementing a high-impact national campaign.

A complex case, in which a targeted and culturally sensitive approach was essential. Grace: “There was a lot of hesitation and mistrust among the Nigerian population regarding the vaccine. We made full use of data from social listening and collected input from the target group, town halls and journalists. We developed campaign messages and materials targeted at women, health workers, religious groups and traditional leaders to encourage vaccine acceptance and uptake. Thus, our public campaign materials incorporated local languages and other cultural nuances (e.g.dressing style). Working with the NPHCDA team, we produced targeted communication materials in the five major Nigerian languages at the national level, which were shared with the state-level NPHCDA staff for production in the local dialects of the beneficiary communities.”

Great fulfilment

When asked what case she is most proud of, Grace unsurprisingly answers: “I am very proud of the COVID-19 emergency response campaign. It was very satisfying to see how much awareness we achieved and the attention our campaign generated in various offline and online media. We are proud of the international recognition of our work; our case has been used in several studies. But most importantly, we were part of the national team that battled fake news and reduced vaccine hesitancy, which helped save lives. Nigeria had one of the lowest COVID-19-related deaths thanks to this approach.”

More room for creativity and strategy thanks to artificial intelligence

In addition to the common challenges, we also look forward to the future. How will our field develop in the near future? Grace thinks that artificial intelligence will play a bigger role in our daily work as communication professionals: “Work such as research, writing and media monitoring can be carried out faster thanks to this development, allowing communication experts gives us the opportunity to focus on other matters within our range of tasks, such as developing strategies and thinking creatively. In addition, I expect that virtual reality will be used more in awareness campaigns. Finally, short videos on (social) media platforms will remain relevant, partly due to the short attention span of the target group. Think of TikTok videos, YouTube shorts and Instagram reels.”

Bureaucratic and vibrant at the same time

With a distance of more than 4,000 miles and a population 12 times as large compared to The Netherlands, Nigeria is a different country in many ways. According to Grace, the high degree of bureaucracy is typical for Nigeria, which restricts the publication of agreed communication and action plans, and therefore affects the work. But fake news is also big in the country: “With the increase of social media and communication technologies, the distribution of fake news in Nigeria is an increasing problem. This is something that we as agencies must address. Nevertheless, our field consists of vibrant, highly creative and innovative experts with the ability to deliver excellent communication products and services.”

Your network = your net worth

Finally, we asked Grace about the best advice she ever received from a fellow professional. A simple, but effective piece of advice: “Your network is your net worth. Keep expanding your network.” She believes that building a good network, inside and outside your field, is extremely valuable: “These contacts can become long-term business partners or provide recommendations or referrals for relevant projects in the future.”

We agree with Grace! This is something the Global Communications Alliance proves very well. On to more knowledge sharing and collaboration on great projects!