Examining the Internet as a Strategic Corporate Communication Tool in Public Relations Practice
The Internet as an innovative platform housing multiple channels of communication is largely responsible for the presence of businesses on the web space. As a result, businesses soon find themselves in a position, not only to feed Internet channels with content but also to manage the content vis-à-vis content on other platforms. In the context of the Nigerian financial services industry, this calls the attention of public relations (PR) practitioners who are positioned in the corporate affairs department to manage the image of the financial institutions they represent. The objective of this study, therefore, was to gain an understanding of the contributions in the literature with respect to the Internet as a communicative tool for businesses. Although the literature has little or no evidence from Nigerian markets, theoretical arguments indicate many uses of the Internet for business communication by PR practitioners resulting in a new communication model proposed by Hoffman & Novak (1996). An attempt to situate these theoretical positions within a local context led the researchers to carry out a pilot study which revealed that there is a gap between internet channels initiated by business and the business objective of opening up such channels. As a result, there is a tendency of such channels to target the wrong audience – calling for the need for further research with empirical evidence.
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