PR Ghana Networking Event slated for 26th May

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F Project will host a PR/Communications Industry networking and cocktail event on Friday, 26th May, 2017 at Villa Monticello Hotel, allowing industry professionals in Ghana, an opportunity to connect, engage and reflect on the role of communications in Africa’s development.
This event will be one of concurrent meetings around the world, as part of the 1st annual Africa Communications Week (ACW), which takes place between May 22 and May 26 2017. Countries such as Nigeria, India, Belgium, South Africa, and Kenya will have similar networking events to dialogue on the role of communications in Africa’s development

Powered by a virtual international team of multi-talented communications professionals who share a vision for transformative change in Africa through strategic communications and in partnership with the World Communication Forum Association, Africa Communications Week’s key objective is to encourage and engage communicators across the board to critically assess how the communication industry impacts Africa’s development.

ACW is open to all communicators with an expertise/interest in Africa, from African countries and across the globe. “Along with other fields such as economics, agriculture and technology, communications now has the opportunity to position itself and demonstrate its relevance as a real management discipline that contributes significantly to Africa’s socio-economic rise. And this is a collective effort that the industry should lead”, explains co-founder Annie Mutamba.

The Africa Communications Week is supported by an advisory board of seasoned communications professionals passionate about changing Africa’s narrative. They include:
  • Wynne Musabayana, Head of Communications, Africa Union
  • Yana Dubeykovskaya, President World Communication Forum Association
  • Moky Makura, Country Representative South Africa, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Mimi Kalinda, MD Africa Communication Group
  • Khalid Baddou, Head of Communication Africa, Western Union
  • Thierry Hot, Founder, Rebranding Africa Forum
  • Tidiane Dioh, Fonctionnaire International & Media specialist
ACW’s special report on the role of communications in Africa’s development will be published annually featuring the research and informed opinions of communication experts from over 40 countries.

ACW also promotes knowledge and professional development by hosting informative webinars and masterclasses as well as providing practical tools on how Africa focused communicators can begin to advance more realistic narratives about Africa.

“It’s time to critically assess our role and impact and take more deliberate actions to shaping Africa’s narrative,” says ACW co-founder Eniola Harrison.

Source: Cypress Entertainment

E’April Public Relations to organise first Women in Public Relations Ghana seminar

WIPR Ghana Seminar

E’April Public Relations, an Accra-based PR Agency in partnership with the Institute of Public Relations (IPR), Ghana will organise a one (1) day Women in Public Relations Ghana seminar.

The seminar which is premised on the theme “Empowering Today’s PR Woman”, will be the first of its kind in country. It will seek to provide an avenue for women in Public Relations, Communications and the media industry to discuss and deliberate on issues around the profession.

Speaking on the upcoming seminar, Founder of the event, Ms. Faith Senam Ocloo, indicated that the seminar will be an annual event which will be aimed at creating a platform for top PR Women professionals to educate, equip and empower young PR professionals and students in their chosen fields.

“Women in PR Ghana Seminar is dedicated towards mentoring the next generation of young PR and communication professionals who are confident of the skills they have acquired and well equipped to deliver when and wherever they find themselves”, she said.

Ms. Ocloo intimated that the Public Relations profession around the world is evidently dominated by women, with women inclusive at every level except for the very top which is typically reserved for men.

“The Women in PR Ghana Seminar will work towards bridging the gap and mentoring the younger generation to be ready and able to take up leadership roles in their various organizations” Ms Ocloo added

The Women in PR Ghana seminar will have renowned PR Women speaking on topics such as choosing a career in PR, pitching and building media relationship, social media for today’s PR woman, rising up the corporate ladder among others. It will also involve panel discussions on issues concerning the profession and personal branding.

The Women in PR Ghana seminar is scheduled to take place on Saturday 1st July, 2017 from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the World Trade Center and will gather several PR students and professionals across various industries and organizations.

For further information and enquires, email at womeninprghana@gmail.com and follow Women in PR Ghana on all social media pages.

A rewarding career in Corporate Communication

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By: Gifty Bingley

Over the past few months, I have taken up some speaking engagements at the Ghana Institute of Journalism about a career in Communications. Outside the office hours, I am also mentoring two young ladies that have just started their careers in Internal Communication and Public Affairs. We meet once a month to talk through some of their projects and what the next steps should be. I have also volunteered as a communications consultant for some start-ups.

A career in Corporate Communications is very rewarding and fulfilling – no two campaigns or projects are the same and you often get to think and execute outside the proverbial box. The objectives, strategy and tactics are always different and depending on the target audience, product/service, budget … you can switch it up or down.

It is also exciting because it offers various specialized roles including Internal/Employee Communication and Engagements, Public Relations – this could include government relations, policy formulation and analysis or both, Corporate Social Responsibility/Social Investment and more recently Social Media/Digital engagements.

Often I find myself and members of the team in different roles other than our job titles and this varies from project to project.

Together as a team/department our single most important focus is to build a great reputation that drives a positive business climate for the organisation.

The bottom line for every business is to deliver value for shareholders. How do we deliver such value if there is no deliberate plan to building a great reputation for the business among various stakeholders?

This is summed up by the famous American Business leader, John Rockefeller, that “next to doing the right thing the most important thing is to let people know that you are doing the right thing.”

Employees need to know that you are doing the right thing, customers need to know and so do other stakeholders including the communities where we operate, regulators, government, shareholders, potential employees, etc.

And there are various ways of keeping these people informed, right from newsletters to press conferences, op-ed, roadshows, town-halls through to social media channels. Increasingly we need to think through our plans and develop compelling content.

It is not an easy job though especially for people who like to sit still. With the range of content, contacts and relations that we need to build including media, events and speaking engagements for senior executives, it is impossible to sit still unless you have an agency on a monthly retainer. Even then my suggestion is that you still go ahead to engage so that you can effectively add-on and support the agency.

Again, you would struggle if you are not open to learning new ways of communicating and measuring success. I will be honest here, what I used to practice in 2010 is far different from now, so much has changed including some of the tools and channels that I used to work with. It is constantly evolving. Like it or not, digital and social media has completely changed our relationship with the public and how we communicate with them and vice versa. The emphasis is ‘engagement’ rather than the ‘filter down theory’.

Like every job though, you need to work hard and consistently put in your very best to be successful. You would certainly love your role if you are passionate, very creative and resourceful, dedicated and committed and most importantly have integrity.

I transitioned from broadcast journalism to this field and it’s been very exciting. I have learnt a lot by reading, learning on the job – from line managers and colleagues. I often ask a lot of questions and I am not afraid to ask for help from colleagues and mentors. I also have a small group of friends who share ideas, discuss various strategies and tactics and I would certainly recommend joining bigger networks such as the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, UK and the  Institute of Public Relations, Ghana – the continuous professional development programmes have been amazing.

More and more business leaders in Ghana appreciate the value that we add to the business strategy and I certainly think it’s a great time to be a part of this profession.

 

Burson-Marsteller Africa CEO to head training workshop in Ghana

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Robyn De Villiers, will be in Ghana to facilitate a training workshop entitled Corporate Branding and Reputation Management.

The half day training program will take place on Wednesday, 26th of April, 2017, and will cover key areas in Corporate Branding and Reputation Management, such as the process involved in Discovering, Defining and Implementing a Corporate Brand.

The training program aims to bring corporate organisations and individuals to a common understanding of the significant impact of effective communications and the benefits derived from managing public relations well.

With 25-plus years’ experience in the field of Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Robyn founded a network of in country communications consultancies which provides local and international clients with market relevant communications services in over 50 African countries.

The Burson-Marsteller Africa network, of which Infocus Burson-Marsteller, Ghana, is a partner, is recognized locally and globally as the premier communications network on the continent and in 2016, Robyn was recognized by the Holmes Report, the PR industry’s most highly regarded trade publication globally, with an EMEA SABRE Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement.

A respected communications practitioner, Robyn is called upon by business associations and local and international communications associations to address, and facilitate training for, communications professionals, public relations and corporate communications students and corporate audiences on a range of topics including reputation management, issue and risk management and crisis communications management.

Commenting on her upcoming visit to Ghana, Mrs De Villiers said, “It is a privilege to visit Accra again and to be able to highlight the importance of effective corporate branding and reputation management to communications executives and organisations in Accra.  Globally it is accepted that CEOs are responsible for managing the reputations of their organizations and protecting the value of their corporate brands.  In my experience, this message is beginning to hit home in countries across Africa and I value the opportunity to   share my understanding of this increasingly important area of overall business success during my visit.”

Alberta Akosa, General Manager of Infocus Burson-Marsteller said, “Infocus Burson-Marsteller is honored with the presence of Mrs. De Villiers, an internationally recognized thought leader in corporate communications to facilitate the training, we extend invitationsto Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Senior Executives and Marketing Managers to participate as the Ghanaian market is growing increasingly competitive and customers are gradually evolving. Corporate branding and reputation management form part of organizational DNA and cannot be over looked.”

– Source: Citifmonline.com

A blender, a brand and a catastrophe: Case study of the Mawarko Foods crisis

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No one can accurately foresee when a crisis will happen. They are sudden and unpredictable. The key to this is in how prepared one is to mitigate a crisis in the first place and then manage the process of returning the situation back to normalcy.

In the corporate world a crisis could either tank your business or serve as a catalyst for the improvement of business processes. Some areas prone to creating issues which eventually turn into crises are labour, operations, and management and environmental activities among others. Organisations need to be mindful of the potential of sour issues going incredibly wrong.

One organization currently facing a crisis in full bloom is Mawarko Foods. The company is one of the well-known brands when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine. It is not uncommon to witness the unending queues of patrons, waiting their turn to sample a ‘Mawarco Shawarma’ et al.

Sadly, a recent incident involving the alleged maltreatment of staff on site seems to have shaken the foundation of business for this company. Organisations are not immune to crises. They need to insulate themselves from the devastating impact that crises can cause to their brands. History has taught the many of the effects of a crisis on the reputation of organisations with the likes of Enron, Domino’s Pizza and Johnson & Johnson.

In the grand scheme of things, one can use the Mawarko crisis as a case study on how a company should tackle any crisis and emerge reformed for future business operations.
The road to recovery starts with admitting that there is a problem (note that this may lead to and reach damaging proportions to the brand at the initial stage).Then a prudent switch to emergency mode and a prompt advance towards implementing a full crisis communication strategy to ameliorate circumstances must be pursued.

The purpose of the crisis communication strategy is to guide the organisation’s executives to communicate to its stakeholders and the general public on the events that have cast a negative perception on the integrity of the company; the crisis plan is the blue print of a clearly defined channel to alleviate negative repercussions.

One must always know that the media will do their job in sounding the alarm when things go wrong; but social media amplifies a crisis exponentially at astounding speed. This case is evidently a media crisis; it is important to understand the issues clearly, respond swiftly and to send out consistent messaging.

So, how did things get so out of hand for this company?

  1. Timing (delayed response): The issue happened on Sunday February 26, 2017; the company delayed their response (i.e. issuance of an official statement) until about a week after. By this time, different versions of the story had taken root in the minds of the public.
  2. Breach of crisis response protocol (the issue of spokesperson/s): It seems that there was no crisis management policy or strategy guiding the company in handling communications between the company and the outside world. Too many voices from the company were giving testimonies by granting interviews on behalf of the company.The official statement for instance, was attributed to the CEO, which should be no crime. However, two other staff, one is reported to be the “Public Relations Officer” and the other, a Supervisor, were heard on separate radio stations speaking on the issue and creating contradictions which undoubtedly inflamed tensions. Engagement with the media must strictly be for designated persons with the skill and approval from management.
  3. Social media and the missed opportunity: They missed the opportunity to actively use social media in time to reach the public. Public mob-waves began ganging up against the company with concerted cries from the public to boycott all services and products of the company. The issue began to   trend and spread on many other social media platforms.
  4. A struggling statement: Aside being late, the official statement from the company seemed wrought with contradictions. There were different accounts to the story from the various statements in the public domain which opened the company up for further mistrust and anger.
  5. Whistleblower Protection: This one is tricky but from the official statement given, the company created the impression that their internal structures were not strong. They stated categorically that though the issue happened, and was being managed by the HR department, management only got wind of the situation after the police   arrested the suspect.  Whistleblower protection is serious business. To ensure organiations are aware of all incidents within their walls it should offer immunity or full support and protection to staff who alert management of mishaps within the organisation.
  6. The “Lebanese company” tag: It emerged that the organisation is Ghanaian-owned and is headed by a Ghanaian. This was announced in their statement address and re-iterated by Lawyers for the firm during court proceedings. Granted that this fact is true, the company missed the opportunity to water down the “Lebanese companies exploit staff rhetoric”. Obviously, the Ghanaian public got enraged largely because the Supervisor was perceived as a hostile expatriate. However, regardless of the origin of the company, should the organisation have had a proactive crisis management strategy or plan  functioning, a large part of the company’s image could have been greatly salvaged.
  7. Distancing the brand from an individual:  In relation to the previous point, a clear crisis management plan would contain the situation enough to buy time for further investigations to be conducted. Clearly, this was an act of indiscretion on the part of an individual which was most unfortunate but should not have impacted the brand so.
  8. Connection between suspect and CEO: Because of the said family ties between the CEO and the suspect, the public felt the company was trying to sweep the incident under the carpet. Again, the company could have been smarter with their internal investigations and indicated their readiness not to tolerate any acts of abuse or bullying from Line Manager towards their Subordinates regardless of the relationship between  the alleged culprit and the owners of the company.

Someone aptly summed up the actions to take when hit with media crisis and the advise couldn’t be more concice.When handling a media crisis, be guided by these three principles:-

  1. If it cannot be explained, it cannot be defended:- If the issue is bad, own up to it and apologize.
  2. You’ve got to tell the truth; be selective. There’s a time and place for everything. Tell the truth and as little as you need to, but enough to please the media and the different stakeholders interested in the crisis. This is where a PR Specialist (in-house or retained) is needed to navigate the course of communications surrounding the crisis.
  3. When there’s a crisis, there’s also a great opportunity: the spotlight is already on the company: use it favourably to your advantage

Once the public sees a concerted effort to genuinely make amends all the tension will eventually subside.

Conclusion

Crises communication is a product of crises management. Crises management is a metamorphosis of issues management. Organisations need to deal with issues before they get out of hand. Ronald D. Smith, author of Strategic Planning for Public Relations, 2005 gave the analogy of  issues management being somewhat similar to steering a sailboat which runs with the wind. When the wind happens to be blowing in the direction you want it to go you make progress against the wind. Sometimes you need to work to have the wind in your favour, sometimes you stall when there is no wind; you adapt to a constantly changing environment. In a crisis, the analogy can be likened to riding out a storm on the high seas; the best anyone can do is drop the sails, hang on and hope the boat is strong enough to survive without too much damage.

The Mawarko story is now included in the library of crisis communication case studies for organisations to learn lessons from and students of Communications to dissect and earn marks for exams.

By:  Henking Klonobi Adjase-Kodjo

Profile: Patricia Sappor, Head of Corporate Communications, Ecobank

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Patricia Sappor is the Head of Corporate Communications at Ecobank, Ghana and Anglophone West Africa (AWA). In her role, she is responsible for Communications in Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Guinea.

Starting her career at the now defunct Bank for Housing and Construction, Mrs. Sappor joined the bank and handled customer complaints, enquiries and conducting investigations before joining the Accounts Department and Adabraka branch where she was a loans officer.

After more than a decade at the bank, she sojourned to the United Kingdom where she studied at City Banking College U.K, one of the world’s most prestigious banking colleges, from 1991-1995.

While studying Banking in the UK, she had a working experience with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), where she was trained in customer service and rose to become a customer service manager in one of its outlets in London. Upon graduating from the university, she became an Associate Member of the Institute of Financial Studies, U.K, in 1995.

On her return to Ghana, she was engaged by Ecobank as customer service expert to establish the bank’s Customer Service department. In the lead up to the integration between Ecobank Ghana and the erstwhile Trust Bank, she was engaged as the Post Integration Manager. In that role, she led the seamless integration of the two institutions.

After a decade of pioneering excellence in customer services, Rev. Pat was tasked with setting up one of its major branches of the bank at Osu. Due to her impressive communication skills and verve for customer service, she made Osu one of the best performing branches.

Her exemplary performance and achievements were so recognised that the Ecobank Group decided to engage her expertise in reshaping the entire group’s customer service and   elevated her to the position of Group Head of Customer Service, ensuring a positive Customer Experience across the 26 countries in Africa where Ecobank was present at the time.

She has proven expertise and rich experience in Branch Banking, Operations, Risk management, Treasury, Trade Services, and Customer Relations.

In 2008, Patricia was awarded a fellow of the Chartered institute of Bankers (Ghana) after obtaining her Associate Banker status with the Institute of Financial Services in the UK in 1995.

She is an alumnus of the University of Leicester, U.K, where she graduated with MBA (Finance Option).  She also holds a diploma in Public Relations and Reputational Management with the London School of Public Relations.

Patricia is the first female President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB) Ghana.

Profile: Pamela Djamson-Tettey

8_Pamela_Djamson_Tettey_Comms_and_Outreach_Director-0Pamela is the Director Communications and Outreach at the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) she is responsible for the successful management and implementation of all communications and stakeholder engagement strategies under Compact 2.

Pamela is an experienced Corporate Communications Executive with over 25 years’ experience, 18 years in senior management and 9 years’ experience in the mining industry.

Pamela’s areas of expertise include: Stakeholder Engagement, Strategic Communications, Branding, Media and Public Relations, Investor Relations, Government, Diplomatic Relations and Sustainable Development Management.

Prior to joining MiDA, Pamela was the Head of Corporate Affairs at Gold Fields Ghana, where she led the Public policy, Sustainable development, Government Relations, Communications, Media and sponsorship objectives of the company. She had earlier worked at Ashanti Gold Fields Company Limited where she held the position of Senior Public Affairs and Investor Relations Officer.

From 2001 – 2009 Pamela was the Executive Director and Director Corporate Relations at Diageo Ghana- Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL). As a member of the Board of Directors of GGBL and a key member of the GGBL Executive team her responsibilities included a wide range of business critical agendas including; Corporate Communications,  Public Policy, Stakeholder Engagement, Strategic Planning, Corporate Brand Reputation Management , Sustainable Development and key Spokesperson for GGBL.

Pamela holds a BA (Cum Laude) degree in International Relations from the United States International University Herts. UK, and San Diego California, USA (1982-1985), Postgraduate Diploma (Merit), Politics & Diplomacy, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK (1985 – 1986) and an MA degree in International Relations, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK (1986-1987).

Additionally, she has attended several courses; Investor Relations for Senior Managers – NYSE, Strategic Leadership , Stakeholder Engagement & Networking Strategy, Sustainable Development Management, Brand & Corporate Reputation Management, Change Management, Mergers & Acquisitions among others.

She is an Accredited member of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR) Ghana.

Source: MiDA Website