• Friday, June 21, 2024
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‘African PR practitioners need to embrace technology, anchor content on data’

‘African PR practitioners need to embrace technology, anchor content on data’

To create impactful narratives, build strong brands, and foster meaningful connections with target audiences, PR Practitioners must embrace technology, anchor content on data and research outcomes, experts have said.

They also said that both media and PR professionals also need to collaborate to address this challenge.
Speaking at a webinar session organised by Newmark Group Limited, Gilbert Manirakiza, CEO of Newmark Group, said the core of public relations and journalism are interconnected and reliant on trust.

Manirakiza, who spoke on the theme ‘Collaborating for Success: Unleashing the Synergy Between Media and PR Practitioners,’ in commemoration of World PR Day 2023, said as the media landscape becomes increasingly fragmented and the explosion of content automation looms, collaboration has become more crucial than ever.

“We must navigate this changing landscape together, ensuring that human-generated content remains distinguishable and trustworthy amid the rise of machine-generated content,” he said.

He noted that in the face of Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominance, partnerships must grow stronger to safeguard the integrity of information. In Africa, where technology consumption is high, public relation organisation have a unique role in mediating and engaging with these currents.

Joel Chacha, director at Portland Communications in Kenya reiterated that in the era of convergence and the shrinking news landscape, the challenge of capturing attention is universal, transcending borders.

“Attention spans have dwindled, and relatability and authenticity become paramount. In order to solve these challenges, we need to anchor our content in data and research, ensuring that strategic insights back every product launch or campaign,” he said.

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Omawumi Ogbe, the managing partner for GLG Communications in Nigeria, emphasised that the future of PR lies in embracing technology while staying rooted in our humanity.

“As we leverage AI, big data, and new media platforms, let’s remember the power of authenticity and traditional values. Marrying the past and the future allows us to maintain balance and ethical practices. PR means Public Relations, but the P equally stands for people, and by combining traditional and new approaches, we can set ourselves apart and deliver meaningful, ethical communication in the ever-evolving landscape,” Ogbe added.

The webinar served as a platform for professionals and student bodies from various African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Burundi, Ivory Coast, and others, to collectively learn the power of collaborations in harnessing public relations across diverse fields. Participants gained valuable insights, strategies, and practical tips for enhancing their communication efforts.

Addressing the importance of marrying traditional media with digital media, Dzifa Bampoh, manager of Corporate Communications at GRIDCo Ghana, said, “In the dynamic realm of African public relations, the growth of conglomerates brings opportunities and challenges. We must ensure that messaging respects local cultures while embracing digital strategies. Traditional media remains important, despite political influence on some outlets. Transparency, cultural sensitivity, and inclusivity are essential for shaping a balanced narrative.”

Sulaiman Aledeh, a Nigerian journalist, highlighted the significance of collaboration, stating, “As a journalist, embracing PR concepts allows you to uncover hidden narratives and shed light on untold stories. To excel in both fields, one must master the art and trade of each one, recognising the unique value they bring to the African media landscape.”