Newmark Group, a pan-African Integrated Marketing Communications firm, held a webinar session with pan-African experts from the fields of public relations and media to address the growing threat of disinformation and its adverse impact on economic progress.
The webinar held under the theme “Collaborating for Success: Unleashing the Synergy Between Media and PR Practitioners” was in commemoration of World PR Day 2023 and is aimed at highlighting the importance of collaboration between PR Practitioners and media professionals necessary to create impactful narratives, build strong brands, and foster meaningful connections with target audiences.
The relationship between media and PR has been dynamic and interdependent throughout history. However, the digital age has disrupted this dynamism, with social media empowering individuals and challenging traditional PR tactics. This has called for reflecting on the transformative journey of media and PR, emphasizing the crucial need for transparent and ethical communication.
(TOP: Gilbert Manirakiza, the CEO of Newmark Group).
Speaking at the session, Gilbert Manirakiza, the CEO of Newmark Group, said: “At their core, public relations and journalism are interconnected and reliant on trust. As the media landscape becomes increasingly fragmented and the explosion of content automation looms, our collaboration becomes more crucial than ever. We must navigate this changing landscape together, ensuring that human-generated content remains distinguishable and trustworthy amidst the rise of machine-generated content. In the face of Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominance, our partnership must grow stronger to safeguard the integrity of information. In Africa, where technology consumption is high, we have a unique role in mediating and engaging with these currents.”
The webinar featured an esteemed panel of industry leaders, including: Manirakiza, Ms Omawumi Ogbe, Managing Partner of GLG Communications in Nigeria; Joel Chacha, Director at Portland Communications in Kenya; Ms Dzifa Bampoh, Manager of Corporate Communications at GRIDCo Ghana; and Sulaiman Aledeh, a renowned Nigerian Journalist. The panelists engaged in insightful discussions on the importance of collaboration between media and PR practitioners, sharing their expertise and experiences.
Joel Chacha reiterated: “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.”
Since its inception in 2021, World PR Day has been held to recognize the power and influence of Public Relations in shaping opinions, driving change, and fostering understanding. This annual event serves as a reminder of PR’s pivotal role in modern society, promoting effective communication practices globally.
Ogbe 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.”
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, Ms Dzifa Bampoh 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.”
Mr Sulaiman Aledeh, a distinguished 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, recognizing the unique value they bring to the African media landscape.”
The webinar marked a significant milestone in promoting collaboration and knowledge-sharing among African PR and media professionals. As the industry evolves, such initiatives continue to drive innovation, foster meaningful connections, and forge a path towards enhanced communication practices.
Newmark Group is a leading African Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) firm dedicated to providing innovative and strategic solutions for brands seeking to thrive in the African market. With a footprint in over 30 African countries, the Newmark team delivers communication strategies that empower clients to engage their stakeholder ecosystems while emerging as leaders in their sectors. The Newmark Group is dedicated to empowering African brands to globalize and global brands to localize, ensuring impactful storytelling and driving brand trust, love and success for clients.