The future fit PR professional: highlights of IPR 2020 National PR and Communications Summit/AGM


A story is told of how a certain mobile telephony company which used to be an industry top player in the 1990s and early part of the 2000s but have had to relinquish that dominance to the likes of Samsung, Apple, etc largely because it failed to adapt to evolution of technology relevant to that sector.

In a sharp contrast, we have seen and heard of businesses that have had to expand and improve their operations because they preempted a possible change in how business is likely to be conducted in the future and adjusted accordingly.

Practitioners of Public Relations and Communications in Ghana have certainly been thinking and having conversations like the latter group of businesses and are preempting the emergence of new ways of doing things post COVID-19.

This new way of thinking has led to an interestingly mind stimulating 2020 annual National PR and Communications Summit and AGM which took place at the placid Volta Serene Hotel located in the Volta regional capital, Ho not the unlikely capital of the Trans Volta Togoland.

With a buzzing atmosphere of newly admitted Associates and Accredited members cheery with smiles and inaudible sound as though to say we are proud to belong to an association which is led by the accomplished Mawuko Afadzinu of Stanbic Bank fame, the desires of many to see a lot of reforms carried out within the shortest possible time remains ignited.

Special Guest of Honor, Alhassan Andani, who is the outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic Bank Ghana in his address disclosed that as a Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic bank Ghana, he always put PR in the middle of everything that he does. Saying, his job at Stanbic Bank has taught him the importance of PR.

“If you want future-fit IPR, undo your thinking about safe, secure organization, undo your thinking about co-creating solution and be guided by the principles of your profession. Strategy is everything but execution is everything else. The future fitness is not to be analytical but to be imaginative and creative,” Mr. Andani said.

During a panel discussion moderated by Ivy Heward-Mills of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Public Relations and Communications Professionals were urged to be adaptable to the times in which they find themselves as a result of the novel coronavirus which according to industry watchers would affect how business is conducted going forward.

According to Professor Ebo Hinson, Head of Marketing Department of the University of Ghana, the PR and Communications Professional’s ability to demonstrate that he/she has the requisite skill set to get the task done would be more desirable than one’s academic qualifications post Covid-19 pandemic. “PR practitioners must begin to take sharpening of their technological knowledge very serious,” he urged.

Cynthia Ofori-Dwumfuo, Group Head, Marketing and Corporate Affairs at Hollard Ghana observed that PR professionals are known to be storytellers, however, with recent happenings, that is no longer the case but rather the methods of putting out such stories are what matters.

She underscored the need for PR professionals to constantly augment their craft of storytelling with digital technology. “Tell the story about ourselves. Why we do what we do. As PR people, we must not wait to be told what to do. Early bird gets the worm,” she reiterated.

Dr. Ken Ashigbey, Chief Executive officer of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, indicated that relationship building is crucial to the “functionability” of the PR professional. “People who are storytellers must learn how to build relationships. People need to learn how to manage their bosses. Everyone has a price. Get your bosses to get a buy-in. That way, you are able to perform your tasks well without much difficulty,” he advised.

Key points from the summit:

  1. Intersectionality is a key requirement of a PR practitioner; be prepared to learn from other disciplines to aid your work.
  2. Being Imaginative and Creative would come in handy if you want to be a future-fit PR professional.
  • COVID-19 has taught as that we cannot do away with technology in a fast changing world; embrace it.
  1. Advocacy and Lobbying are key vehicles by which the post COVID-19 PR professional can achieve the requisite results.
  2. The future-fit PR practitioner must learn to be the architect of the message not wait to be called to sing and dance about it.

The 2021 IPR National PR and Communications Summit/AGM would take place in the Western Region. I look forward to seeing you there.

>>>the writer is a PR and Communications Professional. Contact: [email protected]; Facebook/IG and Twitter – Nate Ekue Mensah

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