Building a solid corporate sports brand
Juliet Bawuah arrives at the studio for her photoshoot somewhere in the capital. She is 30 minutes ahead of time. As the photographer sets up for the session, she gets made up for the day’s theme. It is a life she is familiar with being in front of the camera for years and coming into our homes every other night in recent times on TV3.
As all of that takes place, she constantly reaches for her phone to communicate with her subordinates back at the workplace, to keep an eye on the day’s work. She is either on the phone with the team in Kumasi or following up on a story in Takoradi, where Black Stars player, Samuel Owusu has agreed to adopt a young boy from a story the team worked on recently.
It is beautiful chaos and cocktail of seeing things through that enables her to keep an eye on the team nationwide. It’s been like this since July 2020, when she was appointed Group Head of Sports at Media General, the media company that owns TV3, 3FM, Onua FM and Onua TV in Accra as well as Akoma FM in Kumasi and Connect FM in Takoradi.
The experience she says has been a good one. “This has been a good experience so far. We have achieved so much as a team in less than a year and that gives me the encouragement to push forward.”
After previous stints, Juliet returned to TV3 in June 2019 from Cardiff University, where she did her masters. Exactly a year on, she took up the role to lead the group’s sports team nationwide. It is Juliet’s first time managing a team of that size.
“Managing a team of this size and reach comes with a lot of dedication and giving it your all. I learn every day. Even though I continue to do my on-air duties, it is a shift into managing people full-time and that comes with a different skill set. We have done great so far given the feedback that has come in.”
Less than a year into the role, Juliet has led a complete transformation for sports content across the group, uniquely building sub-brands such as 3Sports that acts as an umbrella for everything sports on TV3 and 3FM. A similar project is underway for Onua, Akoma and Connect, she tells us.
Midway through the photoshoot, Juliet would learn of her nomination in two categories (Video Short Feature Shortlist – Football Behind bars and Video Athlete Profile Shortlist – Pursuit in passion in kids’ gloves: Prince ‘The Buzz’ Larbie takes early steps to greatness) in the International Sport Press Association (AIPS) Awards for 2020. Previously, in the same scheme in 2019, she was Top Ranked Entrant (Number 1 work in Africa, 7th in the World – Video Short Feature category).
Her other awards include Finalist, Sports Journalist of the Year, National Communications Awards, Ghana – 2020, Winner, Sports Journalist of the Year, National Communications Awards, Ghana – 2019, Winner, Ghana Outstanding Women Awards (GOWA), Sports Journalist, Ghana – 2019 and Finalist – Sports Media Pearl Awards, Dubai – 2015.
Juliet’s signature of excellence is seen all over the Media General brands she oversees. The footprints cover radio, television and digital properties where there has been an intentional drive to make the content competitive.
The initiatives are numerous from the first election debate on sports in Ghana to creating digital-specific content that ensures the brands stay engaging all the time. On-air programming has also been enriched with the introduction of new shows across the mediums.
“We have so far strengthened our on-air programming to the point where we are able to fully convince ourselves that we’ve got something going that is competitive. There is more work to be done as we prepare to consolidate this with refreshing content that helps us deal with audience share and the bottom line.”
In the years ahead, Juliet is hopeful that most of the gains made will positively shape the brand Media General seeks to build. “Sport is an essential part of the bigger Media General story, and I am happy to be working with a team of people who also share in the vision and mission. We enjoy great support from management and that gets us going.”
Juliet’s current on-air duties range from hosting, reporting and production. A very hands-on person, she has demonstrated the ability to filter through challenges and address them, one of such is GPL Xpress, which came to fill the gap in the coverage of the Ghana Premier League.
“This is a game-changer. It was as though this was what the football industry was waiting for. That they are able to have a magazine show that follows all the Ghana Premier League teams and guarantees them the right amount of coverage team-by-team, is one hailed as a good call.
“I believe in the domineering effect of using content to cause-correct things and we have done brilliantly so far not just with GPL Xpress but with all the programs we continue to churn out and the initiatives and results these stories garner. When you look at our story on how football is used as a reformation tool at the Nsawam Prisons and how we later got Cameroonian goalkeeper Andre Onana to support one of the inmates, for me, that is one of the things that matter in this job; impact.”
Across Africa, Juliet continues to enjoy enormous appeal for her work over the years. Prior to TV3, Juliet worked at CITI FM, ETV, Metro TV, the global football website Goal, CafOnline, Euronews’ sister station, Africanews. She also contributes to Premier League TV, LA Liga TV, BBC, Aljazeera, and the Turkish broadcaster TRT.
Juliet is Radio Netherlands Training Centre (RNTC) trained and an alumna of the US State Department-sponsored International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a professional exchange program that welcomes current and emerging leaders in a variety of fields.
Her other professional affiliations cover Ballon d’Or (Women’s Category) – Member; Voting Jury, CAF African Footballer of the Year – Member; Voting Jury, FourFourTwo Awards – Member; Voting Jury, CAF Media Expert – Member; Panel, International Sports Journalists Association (AIPS) – Member; Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG) – Member; and the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) – Member.
She is also Founder of the Africa Women’s Sports Summit, CEO of Sportted Ghana Limited, a boutique sports agency and also the Brand & Strategy Relations Manager at Berekum Chelsea Football Club.