by MarkLives (@marklives) Every month we ask a handpicked selection of PR execs to each select ONE feature, news article or research report (accessible online) that they believe their peers would benefit from reading. Next up are Nelisa Ngqulana, Vusi Mbatha, Bianca Gardella, Samantha Perry, Mandlakazi Sigcawu and Cheryl Barnett. Bond, connect, engage, involve, join — welcome to The Interlocker!

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Nelisa Ngqulana’s pick

Africa Communications Week: Communications experts call for greater role in Africa’s development

Nelisa NgqulanaThe Africa Communications Leadership Report was published in February 2018 featuring the expert opinion of 40 professionals from different countries, institutions, sectors and disciplines on the role of communications in the socio-economic development of the African continent. The report is an initiative of Africa Communications Week, a global campaign that takes place 21–25 May 2018. It highlights what we’ve always known: communication is a tool that can contribute to Africa’s development.

  • Comms is a strategic tool that deserves a seat at the highest tables in the corporate sector and in policy-making.
  • The use of language: we need to develop a language that influences and positions a balanced narrative of the continent and its nations through telling our own stories and sharing them with the world.
  • Communications practitioners are in a great position to monitor and correct any misrepresentation about Africa. Perceptions have an impact on investment into Africa.

PR’ing Africa must be a deliberate agenda among African communicators within the continent and in the diaspora.

— Nelisa Ngqulana (@neli_ngqulana) is founder and senior communications strategist at PR Trends ZA


Vusi Mbatha’s pick

Adweek: 4 Steps for Effectively Managing a PR Crisis

Vusi MbathaWhat did a crisis actually look like for brands before the digital age? Before millennials knew how to torment brands on their smartphones with video cameras and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter? Despite the advancement of technology (or what would be considered paraffin to a crisis), the principles of crisis management remain the same.

Social media experts, PR specialists and brand managers have one thing in common when it comes to a crisis; they need to align on one solid strategy. In the social media led world we live in, it has become a question of when, rather than if. It is apparent, given some of the recent crises, that a brand can never be too prepared for what could not only be considered a reputational but an economical risk. Where do you begin to protect a brand in an age of digital media that is in the hands of consumers? What is your plan?

Everyone has their way of tackling a crisis, but the core of it is highlighted in this article that provides a great guideline of how to go about it.

— Vusi Mbatha (@VooseMoose) is a senior social media manager at Ogilvy & Mather South Africa


Bianca Gardella’s pick

Forbes: 13 Strategies For Marketing To Generation Z

Bianca GardellaFrom millennials to the next generation — Gen Z — these are our new consumers. And, so, we need to carefully consider how we adapt our communications to ensure relevance and therefore effectiveness. Using the same strategies and tactics simply won’t work; they are true digital natives and they, as consumers, are very different from their older siblings, the millennials. We will be communicating to a generation who have only known social media and technology; who are easily distracted and use multi-platforms for news and information; and who come with more distrust of brands and ask for more engaging, relevant and meaningful content.

This piece highlights the need for communicating on multiple touch points; the need to move away from fluff; to speak to their needs; to entertain; to understand that data is key; and to inform.

For me, the opportunity of adapting strategy and communication to a new generation is an exciting one: we have the opportunity of speaking to consumers who are really invested in a company culture, who are open-minded and who are accepting of small brands and companies with valuable missions.

— Bianca Gardella is an account director at OFYT


Samantha Perry’s pick

ITWeb: WOAN monopoly a ‘terrible idea’ – MTN

Samantha PerryWhat I’ve been reading? Coverage of the hearings that Icasa held on the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill — specifically the submissions on the proposed wholesale access network (WOAN) getting sole access to high-demand spectrum used for mobile data networks. I won’t bore you all to tears with a discussion on infrastructure competition in the telecoms sector but let’s take it as a given that competition is a good thing and that business is, in this case, better positioned than government to rollout and manage telecommunications networks. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who was trying to do business in the Telkom monopoly era. It’s expensive and inefficient. Short version? Government is trying to create a wholesale access network monopoly on high-speed spectrum. Industry is, for the most part, divided on the issue. ITWeb has provided a pretty good round up of the opposing views.

Why am I reading it? Because things like this impact our ability to do our jobs. Without decent, fast, affordable internet infrastructure, the very fabric of how our businesses operate changes, costs rise and… you get the idea.

— Samantha Perry (@samanthaperry) is Johannesburg agency lead at Irvine Partners


Mandlakazi Sigcawu’s pick

General news: Learning from the Tiger Brands listeriosis fiasco 

Mandlakazi SigcawuThe Tiger Brands listeriosis fiasco has brought home a fundamental truth about modern corporate reputation management. Quite simply, in the time of social media-fuelled consumer activism, there is no place to hide in a crisis. But more than that, a company’s reputation and its behaviour are inextricably linked, and can’t be separated by means of public relations, no matter how sophisticated. This means what a company does, more than what it says, is a key driver of reputation building and requires a rethink of traditional reputation management.

It means a company’s values and ethics matter more than ever. These cannot simply be a set of lofty ideals hanging on the boardroom wall. They must be lived by the leadership and infused in every aspect of company behaviour. That way, employees will know how to act in any situation without being told, and the chances of the organisation being caught with its pants down dramatically reduced.

— Mandlakazi Sigcawu is corporate affairs manager, southern Africa area for British American Tobacco SA


Cheryl Barnett’s pick

The Media Online: Hang on for the ride: Why mobile marketing is the most exciting thing in 2018

It still surprises me how many businesses have not considered their mobile Cheryl Barnettpresence as an important part of their strategy, with an impressive 74% of the 40m local browsers in December coming from mobile devices, according to Effective Measure’s “South Africa Online” report. There are effective ways to make thumb-stopping content using programmatic native video and live content, virtual reality and 360-degree video. A brand can ensure its message is read when it’s most convenient for the audience.

I feel mobile-first is a vital step to bear in mind when you are working on any communication plan regardless of the industry.

— Cheryl Barnett (@CherylABarnett) is chief digital enthusiast at $0c1@L Consultancy


MarkLives logoLaunched in 2018, The Interlocker is a monthly newsletter (available as a regular column on MarkLives, too) in which we ask a handpicked selection of PR execs to each select ONE feature, news article or research report (accessible online) that they believe would benefit their peers to read and why. Sign up here!

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