Mr. Gayheart Mensah, Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O.) of KomsKraft Consult, has urged Public Relations (PR) practitioners and communicators to offer confidence and optimism to their stakeholders, given the COVID-19 pandemic in which the world finds itself.
Declaring that “fear is contagious; so is hope”, he said today’s publics of organisations have been consumed by isolation, boredom, stress, job losses, erosion of incomes, loss of symbols of normal life among many others.
Consequently, “the PR fraternity must lead in a way that offers hope in the face of the anxieties: we must commit to a message of hope”.
Mr. Mensah was delivering a lecture at the Maiden Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) Alumni Association Webinar in Accra.
Past students of the institute from diverse locations including the UK, Scotland and the USA participated in the webinar under the theme “Journalism and PR Teaching and Practice in a COVID-19 Era”.
Mr. Mensah, who is the President of the GIJ Alumni Association, advised a revision of PR approaches in the context of the pandemic to align with changing priorities. He identified three perspectives to messaging and stakeholder priorities that are relevant today. First is the “Near-term periscope into the crisis”, which he said refers to providing insight into how Covid-19 is impacting employees, stakeholders and the larger public. The second is the “Mid-term blueprint of what recovery might look like”, whilst the third is the “Long-term roadmap”, visualizing the global village when it surfaces from the ashes of the pandemic”.
He encouraged PR professionals to avoid insensitivity and opportunism in their messaging, strive to be useful and not clever in what they communicate, demonstrate ample empathy in their messaging and “demonstrate that our publics, particularly the customer, is more than just a transaction: he/she exists in our hearts as well”.
Mr. Mensah, who is also the Chairman of the Professional Development, Education and Accreditation Committee of the Institute of Public Relations (IPR), proffered some pointers for PR practitioners on how to conduct Advocacy, Government Relations, Social Investments, Sustainability Interventions, Investor Relations and Issue Management in a pandemic era.
The Rector of GIJ, Professor Kwamena Kwansah-Aidoo, in his welcome remarks, commended the executives of the Alumni for coming up with the webinar series as a vehicle for mobilizing old students to be active members of the association. He spoke about the impact of Covid-19 on the academic calendar of the institute and the interventions that have been introduced as a result of that.
Professor Kwansah-Aidoo was confident that the teaching and practice of Journalism and PR will emerge stronger post the COVID-19 era.