Thursday, December 20, 2012

Time to empower the regional teams on Media Communication

Now that the voter registration exercise is over, we are all embarking on the county governance journey where we will have 47 counties spread throughout the country.
But what happens to majority of the Kenyan companies which for a long time have been centralized in terms of operations? What happens to a company whose Corporate Communications Head and Chief Executive have never stepped out of their fully furnished head office in Nairobi?
The many sprouting regional media houses that rely on regional offices or branches for news might just be the reason why we might be seeing the end of having a centralized company spokes person based at the Head quarters in Nairobi.
With traditional and centralized media, the spokesperson is almost always the CEO. But with the advent of regionalised media and the county governance model which breaks down the communiqué in different languages and for different audiences, it is best to choose a spokesperson that resonates with customers and is comfortable addressing issues that they face every day.
For instance the Branch Manager of Equity Bank in Eldoret is likely to pull more customers to the branch if invited to the local media station than the CEO who is based at their headquarters in Nairobi.
We all know that when it comes to choosing the right corporate spokesperson, care must be taken to ensure that the message is delivered consistently and with grace -even when under fire.
Identifying the right corporate spokesperson for your media communication, is an important task. Whether they are speaking to West FM, a radio station in Bungoma or being interviewed during prime time news on KTN, it is essential that they be well versed on the do's and don’ts of effective communication. Whether it’s a formal, televised interview or an informal email thread that leads to a story, the spokesperson should represent the image and persona of the company at all times.
Regional managers will be the best asset to a company's corporate communication strategy team, if  empowered because they will recommend changes to strategy early for to make a difference, especially at county level. These people should not tackle policy or strategy; rather they should be prepared to answer the details that affect the customer's daily life.
In order to make this decentralized model of communication successful, it is important to keep the voice consistent. There should be agreement about the tone and style of responses, as well as who will be responsible for the on-going responses to the local community.
YoungPRSpeak Just as too many cooks spoil the broth, too many voices engaging the audience can spoil the message.


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