S3 E5: Leadership Buy-In for PR & Communications Success with Gilbert Manirakiza

PRGN Presents: News & Views from the Public Relations Global Network

Sep 7 2023 • 19 mins

In this thought-provoking episode, Gilbert Manirakiza talks about the importance of executive involvement in information sharing and communication efforts. Senior executives play a crucial role in brand reputation, as they are the ones who carry the voice of the brand. However, many executives feel nervous or restricted in this role. They often express concerns about engaging publicly due to fears of personal scrutiny or potential negative impacts on their businesses.

As PR practitioners, we need to address these concerns, provide reassurance, and create a safe and supportive environment for executives to engage. Encouraging them to work as a team can also alleviate individual anxieties and foster a sense of collective responsibility.

Gilbert also discusses how operating in Africa presents unique challenges due to the continent's cultural diversity and political intricacies. Multinational organizations from the US or Europe often struggle to navigate this complex ecosystem. Understanding the context and nuances of each African market becomes crucial for effective communication and reputation management. PR practitioners must bridge the gap between global leaders and local communities, ensuring that messaging resonates with diverse audiences.

Key Takeaways

  • Brand reputation is closely tied to the reputation of the CEO, making executive involvement crucial in PR efforts.
  • Many executives feel nervous or restricted in their role as brand ambassadors, and PR practitioners need to create a safe and supportive environment for them.
  • Informing executives about the importance reputation and asking reflective questions can help engage them in communication efforts.
  • African leaders often have a storytelling approach to leadership and focus on empowerment and community engagement.
  • Creating a messaging architecture with clear and consistent messaging helps align the entire organization and ensures a unified brand message.

About the Guest

Gilbert Manirakiza is CEO of the Newmark Group. He is a brand leadership, PR, and strategic communications expert with the added advantage of multilingual communications and localization expertise. Prior to co-founding Newmark, he worked with the United Nations, the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, the IMF, FAO, and the African Union, among other global organizations and brands, as a communications strategist to build multi-layered, multilingual, and multi-channel communications campaigns and systems. He has since lent his expertise and experience to local and global blue chips such as General Electric, Barclays Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the governments of Japan, France, Dubai, and Singapore, just to name a few. In addition to providing media handling, etiquette, and public speaking training to Fortune 500 CEOs and senior executives, he has designed and moderated thought leadership panels during global and regional forums.

Gilbert has contributed to the evolution of the PR industry in Africa by developing Newmark into a company that excels at integrating digital, mobile, experiential, and creative brand communications into traditional PR. Having worked in over 20 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, he has intimate knowledge of the opportunities, challenges, and complexities of the African marketplace, making him a key asset for all the clients that his teams serve. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (UK) and the International Society of Sustainability Professionals, in addition to sitting on the boards of several regional trade development initiatives and companies. He is an alumnus of the University of...