DISCLAIMER.

This article strictly offers academic insight. It should be used for educational purposes and not viewed as an attack on institutions and individuals. The writer assumes no responsibility for the contrary interpretation.

This article draws lessons from what some brands were up to in October and November. October was eventful with PR issues. The new Entebbe Airport mandatory COVID-19 testing programme caused a public outcry over waiting time. This was effectively resolved. In the media, there were counter-accusations among EAC members over the hiring of a clerk and a deputy.

Air Canada CEO French-speaking attempt turns into a PR firestorm

Air Canada CEO Michael delivered a speech to Montreal’s chamber of commerce in English but turned to French when responding to some reporters, which he struggled to do. The CEO apologised the following day and promised to take lessons.  A senior Canadian government official weighed in on the issue. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, challenged Air Canada’s Board to prioritize French-language proficiency as a job requirement for senior managers.

There was a communication planning gap. His speech can pass anywhere, but it is an area known for passionate ​French​ speakers. He would have continued with English. Trying anything you are not good at isn’t bad until you do it before an audience that hates mediocre. Communicators should utilise in-house resources, would the airline be in that mess if it got another staff fluent in French. Some Uganda corporate companies have been called out on billboards that sometimes have typos in local languages. Maybe your brand wants to look local, just make sure you consult experts in that local language before that billboard is put up. It would be a good online engagement campaign if the CEO documents his French classes every day.

Pallaso starts UGX 100m fan fundraiser to pay car tax.

A November tweet that caused a public storm, seemed to have registered some success. Singer Pallaso asked his fans to contribute UGX 100m to enable him to pay car tax to URA. His fundraiser was written off publicly as a copy to Nigerian star Davido’s just concluded one. Nigerian singer donated proceed​s​ to orphanages. Pallaso reminds us that numbers matter in resource mobilisation, and it is not always about having a worthy cause to get people to give. There will always be people to stand with you. Who would have thought that during a pandemic, fundraising for a personal luxury would raise more than UGX 3M? Pallaso campaign teaches us that any fundraiser will always have social media critics, but you have to keep moving. He would not have helped Ghetto kids and a musician with medical bills.

He used mobile money​ platforms​ and was accountable. His timeline is full of messages of money as he received it.  The only mistake is that he diverted proceeds to something else, not paying the car tax as earlier intended, which may cause public mistrust issues in future. Local media has been reporting that he donated UGX 7.5M to the Ghetto kids and Oscar BigTym’s medical bills.

Isma Olaxxes loses brand ambassador deal

A local Daily reported that the famous blogger had lost a brand ambassador deal with a real estate company over alleged reckless communication on Facebook following the recent Kampala bombings. “The company therefore wishes to distance itself from such criminal, extremist and fundamentalist views that you shared in the video.” Kampala Sun(Newspaper), quoted a company official following their termination of his contract.  According to a local newspaper, he has represented Home Connect Properties Uganda Limited as a brand ambassador since August 2021.​ The crisis is ​ ​another reminder to brand managers to always rethink controversial brand ambassadors and be clear on rules of engagement besides the numbers. Secondly, some brand ambassadors should not be publicly unveiled, depending on the sector. Wrong Brand association, in this era of cancel culture, can affect business operations in a matter of seconds. Vet brand ambassadors and know when to let go.

Ivan .N.Baliboola

PR and organisational diagnosis specialist

nbaliboola@gmail.com

My new crush is “Coffee and books”. It is a platform for writers to meet and discuss literature in Kampala. They write new work off prompts provided by the facilitator, read out each other’s work, offer feedback ,and tell stories as they take Coffee at Endiro coffee shop  in kamwokya.

“Coffee and books” is a brain child of Writing our world, Kahini, and Endiro coffee shop. It is a monthly literary event. The “Coffee and Books June edition” on Saturday June 11, 2016 was off the hook. The event brought together writers in Kampala from different races and professions. Coffee and books may be the answer to Uganda’s poor reading culture. The best way to define “Coffee and books” is calling it a mini writing workshop. Each participant contributes UGX 10,000 towards coffee and refreshments.

 

Participants discussed three pieces: A poem,The ponds by Mary Oliver,  a Novel ,We Need New Names’, by NoViolet  Bulawayo, and a poem ,“Instructional manual on self-destruction by lucas chib. Ray Bradbury once said that you must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. Surely “Coffee and books” gathering is one of the best thing that ever happened to Uganda. I had no idea it would be that exciting and would even get me new writing friends.

 

The event started at 9am and ended at 1pm. We all need writing to boost our moods. Poet R.M. Engelhardt once said that all he needs to survive a rainy day is a good book and a coffee. Participants also took a moment of silence to remember a member of Uganda’s writing fraternity who died in a boda boda accident.

 

It is an event that combines writing and reading. Participants read excerpts and then review them. Participants are then tasked to write something of their own by Just picking a theme, line or topic from a discussed piece.

 

As the event is about to end, every participant is free to read out aloud what they wrote if they want to. Announcements are also welcome towards the end of the event. Whoever has general information regarding festivals, and upcoming events can share.

 

Let me end with this. Toni Morrison said that if there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

 

Ivan N Baliboola

PR and organizational diagnosis specialist.

nbaliboola.wordpress.com

This is a great black American movie. The Movie is about a married woman of two children struggling with sex addiction. She just wants more. Having sex three times a day is not enough. She starts cheating with two men to get satisfaction.Sex addiction is not something you smoke but it’s a real problem. Let’s face it, we are all tempted everyday but it’s about self control. Movie portrays the side effects of pornography and sex toys. The woman stops cheating when one of the other men gets violent as she tries to end the affair. Movie shines different perspective on how women battle sex addiction. She gets into rehab with support of her Husband. It is a late 2014 movie that is already in cinemas.

Ivan N Baliboola
nbaliboola@gmail.com

 

bag

Make a fashion statement with a Backpack.I Have actually invested in a big backpack collection Backpacks have been in existence since Stone Age period. According to Wikipedia, in ancient times, the backpack was used by hunters to carry meat after hunting.In many countries, backpacks are identified with students as a primary means of carrying school books.
Backpacks designers are now targeting different ages,uses,and professions. Backpacks are ideally suited towards the active lifestyle that has become so prevalent these days.
Today you find special backpacks to carry electronic gadgets, lunch boxes,clothes,bottles, flasks, documents, identity cards,raincoats, umbrellas,and sports equipment, books,baby items among other things.
Backpacks are preferred to handbags because of comfort when carrying heavy loads.Features such as padded straps and waist straps distribute weight across the body.Backpacks are also more secure. For example if worn with two straps,its hard for anyone to snatch it.
Shopping for the right Backpack
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends backpacks with wide, padded shoulder straps. Narrow straps can dig into shoulders resulting in pain and restricted circulation. Backpacks with an extra strap that wrap around the waist offer better support.
Look out for suitably fashionable, attractive, health risk free backpack.Scientific studies have discovered that backpacks could cause injury if not properly used. Posture problems can also arise from improper use of backpacks
Backpacks must be comfortable. Look for padded shoulder straps, waist belts ,and sternum straps which distribute the weight around your body to reduce the risk of back pains and neck pains. If you will be spending a lot of time moving with your backpack, then buy the one with rollers.
Also check if it is waterproof. It may rain and yet you have electronic gadgets inside. Feel free to confirm with the shop attendant before you buy.Zip type is also important. Look for strong zips with provisions of where to place a paddocks.
Ivan Baliboola

nbaliboola@gnail.com

ivan final (2)
Government through National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA)-U drafted social media guidelines for Civil servants. If you read the 39 page document on NITA website, the government move is justified and governments world over have done it. The guidelines focus on usage, access, code of conduct, training, , risks, strategy, resource planning, and the legal framework related to the use of Social Media for government entities. With effective online communication, direct and self-censorship is inevitable.
Using social media is now a popular means of communication. Social Media has given everyone a voice. Without appropriate guidelines, organizations are vulnerable to inappropriate posts resulting in crises, often by well intended employees. Most social media sites are free and do not require subscription. But that does not mean there should be no control. Just because you have free lunch does not mean you do not wash your hands or follow normal hygiene procedures. The most famous social media sites in Uganda are Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Blogger, word press, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.
Every organization should have social media policy guidelines which address questions like: Who will coordinate? What process needs to be in place to regularly monitor social media activity? How will this happen? How to manage the social sites. Some Companies have had to start new social media accounts every time an employee managing it leaves. Guidelines can help ensure continuity and discipline in such instances.
Social media guidelines prepare organizations for the worst case scenario ahead of time. Civil servants are empowered to be proactive, rather than wait until an issue erupts and be forced to react in crisis mode. The government guide cautions civil servants on timely response to social media queries. Effectiveness of social media is achieved through fast responses.
Social media guidelines act as a crisis management tool. Some critics have attacked government about the issue of seeking authorization to participate in an official capacity but this is what any organization would do to safe guard their image. Disclosure of sensitive or financial information without authorization may be damaging and irreversible. For example if the language tone of officials is not checked online when communicating in their official capacity; it may attract unnecessary bad media coverage. Sometimes officials trade insults online.
Limits are needed to ensure orderliness. The Computer misuse Act 2011 is not that detailed to capture social media management fully and these new guidelines come in handy. The guidelines empower civil servants to ensure they use sites responsibly. There are so many government agencies that have reaped the benefits of social media for example KCCA, URA, and UCC that can be used as case studies.

NITA may need to review the guidelines to summarize them to 2-3 pages. Choice of name for guidelines needs to be changed to be embraced by civil servants. ‘Social media play book’ would be ideal. I strongly feel that the guidelines must not end on caution but also punishment so that they are followed at all times. The Human resource specialists should ensure that all staff read and understand such guidelines before signing.
There is no doubt that the Social media guidelines will help foster government engagement and interaction with audiences in a planned and systematic way. Government and the private sector must dedicate enough resources for social Media training, equipment and internet. Social media specialists should always tie guidelines to the overall social media strategy of the organizations they work for.Guidelines should not be conservative for the brand that needs engagement. For example Guidelines on posting images of a health facility differs from that of a beer company.
Ivan .N. Baliboola
PR and Online media specialist
nbaliboola@gmail.com
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Competition for limited space in the media makes controlling the content or timing difficult. Celebrities make news and it is better if they are part of the stunt. Northern Uganda Youth MP Evelyn Anite read a resolution by NRM MPs to endorse President Museveni as their presidential flag-bearer for 2016 on her knees early this year. This act was a great publicity tool as most media houses carried the image of Hon Anita Kneeling down. Her cause quickly became a top of discussion.
Below are lessons from the 2013 PR stunts that dominated Ugandan media.
Lesson 1: Tugume buys coffin for Golola Moses before fight.
Tugume showed off a coffin in a press conference at Freedom City to the shock of many. The incident created enormous publicity. Coffin was a Symbol of early victory over his opponent Golola mosses by literally killing. Their fight became more anticipated because of the coffin threat. Though Titus Tugume ‘the rock’ lost to moses Golola, he got media attention that promoted the fight.
Lesson 2: Fairy tale celebrity wedding of Isabirye and Rebecca Jingo.
It was a double celebrity wedding resulting in top PR diagnosis for a PR stunt. The couple had a civil wedding and a church session at St pauls’ Cathedral on the same day. Though some people think it was stage managed. Their vows were also different from the usual ones. Isabirye flew in a chopper to their introduction ceremony and also bought her shares of a locally listed bank on the Uganda securities as a gift. Next time you think of a wedding, maybe use 20 vitZs cars for your wedding to stand out.
Lesson 3: President Museveni’s public HIV test
President took a public HIV test in November last year. This stunt was commendable.The symbolic PR stunt was well publicized online and in the local traditional media.Undertakings by extra ordinary people can inspire countless ordinary people to act or behave in desired ways. The stunt renewed government’s commitment towards HIV/Aids. President Museveni continues to receive applause for the fight against HIV/Aids. Reason for the PR stunt was generating awareness. One should have a good reason for doing a stunt before engaging in one, and then spend time, money and resources to pull it off well. A successful stunt is an awareness accelerator as it simplifies communication.
Lesson 4: President Museveni’s sack money gift to Busoga youth
The two major newspapers carried a picture of the Busoga Youth Forum chairperson,Mr Sanon Bwire, carrying a sack reportedly containing Shs250 million which President Museveni donated to Busoga youth. The act was a fulfillment of presidential pledge but critics argued that it was a manipulative move by the president.The PR stunt gained media attention. The story showed goodwill on the side of government regarding service delivery.Museveni fulfills presidential pledges. The act was a good PR stunt for the president to show continuity with NRM even beyond 2016.
Lesson 5: Celebrity Denzel showed up on stage barefoot
The former Big Brother housemate Denzel showed up barefooted in a suit to give one of the contestants a present at the Miss Uganda 2013 event. This PR stunt featured on the mighty ‘’Agataliko nfufu’’ news of Bukedde TV. With publicity stunts, timing is a component of success. Publicity stunts always succeed because they are visual. Stunts are able to set the agenda of discussion and also keeping the subject fresh in the media and minds of many.Stunts are effective communications tools when used well but they require creativity, proper planning, and media management skills. Communication specialists must always be ahead of everyone they are competing with for limited media attention. If you hate ‘cliché things’ then you will succeed with stunts.Today’s PR or marketing managers need to think beyond press releases.Controversy sells but it should never be at a sacrifice of the organization’s reputation it has built over time. A PR stunt is just like turning tap water into a Tsunami. The event remains fresh in the minds of media professionals. Stunts are effective communication tools when used well and useless time wasters when they are not
Ivan .N.Baliboola
nbaliboola@gmail.com
The author has worked with some of the most well-known and influential East African brands in construction, healthcare, Insurance, cosmetics, and banking. He carries a wealth of experience in marketing, Public relations, crisis management, and social media. He is a proud Award winner of a prestigious Public Relations Association of Uganda excellence award. He has volunteered his life to addressing environment and health related causes. He is also a blogger, professional critic, and strategist.
Disclaimer: This article strictly offers academic insight meant to create awareness about crisis PR communication management. Therefore it should be used for educational purposes and not viewed as an attack on institutions or individuals. It offers a professional PR insight into Crisis management in Uganda which is still a young profession. I hope that Lessons shared can better the PR fraternity in Uganda. I commend the inclusion of Best Crisis Management Award category in the PRAU Excellence Awards. PR Practitioners need to be fully involved in crises from the start. The writer assumes no responsibility for contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.

Here is how organizations can plan better for the holiday season.

The holiday season is big in Uganda and globally. It is ideally the best time of the year for any organization to have an impact on their key target audiences, sales and crucial stakeholders.

Your organization’s holiday planning should focus on November, December and January. Don’t plan for only 8 days of Christmas. The Holiday season is beyond just a religious season. It also covers the end of the current year and ushers in the New Year.

Create a team. Start early for everyone to be involved. Set up a holiday planning committee consisting of staff from all departments, overseen by the communications lead. Holiday season planning should not be left in the human resource department.

Set your key objectives. What is your overall goal for the holiday season plan? What are the objectives? Do you want to increase sales? Are you focusing on the retention of customers, donors, and staff? Do you want to reward loyal customers and staff who have stood with you the entire year? Are you running discounts and give-always to increase sales? Think about discount vouchers. Do something better each holiday season. Do you want to just give back to the vulnerable? Since it is the season of giving, well-planned corporate social responsibility activities can make a difference for beneficiaries and your brand reputation. After setting the objectives, then the remaining part is the easiest. Identify key activities in line with key targets for the objectives. A lot must be considered when planning each activity. It has to be informed by three pillars: budget, target audience, and nature of your industry.

Holiday look and feel for the organization. The most important element of the holiday season. Make sure your office, social media and communications carry the holiday season spirit symbolism. Today, you don’t have to get a new live Christmas tree since there are so many plastic trees on the market, which you can always use the next year as long as you store them in a good condition. The rule of the thumb is to put up the Christmas decorations by 1st November of every year and remove them after 31st December. Always make sure, by September, the organization’s festive decoration accessories have been tested and can work. Don’t wait for November to start looking for extensions and lights.

Logistical planning matters during this holiday season. Last year, I sent some Christmas cards abroad in December and were received in January. Start early because even deliveries can be slowed by Global COVID-19 cargo restrictions. If you want to deliver Christmas gift hampers and cards to your stakeholder when they are still in office, send them early. From my experience, generally in Uganda, before the COVID-19 outbreak, I learnt that for corporates, November was the last month to find fully active offices. You may not find many staff members in the office by December. Find ways of delivering to their homes if they are working from home.

Communication Planning. Holiday season messages are key, and the choice of each word matters. What is your social media and traditional media content plan for the holiday season? Are you focusing on sharing COVID-19 SOPs, cooking recipes, product knowledge, road safety tips, and CSR during the season? Some people don’t want to use merry Christmas and happy New Year to appear too religious. Do you customize your messages to be around season’s greetings as opposed to using Christmas? Deciding to call it a Christmas staff party may not go well with everyone. Discuss the choice of name in line with your organization values as the holiday planning committee. Invest and generate unique original messages and don’t fall for recycled chain messages. How special would you feel if you receive the same message from two different organizations? Communication planning is crucial for channels and messages. Whether internal and external communications, every stakeholder has a preferred effective channel to reach them. Will the organizational stakeholders receive the holiday message through emails, social media, text messages, phone calls or physical cards? Think about Christmas, thank you, and happy New Year messages. 

Set your priorities and implement. The game plan must be well-thought-out. What is your key holiday season activity? Is it a corporate social responsibility event or a staff party? Whether an organization is profit-making or a not-for-profit, both must plan for holiday communications and related events.

Ivan N Baliboola

PR and Organisational Diagnosis Specialist

nbaliboola@gmail.com

DISCLAIMER.

This article strictly offers academic insight. It should be used for educational purposes and not viewed as an attack on institutions and individuals. The writer assumes no responsibility for the contrary interpretation.

This article draws lessons from what some brands were up to in September. It looks at positive and negative insights crucial for communication practice in Africa.

  1. Victoria University’s vexed brand ambassador Campaign

Victoria University publicly unveiled Bad Black as a brand ambassador, causing a public outcry. They denied the appointment the following day. The cycle of YES and NO appointment continued, which showed casual brand seriousness. What they did wrong: announced and then backtracked; released a speech as a press statement on the issue, which was an oversight; and publicly associated themselves with a controversial personal brand that clashes with their values. Anyone who is in the PR game will tell you it will be among the worst releases of 2021. For such controversial issues, VU should have used extremely short public statements and avoided many media interviews on the issue. Think about this: the same university has Gospel musician Baby Gloria as their ambassador and their poster girl. You are simply saying, “let us have a brand that is so confusing that it is next to anything. ” Some sectors should never be associated or be next to untrustworthy imagery.

You need to think about everything public and what your brand stands for and who will be associated with. “Every name represents value and values.” –Apostle Moses.  At what point do you pause minding about your reputation and go for trending, even breweries are mindful of their reputations. What about a university? What message was the university sending to parents and employers?

What Victoria University should have done better: appoint bad black but not make it public; ensure she does not identify herself as a brand ambassador publicly and tame her content with a script. Brand custodians should get out of the excitement and resist the temptation to publicly unveil every brand ambassador? If you are not an NGO into humanitarian work pushing for a cause, it is pointless to have a brand ambassador programme going public. It is laughable to find someone’s bio describing them as a product or service brand ambassador.

The culture of disruption that rides on manipulation and spin is not sustainably safe. Communicating one issue and then backtracking is a disease that can only be sustained by spin and manipulation.  How long are you going to spin?  Your key stakeholders will be turned off for good.

It is wrong to think public outcry is the same as talkability. The appointment caused a public outcry.

The VU Public appointment of Bad Black as an ambassador should have never been even a public ceremony considering her problematic reputation. The University Vice-Chancellor should have been protected from that entire process unless there was no one else to delegate to. I doubt the university should have faced public criticism if they stuck to the “She is our student “narrative and were silent on the brand ambassador. Marketing teams must learn to look beyond online numbers on day one.

To those who think clout-chasing rules: positioning, values, and standards are triplets in branding. Imagine if your eyes were under your feet. Disruption does not mean that you invent your yardstick of wisdom. There is nothing to celebrate about disruption if the approach can affect business continuity and sales. The reputation of a university can affect the licence, funding, enrolment and employability of their students.

2. KCCA campaign name TWAT stirs controversy online.

Kampala City Council Authority was roasted on Twitter for using a controversial acronym name for their campaign. Tweet under their ED handle mentioned TWAT for the smart city campaign. How did twat which can’t even be said in front of children get approval? Classic case of a gap in proper PR research and communication planning. No communicator should let happen unless the approving authority pushed it through against their advice.

KCCA ED decided to joke about the oversight in a tweet reply, which was a better approach than defending it. The gods heard. It helped to extinguish the fire. This second PR blunder teaches us that sometimes, slow communication can quell any media storm against a brand. The crisis did not go into day two. Double-check everything you get from creative. Have more campaign name options to choose from and befriend Google.  If possible pre-test all messages in your circles or in a dry run.

Comedy Writing Secrets is a book for anyone looking for a basic crash course in humour writing. The book, Comedy Writing Secrets: How to Think Funny, Write Funny, and Act Funny and Get paid for it. The author shares insightful theories; writing formulas; research; practice exercises; and applicability of all forms of humour. The 322-page book is well written in everyday words and is easy to understand. The Author has had a successful career in advertising, content development for all categories of media, and teaching journalism course including humour writing. According to him, the 3 Rs of humour are: Respect, Remember and Rewards

I recommend the book to CEOs, Speechwriters, comedians, scriptwriters, communicators and copywriters. The writer believes that anyone can do comedy. The book has a detailed guide on you on how to monetise every humour created

If there is anything, the book will teach you, it will be a 360-degree personal growth crash course whether as a CEO, employer, employee, or entrepreneur. Betty interviewed the World’s top CEOs on key issues of fear, success, performance, and networking, pay rise, innovation, Human resources management feedback management, decision-making, and career growth. The list of CEOs included Elon Musk and Warren Buffet.

From the interviews, she summarised the lessons and real-life case studies. It is one of those few 200-page books that took me more than 3days to finish. It was really a lot to unpack. The top lessons from the book are; learn how to make fast decisions and reverse them if you get new information; have a good team around you; information is key; and Always Be Moving. My favourite quote in the book: ‘Delay is a negative’. Betty says her father used to say it a lot.   Still on decision-making in the book. “A bad decision on Monday is better than a good decision on Friday,’ which was meant to say, ‘Get on with it,” said Martin. Martin is a punchy, outspoken advertising executive who founded WPP, one of the world’s largest advertising agencies. Another takeaway, Martin’s Motto:   “Persistence and Speed.”

Betty Liu is an award-winning print journalist who transitioned into television anchoring after her maternity break.

Fast and Furious 9: The last saga

“Fast and furious 9 is just an incomplete game” That was how someone described it in some WhatsApp group. Unrealistic stunts suffocate Fast and Furious 9. It is the sequel to The Fate of the Furious. As usual, I was not disappointed with the action and drama in the 2-hour movie, but every aspect of the movie was just overdone.

The movie was flooded with stunts, drama, weird technology, famous actors, and tensed-up moments. For example, the scene of driving a car to space and crashing the satellite is not something you could believe even from sleep. Yes, previous movies have shown that cars can be driven off a plane with parachutes. That was believable. Think about it:  not a homemade car going to outer space in Fast and Furious 9. The movie also depicts a stronger magnet capability than that in  6 Underground .​ ​When turned on, the magnet system is strong enough to pull together to a central place all mobile phones, guns necklaces, electricity poles, cars, and laptops. If you are a fan of John Cena in those military-grade movies, you will not see much of that except fast driving. If you are a fan of The Rock​ alias ​Dwayne Johnson, he did not feature.

The movie featured stars like John Cena, Ludacris Tyrese Gibson , Michelle Rodriguez, Vin Diesel, Charlize Theron,​ ​ and Jason stathon.​ ​Jason only featured in the last scene, which was not significant though. The movie starts with the death of Diesel’s father was in a planned car race accident. Then a scene with grown-up Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, living off the grid. They are alerted of an abduction of a cyber-terrorist, and a missing weapon in enemy hands. Vin Diesel teams up to stop a dangerous cyber weapon being launched that would control the entire world. Movie scenes were shot on different continents. The team successfully destroys the satellite and takes control of the weapon system. They celebrate as a group.

DISCLAIMER.

This article strictly offers academic insight. It should be used for educational purposes and not viewed as an attack on institutions or individuals. The writer assumes no responsibility for the contrary interpretation of the subject herein.

This article draws lessons from what some brands were up to in June. It looks at positive and negative insights for people in communications. You will find insights into campaigns and PR crises.

National Medical stores called out for irresponsible waste disposal in Entebbe.

Someone on Twitter shared pictures of an NMS truck dumping rubbish at an undesignated area in Entebbe. You cannot be in the business of medical supplies, and you have to be reminded how to responsibly dispose of waste. Besides admitting the oversight, there was no mention of punishment to the driver in tweets. Here are the threads

Let us look at what NMS did right. They :

  • took full responsibility;
  • apologized and blamed staff;
  • admitted the mistake and never came up with the fake news line; and 
  • cleaned up the illegal dumpsite in conjunction with local authorities.

The cycle of reputation management was not completed besides the social media pictures. NMS did not bother to explain its policy on waste disposal. NMS just thanked Robert for raising the issue in a tweet. NMS did not promise if it was the last incident, and they did not identify staff. Would it be sincere if the staff apology was on camera? I always tell people to teach all their staff the key crisis-prone areas for their brands. Do not assume they know.

Newsjacking as a viral content strategy

Newsjacking is the practice of taking advantage of current events or news stories in such a way as to promote one’s product, get media attention and generate brand visibility. This month, “Pulosesi by Pulosesi” and “Jamu empale” was picked up by organisations and personal brands. It works and continues to work for many. However, some organisations received a backlash because the two stories involved victim shaming (sexual abuse). Galaxy radio seemed to be one of the brands that did not receive disruptive cancel culture calls. Use newsjacking after calculating the risks because it can turn off key stakeholders.

DJ Bush baby’s UGX 15million fundraiser gets some heads rolling

A video started circulating online asking the public to contribute towards Bush Baby’s surgery to the tune of UGX15m following an accident. Some online critics had some reservations about the fundraising, which was uncalled-for. An accident is not something you can plan or save for. Critics called out his former employers to match up the money. Some wondered why he could not afford the UGX 15 m. What he did right in the video: he was natural and humble; he was believable and depicted a vulnerable state on a clutch. The video was short and effective for social media. He did not limit the video to just his face. Some of DJ Bush Baby’s words in the video: “If you feel compelled and touched, please stand by me by using the numbers listed to send the financial aid or assistance you can afford”. DJ Bush Baby has since announced that the money was raised and surgery is expected very soon. Always expect negative online criticism and plan your fundraiser well. It is not too late to say a prayer for Bush Baby.

Mondia Coffee: Sex appeal and brand visibility

A Coffee brand poster started trending online because it used sex appeal to market. Sexual content is easily recognized and everyone can remember it. The brand needs more tools to realize sales. Sexual content excites everyone, but how do you sustain the attention? Red Pepper would be selling the most copies in Uganda. Ugandan Society wants sexual content, but it would be better for Mondia to add benefits besides their semi-nude models.

Church of Uganda starts a Church house Fundraiser.

Church of Uganda unveiled “Yes, We Can” which is a Two-Month Church House Fundraising Campaign on June 6, 2021. The campaign targets 1,000,000 people giving UGX60,000/- each to clear the debt on Church House. What the campaign has failed to do is periodic accountability on collections, which is standard for any fundraising campaign. The fundraiser is at a bad time with COVID-19 pandemic, but the cause is noble. What the campaign did well: Having multiple payment channels;   publicity about the campaign; and   designed a clear online poster about the campaign.

Cabinet Ministers suffer negative social media rants and rush to fix their social media presence.

It is mind bubbling to note that some new ministers despite being MPs did not have active social media accounts. Secondly, they had no professionally taken pictures available online after being announced. Some have since cleaned up past reckless interviews they did. Government PR teams helped profile them better and set up social media accounts. The citizens grew to like them.

NTV mix show airs adult content from an audience screen

NTV Mix show broadcasted a live screen from an audience member masturbating by mistake. Bad things happen to even the most experienced brands. That is technology for you. I have been in a Zoom Meeting before and hackers took over my rights to mute or leave the session. What NTV did right: accepted and apologised fast; found some people to carry the entire blame. It is what any family brand would do. The public never expected such harsh punishment to staff, though. Would it have been better for NTV to carry the remorse of the producer? A screenshot is just a second, even before you turn off the video mixer. NTV cleaned up and took radical action to win back trust. As usual, they bought time by announcing an inquiry. They promised that they are doing something, not to have a repeat. NTV reminded the public about its values as a corporate citizen and asked its audience to interact responsibly online. Would it better if they just kept quiet and worked with the regulator in the background?

Presidential COVID-19 addresse suffers a setback

Presidential addresses on COVID-19 have always come with challenges of clarity that impact on the implementation of directives. In fact, someone posted that we need a national of clarity. However, a June address was worsened by the story at the end that was told by a rape and violence survivor. People seemed to focus on “Jamu Empale” and forgot that it was a story on how security forces are more responsive when called upon. It is better to always separate speeches and focus on one issue a day. The President also abruptly closed all schools that paralysed the entire transport system. Transport fares went up and some school-going children were stranded. It took more than a day for Police to offer free transport. However, Afande Nakalema offered food to stranded students and tried to intervene in abnormal transport rates. 

Ronaldo and Naomi stir up controversies in sports sponsorship obligations

How do you tame your sponsorship beneficiaries, who have more influence than your brand? Are sports personalities a risk? Cristiano Ronaldo removed two Coca-Cola bottles in front of him at a press conference and brought water closer. Naomi Osaka, the 2-ranked female tennis player, refused to turn up for media interviews as part of her sponsorship obligations, citing mental health issues. She was fined. Sports personalities have their own media (Huge social media following), social responsibility, and influence. Should all sponsorship obligations be covered in individual contracts? Which punishment can you give to a sponsorship beneficiary who can pay a fine without feeling significant wallet damage? Should contracts cover personal brand activist views? Do you just let them be activists because some sponsors may have products against their beliefs? Brand sponsorship can still bring benefits from their celebrity public tantrums.

Rubis Energies: Rebranding and acquisitions

French based company Rubis has taken over Delta and Kobil retail fuel distributors in Uganda for 3 million dollars. The over 63 stations will be rebranded to Rubis. This rebranding will make them one of the biggest energy brands in Uganda. They are using social media platforms and influencer marketing to communicate.

CONCLUSION

Before you pray to a different god or prophet to take the PR crisis away, find something to blame for the mess. Bad news including fake news moves fast. Act early with measured responses. Learn to explain why an apology came late. Avoid metallic apologies. Do not let your strategic brand protection plan bring up many unanswered questions.

Ivan .N.Baliboola

PR and organisational diagnosis specialist

nbaliboola@gmail.com

DISCLAIMER.

This article strictly offers academic insight. It should be used for educational purposes and not viewed as an attack on institutions or individuals. The writer assumes no responsibility for the contrary interpretation of the subject herein. Pictures were all picked online.

This article is about what some Ugandan brands were up to in May 2021. It shares lessons for people in communications. A lot happened, but I could not share all the 100 lessons from 100 brands. I was able to pick out only the top 5.

Orient bank’s staff dress-up campaign. Orient bank had a staff dress-up challenge on May 7,2021. No staff engagement is a success without effective internal communication tools. Staffs were engaged from day one on which name the day would be called among other things. No wonder  all staff participated in the “Muslim wear” campaign. For a bank that has customers from all walks of life and religious beliefs, this was thoughtful. It gave the brand a human face before all stakeholders that day. I Learnt that planning for staff engagements should not only sit in PR and HR departments. The communication team consulted staff from the start. We should always engage staff in internal communication planning  for more ideas, and their buy-in is guaranteed.

 

Total rebrands as Total Energies to reflect energy transition goals

France Oil and gas giant rebranded to a new identity. Total announced on May 31 that it had rebranded following a shareholders’ meeting that approved the change. Total changed to TotalEnergies and other aspects of their visual identity. Not much about identity actually changed from the old branding. Announcement as usual attracted critics who are asking them to completely abandon fossil fuels. Switching to renewable energy is more like a licence to operate today, and using energies was on point. Activists claim it was a greenwash move. Would it have been better  to make the announcement on Word environment day in June  than May?

Centenary Bank announces on Facebook that they will not be responding to customers.

Centenary Bank trended on social media for issuing a statement on a Platform they will not be using to respond to customer complaints. They directed customers to YouTube, telephone lines, Twitter and the Website. However, the question remains on what the objective of the statement was. The statement was not necessary but on the other hand, they enjoyed free brand talkability. During the 2021 Elections, internet was shut down. Other platforms were restored except Facebook. Bank has in the past worn digital communication awards. Why do you communicate on a banned platform if you are actually respecting government rules as a corporate citizen?

Harris unveiled its Krsystal Mineral water similar to other brands

Hariss International Limited unveiled their water brand ‘Krystal Natural Mineral Water’ on May 24, 2021. They had a drive-through of Uganda’s Capital City as a stunt, but also to offer onlookers an opportunity to sample a new product. The bottle design and other brand element were unique but not new. The bottle shape and logo has striking similarities with Rwenzori and Hill water respectively. Harris has mastered the power of hype through aggressive influencer marketing on Twitter. This makes anyone want to try it out. Timing may have made sense since it was Ramadan. The bottle shape has firm grips.

NWSC’s Twitter humour on a negative comment.

This happened in April, but it does not hurt to discuss it in May. NWSC replied to a diss with a funny GIF. It was funny. Does it tick the professional customer care language boxes? Did the public conclude that their service was also goatish, as portrayed by the tweet reply? Was it necessary? They say your silence cannot be misquoted. It is also possible that if they had not responded, probably it would have attracted more negative comments. Check out the tweet here

NWSC reminds us that we don’t have to be very serious online.

Feel free to share your feedback. What did I miss? What was your May lesson in PR practice.

Ivan .N.Baliboola

PR & Organisational diagnosis specialist

nbaliboola@gmail.com

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It is now becoming routine that every time an influential person dies, we want to find a city road to rename after them. Honour is different from legacy. If their works were not enough to influence a road named after them while alive, why should we bother after they are dead.

By 2020, KCCA had 7500 roads named, and it has elaborate guidelines on road renaming and naming. The process is efficient, but we must pause any road-renaming request for the next 100years. Former President the Late Idi Amin had some street renamed, but it was also short-lived. There was a recent online petition urging the government to remove the names of British colonial figures from the streets, monuments, and landmarks in Kampala.

You can still honour the dead celebrities using road furniture and help local authorities raise revenue. Renaming roads should not be the only way to honour celebrities, religious and important people who die. What if Local councils dedicate certain pavements on walkways for stars and statues of important people? Councils can even use it as a source of revenue. Those that want the name of their person to be placed on pavers can apply and pay for space.

 We pause renaming any road in Uganda. Who says road renaming should not be inspired by death, dark colonial legacy, and the wealth status of people? Why should a community want to rename a road after a person who has not even spent three years in an area?

Let us preserve our history. What do we exactly benefit from if we rename all colonial roads in Uganda? Are we not choking out of tourism? Think about it. What heritage is in a road name if it can not last a decade? What is that? We should not just erase memories of a place every time we are excited to rename a road after a dead person or modern-day hero. If a road has had a name for 100years, let it stay.

Not every emotional appeal should translate into a road name change. Just because an important person has died, it does not mean he should be part of the history of an area that probably does not know him. If their impact was in their hometown, why do you want to rename a city road?

Let us make the process of renaming roads hard and possibly add a referendum as a requirement. How do we better our navigation in this country if we are renaming the same road every time? Pause road renaming.

Ivan N Baliboola

nbaliboola@gmail.com