31 August 2017

Effective comm. & PR are drivers for corporate success – Cynthia Lumor 

The Corporate Services Executive of MTN Ghana, Cynthia Lumor, has urged aspiring Executives and Chief Executive Officers(CEOs)  to see Corporate Communications and Public Relations as integral parts of a business,because they contribute positively to business success and sustainability.

She said corporate Communications also helps build and external goodwill for sustained competitive and business advantage.

Sharing insights during the breakout session of the 2017 Festival of Ideas organized by Legacy and Legacy in Accra, Mrs. Lumor stated that Corporate Communications and Public Relations should be part ofa well-planned, well executed, cohesiveintegrated communicationsstrategy seeking to link organizations withidentified stakeholders.

“The decision by customers to patronize a company’s products and services, as well as investment, regulatory and policy decisions, are hugely influenced by credibility and trust, which are built overtime and influenced by stakeholder experience with a company’s actions and communications,” she said. She emphasized the need to develop an effective, well-thought out plan that fits within the goals of the organisation, with clear timelines and monitoring,metrics for measurement, and the flexibility for adjustment where necessary.

“Knowing your business, understanding the company’s vision, goals and strategy, as well as the broader industry and the needs and expectations of stakeholders is extremely important; that knowledge will drive the relevance and effectiveness of your communications and PR strategy,” Mrs. Lumor stated.

Mrs. Lumor also explained that communication is a two-way phenomenon, andin order to avoid alienation and ensure that what is being communicated resonates with the target audience, communication messages must be relevant, clear and simple, and companies must also learn to listen, process the information coming from stakeholders, feedback to the organisation and act or revert where necessary.

“A company excels when it builds and nurtures relationships with relevant stakeholders — media, customers, suppliers, partners, opinion leaders, professional associations, civil society, advocacy groups, communities, regulators, policy makers, employees. Ask yourself, ‘how does each of these stakeholders feel about their experience with the company, the way we engage them, how we communicate with them? Do they feel respected and cared about?”

She also cautioned participants about the need to use relevant channels of communication for appropriate audiences, including traditional and digital channels.

She advised communications practitioners to be proactive in the anticipation and identification of issues, to better implement mitigation plans before they turn into crises. Reiterating the importance of crisis management planning, she stated that a good crisis management plan includes comprehensive analyses and plans for possible and potential crises. “Treat it as a living document that needs to be examined frequently. Additionally, when there is a crisis elsewhere – in another company, another industry, another country, another region – consider if it could happen with your company and if you have an effective plan in place,” she said.

In the area of employee communications, Mrs Lumor said employees are every company’s best ambassadors, thus it is important to engage them effectively and frequently. “They must understand the company’s vision, goals and strategy and the part they play in achieving them. Factor them in the rollout plan of all your communications activities and the results will be phenomenal.If your employees are not part of what you do, then you are setting your business up to fail. Remember, everyone‘s actions and words feeds into how the organization is perceived,” she said.

Mrs. Lumor advised the group to streamline Corporate Social Investment Initiatives and effectively communicate related results and benefits, to enable people to easily resonate with the brand.

Answering a question on how social mediaimpacts corporate communications,Mrs. Lumor stated that digital communications and social media have changed the face of Corporate Communications. She stated that with the escalating preference for social media as a publication platform, especially for millennials, and the quick and easy access for millions of active contributors, companies have no choice but to be part of the social media phenomenon. She thus advised all companies to have social media policies and guidelines, and for prospective CEOs, Executives and Communicators, to sharpen their skills to use social media to their advantage as a reputation management tool.

Mrs. Lumor was one of the Resource Person at the morning session of the 2017 Festival of Ideas held at Labadi Beach Hotel in Accra under the sub-theme, Grooming the Next CEOs. She facilitated the breakout session on Corporate Communications and Media Relations where she shared insights on what prospective CEOs and top executives need to understand about the role of Corporate Communications in organizational success.




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