PR professionals should control the narrative – Senou

By Abimbola Mohammed

Kwame Senou, Executive director, The Holding Opinion and Public (THOP), Cote d’Ivoire, has tasked public relations professionals to take charge, control the narrative and perception of clients on what public relations means and its duties to organizations, instead of allowing other professions take its shine.

Senou made this call at the just concluded webinar, organized by GLG communication, in celebration of the World PR Day (WPRD) with theme: “Harnessing the power of Public Relations”.

The PR expert stated that, in the PR category of the just concluded Cannes Lions Awards, it was mostly advertising agencies that won the awards category. He, therefore, called on PR professionals to recognize the power of the profession.

His words: “Public relations future is going to be all about integrated communications and service. This is because what we observe on a daily basis is that clients and top executives particularly are not interested in media relation/content production, they want to solve specific organization issues.

“In many parts of the world the lines between PR, advertising and other communication disciplines can often be blurred. Oftentimes, we hear PR, creative and marketing used interchangeably, especially now that we are living in a digital world. Some people have different understanding of what each of these words means. So, what public relations practitioners need are Access, Speed and Strategy to control the narrative.”

“What access means is PR professionals having access to the stakeholders because that is often overlooked. Second thing is speed, PR professionals and the nature of PR makes us very fast at delivering communications and that is a challenge for advertising, the third aspect is the strategy thinking, thinking around messaging, consequences, analyzing the context of the message and what forms the basis of any communication. In PR we do it extensively before execution. So having those three powers allows us to lead in a world where we have to increasingly convince people on purpose rather than just price,” he added.

Predicting what the future holds for Public relations practice globally, he said: “I look forward to when PR will take its place. What we saw then was where creative was leading, then media took the center stage at a time, then creative again. But now PR is the leader because most organizations are looking for more truth, more relations with their stakeholders, being out of trouble and avoiding government sanction.

“One of the biggest things that organizations try to protect at all cost today is the license to operate and social license. So, I see PR becoming the lead while advertising will become a service provider in that mix delivering quality content. Ultimately, all these can be achieved if PR professionals start understanding the role strategy has to play in the future.”

World PR day is a global celebration uniting over 60 countries annually on July 16 to honour and advance the field of public relations and communications industry globally.


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