The term public relations “PR” has gained notoriety over the years, but it isn’t everyone that understands its true meaning. An organization remains alive due to its relationship with the public. Strengthening public relations means strengthening institution’s visibility and reputation and this is what Naa Korkoi Essah is doing at Ministry of Communications & Digitalization as its Head of Public Relations.
Naa is a multiple award-winning PR expert who pays attention to details and achieves the best of heights in her field. Her career began at the Daily Graphic as a reporter. Over the years, she has worked with Ghanaian Times, Ghana News Agency, Radio Ghana, GTV, High Street Journey in different capacities. She did a one-year stint with the Finder Newspaper as Marketing manager, before proceeding to the Information Services Department in the Eastern Region in 2016.
In 2019, she was seconded to the Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD) as the Head, Public Relations Manager. Naa who describes herself as a go- getter has proven her mettle with her initiatives and interventions at the ministry.
She has a Diploma in Communications Studies; BA Communications Studues (First Class Honours) and MA in Media Management. She is also a member of the Ghana Journalist Association (GJA); Institute of Public Relations, the Women-in- PR, Women in Project Management, and the Institute of Project Management Professionals, Ghana.
In this Interview with Marketing World Magazine, she takes us through some strategic Public Relation initiatives that have helped her position the ministry positively, the importance and role of technology in PR and other sundry issues, excerpts………
As Head of PR at the Ministry of Communication and Digitization, what does your job entail?
As the Head, PR, for the ministry, these are some of my responsibilities. I develop and implement communication strategies and set Public Relations objectives in line with the mission, vision and goals of the Ministry, Department or Agency (MDA). I provide communication related advice and counsel at all levels as regards policies, programmes and activities of the MDA. I develop and maintain close working relations with media organizations and identify opportunities for media placement and coverage.
I lead in the design, production and dissemination of multimedia products such as videos, newsletters/magazines, photographs, posters, official websites and other such materials to enhance visibility of the MDA. I prepare articles, news stories, features, rejoinders and media advisories for dissemination through appropriate media channels. I monitor coverage of activities of the MDA in the media (i.e. print, TV, radio, media websites, social media among others) for the information and attention of the administrative head. I may prepare official speeches as and when necessary.
Aside the aforementioned, I organise press conferences/briefings, press soirees, durbars, facility visits, tours, special events among others as and when the need arises, conduct periodic research among the publics of the MDA on its policies, programmes and activities to evaluate service delivery and submit weekly and situational reports on activities of the MDA to the Information Services Department for the attention of the Head of Department and the Minister for Information
What have been some of your achievements as the Head of Public Relations?
Introduced regularly e-newsletter updates on all Ministry’s activities to increase publicity. Annual publication of Magazines (i.e., compilation on the years activities) and circulated with MDAs etc. Set up of a publicity team comprising of all heads of agency PRs to ensure synergy and ultimate promotion of the Ministry as a whole. Increase eyeballs on the ministry’s activities through regular updates of the Ministry’s activities. Introduction of an internal briefing sessions dubbed “Know Your Agency” and “Know Your Directorate”. Here, Reps from various Agencies take their turn to brief staff on their activities thereby making each staff member an ambassador of the Ministry’s activities. Regularly publication of feature articles on the Ministry’s activities to educate the public on the Ministry’s activities.
The introduction of CEO Spotlight to help publicise our agency heads – ultimately promoting the names of the agencies. Introduced regular internal staff briefing on current affairs through the “Newspaper Review”. This is sent to all staff every morning through their emails. Collaborated with various institutions both government and the private sector on publicity of key programs and activities under the Ministry/ where the Ministry is collaborating. Collaborated with various media outlets to ensure publicity on the Ministry’s activities
What are some of the challenges you encounter as the Head of PR?
Inadequate funds to execute various activities through the “eye” of a PR person.
PR comes with crisis management, what has been the worst crisis you have had to deal with in the course of your duties?
The quest for media houses (Reporters) to scoop each other on News (Speculative reporting) on the Ministry activity.
How effective has technology been in your line of duties?
Technology has been very effective in my line duty. Living in the technology boom era, every day, technology comes to my rescue in an unimaginable way though there are circumstances where I need to pause and adjust and take precautions. Technology is a boon in many ways.
Though fake news is everywhere, and it is easy to spread the propaganda, thanks to WhatsApp, at the same time, I can respond and correct fake news faster than ever through rejoinders etc; checking on things and updates are also easier than ever.
A simple Google search help me check if something is legit or not. I check on news website or specific dedicated websites on event information etc. It helps my habit of “fact check” before sharing. “Being aware and responsible goes a long way. And technology has only made it easier”.
I have been able to join various learning platforms via my smartphone with an internet connection. And it’s enough to learn almost anything.
I have also joined so many meetings across the globe with the help of technology. In a nutshell, now is the best time because you are not limited by anything if you have access to technology.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Liberal/Democrat- In my office, everyone participates in decision making. I value the input of the team members. I place a lot of value on teammates be it attachment, national service etc. though I remain critical in the decision-making process as the leader or head. At the end, everyone feels important and part of decision-making process.
If you weren’t into PR, what other profession would you have ventured into?
What are some of your hobbies?
I love to dance, listen to music, read and cook.
If you had three wishes, what would it be?
If I had three wishes my first wish is to be blessed with good health, strength and wealth, my second wish is to acquire the knowledge to maintain the good health, strength and wealth I was blessed with, my third wish is to be blessed with long life and happiness so I can be free to travel round the world and make history.