Principal Consultant of Mahogany Consult, Esi Asante Antwi, has advised SMEs and Start-ups to incorporate simple public relations (PR) tactics into their business strategies to grow their business and build lasting brands.
This is because, “PR enables deeper brand experience and delivers immediate and long term advantage to businesses.”
Speaking at a workshop dubbed “PR 101 workshop for SME’s and Start-Ups”, she said “As entrepreneurs at the Start-up and SME level, we tend to focus solely on the core business function of production and sales. However, this is not enough to build a robust business for the long haul. We must take deliberate steps to focus on other ancillary functions such as Public Relations, which enable us to produce and sell more”.
The annual one-day workshop, organised by Mahogany Consult, a Public Relations, Events management and Human Development Consultancy, to educate SMEs and contribute to the growth of the Ghanaian PR industry, discussed topics including: Introduction to Public Relations by Esi Asante Antwi; The Selling Strategy; developing a marketing plan by Petra Aba Asamoah, Head, Sales & Marketing, Akosombo Textiles, Issues and Crisis Management by Baaba Cofie, Senior Consultant at Mahogany Consult and Digital Communication for SME’s led by Kwei Quaye-Foli, Team Lead, Black Star Web Limited.
“PR operates on the principle that while the customer is ‘King’ and key to the success of the business, there are other groups of people who support you sell to the customer such as your employees, your suppliers and vendors, the regulator, the community in which your business operates in. These stakeholders also deserve the attention of the business since their actions or inactions can derail any sales plan,” Mrs. Asante Antwi indicated.
Entrepreneurs were advised to value their customers by understanding their needs and be willing to and adapt to those needs. “Marketing states that businesses should emphasise on one important stakeholder, ‘the customer’ since without the customer there is no business,” said Mrs. Petra Aba Asamoah.
Discussing Issues and Crisis Management on Social Media, Mrs. Baaba Cofie observed that “Often, businesses do not put in place measures to respond to crisis. Before an issue or crisis arises on social media, a proactive PR tactic is to create a simple social media policy for a company, secure the company’s accounts and to use social listening to identify potential threats in order to avoid a crisis which could lead to financial and reputation loss.”
Mr. Kwei Foli, speaking on Digital Communication for SMEs, urged participants to understand the various digital platforms available to them such as Websites, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc. and how these platforms can be used to their business’ advantage. “When selecting a social media platform, consider how popular the selected platform is among your target market or customers, is it easy to run promotions on the platforms? These considerations will enable you to select the right platform to aid your business growth” Mr. Foli asserted.
The workshop brought together participants from the culinary, agriculture, fashion, décor, education, building and construction sectors. Ms. Fidelia Ankomah, a participant at the workshop expressed her delight for participating in the workshop: “I learnt about branding, reputation management and effective stakeholder engagement. Through the PR101 workshop, I have realized that the brand you build over time determines how serious stakeholders will take your brand”.
Mr. Jesse Amoako Atta, another participant, stated that the workshop was insightful and he will adapt some of the strategies discussed to build his business. “My take-home is from Madam Petra Asamoah’s presentation, I have realised that my brand is my promise so I need to pay particular attention to my customers and provide solutions that meet their need in order to stay relevant in an industry where competitors are springing up daily.”