Your Excellency, Ministers of State, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, MPs, Nii Mei, Naa Mei, Board Members, distinguished guests, Team Graphic, I welcome you to the launch of the redesigned Daily Graphic, the nation’s leading newspaper.
I consider myself a blessed person; just yesterday I attended the commissioning of the new offices of InnovaDDB Ghana, a celebration of the tenacity of a Ghanaian. At that event Joel Nettey gave an apt definition for welcome addresses, which I intend to adopt. A welcome address is like a sandwich, you begin with welcome & end with welcome, whatever comes in-between can be varied, you just have to ensure that it tastes good to the consumer.
Madam Chairperson, at Graphic we firmly believe that the customer is the reason we exist. Our products and service philosophy therefore is customer first. Guided by this philosophy, which is reflected in our mission statement, “We empower our audience and customers everywhere with authentic information and excellent products through visionary leadership and strong brands” we have at every point in our operations tried to improve the quality of our products and services and develop new brands in response to the needs and expectations of customers as pointed to us by research and driven by our vision.
Mr President, Graphic’s history is full of proofs of our desire to respond to the needs of the market and satisfy customers. In 1950, we started with one newspaper, the Daily Graphic, which instantly gained leadership on the market because of its great quality. In ’53 we gave our customers The Mirror, to help them to have a good relaxation at weekends, ’85 we began publishing the Graphic Sports to satisfy sports enthusiasts, ’98 we put Graphic Showbiz on the market as a source of news on entertainment and culture, 2000 we started Junior Graphic for kids and in 2008 we began the circulation of Graphic Business, the newspaper which has become the reliable document for business executives to take critical decisions. In all of these instances, Graphic had simply acted according to either the dictates of our customers or preempting the needs that they did not even know that they had.
Ladies and gentlemen, the re-launch of Daily Graphic today is in keeping with this tradition of listening to expressed and silent needs of our customers and exceeding their expectations.
The unique brand proposition for the redesigned Daily Graphic is to make “your number 1 newspaper better”. You have made us number 1 over the 63 years and thank you for that. But from our research we know that you want an even better Daily Graphic. This is what we are offering you today. It is not just the look & feel that is being made better. Though we know that the packaging and the design are very important and have improved, content and the mode of delivery have also been improved.
There is a lot of value added to your Graphic and we are promising you more of this “truth and accuracy everyday.”
We recognize the fact that today’s reader has become savvy and very demanding and does not want only to be spoken to but also wants to be part of the conversation. David Billington our consultant puts it aptly; “Newspapers today are locked in a battle with the fast developing Internet. The reading habits of people are changing around the world as we all send text messages; use our screen phones, i-pads and computers. Readers are gradually changing and this is highlighted by youngsters coming out of school and universities demanding more from their newspapers and looking to read them in the same way that they view “news” and “features” on a computer. But newspapers have a very strong card to play because we can research and present a story much better than the Internet with our specialist writers and reporters and we have space and time on our side. We, as “news gatherers” will give you much more than the Internet.”
So there will be a lot more of the voice of the reader in the paper. This does not only improve interactivity but it will also deepen relevance, where your paper focuses on the issues matter to you, our audience.
Madam Chairperson, I wish to assure customers that we think about them every time before we take any decision about our products and services. We have therefore created these interactive opportunities in the new Daily Graphic for them to tell us about their concerns and suggestions, which we will treat with respect and seriousness as feedback for the improvement of our offerings. I am sure one thing you our readers will find exciting about the new Daily Graphic will be the direct link to the social media platforms, Google+, Facebook, twitter, whatsapp and whatever that comes and is relevant.
HE President Mahama, Your number 1 Graphic made better is truly improved and its new content includes indepth news analysis to help readers make informed judgments on events, the day 2 stories, which you will still want to read even if you have heard the story on Radio or watched it on TV. Again, the paper has been made more reader-friendly. For this purpose, the text of the new Daily Graphic has been made bolder for easy reading. Additionally, the new Daily Graphic has more graphic images and great pictures made better by our new press, to make it attractive and pleasant to hold and to read. There will also be elements to enhance quick reads for the busy executives as well as for the person who wants more.
We have enhanced the paper as a marketing platform, in response to our advertisers’ quest for improvement in their ROI on their advertising cedi without overwhelming our readers. So we have innovatively imported and adapted strategies from the electronic and online media to get a better mix of adverts and editorials to improve the appeal for the readers.
Madam Chairperson the redesign is also to grow the entire print industry. We know that globally the newspaper industry is in distress, though the Ghanaian Industry still has some life. But great business leaders are those who craft solutions for tomorrow today and execute flawlessly. Redesign is one of the great tools to move the industry from our state of maturity back to growth. The good thing is that Graphic is the Print Industry in Ghana and the Print industry in Ghana is Graphic. But we are not complacent and we want to use this redesign to drive a lot more growth back into the print industry and grow sales, not only in Ghana but also into the sub-region. The reason for our new vision “To be a dominant multimedia Group in West Africa, telling the African Story”.
We have prepared our team adequately to maintain the standard of the new Daily Graphic. There has been a lot of training and capacity building for my team. The success of this project will result in improvement in conditions of service for the team. One of the great cultures at Graphic is team members’ appreciation of the fact that our wellbeing is directly tied to the success of the company.
For all of our owners, who are represented by you, Your Excellency, we can assure you of greater returns on your investments in us.
For Ghana today and tomorrow we promise that we will deliver on our constitutional mandate as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution, Chapter 12, especially Articles 162 and 163. We will also contribute to the overall development of our country.
We will strive to attain our vision, to achieve excellence and in the process be an example for Ghanaian companies and hopefully have the capillary effect of also drawing them with us to move beyond our shores.
Additionally we intend to use this redesign and the outcomes thereof to deepen the belief of Ghanaians in themselves and confirm Osageyfo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s assertion that the African, indeed the Ghanaian is capable of managing his own affairs successfully. It is worth noting that Graphic is the only one within the Mirror Group’s Media companies established in West Africa which is still in profitable operations and a market leader.
We also believe that this process will be part of our arsenals in breaking the myth that the state cannot be in business and excel. At this stage I wish to thank our forebears who started this great revolution of making Graphic the market leader: our former Board Members, MDs, Editors of Graphic. Your Excellency, with your indulgence may I kindly ask as many of them who are here with us today to stand for us to acknowledge them.
I will want to thank members of the previous board who began this redesign project with us. This is your baby and we thank you for your roles. Permit me to thank David Billiton, the consultant who helped finish what our local team started. Thanks to Hope Adusu, Esther Somuah, Ransford Tetteh and his team and the entire Team Graphic for making this dream a reality.
Youor Excellency, permit me to remind Team Graphic that the redesign is not an event, it is a process that is just beginning. The number 1 newspaper made better will have to keep getting better. This redesign has taken a lot to get done and they will have to keep working at this high standard to be able to deliver the brand promise of high quality consistently everyday. It will really task the way we have done things and stretch us to the limit. But if anybody can do it, it is Team Graphic who can do it.
For us all it is an opportunity to write our names in Gold in the sands of time, so that when the history of the world is told, we will be mentioned as people who also played our part to cause that great point of inflection not only in Graphic but the Print industry, at least in the sub-region.
So Ghanaians, let’s believe in ourselves, let’s give Ghanaians opportunities 1st, before we extend it to others. Let’s kill the mentality that make us keep the best crockery for the visitor and export the best parts of our produce and instead give each other the choicest of what we can offer.
We in Graphic wish to also thank His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama for taking time off his busy schedule to attend this cherished event of ours. We are extra grateful to him because in the recent past he is the only President to have honoured invitations to our events. It is worth noting that when he was Vice President too he was the Guest of Honour at our Graphic Business Dialogue series. Your Excellency, we are grateful.
Finally before I conclude my welcome address and welcome you again, we thank the Good Lord for how far he has brought us. Ebenezer.
Your Excellency, Madam Chairperson, ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the launch of your redesigned Daily Graphic – your number 1 newspaper made better, with the promise of truth and accuracy everyday.
God bless you.