APO Group, the leading pan-African communications and business consultancy, remains fully operational and is supporting clients and media as the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world • The first things communicators need to do is readjust their mix of public relations and marketing activities
When a global crisis like the coronavirus hits, it is critical for businesses to keep communicating if they want to survive. But they also need to acknowledge that we are entering unchartered waters. A new reality where the old rules no longer apply. Companies will have to adapt quickly to stay relevant and make the transition to this ‘new normal’ successfully.
The first things communicators need to do is readjust their mix of public relations and marketing activities.
Social media consumption is increasing rapidly every day as more countries —including many in Africa— enforce ‘lockdown’ restrictions. Digital marketing, therefore, becomes a critical part of any communications strategy, while print advertising and traditional public relations become less relevant.
During these unprecedented times, APO Group’s suite of digital marketing and media relations solutions are helping organisations continue their operations safely and with minimal economic impact.
APO Group provides unparalleled 360-degree digital marketing solutions through the development and implementation of Social Media Marketing Strategies, Search Engine Marketing Strategies, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, Programmatic Advertising, Account-Based Marketing and bespoke Lead Generation Strategies.
In addition, APO Group’s Digital Media Relations solutions help clients reach the audiences that matter. From press release distribution to online press conferences, media monitoring to exclusive interview facilitation – all APO Group’s solutions are available online, accessible remotely and able to connect businesses with media all over Africa and beyond.
Back in 2014, APO Group’s online press conferences were a useful option for companies looking to target media from all over Africa. Now they are essential in delivering credible messages to your most important audiences. With physical meetings impossible for the foreseeable future, technology is helping to drive new ways of communicating without the need for face-to-face interaction.
Business leaders can use Skype, Zoom and other tools to speak to one specific journalist in an exclusive interview, or many hundreds of journalists in an online press conference. All from their own home armed with just a computer or smartphone.
In times of enforced change, innovation is a crucial quality. And it is not just businesses who need to adapt fast.
For media, times are just as challenging. The usual newsgathering process is simply not possible, so the media rely even more heavily on the public relations industry and other sources to be able to produce content.
When journalists are unable to travel to visit sources and locations, take photos or film video, they have to improvise. Press releases, B-roll footage and other PR material is vital to keep the media industry moving, protecting income and readership or viewing figures.
APO Group’s digital services help journalists facilitate new relationships with business leaders and public relations professionals. Its Africa Newsroom site, for example, is one of the richest resources for journalists looking for story ideas or new angles on existing stories.
With thousands of news releases from both African organisations and multinational corporations, it is helping media operate smoothly despite the current uncertainty.
Support for African governments
Last week, APO Group launched an initiative to help African governments in the fight against coronavirus by offering free content distribution on any virus-related news. Already, more than 300 press releases and official statements issued by 40 African governments have been made available to over 400,000 journalists working in or reporting on the continent.
APO Group has long been committed to driving positive communications across Africa. During the Ebola crisis in 2014, the company worked with the government in Sierra Leone to run online press conferences. This helped to turn the tide of negativity, and gave the government a platform and a clear voice to address challenges the country was facing.
With the coronavirus crisis likely to last months rather than weeks, now is the time for all communicators to reflect on their own activities.
“These are extremely challenging times for most of the companies globally, and we are in uncharted waters when it comes to business and media relations,” said Lionel Reina, CEO of APO Group. “The need for clear and calm communications has never been more important. We have always taken pride in the fact that APO Group’s Digital Media Relations solutions bring together the worlds of business, innovation and media. Hopefully, we will see a return to normality in the coming months, but until then, we are here for anyone who needs to utilise our considerable expertise in the African business and media landscapes.” •