By Ikenna Anene
It was Jim Morrison who said “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”
This, has been tested time and time over and it is the reason public entities ranging from Organisations, Politicians to Public figures, take the media very seriously. Hence the need for a personnel, whether a media consultant or an adviser; whose job is to manage their image and public perception.
They are officially the first point of contact for media (TV, radio, newspapers, online). They write media releases, press conferences and any other communications required. It could include maintaining an entity’s website, facebook page, twitter account and other social media platforms.
Media advisers also monitor the media, to see if the issues important to their client or principal are being mentioned, in case there’s a needs to clarify or make adjustments.
They’re usually the success or undoing of an organisation, government, political or public figure. Hence, they must be strategists who also understand the business of buying and selling; because in the end, it’s all about convincing the buyer and selling the product. It’s all about information management.
Making this selection is usually a daunting task, particularly for politicians and governments in this part of the world, who often turn to writers or commentators who have over time, built a reputation as popular or famous critics, instead of strategists and promoters. Better still, the OGAs compensate theirs cronies with the slot/job; clearly undermining the role.
These respected critics, usually carry along that attitude and modus operandi to their new engagement/assignment, focusing on perceived competitors or opposition. This is typical of an average media adviser in Nigeria at all levels, as they often put on the whole armour of sycophancy and pettiness and then set out to war.
Without being judgemental, all they do the whole time, is exchange banters with opposition in a bid to impress their principals, instead of promoting their activities and works; forgetting that it is the creative stories and pictures you tell and paint to the people, they will believe. Often times, they loose out to their opposition, why? people believe the wrong narratives creatively presented to them by these opposition and detractors.
It will be very unfair, if this piece forgets to resound that the job of a media aide in Nigeria or anywhere in the world, isn’t “moi-moi”; especially when dealing with a multi faceted and over expectant race like Nigerians. Indeed, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. However, greatness doesn’t come on a platter or to the feeble mind.
The job doesn’t come without its challenges, as media advisers always have to interface with intelligent and smart journalists, sometimes annoying ones who care less of the brown envelope. They also bear the brunt of churning out information on both expected and unexpected topics, and so resort to lies and deceit in many instances. One thing is clear in this age, surpressed truth will always and somehow find its way to the tabloids. People are also over expectant of them.
One is not sure, whether these information managers are genuinely carried away by the accompanying exposure, fame and monetary gains. Understand that it is only but a temporal outing. This consciousness is vital to the success that’ll be recorded.
Nevertheless, Mr media adviser, kindly also understand that your job is to creatively package your product/brand (principal) and sell same to the masses. A media adviser should promote, promote and promote; except ones has an empty principal, who has indeed refused to show working and this is the greatest challenge of a media any aide. Though a rare gift, one must be able to descern when to join issues with every piece of information from the opposing side and detractors.
One who really wants to succeed in this line of job, should never create a team of hungry sychophants, who will only do your bidding, always ready to write silly rejoinders without facts and never question the status quo. These set of people are your greatest enemies. Avoid them. Hungry but creative people, who have a mind of their own, will grow to become very stable; that’s great too.
Although the job expects one to constantly engage annoying with journalists, commentators and critics, one must also endeavour not to loose enjoyed goodwill to lies. There’s really nothing wrong with creatively telling the truth, even if it has to be half the truth.
Oga adviser, if you must lie, remember never to shamelessly tell lies of damaged furnitures and rodents. Never! It will finish off, whatever is left of your reputation and the people will never believe you.
While some school of thought, believe that the job of a media adviser, is to package roasted corn as shawarma and sell to the people. This piece is strongly in opposition. What happens when the corn is unveiled? Rather a roasted corn should be packaged and presented as the best roasted corn, so that even when it’s unwrapped, eaten and doesn’t turn out to be the best, it is corn still.
So, OGA, before you appoint Mr Special Adviser on Media, make sure you’re not an impossible task and then “shine ya eye”.
Do have a great day and week.
Ikenna Anene is a Media Entrepreneur/Strategist, Writer and Development Advocate.