Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Words....I love these words

A long walk......I love Jill Scott...just had to share these words

Verse 1

You're here, I'm pleased I really dig your company
Your style, your smile, your peace mentality
Lord, have mercy on meI was blind, now I can see
What a king's supposed to be
Baby I feel free, come on and go with me

Chorus 1

Let's take a long walk around the park after dark
Find a spot for us to spark
Conversation, verbal elation, stimulation
Share our situations, temptations, education, relaxations
Elevations, maybe we can talk about Surah 31:18

Verse 2

Your background it ain't squeaky clean shit
Sometimes we all got to swim upstream
You ain't no saint, we all are sinners
But you put your good foot down and make your soul a winner
I respect that, man you're so phat
And you're all that, plus supreme
Then you're humble man I'm numbYo with feeling,
can feel everything that you bring

Chorus 2

Let's take a long walk around the park after dark Find a spot for us to spark Conversation, verbal elation, stimulation Share our situations, temptations, education, relaxations Elevations, maybe we can talk Revalation 3:17


Or maybe we can see a movie
Or maybe we can see a play on Saturday (Saturday)
Or maybe we can roll a tree and feel the breeze and listen to a symphony
Or maybe chill and just be, or maybeMaybe we can take a cruise and listen to the Roots or maybe eat some passion fruit Or maybe cry to the blues Or maybe we could just be silentCome on, Come on

Repeat Chorus 2 x 2
Repeat Bridge
Chorus 3

Let's take a long walk around the park after darkFind a spot for us to sparkConversation, verbal elation, stimulationShare our situations, temptations, education, relaxationsElevations, maybe baby, maybe we can save the on, come on

Replenishing a tainted image

"By our very use of the term we imply that something can be done to it; the image can always be more or less successfully synthesized, doctored, repaired, refurbished, and improved, quite apart from [though not entirely independent of] the spontaneous original of which the image is the public portrait."

-- Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image; A Guide to Pseudo-events in America

This article was published in CAN-DO! the how-to business magazine for everyone, which came out with its maiden issue in December 2008.

Replenishing a Tainted Corporate Image

Are you facing a crisis or are about to face one? Learn the basics of how to make good of different public relations strategies in order to weather the storms of an ensuing crisis.

The bizarre, the unthinkable, the unexpected, the unimaginable, can bring the day-to day operations of an organization to a stand still and cause strategies on growth and spending plans to be thrown out. The only certainty is that no organization is immune; every organization is vulnerable to crisis.

Today we use the term "image" to convey what a person or an organization appears to be, which is sometimes very different from who/what they actually are in private. The terms "good image" and "bad image" as used today rarely reveal anything about the relative amounts of fact or fiction in an image. They simply reflect how positively or how negatively people who are exposed to the image respond to the person or organization represented by the image. Insofar as public relations is able to help people or organizations project "good images," it can help them receive favorable public responses whether they deserve them or not.
Therefore, corporate executives may say who better to face the scrutiny of media in times of crisis than the media expert? However, crisis management means more than media relations.

Although business people, especially public relations professionals, claim everyday that they face crises, the fact being however that a crisis impacts normal business activity and can even threaten the existence of the organization.

Crisis researcher Otto Lerbinger (1997) classified seven types of organizational crises.

1) Natural Crises, including crises of the physical world or acts of God.
2) Technological crises, such as the Union Carbide chemical tragedy in Bhopal, India; the worlds worst nuclear power plant disaster in Chernobyl, in the former U.S.S.R.
3) Confrontation Crises, involving confrontation, for instance between organizations and activist publics.
4) Crises of Malevolence, such as malicious acts and terrorism.
5) Crises of skewed management failure.
6) Crises of deception.
7) Crises of management misconduct.

A simple guide with examples on how to avoid an ensuing crisis and how to maintain a positive corporate image

To some public relations professionals and corporate executives, there is a distinct correlation between the role of public relations and reputation, especially in times of organizational crisis; others perceive the public relations functions as having little impact on reputation.

Case Study 1

GTV Kenya was the second pay TV in Kenya, after South Africa’s DStv MultiChoice, and began operations on June 29, 2007, ceasing operations on the 31st of January 2009. This was after the Board Directors of its parent company, Broadcast Gateway Services (GBS) approved a plan to liquidate the company.

The pay television network left thousands of subscribers, including many English Premier League fans, stunned as it withdrew its services. It had been scheduled to broadcast a live Manchester United versus Everton match on Saturday 31st of January and a Chelsea versus Liverpool match on Sunday 1st of February 2009.

Subscribers expressed dismay with the company for ceasing operations without notice. Customers received only a short message telling them that the channel had gone off air. Calls to GTV Kenya offices went unanswered, and its website only carries the statement from the Board of Directors of the parent company in the UK. Barely a week before GTV’s closure, the Head of GTV Kenya, Charles Waithaka, spoke of how well the company was doing, saying it had managed to start operations in 22 countries in only two years.

What is the role of public relations in GTV’s case?

Firstly, the role of public relations in this case, becomes the task of getting the word out, with the understanding that if the organization fails to tell their side of the story, others will do it for them. In many cases, in a manner that is damaging.

Secondly, in public relations there is something known as the two-way symmetrical model. This model is based on research and uses it’s communication to manage conflict and improve understanding with strategic publics. The focus for GTV would then be that of balancing its communication, to maintain a give-and –take relationship between itself and the public. In times of crisis, an organization must not only attempt to say the right thing, but do the right thing as well. If people see that the organization is trying to do the right thing, there can be a positive ripple effect.

, public relations should be actively involved in the decision making process relating to investigations and potential crises. Excellent public relations can influence the reputation of an organization by recommending actions the company should take. Those actions are, to be honest, to be responsive, to be reliable, to “do the right thing”, to be rational, to be emotional, to conduct research, to be strategic, and to take responsibility.

Case Study 2

Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA), two years ago hired a respected market analyst, Ms Renee Blasky, whose job was to craft recommendations on how best to reform the capital markets. She released a report calling for radical changes in the stockbrokerage business in Kenya. Ms Blasky, who is the Managing Director of Vista Capital Ltd, had among others, called for the dismantling of the current system where stockbrokers control virtually everything at the Nairobi Stock Exchange. This ranging from setting trading rules to who gets admitted to the bourse. Her report also called on the regulator to open up the stock market to competition by licensing more stockbrokers and allowing foreign companies to partner with local brokers but restrict foreigners’ equity holding up to 49 per cent.

If the CMA had chosen wisely to take up Ms Blasky’s advice, some of her proposals would have averted the This followed the collapse of Nyaga stockbrokers and Discount Securities which many investors have incurred huge losses. In the damning report, the auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers cited collusion by stockbrokers and inaction by the regulator as the key catalysts of fraud that might cost investors in Nyaga stockbrokers about Sh1.3 billion.
Two of the CMA’s board members were either aware or should have been aware, on the basis of client complaints and compliance records, that Nyaga was using client funds for its purpose in breach of fiduciary duties to its clients.

What is the public’s current perception towards the CMA, and how can pr strategies help it gain public confidence?

Perception of the CMA has since changed, with the 20-share index falling below 4,000 points, and Safaricom’s share price decline pulling down the market. If the CMA had chosen wisely to take up Ms Blasky’s advice, some of her proposals would have averted the collapse of Nyaga stockbrokers and Discount Securities which would have saved investors incurring huge losses. What appears not to have changed is perception of CMA’s effectiveness as a regulator. In light of the collapse of Nyaga Stockbrokers, Francis Thuo and others, research has rated the CMA lower than the NSE in terms of management. The regulator is not looking good at all in the court of public opinion.

The CMA is not a toothless dog, far from it. It has a selection of arsenal it can start implementing to ensure its subjects do not deviate from expected ethical behavior. These include levying of financial penalties, suspension from trading, public reprimands and disqualification of officials from employment at stockbrokerage firms. The CMA can also ask the Attorney-General to prosecute those who commit offences under the Act. They need to come out and start implementing these measures.

From this point onwards, the CMA has to be sure that any information they release to the media and public is truthful. Their credibility seems to be going on the verge of becoming irreparably damaged. Any negatively impacting information currently within the public domain must be reacted with a truthful response. Again, if people see that the organization is trying to do the right thing, there can be a positive ripple effect. When using the media, they ought to demonstrate their concern and their determination to resolve the crisis.

Internet crisis communications – This is one key area that has been overlooked, time and time again. In the age of the internet, for any large organization boasting a large market presence, internet based public relations and corporate communications, can be used as a global channel to drive communications around a crisis. Kenyans are online, and therefore Kenyan businesses need to use their internet presence as a key channel of their overall public relations communications strategy.

PR strategies to help you dance circles around a media crisis

1. Have your best dancer on the floor.Select the right spokesperson - a leader who has a strong grasp of the issues and can communicate effectively with reporters. A CEO who lacks media skills should be trained properly or kept out of high-profile media encounters.

2. Analyze video from previous informationEvery organization has blind spots that can lead to embarrassing media situations. Study previous media information. Read what the press are saying about you. Develop a media relations strategy to mend fences or create new opportunities.

3. Get the team on board: be prepared
Make sure your own employees and clients are never surprised by information going out to the public. Leaks to the media from your own staff or important stakeholders make great fodder for negative media stories.

4. Don't make dumb moves on the floor.Avoid making outrageous, inflammatory statements that can prolong a media crisis. We are living in politically correct times. You can be frank and honest without making provocative statements.

5. Practice your moves in advanceAnticipation, anticipation, anticipation - the cardinal rules of media relations. The interview itself should never be the first time you hear the tough questions. Role play before every media encounter.


When an organization or a product fails, customers expect the manufacturer or the organization to fix it and make it right. Executives and the Public Relations representatives typically weigh their decisions based on “hard” factors such as economic, legal, technical, logistical and timing concerns. Therefore too, they need to base decisions on “soft” factors or human factors involving emotion as well. The company must act quickly and responsibly.

Preparation is key.

Consider a crisis plan an insurance policy for your corporate image. With such a plan in place, if a crisis hits, you can spend crucial time implementing the plan rather than trying to figure out where to start.

Make sure you have all the facts.

Gather as much information about the situation as quickly as possible and from a variety of sources. Continually talk through the situation with your trusted counsel. Stay in constant contact with your senior management or crisis team.

Take immediate action to minimize danger to human life.

If any lives are in jeopardy, be sure to immediately address those grave concerns. Negligence with human life is unforgivable. E.g. Nakumatt Downtown Fire

Tell the truth.

Be sure that any information you release to the media or the public is truthful. If something you say is false, your credibility will be irreparably damaged. If the information is in the public domain, you must immediately react with a truthful response. If you do not know the answer, say that you do not know and that you will try to get the information being requested.

Show you care and be sincere.

Do your best to understand what the public's concerns will be and address those concerns directly.

Never overlook the power of common sense.

Think through the different crisis resolution scenarios. If your gut instinct is that they are off the mark, get more information and keep thinking. Trust yourself and your closest advisors.
Don’t expect your message to get there by osmosis, it is ‘public relations’ role to communicate those actions to publics effectively and in turn you shall maintain positive relationships with them.

Monday, February 2, 2009

kindergarten mum and budding entreprenuer

It had never been my intention to be a business owner. Now in my late twenties, a single mother of one, i find myself, having to learn how to juggle being a single mother and how to network and manage my business all at the same time. Life hasn't quite turned out the way I thought it would. Right now, I thought, I'd be practising as a lawyer, didn't matter where, as long as I was making serious cash. Also, by now I should have a family etc. with the dog and cat thing going on. But life just isn't like that. Instead, I'm just trying to take my business off the ground, hasn't been long, but still at start-up. it's difficult.

My driving force, my son Ethan. From adversity, opportunities are created. Adversity can either break you or make you. I have to provide for my son, who is also mildly autistic. Finding out my son was mildly austic was devastating. So, I started recapping on where, and how it could have happened. But after a while, I just came to accept that things are the way they are, and it's not about how it happened, though knowing, would have helped in coming to terms faster. It would also make me feel better if i could then in turn help someone else avoid ending up in the same situation i now find myself.

From this, I find strength to live, to make sure my son has all he needs, especially for his education and his medical needs i.e. speech and occupational therapy, that does not come cheap especially in Africa.

Therefore, I have really not been trying to balance my work and personal life, but instead I work on having harmony in all areas of my life. When you are a business owner, it is hard sometimes to find balance. I was always trying to figure it out and felt like a failure when I could not make it happen, and I still have my moments, I could balance my check book but I could not balance my life. The idea behind harmony is understanding that sometimes life is all about the family, and other times I have to really focus on the business to take it to a new place, and not feel guilty about what I am doing. This usually happens when, I have to be in the office late, or have to network either for work or personal reasons. I have learned to weave my business, my family, my physical and spiritual life together, creating flow between them and accepting that there will never be perfect balance but there can be harmony. When I gave up being guilty, when I gave up being perfect, I found harmony.

So whatever it is I am doing, I want to BE there 100%. When i'm with my family and friends, I'm there 100%. When it's work, I am present with the task at hand 100%. Otherwise, I would say that being a woman I have had to learn some of the techniques of men. Also trying to be mum and dad at the same time to my son. When it comes to business, I've learnt how to ask for the business, how to leverage my time and my network, how to delegate to others and how to toot my own horn. Women actually tend to wait for the business, we hope that our network or friends will help us but we don’t ask or set clear expectations, we believe that we can do it all so we are not good at delegating to others or saying No, and we never ever toot our own horns we have to learn how to do that well. Ask any guy about his accomplishments and he will rattle them off, ask a woman and she will have to think about it.

My 1st passion is the law. My second, fashion. At the moment, I am a non practising Lawyer, and I'm actively persuaing my Image consultancy business, it's not easy but i'm moving on steadily everyday.

I'm still a young woman, and that means I still have time to grow my enterprise, and I know somewhere down the line and soon, i'll be able to make a big impact in the Kenyan economy and the Global economy at large.