Ok, let me take you back in time:
When asked what you wanted to become in the junior phases of your life, you’d mention the title of the job you desired at that time. For instance, ‘I want to be the CEO of company X’. Did you ever ask yourself exactly what that title entailed? Did you have a plan as to what steps you needed to take to get to the point of being the CEO? And lastly what profession that title is attached to?
I took the most common route, by going to university to use to study and use that as a springboard to my career. I couldn’t really tell you what my job would be once I completed my degree in Bcom Communications Management. The degree was theory intense and that did help as a foundation of understanding what communication really is. Now the big question is: is there a link between tertiary teachings and the workplace? Definitely! The years that I had spent in tertiary have taught me core skills that are useful in the workplace. Some of the skills learnt are reasoning, research skills, data analysis, critical thinking and quantitative ability.
I am privileged enough to be part of the Consumer portfolio where we work with top consumer brands. This is where I see exceptional integrated digital communication strategies being implemented, credible and trustworthy relationships being built with the media and influencers, meaningful stories being told to the right audience and creative campaigns being established that can be measured at the end of the day. I now realise the importance of reporting, updating of media lists and putting together meaningful items for desk drops. These are some of the things I didn’t learn in my textbooks. Every single one of the above mentioned is vital and necessary to shape and guide the end product of any campaign and strategy.
In this industry, like many others, you have to keep educating yourself and equipping yourself with the right skills that will allow you to produce great work. It changes and develops faster than you can finish a chapter of a textbook. Some things are better learnt through experience, whether good or bad. You cannot simply rely on theory based information; it can only do so much for you.
Now going back to the first paragraph, I have a much better understanding of what my profession entails and what the essence of it is. Everything we do and say is public relations. The little things make more sense now. Experience: the most brutal of teachers has opened my eyes. In the famous words of Douglas Smith, “PR is performance recognition”, I fully agree with that. I need to start doing more in order to stay on par with the goals that I have set for myself and become a great leader in this industry one day.
Written by Lebogang Kgothadi
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