By Chris Ogunlowo, principal partner of Kwirkly, a creative agency for SMEs. The two African countries that do social media impressively, with focus on their presidents, are Rwanda & Kenya. The guys behind PaulKagame‘s social media accounts understand the influence of soft power and reputation management (Damn that often-basterdized term – Public Relations). They have very
By Chris Ogunlowo, principal partner of Kwirkly, a creative agency for SMEs.
The two African countries that do social media impressively, with focus on their presidents, are Rwanda & Kenya.
The guys behind PaulKagame‘s social media accounts understand the influence of soft power and reputation management (Damn that often-basterdized term – Public Relations). They have very well positioned him as partly an intellectual and a stern African president, the two qualities that he easily cultivates. One is impressed by images of him rocking suits and holding down meetings. And reports of the meetings, especially with foreign audiences, leave one with interesting insights about issues that interest him, including human capacity and foreign aids.
The Kenyans run closely behind with impressive positioning of Uhuru Kenyatta. There are plenty instavideos of him playing with the citizenry, dancing and shaking hands. A Kenya friend says, “he’s a guy you’d want to drink beer with”. I’m tempted to believe, especially with a video of him being given a reception after his return from an appearance at the International Court of Law. His staff lined up waiting at his office. You’ll notice the chef with a chef hat and beating what looks like a pot or skillet. Everyone launched into a routine dance in a clear show of happiness, as he meandered through them, shaking hands and smiling. He makes one feel presidents are human too, after all. His Facebook account is a thorough image-maker.
The Ghanaian president, John Dramani Mahama, seems to have a rather contentious image at home but you can’t fault that man when he opens his mouth. His eloquence is a class art. I’m not sure now, I think it was an international event hosted by Nigeria and this dude was interviewed. If presidents could head two countries based on their diction and finesse, this guy might bid well for Togo. lol. And the citizens acknowledge the brilliance. His social media handlers aren’t as vibrant but they still have some cake.
It’s good to know some African countries utilize social media to project favourable images about their leaders. It’s a clever act in soft power positioning, although the best national branding activities are still run by citizens. Craig Rodney, for instance, manages the “SouthAfrica” instagram account – one of my favourites, with spectacular scenery and natural formations of his country. And the person behind “Abuja” on Instagram isn’t doing badly.
One can only hope that my country Nigeria and its president’s image-makers will learn and take a cue, instead of the mishmash that they mistake for “presidential branding” or “national positioning”.
And Mr. President can learn to rock snapbacks with some sophistication and avoid gaffes. But this is not a sub. 😉
This piece first appeared on Chris Ogunlowo’s blog