PR Guru Martin Macharia On Mending Relationships

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Young leaders are already taking their place in the corporate world.

Meet the young passionate Public Relations practitioner Martin Mugo Macharia, who makes us all want to major in Public Relations. The few careers in the corporate world that don’t make you depressed and miserable.

He explained to us the ins and outs of the PR industry:

Who is Martin?

I’m 21. I work in a PR firm, mostly doing media relations, investor relations and public affairs, all under the PR Blanket. I’m also studying at the UoN, majoring in Public Relations.

What does PR entail?

PR is all about creating and maintaining relationships. Best way to do this is to always be in conversation with your relationships. So by studying my stakeholders I know what they want, when they want it and how. So I will use tools like media to create links with them, tailor make my products to meet their needs. So ensuring my client is in good books with everyone, from government, to my grandmother back in the village.

What made you want to be a PR guru?

I have always loved telling stories. Especially stories that you read and tell other people. So I figured I could learn things that affect businesses and tell this to business owners. So I analyze policy and advice clients, study financial statements for my client and package a narrative for business readers. I’m also a people person, always wanting to be in a good relationship with everyone around me, so that’s why I do crisis and reputation management.

What inspires you?

I’m mostly inspired by people around me. Anything will inspire me, literally. But I look up to my boss, Mercy Randa (P&L Consulting). She is the guru. Jeff Aludo, MD Africa Practice.

Major challenges you face in your career?

Well, being young in an industry where your name and experience precedes anything else. Basically if no one knows you, you are no one. So trying to build a network is an uphill task, but I’m getting there.

Future ambitions?

I want to retire from active employment at 35. Everything I do today is to achieve this goal. I want to advice multinationals and governments on the African Markets. I also want to be part of the team that creates a new narrative for Africa.

PR is a ladies field, how true is this?

Well, most employees in my office are ladies; in fact I was the only gentleman in the office for a whole quarter. My bosses are ladies. But I really love how women are going out there and taking their place as  business leaders. There’s hope for my sister and hopefully daughter that they will not fall short of mentors and role models. But there are many gentlemen in the industry, so everyone can be in the industry they want to today. Gender doesn’t really matter

Is it true PR fix things. I mean if my nudes got leaked today, I just give you a call?

That’s where people go wrong. PR is not about fixing and spinning. It’s about relationships. If your nudes leaked the first thing that comes to mind is what to tell your parents, how to face friends and society at large. In literal terms PR will try to reconcile your relationship with all these people, try to make them forgive you and hopefully, forget. Repair the relationships basically, and the best way to approach this is by first coming clean, makes things easy. If you’re dishonest and they find out, it’s another story, I’d even drop you as a client, hehe.

A typical day for you (as a PR practitioner)

Read Newspaper to find out if there are stories about or relevant to my clients, send the report the client. Check diary for meetings. We write a lot, calling up contacts just to check up on them. Lunch with my media friends, writing again. Read developing news and then attend class, then go home. Read news and sleep

Does it matter where you got your PR academic training, UoN or Daystar? Does getting distinctions make you job worthy or a few Cs and Ds still good to go?

Well, it doesn’t matter; at the end of the day what the employer cares about is what value you bring to the firm. It is also a matter of talent. If you’re talented I don’t think the employer cares about the school you went to. You just have to be the tallest in the crowd.

How is the pay?

It depends with your bargaining skills. You might find an entry level earning the same as executives or executives earning the same as PR account managers. But industry standards are, entry level 40K net per month. Executives earn 50-70k net per month. Account managers above 100K. But it all comes down to your bargaining power.

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