“It’s alright that PR goes unseen; we let our work do the talking for us.” Olugbeminiyi Idowu, tech PR expert

World Public Relations Day is observed on July 16 every year all over the world. In point of fact, this occasion for annual commemoration did not begin until 2021; the first event of its kind was staged at that time. As is the case with the vast majority of days that are celebrated globally, the objective is to educate people about the public relations (PR) profession and teach them how to make effective use of it. It should come as no surprise that those who work in public relations believe that their roles are, for the most part, misunderstood and, most likely, underappreciated.

When we talk about being misunderstood, I'd like to make a brief reference to a situation that is very familiar to me: the interactions that take place between public relations professionals and journalists. You see. Despite the fact that these roles are highly interdependent on one another, the connection between them cannot be avoided and is therefore quite complicated. This has been demonstrated by a number of studies carried out all over the world. According to the author of an article published in Forbes in 2016, Conrad Egusa's take on the subject states that "the relationship between PR professionals and journalists is known for being adversarial." Public relations representatives are seen as obstacles by journalists because they either get in the way of stories or try to create stories out of thin air. On the other hand, public relations representatives can become irritated when journalists disregard their work.

As a journalist, I wholeheartedly agree with you; however, I also believe that the public relations industry cannot succeed without the media. Bemi, whose real name is Olugbeminiyi Idowu, has some sympathy for the author's point of view.

Public relations is one of the careers that is currently being overlooked out here. I don't think most people realize how influential and potent public relations can be. Public relations (PR) is a machine that shapes the way people think; it influences people's decisions about what to buy, where they choose to live and work, and how they interact with one another. Public relations (PR) is involved in every facet of life. The most positive aspect, however, is that public relations work is almost never visible to the public. "And I think that's also a wonderful thing because we can be invisible in the background and let our work do the talking for us," he shares. "And I think that's also a wonderful thing because we can let our work do the talking for us."

Olugbeminiyi is a specialist in public relations for African technology companies. He is currently the brains behind the startup PR consultancy Talking Drum Communications, which is centered on African technology companies.


Bemi, a Nigerian native born and raised in England

Olugbeminiyi Idowu smilingOlugbeminiyi ‘Bemi’ Idowu. Tech PR expert. Founder, Talking Drum Communications. Source: Supplied

Bemi, whose name will appear more than once in the following sections of this article, has an intriguing history. In a nutshell, it was a method of dealing with difficult situations.

Bemi, who was born in Ibadan and attended secondary school in Nigeria, made two attempts to get accepted into an undergraduate program before his parents decided to move the family to the United Kingdom so that he could pursue higher education there.

While he was getting used to his new surroundings, the native English speakers he interacted with had trouble pronouncing his first name. Although it is a lengthy name, he could not stand the fact that it was consistently mispronounced. As a result, he and Bemi came to an understanding about how to handle the situation.

It seemed like a good compromise between what my name is and what the people around me could say. For me, it was like finding a good middle ground. After that, for a very long time, that was the name that I went by.

He embraced this identity for a good number of years until much later in his professional life, when he was forced to return to identifying himself with his full name. This was because he had begun working with Nigerian businesses that, under normal circumstances, should not have had a problem with it.

Bemi didn't only have to deal with that issue in the beginning stages, and there was a limit to how much adapting and coping he could do.

"When I first arrived in the UK, one of the things that used to irritate me in the early days was that a lot of people around me knew nothing about Nigeria or Africa. This was one of the things that used to bother me the most. The only thing they understood to be true about Africa was that its inhabitants lived in abject poverty. It used to irritate me that that was the only topic of conversation that people wanted to discuss with me.

Despite the fact that this affected him for a variety of reasons, it was only a matter of time before he spoke out against it.

I went through a period in which I tried to be like everybody else in order to make peace with who I am; after that, I was able to have a little more grounding in myself and interact with the world in a more genuine way.

But how did Bemi get his start in public relations?

Olugbeminiyi Bemi Idowu, Tech PR expert.Olugbeminiyi ‘Bemi’ Idowu. Tech PR expert. Founder, Talking Drum Communications. Source: Supplied

Bemi's appreciation for the privacy of others has been a distinguishing characteristic of her throughout her entire life. As he believed he had enough company for himself, he engaged in activities that required at least two other children to participate alone.

When I was in my own space, I felt extremely at ease. And I believe that this helped me improve both my ability to tell stories and my capacity to simply be myself within my own space. These things have been helpful to me as I've progressed through life because there are times when you have to be your own person and decide things on your own accord, and I've had to do both on occasion. That marked the beginning of that aspect of me, and from there on out, I was just making up a story out of nothing. After that, I went off to college, where I found that my active imagination served me well when it came to writing. I was able to make out certain details and recognize recurring themes.

As a result, because Bemi was always drawn to books as a kid and was fascinated by the lifestyle that his journalist father led, he made a mental note that he would one day work in the field of journalism.

My initial goal was to pursue a career in journalism. It's possible that in another life I'll be doing what you're doing right now. Because I enjoy writing so much, I often turn to it when I need to unwind; I find that it's enjoyable."

In order to move in that direction, he attended Kingston University in London to study journalism and creative writing. He hoped that this would help him achieve his other dream of becoming a television host.

Bemi, along with many others in his graduating class, was unprepared for the events that occurred after he received his diploma.

When I graduated in 2008, it was around the same time that there was a significant global financial crisis, which meant that there were no jobs anywhere. When I graduated, there were no jobs anywhere. Even those individuals who had been extended job offers had those offers rescinded.

Bemi, who was severely affected by this, stumbled upon what would later become his gold mine.

I was wandering around London when I happened upon an advertisement for an internship at a public relations firm. They were looking for an administrative assistant intern to help them out.

However, given that it was an unpaid internship, he did not consider this to be the silver lining he had been hoping for. In spite of this, he supplemented his income by working an evening shift job that paid him stipends. Bemi concedes that the company wasn't the ideal place he had envisioned working, but he says that it wasn't bad for a first exposure to PR, and because of this, he has decided to pursue public relations further.

Before beginning his first job in a full-time capacity with a charitable organization, he worked as an intern for a third time at a different business. After a few months had passed, he was presented with another opportunity. In 2011, he made his debut in the world of technology public relations, which has since been a successful endeavor.

"What was I supposed to do in terms of my next step in my professional career? Should I stick with that European public relations strategy? Or should I investigate what is going on on the other side?

In the past thirteen years, Bemi has worked in the public relations industry for a total of six different companies.

Getting into the public relations market for African technology

After working for eight years in the public relations industry in Europe, he joined Wimbart, a tech public relations firm with a focus on Africa. And then, after nearly two years had passed, while the world was in the midst of a pandemic, Bemi decided to switch gears professionally.

One of the things that became abundantly clear to me was that in order to move forward in life, it is sometimes necessary to take chances. If you don't try new things, you'll never find out what works best for you. If you don't buy a ticket, there's no way for you to win the lottery. And there's no assurance that you'd come out on top."

Talking Drum Communications, which was inspired by the communication features and the intricate design of the well-known West African percussion instrument known as the gangan, began to take shape in the year 2020 after extensive planning and mentorship. The company is scheduled to make its official debut in the year 2021.

Olugbeminiyi Bemi Idowu, a tech PR founderOlugbeminiyi ‘Bemi’ Idowu on his first day as the founder of Talking Drum Communications. Source: supplied

Even though things weren't perfect, Bemi is constantly reminding himself that the word "impossible" is not a fact but rather an opinion.

Within the first month of operation, the fledgling business secured its first customer. For Bemi, this represented a significant turning point as well as confirmation that he was engaged in productive activity.

Making productive use of one's creative abilities

Bemi is of the opinion that all of the abilities he honed during his time in school and the time he spent cultivating them during his childhood have, in the end, proven to be quite useful in the field of technology. He describes how his roles require him to explain something to others in a way that makes them interested in it, even though the subject matter would normally be considered dull.

" Going to university and studying creative writing, which is basically a degree that involves reading and analyzing novels; analyzing plotlines, narrative structures, and all the other sorts of things that are involved in creative writing. For me, having that background meant that when I brought it to tech PR, I could use those skills to tell stories about very boring things, which is exactly what I wanted to do.

Olugbeminiyi Bemi Idowu smilingOlugbeminiyi ‘Bemi’ Idowu. Tech PR expert. Founder, Talking Drum Communications. Supplied

As another one of his privileges, he counts the fact that his parents are both highly educated and supportive of him. The knowledge that he had gained from studying journalism and putting it to use in an online men's fashion magazine that he ran for four years, Sharp Guy, is a high point. He ran the magazine for those four years.

It was strange for me because I was still working in public relations at the time, but I used to get press releases from other public relations professionals all over the world who wanted me to feature their product or their company on the platform. " "It was weird for me because I was still working in public relations at the time. This experience provided me with the opportunity to gain insight into the functioning of the opposite end of the news creation cycle.

Experiences similar to this one contributed, if anything else, to his confidence, which allowed him to start his own public relations firm despite the uncertainties. Bemi says that interacting with founders is his favorite part of his job as a tech PR specialist, and he expresses this excitement whenever he has the opportunity to do so.

Another one of his achievements is having one of his first technology clients in Europe be purchased by a more established business. This provided him with the assurance that, provided stories are told in the appropriate manner, it is possible for startups to achieve their goals of sustained expansion.

Considering a job in public relations (PR)?

" If you aren't well organized, dealing with public relations is going to be very challenging for you. You are always juggling multiple tasks, whether you work in-house for a company or for an outside agency. This is the case regardless of where you work. You are going to have a difficult time with it if you are unable to schedule your day effectively and keep up with your due dates.

The advice he gives is to hone one's creative writing abilities to a high level. The ability to create consistent stories from a small amount of information is referred to as bemi. Depending on the sector you operate in, data conceptualization can also be considered an essential technical ability. He also emphasizes the significance of maintaining a consistent commitment to one's own personal development.

Bemi's intense commitment to learning can be traced back to her intense anxiety about falling behind in her field. As a result, he is always on the lookout for new learning opportunities and stays one step ahead of the competition.

Bemi believes that public relations roles are time-consuming but ultimately rewarding. Despite the fact that it is still in its infancy, there is a possibility that it will not be profitable.

According to Bemi, one of the roles of a tech PR professional is to assist new businesses in developing a public perception that will assist them in achieving the goals that they have set for themselves as a company. And this can come with a lot of pressure, which, if it isn't properly managed, can hinder a person's chance of having a life outside of work. This can be a problem for people who work in high-stress jobs.

During a typical day, he works on establishing a positive business score for his customers, which can change depending on the requirements at the moment, and ensuring that all deadlines are adhered to. It could mean disseminating press releases, reports, and campaigns; making pitches to the media; submitting applications for awards; or, in the abstract, putting out a fire.

Bemi unwinds from a stressful day by reading, watching football, and scrolling endlessly through YouTube to watch sports commentaries and highlights, including reaction videos.

Bemi places a strong emphasis on calendar scheduling. At work, he also uses Cello, a software program for task management, as well as Google spreadsheets for tracking progress, WhatsApp, Google alerts for monitoring media coverage, Slack, and Zoom.

Bemi cautions those who are interested in pursuing a career in public relations to "Get ready for a lot of Nos." However, you should make sure that things get better with each attempt. His goal is to visit every country in Africa someday. It's on his bucket list.