As the Windhoek Observer (WO) continues to look into the state of Public Relations in Namibia, this week we met up with Victoria Mutango Muranda (VM) to discuss her views on the profession, career and what motivates her.
WO: Who is Victoria Mutango Muranda?
VM: I am a Namibian female who is a thought leader in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. I am a former journalist and seasoned PR practitioner with over 13 years’ experience. I am also a media Tutor at UNAM and Chartered Public Relations Practitioner accredited by PRISA. I speak six languages and I am the mother of three. I love God, food, cars and the colour orange. I am passionate about financial issues and run my own personal charities that involve children.
WO: How did you end up in communications?
VM: My interest in journalism started when I was at school and then, I knew exactly where my passion was. I thus went to study media at the University of Namibia (UNAM), landed a job at the nbc in my younger days and joined the PR world thereafter.
WO: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
VM: Managing expectations. There are so many things expected from communications practitioners and often the role is misunderstood. The role is also diverse with special functions that bigger organizations are segmenting e.g. PR, Corporate Social Responsibility/ Investment, Engagement, Sponsorship etc...
WO: What motivates you?
VM: Three things you will not take away from me, is my God, my faith and my confidence. Motivational videos and audios also motivate me. I am also inspired by people who go out of their way to make others happy. I am a sucker for humanity.
WO: How do you handle pressure?
VM: I thrive under pressure. Put me under pressure and I will give you my best. That is just who I am. I see pressure as an opportunity to bring out my best. For me pressure is an opportunity to make mistakes and thus grow from the experience. Therefore any reasonable challenge to me or limitation is always welcome.
WO: What qualities makes one a good PRO and do you see that lacking in Namibia?
VM: Taking a leadership role as a PRO and acting with integrity are two vital areas. As a communications practitioner, you have a leadership role to look after the reputation, image and brand of the organisation. It is thus important that your personal reputation is not tinted by integrity related issues. Have strong values, guard your reputation jealously and be passionate to engage stakeholders.
Practically keep your finger on the pulse of communications, understand that the environment of the trade is evolving, understand the ethical laws in PR and remain relevant.
My favorite quote and that I crafted myself is “Don’t just pray for others, pray with others.”
WO: What are some of the growing trends in the communications industry?
VM: Generally thought leadership, particularly executive branding and giving valuable, engaging and educational content. Online reputational management and social media. I must stress the importance of media monitoring in all of the initiatives you do in PR, as it gives you an indication of the success or effectiveness of your efforts.
WO: What is the state of communications field in Namibia?
VM: It is a rapidly growing field, it has become a specialist role and it is taking its rightful position as a vital role to have in organisations
WO: Do you think communications practitioners get the recognition they deserve?
VM: Yes, the fact that the media like you profile us pro-actively like now, is a sign of respect and appreciation for our contribution to the industry.
WO: Do you see media practitioners as partners or threat?
VM: Media practitioners are my friends. I even visit my friends at their premises to engage and further build relationships.
WO: Do you have a specific strategy of handling the media?
VM: Yes, I have an engagement strategy. I stay close to the media; I compliment them individually if I see a job well done, having been a journalist in the past myself. I also challenge them on ethical issues if I have picked up such, as a Media Tutor.
WO: Have you ever had to handle a social media crisis? What did you do?
VM: Every communications practitioner should by now be experienced in social media crisis management. If not, I suggest that you have a crisis simulation, as it is just a matter of time before it happens. Social media is a channel that has changed the landscape in communications, PR and marketing let alone sales. Like any other crisis, I follow the seven steps of a crisis with this specific medium for the targeted segment.
WO: Do you think all graduates should be registered as specialists like any other fields such as Health Officers?
VM: Yes, I encourage those in communications and PR to join PRISA. There is a lot of value in joining this body of professionals.
WO: What is your favorite sport and team?
VM: I am a football and netball fan. As a girl born and raised in Gemengte Location in Windhoek, I am Black Africa (Black girl with red blood) locally and for the English Premier League, I never walk alone. I also sympathise with PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.