The inaugural edition of the New Media Conference in East Africa officially launched on Friday (29th September) at the Michael Joseph Safaricom Center in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference which was a collaboration between two of Africa’s leaders in digital marketing Olorisupergal and Anyiko PR, drew key leaders in Kenya’s digital space under the theme: “Driving Kenya’s Socio-Economic Transformation through New Media.”
Speaking while giving a key note speech at the launch of the conference, Google Country Manager, Kenya & Strategic Telco Partnerships Lead, Africa: Charles Murito gave his insight: “76% of 2.5million search queries happen on mobile phones daily, in the last 60 secs 77,000 purchases have been made online, 300 hours of video uploaded on YouTube,” adding “you need to innovate grow and use the free platforms to equip yourselves.”
The conference attracted key professionals in the business of entertainment, branding and tourism alongside media personalities, bloggers and university students – all keen to use the new media to change the narrative on social issues affecting the society. With three panel sessions and a Masterclass session the speakers discussed key topics: The Impact of New Media on Elections, Policies & Governance, Re-selling Kenya to the World through Tourism and Building a Profitable Global/Personal Brand from scratch.
The first panel included James Smart and Marvin Tumbo; hosts of leading political talk show – Afro Politico Show and One FM radio presenter – Cate Rira. During the panel discussion, James Smart said, “Failure of journalism is failing to look at social media as a source of information and hopefully as the political season comes to an end Journalism will re- educate itself.”
Speaking on “Re-selling Kenya to the World through Tourism”, Group Managing Director of Sun Africa Hotels, Mohammed Hersi said, “Kenya is the heart of Africa. It only takes an average 4 hours to either travel North or South of Africa. We need to identify what is specific and unique to sell tourism in Kenya, the best ambassadors we have are athletes and we need to celebrate them.” The panel also included CEO of East Africa’s largest online restaurant guide Eat Out: Mikul Shah, Bonfire Adventures CEO Simon Kabu and was moderated by renowned events guru and COO of CateChris Limited, Chris Kirwa.
The third panel on “Building a Profitable Global/Personal Brand from scratch” was handled by Cynthia Mwangi – Head of Radio Hot 96FM, Marek Fuchs –Manager Sauti Sol and Stephanie Obi- Nigerian Entrepreneur who specializes on online courses. The panelists explored on how the new media is enabling brands to rise and gain prominence in the social circles. This panel was moderated by the multi-faceted radio presenter, event organiser & online TV host on What’s Good Live, Shiro LeHero and Fundi Frank.
Marek Fuchs said: “For a personal brand you need some memorability, A big part of your personal brand is your style hence you have to be unique and different, that’s what people are looking for out there.” Cynthia Mwangi on the other hand weighed in: “Sometimes you discover yourself through others, and as a brand it takes work and consistency in whatever you are doing.” For artists she advised: “Don’t give crappy work and complain that radios are not playing it. We are not intentional about what we’re doing. We can play music but it has to be good.”
The conference also included a master class session on “What is Digital Marketing for your business?” with Tilo Ponder, CEO and Co-Founder of What’s Good Networks as the session’s facilitator. Speaking at the conference, Tilo challenged the audience to: “Find people who find your content important and give it to them to build your audience.” The Session also featured the founder of Mums Village – Isis Nyong’o Madison and the Business Development Head, Fuzu – Robert Kimani.
The conference sparked conversations that enlightened key stakeholders in media, entertainment and business regarding developments in the digital space on how to maximize or stretch their capacity for more impact. The conversations held across industries touched on topics like Technology, Elections, Policy and Governance, Tourism, Entertainment, Healthcare, Agriculture and Payments.