Adeyemi Adebayo is one of the Nigerians in Ghana doing the country proud when it comes to entertainment and managing the images of top Nigerian and Ghanaian celebrities. Over the years, with hard work and dedication, Yemmybaba, as he’s popularly known in the media circle, has become an authority in the Ghanaian entertainment industry due to his writing skills and creativity. ENCOMIUM Weekly cornered him and he shared why he has so much passion for public relations and can’t imagine doing anything else other than image branding.
How will you define public relations in a layman’s term?
Basically, to me, public relations is when you cook a pot of nice soup and you want the public to know about it. It is also a process of building a relationship between an individual or corporate organization and the public. It’s just like evangelism, that is what I call it, because even in the Bible you will find out that a lot of PR was done for Jesus and it is still on. So, basically, I do lot of celebrity publicity, I tell people what their favourite celebs are doing, and what they are not doing, where they go and why they go there, because we have a large market. Not all fans will have access to their favourite celebrities. So, it takes the effort of PR to project what that individual is doing at a particular time. PR is just equivalent to evangelism.
Don’t you think PR and other forms of communication are gradually going underground because most celebrities now go on social media to do the job themselves?
I don’t want to believe that PR or other tools of communication are dead or going into extinction because PR is a powerful tool, there is no two ways about it. We can’t under estimate it. Celebrities can go around doing their own thing with the advent of social media. Everybody feels they can go on and just post stuff, but it will definitely be different from how a PR practitioner would put it…
So, you mean there is more to image branding than just posting stuffs on social media?
Basically, it’s how you want the world to see you in a calculated way. And it takes a PR person to create that kind of image that you want people to follow. It means from the way you talk, walk, places you go, questions you answer or avoid, and all of these have to be taken care of by your PR team. So, image branding is how you want the world to see you in a calculated way.
What are the challenges?
One of the challenges I face here in Ghana is the fact that a lot of people want to become celebrities, but the problem is that most of them don’t want to pay the price for being a celebrity. Sometimes I will want to write something about them, but they would call me and start pleading not to put such information out to the public; they are like what will people think, and I’m like that is my job. All you have to worry about is the public seeing you in limelight and all that you do. So, majorly most of them don’t understand what celebrity status is all about. Two, a lot of them don’t want to pay for the services too.
So, what will you tell a celebrity or a corporate organization to convince them to invest in PR?
A lot is at stake if you don’t invest in PR. A well planned executed PR can make a substantial difference to any company’s success. It means that, anybody that wants to invest in PR must understand and allow the person managing their brand do the job and they will definitely get you to that level you want to. And as a PR person you know that if you don’t do your job well, a lot is at stake. And PR comes in different forms; advertisement, etc. And through that you gain more followers and people also get to know you or what you are doing. I want to believe publicity is one thing you can’t run away from, and we are not there yet in this part of the world. Public relations can never go away regardless of influx of social media, though it makes it look like it’s easy, it’s not as easy as people think. Creating awareness is one of the best jobs. How many celebrities are on social media? While some are there some are also not there and they want to be known and heard, so that is where we come in.
Do you think social media is one of the effective ways of actualizing PR campaigns?
Yeah, social media is even one of the tools we use. Like me, because I am a very troublesome person, my whatsapp, instagram, facebook have been converted to business ground, therefore we can’t separate them. We use them together, because you have some people with large followers on twitter, instagram, facebook, etc so, if you don’t give them what they want, then you might be losing some of your followers.
Tell us a bit about your work profile?
I practically grew up in a couple of places; Cote D’Iviore, Nigeria and Ghana and that’s what most Ghanaians don’t know. I came to Ghana in 1997, and I went back to Nigeria to finish up my education. When I was done with my education, I came back to Ghana in 2007, because I felt Ghana was home. There are no two ways about it. Any where you find peace is called home. And I have just been hustling, you know (laughs). I used to do something for Aunty Agatha Edo of Daily Independent newspaper and I did a lot for Aunty Tyra, she is the publisher of Young Friend magazine and I was the editorial assistant and from there I left. Whilst I was in school, I was with Success Unlimited, but professionally, I worked with Ghanaweb in Ghana. Now, I have my own website and also manage some entertainment websites and top celebrities in Ghana to the glory of God. And it’s been fun so far.
But do you believe bad press is the only way a journalist can gain public attention?
No, I don’t believe that because if you are a fantastic journalist, you are fantastic, and that is it. If you are good you are good. One thing that will set you apart is not good or bad press, it’s all about facts, once your facts are on point and everything is in place…longetivity is also needed with good punch lines. When you are writing your stories, try to carve a niche for yourself and not about writing good or bad story about somebody before you make it in journalism. If Mr. A has done something good and you write about it, your distinction in writing the story can also project you into limelight as a journalist too. Integrity, honesty, good principles and understand what you want and how to go about it. It’s a matter of time.
– ADEBUKOLA ADENEYE-EDAH