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What is in your name?

I have just had the privilege to attend the Lausanne Global Consultation on the Gospel and Media. Almost 60 media experts from across the globe convened in California to discuss how media can be a more integral part of strategic world missions.
Much could be said about this gathering and I believe news, documents and outcomes from this consultation will be posted at the AbR website soon. But I would like to make some personal reflections on this event in this and possibly some coming blogs.   First it must be said that the gathering comprised of an interesting and brilliant group of people that had been handpicked by the Lausanne leadership. Leaders and practitioners, academics and influencers mingled together. All media from print via traditional, radio and TV to social media were represented. Plenary sessions by sharp minds and panel discussions with possibilities to interaction triggered thoughts and sharpened arguments in group discussions.   At the end a document was crafted that will be promoted as a guide to church, missions and media on how to engage with all facets of media for the purpose of building God’s Kingdom.   Let me share some impressions from plenary sessions.   Phil Cooke who has helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use media to tell their story in a changing culture engaged us in a couple of thought provoking sessions.   In his first session Phil pointed out that it is not necessarily the best message that cuts through the information clutter. So how can we make our voice heard?   His advice was to develop a solid brand. Brand is a perception. Every person and organization has a brand. What do people think when they think of you? Here are a few things to remember when developing your brand:
  • Everything Communicates
  • Visibility is as important as ability.
  • You can’t brand a lie. Be transparent.
  • Understand the power of a name.
  • Speak the language of design.
  • It is all about the niche.
  In Africa it is getting increasingly difficult to be heard above the general media noise. There are too many radio and TV channels as well as endless information to take in on social media, Youtube and the Internet at large. Why should anyone listen to what you have to say? As Christian communicators we must take it seriously to be relevant and talk to people’s needs, but also to build a reputation and a brand that consistently delivers stories and messages of quality and integrity.   If we are serious about branding God’s Kingdom as something worthwhile to strive for we must be quality representatives of that Kingdom. Look at all aspects of your ministry. Is quality and excellence only fancy words, or is it what your audience perceive when they listen to or watch your message?     Quality comes from meticulous attention to detail, and a constant desire to do things a little bit better every time.    (Follow Phil Cooke on Twitter: @PhilCooke or you can learn more from him on his blog: There you will also find out more about his books.)  
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    Jan-Erik Nyman is the current Chairman of Africa by Radio. He has worked with IBRA Media in Africa in various capacities since 1977. Currently he holds the position of Regional Director for East, Central and Southern Africa. He has many years of experience as technician, producer, leader and trainer in the media field. In this blog he will share some personal reflections on the media situation and trends in Africa.