Nissan holds first ever continent wide communications masterclass

Nissan Africa managing director Mike Whitfield has hailed the company’s inaugural corporate communications masterclass session as a resounding success.

Attended by 25 high level communicators from Nissan dealerships in seven African countries; the key markets of Angola, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the three masterclasses blended cutting edge practical learning with hands on experience of the award winning all new built of more Nissan Navara.

“We have the best people and the best products,” says Whitfield, “but we also have to be the best in telling our story too – both within the company and across the continent.”

Katherine Zachary, Nissan’s regional vice president for communications, agrees. Opening the masterclass from Paris, France, where she is based, she told the delegates that corporate communication was not a ‘nice-to-have’ but a ‘must have’.

“We do more than just tell stories, we analyse other news, we see potential problems and we identify opportunities.” The masterclass, conceptualised by Nissan Africa’s head of communications Ramy Mohareb and Nthabiseng Motsepe was facilitated by former newspaper editor Kevin Ritchie and former motoring journalist and automotive industry specialist Leo Kok.

“The brief was to cover everything from understanding how newsrooms work and effective communication with the media all the way to crisis management, hosting press releases and preparing executives to be interviewed by journalists, whether in person, in studio or, as is becoming more commonplace, virtually via Zoom,” said Motsepe.

“We achieved what we set out to do and a lot more,” said Mohareb, “it provided us with the opportunity to get together, to put faces to names after the COVID 19 lockdown, to brush up our skills and also learn more about Nissan.

“We were able to take the Navara off road, understand the cutting-edge Nissan Qashqai and hear from our marketing experts what their plans are for the years ahead as well as receive a top-level briefing on the very exciting Nissan Customer Experience programme that is being rolled out.”

Africa, said Whitfield, comprised 54 very different markets, which was precisely why the company had set up its unique Regional business Unit at the end of 2020 with its dual headquarters in Cairo and Pretoria.

“Telling the Nissan Africa story can’t be effectively done from just one country on the continent any more than it can be done outside the continent. As Africans, we know that if you want to go fast, you go alone, but if you want to go far, you go together. Bringing in our partners from these markets for this pilot project is part of that philosophy.”