Face 2 Face with Miranda Lusiba, founder of the public relations company Strangé Consulting
Q: What do you do?
A: I am a public relations professional with 20 years’ experience in the industry and the founding director of Strangé Consulting which is wholly-owned by black women that has, since 2012, been providing a bouquet of lifestyle services to various clients. These include PR, media relations, corporate communications, media training, freelance writing in storytelling and content development as well as reputation management with a focus on both corporate and community development projects.
Q: What do you enjoy about it?
A: I enjoy building and nurturing the reputations of different companies and helping them to protect the reputation behind their brands, especially when the need arises. My PR journey of 20 years has truly been fulfilling. I have had the privilege of doing sponsorship PR for big sporting codes in South Africa that include football – MTN8, rugby – MTN Springboks, cricket – Proteas, basketball – NBA including wheelchair basketball, golf and athletics, as well as big music and lifestyle properties – MTN Samas, MTN Joyous Celebration and MTN Durban Jazz, to name but a few. I am grateful to have studied and worked in a profession that I love and one that I am passionate about. I also appreciate the fact that I have had the opportunity to do corporate PR in big organisations that include SAICA (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants), Absa, BCX (Business Connexion) to name just a few. Combined, the experience I now have in both corporate and sponsorship PR has contributed a great deal to me becoming a seasoned PR professional.
Q: Now that you have decided to pursue your own venture, what has been the biggest lesson you have learned so far in business?
A: The most valuable lesson I have learnt in the last eight years is that you have to “follow your passion – do what you love, and the money will follow.” Also, I have learnt that “Good things take time, so it is important to be patient in the process of getting you to the ultimate person that you are meant to become.”
Q: Why did you decide on Komani as the best place to start your company?
A: I felt that after 20 years of working in Johannesburg, it was time for me to share all the knowledge and experience I have gained with those who need it most. Besides doing PR, I would like to pursue what is close to my heart which is doing my part in helping ordinary South Africans tackle socio-economic issues they face on a daily basis. It is always said that charity begins at home so I have decided to start small and do whatever I can to make a difference in my home town first. As a proud product of Kwa-Komani Comprehensive School and Queenstown Girls’ High, I would like to say, watch this space!
Q: What are some of the common mistakes businesses make when it comes to PR management?
A: The biggest mistake is that businesses allow other people to tell their stories on their behalf or only realise the importance of PR when things have gone wrong. Most businesses will hire a PR company when the business is in trouble and when something has happened that has a negative effect on their reputation.
I would like to advise businesses to instead do PR and promote their companies by using their positive success stories – way before something goes wrong. For example, companies should keep both their existing and potential customers updated on the developments in the company. This could include information about their products and services; and most importantly about any work they are doing to give back to the communities where they operate.
Q: Can you give an example of good PR management during a crisis?
A: In 2018, I assisted a company called Yekani Manufacturing to launch a R1 billion world-class smart factory located in the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ). With my team at the GrindPR, we were able to generate R8,4-million worth of free media publicity as tangible return on investment (ROI) for the client, over a four-month period. In January this year, the same company – Yekani – was going through a liquidation process and was in the media for the wrong reasons. In my capacity as the founding director of Strangé Consulting I was asked by the CEO of Yekani to help them manage their reputation during a very difficult period. The liquidation process has not been easy for Yekani, but Strangé did not only manage to turn around what was being said about the company in the media, but we also handled and managed their stakeholder and government relations, including the three spheres of government – national, provincial and local.
Q: When you are not running a business, what are you doing?
A: I like spending time with my family and friends, I love watching movies with my daughter and doing girly things like going shopping. In my spare time and in the near future, I would like to help ordinary South Africans tackle socio-economic issues that affect them on a daily basis. If possible, I would like to take it as far as the African continent as a whole.