Sarah Kagingo has finally and officially launched her Public Relations and Communications firm, Soft Power Communications, on the sidelines of the second annual Social Media Summit.
The event which saw the sharing of a cake, was attended by social media professionals and PR agents including Kenyan bloggers and held at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala on Thursday.
Among the known names was the Head Digital Brands Group, Chris Bitti, Mark Kaigwa, the CEO of NENDO, a Nairobi based boutique consultancy focused on strategy and storytelling for Digital Africa and Philip Ogola who works as a media consultant for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Kagingo, the founder of the Soft Power PR firm is renowned for digitizing President Museveni’s communications and social media diplomacy for Uganda.
She is a new media icon who has cut a niche in strategic and development communications.
Kagingo first rose to fame when she was elected as Makerere University Guild President in 1997/8 academic year.
She prefers persuasion to confrontation
Speaking at the launch, Kagingo said she has always preferred persuasion to confrontation which is the essence of soft power.
“Many of you know me as a mouthpiece. But, see, I made business sense of social. You too can,” she said.
“I am very happy to unveil SoftPower this day we hold the 2nd annual Social Media Summit.”
According to her, engagement is key to building online presence that one can ever envision.
“You want to drive sales, brand, promote your campaign, cause or call to action? Engage us!”
She is confident social media can be used to do good citing the example of Philip Ogola who uses social for humanitarian work on behalf of UNHCR.
Quoting Bitti who heads digital brands, she said persuasion as opposed to confrontation, is the real soft power.
“[It is] always a pleasure to interact with the digital community. I love digital.”
Kagingo said she is keen on positive stories from Uganda and Africa saying it was possible to use social media to tell those positive stories.
The firm, she says, produces and manages social media PR for C-suite executives and other types of high level professionals, leaders, businesses, corporations and PR agencies.
Founded this year, Kagingo’s digital agency aims at building brands, communications for development, digital diplomacy, destination marketing and helping those who are not used to handling the task of self-promotion, marketing or public relations in traditional, let alone in new media channels, to also improve their self-image through social media.
Soft power, she says, is the ability to affect others to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than coercion or payment.
“A country’s soft power rests on its resources of culture, values, and policies. A smart power strategy combines hard and soft power resources.”
According to Kagingo, public diplomacy has a long history as a means of promoting a country’s soft power and was essential in winning the cold war.
“The current struggle against transnational terrorism is a struggle to win hearts and minds, and the current overreliance on hard power alone is not the path to success.”
She adds: “Public diplomacy is an important tool in the arsenal of smart power, but smart public diplomacy requires an understanding of the roles of credibility, self-criticism, and civil society in generating soft power.”
Kagingo was recently ranked among top 10 Ugandan women media personalities to follow on Twitter.