This episode of DCC features Mathangi, an accomplished professional with over 16 years of experience, who has defied traditional career paths. With a fervent passion for storytelling, Mathangi has become a powerhouse in the realm of communications, particularly within the dynamic space of social impact.
0:35 Mathangi’s career spans over 16 years across different areas like corporate, CSR, nonprofits, and even running her own social enterprise. What’s intriguing is that her path into communications wasn’t driven by her qualifications, but by her passion. Right from her first job, where she worked with data and turned numbers into relatable stories, to her role leading a communications department, she’s been dedicated to this field. As she moved into the nonprofit sector, she learned to tell the stories of on-ground work effectively, a crucial skill for nonprofits. This journey highlights her commitment to communication that grew out of passion rather than an initial career plan.
2:21 In her current role as the head of communications and program strategy at CAPED, a nonprofit focused on Cancer Awareness Prevention and Early Detection, Mathangi recounts a recent campaign that stands out as her favorite. This campaign, known as “Cancel Cervical Cancer,” was launched during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in January.
The challenge was to engage people, especially the younger generation, in a topic as serious as cancer, and make them not only aware but also interested in taking preventive actions. The campaign’s approach was innovative yet simple: 31 participants, which included CAPED supporters, volunteers, and interns, posted pictures on their Instagram accounts holding placards featuring the hashtag #CancelCervicalCancer. These posts were done in collaboration with CAPED’s official page.
Coordinating this campaign was no small task. Mathangi’s team worked diligently to ensure that each post was executed smoothly. Despite the logistical challenges, the impact of the campaign was undeniable. With each participant advocating for cervical cancer awareness on different days, the campaign sparked conversations and piqued curiosity among the audience.
The outcome of the campaign exceeded expectations. It successfully spread awareness about cervical cancer, as evidenced by the positive feedback received from individuals who learned about the issue through the campaign. The creative and collaborative approach taken by Mathangi’s team made the campaign a resounding success and a memorable achievement in her career.
Important metrics to track
5:00 Within the realm of social impact communications, Mathangi emphasizes a unique perspective on data analysis. She highlights the significance of data not only in terms of digital outreach and campaign engagement, but also in the context of on-ground efforts that constitute the core of their work.
For Mathangi, the most crucial metrics involve the tangible impact on the ground. This includes metrics related to their field activities such as cancer screenings, patient support, and community engagement. These numbers, which reflect the scope of their on-ground work, serve as the foundation for the stories they share through various communication channels. These metrics, born from real-world interactions, become the substance of their social media updates, website content, newsletters, and case studies.
Additionally, in the realm of digital campaigns, Mathangi’s attention shifts to measuring organic engagement. She values the number of people who genuinely connect with their posts and content without any paid promotions. This metric holds immense significance as it signifies the actual audience that’s being reached with their message. Given the dire lack of awareness about cervical cancer in their country, she underscores the importance of these digital campaigns. Mathangi’s approach underscores the dual significance of both on-ground and digital efforts in their mission to spread crucial awareness about cervical cancer.
PR as Marketing mix
7:41 From Mathangi’s perspective within the social impact space, she views Public Relations (PR) as an indispensable facet of the marketing mix. For her, PR holds an essential role in communication strategies, relationship building, and credibility establishment. In the context of CAPED’s involvement in policy work and collaborations with government officials and leaders, PR becomes a means to solidify standing and credibility. While followers and social media engagement might be pertinent for certain audiences, governmental stakeholders often assess PR presence through coverage in newspapers, radio programs, and other traditional media.
Mathangi strongly emphasizes that PR is particularly pivotal for social impact organizations. It serves as a vehicle to spotlight their work to the right audiences and on distinct platforms tailored to different stakeholders. She acknowledges that PR has evolved significantly over time, encompassing a blend of old and new strategies, including digital components. Despite challenges like limited funds and expertise, Mathangi believes in the transformative power of PR. She anticipates that the industry’s ongoing evolution will offer more innovative ways to interact and enhance credibility through PR platforms in the coming years.
Impact of AI
10:09 Mathangi enthusiastically embraces the brilliance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its inevitable role in driving progress. For her, staying stagnant is not an option; adaptability and agility are paramount in navigating the evolving landscape. Having integrated bits of AI into her work, particularly in research endeavors, she acknowledges its transformative impact. AI amplifies the impact of work, elevating it to new levels, a prospect she finds highly valuable.
Addressing concerns about AI displacing jobs, Mathangi holds a pragmatic view. She recognizes that technological advancements have consistently sparked reservations about job displacement. However, history has shown that such advancements usher in new roles and opportunities. Just as the rise of YouTube influencers emerged as a profession nobody could have foreseen years ago, she believes AI will introduce novel possibilities. Her stance revolves around human adaptability and the inherent capacity to seize new prospects. Mathangi’s outlook highlights the symbiotic relationship between AI’s integration and human innovation, paving the way for unforeseen avenues of growth and development.
My Two cents
11:45 Mathangi’s journey into communications is driven by her passion rather than formal qualifications. This personal experience has led her to offer insightful advice, applicable not just to communications but to various fields. Her counsel encourages young individuals to transcend the boundaries of formal education and take bold steps into real-world experiences.
Mathangi emphasizes that while studying and learning are crucial, the most profound growth occurs when one takes action. Drawing from her own path, she highlights the importance of trying one’s hand at things, even when unqualified or not required to do so. For her, this approach led to the discovery of her passion and skill for storytelling. It was through hands-on engagement that she realized both her enjoyment and others’ appreciation, ultimately shaping her career trajectory.
To young individuals, her advice resonates: Don’t be restrained by degrees alone. Dive into various experiences, embracing opportunities to discover what truly resonates with you. Rather than confining oneself to a predetermined path based on academic pursuits, Mathangi advocates for the pursuit of exploration. This pragmatic approach helps individuals identify their strengths, passions, and the areas they truly enjoy. Once such clarity is gained, academic qualifications can then be pursued to align with real-world insights. Her counsel resonates with the belief that experiential learning is a powerful catalyst for personal and professional growth.