According to TAG, this initiative aims to equip attendees with invaluable insights, tools and strategies to harness the power of PR effectively.

This masterclass, a first for South Africa, is spearheaded by Bonnke Shipalana, TAG's GCEO. Shipalana, a veteran marketer and PR expert, has orchestrated notable campaigns, including the debut of the Nelson Mandela banknotes for the South African Reserve Bank, says TAG.

Shipalana's career includes his role as marketing manager for Cell C, where he led the 'Hola 7' campaign inspired by kwaito star Zola 7. He also introduced the successful So You Think You Are Funny Talent Show in collaboration with Fanta and Barloworld's Mbewu programme, which supports social entrepreneurs.

"The masterclass is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of how PR can significantly contribute to the growth and success of businesses, especially within the South African context," says Shipalana.

Attendees will learn to strategically utilise PR to boost brand visibility, manage reputations and engage stakeholders through academic frameworks, practical case studies, and interactive discussions, says TAG.

Shipalana emphasises the growing relevance of PR amidst the economic challenges faced by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). He notes that many SMEs struggle to redefine their market strategies and differentiate themselves in a saturated market. While advertising remains important, PR offers a more credible and cost-effective alternative, providing sustained visibility without the high costs associated with paid media. 

"Media partnerships play a crucial role in business growth," says Shipalana. "They offer platforms for businesses to gain visibility, build trust and engage with their audience, ultimately driving customer acquisition and retention."

Given the alarming rate of SME failures and rising unemployment, TAG recognises the urgent need to educate and empower the SME sector on leveraging PR to strengthen their brands. Shipalana points out that successful international brands like Apple, Coca-Cola and Nike have effectively used PR to build and enhance their market presence.

Apple, for instance, has consistently generated excitement and anticipation for its products through strategic PR, while Coca-Cola has reinforced its image as a socially responsible company through its environmental conservation campaigns. 

"PR offers a lifeline to struggling SMEs, enabling them to unlock their potential and significantly contribute to the economy," Shipalana concludes.

The masterclass aims to empower SMEs to scale their operations and boost their impact on the GDP, aligning with global standards.

The masterclass will take place on Wednesday, 3 July from 09:00 to 16:00 at the DP World Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Tickets are available online, priced at R650 for in-person attendance and R350 for virtual participation.

For more information, visit You can also follow TAG on Facebook, X, or on Instagram.

*Image courtesy of contributor