A former Gabonese journalist turned public relations mogul Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard is slowly shifting the negative narrative around Africa through key partnerships helping ensure that the news from the continent is not all doom and gloom.
The Franco-Gabonese entrepreneur is the founder and chairperson of APO Group, which has just tied up a landmark deal with the iconic Getty Images which opens up its global subscriber network to APO Group customers in a major deal for African press release distribution.
In the first partnership of its kind, text and images distributed by APO Group will be accessible to more than a million media subscribers all over the world via Getty Images.
Interviewed via Zoom on Thursday, Pompigne-Mognard confirmed that the APO Group, the leading Pan-African communications consultancy, and press release distribution service, has signed an exclusive partnership with Getty Images, the most trusted and esteemed source of visual content in the world.
“The deal marks the first time Getty Images has opened up its one million-strong subscriber network to content from a press release distribution service, as both companies continue their commitment to changing the narrative about Africa,” he said.
Pompigne-Mognard said given the challenges faced by newsrooms in terms of staffing and resources, all press releases accompanied by a quality editorial image will be available via Getty Images’ direct feed to more than 35,000 media outlets all over the world.
“What makes this arrangement unique, is that Getty Images subscribers will not only be able to access the images, but the press releases too,” he said.
In the history of press release distribution, there has never been a better incentive to add a quality editorial image to a standard text announcement. The leading global press release distribution services all charge extra for including images, but APO Group has always offered them for free.
“Images are a fantastic way to drive engagement and get your story noticed, and we have always believed in giving clients the best possible chance to generate coverage for their content. That is why, right from the start of APO Group in 2007, we decided we would never charge for distributing multimedia content.
Now, this partnership with Getty Images means APO Group clients will be getting the very best return on investment available anywhere in the press release distribution industry,” said Pompigne-Mognard.
Getty Images is one of the most instantly recognizable names in international media, with clients in 200 countries. It is also home to the world’s largest commercial image archive, with more than 425 million assets encompassing the latest global news, sports, celebrity, music, and fashion coverage, and over 100 million unique visitors per year.
APO Group’s editorial team will review every image and advise customers on the technical specifications to ensure it is optimised for Getty Images distribution. The team will also add meta-data to each image, giving greater value to the asset and ultimately providing better visibility to the associated press release.
“With this partnership, APO Group is offering its clients the chance to participate in changing the narrative about Africa, one image and one press release at a time. Together, we can help the international media see the real Africa, break the cycle of negative news, and show the world the bigger picture,” Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard added.
Founded in 2007, APO Group clients include Facebook, Dangote Group, Nestle, GE, NBA, Canon, Coca-Cola, DHL, Marriott Group, Ecobank, Siemens, Standard Chartered, Orange, Jack Ma Foundation, African Development Bank, World Health Organization, Islamic Development Bank, Liquid Telecom, Rotary International, Kaspersky, Greenpeace, among others.
With headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland and offices in Senegal, Dubai, and Hong Kong, Pompigne-Mognard said the link-up with Getty is a fantastic opportunity to show the world the real Africa.
“By giving us access to their unparalleled network, we can ensure positive and powerful African content reaches the world’s newsrooms. Every day, APO Group distributes hundreds of press releases and images showcasing the best of African sport, business, and culture. Getty Images is helping us carry these stories further than ever before. For Africa, it means the chance to break the cycle of negative news and show the world the bigger picture,” he said.
Pompigne-Mognard said the APO Group already has well-established channels into the international media and financial communities through partnerships with Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones Factiva, LexisNexis and many more globally-renowned news services, including its main press release distribution platform, Africa-Newsroom.com, which is one of the very few press release services in the world to be approved for Google News, the world's largest news aggregator.
“This has helped us build on our ultimate objective to change the narrative about Africa by driving positive stories about the continent to audiences all over the world. As time has gone by, we have found international media are becoming increasingly interested in African content and craving more of it.
This has allowed us to make deeper connections and facilitate new conversations that are bringing Africa closer to the rest of the world and breaking some of the negative perceptions that had existed for many years,” he said.
APO Group distributes more than eight million press release emails related to Africa every month. In 2020, content distributed by APO Group appeared on more than a million online news pages. As of today, all press releases accompanied by a quality editorial image will be available via Getty Images’ direct feed to more than 35,000 media outlets all over the world.
“Like we do, Getty Images feels strongly about changing international perceptions, and wants to participate in the evolution of the continent in terms of its status on the world stage. By opening its network to APO Group, it is fulfilling that objective – and gaining an array of images that are both compelling and authentically African.
“One area of particular value is sport, and our relationships with some of the most prominent sporting organisations operating in Africa has given Getty Images access to a new supply of world-class sporting imagery,” Pompigne-Mognard added.
Asked what some of the obstacles in his path were since forming APO Group in 2007, Pompigne-Mognard said he founded the company from his living room without staff, and no expertise in the wider running of a company such as IT or Finance.
“At that time, it was difficult for journalists to access press releases or news about Africa all in one place. APO Group (or the African Press Organization as we were then) provided a feed of content that was easy to use and saved journalist’s time.
As we began to grow, I realized the value of having a team that represented all of Africa and could provide ‘on-the-ground’ knowledge and expertise to our clients regardless of where on the continent they wanted to target. This attention to detail has helped us build a network that covers all of the 54 countries - and gives us truly Pan African reach,” he said.
His work has reaped rewards. The APO Group is a trusted partner for media in the 54 markets of Africa with a database of more than 450.000 journalists working in Africa or reporting on the continent. That’s how one starts shifting the dial away from the narrative of negativity in Africa to one of a continent on the up instead of being a basket case!.