Beyond the brand | Emmanuel Ofosu-Appiah

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Emmanuel Ofosu-Appiah is Associate Director, Financial Services at Edelman Smithfield. In our ‘beyond the brand’ feature, he shares his public relations, business and personal interests.

The PR industry

Why did you pursue a career in public relations and communications?

I was not exposed to communications until my second year of university. However, following this I was eager to learn more about how businesses and senior leaders used the media to tell their story. I quickly realised the value we held as PR professionals to help firms build important media relationships, manage their reputations, and help them achieve critical business goals. 

What areas within the industry are you most interested in (currently)?

Financial services is constantly evolving and an area that has always kept me on my toes. The financial services industry is one of the most important sectors of the UK, and global, economy and a key driver, and facilitator, of growth. 

At Edelman Smithfield, we work with some of the world’s most high-profile and influential financial brands in asset management, banking, insurance, private equity, venture capital and real estate. This includes investment managers collectively responsible for about $20 trillion in assets and some of the largest banks and insurers in the US, EMEA, and Asia. It is exciting to work in partnership with firms in this space on a daily basis. 

How has public relations and communications changed since you first started working in the industry?  

The PR industry has become a lot more than just media relations. While news media is a key element of PR, it is just one of many strategies used to build and maintain relationships between an organisation and its audiences. Content and thought leadership and data all play a much bigger role in getting a company’s messages out to the public.

Agency vs in-house do you have a preference?  

There are positives to having experience both in agency and in-house. I have worked agency side for most of my career and have built so many professional connections. In an agency, you can learn from many different people and understand how to build on your advice across a range of issues. However, I have been on the client side when I was leading UK media relations for Mercer before joining Edelman Smithfield. This was a valuable experience and gave me insight into how PR works closely with marketing and the wider business. 

Leadership and management

What do you believe makes a company a great place to work in? 

Putting people first, strong leadership and having a great bunch of teammates. I think it is vital to have a great line manager too and it is key to have a transparent relationship with them. I have been fortunate enough to have had solid support throughout my career and great line managers. Finally, as an organisation it is important to support your colleagues through challenging periods and realising that people have lives outside of their day job.

Do you work in an office, remotely or have a hybrid model? What is your preference, and why?

I do work in the office a few days a week and also work from home (due to childcare) so prefer the hybrid model. Since the pandemic the office and home combination naturally fits into my lifestyle and daily routine. 

What is your leadership or management style?

My leadership style is all about collaboration and giving people an opportunity to flex based on their strengths. I am against micro-management and feel that this can sometimes gradually tear people down. I am all about having confidence in the people I work with and always try to support them to overcome difficult situations at work. 


What is your favourite book or movie?

The Godfather series is my favourite – it is an absolute classic as a mafia movie fan!

Would you welcome a digital detox for a week or approach it with caution? 

Recently I’ve been on a break from social media apps such as Instagram and TikTok. It has given me the opportunity to focus on more important tasks in life. 

Do you prefer sun holidays or city breaks?

Holidays in the sun – I think I perform and feel better after some downtime in a hot country. 

If you won the lotto what would you do?

A few things do come to mind, building a mansion on a private island (of course), investing in property and opening up an orphanage to house poor children from all over the world especially from war torn countries.

By the way, if anyone is looking to sponsor a child I would like to recommend Compassion. This is a Christian charity which I have supported for years and they help in releasing children from all over the world from poverty.