The Business: Kim Sineke on brand communication and publicity

This interview appears in HYPE magazine #31, available here.

TEXT: BOITUMELO MOLAMU | IMAGES: SUPPLIED

A sit-down with Kim Sineke, who’s done PR for the likes of Blxckie, ANATII, Reason, Russian Bear and Castle Lite

For musicians to be considered world-renowned, a set of great minds in management, marketing and PR are needed to help facilitate the dream.

Having worked in the industry for close on a decade, Kim Sineke has built an extensive résumé, with the likes of ANATII, Blxckie and brands such as Russian Bear and Castle Lite having experienced her PR genius.

 

We sat down with Kim to talk about her career, working in publicity and being the PR brain for some of the most influential brands in South Africa.

For those who may not know who you are, how would you introduce yourself to them?

I am a publicist by profession, and I own my agency that specialises in brand communication and publicity. I used to work in marketing before working in PR; however, I did not like what I was doing. So, when I jumped into PR, first as an intern, I worked on accounts such as Castle Lite through an agency I used to work for, which then introduced me to entertainment PR. Also, I used to be a DJ before going into PR, so I got to meet and interact with a lot of people in the entertainment industry.

 

What does working in publicity or being a PR agent actually entail?

I amplify the brand’s message to its key and core audiences. I communicate the brand’s message in a universal response. That communication may be for corporate brands or talent brands – I’m who they call to make sure their communication is in the media and, more importantly, the media that talk to their audience. For example, one of my clients – Blxckie – speaks to a variety of media but, essentially, he has a core music fan audience, so it would make more sense to talk to music-related media to get the best outcome.

“FOR ME TO EVEN CONSIDER WORKING WITH SOMEONE, I NEED TO BE A FAN OF THEM AND THEIR WORK”

Having worked with – and still working with – both corporate and talent brands, does your approach in business and communication differ for the two?

It differs; however, I’ve had the privilege to work with corporate brands that are not too far from what my talent clients also do. For example, I’ve worked with the likes of Russian Bear and Castle Lite at some point – brands that look to our entertainment space in terms of ideas to communicate. From a brand perspective, there is a lot of planning involved. You can easily spend hours planning a campaign and how you can best roll it out, and also go through rigorous approval processes. It can get intense, especially when it comes to planning and strategising. How talent differs, is that they are a bit more fun, because they are more fluid; you can get more creative and there are not that many restrictions compared to a corporate brand. But, as much as they are different in structure, there are not that many differentiators; they both demand time and attention.

 

Take me back to when you first started your agency. How did you end up with such huge names on your client list?

I honestly don’t know what made everyone trust me like this [laughs]. Reason and ANATII were my first two clients, and, for me to even consider working with someone, I need to be a fan of them and their work. With both Reason and ANATII, I was a fan of their work, so, in that way, I think they saw how passionate I was about helping them reach the next level. I’ve always put the client first. I always think about how I can help them grow.

Your clients are some of the biggest brands around. How is the value of PR measured?

With a corporate brand, the goal is usually to have more communication and interaction but without spending the insane amount they would usually use in advertising. So, there are numbers that are constantly expected and reports (which I hate doing) that need to be drafted. The client does expect to hear stats and determine the return on investment (ROI). With talent, stats do play a role; however, with them, the success is usually seen in the fans. It’s seen in being approached by their fans, the interaction they have on social media and the growth of that interaction.

“BLXCKIE WORKS HARD, AND THAT MOTIVATES ME TO WORK AS HARD AS HE DOES, SO THAT HE CAN GROW TO THE LEVEL HE IS WORKING SO HARD FOR”

One of your clients is Blxckie, who has had one of the fastest-growing careers, on a massive scale. How do you as a PR agent keep up with that growth, from the client starting out in niche media to now becoming commercial?

I think the way we do that is based on relationships, especially on the artist’s side. For example, Blxckie works hard, and that motivates me to work as hard as he does, so that he can grow to the level he is working so hard for. That relationship is important, being able to have conversations and understand where they are now and where they’re going as an artist. PR is based on relationships between the artist and the media.

 

You’ve had an interesting career, and this year has already started on a high note. What else are you excited about in 2023?

I think travelling more. I look forward to experiencing the industry outside of South Africa and finding other ways of doing things that I can implement for my clients. I constantly want to amplify things for my clients, and one of the ways to do that is being locked in and studying new ways.

This interview appears in HYPE magazine #31, available here.

Join the Hype fam and sign-up today

Newsletters • competitions • events