The Comms Spotlight: Santher Mbacham, Founder/MD, ImageNation PR

With an audience that speaks two official languages (French and English) and possess distinct cultures, the practice of Communications and Public Relations in Cameroon requires some extra level of creativity. Our Comms Spotlight for this week, Santher Mbacham, runs her PR agency, ImageNation PR, to effectively reach and communicate with these audiences. Santher’s career journey spanning over a decade, is coloured with several highlights which she shares in her interview with us. She also tells us how and why she founded her PR agency.


What do you do as Founder/MD at ImageNation PR? 

I would like to take this opportunity to share my agency’s story with you. As the Managing Director and Founder, my primary focus is on ensuring that we have enough business to pay our employees. This means that I am always on the lookout for new opportunities, researching potential clients, crafting proposals, and attending meetings to secure deals.

In addition to this, I am responsible for overseeing the work of our team of Public Relations practitioners. It is essential that we carry out our tasks to near perfection to deliver the best possible results for our clients. As the agency’s lead strategist, I am constantly wearing my creative and strategic helmet, crafting campaign strategies that must achieve a 100% success rate.

My partners and I were prompted to start this agency due to our frustration with the lack of representation of Cameroon’s talents and narrative on the international scene, which adversely impacts our business ecosystem. Instead of complaining, we decided to take action. ImageNation PR was born out of our desire to see the nation of Cameroon through our lens as creative PR, and Branding experts. We aimed to use our expertise to positively impact businesses and contribute to the country’s economic growth.



Tell us how you began your career in Public Relations and the deliberate steps you took to grow as a professional.

I embarked on this journey back in 2015, during my years of studying Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University. Before joining Rhodes, I was certain about my interest in the field of Communications, yet unsure about the specific path to pursue. It was a pivotal moment when Cameroon’s trailblazing MUA, Anyi Asonganyi, advised me to explore Public Relations. Her words of encouragement ignited a passion within me for this domain, and she graciously became my mentor, providing invaluable guidance. Subsequently, I delved into extensive research and immersed myself in PR public lectures.

Post-graduation, I landed a role as a Communications Officer at an NGO, where I honed my skills in Strategic Communications and PR. I consider myself fortunate to have worked under the mentorship of Mimi Kalinda, one of Africa’s esteemed PR and Communications professionals. My learning was predominantly hands-on, absorbing insights and expertise directly from the field. Additionally, #PRChatAfrica emerged as a significant learning platform for me—a weekly Twitter chat where PR professionals from across the continent convened to dissect concepts and themes. I fondly refer to it as my crash course in PR.


Tell us about a project or a campaign you’ve worked on that stands out to you to date.

My standout campaign to date has to be the ‘Black Like No Other campaign’ for Jameson Black Barrel in the Cameroonian market. The circumstances surrounding this campaign, coupled with the remarkable ingenuity of our team, whether in crafting compelling copy or captivating cinematography, still sends shivers down my spine. It was a time when COVID had struck hard, clients were scarce, and we were in the process of rebuilding after losing everything to the pandemic.

Tasked with launching Jameson Black Barrel in Cameroon through Content and Influencer Marketing, our mission was clear: to create three mini ads that would authentically showcase the brand’s passion points—Art, Fashion, and Music—and to produce evergreen photos that embodied the essence of the ‘Black Like No Other’ mantra.

Despite the numerous challenges we faced, we rallied together and executed the campaign flawlessly, achieving a 100% success rate. Our efforts resulted in an increased share of voice, heightened brand affinity, and the viral spread of our content, even garnering recognition on the global Jameson page.



Can you share some career highlights you’ve experienced?

I think these are my highlights thus far:

  • I was named in the Avicom Group’s 40 Under 40 Achievers list of Cameroonians, for the 2021 edition.
  • I was selected as a Tony Elumelu mentee for the 2022 International Women’s Day mentoring session.
  • I was also nominated as a Juror in 2022 for the Pitcher Festival Awards, Africa’s largest awards ceremony for creativity and excellence in Marketing and Communications.
  • In 2023, I was honoured by Inspire Afrika mag as one of Cameroon’s bold women in the inspiring start-up category.
  • I recently contributed to the first-ever Africa PR and Communications report, 2022-2023.
  • I was appointed a Juror at the just-ended Cristal Festival.


Can you tell us about the uniqueness of practising Public Relations in Cameroon?

The uniqueness of our work lies in our dedication to serving two distinct audiences who speak different official languages— French and English, and possess distinct cultures. We meticulously account for the nuances of both cultures and devise strategies that ensure each audience’s voice is heard and respected.

Operating in a context where Public Relations is still in its infancy presents both challenges and rewards. While the field has existed in some form previously, our approach represents a pioneering effort, amplifying its practice in its truest form and with unprecedented volume. This journey, though demanding, is undeniably fulfilling as we pave the way for a new era of Public Relations in Cameroon.


What advice would you give your younger professional self?

Santher Mbacham, worry not. God always has a plan, incline your ears to what He says and never lean on your own insight. Give yourself grace and know that failure is okay. Resilience will always power you through.


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