How the Pulse Influencer Awards started

The 2nd edition of Pulse Influencer Awards has extended into Uganda and Côte d’Ivoire

Comedy Influencer of the Year nominee Crazy Kennar and his crew at the first edition of the Pulse Influencer Awards held in October 2021 at the Pride Inn Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya

The coming of the digital era disrupted mainstream media, the internet became the best tool for communication, news, and entertainment globally.

This digital frontier gave space to talented individuals who could not access mainstream media to showcase their talents and build their own audience around their content.

The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic spiked the demand for content as many people were under lockdown and schools as well as jobs were limited. The pandemic turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it birthed tens of content creators across different social media platforms.

In 2021, just as the pandemic was under containment, Pulse Africa, the leading digital company in Africa established the Pulse Influencer Awards which are aimed at recognizing and highlighting bright lights in the influencer space in Africa, who are building active ever engaging communities around their niche and craft.

The awards take place in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire featuring various categories across all online platforms.

“The African media landscape, like the rest of the world, is changing quickly. Digital media is the new mainstream, and as such, the role of influencers in driving this change cannot be overemphasized.

"Our initiative is aimed primarily at engaging the influencer communities in each of our markets, highlighting the most consistent and impactful creators and ultimately also helping to strengthen the growth of digital media across Africa,” said Kanyinsola Aroyewun, Head of Marketing and Content Growth at Pulse.

In Kenya, the maiden event of the awards was held on October 9, 2021, where over 23 awards were given to deserving winners from different categories. The debut awards recorded over 2 million votes across the markets in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal!

The awards come at a time when Covid restrictions have eased up even much further and the value of content creation and influencers has been understood.

In this year's edition, 22 content creators will be awarded for their stellar works in different categories as voted by members of the public.

The voting stage of the awards is among the final stages before the final award ceremony takes place.

Before voting, the nominees are selected by members of the public through open nominations which see tens of influencers named by their fans.

The final list is then arrived at by an independent jury that selects the top ten nominees per category by assessing each nominee's creativity, content quality and range, engagement and community building as well as the use of social tools.

This year’s jury is made up of Jennifer Ochieng, a film/TV publicist, Gathoni Kimuyu, a renowned screenwriter and producer and voice actor, Loreh Marvin a digital marketing specialist, Brian Kuira a digital and PR marketing specialist and Brian Mutinda, an associate creative director and digital marketer.

Also on the jury is a renowned chef and content creator Qamili Dave, Digital marketer and content creator Brian Mbunde, Joan Melly a content creator and marketer and finally Charles Wahinya an influencer manager and digital marketing strategist.

Besides a high voter turnout and a bigger event, this year’s edition has also seen a good number of sponsors come in to support the ceremony.

Absa Bank Kenya, Shops Zetu, Xiaomi Kenya and Safari Beauty have come on board as sponsors of this year’s event.

Besides the awards, winners will walk away with goodies courtesy of the sponsors.

The first edition of the PIA saw names such Crazy Kennar, Joy Kendi, Ajib Gathoni, and Boniface Mwangi among others take home awards in their respective categories.

Boniface Mwangi who was crowned the Twitter influencer of the year opted to give the award to one of the two other nominees in the category - the irreverent Esther Kazungu.

Explaining why he had chosen to recognize and award Kazungu, Mwangi stated that he believes she is boldly and uncompromisingly challenging leadership and governance in Kenya.

"I want to say thank you very much for your votes and for giving me this award, nashukuru sana and it is because you guys support me that I have this powerful voice. And let this win encourage all of you to raise your voices because if you are silent when injustice happens then you embolden the people who are evil."

"But I'd like to share this award with Esther Kazungu and I'd like to give my reasons why. I'm a big fan of hers and in a world where celebrities - and even the people who make money out of influencers - are afraid of touching on political issues, she is not afraid of mocking the establishment and mocking the politicians while making us laugh!"

"So this award goes to Esther Kazungu for the work she has been doing for the past one year and I'd like to encourage her to keep doing that work," Boniface stated before inviting Ms Kazungu to receive the award.

Winners went home with gift hampers while the winner of the travel category got a staycation from the hosts of the 2021 edition.

This year's theme is celebrating Afro-excellence.

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