@KimberleyL has been at the forefront of social media since its inception. As a public relations consultant she recognised the business value of integrating these exciting new communication platforms with traditional public relations. Specialising in social media, she worked with boutique and global public relations consultancies in Melbourne and Sydney and led the social media strategy and implementation for a major cinema brand in Australia and New Zealand.
Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?
I’m a communications consultant with a decade in PR and a social media speciality that began seven years ago. My interest in human behaviour fuels my passion for the breadth of experiences freelancing and contracting allows for; I’m all about the mental, physical and emotional experience!
Tell us about your typical day in communications?
There is no typical order of things but days usually include the following mix of ‘doing the work’ and ‘running a business’ activity, in no particular order: community engagement, content creation, strategy development/implementation/review, clearing my email inbox, providing social media consultation to clients, client meetings, new business, keeping in touch with my network and supporting industry peers by lending an ear and talking through challenges where possible, kicking around ideas with friends, one to two hours of reading about comms/marketing/digital/leadership/entrepreneurship/puppies, taking a mental break at the gym or taking a walk to listen to podcasts and to reflect, ideate and organise my thoughts. As a freelancer and contractor who works from home I’m flexible with my time for meetings so my calendar is constantly being rearranged!
When did you first know you wanted to work in communications?
I did a bunch of work experience through years 10 and 11 at school across the scope of communications disciplines. It was probably my time with a brand manager where I became interested in the ways brands had to influence buying behaviour with PR, advertising, marketing. I did my BA Communications at uni with a sociology major and decided PR was the discipline that best encompassed the things I was interested in after my final semester with a work placement component. Fun fact: I was so enamoured by the PR consultant I spent my time with that I followed her career and kept in touch with her as she flourished and started her own business. I now have a lovely friendship with this well-respected PR leader who I look up to and look to for words of wisdom.
Who’s your communication hero/mentor?
I’m a bit of a floozy when it comes to the ‘hero’ figment as I’m very inspired by the many great works in life generally, so I don’t really have a definitive mentor. I try to learn professionally and personally from all people, from their many different areas of expertise, and people from all walks of life. I like to learn from someone’s life experience and there are often lessons that help or inspire me to be a better human.
Which tools can’t you live without?
My iPhone and laptop… although I’ve started being more self disciplined about not taking my laptop everywhere all the time (it’s an Air and fits in my handbag) but only when I need to actually use it when I’m not at home!
What are the biggest challenges in your role?
Making time to reflect on my philosophies and the work I’m doing or thinking about taking on to make sure they align. And making time for the things I like doing, which can be pushed to the side when you run a business. I actually forgot what I enjoyed doing outside of work at one stage, which isn’t healthy and doesn’t fuel my creativity. I’m better at work when I have time to do things that aren’t work related.
Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on?
It’s not so much about campaigns for me but the longevity of work with clients who I’ve seen grow in their understanding, use and value of social media. I love to see them gaining personal and commercial value from the strategies and activity I’ve created and worked with them to implement.
What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations since you began your career?
The rise of digital and social media into the communications mix, which has enabled influencer engagement as a category and elevated the power of brand. In the long term, I see a stronger focus on employees as brand advocates and influencers, and more sophisticated stakeholder and community engagement online and offline.
If you had to cut/keep something in your communication budget, what would it be?
Cut admin and meetings that run for too long. Keep face-to-face meetings (IRL or via video) to nourish relationships with clients so you understand them better and can deliver better work.
What quality do you look for in your communication team members?
I look for someone who is enthusiastic, motivated, compassionate, passionate, loyal, dedicated, kind and someone who values personal growth.
What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?
Read all the books! Reading often and widely is what’s important.
What tips do you wish you’d known starting out in communications?
Learn from as many people and experiences as you can so you have a deep understanding of people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Then, when you think about the stakeholders you’re communicating with, you can approach them with an open mind thinking about what matters to them.
And that it’s ok to go to the bathroom in the middle of a meeting, if you must!
Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’ only as good as your understanding of the people you’re communicating with and your compassion for making it about them, not yourself.