Kendall Munns in the #CommsCorner

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Kendall Munns @KendallMunns is a freelance copywriter and communications consultant.  She has the ability to create unexpected and successful angles for her subjects. Kendall always creates effective copy and brings a brand real personality. Kendall’s current clients range from the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre to PR Agencies looking for brilliant copy. You can find Kendall at all the usual places, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and at her website.

Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?

KENDALLI’m a copywriter and communications consultant who has worked across creative industries, tourism, events, government and not-for-profit over the last eight years. I also manage the marketing side of my partner’s custom timber furniture business, Ingrain Designs. In my spare time I practice yoga, check out music gigs and festivals, lust over the next travel adventure, and probably drink too much coffee.

Tell us about your typical day in communications?

In September last year I started my own copywriting and communications business. I’ve also taken on part-time contract communications roles since I started out. My day starts on a yoga mat or a walk to Darling Gardens with our dog Evie. Then I tram into the city or back to my home office. Regardless of where I am on any given day I’ll always make time to read The Age, check social media and catch up on my favourite blogs. My day could include working on a copywriting gig such as an award submission, newsletter or website copy, PR work for my freelance clients, and the nature of contracting could see me writing some form of content, strategies and whatever gets thrown my way.

When did you first know you wanted to work in communications?

I’ve always wanted to write in some capacity and naturally thought journalism was the career for me. When I graduated from university in Brisbane, I started searching and applying for a range of journalist cadetships in regional Queensland. By chance I came across a communications role at the Cancer Council Queensland. The idea of comms was new to me, but here was a role where I could write, and write regularly, and learn a whole range of communications skills from organising press conferences and media calls, to hearing stories from cancer survivors and sharing their stories with media, and working on some incredibly rewarding fundraising campaigns. So you could say I kind of fell into communications and I haven’t looked back. Communications has given me the opportunity to work for a range of industries, travel, and learn so much about a range of different topics and subjects.

Who’s your communication hero/mentor?

Musician Clare Bowditch who started Big Hearted Business. I went to the Big Hearted Business Un-Conference in 2014 and learnt more about communication in those two days than some of the PR and communications conferences I’ve attended over the years. And I wasn’t hearing from strictly communications professionals, but a whole host of entrepreneurs, creatives and musicians.

One of the speakers at BHB was Correne Wilkie, band manager for The Cat Empire. Her words really struck a chord and she had so much quotable wisdom. Everything from working out your values to inform your choices, getting clear on your why, going out on a limb and taking risks. I guess all of this helped me make the leap into the freelance world.

My previous managers have been my mentors too. Ruth at the Cancer Council Queensland, Emma at ZSL London Zoo and Angelique and Persia at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Big-ups to them. Also, to my mentor Angela Scaffidi at Senate SHJ, a great communications operator who has helped me build my strategic communications skills.

Which tools can’t you live without?

My phone (I didn’t want to put this one first, but I do rely on it a LOT), yoga practice to keep me grounded, Toggle to keep track of my work hours, coffee to kick start the day, Evernote to keep notes on the go, and a trusty notebook and pen because nothing beats a handwritten list or note.

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

As a freelancer it’s about finding that balance and knowing that sometimes there’s peaks and troughs, especially when you’re starting out. I’m super thankful for the contacts I’ve made over the years who have been recommending me and throwing work my way.

Working on your own means you miss having someone to bounce ideas around with. Saying that I’ve found inspiration and a different outlook by running ideas by people who aren’t working in communications, offering an interesting outsider perspective.

Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on

The best campaigns I’ve worked on involve public health and significant reform, and those I worked on at the Cancer Council Queensland. For example, working on some of their statewide campaigns including Pink Ribbon Day, Daffodil Day, Relay For Life and Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. It’s great being involved with campaigns that make a difference, raise awareness and funds, and give hope and support to those living with cancer and their families.

Which campaign do you most admire?

I think Australia’s tourism boards are running some fantastic campaigns at the moment, including Tourism’s Australia’s recent ‘There’s nothing like Australia’ aquatic and coastal campaign with Chris Hemsworth and Tourism Victoria’s ‘Wander Victoria’ and ‘Play Melbourne’, which makes me love my city even more. And South Australia’s ‘The Barossa. Be Consumed’. Maybe because I’m a big Nick Cave fan, but the film, camera effects and that backing track are stunning. It definitely makes you look at South Australia in a different way.

What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations since you began your career?

The instant world we now live in, keeping up with the changes to social media, and the role we have as content creators.

If you had to cut/keep something in your communication budget, what would it be?

Don’t underestimate the value of print. We live in a digital world, but I think there’s great value in looking at how print can support the digital components of our campaigns.

What quality do you look for in your communication team members?

Passion, creativity, humility and the smarts.

What’s your favourite brand?

Growing up around motorbikes I’ve enjoyed seeing Deus ex Machina change from a motorcycle brand to become a lifestyle and culture. Combining surfing with riding motorcycles, Deus has popularised hand-built motorcycles and the notion that doing something is more fun than just owning something.

What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?

The underground classic by Seth Godin ‘All marketers are liars tell stories’. Godin poses three essential questions for every marketer:
“What’s your story?”
“Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?”
“Is it true?”

What tips do you wish you’d known starting out in communications?

It’s not what you know, it’s what you believe in and are willing to throw yourself into. This is another gold nugget from Correne Wilkie.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’

Telling your story in the most authentic way.

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