Category Archives: Communicator’s Corner

Writer’s notebook is a powerful tool

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This week in the communicator’s corner we discuss salmon sushi, moral psychology and information overload with Mark Bretherton, the Director of Media at Clean Energy Council.

Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?

Professionally I help to solve complex business problems through clear and convincing communication. Personally I’m a life-long music fan and an enthusiastic amateur across a wide range of subjects.

Tell us about your typical day in communications?

A lot of what I do is focused on the external environment, so I wake up early and get my head around the news cycle and what is in the headlines that day. If something big has broken that affects our industry then I’m off to the races. Otherwise I whip up a daily media bulletin for the Clean Energy Council’s members then get stuck into promoting something good the industry is doing, managing some looming issue, or any number of side projects related to solar, wind, hydro, batteries or new technologies.

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

I always wanted to be a writer. I love any writing that glows with its own heat. I remember confidently telling my first boss in some government job that I was going to become a writer. I mean, who the hell did I think I was? I ended up getting a lucky break from a friend who was working at The Courier-Mail in Brisbane. They needed an extra hand in a hurry and I wasn’t going to let an opportunity like that pass by.

Who’s your communication hero/mentor?

Seth Godin. He has a way of making marketing sound like universal truth. That’s no small feat. I love his ideas of integrating honesty and authenticity into marketing, and identifying the smallest possible group of true believers that you need so you can stay true to yourself. I like some of Simon Sinek’s ideas as well.

Which tools can’t you live without?

It’s old-fashioned these days, but I still love a notebook and a ballpoint pen. They don’t run out of battery or go out of mobile range. The writer’s notebook is still a powerful tool, and I feel connected to all the writers that have lived in the generations before me.

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

Where to spend my energy. The clean energy sector has grown massively since I started. At the beginning there were half a dozen issues to manage and they bore down upon you with a force you couldn’t ignore. Over time we have grown in scale and credibility and there are innumerable priorities to manage which vary massively in complexity.

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

The Clean Energy Council’s campaign to save the Renewable Energy Target (RET) under the Abbott Government was all-consuming. It was a fight we never wanted, but the future of the whole industry was at stake. In the end I had a chance to try out just about every tool, technique and weapon we had in the locker, and the comms side of the campaign worked hand-in-glove with our political advocacy strategy.

The biggest challenge was that the RET doesn’t have much public recognition outside the industry. So when we started it felt like we were the only voice speaking and that the number of people listening was tiny. But day by day it snowballed and, by the end, international publications like the Financial Times had recognised what was going on and were reporting on the implications.

Which campaign do you most admire?

When people think of salmon sushi or sashimi, they immediately think of Japan. But the Japanese used to think salmon was an unclean fish, and the only reason the two are connected is because of a long campaign by the Norwegian salmon industry. And Norwegian salmon ultimately helped sushi to become popular around the world as well. It’s a great example of a vision and persistence leading to a win-win.

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

Targeted digital campaigns and information overload. The ability to target your audience now is unprecedented, but many people are at the point where they don’t necessarily want to be targeted at all. So we are narrowing our focus to a smaller number of trusted voices and many people are looking for something deeper and more meaningful. The challenge is becoming one of the voices that is worth paying attention to.

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

I’m part of a small team, so being able to bring in occasional contractors to help with surge periods is really important.

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

Great ideas, great energy and a drive to always try and do things better.

What’s your favourite brand?

The Rolling Stones. They are more brand than band these days, but it’s amazing they have been so successful for so long. I’m also impressed by any brand that is disciplined enough to keep their strategic focus in line with what they do well, rather than giving in to the temptation to do a broad range of things badly.

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

I really liked The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. It’s more about moral psychology than communication, but I think more people in comms should study some psych. There’s a lot in there about how people make up their minds about particular subjects and how to reach those with a different political or ideological bent to yours – and the reasons they think differently. Obviously the Cellophane blog is a great read as well!

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

Don’t try to do everything yourself.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’

…almost always imperfect, often under-rated and endlessly fascinating.

Changing face of the communications profession

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The newspaper boxes were (and continue to be) the blogs of yesteryear – providing targeted news in many cases for free with the support of advertising (photo from Harvard Square)

For the past few months, people have been sharing their 10-year images on social media. So, we thought today we’d share some insights from past Communicator’s Corners about how the communications profession has changed over the years.

Daniel Tisch, the President and CEO for Argyle Public Relationshipsin Canada said: “When I started out working for a minister in the Canadian government in the early 1990s, PR was all about ‘staying on message’ and delivering that message mainly through news media channels. We had the luxury of long news cycles: we would prepare the message, do the interview, and not see or feel much impact until the evening television news and the next morning’s dailies. Today, communicators have less control over the message than ever before, as it is adapted, influenced and spread by many voices; so, communication has become even more about the building of relationships with stakeholders and influencers, and stewarding those relationships both in person and online.  To do well in the long term, you need a higher level of transparency and authenticity – plus an ability to know when you’re wrong, to say so quickly, and to back up your apology with tangible, measurable action. And whatever you say or do, it’s on the internet forever. The higher stakes, higher speed and eternal legacy of communication have changed the business forever – and generally for the better.”

Meghan Loneragan, one half of the creative duo behind the lifestyle blog Citizens of the World, said: “We can’t believe how much social media following has influenced how brands select their spokespeople. It feels like people are chosen on how large their digital footprint is rather that their expertise. In some ways it has levelled the playing field and opened up the world but in other ways we feel for ‘old school’ talent that didn’t embrace digital so much. Maybe the pendulum will swing? I say this knowing that we really appreciate having a large social following but there has to be more depth there, a skill or an educated opinion.”

Corporate communicator and travel writer Diane Squires said: “The internet has made it both easier and harder to reach audiences – easier because anyone can publish their messages, but harder because there are so many more channels vying for people’s attention. When I started out in a media role, we sent a release, rang the journalist to check it they’d received it and wrote for internal and stakeholder specific publications. Now we have so many social media channels, online blogs and websites to write for, as well as publications and of course, we still regularly pitch to media – but not always via a media release.”

And last week Dr Karen Sutherland from the University of the Sunshine Coast told us the biggest change she has noticed is: “Keeping up with technology and the increasing flow of and demand for information. The fundamental communication, PR and marketing principles will not really change, but how we facilitate them is constantly changing. Also, information (and misinformation) can spread around the globe in a matter of minutes. Being across this and ready to respond can be challenging. Social media does not sleep, so monitoring what is happening and being ready to manage any crises and issues 24 hours a day is definitely a challenge; so too, is the constant hunger for new content and producing high quality pieces to keep up with this demand.”

Discover more changes in the communications sector by exploring past interviews in our Communicator’s Corner.

Going online for offline engagement

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DrKaren2019What does it take to educate the next generation of communicators about social media? Find out in this week’s Communicator’s Corner with Dr Karen Sutherland from the University of the Sunshine Coast. When she’s not helping local businesses and non profits maximise their social media engagement, she’s educating students as the Lecturer, Program Coordinator and Discipline Lead – Social Media and Public Relations at USC.

Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?

Helping others is my objective, professionally and personally. I aim to achieve this by educating and/or connecting others. I would describe myself as a Social Media Educator, Researcher and Consultant. My background is in marketing and PR. I began my career 20 years ago and have worked in a range of sectors and roles over the years. Currently, I am a Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast where I lecture and coordinate the Bachelor of Communication (Social Media) (new for 2019) and lead public relations as a discipline. My research is focused on social media in the non-profit sector, in Higher Education pedagogy, as a tool for offline engagement, and explores its impact on employability. I love delivering social media workshops within my community and I also provide social media consulting and coaching services to businesses in Australia and overseas.

Tell us about your typical day in communications?

It always begins early. After my daily yoga practice, I catch up on the developments that I have missed while I have been asleep. I have some amazing contacts in the U.S. and U.K. so I like to see what they are up to and answer any emails. My days are usually spent working on research, course development, helping students and clients and doing pro bono work. I also create my own social media content. I am a firm believer in leading by example. I can’t expect my students to take my advice when I don’t follow it myself.

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

I have had a love of reading, writing and storytelling from a very young age. It was never a conscious decision to work in communications. I think it has always been part of who I am and it all unfolded for me naturally.

Who’s your communication hero/mentor?

I have a few: Dr Joy Chia, Assoc Prof Karen Freberg, Dennis Yu, Madalyn Sklar, and Gary Vaynerchuk. There are many others who have helped me over the years who I am deeply grateful to for their support.

Which tools can’t you live without?

The internet (of course), my iPhone, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, WordPress, WeVideo and Canva. These all make communication and content production so simple.

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

Most of my social media courses involve students working directly with real clients and with enrolment numbers growing steadily, managing these student/client relationships can be challenging. It adds a lot of extra work in terms of administration and liaison than the regular courses that I coordinate, but the results are worth it. The students can include practical work experience on their CVs and include real-world examples in their portfolios to show prospective employers. The clients receive fresh ideas, strategies, social media content and recommendations based on their social media performance data to assist their organisations. Some clients hire their assigned student as a freelancer at the end of the course, which is the best outcome possible.

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

Every campaign that I worked on during my time at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. These campaigns literally helped to save lives.

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

Keeping up with technology and the increasing flow of and demand for information. The fundamental communication, PR and marketing principles will not really change, but how we facilitate them is constantly changing. Also, information (and misinformation) can spread around the globe in a matter of minutes. Being across this and ready to respond can be challenging. Social media does not sleep, so monitoring what is happening and being ready to manage any crises and issues 24 hours a day is definitely a challenge; so too, is the constant hunger for new content and producing high quality pieces to keep up with this demand.

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

That’s a tough one. It would all depend on specific goals and objectives. Working in academia means that I don’t have a budget to cut. 🙂

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

Highly developed interpersonal and writing skills, passion, enthusiasm and integrity.

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

Associate Professor Karen Freberg’s Social Media for Strategic Communication.

It’s a shameless plug but I’m currently writing a book called Strategic Social Media Management – Marketing, Advertising & PR, which should be released next year.

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

Communication is rarely glamorous, but deeply rewarding.
Communication is a process not a product.
Clients can often tell you what they don’t want more easily than they can tell you what they really want.
Sometimes it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’

an ongoing respectful collaboration.

Courts, crime and communication

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AmberWilsonIt would be criminal if we didn’t share this fantastic interview with AAP crime and court reporter Amber Wilson; so we’re proud to share her responses in our first Communicator’s Corner for 2019. Discover why Amber believes communication is an art form!

What’s your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?

I’m a journalist covering courts and crime in Melbourne’s CBD.

Tell us about a typical day working in the media?

We keep a hawk eye on the news and court lists to find out what cases might be happening on a given day. The early part of the morning is dedicated to planning and then from 9.30am, we’re generally in and out of the Supreme, County, Magistrates and Federal courts chasing stories. We file over lunch, then we’re at it again until the court system wraps up for the day. We could be chasing anything from a high-profile terrorist plot to the murder of a beloved mother to chasing gangland figures in front of the magistrates court. Throughout the day, we’re in contact with our bosses at the bureaus in Melbourne and Rhodes, while liaising with lawyers and associates to find out details of the cases we’re following. Then we’re back at our desks meticulously combing through court lists after COB.

When did you first know you wanted to be a journalist?

I think I knew I wanted to be a writer first – from a very early age – and then I found my direction while I was at uni. It hasn’t been a linear ride though – I’ve segued and branched out – mainly into corporate communications and at one stage even into yoga teaching, before really finding my calling.

What communication tools can’t you live without?

I’m old fashioned. I love using my notepad and pen in my daily work life. Like everyone, I rely on email and social media and quick access to information on my phone. But as far as my mental processing and day-to-day organisation, I can’t go past a real life notepad, a real life diary, and a pen with freely-flowing ink.

What are the biggest challenges you face? And what are the biggest opportunities?

The media is under a huge amount of pressure in the current climate. That makes a lot of us journalists fearful of the future, preparing for the next five years with an “exit strategy”.

But of course the world is evolving, and the way we access news and information will hopefully catch up with the changes in the way we’re living. I think there’s a change in the perception of journalists as a representative of their masthead to being the product itself, and the news organisation the client. That shift in thinking makes reporters their own “small business” and a unique product, which makes them valuable beyond whatever their current job description is.

Tell us about the news coverage that you’re proudest of?

I enjoyed covering the Rebel Wilson defamation case against Bauer Media. Covering the murder case of Melton mother Simone Quinlan was another big one for me – it was deeply sad and a shocking look into domestic violence and the everyday tragedy and violence that surrounds us.

What’s been the biggest change to the newsroom since you began your career?

When I started off as a news cadet, we filed stories in centimetres to a print edition that was the cornerstone of life in that little Tasmanian community. We’d file by 6pm and the locals would read the paper over their Vegemite and coffee at 7am the following morning. It’s just not like that anymore – news is immediate. As soon as an event breaks, we need to file digitally from the scene and update as the day progresses.

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

Documentaries really inspire me – they’re such an in-depth look into issues, and the medium of long-form video is so powerful. A lot of my friends are crazy about podcasts, but for me there’s nothing like delving deeply for hours into a fascinating, intriguing documentary and the issues of social justice that they explore.

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

The best advice I ever received when I was young, and still as an adult believe now: stick at it. Perseverance is powerful.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’

…an art form.

A typical day for a communicator in the #CommsCorner

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What is a typical day for a communicator? Is there one? Over the past eight years we have asked a range of communicators this question and here are some of their answers.

Catherine Sekulovski, Media & Communications Officer, Australian Made Campaign

CatherineSCommunicationsIsMy typical day in communications involves a little bit of planning and a lot of reactive response, but no matter what day of the week it is, you can find me writing or building our online communities. I enjoy internal communications but thrive on media relations and have a lot of fun on social media – I’m lucky, because my role offers a great mix of all of the above, every day.

Slavica Habjanovic, External Communications Advisor, HASSELL

Slavica Habjanovic a cool communicator from HASSELL

Ha! A typical day doesn’t really exist at the moment as there are so many different tasks that pop up. Generally, my work involves collaborating on marketing collateral, maintaining the practice’s website, working with the media, writing news articles and developing campaigns.

Diana Gibson, Head of Membership Development and Communications, BirdLife Australia

dianagibsonMy day starts with checking in with team members to see how they are travelling, checking in on media exposure and bird and conservation stories of the day, and tracking how our supporter and new member campaigns are going. Then it gets diverse…it might be running a consultation on strategic directions for BirdLife Australia’s two scholarly journals, finalising a partnership with the likes of Aurora Expeditions and arranging for a project staffer to accompany their passengers on an Antarctic adventure, working with our scientists to select icon birds to headline a campaign, talking priorities with a volunteer branch committee member.. and on the odd occasion I might even get out to a BirdLife Australia observatory or project, spot some local birds (with lots of help…I’m no expert!!) and see firsthand  what is so important about bird conservation.

David Taylor, Public Records Office Victoria

NY_Times_and_me_by_dpt56It starts over breakfast, reading The Age and watching the Today Show, and continues on the train deleting junk emails from my BlackBerry. At the office it’s the usual email checking, especially any media items of interest or concern, then working my way through any number of projects that I need to juggle. These might be event management, working with colleagues interstate and overseas on joint promotional initiatives, editing articles and publications, preparing a media release, managing a small but terrific team etc etc.

Natalie Collard, Clean Energy Council

FTA4dairyMeet with MPs and government stakeholders, manage resolution of constituent issues, internal cross-BU strategy input and execution and CEO visit planning and attendance, internal cross-functional Board meetings and that left-field thing that keeps me on my toes.

Emily Martyn, Corporate Affairs Lead at Hostplus

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 9.32.54 pmI roll over to my 6am alarm and check the day’s latest news clippings – what’s being said about the business, our industry, the sectors we serve and our competitors. I’ll identify if there are any opportunities to leverage coverage and promote the business; or potential risks to manage and protect its reputation from. Outside of media relations, my average day consists of several touchpoints with different business functions on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and investments-related matters, new product launches, community relations, marketing and sponsorships. I also work closely with the CEO’s office and Group Executive, and support industry lobbying and advocacy on a number of external committees. To wind down from my day, I enjoy walking around Albert Park Lake (whenever I can), playing tennis, painting and cooking up a nutritious feast at home.

What’s your typical day in communications? Add a comment or share your story by taking a seat in the #CommsCorner – email cellophane@thecword.com.au if you’re interested in being part of our weekly Q&A.

Collaborate in our #CommsCorner

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It’s time to begin a new series of conversations with communicators for our #CommsCorner.

To get the process started … and our creative juices flowing … we thought we’d seek your ideas on the questions to put to the communicators in the #CommsCorner.

Let us know what you think of the questions below? And add a comment with any other questions or people you think we should feature! Feel free to email us at cellophane@thecword.com.au with your ideas. Thank you!

For your consideration…

  • Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?
  • Tell us about your typical day in communications?
  • When did you first know you wanted to work in communications?
  • Who’s your communication hero/mentor?
  • Which tools can’t you live without?
  • What are the biggest challenges in your role?
  • Tell us about the best campaign you’ve ever worked on?
  • Which campaign do you most admire?
  • What’s been the biggest change to communication/marketing/public relations since you began your career?
  • If you had to cut/keep something in your communication budget, what would it be?
  • What quality do you look for in your communication team members?
  • What’s your favourite brand?
  • What book/blog do you think every communicator should read?
  • What tips do you wish you’d known starting out in communications?
  • Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’

Comms Corner with Emily Martyn

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In our latest #CommsCorner we chat with Emily Martyn, Corporate Affairs Lead at Hostplus. She shares her favourite c-words and explains how she got “hooked” on communication!

Your elevator statement – who are you professionally and personally?

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The day we brought dairy to Canberra

From cars to cows; chocolate to competitive investment returns; I am passionate about many c words – most of all, communications! I’m an energetic and constantly curious PR practitioner with experience across in-house corporate and government affairs, not-for-profit and agency communications roles. I enjoy being kept on my toes, trying new things, immersing myself in different industries, meeting new people, learning new skills and taking my infinitely transferable ‘comms toolkit’ with me along the way.

Tell us about your typical day in communications?

I roll over to my 6am alarm and check the day’s latest news clippings – what’s being said about the business, our industry, the sectors we serve and our competitors. I’ll identify if there are any opportunities to leverage coverage and promote the business; or potential risks to manage and protect its reputation from. Outside of media relations, my average day consists of several touchpoints with different business functions on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) and investments-related matters, new product launches, community relations, marketing and sponsorships. I also work closely with the CEO’s office and Group Executive, and support industry lobbying and advocacy on a number of external committees. To wind down from my day, I enjoy walking around Albert Park Lake (whenever I can), playing tennis, painting and cooking up a nutritious feast at home.

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

When I left school, I started studying Architecture at Monash University before soon realising the old-school concept of pen to sketching paper I romanticised in my head, was really a thing of the past. Whilst I loved the creativity of it and was pushed to challenge any preconceived ideas I had, the highly complex three-dimensional computing and mathematics lost me. Second to my love for visual design and art, I knew I really enjoyed English at school, which is why I applied for public relations work experience at Mango (DDB). Here, I realised there was a big bunch of like-minded people who were creative, working with impressive clients and shaping the reputations of many hugely-successful household brands. I was instantly hooked and applied for a PR degree at Deakin University the next week!

Who’s your communication hero/mentor?

I’ve been privileged to have a few mentors in my life – some that have grown organically and others part of a formalised workplace program – however there has been one who has truly made a significant impact in helping me to where I am today. I met Natalie Collard, who was CEO of Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) at the time, at a PR networking function hosted by Deakin University. Nat and I both remember that event very clearly and the instant connection we had through the similar values we shared, our approach to work life, and the bigger life goals we were aiming to achieve. At the time, I wasn’t sure why however I knew I had to stay in contact with Nat.

When my 12-month contract was coming to an end, following a challenging year for the business (where we announced the closure of Holden’s manufacturing operations), Nat was the first person I reached out to. It just so happened at that time, ADF was in dire need for extra resourcing to run their first National Dairy Farmers’ Summit and after a short phone conversation, asked if I could start next week! Ever since, Nat has very generously taken me under her wing, helped me leverage my strengths, pushed me out of my comfort zone (on several occasions), been a constructive feedback loop and trusted confident, and most of all, a wonderful friend. We catch-up every few months and remain in regular contact over the phone.

Which tools can’t you live without?

On a digital front, definitely my iPhone, Meltwater and iSentia. However, I also can’t go a day without my old-school journal – there’s something about learning through writing that I just can’t achieve when typing!

What are the biggest challenges in your role?

The 24-hour media cycle can make finding the right work-life balance challenging when you’re expected to be ‘on’ all the time. I know I’m at my personal best when I give myself an hour or so each day to do something outside in the fresh air, away from my phone and laptop. Being a Libran, achieving balance is both my biggest strength and weakness…it’s a day-to-day battle!

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

During my dairy days – working at Australian Dairy Farmers with Natalie – and in response to New Zealand’s lucrative free trade agreement (FTA) with China which has seen their exports sore to around 40 per cent of global market share (versus Australia’s meagre 7 per cent), we launched a social media campaign to place Australian dairy on a level playing field with NZ in China.

To spread the message, we urged the Australian dairy community to get behind our #FTA4dairy ‘selfie’ campaign to promote a positive China-Australia FTA (ChAFTA) for all Australian farmers – rallying support from dairy farmers, industry groups, Federal and State politicians, ag students and everyday consumers. Our not-for-profit efforts (carried out on a $500 budget) received bipartisan support, were quoted in Hansard in several Senate Hearing Committees and played an instrumental role in the outcome of the signed ChAFTA in June 2015, which has started to see the removal of all Australian dairy export tariffs to China (to be fully completed by 2026).

Which campaign do you most admire?

One of my favourites is Dove’s Real Beauty campaign which ramped up in 2006, turning a brand associated with a plain white bar of soap, into a household name challenging the status quo and opening young women’s eyes to the narrow definitions of beauty we all grew up with. This campaign stemmed from Edelman’s research of more than 3000 women in 10 countries, exploring what beauty means to women today and why that is. This integrated marketing campaign is still as relevant today as it was 10 years ago, and has moved beyond a re-branding exercise into a US-based charitable fund (among other initiatives) to raise awareness about online bullying and photography projects that capture the beauty girls see in the world around them. It’s a tremendous case study.

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

Being in my mid-twenties with five years’ experience under my belt, I can only offer a limited perspective on this, however I have observed that the comms landscape for businesses and corporate leaders has dramatically changed with the speed, reach and inter-dependence of social and traditional media. Today, we see more risk from not being involved on social media, than being involved – this has been a clear behavioural and issues management shift over a short period of time.

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

From a PR perspective, we’re very lean on the ground here with myself as the corporate affairs resource and media monitoring/reporting support from Meltwater. However, if we needed to cut something from the larger marketing budget, it would definitely be merchandising – whilst it’s a nice-to-have; the show can go on without it (…my marketing colleagues may not agree though)!

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

Being a naturally curious person, I admire like-minded comms people who aren’t afraid to ask ‘why’ and challenge preconceived systems, processes and ways of thinking. Just because the business has done something one way for many years – a ‘legacy’ thing, if you will – doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best way forward. We need to be constantly evolving and trying new things to remain relevant.

I also think flexibility is equally as important. Particularly today where corporates are constantly in a state of flux and going through large transformation programs – you need to be able to roll with the punches and adapt to the ever-changing situations we find ourselves in. It’s what keeps our comms jobs interesting and continually evolving.

What’s your favourite brand?

At Mondelez International, I was privileged to work on a portfolio of iconic brands including Vegemite, The Natural Confectionery Co., KRAFT Peanut Butter, Pascall, Oreo and belVita, however nothing can top the heritage of Cadbury. From the UK brand’s humble beginnings in Birmingham selling tea, coffee and drinking chocolate, to being owned by the second largest confectionery brand in the world, Cadbury has been inventing, inspiring and investing in British and Australian (and most recently Indian and Chinese) chocolate-lovers for almost 200 years. Last year alone, Cadbury generated more than US$3 billion in global net revenues. It’s also my (not-so-secret) source of indulgence…

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

Daniel Goleman’s ‘Emotional intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ’ is a must-read, exploring insights into our two minds – the rational and emotional – and how they together shape our destiny. This book draws on psychology and neuroscience discoveries to demonstrate how emotional intelligence determines our success in relationships, work and even our physical well-being. Knowing that words account for less than 10 per cent of our overall messages, this is a great read for all comms practitioners; however, I’d suggest breaking it down to bite-size chunks to digest and reflect over time.

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

Comms is a necessary requirement in every industry, business, function and team. Whilst it may be in your job title; it doesn’t mean it’s your role to carry the load for the entire organisation. The best way to set yourself up for success, alongside the business, is to help colleagues understand the benefits of setting and implementing a strategic comms plan, and reporting back on its deliverables. As comms professionals, we have the most impact empowering others to take control of their personal communication needs, whilst providing directional guidance and constructive feedback along the way.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’

Key – to success in life, work and relationships.