Category Archives: Communicator’s Corner

A typical day for a communicator in the #CommsCorner

Standard

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.

Advertisements

Collaborate in our #CommsCorner

Standard

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

Standard

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?

Screen Shot 2017-11-14 at 9.32.54 pm

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.

What inspired our #CommsCorner communicators?

Standard

What first inspired your love of words? Or your passion for content?

That’s a question we often ask the communicators we work with, and the communicators who take a chair in our #CommsCorner.

This week, we revisit past responses to our Communicator’s Corner and share what drove their passion for words! The common theme was an early interest (usually at high school) in reading, writing and all things creative.

Del Irani

DelHeadshotI really didn’t know. I didn’t study journalism. I studied business and psychology. However, when I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, I was offered two graduate positions. One was in the corporate world and the other one was for an obscure media production company based in Belgium that required a lot of travel and being a fresh graduate at the age of 22 I decided to take the latter. It was only after working for this company for several months I realised I was often the only one at press conferences who would be standing up and asking questions or challenging the status quo. Many of my colleagues pointed out that I had a natural gift for interviewing, and it was after these experiences that I decided to pursue journalism.

Danielle Johnston

When I was 12, I fell in love with storytelling. When I was 15, I did work experience at the “Sun” newspaper and followed journalists around their Melbourne beats for a week. At the end of Year 12, journalism was my #1 study preference. Fortunately, the grand plan came off.

Vanessa O’Hanlon

VANESSA O'HANLON_0254

It came to me in a round about way.  At school I always had an interest in politics and current affairs and was on the SRC and School Council but I also fell in love with music.  I enjoyed interviewing bands and artists.   Working in a newsroom on ABC News Breakfast I knew I wanted to be more involved in the news side of presenting, I love the fast pace and how news evolves.

Lauren Ayton

In high school, I wanted to be a journalist. I was lucky enough to meet the most influential teacher of my schooling, Mr Glasgow, who was a passionate scientist and an amazing communicator. He instilled a love of science in me, and made me realise how exciting a scientific career could be. I was in Year 11 when the human genome was fully sequenced, and I still remember that he spent our entire class talking about the potential ramifications of that achievement. From that moment, I wanted to be involved in the next generation of ground-breaking discoveries!

Briar Lloyd

BriarHeadshotGrowing up I was always obsessed with any form of media, whether it be magazines, books, TV, film, current affairs and pop culture, or just the internet in general. When I was studying media and communications, journalism, and politics and international studies at university, I really came to understand the importance of media and communications as a means to transfer information and knowledge, and shape society. From then on I knew it was important to be able to be to utilise communications in my work in some way, as it’s something than is relevant and important to all industries and sectors.

Kathryn Crawford

I’m not sure it was that defined. But my path seemed to be fairly well set when in Year Ten I had the opportunity to do a work placement at what was then known as Royce MS&L Communications. The glamour! The intrigue! The outfits! I knew I stumbled onto something. And that was just the tram ride down St Kilda Road.

Amisha Mehta

QUT VC Awards 2016

QUT VC Awards 2016. QUT Gardens Point, Brisbane on June 13, 2016. Picture-Patrick Hamilton

I knew I wanted to be a lecturer when I saw a student’s face light up as she landed on an idea for a public relations campaign. There is so much power in an idea and it’s a privilege to share that space.

Tune into our weekly #CommsCorner for more stories about what inspired communicators along the path of content creation.

Del Irani in the #CommsCorner

Standard

DelHeadshotThis week in the #CommsCorner we chat with Del Irani, a Presenter on ABC News Breakfast, which airs from 6-9am nationally. As well as being a TV and radio presenter, Del is a highly experienced and sought after event host, moderator and emcee. She has recently returned from moderating for the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation in China, and was also the host of our client’s Shared Value Forum in April. Del is also a board member of the Western Bulldogs Football Club Community Foundation.

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

I’m a warm and energetic TV presenter who has hosted shows in Australia and around the world. I currently work for ABC News in Australia and was a former BBC News Presenter working as a correspondent in Mumbai, India. I am an Indian-Australian who has lived and worked in more than 20 countries.

Tell us about a typical day working in the media?

There is no typical day. From the time my alarm goes off at 3.30am, I check my phone for news alerts and read up on any developments overnight. Then I arrived in the office just after 4am, flick through the papers and talk to the producers about the main stories they’ve identified for the show. After a brief chat and informal editorial meeting, I start writing my scripts and lining up the vision. Then it’s off to hair and makeup. Once I’m ‘studio ready’, I update my scripts, particularly the financial markets which are closing at 6am, and I’m on air by 6.05am.

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

I really didn’t know. I didn’t study journalism. I studied business and psychology. However, when I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, I was offered two graduate positions. One was in the corporate world and the other one was for an obscure media production company based in Belgium that required a lot of travel and being a fresh graduate at the age of 22 I decided to take the latter. It was only after working for this company for several months I realised I was often the only one at press conferences who would be standing up and asking questions or challenging the status quo. Many of my colleagues pointed out that I had a natural gift for interviewing, and it was after these experiences that I decided to pursue journalism.

Which journalist from around the world do you most admire?

I really admire Christiane Amanpour who has worked her way up from an entry level desk position to being the Chief International Correspondent for CNN.

What communication tools can’t you live without?

Contact with people. Being a journalist is about telling people’s stories!

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

The biggest challenge is to keep up with technology and the way it’s changing journalism. There’s a constant need to keep challenging yourself and adapting to stay ahead of the curve, especially when it comes to social media because that’s a big part of how we now communicate with our audiences. Any resistance can be a real set back. I also see this as one of the biggest opportunities. If you embrace new technologies you can access new audiences and have a global reach.

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

My proudest moment is providing live coverage in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks for BBC World News. As someone who was born in Mumbai, and has family in India, I was proud to be able to highlight the enduring resilience of Mumbaikers.

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

Social media. I began before Twitter and Facebook Live and Periscope (which has already become extinct)..

What should every aspiring journalist read?

BBC World News have an outstanding standard of journalism. I think you can learn a lot from their style of writing and their online journalism school has some great tips – and it’s FREE.

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

Trust yourself. I lacked confidence when I first started out in front of the camera and one of the best pieces of advice a senior producer once gave me was talk to the camera like you’re talking to your best friend. I’ve followed that advice and never looked back.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’ POWER

Danielle Johnston in the #CommsCorner

Standard

When she’s not cross-country skiing, crew member Danielle Johnston is focused on cabins, checkin and concierges as the Editor of travel website Journeys to Come with Catriona Rowntree. Prior to joining the c word in 2011, Danielle DanielleJohnstonwas general manager of a not-for-profit sustainability consultancy in Melbourne following five years as business director at the Committee for Melbourne. Danielle has also worked in publishing, human resources and marketing, in London and San Francisco.

Tell us about your typical day in communications?

Plan, execute, capture any lessons, close the file, repeat…

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

When I was 12, I fell in love with storytelling. When I was 15, I did work experience at the “Sun” newspaper and followed journalists around their Melbourne beats for a week. At the end of Year 12, journalism was my #1 study preference. Fortunately, the grand plan came off.

Who’s your communication hero?

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Burmese social democratic stateswoman, politiciandiplomat and author who serves as the First and incumbent State Counsellor and Leader of the National League for Democracy. When she speaks, I listen because her communication style is always wise and measured, never inflammatory and most importantly, effective.

Which books do you think every communicator should read?

Manufacturing Consent”, by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman; “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk JR and E.B. White; and “Politics and the English Language” (1946), an essay by George Orwell.

Finish this sentence: ‘Communication is…’ 

What the ‘c’ in the c word stands for!

Tips from our #CommsCorner

Standard

6004674496_c24d5a26a3_oWe regularly ask communicators what they wish they had known before starting out in their communications careers and this week we thought we’d share a collection of their responses.

Here are six leading female communicators and the lessons they’ve discovered along the track of professional communications.

Don’t stress the little things – Vanessa O’Hanlon

To not stress about the little things.  Take on everything you are offered – don’t let fear stand in the way.  However you are feeling – everyone else feels the same, we are all human.

Just do it – Lauren Ayton

Just do it! I was so nervous before starting with science communication events; as a scientist, you are so used to specialising in specific areas, and it can be nerve-wracking to talk about your work without the jargon. A few years down the track, and I count science communication as one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of my job; I’m glad I just gave it a shot!

Learn from others – Andrea Davies

Learn from other people within the industry. Find a mentor who is willing to share their experiences with you. Join an industry body like the PRIA or IABC. Both connect you to other people in the industry that you can learn from. LinkedIn is also a great tool for gaining industry insights and connecting with other communicators from across the world. Also, recognise your gaps and undertake learning and development courses to improve your understanding of the world.

Always ask – Kathryn Crawford

Always ask the question you’re worried makes you look stoopid. I’ve ended up looking far sillier than I needed to by being too embarrassed to ask the question in the first place.

Remember to communicate with staff – Diane Squires

I really underestimated the importance of internal communications in the overall communications mix. Organisations spend so much time and energy on media and stakeholder communications, but then fail to communicate with their own staff. Staff are at the forefront of customer engagement, if they don’t know what is going on, how can they support your messaging.

Numbers matter – Amisha Mehta

Numbers matter and go hand-in-hand with words to create meaning—data analysis and accounting are your friends. Do not avoid them.