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We’re out of the blocks and the combined sprint and marathon that frames a new year has begun. Is it just me or are the years passing us by faster and faster? Perhaps it’s the pace of business, perhaps the business of life or maybe it’s just an age thing, nevertheless, 2014 was behind us in the blink of an eye.
Again, the year that was cemented the importance of highly strategic and targeted communications, in order to engage and influence specific audiences in the quest for commercial gain.
A pronounced area that continued to dominate is the adoption of digital mediums in the world of communications. One challenge that many organisations encountered is the paradigm of how to resource such a shift. Organisations that have done this effectively did not necessarily have the luxury of bolting on additional headcount but more so it’s been about the careful re-scoping of communications functions to bring in the expertise. Further, it has been about bridging the traditional chasm between corporate affairs and marketing, to integrate digital expertise across both portfolios.
This digital appetite too has had a significant effect on the media landscape, born out of people’s continued hunger for ‘real time’ news and information. Like the immediacy and time pressure placed on the media to file stories in ‘real time’, so too is the pressure for organisations to communicate and engage their respective audiences across internal or external platforms. Last year we witnessed leading Australian based organisations pioneer new territory with the introduction of branded newsrooms, designed to not only enhance internal advocacy but to also inform key business partners and stakeholder groups. Whilst much of the content is branded, these internal newsrooms are being used very effectively to set and embed the corporate narrative to ensure continuity and consistency.
Relating to internal communications, as a specialist corporate communications consultancy we have also seen a deliberate shift towards practitioners with specific change and project communication expertise. This has been coupled with a gentle move away from the more traditional internal communication purists, to practitioners who arrive with a broader communications background; a bias towards internal communications but with a clear understanding of the external environment.
Increasingly, corporate communication functions are being shaped with the necessity to be interchangeable and cross functional, as is the ability for communication practitioners to move willingly and effortlessly between the strategic and the operational. Like any discipline, as a general rule there is little demand for practitioners who are only willing to do the ‘strategy’ work.
For those who are considering a career change or move in 2015, the best advice I can provide is to develop and implement a multifaceted approach. High on the priority list is to ensure you have an informative and comprehensive LinkedIn profile that articulates your areas of expertise and the critical skills that you arrive with; secondly, to align yourself with a recruitment firm that specialises in your craft and with whom you trust; thirdly, to utilise and discretely exploit your own professional and personal networks; and finally, monitor the online job boards to give you insight into market activity.
Whilst 2014 delivered us a return to some more consistent market buoyancy in terms of the number of available professional opportunities within communications, 2015 is tipped to step it up again. What is for certain, we must make 2015 count everyday by focusing and delivering on activities that matter – it’s about creating positive, impactful and sustainable engagement with our people, cultures, customers and each other.
Here’s to a year of prosperity one and all.
General Manager : Melbourne
Asia Pacific Practice Manager : Corporate Affairs