To remain relevant. It’s the same for any profession. It’s important that we continue to push the boundaries of what we do as communication professionals so that we can learn and grow.
Three decades of working in the industry has taught me that it is vital to remain curious. I push myself to understand new industries, new marketing disciplines and new trends, so that I can be part of the conversation. And let’s face it, nothing is more unappealing than someone who is stagnant.
Since we established Brangwin & Moore, we have, for example had a lot of interest from organisations who want to understand how they can better align the behaviours of their teams to the company values. So, we spent time developing methodologies and services to fill this need. We researched and read a lot about the area, reviewed global best practice, got busy, created our own intellectual property and created a service and product that we have rolled out to clients.
Katrina Brangwin and I set up Brangwin & Moore because we know that there is a different way to provide high value, strategic communication support to organisations (large and small).
We both love working on client challenges and now as founders and directors, we get to do the work (vs managing the work). And, because clients get two senior professionals working on their business, we are finding that it’s a very attractive proposition for them. They also love the fact that because we do the work, there is: no swirl; no egos; no juniors; and no complexity. With us, our clients know that they get straight forward and well thought through strategies, that will be executed flawlessly, wrapped in unparalleled client services – and more than a dash of passion and energy.
We also took the plunge because the pandemic levelled the playing field between big agencies and small, owner operators like us. This is because the environment is more dynamic and more complicated, and this really suits nimble consultancies like ours.
The best communications professionals are those that are heavily involved in the business and strategy of their clients or their organisation.
And, if anything the last 12 months has shown us – whether it’s healthcare, pandemic preparedness, politics and gender, elections, corporate misbehaviours, those with the best strategic communication advice, closely married to the business or organisational strategy get the best results for everyone involved.
But we must earn our place at the business strategy table. We must be well informed. We must be voracious readers and sponges for world politics, current affairs, the business arena and what’s happening closer to home in our communities.
I am dismayed by how many people starting off in our industry, know very little about the world they are operating in. I believe that we all need to feed our minds to us to earn a seat at the table and be given the responsibility to create meaningful strategies.
I love the passion and energy of this saying. And, if anyone knows me, they know that I am a very direct person who loves simple language and despises corporate bingo.
Leaving my role as the leader of the largest PR Group in the country, where I had a dozen businesses and 300 people in my group, with all the structures and support you get with that role and set up, in the middle of a pandemic, in my mid 50s is the real example of living up to that motto.
Setting up with Katrina Brangwin, a former competitor, then colleague and now partner, made the move both exciting and life affirming. It’s scary but also fantastic to move outside my comfort zone and its fantastic that I get to tackle this new business with Katrina whom I admire very much.
Katrina and I are very aligned in terms of our values and how we like to operate. Running our own show means that this can never be compromised. Nor can the quality of the thinking and the intellectual grunt we bring to our client challenges.
Our industry has been searching for the holy grail of a perfect measurement model for decades, and it doesn't exist. That’s because the industry, media and business are moving too fast and because one way of measuring effectiveness is, by its very nature, limiting.
It is however essential that we commit to, and measure, the success of our work. And the secret to this is to create a bespoke set of meaningful metrics based on client/objectives/activity and work towards those.
For us at Brangwin&Moore, we are very clear from the outset with clients what we are working towards, what we will measure and how we will hold ourselves accountable. This approach not only builds trust, but it creates discipline and clarity.
Outside work, I spend a lot of time with my family and friends. Prior to the pandemic we were mad travellers and could have been seen globe-trotting to interesting places. Travelling is my favourite thing in the world.
But, with life in the time of Covid, we instead spend a lot of time on the South Coast of NSW. A few years ago, we bought a very run-down house, which was built in the 1960s in the Sydney Style of architecture and spend a lot of time bringing the old dame back to life.
I haven’t always been good at managing work/life balance but as I have got older, I realised that it’s about managing my energy levels, and I am doing something I love, which I am, it’s not hard to balance. I found that before we set up Brangwin & Moore, I spent a lot of time in my old role managing situations and personalities – this was time consuming and fruitless. All of this has gone and man, it feels great!