Challenging circumstances are the greatest test and proof of the value of effective comms. I’ve undertaken roles at companies experiencing transformation in response to radically changing business environments and I have seen first-hand the value of clear, consistent messaging to engage audiences.
The explosion of online retailing and the rise of supermarkets’ power changed the nature of the high street when I was head of comms at WH Smith, while its exposure to the US forced the sale of its US operations, and retreat to the UK, following 9/11.
When I was director of corporate comms at ITV, the advertising industry suffered its deepest recession and the proliferation of digital meant that brands for once had alternatives to TV.
I’m now global comms director at Dentsu Aegis Network, which was created through the largest ever acquisition in the advertising industry. My role involves keeping all audiences – clients, partners, shareholders and more than 23,000 people – informed and engaged about our business in real time.
In all my roles there was pressure but also a great excitement. Our industry involves gaining buy-in for a message and bringing audiences on a journey through open and honest dialogue – skills that are often best honed during adversity.
I’ve been lucky to work for, and with, some exceptional people, who acted as mentors and supported me. There’s never been a dull or quiet moment. By embracing challenges, you can truly build your expertise and have some fun along the way.