Speaker in the spotlight: Jane Cooper at Leaders In Comms

Jane Cooper: director of communications and brand, UNICEF UK
Jane Cooper: director of communications and brand, UNICEF UK

Jane joined UNICEF in 2011 after five years in Whitehall as director of communications in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and prior to that, the Department for Children, Schools and Families. She now heads the communications and brand department at UNICEF, the leading international organisation for children and young people.

The theme of the conference is "Communications Revolution, Business Evolution": how do you define PR today?

I like the fact that we keep on discussing the definition – I think this is a sign of a healthy profession. If I take the word 'today' as my cue, for me it's about bringing old truths together with new ones. For example, reputations take a long time to build, yet though we used to say that they could be lost in a flash, it wasn't until the advent of 'the click' that we understood just how true this is.

How are social media rewriting the way you are doing PR today… if at all? 

Social media are completely rewriting the way I do PR today, in so many ways. If I were to capture it in one insight for me personally, I would say that it's constantly challenging me to think and do my communications work differently, from how much control I can hope to have over the UNICEF brand, to the tone of a 140 character message.

What role does the communications director play in driving the discipline forward?

Ideally, be the social media change you want to see – that is be social, be conversational, be quick and be everywhere.

What would your three top tips on managing brand reputation be?

Listen to what people are thinking and saying about you.

Hear and act on what they are thinking and saying about you.

Track and evaluate the impact of what they are thinking and saying about you on your business objectives.

How can comms leaders influence wider business strategies?

Assume and take your place at the top table. The best CEOs are good communicators. It's the fundamental business strategy enabler.

What do you hope to gain/take away from gathering with other communications leaders at Leaders In Communications?

I hope to be able to gain more wisdom, great examples of good practice and time out for thinking and meeting new people.

What session, other than your own, are you most looking forward to at Leaders In Communications?

It all looks interesting, but I have a special interest in Stephen Doherty's session on Barclays since at UNICEF we have a great partnership with it that is changing the lives of thousands of young people around the world.

Jane will be speaking at Leaders In Communications 2013 on digital innovation campaigns – she will reveal how the organisation undertook their first "digital field trip" and how it led to widespread engagement through social media, exceeding fundraising targets and demonstrable employee engagement.  

7 November 2013, OXO2, Oxo Tower, Londonwww.leadersincomms.com

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