Seven years into my career and I’ve only just mastered the art of explaining what I do
By Marilyn Fernandes, Corporate Reputation and Change Communications Specialist, RedWizard
When that dreaded question comes up: “What do you mean when you say you’re a marketing communications professional?” or worse still when I get a funny, ‘I’m-nodding-but-don’t-really-know-what-that-means’ look. Granted it is a relatively newer function, when you compare it to the likes of HR or admin or even marketing.
In fact, I’ve been guilty on a number of occasions of sparing myself from that odd look I get by suggesting corporate communications is similar to marketing – not cool, I know! But then one day I looked at myself in the mirror (ashamed) and thought to myself, if I don’t take the time in casual settings to educate my friends and family on the importance of corporate communications, what good am I really doing?! (Okay, I’m being a tad bit dramatic here, but go with it…) Especially, when you look at the statistics behind companies that have invested in this role:
- Companies with highly engaged employees can improve their operating income by 19.2% over a 12-month period.
- Businesses with effective communication practices were more than 50% more likely to report employee turnover levels below the industry average, according to a study by Watson Wyatt.
- Productivity improves by up to 25% in organisations with connected employees.
- 28% reported poor communication as the primary cause of failing to deliver a project within its original time frame, according to a survey by the Computing Technology Industry Association.
Despite these very telling statistics, I have come across plenty of companies and C-suite executives alike – both agency and client-side – that have viewed professional communication services as a nice-to-have but not a vital part of a business’s transformation journey. That is until I came across RedWizard – a boutique consultancy delivering business transformation for clients through their connected services in portfolio, programme and project management.
In today’s business landscape where change is the only constant, I would go as far as to say that RedWizard is a double threat. Not only does the company embed communications into every bespoke solution it delivers for its clients, but it also happens to be one of the few PMOs globally to invest in a dedicated communications specialist – a role often rolled into a bullet point on a project manager’s list of duties.
As that dedicated specialist, I thought I’d share a snapshot of what it’s like being a marketing communications and change management consultant at RedWizard.
For starters, I have always had a seat at the table – right from initial client engagement meetings to discuss a client’s ‘pain points’ and future goals and ambitions to solutioning, executing and finally through to continuous improvement checkpoints. This is a stark contrast from the norm, where the communications specialist is usually brought in as an afterthought and told to action a list of ‘communication-related activities’ to support senior leadership plans.
While business leaders know their business better than anyone else, keeping the communications specialist on the fringes means that knowledge is contained within four walls of a boardroom. As a result, the company’s employees, or in other words the key catalysts for making the leadership’s vision for the business come to life are left out of the equation, with a communications specialist having to disseminate uninspired, one-way driven messages of a transformation journey doomed for failure. To quote Mari Smith, thought leader and premier Facebook marketing expert…
Content is King, but engagement is Queen, and the lady rules the house!
RedWizard has the foresight to understand this. By having a seat at the table, I’ve been able to fully understand the business needs and ‘pain points’ of an organisation, get a sense of its culture and on the basis of that advise C-suite executives on strategic communication investments that tangibly deliver value and support their business agenda.
As a communications consultant for RedWizard, I work very closely with the company’s data analyst, Peter, to support our clients on their transformation journey. In a business landscape where different departments/functions operate in silos, RedWizard here again stands out as an advocate for continuous improvement. By working closely with Peter, we are able to jointly identify the right data we need to collect and analyse to ensure communication initiatives continue to drive value for our clients in conjunction with their ever-changing business needs.
In fact, my days at RedWizard have me working with people from multiple workstreams – which is a rarity for most marketing communications consultants. Beyond the obvious benefits of fostering an environment of knowledge-sharing and collaboration, RedWizard’s vision to bring together key specialist skills across communications, data & analytics, process management, governance and portfolio, programme and project management truly makes its offering a vital piece of the puzzle in an organisation’s business transformation journey.
Don’t get me wrong, pushing boundaries and staying ahead of the times is no easy feat, but it certainly keeps things exciting and is the reason I wake up each morning, ready to conquer a new challenge with my trusted RedWizard team by my side. And with that, I’m off for a cuppa!
If you’d like to chat more about our marketing communications services at RedWizard Consulting, feel free to drop me a line.
We’re RedWizard, the missing piece.