Corporate Communications

First impressions An interviewer makes their mind up within the first seven minutes of an interview. Most of us will be well versed in how to make a good first impression in a face-to-face interview (strong handshake, confident smile), but video interviews are a different ball game. In March 2020 there was a *67% increase in the use of video interviews, and that figure has been rising ever since (*source: Monster). Whilst not always a great experience for candidates, video interviews do work and are here to stay, at least for early-stage interviews. They are COVID-secure, cost-effective, overcome geographical boundaries, and are often easier to manage in busy calendars. Here’s a summary of what we have learnt over the last year from candidates and clients about what to do and what to avoid with video interviews. Be prepared, do your research The content and structure are likely to be the same as a face-to-face interview...

Searching for a job during a pandemic As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to impact our economy, searching for a new job has never been more challenging. We’ve pooled our collective knowledge in a series of blogs to help you navigate your way through your job search. Our first focuses on CV advice. Articles on how to prepare for an interview and how to promote yourself will follow. Your CV is the key to unlocking opportunities Your CV is often the only way you can showcase yourself to a hiring manager. So you need to ensure it showcases your achievements, that you know it inside out and can confidently expand on anything you have included. Focus your efforts on tailoring your CV to match each role you apply for. In the digital world of jobs boards and LinkedIn, or where an in-house recruiter might not be familiar with your area of expertise, it has never been...

2020 – a year unlike any other 2020 was always set to be a memorable year. The eyes of the world were preparing to focus on Tokyo for the Olympics, on Dubai for Expo 2020 and on London for a summer of sport including the Euro 2020 final. And then it all kicked off in Wuhan and 2020 became a year none of us will forget, for all the wrong reasons. The new normal There is no sugar coating it: 2020 has been tough for most people on both a professional and personal level. Lockdown forced everyone to work from home, with the juggle of childcare or home-schooling for many. Zoom – a tool Comms Leaders has been using for years, but previously unfamiliar to many – suddenly became THE way to communicate. COVID-19 has been polarising for the communications industry. While many professionals were furloughed or made redundant in sectors such as hospitality, leisure and...

By Neil Davy Communications in a new era of responsible business Protecting balance sheets, supply chains, reputations, jobs and people. It’s what we’ve all been thinking about, talking about, preoccupied with. Survival. When we emerge from this pandemic the relationships and interdependencies between businesses, investors, governments and society - between all of us - will have changed inexorably. And the role of communication in establishing and sustaining those relationships and interactions will have changed too. Corporate philanthropy, CSR, community programmes and stepping-up in times of crisis are important and commendable, but simply talking about ‘doing good’ won’t be good enough. Those who prosper beyond the crisis will be businesses who can talk credibly about how they contribute to society and the wider world in a more meaningful and lasting way. It’s become painfully clear over recent weeks that those businesses for whom profit is an outcome of (not the reason for) what they do, who enhance...

Don't sweat the small stuff This week I’ve been interviewing candidates on Zoom. So far, so normal. I’ve worked from home for five years and although I’d rather be out and about meeting people face to face, location and schedules often necessitate video calls. However, like most people in the communications community, I’m now juggling the multiple responsibilities of home-working, home-schooling and feeding four people instead of one. Whereas before I would have been able to talk to you from a quiet home office, that space is in high demand, so instead I will be in my kitchen. Look closely and you’ll see a pile of washing up in the background, a dog scratching at the back door, and despite my best efforts to keep them away, one or more hungry boys/men tiptoeing around behind me. The point is I understand what it’s like. Job hunting is stressful at the best of times...

By Steve Marinker, Partner at Powerscourt Notes from a Spare Room This isn’t Crisis Management; this is Contagion Comms. The COVID-19 disaster has challenged the PR industry like nothing before. While dealing with our own upheavals - lockdown, fear of illness, the spectre of redundancy – PR consultants have been advising clients as they deal with events moving at a pace few are equipped to handle. Decisions that would normally take months are being made in minutes;  cast-iron certainties melt in an instant; the useful data point we clung to this morning is discredited bunkum by lunchtime. It’s been mentally exhausting, ethically challenging, and – I have to confess - rather exhilarating. When this is over, we’ll all have our war stories. Me? I’ve spent the last fortnight advising retail clients as they respond to fast-changing, often baffling Government advice. What’s essential, what is not?. How safe is safe? Is it better to protect livelihoods...

These are unusual times. Yesterday the Prime Minister announced unprecedented measures to keep us all safe and to keep the NHS running. I hope that your employer has taken the responsible step of sending you home. In which case, many of you will be busy managing Coronovirus communications for your stakeholders and colleagues. You may also be juggling the joint challenges of working remotely, and home-schooling or entertaining your kids. Comms Leaders has always been an agile business, so although we’d rather be out and about meeting people, we are completely set up for home-working, with or without pets, kids, partners in self-isolation etc. Like everyone, we are concerned about the effect this virus will have on the health and finances of our families, friends and all our clients and candidates. We are here if you need us. Whether you would like a review of your CV or LinkedIn profile, to benchmark...

By Vikki Kirby, Chief Storyteller at Vibrato Consulting© The rise of storytelling Recently, a communications consultant told me how the big four consultancy company leading her organisation’s transformation chose to bring in their own storyteller to identify and manage core purpose messaging. She was frustrated that she then had to re-write what he came up with. She isn’t the only one left frustrated by that experience. The business world is buzzing about storytelling. In 2017, 570,000 marketers listed Storytelling as a skill on LinkedIn, compared to zero – zilch – in 2010. I now hear story talked about like smartphones, because ‘everyone has one’. Stories may help us shape identity, but the business of storytelling should be highly regarded. It is a deep craft, a tool to help us make sense of the world. Perhaps that’s why we believe we innately know how stories work? They have been with us since fire, and...

By Mark McMahon, Senior Communications Manager at HSBC. A change of direction "Man is disturbed not by things, but the views he takes of them." Would that sentence change your life? It did for me. Ancient Stoic philosophy might not be top of everyone's reading list, but I came across this quote by Epictetus in a brilliant book called 'Happy' by Derren Brown and it had a profound effect on me. It's another way of saying, it's not the events all around us that cause us to feel a certain way, but how we choose to respond to them. Why am I telling you this? When I read it a few years ago it made me stop and think long and hard, especially about my career. It made me choose to feel differently about my role, my career path, and my potential. It made me consider the choices that were possible. It eventually made me switch...

By Daniel Schraibman, Change and Engagement Consultant I taught a module on reputation management at the University of Leeds a year or so ago and one of the definitions of reputation management that I used was by Doorley and Garcia. They said: Reputation = Sum of images = Performance + Behaviour + Communications. As I reflected on my own career, it struck me that producing communications ‘stuff’ is becoming a smaller and smaller part of the role of being a communicator and that we deliver a lot of other value for the organisations and leaders that we work for. Here’s a few obvious and less obvious examples: Build better organisations The good news is that in most companies, the communications function is no longer just an order taker, but truly has an impact on the success of the organisation. For instance, in my last-in-house role, I was a member of the leadership team and...

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