Belinda Murunya Wavamunno, Communications and Diversity and Inclusion Lead at the Housing Ombudsman, checks in with us to discuss the ways in which communications teams are often the glue that holds organisations together.
Why did you choose to pursue a role in communications? For example, has it always been your passion or was it pure happenstance?
I have always been a natural communicator and excelled at connecting with people. Having completed a degree in marketing, I started my career working on marketing projects and discovered that I enjoyed communications much more. So, decided to pursue a masters in communications and have been working in public relations since.
What personal skills or attributes do you think are most important in the communications sphere? Why these skills/attributes in particular?
In my experience, a comms person is the gatekeeper to an organisation. Therefore, one needs to be great at building relationships across all levels, be approachable, a great team worker, have good listening and language skills. It is important that you enjoy creating content that the audience will positively engage with.
What sort of challenges do you face in your role? Is there a particular challenge that you experienced in the past that stood out?
The pandemic has caused challenges across all roles but particularly in comms, it has been challenging to establish new relationships across certain sectors.
Increased demands from customers with issues to be resolved has made balancing priorities and time management is crucial. I have constantly found myself re-prioritising tasks and delegating more responsibility to other in my team. We all support one another equally.
How is the role of communications perceived in your organisation?
The communications role lies at the centre of our organisation. We as a team are the glue that connects all departments with each other. Our role is perceived as essential in connecting our organisation with external stakeholders.
What do you think the secret of success is when working in communications?
I think the ability to make each member of your audience receive and digest your message as intended. That means simplifying it, making it engaging and encouraging two-way communication with your audience. Support from a great team is probably the key to success.
At React & Share, we’re obsessed with helping our comms clients measure and report their efforts - what measurements do you think comms teams should be presenting to internal stakeholders?
Every organisation has KPIs and targets that they aim to achieve.
I think it is important to measure your success against your strategic goals to ensure you are not only on track but exceeding expectation. It is also very important to highlight exceptional achievement and share these with your team. We, for example, share positive feedback that customers have provided about our colleagues with the organisation. We also share social media statistics, website engagement activities and a weekly newsletter that reflects our internal activities.