Charlotte Kissack on getting the jump on agile in the comms industry

Charlotte Kissack on getting the jump on agile in the comms industry
Charlotte Kissack, head of marketing and community engagement at Make Good Grow, shares with us her journey into comms and balancing career and motherhood.

Why did you choose to pursue a role in Marketing & Engagement? For example, has it always been your passion or was it pure happenstance?

I spent my gap year in Portugal with the idea I was going to learn Portuguese and have a good time as a holiday rep. Whilst I did learn Portuguese and have a good time, I wasn’t a great holiday rep, so I also ended up leading a company rebrand and planning how to remarket the company to our British audience. This coupled with selling tickets to my 18th birthday party and making a tidy profit lead me to think a career in this field may be a good idea!

What personal skills or attributes do you think are most important in the communications sphere? Why these skills/attributes in particular?

I think being agile is really important and it’s something I’ve always tried to be (before being agile was even a thing!) I also think it’s important to have the ability to really listen and understand your audience. We can all be in danger of powering ahead with what we want to achieve, what we want our customer or audience to think or feel, but the importance of listening first is vital to the success of your marketing campaign and overall business success. 

What sort of challenges do you face in your role? Is there a particular challenge that you experienced in the past that stood out?

Like many working in marketing and comms, I think the challenge is having so much to do often within a tight budget. It’s using creativity and innovativeness to cut through and resonate within a pretty crowded and competitive market. 

What one thing would make your working life easier?

More time and less guilt!! Being a full-time working Mum means constantly feeling guilty about work/life balance. My employer and boss are both brilliant and so supportive, but it’s just inherent. Whether it’s a society thing or just me having had a career before becoming a Mum, I’m not sure. 

How is the role of Head of Marketing & Community Engagement perceived in your organisation?

It’s great to be part of an organisation that sees the role of marketing and engagement as integral to what we do and what we want to achieve at Make Good Grow. We are a start-up company so to have a core team that understands the power of a robust marketing strategy, good planning and the ongoing development of our communications, as well as trust in what we can achieve, is something I am incredibly grateful for. 

What do you think the secret of success is when working in communications?

Key to all my roles, but especially this one at Make Good Grow has been building trusting, positive relationships. 

At React & Share, we’re obsessed with helping our clients measure and report their efforts - what measurements do you think comms teams should be presenting to internal stakeholders?

Starting any campaign with the question, ‘what does success look like’ will always help you establish where you want to go, what your objectives are, your measurements of success (both quantifiable and qualifiable) and how you are going to get there. Then, looking back and being able to evaluate and assess this success is so much more relevant and valuable. Digital analytics are so useful, but it is important to look deeper – past these ‘vanity stats’ - and really understand what quality engagement looks like and means for your business and campaign

Looking into your crystal ball, what do you think will be the next big thing in comms & community engagement?

For me, the next big thing for all business – not just marketing – is the the power of giving back. The positive impact that using your skills for good can have on your own mental health, as well as that of your workforce, cannot be ignored. I think it is so easy for us to simply use our skills for the work we do, but to look up and see how we can use our skills in ways which can help good causes – charities or community concerns – can be incredible. For a business it’s not just about improving their CSR, but one study has found that 77% of people who volunteered saw an improvement in their mental health and up to 78% said it helped them feel less isolated.