Following on from this blog post, here is part 2 of the Converging Careers conference…
Rebecca Henderson, Solent MA Graduate of 2014 and now Account Executive at Lee Peck Media.
Rebecca started off her talk by sharing just how much her career path has changed over the years. In 2008, Rebecca graduated with a degree in Environmental Sciences, but due to the recession was unable to find a job so went travelling. After travelling, she started working in promotion and events which introduced her to the world of PR. After working for a make-up company, Rebecca landed herself an internship in PR and, after that, went to work at the 2012 Olympics which was completely unrelated to PR. Talk about a walking example of converging careers!
Rebecca decided (half through choice, half through losing a bet with friends!) that the best way to get into PR was through a Masters degree, which is how she came to be at Solent learning everything she needed to for PR – courtesy of Catherine Sweet – which led her to her job at Lee Peck Media.
Rebecca’s top tip:
- Be adaptable, dynamic and have the right tools
Dr. Emma Wray, Head of PR & Comms at Southampton Solent University
Having only arrived at Solent just over a month ago, Emma’s career journey has already taken her from ‘analogue to digital’; she worked in radio for 10 years, working her way up to brand manager, and went on to work in PR for various other organisations before doing a PHD, working for the NHS and, finally, arriving at Solent! What a busy bee.
Emma shared with us just how much communications have changed over the past 30 years – we’ve gone from brick mobile phones, to social media, YouTube and Netflix. Emma also explained just how far lines are blurring and roles are converging; PR & Journalism – similar skills, but for a different purpose. Press Releases have turned into storytelling and narratives, content production has led to the right of reply and conversation (the people at organisations who scan through media channels to see whats being talked about and deal with issues) and metrics now includes measuring impact, changing perceptions and making an influence.
Emma also talked about how she has reached out to Solent Alumni and current star of The Apprentice, Richard Wood (go, Richard!) as part of her role as head of PR & Comms. PR is all about finding links like these and building that relationship.
Emma’s top tips:
- Have a nose for news
- Write stories not press releases
- Be different in digital
- Be personable and build relationships
Caroline Barfoot, Academic Leader for Solent Creatives
Caroline’s career has, so far, taken her from roles including advertising sales, business development and now, an academic.
Caroline kicked off her talk by saying: ‘at the heart of everything is the consumers. Products only work if the consumer wants to use it.'(Caroline remembers the day people would say, who wants a mobile phone?! No one will want to be contactable all the time!)
The very relevant and relatable case study Caroline talked about was, naturally, the John Lewis Christmas ad. She showed us their website which is jam packed full of merchandise, experiences and collaborations that John Lewis are doing off the back of this one advert. We can listen to the advert’s music on Spotify, Moon Gear products are being sold (last year’s Penguin sold out in the first day!), their CSR is highlighted with their collab with Age UK, we can go to John Lewis in London and look at the moon through their Lunar Lookout. But the people that have been involved with this whole campaign aren’t just from one particular job role; there’s everyone from the creative directors, to post production. Careers are converging!
Caroline’s top tips:
- 30% of people working in creative media industries are freelance. Sign up to Solent Creatives!
Thank you to all the speakers and organisers of this year’s conference! It was a fab day (with a fab lunch!) that inspired and gave advice to all of us soon-to-be graduates!
Solent PR Editor