I currently work in Suncorp’s External and Social Media team within the wider Corporate Affairs team. Corporate Affairs can be a bit of an enigma to other people in the organisation, but in one short our job is to position, promote and protect Suncorp and its brands. This can be in the form of internal communication; media relations and issue management; corporate social responsibility; or in our case, traditional and social media campaigns.
Most of our team’s work is mostly project or campaign based, we develop and implement proactive brand awareness campaigns that support business objectives. The best way to explain this is with an example: Suncorp recently announced that we will be offering products and solutions in health insurance, through our partnership with nib. To support this, our team is currently working on a campaign to enter the external conversation about health and wellbeing. This could be through a series of social media posts providing tips about staying fit and healthy. We want to have a voice in external conversations where we can promote our brand and tell a story.
A big part of our job currently, is working in the social media space, to engage with our online audiences. If you went through my browser history, I’m constantly on Twitter or Facebook (for the right reasons). I work closely with the Marketing team to create content for our Suncorp Facebook pages and am also on the other sideof the Suncorp Group Twitter account, posting daily updates.
I grew up in South Australia, about an hour south of Adelaide along the beach; it was one of those places where everyone knew everyone. My parents and I moved to the Sunshine Coast when I was 11, going into Year 7. My high school experience is similar to most: overwhelming, exciting frustrating, and emotional.
Needing a break from school and study, I took a gap year in 2012 and lived in London for three months. After being in the same place, with the same people for six years, London was exactly the change of scenery I needed. I worked 60 hour weeks in catering and dining, on minimum wage, but I had the time of my life meeting people and travelling around Europe. I came home before Christmas that year, with every intention of returning to London in 2013, but soon realised that I needed to get my career on track first, so I started my Bachelor of Business at QUT.
Uni blessed me with great friends, two hour sleeps and culinary creativity for those weeks that you have a $30 food budget. I did three internships while I was studying, which was one of the best choices I could’ve made and opened doors for my career including Suncorp.
If I had to describe how my first year of ‘real life’ in the corporate world has been, I would say it’s been stable. I’ve settled happily into the Monday to Friday, 9-5 life, enjoying my weekends and the weekday routine. I’m a planner by nature, so having the predictability has allowed me to enjoy my social life more and do the things that I really love without the pressure of study or assignments in the back of my head.
Yes, someone with a different background could do my job, but they would have to have the same core skillset. This could be someone from the digital media industry or someone who has a degree in marketing or advertising. My job requires strong and diverse communication skills, an understanding of both traditional and social media, good stakeholder management, planning and organisational skills, and a flair for creativity and thinking outside the box. Our team has a saying that it’s ‘better to be a generalist than a strategist’ and in this rapidly moving, digital age I couldn’t agree more; it’s important to cross-skill yourself and actively seek opportunities to learn.
There are good and bad sides to every job, but I can confidently say that I have a pretty fun job; not many people get paid to post on social media, take photos and create videos. It’s really rewarding to see my content on Suncorp’s Facebook and Twitter pages, especially when people respond positively to it. Of course I don’t post tweets all day. My job also involves planning and reporting; PowerPoint and Excel are two of my work best friends. Despite all of this, I believe that the most important part about any job and the main thing that makes it fun or cool, is the people you work with. I have a great team that I look forward to working with every day.
Whilst I don’t come across many speedbumps on a day-to-day basis at work, it’s been a general challenge coming from a communications background into a banking and finance industry. Regardless of who you’re writing for, it’s essential to understand what you’re writing about and that’s not always easy when people speak a language of numbers and finance. A large corporate like Suncorp also has many layers, and being at the bottom of the ladder means that you don’t get much oversight or say in the big decisions and approvals can take longer than the task itself.