The newbie: what I’ve learnt in my first month at Allegory

Starting your first proper job after university is bound to be a little nerve wracking, but what about when you’re working from home and you haven’t met all your colleagues in the flesh?

I wasn’t sure what to expect as the newest full time member of Allegory Communications, given the pressures of remote working, and the general economic uncertainty – yet, my first month has been truly amazing. My colleagues have made me feel unbelievably welcome and I got a feel for the team’s warmth and positivity very early on.

Our daily team meetings are a perfect start to the day. It’s a great way to check in with the whole team and find out what their priorities are for the day ahead. It adds a personal touch to the new ways of virtual working. 

I was expecting to be doing tedious admin-type tasks that no one else wanted to do and yet, I was so wrong. At Allegory, I have truly been in the midst of it all: pitching to journalists, meeting influencers from across the world and creating exciting new content for our clients and platforms. 

I think the best aspect of Allegory is that the team gives you the opportunity to have a go at everything. This can seem daunting at first as the newest member of the team, but even as a newbie, the team genuinely values your opinion and input.

Being split across business development and client facing work means that I get to experience the best of both worlds: working with clients that are at the pinnacle of their industry, while also getting to work on new and exciting internal projects. The variation keeps you on your toes!

When people say that agency life is fast-paced, they really mean it. With a packed diary and multiple meetings a day, it is impressive how the team juggles different projects and deadlines. Being new in the industry, it is pivotal to stay organised and on top of your workload.  

Begin the day prioritising your to-do-list

It’s easy to become bogged down with multiple tasks and approaching deadlines. It’s crucial to start your day by organising your to-do list, beginning with the most important actions first.

Block out time for urgent actions (and lunch)

The team has very different schedules and work patterns. You’ll need to be strict with your time management, while also maintaining a level of flexibility. If you want to get the work done, then block out time to do so! It is also important to block out the time for lunch, as otherwise you’ll be sitting at your desk all day. 

Ask questions (always!)

While soaking up all the new information and acronyms flying around, it is expected that you will have a million questions. The team made it clear very early on that it was absolutely okay to ask questions. The exchange of ideas can overcome any new challenges and you may find a more creative and effective solution in the process! 

Are communications professionals prepared for a data breach?

Balloons flying away to depict the escaping of data

Are communications professionals prepared for a data breach?

 

During last week’s keynote speech at the DataComms conference, our CEO Emma Thwaites polled the 200 or so communications professionals in attendance, on how prepared they were to respond to a major crisis situation involving data e.g a data breach.

Only 12% of the audience felt they were very prepared, with almost a third saying they were unprepared. 

 

Why this is a problem

Recent analysis has shown fines imposed by EU authorities under GDPR have increased by 40% in the past year, which tells us:

1. Businesses are being held publicly and financially accountable with increasing frequency

2. Corporate communications teams have another reputational risk to worry about

Like any crisis communications plan, having a good understanding of the risks, mitigating these risks, and being able to respond quickly is key. But as our mini poll suggests, if almost a third of senior communications professionals feel unprepared to deal with these issues, many businesses could be at risk of reputational harm.

 

All businesses aren’t created equal

For organisations with deep pockets, monopolistic positions and loyal users (i.e ‘big tech’), the financial and reputational damage of a GDPR fine is likely to have less of an impact, for now, compared with other sectors. 

Where we see a bigger problem in the short term is in sectors with high levels of competition, where consumers can more easily switch to rival brands without compromising on quality, price, choice or time already invested. Businesses that heavily rely on data and AI, e.g supermarkets, insurance providers or banks, face the highest risk, but it could equally include many smaller businesses too.

Customers, users and investors are becoming much wiser when it comes to Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR) – that is, how seriously an organisation takes its responsibility to use and develop data and AI in ways that are safe, trustworthy, ethical and wise. As awareness of CDR grows, so does the likelihood that people will vote with their feet and their wallets when businesses get it wrong.

Here’s a thought: Just as Skyscanner now highlights CO2 emissions of certain routes to help travellers make more eco-friendly choices, what if we also had a CDR score when it comes to renewing our car insurance, or choosing who to bank with?

 

 

What can communications professionals do?

Corporate communications teams work as the enhancer and protector of the company’s reputation. Understanding data and AI, and the potential reputational risks when things go wrong is now very much part of the role. As a starting point for any comms professional thinking about these issues, we’d suggest:

  • Have a good understanding of how your organisation holds and uses data and artificial intelligence
  • Make sure your organisation – from the top to the bottom – understands their responsibility around data and AI, and the potential reputational risks
  • Review your crisis management plan, and make sure your response to any data and AI issues is up-to-date and robust
  • Consider your communication strategy around your organisations’ commitment to taking its corporate digital responsibility seriously

 

If you want to speak with us about any of the points in this blog, please get in touch here.