Thursday 4 October 2012

IPREX Secondment Q&A: Consilio Kommunikasjon

Marte Semb Aasmundsen of Consilio Kommunikasjon at Abchurch Communications

Give us a short profile of yourself
My name is Marte Semb Aasmundsen and I’m 25 years old. I currently work as a graduate trainee/ junior account manager at Consilio Kommunikasjon, Norway. I graduated from The University of Stirling with an MSc with Distinction in Strategic Public Relation and Communication Management and hold a first class  BA (Hons) Public Relations and Communications degree from Southampton Solent University. I have developed a special interest in corporate communications, issues and crisis management, financial PR and corporate strategy increased and I was introduced to the concept of thought leadership. I have contributed to two books on the subject and written two theses exploring issues led PR.

Why did you choose to do a secondment with Abchurch in London?
Abchurch appealed to me because it performs financial PR and investor relations alongside corporate communication activities. The sector within which it operates is fast paced and ever-changing and it manages both its clients and its team with excellent skill. I wanted to experience City PR at a leading agency and Abchurch was therefore an obvious choice.

What types of projects did you get involved with?
During my time with Abchurch, I got involved in a range of different projects from engaging with Private Client Investment Managers (PCIMs) to blogging and digital media. I drafted a press release for a clean tech client and spent time researching potential clients and developing pitch materials. I came in at the beginning of results season, which I was told is the busiest time of year, and it was exciting to experience it in practice.

Tell us about what you learnt
Throughout my two week secondment I gained a great deal of knowledge of how to practice corporate communication in London. It was very exciting to meet and work with a completely different team of people. I was made to feel very welcome at Abchurch and the team took time out of their schedules to teach me their ways of doing things. The tasks I was assigned were similar to what I normally work on in Norway e.g. press releases, research and media planning. However, the corporate environment in London differs from that in Norway. The way in which client relations are performed is perhaps the most noticeable difference. I was able to sit in on several meetings throughout my secondment and it was interesting to experience the interaction firsthand. One of my primary tasks was to update the private client investment manager list and to call the PCIMs and invite them to client events. This was daunting at first, but after completing it I got a newfound financial insight and I feel that it honed my business acumen.  I also attended a very interesting CIPR event regarding social media in a corporate communication context.

What are the biggest differences that you found between Consilio and Abchurch?
The amount of time spent on potential clients and promotion is vastly different. The corporate landscape in London is crowded and the competition is fierce. Abchurch therefore dedicates a lot of time to networking and building its client base through those relationships. Another difference is that there are more internal meetings; I guess the English are just more sociable than us Norwegians! Apart from that, the systems, IT and general rules and regulations are somewhat different as it would be in any workplace.

What are the biggest similarities between Consilio and Abchurch?
Consilio and Abchurch are both mid-size, individually owned agencies that work in teams and put an emphasis on sharing knowledge.  

How do corporate communications differ between Oslo and London?
The corporate landscape in Norway differs considerably from the one in London. Not only are there twice the amount of people in London as in all of Norway, it is also recognised as the financial capital of the world. Clearly it is more competitive and international than the corporate environment in Oslo. It is very busy and hectic, which I enjoy. Moreover, networking is vital in London. I wasn’t surprised by the fact, but I was surprised that it plays such an integral role day-to-day.

How do you feel the secondment will help you in your role when you return?
I have gotten a throrough understanding of City PR and investor relations. My skill-set is amplified, especially in terms of IR. I found that the way in which Abchurch works in teams and how it organises the teams’ calendars through Outlook is useful. Additionally, they ‘hotdesk’ and change desks every few weeks which I think is a fantastic idea. You then keep a dynamic atmosphere in office.

How could other PR professionals benefit from a secondment with partner firms?
After undertaking my secondment I would absolutely recommend other IPREX partners to do the same. Not only have I challenged my professional skills, I have been given an insight into how another agency organises its day. There are definitely many lessons I will bring back home. 

Thanks Marte!

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