Changing jobs from the public to the private sector has been a massive eye opener to me. I feel that I have not only learnt a lot, but now have a combination of transferable skills and the ability to work in almost any industry. You see your old work place very differently when you have something to compare it to. I can understand why the temptation to stay working in education could be very great and one of my concerns with moving to a FTSE 250 company was that work would be all about profit and lose it's humanity. After all, while marketing can at times be a strain on someone's morals at least selling courses you believed in and seeing the happy faces of graduates made it easier to sleep at night!

Personally I cannot understand how anyone can work at a company where they don't believe in the product it offers/sells? This is something which was at the forefront of my mind when we started to discuss Kier's latest (and my first ever!) campaign and I felt that it would be great to take the great work that has recently been done on the brand one step further. Kier's tagline is 'Together, we make our world work better' which I really like as it sums up why we are a company about whose product and services it is actually easy to care.

A mock up of a campaign visual
for our website homepage
Having now met a number of staff from the service divisions I was really struck by how what they all did made a real difference to the communities in which they work. I hadn't even given any thought to the fact that there are people up at 4am everyday to fix urgent problems with the waterways and bridleways. Naturally we decided it would be great to focus a campaign on these real people who work hard to just make our world work and to give them a forum to tell their story.

With this we hit on the idea of '#KierHeroes'! A series of short videos with individuals from different areas all giving an overview of their job. It was then up to us to get out and about filming them and taking photos in order to gather as much feel good content as possible. I have put together a full campaign plan running up until May where we can slowly seed each video alongside a full online campaign. Part of this will be trying to leverage our social media channels to really see what sort of content works for our myriad audiences (we already know that our LinkedIn audience are very different to our Facebook one). I've also introduced the idea of building a landing page to try to get some meaningful statistics on website usage with built in conversions.

I've decided to use the opportunity of having some great new content to also launch a few new channels, Instagram and a company blog. The latter is something I've been working on since I started and I already have a full schedule in place but this campaign seemed like a good opportunity to tie everything in together. Surely every good digital marketer likes the opportunity to re-use content when they can?!

So there you have it - this week is the go live and we're all excited to do some online testing and learning as well as to shout about the great work the company does. Also, and importantly for me, the process of pulling this content together has now given me that real reason to care about what I do (as someone once said to me 'you can't teach people to care!') meaning whatever outcome we see from it the process has already been as rewarding as any potential success.
This last week, I've been spending a lot of time with LinkedIn. I am due to present at a forthcoming leadership conference in Warwick on why having an updated profile is important for all employees and this has initially proved quite a challenge.

Personally, I've long been a believer in the power of LinkedIn - after all that is how my current company found me for my most recent role! However, I haven't always thought like this and when I first started using it about 7 years ago my opinion was that it was an online representation of what the world would be like if no-one had a personality (just a succession of listings of personal achievements!) 

This is where a number of people will be starting from so I thought the best way to approach this task would be looking at it from the point of view of a member of staff who has been with a company for 20+ years and had no intention of moving on to another job. Why would they benefit from updating their profile? Below are the key reasons which I came up with:

1. It clearly establishes who you are

Get authentically endorsed and recommended by clients and colleagues (STATISTIC: Profiles are 11x more likely to viewed if they include a photo)

2. It is an effective way of managing your address book

Cultivate your B2B relationships and follow up leads (STATISTIC: 4 Million businesses have a LinkedIn page)

3. Groups are a great way of networking online

Follow regional/sector specific groups to keep up to date with the latest trends and legislation (STATISTIC: Mashable is the LinkedIn group with the most engaged following)

4. Attract new clients

Research clients/stakeholders before you meet – they will be doing it to you! (STATISTIC: The average LinkedIn profile gets 11 views a day)

5. Find the best staff for your business

Save time and money by finding staff with authentic qualifications and experience (STATISTIC: 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates)

With this last point I feel that LinkedIn is definitely a great place to look for candidates. After all, if your current and past colleagues can view all of your employment history then you're a lot more inclined to make it truthful! LinkedIn have also put some major investment into both their connected and their job search apps of late to really try to position themselves as the place to go for new opportunities. I know that before undertaking any interviews or meeting new agency contacts it's the first place I turn.

Therefore, I feel that in order to network and keep up to date with other industry professionals it is essential that you have an updated LinkedIn profile. As part of our social media strategy we are regularly posting updates to our 38,687 followers who are an important audience with a real interest in what we do. This is proven by the level of engagement and also allows us to learn the best time to post content for particular demographics to inform our strategy.

My plan at the conference is that I follow up with a marketplace stall to do live health checks on delegates profiles. To save time I'm currently collating all of our staff images so I can add new profile pictures quickly and easily. This is because getting the initial buy-in is one thing but as soon as people return to their desks they'll get bogged down with their usual workload again. Doing the updates there and then will mean a quick and efficient fix. 

I do have one final trick to get people engaged after the event though and that is branded teabags! These are printed with a few quick tips on how to bring profiles up to date with the idea being the next time they make a tea is also the time for them to update their profile. By me monitoring when this happens I may even get some useful data on at what time employees like to have a brew to give to our internal communications team!
This is my first blog post since leaving the University of Bedfordshire and starting anew at Kier Group PLC. It certainly has been quite a week, with visits to three different offices and a very steep learning curve, but so far it's been a great experience for me. Therefore, I thought I'd list a few observations of what it's like to move from one sector to another and how I've tried to adapt my skills to a variety of new systems:

1. Leave the past behind

Thankfully, this week has been such a whirlwind for me that I can't even remember the projects I was working on in my last job! However, after working somewhere for a long time (nearly 8 years in my case) there was a real danger of just wanting to replicate everything that went before - such as the infrastructure and staffing setup. This way I'd be in my comfort zone and can just pick up where I left off. Obviously this would never work, especially in a whole new sector, meaning it's a brilliant time to reassess what did work well and look at the new options available. For me there are actually some old familiar friends such as HootSuite, Wordpress and Third Light but I've already found some real benefits of using Kier's existing CMS (SiteCore) and email system (Dotmailer). Next up is meeting the agency account managers and using my experience to build relationships there...

2. Get learning and listen

In order to be an effective digital marketer the first month with a new business should be primarily a learning exercise. Therefore I've been auditing everything in order to find out more about the company, their competitors, the staff, and most importantly, what success they are getting with their existing marketing strategy. By storming in with a 'I know best' attitude, I'd run the risk of alienating the very colleagues whom I need co-operation from. There's also the temptation to start changing everything before really learning the value of the current systems. Someone has obviously spent a lot of time developing them so I shouldn't just bin them until I have a good overview of what is working. Then it will be possible to use the things flagged up in the audit lists at the appropriate time meaning a potential slow and steady stream of great ideas from the 'new boy'!

3. Don't be yourself - yet!

The key word for your first day at work is restraint. If you're a naturally bubbly hyper-energetic type, tone it down a notch. This is me, and the last thing I want to do is to scare people. Likewise, if your default gear is low and slow, ease into your sense of humor. Even if everyone else is cracking jokes before the meeting starts, don't join the fray just yet - which is something I'm finding particularly hard! You're the newbie, which means you don't know which lines not to cross, particularly when your boss is involved. Also, whatever you do, never act like an assignment or task is beneath you. If they have you making copies all day or updating the Outlook calendar, don't whine. Once you pay your dues, people will see your potential and let you tackle the more interesting stuff.

4. Request the tools

Of course I don't mean turning up at work on the first day with a rider! But if you are to impress your new boss it's important that you have the tools at your disposal in order to do so. I immediately have set to work on my first month's objectives but there are certain hardware and software packages that would make achieving these much easier. Without them it'll be a case of going to work and feeling like my hands are tied which could lead to early frustration. Thankfully I've already forged some important relationships with IT in order to get my new computer completely tooled up and ready to go - 'Hello Adobe Creative Cloud...!'

5. Stockpile sleep and find the kettle

With three young children my chances of having an interrupted night's sleep are at a maximum anyway! But one thing I've noticed this week is how important scheduling in a good nights sleep really is. After day one (and even though I kept my usually energetic self somewhat in check) I was new levels of tired! This was due to my brain working overtime to absorb all of the new names, software and projects for which I am now responsible. It's a good job that the fancy boiling water taps mean it's even easier than ever to make a brew to keep me from becoming comatose.

So there are a few thoughts on handling a change of role. It's all going great so far and I've been surprised how similar offices can be. I think this is especially true in digital marketing where very few companies are as ahead as they could be and it is still seen as very new. Now back to work...!
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