What you do, has a lot to do with branding. Can you point us to one example where your work radically transformed a brand?
When I joined the Comfort Group, it was an exciting but challenging time for the company. CityCab just entered the market, and with their bright yellow taxis, were taking customers away from us.
From a brand perspective, I knew that our baby blue taxis looked less attractive than the competition – both on the road, and in pictures. So, I presented the group’s board with a bold proposal to repaint 13,000 of our taxis. This was part of my plan for a complete rebranding effort that encompassed generating publicity on our new GPS taxi booking system, sharing news of how our drivers went out of their way to help commuters, and a thorough review of our service standards.
I enjoy the satisfaction of planning and executing transformation plans such as this, and seeing the results that follow. In my next role, I hope to take on a leadership position as a communications professional and take the brand I’m representing to the next level.
What, in your opinion, is a critical success factor for a communications professional?
In my experience, It’s essential to have a CEO that believes in communication. My job is to prepare my CEO with the facts, figures and statements they need when speaking to the press – so they can communicate these key points more effectively during interviews.
If a CEO goes off script and inadvertently leaks information before it should be released – it’s also my responsibility to work with journalists and editors and ensure that only the non-confidential information is published. This is where having built a great rapport with journalists, really helps.
Tell us about one memorable incident in your career, perhaps a crisis that you resolved?
I was working at Singapore Power when an explosion occurred at Jalan Bukit Merah. It was a Saturday evening and I was enjoying a steamboat dinner at home when I looked at my TV screen and saw the news. Without taking another bite, I scrambled to the scene, met the broadcast journalist and agreed to a live interview.
While live interviews such as these are uncommon (as communications professionals usually prefer more time to craft replies), I felt that time was of the essence. As a company, we needed to show the public that Singapore Power was proactive in acknowledging the issue, and was already taking steps to make things right.
And it worked out for both of us, as the interview helped the journalist win an award for broadcast journalist of the year, while Singapore Power averted what could have been a major public relations crisis.
Sarah is currently an independent communications consultant who is ready to dive back into the exciting corporate world – preparing herself with enrichment workshops and career coaching with Workforce Singapore to ensure she’s ready for her next role.
This communications leader is keen to share her ideas on how a well-thought-out communications strategy can reinvigorate your brand. Interested to find out more?