Friday, 23 May 2008

The genuine understanding of our Communications team really helps...

Actually it really is not a posed shot at all, totally spontaneous, but Louis Payne, Head of Corporate Communications, taking two calls from the media simultaneously in my office yesterday.
A very interesting 'by product' of the ongoing transformation of the education service in Cayman is the change in other peoples perspectives, even though they are apparently not directly involved in the education process itself.
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Our massively overworked Corporate Communications team, (well the two of them), do everything from speeches, media releases through to promotion, events, branding and graphics and have a vast range of skills and knowledge on numerous subjects. They need it with a Ministry responsible for six portfolios, just one of which, (although the largest) is education. They are used to learning enough to be able to write in detail and answer a range of queries.
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The really interesting thing is that they have really wanted to get into the whole philosophy of the transformation process, they know about the vision, the processes, the strategies, the implementation and are genuinely excited by it. They know far more then they need to be able to work with the media and very effectively do their job. They understand totally the thinking behind the radical new learning environments we are building and, in turn, are challenging us so they really understand why we think the way we do about approaches to teaching and learning in the 21st century. They are genuinely excited that so many countries are watching our progress.
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This has really helped develop a total team approach. I and my colleagues do not have to waste time checking their understanding. Their challenge, as well as ours, is to pass on the excitement to the whole community. One might say that that is what such Communication teams should be doing. I agree with this, but so often such teams just want to know enough to publish innocuous releases or refer to others for an opinion but otherwise don't get involved. (I dealt with such a team only the other day). Ours can talk with real knowledge and understanding.
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I've worked with a number of Communications / Marketing teams in the UK, Cayman and other countries - finding a good one is difficult, but when you have one, they are worth their weight in gold!
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(Just as an fyi: One of the best education marketing companies in the UK is Grebot Donnelly Associates.)
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