Lauren Zammit is the General Manager of Wrights PR in Melbourne. Growing up, Lauren dreamt of being a successful architect that would design spaces for people to enjoy, live and work in. She pursued a path to become an architect but soon discovered it was more of a passion rather than a suitable career choice. An insightful overseas adventure led her to decide on studying and working in Communications, which then led her to Public Relations, an industry where she could work with and learn from different people and industries every day. Lauren has now been with Wrights PR for 10 years.
Tell us a bit about your journey and how you have come to lead the Wrights team?
I was keen to kick start my PR career and grow my network, I challenged myself to take on every work experience and internship opportunity possible. Straight after my course, I took on a part-time role as a lecturer and a full-time position as an Account Coordinator at Wrights. Seen as ambitious, positive and dedicated, I continued to grow and learn from everyone in our team. As General Manager for the past four years, I now lead a team of talented, dynamic consultants to create and deliver ingenious campaigns for major brands and events.
What is the focus of your current role? Describe a day in the life of Lauren?
Every day is different in my role at Wrights and this has played a major part in why I have been in the business for 10 years. Experts at corporate and consumer communications, we can be launching a new car model with an exciting lifestyle launch in the morning, presenting a new issues management plan at lunch and developing a strategy to share a leadership change with key stakeholders in the afternoon. Overall, I see my focus every day to ensure that our team is motivated to create and implement clever and strategic communications that build and protect our client’s reputations.
What do you see as some of the exciting trends in the PR landscape in Australia in 2017?
The communications landscape is evolving very quickly and it is exciting to be in and industry where you need to keep your finger on the pulse. One of the most exciting things that the rise of digital and social media presents PR is that we are in a stronger position to monitor conversations and leverage data and analytics to prove that campaigns inform, persuade, influence and motivate people to engage and connect with a brand or company.
Do you think there are any current hurdles in the PR industry?
PR continues to be challenged by measuring success but it is becoming easier to be accountable for demonstrating return on investment with monitoring, data and analytics tools being more readily available and affordable. The lines of responsibility across different agencies continue to be blurred. PR practitioners could all do a better job at owning what we do best: messaging and content creation, development and execution to reach the right people at the right time through the right channels.
What is important to you when building your team and securing the right people for Wrights?
When building a team, it is important to find the right mix, striking the right balance with people’s energy and expertise. We aspire to work with people who are the best or those that want to be the best. Everyone needs to support each other, learning and growing together to be a stronger and more focussed team ready and willing to adapt in the fast-paced world of communications.
Is there a defining/key trait you look for when hiring?
It always comes down to having a positive, can-do attitude and a willingness to invest time and energy into building relationships with the team, our clients and the people who matter to their success. We look for people with a genuine curiosity in the communications landscape and our client’s industries. These qualities provide a strong base for being a successful public relations consultant at Wrights and then we can easily work together to refine professional skills and areas of expertise on the job.
What is the best PR campaign you have seen in the last 12 months?
Hate to be bias, but we were proud of our work with YGAP’s Polished Man Campaign to end violence against children, which has recently been shortlisted for Mumbrella’s Pro-Bono Campaign of the Year. Our integrated communications strategy leveraged ambassadors, research and our strong network of media and influencer relationships to secure impressive coverage and social media content that reached millions of people. The results helped generate $1 million in donations – three times more than the amount raised in the previous year.
Who is someone you admire and why?
Nelson Mandela was not only a unique and inspiring leader, he was also an incredible communicator that lived and breathed authenticity, influence and a humble confidence.
What is your favourite travel destination?
Hitting the road and setting up a tent somewhere near a beach is my all-time favourite way to escape. Also love overseas adventures to discover new places, people and cultures.
What does Lauren do in her down time?
Enjoy cooking delicious feasts and entertaining the people I love for breakfast, lunch or dinner (never dessert – baking is not my forte).
What is your current favourite TV show?
I’m more of a bookworm than a box set fan but I really enjoyed The Newsroom because of the way it addressed challenges of the communications industry and 24-hour news cycle.
If you weren’t working in PR what would you be doing?
Can’t imagine working in another industry that would provide the same exciting experiences every day. But, I always dreamed of working with a company like Lonely Planet as a kid so maybe a travel photographer and blogger that captures unique and adventurous moments.
Any words of advice you would give to up and coming professionals in the PR industry? Or something you wish someone had told you when you were starting your career?
It is PR not ER. No matter how urgent something seems at the time, always keep perspective and prioritise the things that matter. This applies to everything from VIP talent pulling out last minute for a red-carpet event to managing a product recall for a multinational car brand.