Everyone has seen MacMillan. They've got good branding. They do good things. They're effective and they make a difference. But what's the reality of working in their comms team?
by Katy Davies
Working in a small yet productive regional communications team at Macmillan Cancer Support really demands a broad scope of skills and expertise to cover the range of communications activities we undertake.
There’s five of us, each bringing something different to the table. International development, broadcast journalism, stakeholder management, agency and digital pretty much sums it up.
Together, we work across London, Anglia and the South East to deliver communications plans across fundraising, services and increasingly, local campaigning. We are part of the England External Affairs team and work with two other regional teams to manage our reputation and brand at local level.
Case studies are our bread and butter. What’s really great about working regionally is the contact you get with the people directly benefit from what Macmillan is striving to achieve – which is that no one should have to face cancer alone.
We work across departments to get local stories and lead on regionalising national campaigns. Our intelligence and research team has supported this – we now have access to a body of Macmillan sourced stats about cancer which helps when working up stories.
We also work with Macmillan professionals to ensure uptake of their services with bespoke marketing – knowing your audience here is key. What’s the cancer care pathway for that hospital? How do Clinical Commissioning Groups operate?
Our main challenge is working with wider changes happening with regard to how our services are set-up and supported. We’re working closely with the digital team on redesigning our website and ensuring we’re proactively training our colleagues and volunteers in fundraising. For example, we’ve recently introduced a new Foundation Course in Media Skills).
The nature of reactive enquiries are changing too. Adapting is key, not only to the external healthcare environment but the channels we’re using.
Katy Davies is regional communications assistant at MacMillan Cancer South East.