When I left university with my Communications and Media degree in the late 1990s, I discovered that the world did not herald my brilliance. Despite my journalism training. Despite my ability to perform deep psychoanalytic readings of 1940s cinema.
I could deconstruct messages and highlight bias. I could flip through magazines and rewrite advertising slogans with their embedded latent meanings. For some reason, nobody seemed to care.
So I landed a low-level communications job with one hefty caveat. I was able to write newsletter articles, magazine pieces, and edit material. But I also had to do the graphic design and layout.
I borrowed books from the library and read until late at night, I practised on weekends, I read everything I could find about design, desktop publishing, Photoshop, Pagemaker (yes, Aldus Pagemaker), how to use the nebulous and complicated software. Layers. Levels. Gradients. Vectors and rasters.
Until then, the terms ‘bleed’, ‘slug’ and ‘guillotine marks’ held only gruesome meanings.
Over time, I became proud of the material I was producing, as much for the look and feel as for the words and ideas. I kept freelancing as a journalist while working in corporate communications. Through design and desktop publishing, I learned that I could actually write and get paid. So I embarked on what would become my ‘trade’, my ticket to a salary and value-added services.
A few years later, the unthinkable happened. I went from the purity of Chomsky-esque Communication Studies to the Dark Side: Marketing.
The funny thing was, I loved it. I understood the psychology of desire, the triggers, the semiotic ways messages could be coded, so coding them in the first place was child’s play.
I found marketing more interesting than I had ever given it credit. It’s a blend of psychology, strategy, communications design, copywriting, and accounting. Marketing is an area, which most people don’t understand.
I helped a dear friend with chronic fatigue syndrome and a love of dogs. Her nonprofit became one of the biggest pets-as-therapy services in Australia. I didn’t realise at the time, but what we were doing was preliminary steps toward brand building.
For the next few years, I worked full time and consulted on the side. Although a writer at the core, I continued with graphic design and started helping people with their logos, business cards and brochures as well as the writing mission statements, vision statements and promotional material.
I get energised hearing people’s visions. Your passion is infectious. I want to help people articulate your vision and help them turn that into an unforgettable value proposition.
In order to make sure I was doing the right thing by them in a disciplined, best practice, I completed a Master of Marketing at the esteemed Monash University. It took 5 years to finish but I got there with a slew of Distinctions and more love for communications than ever.
Eye photo by Daniil Kuzalev on Unsplash