Back to school: my first year in Scottish Government Marketing
When I was little I loved the trip into town with my mum to kit me out for a new school term. I can’t say I enjoyed the visit to Clarks for my regulation brown lace ups, but an hour or two spent choosing a new bag and pencil case was always time I relished.
And that’s exactly how I got ready to start my role in Marketing at the Scottish Government, just over a year ago. A smart bag was needed to look the part for a new set of challenges until I really felt the part. And, a large collection of HBs to go in it.
Just like in S1 I had to learn a new language; the language of acronyms. And, just like French, some words were easy to guess, but others? Not a clue! I spent a lot of time googling terms until I realised it was ok to simply ask what they meant. A year on, I have got to grips with the eRDM, know my KPIs from my TVRs, and have even started using acronyms at home, talking about meetings at VQ and the challenges of the SBR. (My family look at me blankly.)
And then there’s what I like to call the content management system: the use of the word ‘content’. Coming from an agency I’d say a piece of work was ‘approved’ or ‘signed off’, but here colleagues say ‘I am content with the press release’. And, the skills needed to write a submission, the specific way information is presented to Ministers? That’s something I’ve yet to master, but I’m ready for it when the time comes.
It’s been an exciting year with The Commonwealth Games and the Referendum, and for someone who only used to read the style magazine in the Sunday paper, it’s been a real education. As anyone who knows me well will tell you I am ‘that’ parent, the one who makes my child do all the homework as soon as he gets home, volunteers for the bake sale and organises the summer fair, so to manage a campaign promoting the benefits of playing, talking and reading with your child has given me a great deal of job satisfaction. And, down to the hard work and expertise of colleagues, agencies and stakeholders, PlayTalkRead has had a record year with 240 per cent increase in website visits on the year before.
Just like Clarks shoes in recent times, I feel like I’ve come into my own, with a confident outlook, knowledge of my target audience, and a motivating, attractive product (unlike the appalling school shoes of the early eighties I wore so reluctantly and ‘lost’ after gym).
This next year will have new challenges – and new acronyms – as I start working on Read, Write, Count (RWC) and other Smarter, Wealthier and Fairer campaigns, but I’m sure that I’ll be more than content.
My new school work bag, going strong a year on. My mum was right, Clarks are the best!*
*Other bags are available.