This is part announcement, part introduction. This has also probably been the toughest blog post I’ll ever write.
I am Kate Stinchcombe-Gillies and this is my new business, COCONUT.
For the last nine years I’ve been in-house, in charge of PR and communications for one of the most successful holiday let businesses in the world. I loved every minute of the craziness from the early days as a start-up to achieving global presence. Prior to that I worked in hospitality and publishing, marketing being the common theme throughout my 12 year career thus far. And boy have I learned a lot along the way.
Secretly, I’ve always had a hankering for working for myself, running my own show. But when you’re nestled in the corporate world with a guaranteed income and a bountiful benefits package the self-employed world can deter many, including me in the past. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to take all the risks in your twenties and settle in your thirties. Well, apple carts are there to be rocked. And what better time to give it a shot than with a 2.5 year old and a 6 month old wrapped around your ankles. (Fear not, I have childcare covered; there are no cradles under my desk).
COCONUT is a virtual network agency run and faced by me. Depending on the task at hand, which and how many tasks are handled by someone on the team, other than me, will be determined and communicated to you. We are all highly experienced marketers with specialisms in PR, copywriting, social media, CRM, content marketing and SEM. The theme across our experience is customer experience and engagement.
What’s most exciting about this venture is the opportunity to share my intense passion for clear and sound communication, whatever channel or technology you’re using to converse, whoever you’re trying to engage.
Communication is fundamental to the success of your marketing - if your message isn’t understood, who will buy what you’re selling? But communication is also fundamental for the efficiency of your team and any team collaborations - if objectives and the roadmap are not understood, people will try to figure it out themselves and they may get there in the end but who knows if they’ll all get there together and on time.
Over the years, I’ve harped on about the importance of communicating, encouraging it to happen, providing the means and the messaging to do so. It has landed me various projects from beta product launches to internal communications supporting business change.
I think my penchant for good communication stems from my love of the written word. Perhaps also from being a bit of a voyeur of the world - spotting missed opportunities, confusing messages, mediocre copy and weak calls to action (CTA). As a kid I swallowed books faster than a Michelin star tasting menu. I lapped up the trials and tribulations of French and German, fascinated by the languages’ structural nuances, the grammar (yes, the grammar!). And once I got to university, I did it again attempting Italian for business. Language fascinates me, words across languages and root origins draw me like a child to a sweet shop. Yet for all the reading I did, and endeavour to still do, literature doesn’t interest me. I’m not one bit curious about the inferences of metaphors and allegory. I just want to focus on the straight and narrow of the words on the page - if you want to say something, say it like it is. (That pretty much sums me up too, by the way).
To my delight, I found a chapter in Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think entitled Omit needless words. It’s a book all about website usability, so that chapter makes absolute sense in a web context and is spot on. (It’s short too, funnily enough). But from a general communications standpoint, it hits the nail on the head. We are bombarded by communications nowadays; at the time of writing some 6,000 tweets are generated every second. The more brands who can express their message in fewer words, the more engaged and more quickly engaged the customer will be.
Less is more, is just one of my beliefs. Here are a few more...
You always need a second pair of eyes. I get excited reviewing content (print or web). Once upon a time I was trained to proofread professionally, symbols and all. But I have other people read my stuff too.
Objectivity is underrated. I endeavour, always, to offer an objective perspective on the delivery of communication in the context of the recipient not just the goal of the sender. The simplest benefit of using an external resource for reviewing your communications is that they’re on the other side of that bubble you’re in (reluctant as you may be to admit it). I cut through the jargon. I help you tell your story to the people who don’t already know it inside out.
PR will live long and strong providing it adapts to demonstrate that it is measurable and delivering ROI. One of the greatest tools in the marketing mix, I believe, is PR. Yes, it’s exciting to see your latest ad campaign on the Tube or at the top of SERPS, but that’s all achievable with a purchase order (or similar). It’s so much more satisfying to see your brand name-dropped, quoted, positioned as the expert in editorial articles. PR is at the heart of my experience. I’ve taken start ups to national press, I’ve managed the limelight that comes with being a big brand name and I’ve (verbally) sparred with Cornwall’s version of Jeremy Vine. Whether you want national print press coverage or links from online editorial around the world, let’s talk.
My marketing experience is broad, from exhibitions to CRM, social media, copywriting, PR and more. My ethos is simple: hone your messaging so you can express it briefly in a fashion suitable to the channel and conscious of the audience being targeted. That achieves results.
For this and more, let’s talk.
If you want to check out some of my credentials, just copy and paste my name into Google or view my LinkedIn profile.