Merry Christmas to the Groupies

Merry Christmas to the Groupies

The sun is shining, the phones are quiet and the shops are full.

It’s Christmas in Australia.

On Friday we call stumps on a productive 2014 and disappear for our annual three week festival of food, family and fun.

But will this year be different?

Will technology intervene and change summer in much the same way it has changed everything else?

Will we be able to resist the temptation of our smartphones and return to our to-do lists while sitting on the beach?

I can’t help but see and feel change everywhere.

As technology shrinks the world and changes our behaviour maybe the traditional Aussie summer holiday at the beach is set for a heavy dose of disruption.

Think no further than your own behaviour to appreciate just how much things have changed.

I no longer listen to radio. I prefer podcasts that match my interests.  I get up earlier in the morning so I can achieve the movement target set by my wearable technology. I don’t watch free to air television preferring my iPad.

When I do watch TV, it’s binge watching all the way.  It’s a different world that is changing every day. Heaven knows what it will be like when broadband continues to fall in price and increase in speed.

2014 has been another big year of change for contentgroup. Today it is a fundamentally different company to the one it was 12 months ago. In a year’s time, it will be different again.

We have new approaches, processes, technology and people all geared toward creating value for our audience and better results and service for our clients.

Our approach to content marketing has matured and we are getting more opportunities to prove its effectiveness. While some quibble about the appropriateness of the name, no-one questions the results.

As we close out the year we have decided to narrow our focus.

We have set a bold new vision to set contentgroup on a path for the next five years.

Our vision is to be “the leading content marketing agency for government in the world by 2020”.

Our mission is to “strengthen communities’ and improve the well-being of citizens through effective government communication.”

First let me define “government”.

By that we mean the public sector including social infrastructure, not for profits, national associations, government agencies and departments at a local, state, federal and international level. We could have agreed on public sector but why use two words when you can use one.

And as to the vision?

When I ran it past a mate of mine the other day he said “What if you don’t make it, won’t that be a failure”?

Maybe, but I’m not sure there is anyone going to be handing out blue ribbons in 2020 to confirm it anyway. But what it does do is give all of our staff, friends, family, clients and community a clear sense of where we are headed.

What the vision says is that it’s not just about being the best in Canberra, Australia or South East Asia. I’m convinced we can make a difference by pursuing our mission of “strengthening communities and improving the well-being of citizens through effective government communication” all around the world.

I’ve actually done something like it before.

In 1995 I was asked to run the communications for a newly formed professional Rugby Union team called the Brumbies. Once I had time to think about what we could be, I remember talking to the players and saying that our ambition should be “to be the best provincial rugby union team in the world”. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces. They thought it was the most incredible thing they had ever heard. But they quickly understood it, relished the ambition and lived it every day until five years later we could make a reasonable claim to have achieved our vision.

What our vision means to me is that we will inspire to be world class in everything we do every day. We will provide world class service and solutions to our clients and our audience.

As Todd Henry the accidental creative would say, “we have defined the hill upon which we will die”.

I’m looking forward to the journey.

In 2015 we start a podcast, content marketing in government. We will talk to people from all around the world about how they are using content marketing to “strengthen communities and improve the wellbeing of citizens through effective government communication”. We already have five episodes in the can and I am loving the return to interviewing.

We are just weeks away from having our studio connected to the national broadband network. So in early 2015, we will be able to broadcast to the world. That opens up all sorts of opportunities for us and our clients.

But as we close out the year we also have people coming and people going. Three of our valued staff members Kel Charls,  Jamie Bradnam and Katherine Morrell are closing the contentgroup chapter of their careers and moving on to the next big thing. All three have given us and you great service in their time at contentgroup and I’d like to thank them for their contribution to what has been a remarkable year.

Also a big thanks to rest of our team of Anna Pembroke, David Polglase, Ben Curry, Mary Volpato, Sophie McKerchar, Grace Finch, Libby Coy, Amy Pyett and Samir Mane. One of the values of contentgroup is “best effort, every day” and you have certainly lived that throughout 2014. Well played.

I’ll finish just on a bit of a sombre note. Last week I was at a funeral for a good friend of mine. She was the wife of someone I have known and worked with for many years. She died of a rare blood infection. Healthy one day, gone three days later. She has left an enormous hole in her family and community. Her husband is now left to raise two of the most beautiful children you could ever hope to see.  The lesson out of this for me is an appreciation of just how precious our lives are. How we need to make the most of everyday because you just never know.

As we head to Christmas make sure you give your families and friends big hugs and let them know how much you love them. Make the most of every day and commit to be grateful for the many gifts you have. To see my good mate deal with the loss of his cherished wife has given me a new perspective on what it means to be thankful.

Thanks for your time during the year and I look forward to being back in touch in 2015.

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