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It's time for Damien Batey – IABC Victoria's new Vice President – to be put through the griller.


Hi Damien. You are the new IABC Victoria Vice President. What does that role entail?

Basically it’s the first year of the three year term. This year I’ll help manage and deliver our 2014 strategic plan and learn from and support Zora Artis, our President. Next year I take over the presidency before moving to the role of immediate past president in year three.  In each of these roles I’ll be drawing on my experience of corporate communications and media to promote and support IABC and our profession.


You are also the Corporate Communications Lead at Porter Novelli. What do you see as the big trends impacting Corporate Communications at the moment?

Increasingly I’m seeing businesses impacted by globalisation and multi-national companies having to adapt their approach to the local market. That’s particularly the case for businesses expanding into Asia for the first time, reflecting a growing need for cultural awareness and intelligence. The endless rise of social media is also having an impact – through the introduction of new channels and different degrees of engagement with social across Australian business. While the platforms have changed the old rules around engagement and relationships haven’t. It’s as important now as it ever was to build and maintain relationships with media, commentariat and stakeholders across traditional and emerging channels.


One of the big changes is the demand for more content and more content forms, like video, infographics and so on. How can communications teams cope with this growing impost on their resources and skills?

The greatest thing about those changes is the way it forces us to adapt and expand our skills. I have fond memories of roping in my former Motorola Solutions colleagues in to perform a video role play to launch a new retail product. At Porter Novelli, our graphic artists are skilling up in animation, Prezi and infographics.

Resources and budgets may be tight, but communicators are experimenting, innovating and shaping themselves to meet the medium.


What would your advice be to anyone considering communications consulting as a career?

Be well read, genuinely interested in just about everything and determined. Maintaining good humour and your personality are also mandatory.


What do you value most about your IABC membership?

Knowing I’m connected to people with vast experience of corporate life who are willing to learn from each other.


There seems to have been a recent explosion of TV shows and movies about communications. The Thick of It, In the Loop, Veep and Scandal, for example. Are you a fan?

Absolutely. Although I must be getting old because I was discussing Broadcast News with a client last week. In The Loop is my favourite on your list – RIP James Gandolfini.


Damien Batey is Lead Corporate Communications Consultant with Porter Novelli Melbourne. He is also a Fellow of the Melbourne University’s Asialink Leaders program and holds an Advanced Diploma and Certificate in Professional Writing and Editing.