The Communications Manager creates, manages and implements brand communication initiatives (internal and external), that effectively describe and promote the Highlights consumer brand and all of its sub-branded products, services and channels. This position will focus on brand stewardship, public relations leadership/media relations, customer relations and work closely with marketing, editorial, creative services, legal, partnership teams, social media, PR, etc., and across all branded touchpoints including print marketing, email marketing, digital, website, social, retail, etc. This position supports and reports into the VP of Brand Communications.
Key Areas of Responsibility:
Public Relations and Communications
- Support Highlights’ consumer PR plans with support/coordination/execution to advance the brand/business through awareness and positioning including tactical management of programs and initiatives:
- With VP Brand and PR firm, coordinate PR tactics in delivery of strategy, goals, budget with attention on high-profile placements in multi-media venues.
- Work closely with our PR agency on the strategy and execution of planned and unplanned external communication needs.
- Identify and execute opportunistic and proactive tactics in building on-going media relations.
- Monitor and respond to daily PR requests from media.
- Help social team and PR firm further amplify Highlights’ State of the Kid survey response and promotion of the results.
- Help manage (and potentially write when necessary) regularly scheduled press releases for posting to website in support of stronger SEO.
- Help refine press release development and approval process across businesses.
- Provide support in monitoring, analyzing, and communicating PR results regularly.
- Elevate opportunities for partnerships, sponsorships and advertising on an on-going basis.
Customer Service Liaison
- With VP Brand work closely with Customer Service in defining the brand voice/messaging and providing tools and protocols to clarify and regularly monitor external communication direct to customers (proactive and reactive). Regularly review VOC and Ask Highlights to identify emerging trends proactively.
Brand Stewardship and Asset Development
Ensure that the Highlights’ brand positioning and essence is consistently and proactively incorporated within all initiatives:
- Become an integral member of the cross-functional teams of editorial, marketing, and digital to influence brand decisions and consistency.
- Emphasize and reinforce brand integration, aesthetic/tone standards, and consistency of ‘value proposition’ components in all marketing, collaborating and providing guidance across all customer related marketing tactics/channels (print, digital, retail/trade show etc.) to comply with brand personality.
- Provide execution support in the development of brand style guide and brand architecture resources working with Creative, Digital and other internal/external partners to include clarity in visual ID and voice/tone/messaging guidance particularly important for growth and emerging businesses. Develop Highlights’ branded tools that reflect consistency in brand ID and messaging including brand collateral, presentation templates, videos, etc.
- Work with outside media/film companies and Legal to manage product placement opportunities and contracts.
- Align and support Legal on logo and trademark requirements.
- Work closely with Partnerships on execution of brand focused engagements to ensure consistency in brand image, content and messaging.
- Work closely with Social Media to foster brand affinity by providing online social communities with meaningful Highlights’ and sub-brand content (with clear key positioning messaging) that reinforces a personal and engaged connection with our brand.
- Collaborate with product marketing in supporting and developing integrated branded/product marketing initiatives that appropriately express the brand, working in conjunction with the marketing department.
- Provide branding guidance around local consumer-based sponsorships, events, etc.
- Identify industry trends affecting brands, share, and make appropriate recommendations regarding communication strategies surrounding them.
- Support planning and preparation around company key milestones/anniversary activities for the company.
Internal Consumer Communications Support
With VP Brand develop internal tools to enhance Highlights’ Consumer Brand communications sharing across offices.
- Lead the expression of the Highlights’ consumer brand across internal consumer business efforts, such as sustainability initiatives, building décor, etc.
- Assist Corporate HR in developing vision/mission assets, and external brand/recruiting support.
- Strong writing, editing, proofreading, layout and design, professional printing/publishing skills are essential, including ability to present concepts verbally.
- Have an appreciation for the details and the aesthetics and written voice for the brand.
- Confident communicator and presenter.
- Superior organizational, project management and time management skills.
- Strong knowledge and interest in current trends in brand, PR, digital media/social media.
- Self-motivated with a positive and professional approach to project management.
- Strong contributor and influencer in a cross-functional team. Works closely in leading suppliers, vendors, and agencies.
- Strong budget management skills in support of all communication initiatives.
- 4 year college degree highly preferred, BA/MA degree in Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations, Communications or a related discipline preferred.
- 8+ years of related marketing communications experience.
- Must have worked for and/or interacted on behalf of a national brand/company (consumer brand preferred), interacting with national media, public relations agency, advertising/digital agencies, event organizations.
- Experience with large and small organizations, preferred.
- Proven track record executing successful brand and communication campaigns.
- Solid experience with using social channels to further communication initiatives (e.g., using bloggers, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.).
- Ability to use digital, office, and design tools with regularity including some proficiency with graphic/design tools, social tools, Microsoft Office Suite, etc.
- Exceptional writing and editing skills, and verbal communication skills along with comfort speaking in front of groups.