contact us
February 1, 2024

Sarah Geel, Head of Integrated Communications, shares her thoughts on her new role and nine years at Anthem

My journey at Anthem started nine years ago when I reached out to Jane and Caro to discuss their new agency, Anthem. I don’t remember a lot of the specifics of our chat, but I do remember their vision for a communications agency with a difference – a contemporary model, offering integrated services that delivered unmatched outcomes to clients.  

 

No PR agencies were operating in that space at scale and I loved the vision, quickly signing on the dotted line to join the team. They also had a three-metre trumpet at the entrance to the office, and as an intensely curious individual, I felt compelled to infiltrate the ranks to find out how and, importantly, why? But more on that later…. 

 

Now, nine years on, integrated communications has become part of the day-to-day activities at Anthem.  

 

While the value of PR and storytelling is central to it all, it’s obvious that there are many ways to tell a story. I’ve seen young women light up at McAuley High School when ANZ CEO, Antonia Watson, brought along a line-up of Silver Ferns, presenting them with the ANZ Watch Women Win research report and sharing with them insights they’ve gathered to help young Māori and Pasifika women succeed in work and life;  how a meet up of creative giants from all over the World can inspire the next generation of Kiwi businesses at Spark Future State; how a provocative billboard backed by Government and media relations can put pressure on the powers at be to deliver fair funding for Aged Care nurses, and how stalking down a TikTok superfan can lead to the creation of digital content that delivers a wave of advocacy for a beverage formulation change amongst some of the most passionate and loyal energy drink fans.  

 

The collaborations with the experts we have on our agile team have been some of the highlights of my journey so far. It’s a luxury I don’t take for granted, to work with some of the absolute best in the business, getting an up close and personal insight into their thought processes, pulling together teams of creatives, strategists, former CEOs and MPs, advisors, planners and all-round incredible visionaries to bring our Anthem work to life.  

 

But the results are always at the forefront of what we do and in all of the many examples I’ve listed above, integrated communications laddering up to a core strategy has been key to deliver results off the scale, creating something greater than the sum of its parts. Very few PR agencies offer integrated because, frankly, it’s really hard. But it’s something we’ve been focused on mastering since the inception of Anthem and it’s now considered a core competency of the people we hire and the work we do.  

 

So what does this new role mean for me? Well, more of the same. More of my favourite parts of the job, pulling together teams to work to tell stories in the best way we can for our clients through advertising, paid editorial, media partnerships, sponsorships, events, digital campaigns, content – you name it! One of the things that drew me to Anthem originally, apart from the oversized brass instrument, was the groundwork that had been done to interview 50 CEOs around New Zealand to inform the structure and service offering of the agency, it’s that kind of brilliant common sense that makes Anthem the “strategic muscle” for so many. Are we looking into utilising AI to deliver efficiencies? Sure, but we’re also conscious that Forbes recently found 70% of employers say creative thinking is the most in demand skill in 2024. Hardly surprising given there’s more pressure than ever to deliver exceptional work. 

 

Leading Integrated Communication as a centre of excellence within the Anthem Group will be a big part of my day to day moving forward. But first, just like Jane and Caro did at the outset of Anthem, I intend to spend time meeting and listening to so many of you who I admire about what you seek from an integrated offer and how we can help design that with our team of experts.   

 

And for those of you, like me, who want to know where the three-metre trumpet came from (and how on earth we got it up 5 flights of stairs to our office), it was designed to take centre stage at our Anthem launch event (almost ten years ago) when we brought Arianna Huffington to New Zealand. It seems apt that it remains a focal point of our office, showing the role each of us can play when we join up our own strengths and melodies to unite – or integrate – in an Anthem.  

 

Latest Insights

New Zealanders in favour of introducing greater accountability measures for  cybersecurity breaches – survey says

New Zealanders in favour of introducing greater accountability measures for cybersecurity breaches – survey says

Fair Enough? research results (February 2024)

Fair Enough? research results (February 2024)

Anthem announces key leadership promotions to enhance client services

Anthem announces key leadership promotions to enhance client services

Kiwi COP28 attendees share learnings, impact on NZ’s reputation and Pacific concerns following historic Dubai event

Kiwi COP28 attendees share learnings, impact on NZ’s reputation and Pacific concerns following historic Dubai event

Professional service providers’ role in overcoming sustainability paralysis

Professional service providers’ role in overcoming sustainability paralysis

New Zealanders oppose layoffs during recession – survey says

New Zealanders oppose layoffs during recession – survey says

Anthem Mid-Year Newsletter

Anthem Mid-Year Newsletter

Anthem wins ESG Consultancy of the Year and Gold with Doppelmayr in PR Awards Asia 2023

Anthem wins ESG Consultancy of the Year and Gold with Doppelmayr in PR Awards Asia 2023

Trumpet
STAY INFORMED

Sign up to receive relevant insights and invitations from Anthem