Refreshing the communications toolbox


Fresh eyes and open minds are more important than ever as the way we communicate continues to change.

In the world of communications, I’ve seen digital platforms transform people’s interactions with businesses - and it’s upended many parts of the corporate communications toolbox too. 

It’s not quite ‘RIP’ for the trusty press release, but it’s certainly gasping for breath when you think of the potential of social media – it’s your pure message, a human tone of voice and the engagement of a back and forth conversation that takes place through the likes of LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other channels.  

Comms feels like a fast developing artform right now and that’s why fresh eyes and open minds are so important to have in your team.  I’m a particularly lucky Communications Director in this regard, as Fonterra and the AUT School of Communication Studies have got a good thing going on. 

Helen Moore, Fonterra Director of Communications

Kasper, Katie and Isabel - AUT communications graduates at Fonterra

It started three years ago with career evenings and quickly developed into our offering a paid internship for graduates to consider.   

Successful relationships have a strong win-win element and that’s what we have found with AUT. To provide a genuine taste of corporate comms life, we’ve integrated the graduates into our team as valuable team members. It’s been a win both ways.

Not only have they had the chance to learn from the pool of wide and varied experience that we have in our team, but they’ve also delivered some great communication projects of their own.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we hosted open days at several of our manufacturing sites across the country. Our AUT interns were on the road, playing a key role in these popular events. Part of that included capturing footage and stories for our Instagram account. Their work resulted in one of our best performances on the platform.  They’ve also assisted in delivering some helpful search engine optimisation (SEO) work, successfully pitched in stories to media, played a key part in delivering our interim results as well as delivering a number of chunky internal communications projects.

One thing’s for sure, as much as we offer our AUT interns, we get it back in spades – their innate digital know-how, their fresh perspectives, their energy and their (seemingly) endless eagerness to come in at 4.30am to dispatch our fortnightly Global Dairy Trade updates.

Attending the AUT award ceremony, I was genuinely excited wondering which of the 100 or so students might apply for the intern roles with us next year.

Agencies can offer good experience for sure, but in this time of such a fast-changing corporate communications landscape, the exposure gained through being part of a company adjusting to the challenge and needs of evolving communications has got a lot to offer - and our interns have a lot of offer us.

Thank you, Isabel, Katie, Kasper and Dr Averill Gordon, Curriculum Leader, Public Relations at AUT.