A blog by Amy Nettleton, Head of Sales & Marketing – Aster Group @amynettleton1

A Hero: A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities

Comms: Communication: The act of communicating; transmission. The exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, signals, writing, or behaviour.Interpersonal rapport.

CommsHero: Totes powerful!

So I was honoured and excited to be asked to be a guest tweeter for @commshero, then the pressure came, the pressure of being involved and exposed within such a popular and well connected account, thoughts such as:

What if no one likes anything I put out?
What if I disappoint @commshero?
What if I commit career suicide?
What if they have to bring my week to a close after a few days?

Then I thought – Amy, seriously – what if’s aren’t going to achieve anything, it could go horribly wrong that’s right, but it could also be brilliant fun and hey I’m never usually forward in coming backwards – so we went for it, although when I had to ask Asif how I would log in to the account from mine I could virtually see him shaking his head screaming #amateur and maybe regretting his offer. Yet in true #commshero style his parting words were ‘no swearing and have fun!’ For those that know me the former may have required some restraint, as I call them sentence enhancers not swear words!

This was also a brave move from @commshero, allowing a sales person to take the helm, the ‘other side’ of our sector, and to some at present, clearly seen as the death of the industry and flavour of the month, so I had a wider responsibility of how to stay engaged with a traditional audience and use the week for a purpose. I was keen to not just waste it – I mean, I was pretty certain by 5pm today my access would be quickly revoked and never to return, and maybe an ‘un-follow’ from @commshero!

So I looked online at those others who had been entrusted with this accolade and read through @kevinw_wulvern blog on when he did it, and I soon was in full agreement with some of the quandary’s he had – putting opinion pieces out then quickly deleting – if only Asif could see how many times this happens he would have a field day!

With all this in mind, I ploughed on with a peek in to the week of a Head of Sales for a housing association, and thought i’d take the #commshero cheer with me as much as I could push it! I know, and am fully bought in to the direct relationship of sales and comms, the comms side of this equation means me and my time can do our jobs effectively, it is vital to the success of what I do, and I have never underestimated it, yet frustratingly it can become very disjointed and not seen as a pivotal integrated function with the right skills.

I spend my life thinking about how we communicate with our customers, and yes for me the customer is a purchaser, but a purchaser that needs some assistance and help, but a purchaser none the less. I truly believe that if you are renting or buying a home, then that’s the message that should be communicated – Home, not the standard trap we all tend to fall in to around ‘eligibility’ ‘affordability’ ‘lease covenants’ etc – hardly aspirational or exciting is it? you wouldn’t have these conversations out in the big wide world, so why do we? why are we so afraid to be a little more commercial, we are unique in that we can do both – commerciality and a social purpose – now that’s the totes power of a #commshero!

It was like I had planned my week ahead, but I promise I hadn’t, and it just shows how much importance I put on comms and also interaction across organisations and departments within my own organisation.

My week started with meetings up with @melissaescot – Head of Comms at Knightstone, and how could I not attend a meeting without the trademark @krispykreme that are present when the real heroes are out and about – when in Rome and all that!

They certainly assisted in our catch up and 3 hours later we were planning on how we can change the perception of the sector together – Sales and comms, and being brave enough to raise our heads above the parapet and make some brave decisions, and not wait. We both chair #NHF regional interest groups, so we have committed to working in partnership for this aim.

I even descended on #commshero #socialceo @knightsinwhites to spread the hero messages, by the time us girls had done though it was past 6pm, so he was long gone!!

The week continued with some sales consultancy at Merlin Housing, helping a new team on how to deliver sales. This completely centred around what messages they want to be communicating out to what is a new customer base for them, less is more – as sales people the main driver from any comms we do is that we want them to either come and see us, or talk to us. People buy people and we mustn’t lose this, we can use all the digital technology we have to help and assist, but nothing beats an IRL meet, and also we want to build and drive the excitement of them buying their own home!! that’s the fist pump moment right there!

As we adapt to the external environment and have to look at new ways of delivering what we do, we sometimes lose sight of what made us do what we do in the first place. I’m fundamentally a sales person, but I have a passion for making a difference, therefore that feeling of when something sells, or a plan comes together and when a difference is made still gives me butterflies and adrenalin – I never want to lose that and neither should you – whatever for you ‘that thing’ is – it may be worth asking yourself.

National Housing Group (NHG) hosted its first #salesandmarketing conference that was expertly chaired by @timwillcocks and completely delivered again on how we effectively or don’t communicate with our customers, and how we as ‘change agents’ as @BorisOrbitGroup said can radically change the profile of this sector and continue to make a difference to peoples lives. Like true super hero style @commshero made it to the wall without even being there, and oh did I tell anyone I won an award!?
award commsherowall

In addition to this I spent a lot of time with my own Director of comms to discuss the wider strategy and how important it is that we align visions, plenty of new and exciting development opportunities to appraise and be proud of, and smashing weekly sales figures.

You may be asking why I’ve detailed all of this for you, well the one thing that runs through it all, and in fact every week for me is high levels of interaction and engagement that @commshero do so well, and in this you find a whole host of shared passions, visions and desires to do something different, to be bold and brave and the determination to see change occur for the better. We must start looking at the few reasons WHY we should do something, and not the others telling us we SHOULDN’T – we certainly didn’t come into this sector, or stay in this sector to be average, its not in our DNA.

Life is busy – that’s nothing new, and would we want it any different?, its what makes me tick, so instead of using this as an excuse, lets do busy well. When was the last time you arranged to spend time over a coffee with no agenda other than a catch up with a colleague, peer or friend, I did this week and it was so fruitful and fulfilling, and actually more ‘business; was done than a normal meeting would have generated. If your passing by someone’s workplace or home, pop by for a cuppa – you wont regret it! – we like to be with people, and we like to chat, laugh and smile – that’s not difficult, we make it complicated.

This week at #NHG I reaslised that I’ve spent the last 10 years (ok I know I don’t look old enough!) shouting and pushing my way to the front of something that matters to me, and all of a sudden I’m stood side by side with those that I look up to, @timwillcocks @borisorbitgroup @Marilyn_DiCara to name a few, and the young exciting new people in the industry are looking at us for leadership and advice, wanting to chat to us in their coffee breaks.

You never know who is watching you, don’t be reckless with your time or brain, but generous, we all know how it feels to meet someone who you have admired or respected and how u feel if they do or don’t give you their time, don’t forget:

‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’

The industry needs us to pull together.. We need to allow space for new fresh thinking and ideas, we need to allow ourselves to take a minute to have a reaction to something and MAKE it happen… You are all heroes – you have a duty!!

award 2

Make yourself and others happy – It’s in your gift.

So, back to what makes this #commshero movement and up and coming events commshero.com so different and exciting, firstly they are not afraid to communicate in the most simplest of forms, engaging and interacting on all levels, being the start of a conversation. They are not precious over their contacts, they often and willingly connect people who they know have a shared passion or vision, and they show us that all over the UK there are still tons of us that are engaged and energised and want to make a difference.

However, IMO (see what I did there!) there is something more unique than this, and the 1 main thing that sets them apart up at #commshero #resource HQ is the people that are behind it – that’s the difference, and you’d be mad not to engage and be part of it.

So, have I enjoyed this week as guest tweeter – d**n right I have, unsure if Asif and the team have as much, I can imagine there being a lot of holding heads in hands throughout the week – especially when I took my #commsherotee (yes I finally got one) on tour in London! much to the embarrassment of @bouchc_3 my sales manager!

tube bike gym


My parting thoughts from this week – #comms is important, no I know you think you know that – but it is, and its important to get it RIGHT, it has more impact than you can imagine, and if u ever get asked to guest tweet – actually no don’t wait, be brave, why not show them that you’d be interested to – do it you’ll have a ball, as never forget:

A hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for people


P.S (U know I’m going to try to log in to the account later when im feeling all lonely!)

P.P.S (can I have another tee please!)