I’m fairly new to the #CommsHero world, little did I know that despite living and breathing comms since Uni, there was such a huge bunch of awesome people waiting to say hello and unleash their inner hero. The tables, perfectly set with personalised note books and goody bags full of swag, built excitement on arrival and whilst itching to find my cape (I had a red one) I held off until the break to listen as the speakers began.

The ever lovely, smiley Helen Reynolds opened the event and set the scene for a motivating, energetic day.  I was lucky enough to benefit from Helen’s social media training recently so it’s always good to see her IRL.  Then Mr Grant Leboff – he took my mind off my cape and mask with his great, upbeat delivery about brand authenticity and reputation.  More thought-provoking stuff followed by Yorkshire Tea’s Sam Ward and Gina Stringer, on the importance of ‘doing things proper’.  Celebrity endorsements aren’t something I can easily relate to coming from the public sector, but the part about investing in relationships is on point and as important as strategy. Relationship building is something we can all do, whichever sector we work in.

Mr Choudry! Great to meet Asif before breaking for lunch. What he has done is create an environment (on and offline) which celebrates comms and drives home the importance of believing in yourself.  Thanks to Asif, in #CommsHero we have a community to share ideas and challenges; we can all feel empowered and be ‘thought leaders’.

Lunch time brought about much excitement. Not only could I finally get the cape and mask on – it fit like a dream – but I could also have a spin on the wheel of #dunkability.  This was a long awaited moment for me and it turns out that jammie dodgers have incredibly good staying power.

After enjoying a Greggs sausage roll – why didn’t I try the vegan one?? – the afternoon session opened with Greggs who talked through their very entertaining campaigns including of course, the vegan sausage roll and romantic Valentine’s suppers. What really came across from Fiona Mills and Ian White though took me back to the whole theme of the day – keeping it real and being authentic. Greggs celebrate who they are, they celebrate their staff and their customers. They deliver what people want from their brand and it turns out that sausage roll socks are a part of this! #sockenvy

Next up, Liam Smith of Yorkshire Wildlife Park, he was so incredibly entertaining and uplifting. He really does put the human into social media and offered lots of very quirky, comical ideas about how to really engage audiences. But then he did have photos of mongooses so he was winning from the start. Either way, he certainly had us glued to our seats.

The day concluded with Helena Langdon, formerly of innocent, with her accidental success of a travelling office stapler which went viral, to never under-estimating the power of non-sense. The penguin awareness day is now a firm fixture in my diary. You had to be there.

So now I am back in the office, I have ideas and my colleagues have swag envy. If there’s one thing I have learned from my day in Manchester, it’s that I can’t wait to book my place for the next #CommsHero. And this time I think I may have company. Until then a huge virtual fist bump to my new #CommsHero buddies.