Welcome to the Telum Spotlight, a quick insight into some of the interesting people in the PR and Communications space, as well as freelancers and those launching their own boutique agencies. Today we shine the Spotlight on Duncan Croft in Auckland. Duncan has more than a decade of local experience with Auckland Unlimited and its forerunner, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, where he was Head of Communications and External Relations. Duncan recently launched Chapter & Verse Communications.
By way of introduction:
I launched Chapter & Verse in January this year, a public relations and communications consultancy based in Auckland, New Zealand. Chapter & Verse specialises in taking complex concepts and stripping them down to their simplest form, so they can be understood and acted on.
I'm experienced in planning and delivering communications projects and campaigns of all shapes and sizes, and offer clients a wide range of communications services ranging from strategic advice through to tactical support.
I worked a few part-time retail jobs in my younger days, but my introduction to the world of communications came from an unlikely place - a record store. After having a CD thrown in my direction in my first week on the job, with a request to write a review for a local newspaper, I was hooked. While the world has changed, the thrill of seeing something I’ve written or had a hand in producing be published is something that hasn’t dulled with time for me.
One thing you would change about the communications industry:
Communications people are always "on", and ready to respond to a crisis at the drop of a hat. But being glued to email 24/7 isn’t healthy for anyone, and the expectation that comms professionals should be available at all hours on email isn’t sustainable. If it’s urgent, get on the phone. The "delay send" email option has become a big part of the way I work, keeping non-urgent correspondence to office hours.
Most admired person in comms:
I’ve been lucky to learn from many people throughout my career, most recently Steve Armitage, Charmaine Ngarimu, and my former team during my time with Auckland Unlimited. When I made the move into consulting, Brian Finn of Engage Group gave me great advice on how to set up and get started. His suggestion to set up a network of people you trust and can partner with to increase the range of services to clients has been invaluable.
Most admired journalist:
Todd Niall, the venerable voice of Auckland issues for many years for Radio New Zealand, and now Stuff. A journalist who understands the importance of relationships, and takes the time to understand all sides of a story.
Advice to anyone starting out in comms:
Take the time to really understand what you’re communicating about. You’ve got to believe in it, and really champion it. Knowing it inside out is a great place to start from.
Essential daily reading:
My day always starts the same way - catching up on news here and abroad. Locally, the New Zealand Herald and Stuff, and the excellent daily news round ups compiled by Newsroom and The Spinoff are appointment reading. While it’s not reading, Radio New Zealand and Newsroom’s podcast, The Detail, is a great morning listen to catch up on issues of the day. Internationally, The Guardian, BBC and Al Jazeera are my go-to sites.
I’m an avid reader, so picking a favourite book is a tough ask! When I made the move into consulting, Fiona Killackey’s Passion. Purpose. Profit. was really helpful for me, offering a great mix of aspirational ideas and tangible steps on how to make them a reality.
I don’t have a favourite film, but I can still largely quote dialogue from Boyz N The Hood word for word, more than 30 years after it was released.
New York City. I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few times, but not for a long time. You can’t beat its energy. I’ll be queuing up when direct flights from Auckland start later this year.
Clickbait fact about you:
My love of music and writing has given me the opportunity to interview a slew of music legends over the years, from Roy Ayers to Outkast. It also gave me the chance to spend time with some of them while they toured New Zealand. I once brought Grammy Award winner DJ Jazzy Jeff a Fillet O’Fish at Auckland Airport. I’m still waiting for my money back.
“Trust your gut.”