Ben Smeaton

Account Manager

Started at CK
May 2019

When did you know that PR and communications was the career for you?
I’d always enjoyed writing and storytelling and got high marks for English at school. I went to my first university open day thinking I wanted to study journalism and work in the media, but I’d also heard that the industry was going through a lot of change and was concerned about the job prospects. UniSA introduced me to public relations as an alternative, and it seemed to combine all my strengths in roles in a growing industry. I’ve never looked back!

What path led you to communikate et al?
I’m one of many CKers who’ve been here before. My first time at communikate was as part of our work experience volunteer (WEV) program. That opened my eyes to the industry, the idea of working in an agency, and led to some paid work before taking my first full-time job. Before joining communikate, I’d worked at a few smaller PR agencies and dabbled in some digital marketing.

What are some of the highlights of your career to date? 
I’ve been fortunate at this stage of my career to have already worked with many well-known brands and organisations such as Rundle Mall, National Australia Bank, City of Adelaide, and Goodstart Early Learning. It gives me great pride to know that my expertise has helped them to grow and protect their reputations. Taking on the role of South Australia’s Public Relations Institute of Australia President has also been a highlight. In this role, I launched the state’s first-ever mentoring program for the next generation of PR and communications professionals.

What skill are you best known for? 
Building relationships – I’m quick to build rapport, with my clients, the media and across the industry.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
No two days are the same, so I’m always learning something new or honing my skills. One minute I’m pitching stories and coordinating interviews for clients with national media outlets and creating content for web articles and eDMs, then I’m engaging with stakeholders on pitching in to write a new client proposal or tender document.

How has the changing media landscape impacted public relations?
We’ve seen newspapers stop printing, TV programs axed, radio bulletins cut and journalist redundancies. There are fewer media outlets now than there were 12 or even six months ago, but the appetite for good stories – whether they’re happy, positive stories or controversial issues – hasn’t changed. Having a finger on the pulse of the media’s editorial agenda and strong, trusted media relationships goes a long way to securing coverage for your clients too.

What do you have a reputation for within the communikate et al office?
Singing. I’m not very good at it, but love singing along to whatever’s playing at the time. I’m also known for playing barman when we have knock off drinks or celebrate our wins!

If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be? 
Loud, supportive, genuine.

When you’re not at work, where will we find you and what will you be doing?
When I’m not at work, you’ll usually find me at the bottom of the ocean scuba diving! I’m a bit of a pop culture and video game nerd too.

What would be you dream client or role?
I’d love to work with a professional soccer team, to combine my career with one of my personal interests, or to promote an incredible tourism destination.

What’s a client or project you’re most proud of? 
A few come to mind…

  • Helping COTA SA deride the SATC’s now infamous ‘old mate ad as ageist and calling the organisation out for being out of touch with the older market, which attracted widespread media coverage and helped ensure the campaign wasn’t around for long
  • Commemorating a unique ANZAC Day in the midst of the pandemic, by shining a light on the small group of Life Care’s war veterans who were leading a driveway tribute to ensure we were able to remember and pay respects to those who had lost their lives serving our country
  • Launching the newly created Adelaide Economic Development Agency’s first-ever campaign, Adelaide’s Long Lunch, with a comprehensive media and influencer strategy that generated $1.3 million in PR value and nearly 50,000 website registrations