Jonathan Hooke has been with 44 Communications for 10 fantastic years. To mark this milestone, we caught up with our eagle-eyed proofreader, sports savant and web-wizard to hear more about his comms journey…
Tell us about how you joined 44.
“Suffice to say that it wasn’t the most conventional route into the industry! After graduating from university with a degree in sports journalism, I’d done a bit of work with local press, but I was on the hunt for a full-time role. At the same time, I was coaching for my local junior football team and had a chance conversation with fellow coach and 44 freelancer Eddie Gormley. Like all good communicators, he sold the idea right away (most likely over a pint) and arranged for me to come in to see what life was like at 44.
“I was immediately hooked by the sheer breadth of work – it felt like there was a constant stream of challenges to get stuck into. There were clear opportunities to gain new skills and develop within the business, which was a big draw for me.”
What does your role consist of today?
“In my current role as Digital Project Manager, my main focuses are managing the quarterly publication, One Magazine and One Online for Tarmac, as well as supporting The Point and The Point Online for Hinkley Point C, and other digital projects for the likes of Volkswagen Group, Barclaycard, National Gas Transmission, Blue Earth Foods US, Biffa, and more.
“Even though my background is in print journalism, I’ve gained lots of digital skills in recent years, which has helped me appreciate the relationship between the two, and how we can better utilise them to cater for the client’s wants and needs. Overall, I think having a foot in each camp has helped me develop into a well-rounded individual over the years!”
What do you enjoy most about working at 44?
“Without sounding clichéd, it’s ultimately the people. We have an incredibly supportive, collaborative team and everyone buys into our values. That’s something that struck me when I first started and it’s testament to the business that this still stands 10 years later.
“I love that everyone in the team brings their own unique qualities to the table. We all have different skillsets and experiences, which in turn brings new ideas, more creative-thinking, and different perspectives. It’s reassuring to know that we have that collective pool of knowledge and that there’s always someone in the team you can lean on for support whenever we face difficulties.
“Plus, there’s so much variety on offer that no two days are the same – which keeps the role fresh and exciting. For example, a few years ago I helped procure a red chair for a strategy campaign, interviewed an MD, organised and attended a World Cup-themed photoshoot on the streets of Clapham, and collected a top industry award at London Zoo – all in the space of a fortnight. How many jobs can offer that?!”
How has 44 and the field of internal comms developed over the last 10 years?
“The big change has been our increased expertise across strategy and campaigns. When I first joined we were largely publication-focused but fast forward 10 years and we’re handling all sorts of comms challenges and pushing the envelope with our creativity – whether it’s animations, podcasts, intranet support or health and safety initiatives, for example. The balance between print and digital comms has shifted dramatically over the past decade, too. Now our digital approach forms part of every conversation we have with the client.”
Is there an achievement you’re particularly proud of?
“The various award wins over the years. Receiving a FEIEA (European Association for Internal Communication) Award for One Online for Tarmac was a moment I was very proud of, particularly as that meant our work was recognised on an international stage. It’s always special to be praised for a job well done, especially when we’re up against such esteemed competition in our industry.
“I’m also proud of my involvement on the monthly newspaper The Point for HPC. We’ve produced 75 issues since 2014, and I’ve been involved in every single one of them in some capacity. It’s been fantastic to be part of a momentous, one-of-a-kind project like this and see the project grow from greenfield to the mammoth site it is today.
“That said, nothing beats visiting our clients, speaking to colleagues and hearing their thoughts first-hand.”
What advice would you give to somebody considering a career in internal comms or a new starter?
“I’d encourage them to grasp new opportunities when they come along. You never know where it might lead. Our work is so varied that you can explore different avenues, gain so many skills and ultimately carve out your own niche. The beauty of a job in this industry is that you can go in any direction that you want to. And don’t be afraid to ask questions. It helps build confidence and gives you room to grow.”