TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2019: Auckland Council’s Emily Thorn named Rookie Marketer of the Year

Emily Thorn

1. How and when did you get into marketing – what sparked your interest in the industry?

I started at Auckland Council in late 2016 as a publicity specialist, after a few years working in television and public relations. I quickly realised that my passion was in marketing and saw it as an opportunity to develop my skill set, particularly around strategy development, and to be creative with messaging, channels and content. I liked that marketing is a combination of both creativity and logic. So, I upskilled through a number of courses, completed a digital marketing qualification and was given the opportunity to lead on marketing projects.

2. What does the average day at Auckland Council look like for you? 

I juggle both marketing and communication projects across a wide range of portfolios with diverse business partners (‘internal clients’). So, no two days are ever the same.

On a daily basis I am working with my team and business partners on strategy development, writing creative briefs, liaising with agencies, working with our in-house designers, producing content and executing campaigns. There’s always something going on, so I balance priorities to be responsive to business partner needs and project milestones.

3. What’s your favourite part of working for the Council? 

I enjoy the diversity of the projects I work on and the fact that I am promoting services that help people make the most of what Auckland has to offer. Promoting services that sometimes Aucklanders aren’t aware of like our leisure centres, holiday places, Akl Paths, over 4000 parks and Vector Lights shows, but that make Auckland a vibrant place to live.

4. The Marcomms industry is facing great disruption at the moment with more platforms and data available than ever. Do you see a digitally-dominated future?

I definitely see a digitally-dominated future, it’s already here. The growth of platforms and the increasing availability of data means there are more ways than ever before to reach and engage with people, and we know more about their likes and dislikes.

Digital media helps us to capitalise on these opportunities to create more personalised and connected experiences for customers, be agile and drive trust and confidence through two-way dialogue. However, I believe there will still be a role for other media, as it’s about connecting with people wherever they are.


5. What’s been the most challenging thing you’ve had to deal with in your role? 

Auckland Council is a huge organisation, which is challenging in itself! We have access to a lot of data across the council, so it’s about joining the dots and finding relevant insights that help us understand what resonates with Aucklanders.

Good data makes campaign planning and design so much easier. Since I first started at council, progress has been made to develop integrated systems across business units.

6. So far in your career, what’s been your biggest learning? 

My biggest learning is that continuing to learn is the key to success. Whether you’re starting our first job or a marketing director of a global company, learning is essential for keeping up to date with the industry, feeling confident in your role and sparking new ideas.

7. What advice would you give other young marketers?

Learn as much as possible. Ask questions, find out about the career paths of your colleagues, network, proactively seek opportunities to upskill and keep up-to-date with industry developments and news.

8. Where do you see your career taking you in 10 years time?

I think one of the most important things to consider when people talk about careers is how the workplace is constantly changing and the role that technology will increasingly play in our work lives.

So, I think it’s important to be adaptable with future career goals. I would like to be in a leadership role of sorts and be someone that others can go to for advice. I’d like to be doing something that’s creative and that provides opportunities for growth and innovation.

  Rookie Marketer of the Year
Emily Thorn (Auckland Council)
Judges’ Comments
“Emily is passionate about Auckland and the role of Auckland Council to make the region better. She is undertaking proper technical marketing across a range of tasks and portfolios. Emily is a strategic thinker, who is able to influence her stakeholders and manage the various business partners who each have different objectives and demands. She’s bringing together different areas of the Auckland Council to achieve the objectives, and delivering measurable results from the activity she is leading. She’s smart, curious, considered and hard working, with a very bright future ahead.”

Gerard Seth (Tonkin + Taylor), Grace Scown (Stuff), Jack MacIntyre (Engineering New Zealand), Kate Howard (Geotechnics), Stacey Wouters (MediaWorks Radio)

This piece was originally published in the 2019 Awards Issue of NZ Marketing magazine. To get a print copy, subscribe here.

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