Amanda Williams is an Australian personal brand strategist and PR Director with 10+ years of communications experience across government and private enterprise. Amanda is the Founder and Director of the public relations, personal branding agency Yellowpanda.
Amanda established the company after leaving her career as a media and communications advisor for a range of federal and state politicians, choosing instead to focus her attention on publishing the public profiles of leading business owners and entrepreneurs across the country.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Amanda Williams: My passion has always been to build deep and genuine relationships with others. Public relations is where I get to do that and grow my professional network. I founded Yellowpanda in 2018 off the back of a career in politics where I was dubbed the “rising star” of the federal government’s media team. As a passionate advocate for small businesses, I love to help others see and reach their potential. Yellowpanda is not like other cookie-cutter agencies. We are a tight-knit group of communications professionals who will come onboard as your biggest cheerleaders. We want to help you build and strengthen your brand identity, as well as gain the recognition you deserve.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Amanda Williams: Perhaps one of the biggest challenges was that we couldn’t get out and see one another in 2020 and 2021. Now that these restrictions have eased, everyone feels more confident that their businesses can operate ‘normally’ again. However, remaining visible has never been so important. Find a way to be present, build relationships, double down – and show up online! I survived by really putting myself out there, and trying to help others as much as I could during COVID.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Amanda Williams: I would say that businesses should focus on remaining agile due to how uncertain marketing conditions are going forward. It’s so important to be one step ahead, be forward-focused, and be able to pivot and listen to what clients, customers and the market is requesting from us. Offering solutions that address their pain points is vital – particularly in the service industry. You need to be on top of the game and prioritise open communication at all times. For me, it’s important to be seen as a strong and effective problem solver to stand out from other businesses.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Amanda Williams: The pandemic has made it even more important for people to stand out from their competitors, with less ways to engage with people in person and increased competition online. This has meant that people who may not have considered PR before, are now looking at it as an effective way to get their name out there more. For the clients we already had on board, when the pandemic first hit, and businesses were considering whether or not they should be pulling resources, it was important for me to communicate that PR is a “need to have” not a “nice to have”. I also had to double down and, at first, over-deliver, going above and beyond to assure them that I would do all I could to help see them succeed through the difficulties we were facing.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Amanda Williams: I wish I knew the importance of setting up a really good system and structure before the pandemic started. Having a centralized organisation structure makes it easier for people to work from anywhere and this definitely needs to become streamlined. This was something we had to focus on, especially with the emergence of working from home that came as a result of Covid. I often say to my team that people are paying for our system and how we (Yellowpanda) do things – so we need to continue to streamline this!
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Amanda Williams: Recently I’ve spoken to people in the business space that want to get back into face-to-face meetings and communication this year. The pandemic has definitely created an expectation that flexibility is available moving forward. But a lot of people benefit from being in a collaborative space so it is important that we don’t lose our connection to the workplace and those we work with. We need to continue to prioritise in-person connection and communication.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Amanda Williams: Typically every hour that I’m not sleeping, being active outdoors, training in a gym, or spending time face to face with others, I spend in front of a screen!
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Amanda Williams: Our entire business is built around sharing our clients’ stories and our own stories – problems we have overcome and how we have learned from our failures. In the leadership space, vulnerability can actually encourage your team to feel comfortable speaking up when they need support. This is better for everyone’s mental health, and it helps to persuade others to look at adversity in a motivational, positive light, rather than something that brings people down.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Amanda Williams: Human resources seems to be the real challenge at present. Finding good talent, and being able to retain and engage good talent is an issue. The second biggest issue I’ve noticed is generating new leads, new revenue and new business – which is where awareness and trust are key. In terms of building a positive business reputation (and attracting good talent to an organisation) PR can help build much-needed trust.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Amanda Williams: I am very intrigued by the metaverse and what this will mean for communications professionals in terms of their communication outlets. Will there be opportunities for us to be pitching in the metaverse? It’s definitely something we need to be across in the future in terms of capturing attention and engaging with people in the metaverse. Especially if there is a shift away from social media with the rise of meta.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Amanda Williams: I think I covered a little bit about this above, but it is definitely more of an ‘employee marketplace’ than it has ever been before. Younger employees now have the flexibility to choose who they want to work for rather than just taking what they can get. As an employer, I’d recommend that you don’t get desperate and set a precedent going forward in terms of salary rates, salary packaging options and perks. You don’t want to offer things that aren’t sustainable, especially if it does swing around to more of an ‘employer marketplace’.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Amanda Williams: Super cashflow! I’d use this superpower to make sure no bill goes unpaid, whether that be payable or receivable.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Amanda Williams: Success in 2022 would look like being able to step back and appreciate the business and not be flogging myself so hard all the time. It was also mean relying on the systems we have in place and seeing my team flourish!
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Amanda Williams for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Amanda Williams or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
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