The Business Rundown: Working too many hours with Commtract
This is how Commtract, a platform and marketplace connecting communications professionals with businesses, is shining a light on a different model.
The company was launched in Australia two years ago by public affairs expert Peter McConnell. New Zealand managing director Jo de Joux, who knew McConnell when the two of them worked in politics, approached McConnell late last year to roll out Commtract in New Zealand.
McConnell had come to the conclusion he was sick of riffling through his little black book to find someone to do a communications job without taking on extra headcount.
“More and more people need specific communications support for a particular issue or area of business,” says de Joux.
“They don’t always want to take on full-time employees – in the meantime hundreds of communication contractors around New Zealand are able to use their skills.”
The company offers a broad spectrum of people and communication backgrounds, from financial communications to marcomms, internal communication and digital specialists as well as photographers and events people. There are currently 160 ‘experts’ on the New Zealand site and 2,600 trans-Tasman.
Commtract is a marketplace so all the experts are vetted, says de Joux.
“They go through a strict HR process, and we make sure we’re matching the right people with the right projects. When a project comes through an email goes out to the dashboards of those who have the skills to submit a proposal.”
With 70 percent of respondents in Idealog’s readers survey saying saving time was one of their biggest issues, de Joux says it’s also extremely quick to join.
She says it takes about five minutes to register and post a job, and there are templates able to be used. Client are able to contact the contractors directly, interview them and pick who they think is suitable.
The company has about 30 clients registered in New Zealand to date and has filled roles for large corporates through to those who don’t have any communication staff on the ground in Aotearoa. De Joux explains this can be varied; ranging from filling a six-month communications function, writing a sustainability report for a large corporate, to the tourism industry wanting to create regional videos, or an organisation needing someone to write regular press releases.
“You need the right person with the right experience to tell your story whether it’s to promote your brand, enhance your reputation or just get your out the message out to the public… it’s such a crowded market these days that I think good communications will only get more and more important.”