Kirilly Mallard – or Kiz, as she goes by – is one of Australia’s sharpest PR and communication professionals.
Whether she’s averting a reputation disaster or seamlessly generating earned media, Kiz has been the PR go-to for Australia’s biggest brands for more than 15 years.
Her mantra is around integration: she believes corporate affairs and marketing must be interconnected to deliver a sophisticated marcomms strategy.
She’s worked with market-leading clients including Huawei, Lexus, Mars, Panasonic, PepsiCo, Sonos, Universal Sony Home Entertainment and Visa.
Her most memorable campaigns include working with Visa in the early days of contactless technology with the inaugural payWave campaign, which involved helping dispel myths around the ‘mysterious’ (but now ubiquitous) system to alleviate security concerns.
She helped Sonos reach a new, millennial audience through an immersive and sonically powerful listening experience: Sonos House. From an influencer perspective, Kirilly enabled Huawei to redefine its image with consumers through a diverse tastemaker campaign with Australian art, fashion, travel and photography creators.
What do you do?
I lead the PR function for ULab. I find the most effective ways for brands, people and organisations to authentically communicate their stories through media and influencers.
I love the variety of my job, whether it’s developing a strategic approach to media outreach, pitching a really good story to the media, or ensuring that a brand’s reputation and people are protected during a critical time.
I also get to work with really creative people on a daily basis. Collaborating on new strategies, cracking a great idea and finding insightful ways to engage with consumers is what I love about my job.
And just as importantly, we present a lens informed by the JTBD framework that helps brands and their partners tune what they deliver at important moments along their customer journeys.
What mantra are you living by this year?
What’s the most important thing marketers can do to drive commercial outcomes?
No-one is in the mood for untargeted and irrelevant marketing or messages. Being very clear on the best channels and the way to communicate is so important.
I admired that McDonald’s pivoted its services to best meet the needs of customers. The very traditional quick service restaurants (QSR) model has been adopted during the pandemic to help customers in a simple but thoughtful way.
McDonald’s began selling essential grocery items such as bread and milk through its drive-thru option – helping people in its local community get the things they needed in an easier, safer environment.
What’s a cracking book you’d recommend or podcast you swear by?
That’s a hard one to answer at the moment. I usually read books when I’m on holiday… at a beach… somewhere overseas.
I’ve become like a teenager: it’s all about what I can view immediately and in a short space of time.
Some of the content creators on social media are such fantastic talent. And have created fame from their own living room! It’s so interesting to observe the rise of the DIY, authentic and relatable influencer. Some of these people have achieved in months what many brands have tried to achieve in years.
It’s about having your own point of view. Being very clear about what your style and brand is. What type of content will resonate. Knowing what your audience wants to see from you.
It’s such a rich space for brands to engage in new audiences – if they can get it right.
My podcast choices are mainly fun and frivolous at the moment. However, I can get very engrossed in real stories e.g. American Scandal, S-Town, The Teacher’s Pet, Maddie, and Serial. I love the way these stories are being retold in a new and interesting way.
The people behind them are so passionate about giving a new platform to a story and finding new audiences to connect with.
Who are your go-to thought leaders, and why?
I’m weird. I like variety and all ends of the spectrum.
Leigh Sales: what an amazing powerhouse in Australian journalism. She hasn’t even reached 50 and is one of the most respected journalists in the country. Leigh is at the top of her game and asks the hard questions no matter who her interviewee is.
Cindy Gallop: just look at her LinkedIn profile – “I Like to blow shit up. I am the Michael Bay of business.”
I had the great pleasure of meeting her, and was enamoured by her power, passion and stamina to disrupt.
Kris Jenner: less of a go-to, and more of an extremely interesting person in whom to observe the power of influencers and controlled storytelling. I might be wrong but I believe she’s spearheaded the brands of the majority of her children. Whether you love or hate her, there are marketing lessons to be learnt from her very controlled narrative.
Our favourite qu: What’s your top beer or wine recommendation?
Umamu Estate Chardonnay is a beautiful drop from the gorgeous Margaret River. Perfect for a long lunch when the world opens up again.