Q&A with Anhar, Senior PR Manager (Pacific & Japan)
We involve customers in everything we do. When pitching to press, we usually gather customer stories sharing everything from why they send money abroad to how Wise has helped them. We also do lots of panels with our customers, learning from them to thoroughly understand how they view our product and what we should improve on.
One specific time really sticks in my mind when a customer showed up at our coworking space in Australia, asking for help with setting up his account. It felt great to take him through the sign-up and verification flow and get his first transfer set up together.
Why did you join Wise?
I’m originally from Kenya and have been sending money home for years. So when I discovered Wise and how much money I could save with it I fell in love with the product.
I’d worked in PR for years, but always in an agency, so I was intrigued about transitioning to an in-house team someday. Moving from working with multiple brands to focusing on just one when you’re in-house, you need to be very passionate about the product you’re working on. So when I heard about the job at Wise, a company that I loved and believed in, it was a no-brainer for me that this would be the best next step for my career.
In a nutshell, what do you do at Wise?
My job is to educate consumers and the press about the hidden fees problem and how Wise is building products to solve it. Day-to-day this involves reaching out and building relationships with journalists and helping to spread the word about our product to consumers. It’s everything from speaking with journalists, writing and submitting reports, coming up with creative campaign ideas and commissioning research to get our point across.
What’s the biggest challenge working here?
For me, it’s definitely working remotely. There’s only a handful of us in Australia, while the rest of the company is on different time zones across the world. Being so far away from the other teams is challenging. How do I overcome it? I have very flexible hours depending on the time zones I’m working with each day. If I have meetings with London teams, I take a break during the day going to the gym and doing personal admin before getting back for the meetings in the evening. When everyone else is on a different time zone, it’s all a balancing act. You have to hold yourself accountable for managing your time well as otherwise, you easily end up overworking yourself.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on?
Launching our debit card in Australia and New Zealand. We had to come up with a creative way to launch in the market. Our product is the first of its kind in the market – we have a great opportunity to be the market leader here so we wanted to make it a big bang.
My role was to come up with a campaign to educate consumers about our product and what’s in it for them. To quantify the problem about hidden fees, we commissioned some research to understand how much money Australians and Kiwis lose on exchange rate markups and transaction fees when they use their bank issued card abroad. We created an installation in the heart of the city with a ticking money counter showing them the big number and doubled it up with lots of press about the issue on the launch date.
Most interesting place you’ve used your Wisecard?
Kenya, Iceland, Thailand, New Zealand, so many places!
What does working with freedom and autonomy mean to you?
Having the freedom to do what I think is right shows in my work every day. Being across the world from most of the company, I have one of the most autonomous roles at Wise. It’s challenging, but also liberating. I get to make lots of decisions and take chances on my own that you couldn’t do in many companies. In PR, you have to act fast – by the time our European teams wake up the news cycle is over in Australia. So it can be at times daunting, but also exciting to handle things myself and retro the team back.
Tell us about a time you disagreed with your lead and why!
This wasn’t a disagreement as such but a challenge working across different time zones and cultures. With most of our Product and Marketing teams in London, often projects are led from there. So for the Australian and New Zealand card launch, the creative teams started working on crafting the campaign messaging from London. Being here on the ground, we have a thorough understanding of the local market, cultural nuances and zeitgeist. We had to make sure that the teams in London understood why we were proposing the ideas we had, which meant that we had to realign as a larger project team, and work with creatives on the ground in Australia for the launch. The autonomy at Wise really enabled us to maximise the product launch and nail the messaging for the market.
What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever done?
Before going into journalism, I worked in radio while studying at university. I did everything from advert voice overs to producing radio news stories for sports radio.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at Wise?
The most random, crazy thing was being in the winning team of our annual ‘Wisest of Them All’ whole company quiz at Summer Days 2019. We actually participated in the quiz as the “wildcard” team given we’re from a smaller office and we won the entire quiz, winning extra holiday days each!