What’s it like working in Communication Strategy and Copywriting?

Jason Moriarty and Laren van de Westhuizen | Hands & Minds

KISKA Communication Strategy and Copywriting come up with the juicy stories brands need to cut through the noise and connect to target audiences.

What do you do at KISKA?

JASON: As the Lead of Power Sport Communication Strategy, I oversee my team as we navigate the murky waters between brand personality, user needs, and two-wheel vehicles, to extract a unique story that resonates with people. 

LAREN: In the two-wheel world of KISKA, I’m the guy you come to for creative concepts and words.

Copywriters at most agencies will tell you that this role can be pretty unclear. Some people assume you “just” write stuff. Others think the job has something to do with brand name registration (copywrite versus copyright, you know?). But in the studio, it’s clear that I’m the go-to guy for ideas and communicating these ideas effectively. I work with words, but always in close collaboration with the visual side of things.

Describe your day-to-day work.

LAREN: My day is balanced between writing copy for ads, folders, banners, and websites, video, then brainstorming with art directors, graphic designers, photographers and videographers. I have a lot of knowledge about the two-wheel world because of my past as a professional MX rider, so I’m also brought into topics like product development for my insights.

I do get the odd chance to work on brands not in the two-wheel world, which is great. It gives me a break from burning tires and rubber. As the “English expert” at KISKA, I also proofread presentations and texts written by colleagues who are non-native English speakers. I’m happy to help, because that’s how we do things here.

JASON: Like Sherlock Holmes (the fictional arch-nemesis of my infamous namesake Moriarty), much of my day is filled with investigation and discovery. I deep-dive into brand communication challenges to extract the most compelling insights, from which a juicy story can be formed. Whether I’m building the basis for a new product name, devising the singular strategy for a launch campaign, or coming up with a unique slogan for an entirely new brand – it’s challenging. And no two challenges are alike.

How would you describe your team dynamic and how you work with KISKA clients?

LAREN: The communication strategy and copywriting team is small, but our personal history extends beyond KISKA, so we understand each other very well.

I also work closely with the graphic designers for KTM, Husqvarna Motorcycles, and GASGAS. We can’t live without each other. Without copywriters, there’s just pretty pictures. Without graphic designers, there’s just text. Over the last few years, they have gotten to know my strengths, and vice versa. This dynamic has evolved into a now seamless interaction. We do what we do really well. 

When it comes to the client side of things, KISKA has a unique relationship with KTM and its sister brands Husqvarna Motorcycles and GASGAS. This makes things easy on some projects, and complicated on others. It’s never a problem, just a working relationship that takes time to optimise. For instance, I have to change hats working on the different brand projects and going into different brand meetings. I even change my music! You can imagine that listening to classical music during a KTM brainstorm won’t work.

JASON: The end result is we collaborate with companies to help them effectively simplify their complex products and ideas into a single, attractive, and tangible brand personality. Most times, at high speed.

What’s the best thing about your job? And, the most challenging?

JASON: The best part of the job is collaborating with talented people from diverse backgrounds, fields of expertise, and cultures. Then seeing all the parts come together into something new, fresh, and previously unseen.

LAREN: I’m from the world of motorsports. First as a competitor and now in this capacity. I love being a mover and shaker in the two-wheel industry in different capacities. It’s the best way to stay connected to the world I love, while achieving success, but without breaking more bones.

The most challenging part is being creative “on-demand”. I’ve learned to write ideas down when I think of them. That way, when I have a moment of writer’s block, I tap into my collection of saved ideas for inspiration.

JASON: We are entrusted with translating a lifeless physical product into a living entity with an exciting angle that really “speaks” to the end-user. So, our daily challenge is to convince clients what their brand genuinely needs to communicate to excite the “person-on-the-street”, rather than just executing what their experts would like to say about their products.

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