Westpac's story-200 years
30 weeks ago

Westpac's story-200 years

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It's not often that you are asked to help someone write their 200 year story so I was honoured and delighted to work with Westpac on their 200th anniversary book that was officialy launched in April 2017.

There was a time in corproate storytelling that it was expected that when a company turned 50, 100 or even 150, that a book was the appropriate way to celebrate/commemorate this milestone. In fact, I built a corproate publishing business on the basis of this.

The last 15 years, however, have opened up the opportunities for corporate storytelling, and I've particiapted in this major change both as a publisher and a writer. And I think I am fortunate to love what I do, researching and writing corporate stories and sometimes publishing them as well.

The process of co-authoring the Westpac@200 book was a truely collaborative project, working with internal Westpac people, the Westpac archivist and interviewing a number of Westpac's former Chief Executives and Chairmen including Bob Joss, David Morgan, Gail Kelly, Ann Sherry and others.

And what a great story Westpac is . . . from its formation as the Bank of New South Wales, its role in the growth and development of Australia through to more challenging times, overseas expansion and then refocusing on Australia and, more recently how it is respondng to the changing landscape that is the digital environment.

Writing the story was great fun. I get the opportunity to immerse myself deeply into a company and an industry sector and traverse a long and wide set of books, documents, board papers, annual reports and other primary resource material. Then there's the opportunity to meet and interview some of Australia's leading businessmen and women, some who have shaped the course of their company and industry. To have open and direct conversations with such business leaders is a real priviledge. 

Of course there's the task of taking all this information and knowledge and actually writing the story, that's the part I like the most, the actual physical act of distilling what's in my head and putting it down on paper – well computer screen.

And the end result for Westpac has been not only a book but also a wealth of content that they are using across their entire company. A quick look across the Internet provides a sample of how Westpac has leveraged its story.

Internally: http://info.westpac.com.au/200/our-story/

https://vimeo.com/219502451

Media: Leveraging heritage https://www.cio.com.au/article/602608/westpac-cio-how-my-200-year-old-startup-stays-agile/

 http://www.afr.com/brand/chanticleer/westpacs-200th-reveals-the-crises-that-made-the-bank-today-20170210-gua944

Events: 200th annviersary events and travelling exhibition around Australia from April 2017

Community engagement: https://australianmuseum.net.au/media/200/pdf/mediarelease_100-people.pdf

So, while I love writing corporate stories and publishing them as book . . . I have embraced  the way that corproate stories can be shared across a range of on-line and social media platforms, by business leaders through sharing stories with everyone in their company and how the power of well-crafted story can provide the link across the past, the present and the future.

Westpac@200 is such a story, a red thread that links Westpac's past and present to its vision and role in Australia's future. I happen to think that capturing this story is important for all of us and I regard it as a honour to be able to help create and share this particular story.