Today - Friday, March 8th - is International Women's Day and to mark the occasion, we have decided to highlight some of the incredible women working in the games industry.
Nvidia's Northern Europe consumer PR manager Jen Andersson tells us what TV show inspired her to work in PR and what misconceptions there are about this sector
Can you tell us about your current role and what it entails?
I work as consumer PR manager at Nvidia looking after Northern Europe which includes the UK, Nordics and South Africa. It might sound like a cliché, but no day is ever the same in PR – nor is there really a dull moment – but it boils down to developing and delivering our brand/product message in a way that will appeal to today’s generation of gamers and tech enthusiasts. I work closely with developers on the latest blockbuster games as our GPUs are the engines that make these games possible, and as we work towards making games more photorealistic and immersive, my job is to make sure people get to experience them in the best possible way.
What did you study (if anything) that helped you get into games? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals interested in your areas of expertise?
My studies were more related to media than games, or even PR. I didn’t go to university to study for a PR or communications degree, and although you don't have to have a degree in public relations, it will be much harder to get into the industry if you don't. I was very lucky in that respect. PR is about wanting to work hard, having an appetite to learn, being tenacious and having a brilliant ability to communicate and tell a story. Possessing the right skills is key but you can learn them. Attend courses to become a great writer, generate great relationships by networking your butt off and so on.
Where did you get your start in games and how did you progress into what you're doing now? Is this something you ever imagined yourself doing?
I always knew I wanted to work in PR – you have Absolutely Fabulous to thank for that – and I started off in technology PR where I developed a strong passion for gadgets and tech. When I joined my first PR agency, I actually went on to pitch for and win Nvidia as a client in 2008 and that was my entry into the games industry. Nvidia now brings me the best of both worlds. I get to work with technology and gadgets within an amazing industry; an industry that is made up of some of the kindest and brightest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I never imagined I’d end up in videogames - I didn’t really even play them before – but when you’re part of such a forward-looking and passionate industry, it’s hard to not get drawn into some of the amazing games that are being created today.
What part of your role do you find most fulfilling?
After all these years, I’m still a sucker for press coverage and get a real buzz when that positive piece you’ve worked so hard on gets published. I also get a real kick out of getting creative and planning an event or campaign.
Do you think there are any misconceptions, public or professional, surrounding your area of expertise?
I think a lot of people see PR as just glitz and glamour – you do a couple of hours work and then spend the afternoon sipping cocktails. The reality can be very different and it’s hard work where you need to be available 24/7. If you’re looking for a 9-to-5 job, PR probably isn’t right for you. I would say, however, my best pitching moments are when I’m at events or out having lunch. Everyone feels a lot more comfortable and you can really get to know your journalist in a relaxed environment, find out what they’re working on and how you can fit into their agenda.
There’s also the misconception that PR professionals are spin doctors. I’d like to think we build our relationships with the media and the public based on trust and telling the truth. We have to deliver accurate information and PR will often take the most critical points from that information to deliver a message that’s easy to understand.