From barcodes and guitars, to cell service and cheeseburgers — Bob Skwarek has been in the business of marketing it all.
There's something noble and great about being a specialist, but I just found that there are more advantages to being a generalist.
And now, as the Senior Manager of PR, Content, and Social Media at TransUnion, he's also in the business of marketing “Information for Good.” That's TransUnion's newest initiative to help consumers understand more about their own credit, security, and identity theft.
In fact, you might be surprised that, as one of the three largest credit bureaus in the world, most of TransUnion's social presences have a consumer-friendly focus.
Bob, a SocialMedia.org member for many years, leads the social team on this consumer side of the company. He says the idea of helping people become more educated about credit information is one of the things that drew him to the job.
Before working at TransUnion, Bob's had a long and varied career in marketing and communications.
He's worked on the marketing side at brands like Zebra Technologies, Washburn Guitars, U.S. Cellular, and McDonald's. He says that breadth of experience has been an advantage in his career in marketing.
“There's something noble and great about being a specialist, but I just found that there are more advantages to being a generalist,” Bob explains.
“Taking best practices from different industries, all of the people you meet, and the experiences you've had, and bringing them to the organization you're working with really helps you stay relevant.”
At U.S. Cellular, he was one of the first to volunteer himself into kicking off their Facebook presence in 2007. And at McDonald's, he helped with internally focused branding and corporate communications.
“When you tell people at cocktail parties you work for McDonald's, everybody shares an opinion about it.”
“And whether you like it or not, you're going to hear it,” Bob laughs.
“But most folks don't go around talking about their credit score or whether or not they got a loan. But when I start talking to them about what I do at TransUnion, they have stories and open up. And that's what's rewarding for me, is that the folks I have talked to have a good affinity for our brand and want to have an educated conversation to learn more.”
Bob also loves the diversity of his job.
Every day in his role is different, whether he's working with cross-functional teams, the media, or agencies. But he says it all comes with an emphasis on trying to get “the most bang for your buck,” and going with what will have the most impact on ROI. And since he's doing it all with a lean team, Bob says he looks to his peers in SocialMedia.org often.
“Bringing SocialMedia.org on board was my first initiative when I got here. I would encourage anyone in a similar situation to look to resources such as SocialMedia.org. Lean on folks for best practices instead of trying to reinvent the wheel or feeling like you have to go it alone.”
When he started at TransUnion, his division president showed him a blank whiteboard in his office.
Pointing toward the board, he told Bob, “This is what we can do. We can do anything.” Bob says that kind of clean slate is relieving and exciting at the same time.
Right now, they're working on revamping their blog. Bob's looking into bringing on guest authors and industry experts, beef up the content, and educate consumers. But he says the possibilities to go from there are limitless.
“I love that there's an energy and attitude here that's almost entrepreneurial,” Bob says.
Follow Bob on Twitter and ask about his band, Terata. Bob was a member of SocialMedia.org while he was working with U.S. Cellular in 2007, came to our meetings when he worked on McDonald's social team, and now, he's been with our community on TransUnion's roster since 2015.