We spent 10 minutes catching up with Guy Woodcock, founder and CEO of Montpellier. In a year of back to back assignments in places as varied and different as Tanzania, Germany’s Swabia and Scandinavia, he reflects on a watershed year for his longstanding PRCA member firm in beautiful Cheltenham.
How’s this year been for you? Any news?
Each issue, we spend 10 minutes getting to know one of our managing directors. What are their ambitions, greatest achievements and PR secrets? This month we caught up with former infantry officer Guy Woodcock, founder and CEO of Montpellier. In a year of back to back assignments for Montpellier in places as varied as Tanzania, Dubai, Germany’s Swabia and Singapore, he reflects on a watershed year for his longstanding PRCA member firm in beautiful Cheltenham.
How’s this past year been for you? Any news?
It’s been an exciting year for Montpellier, and it starts on a high for us too as we have sealed one of our largest PR client wins in a while, Swiss-Swedish joint venture UMS Skeldar, another international client and a merger of Saab’s and UMS’s unmanned aerial vehicle (drones in common parlance) manufacturing operation. The international merger was completed before Christmas and the work in launching the combined business has started in earnest, again with a strong international focus as well as PR communications into the UK market.
Meanwhile as a business we have just completed a major rebrand and launched a new website to reflect the increasingly integrated nature of our services. We go into 2016 even fitter for the future, hugely grateful to our clients, and too, it must be said, to the PRCA and its regional committee for collaborating for the common good of PR and clients in this wonderful region.
How Intriguing! So what sorts of clients do you normally work with?
We focus in the main on independent businesses rather than listed ones, and mostly B2B, although many, such as in healthcare or property, cross over into B2C. However, well over half of our work today is for international markets, a trend for us that has fuelled much of our growth since the economic recovery. M+W Group in Stuttgart, a major IT network technology group in Seattle and Dutch-owned Ad Hoc Property Management, to mention a few, will be augmented by our work with UMS Skeldar. Not bad for a PR & communications business proudly anchored in the Regency metropolis of Cheltenham!
How do you define yourselves? What makes you unique?
We’re fiercely independent as a business, which is why I think we attract attention from similarly minded clients. We’re also a proud champion of the PR industry outside the M25. Our client portfolio today just goes to affirm the reality that the client world really doesn’t give a fig which end of a high street your offices are based; it’s the talent, experience and attitude that count most!
What changes have you been dealing with this year?
As ever, recruitment of the best talent has been an important focus for Montpellier. On the one hand we’ve said farewell to ‘Montpellians’ moving out of the region or into new fields (to whom we say a massive thank you for all your hard work and bonne chance!) and at the same time we’ve geared up to support our expanding PR portfolio.
The incredible pace of change in our industry is inexorable and for that reason developing the skills and capabilities of our young people and bringing through fresh talent to prepare for leadership roles within our business has been a major focus this year.