People: The business diary

Deputy First Minister John Swinney with Michelle Ovens, Small Business Saturday campaign director, and councillor Frank Ross

Deputy First Minister John Swinney with Michelle Ovens, Small Business Saturday campaign director, and councillor Frank Ross

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THE Marketing Society held its largest ever Albion Dinner last week in Edinburgh.

Guests were given plenty of words of wisdom from Sarah Warby, marketing director at Sainsbury’s, whose business mantra, “It’s all about the team,” rang true with many in the audience.

However, the guest speaker for the evening was in danger of being overshadowed by an impromptu celebration for society fellow John Denholm, executive chairman of marketing outfit Denholm Associates.

His official retirement and 65th birthday were marked with the dimming of the lights, presentation of a candle-decked cake and a stirring rendition of “happy birthday to you”. We wish the former Boots and Scottish & Newcastle marketeer all the best in what we suspect will be his semi-retirement.

Right direction for SBS

MICHELLE Ovens, national campaign director for Small Business Saturday (SBS), was in town to drum up support for this year’s event as the Scottish launch took place at Edinburgh City Chambers.

“Get involved” was the rallying cry as momentum builds ahead of the third annual SBS on 5 December – a laudable initiative aimed at encouraging us all to shop at small, independent firms.

There was a pledge from Deputy First Minister John Swinney that he would be “out and about” supporting retailers in his own constituency on said date, while councillor Frank Ross promised to promote the initiative with a selfie.

Ovens’ passion for the grassroots campaign was obvious and seems unlikely to have fallen on deaf ears. Apparently, last year’s SBS even managed to out-trend boy-band One Direction on the day. #SmallBizSatUK

Out of order comes…

AS ERIC Morecambe once told André Previn: “I’m playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.”

And order proved to be a tricky one for Standard Life when coming up with a strategy to showcase its priorities, delegates at Wednesday’s Connecting Leaders event heard.

After days of brainstorming, the firm had a list of headings laid out in a seemingly ad hoc order. However it was only when a new start at the company, clearly an anagram expert, recognised that the first letter of each heading could actually form a word – and the somewhat catchier “C²ARES” (customers, colleagues, advisers, regulators, employers, shareholders) was born.

Muckle great move

NATHALIE Agnew and Jane Cumming were singing each other’s praises following Muckle Media’s swoop on Platform PR.

The deal will see industry stalwart Cumming, who is managing director of Platform, and director Jenny Macpherson join Muckle’s board.

Muckle made the move to support its ambition of growing across the UK to increase annual fee income to £2.8 million by 2020. The Platform acquisition will grow the group to a team of 12 with year-one turnover in excess of £750,000.

The deal will cement both firms as key PR players in the north of Scotland, while Muckle will focus on additional growth in the Central Belt, following the opening of an Edinburgh office last year.

Agnew said: “I’ve long respected Jane, Jenny and colleagues at Platform PR and look forward to welcoming them to our team. I’m certain a number of our clients will benefit from their senior counsel and can’t wait to work together as we shape the future of Muckle Media Group.”

Cumming added: “After more than 30 years in the industry and 13 years in consultancy, I’m excited about this new chapter, joining forces with Muckle.”

Chuffed for Baillie

Sarah Baillie of Anderson Strathern has joined a select list of only 12 other Law Society of Scotland-accredited specialists in planning law, having worked on major projects including the Borders Railway, officially opened by the Queen last week.

“Our clients can be assured their lawyers are true experts in their fields of law,” said managing partner Murray McCall.

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