Best business advice? Trust your own judgment - Julie Moulsdale

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever had? Mine was: “Work is a thing you do, not a place you go”. I heard this from Gordon Thomson, one of our technology clients, of Cisco in 2006, who opened my mind to the possibility of remote working in our first year of Perceptive. Little did I know then how instrumental it would be, both in growing our business and throughout the pandemic. While others had to shift their way of working, we were already well prepared and used to working from home so adapted very easily.

Julie Moulsdale is managing director of multi-award-winning communications consultancy, Perceptive Communicators
Julie Moulsdale is managing director of multi-award-winning communications consultancy, Perceptive Communicators

While working from home is much more the norm now, many were sceptical 15 years ago that such a model would work. However I felt in my gut that it was right. Importantly this meant we could invest in high quality experienced team members rather than expensive offices. It was a decision that was key in enabling us to deliver invaluable outcomes with our clients, while also making major carbon emission savings.

Having been a client myself for 15 years at IBM, PwC and Royal Bank of Scotland Group, I had become increasingly frustrated trying to find a communications consultancy that had the right depth of sector knowledge and understanding of the client experience. As a client, I knew these are qualities that are essential to delivering great outcomes for clients and for forming long term and fruitful working partnerships.

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I worked with several agencies with staff who had never been clients themselves, so had no idea of the different needs and challenges faced by clients. In addition, rather than being focused specialists, with in-depth knowledge and contacts, agency teams were spread thinly across many unrelated clients and sectors.

Another decision based on my experience as a client was to focus on just a few sectors - the built environment, health and life sciences, technology and economic development. Again I was told this would never work, “far too narrow” or “too niche" apparently.

However by having this laser focus, we have developed deep market understanding and built strong networks of senior influencers in each sector. This combination enables us to deliver transformational results for our clients, so in my opinion far outweighs any risks or downsides.

We play an instrumental role on many exciting landmark developments, including the multi-award-winning Athletes’ Village where we helped transform perceptions of the East End of Glasgow and sell out this development two years early. We have also helped to secure planning permission and community support for landmark developments like The Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA) and Wavegarden Scotland, Scotland’s first artificial surfing lake, which will make a huge difference to people’s lives and become a dynamic leisure destination. We support Scotland’s largest and most ambitious regeneration agency, Clyde Gateway, on the incredible transformation of this area. Similarly, we work with masterplanners, housebuilders, Midlothian Council and the local community on creating Shawfair, an exciting new town and community.

Because of the positive impact our built environment, economic development and technology clients have on people’s lives, we decided to extend our focus into life sciences and healthcare. Since then we have delivered great outcomes for global brands like Menicon and Thermo Fisher Scientific. We also support Precision Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre which helps patients get the right drugs at the right time for their genetic type, resulting in much better outcomes for patients and the NHS.

Working with The Scotland 5G Centre, we are seeing first-hand how digital connectivity and 5G are instrumental in transforming the delivery of Scotland’s economy, public services and healthcare for the benefit of its communities.

Each successful client campaign reinforces our view that we were right to focus and employ communications experts with experience as clients and real depth of knowledge. So my advice to anyone in business: ignore the sceptics and trust your gut!

Julie Moulsdale is managing director of multi-award-winning communications consultancy, Perceptive Communicators www.perceptivecommunicators.co.uk

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