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, Dubai, 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?
It’s been an exciting year for Montpellier, and it closes on a high for us too as this month we have sealed what is comfortably our largest PR client win in a decade. The frustrating thing is that, at the time of writing, I’m not allowed to reveal ‘who’ as this month they go through an international merger with a listed European engineering group. But it’s a great piece of work to land and reflects an increasing amount of international work at Montpellier.
We’ve also 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, grateful to our clients, and also 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 primarily work with independently owned, B2B clients. We don’t work much with the big FTSE 500 brands – but well over half of our work today is for international markets, a trend for us that has fuelled much of our growth since the demise of the great recession. M+W Group in Stuttgart, a major IT network technology group in Seattle and Dutch-owned Ad Hoc Property Management will be augmented by a European aviation brand; representing an eclectic portfolio of independent market leading clients from around the world. Not bad for a PR & communications business proudly anchored in the Regency town of Cheltenham!
How do you define yourselves? What makes Montpellier unique?
We’re fiercely independent ourselves, which is why I think we attract attention from similarly minded companies. We’re also a proud champion of the PR industry outside the M25; I feel as if these recent wins just go to affirm the reality, which is that the client world really doesn’t give a fig which end of a high street your offices are based in; it’s the talent, experience and attitude that counts!
We’re also an enthusiastic supporter of internships, both short-term and longer international placements, some of whom have completed their internship and gone straight into full-time employment with us! That includes graphic design and web developers as well as public relations professionals.
What changes have you been dealing with this year?
Recruitment has an been an important for focus for Montpellier in 2015 as on the one hand we’ve said farewell to ‘Montpellians’ moving out of the region (to whom we say thank you for all your hard work and bon chance!) and at the same time geared up to support a much larger PR portfolio.
The incredible pace of change continually occurring in our industry seems, if possible, to have quickened to an even greater degree in the last year; 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.