About

January 2013 and after seven years at Publicis Chemistry as business development director I’ve left to become a freelance new business consultant. I’m of the demographic, you see. You can check my one-page ‘snapshot’ about me, below.*

As the only consistent (persistent?) blogger there, I found that if you’re really hungry for attention, the web is the best place to feel lonely. And I never let my paltry number of readers get in the way of stopping me from writing more stuff that very few people want to read.

Yes, thick-skinned new biz people never let lack of attention (attention which they crave) get them down. But as the only blogger there, then…then what?

Actually, I’m not sure I really like that mention, above, of being ‘consistent’ as (a) I can be quite irregular — business gets busy sometimes; and (b) Oscar Wilde described consistency as ‘the last refuge of the mediocre’.  So I try not to be — mediocre, that is.

Writing is the act of articulating things which aren’t quite worked out: things that aren’t quite clear yet in your head. Or as Dr Johnson said of it, it’s an action which creates an ‘accurate man’. The other two actions he included in this observation were talking and reading: they create (or ‘maketh’, as he put it) ‘ready’ and ‘wise’ men, respectively. I don’t think he had blogging in mind, but hey.

Certainly Johnson’s clever statements don’t relate to me. But I like the the so-called wisdom of that. My intention is to post stuff to my blog as a way of having some fun but in the context of what we do as we go about our marketing business. Mainly.

So I like stirring topical issues that may have ‘implications’. Or provoking something that might be called ‘a debate’ — or a laugh. And, generally, playing around with the idea that most things have a ‘funny’ side to them and that we shouldn’t get too carried away with the idea that what we are and how we act in making our business work makes us think we’re too precious.

And that’s about it, really. The consultant’s new business views won’t be that much different to those of the full-time employee. I hope. But there may be more opportunities to express them.

Summary of main business won: 2006-11

My work and track record as business development director at Chemistry – before we were acquired by Publicis – proved extremely successful: Orange, Emirates, Kraft, Tesco Phone Shop, Benecol, Aviva, Scottish and Southern Energy, SHL, Alliance-Boots Healthcare and SKY IQ (both now with Mundocom), Cadbury’s, Southern Rail, were just some of the clients we won as a result of my efforts. This doesn’t include the numerous pitches we were invited to, which I sparked, but didn’t win.

Neil Cowan ‘snapshot’

On one side of A4…summary skills and capabilities which I would like to summarise for you as follows:

  1. I am a positive, energetic, articulate, independent, fresh-thinking, fearless (mostly), opportunistic, challenging and entrepreneurially-minded new business go-getter
  2. I have a great track record of sourcing and creating a healthy pipeline of new business opportunities and prospects (pls see below summary list of clients won); this involves intelligent research, creating differentiated introductory propositions, a great deal of tenacity and challenging presentations
  3. I’m a good ‘front person’ who is capable of networking, meeting and entering into positive conversations with new and unfamiliar people in different environments in order to build a positive agency image to engage prospects enough to want to be involved and / or stay in touch with us
  4. I’m good at supporting the pitch-winning account process – from chemistry meetings through to final pitch
  5. No one writes as well as I do; however immodest that sounds (and it does). From introductory and challenging emails and letters that drive attention and consideration; to writing, re-writing and designing better case studies and agency ‘books’; to creating an industry-related blog – I’m the only person in Publicis Chemistry (and also the whole building of c.600 people) who has written a regular blog* for the last few years
  6. I can add an extra positive communications ‘dimension’ to an agency through excellent writing expressed in fresh language; this can involve agency updates, newsletters, events round-ups and more; every topic has a new angle waiting to be exploited
  7. I attend external briefing meetings held by official bodies and organisations (ex COI and now government, procurement teams, etc.) aiming to invite agencies to tenders and pitches; additionally I write and progress all the company’s responses to RFIs and ITTs; other people may also contribute but no one writes as…pls see point 4, above, or edits as well as I do
  8. I’m a news and information junkie who’s passionate (and pretty much desperate) to keep on learning as the industry goes through increasingly rapid and disruptive change; I’m also good at desk research, understanding key business and commercial issues in order to formulate relevant points of view and enter into meaningful discussions with prospects from cold
  9. I tend to work independently but am more happy to work as part of a team – across any number of people – where a positive environment earns the discretionary efforts of employees to drive creativity and courage rather than compliance and general competency; in this way greater new business productivity and success is ensured
  10. I can train and teach** people how to be better and more accurate communicators – both with their colleagues and their clients – in their thinking, writing, general communications and presenting skills; this includes how to create that most necessary of evils: the best ppt presentations

There’s much more but I hope you’ll consider this sufficient for now. I hope this information is of help. *You’ve also got my blog now, too: https://neilcowan.wordpress.com/ (I need all the readers I can get!)

Summary of main business won: 2006-11 (just in case you missed it, above!)

My work and track record as business development director at Chemistry – before we were acquired by Publicis – proved extremely successful: Orange, Emirates, Kraft, Tesco Phone Shop, Benecol, Aviva, Scottish and Southern Energy, SHL, Alliance-Boots Healthcare and SKY IQ (both now with Mundocom), Cadbury’s, Southern Rail, were just some of the clients we won as a result of my efforts. This doesn’t include the numerous pitches we were invited to, which I sparked, but didn’t win.

**NB: In addition to my first degree (upper second, English) I also have a PGCE (Post-graduate Cert Ed.)

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