Back in January 2001 the world was quite a different place.
It’s amazing to think those who had any form of mobile phone were either holding a machine the size of a brick (complete with attached aerial), or it was actually connected by a cord to a cradle in a car. In fact, the iphone wasn’t introduced until 2007.
Even the internet was in its youth: ‘Social media’ as a phrase had only been used for the first time four years earlier. LinkedIn was formed in 2002, Facebook in 2004 and Twitter two years later. Consequently, the measure of a successful PR agency in 2001 was pretty much restricted to quality and readership of coverage in print media or the equivalent on TV/radio.
Founder of Souter PR, Sue Souter (as always seems to be the case with a new venture) started the business in January 2001 using a clunky PC and a BT landline in the corner of the Souters’ living room in Edinburgh. Her first client recognised her writing and communication skills, and it’s probably safe to say that these have always been two of Sue’s many positive attributes ever since. This blog is written by her husband – I have to say that!
In the same year, the Souters moved back to where they grew up – the Stockport area in Cheshire. With established connections through a previous position in PR in the North West, Sue took on the Warburtons and Soreen accounts. The ongoing challenges and variety in a day’s work started here – from new product launches, sampling events, internal news content, press releases and even advising Mr Warburton and his directors regarding their reputation with their stakeholders.
In 2002 Souter PR became a limited company and I (Roger) joined Sue as a co-director, giving up a national sales manager role in the process. Probably the biggest challenge over 15 years has been the changing world of public relations as a service (reference the growth of social media); but for us as a business it has been the diversity from handling a couple of large food producers to the current level averaging 10 clients’ expectations, ranging from manufacturing, healthcare, legal services, commercial property to food & drink.
Why are we still doing it after 15 years, and why do clients put their trust in Souter PR?
We think it’s down to a grasp of understanding what our clients want (and of course delivering on it), plus an enthusiasm for getting the job done, and we hope our suppliers and clients alike recognise that we can all enjoy ourselves in the process! We love the great variety, the joy of getting that coverage, and the contribution we can make to the success of other businesses in the region.
Fast-forward another 15 years and we’ll be sat in the back of the car whilst it drives us to the office. King Charles III will be paying a state visit to neighbours The Republic of Scotland, and the next generation of iphones will feature immediate voice translation so that conversations with our Chinese clients are translated as we speak.
Thanks of course must go to the wonderful people who’ve worked with us over the past 15 years – you’ve kept us sane (just!) and still loving what we do.
Roger (and Sue) Souter