Glancing back; looking forward

Reflecting on the good, the bad and the indifferent from 2018, as CEO of one of the UK’s leading rail marketing, communications and digital agencies, my attention for the last few months has been focused on readying ourselves for 2019.

We know that the end and beginning of any railway control period throws up lots of opportunities, with challenges in equal measure, as programmes and projects end and work-bank uncertainty begins – despite the huge sums of money promised and the associated PQQs and tender documents that are issued. Keeping at the forefront of your customers’ minds has perhaps, therefore, never been more important.

2019 is also a personal milestone year for me as it marks 30-years working in the rail industry – 15-years as a senior manager and director; 15-years working as a marketing and communications consultant, guiding, advising, promoting and defending train operating companies, infrastructure organisations, tier one and supply chain contractors and professional services. My company is privileged to work for some fantastic rail businesses all, with our support, jockeying for position and trying to win innovative and profitable business to help them to grow and prosper.

In providing a professional and value-adding service, one of the important things that we advocate is ongoing, consistent and powerful profile raising work – as opposed to short bursts of activity or in some cases nothing at all. Our view is that it is consistency and regular messaging that helps organisations to achieve their goals. And while it is vital to be clear about what you want to say and to be active in promoting your company, your time is precious. So why not delegate to an expert and free up your time to do what you do best?

If you believe your company has the best product or service in the market, you need to think about how you tell people so that they always see you as the partner of choice before considering anyone else. If no-one knows about you, what you do and how well you do it, or if you are not telling enough people, in the right places and in the right way, you will find it harder to be successful.

So, if you are seeking to raise the profile of your business, where do you start? Whether you work for or run a large corporate or a small to medium-sized business, or if you are a sole trader, the basics of successful communications remain the same. The first step is to create a communications strategy and plan. A key part of this process is to identify who you want to communicate with and what you want to say. The next step is to say it, by “telling the truth well”, about your company, its news and achievements.

Your plan of action could include a wide range of marketing and PR activities, depending on which are right for your company and its objectives. Here at Mercury Group Limited, we use a range of marketing, public relations, social media, websites, e-shots, feature articles, events, photography and videography as part of an integrated plan when we tell our clients’ stories. Our copywriters, designers and web developers also produce work-winning PQQs, tenders and award bids, making sure that our customers are best placed to achieve their internal and external objectives – creating award winning campaigns that create a sense of pride and belonging internally and external work that resonates with commercially with clients.

As we glance back on 2018 and look forward to 2019, we do so knowing that our destinies lie mostly in our own hands. Christmas is great time to relax and recharge our batteries (unless, of course, you are working on some of the many projects that Network Rail and others have planned over the festive period – in which case we hope you deliver well and deliver safely). In this reflective period, it might just be worth considering how you will raise your profile and increase your chances of doing more profitable business in 2019. If you want some free advice when you get back in the new year, please feel free to give me a call. It is always a great pleasure to speak to like-minded people.

Happy Christmas from everyone at Mercury Group Limited and we wish you a healthy, safe and successful New Year!

Simon Taylor is one of the UK’s leading and most experienced communication and stakeholder engagement professionals working in rail, oil and gas, renewables, construction civil engineering and professional services. Based in Yorkshire with offices all over the UK, Mercury Group Limited employs more than 50 consultants helping organisations to grow and prosper. The team works for a large number of leading businesses who are dominant in their sectors. Simon can be contacted on 01482-782287.