I’m living a magical life. I get to rub shoulders with the world’s greatest entrepreneurs and the foremost marketing minds on the planet. I know what makes them tick and I understand what gets them up in the morning and I see what drives their success.
It’s not wealth, exotic cars, fancy yachts or private planes. For super-successful people, and for me, it’s the desire to make a difference…to positively impact those around us and the communities in which we live.
This website is my feeble attempt to enrich the lives of every visitor who stumbles upon it.
I’m the luckiest man in the world.
I’m the founder of booming marketing, communications, student recruitment, wine and property businesses and I get to spend most of my life in the sunshine. What a blissful cocktail!
It’s a big change from my early years that were spent in the Scottish steel town of Motherwell where our red sandstone building was not so much a row of houses but a caring community where you never had to lock your door.
I was born an entrepreneur and I was only five when I came up with my first business idea – breeding hamsters and selling them to the local pet shop for half a crown, 25p in today’s money.
My second was selling signed photographs of myself playing the Major General in a school production of Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Pirates of Penzance.
I sang the famous rhyming song "I am The Very Model of a Modern Major General" and I couldn’t resist making a double LP which we sold to the parents of every student in the show.
At the age of 17, I was heading to Edinburgh University to read history and politics when a reporter’s job came up at our local newspaper, The Wishaw Press.
Covering murders, bank robberies and council battles was more exciting than studying ancient wars and political intrigue, so I decided to apply. The interview went well and, lo and behold, I got the job.
"You will regret it for the rest of your life," my mother warned but, truth be told, I never regretted it for a second.
Within 18 months I had set up my own news agency and by 26 I was making a king’s ransom writing for every national newspaper, radio and TV station in the UK.
I got into PR by mistake. I had no intention of working in an industry which, as far as I could see, was peopled by beautiful people, clutching glasses of champagne.
My change of heart came when I was offered £300 to write a press release. It took me 20 minutes and it was the easiest money I had ever made.
The news release got a great show in the press and media and soon other clients were queuing at my door so the Beattie Media news agency became the Beattie Communications PR agency.
One of our first PR recruits was a young graduate called Laurna Woods. She’s now our global CEO but she impressed me so much that at the age of 22, I built a team around her in Edinburgh.
After that we opened offices in Dundee, Aberdeen, Falkirk, Leeds and London. Within days of us opening in London, Hewlett-Packard got in touch wanting to meet our people and see our offices.
Our offices in St James’ Square were impressive but I had only one employee. Fortunately, she was dating an actor so we got him to bring all his friends to the office.
As HP toured the suite, they could not have been more impressed by our good-looking PR team. The visit went well and I was overjoyed the next day when they called to say we were one of the agencies they were inviting to pitch for their business.
We ended up winning Hewlett-Packard and within four weeks we had 26 great people working in our London office on what turned out to be the biggest PR account in Britain.
We quickly added more and more big brands including Marks & Spencer, Rolls-Royce, Specsavers, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Bank of Scotland.
By this time, we were also charging ahead in Manchester, Birmingham and Dublin and I’m proud to say we now have a bigger footprint than any PR, digital, social, creative, advertising or voice marketing agency in the UK.
We, of course, are no longer a PR agency. Beattie is now an integrated communications agency operating across the UK, Ireland and North America.
We feel like a family but play like a team with stars in every position. Our dream is a simple one – to be admired as THE integrated communications agency that simply delivers.
I’m often asked – what’s the secret of my success.
My reply never varies – I’ve surrounded myself with people who are better than me.
My thanks to Laurna Woods, Elspeth Brown, Peter Cunningham, Jacquie Boyd-Coleman, Rachel Gladwin, Joanne Spence, Jessica McAndrew, Linda Mitchell, Deirdre Campbell and the 1001 people whose brains, talent and energy I rely upon.
Beattie, the integrated communications agency, has more offices in the UK than any PR, digital, social, advertising or creative agency.
Only is our ultra-specialist marketing brand. Our boutiques include Only Health, Only Digital and Only Crisis.
11ten is our international student recruitment and education marketing brand.
Beattie Tartan is our integrated communications brand serving Canada and the United States.