Our CEO, Kath Darlington, speaks to life science LinkedIn blogger, Rizwan Chaudhrey, as part of his #ChatsWithChaudhrey interview series.
During the interview, Kath discusses starting The Scott Partnership and why we specialise in the life science and technology industries. Watch the video in full or read the summary of the conversation below.
Tell me about The Scott Partnership?
We first founded the business in 1996 and The Scott Partnership has grown into a group of global companies, by acquisition (Kapler Communications and Phoenix Marcom) and organic. We're headquartered in Cheshire in the UK and we service clients internationally. We have footprints in China and in North America. We work predominantly in life sciences, but also in other peripheral scientific industries and sectors such as food. We've had an interesting journey of growth, having always worked internationally, and with clients who are large international brands, typically headquartered in North America, supporting them into global markets.
How did you get into starting your own business? And what made you decide to start your own business?
Like many people, I set up my business doing what I knew how to do, which at the time was b2b PR. Before The Scott Partnership was founded, I led the PR department of a full service marketing agency. The agency I worked for was based in the UK, servicing UK clients. My first client was actually my former agency, and they contracted my business to support their existing client base. So, I was effectively looking after the work I already had. One of my clients came with me in life sciences and that pulled us right into this market.
What were the major differences that you saw in terms of how scientists reacted to communications?
What I found working with different industries was that the scientists were more adventurous, and they were willing to have more fun. We do have clients who like to do fun activities, but mainly it's about Return on Investment and reaching the right target audience. When it comes down to it, the big differences between when we started the business and now is that the tools and tactics have changed. You're still communicating and defining who you're communicating with. The big picture is that companies need to reach their target audiences and we advise on how best to do that.
What sort of tactics do you see working now compared to what they were before?
Whether it's LinkedIn, Twitter, search or some of the Chinese only platforms, like WeChat, they're still dependent on people creating content. There's a common theme, which is that you start with a message and you're looking to communicate that message. Whatever the channel available to you is, the only differences are the limitations or capabilities of the platform. Everything in terms of the technology and understanding the technology needs to change but, ultimately, it's about how you communicate the message.
So looking ahead, what do you see in the future for communications In terms of trends?
My simple answer is I don't know the answer! If I had known what I know now, I'd be a very rich woman. I'd have invented LinkedIn or Google! We're all in the same environments with access to the same platforms. But it takes a visionary to take something much further. The real thing is to be flexible, recreate, do something new, learn from challenge and change. That's how people really succeed. Don't just do the same as everybody else.
As a woman working in science, have you found that to be a barrier?
Where we sit, I think we have a number of opportunities in this industry at the moment, and I don't think we're disadvantaged at all. I think the only thing we should be doing is opening more doors, but I don't think that those opportunities are not available to us. Personally, I've never noticed the difference, if I want to do something, I do it. The opportunities are there and if you don't find them, create them.
So if you were talking to someone right now who is considering starting their own business, what advice would you give them?
Absolutely, first and foremost is know yourself. You have to know what you're like, what can you do, what you can't do, and how you thrive. You have to build an environment in which you can thrive. It's inevitable to say, but you'll fail if you don't know yourself. If you're not going to be self-employed, and you are going to run a business, it brings huge responsibilities. I don't think that employees ever see that or think about that. You have people's livelihoods that you are responsible for, and it's never been more true than now.
What do you think makes a great leader now?
For every success I have had as a business, I've had a failure. So, I really feel the only other thing about that is to learn from your mistakes. You also have to have the right people around you. With the wrong people, it can all go disastrously wrong. You have to empower people, but they have to be people who you trust with your life, your business, other people's livelihoods.
The Scott Partnership would like to thank Rizwan for giving us the opportunity to talk about the business. Find out more information on his work in life science marketing on his LinkedIn or watch his YouTube channel.
The Scott Partnership provides support to global businesses operating in life science, and can help you to penetrate global and local markets, including China and North America via our international footprint. Please contact us to hear more about the services that we provide.