Richard is our Marketing Manager, who broadly looks after external content for HVPD. We caught up with him for 10 minutes to discuss his role in a little more detail, among other topics…
When did you join HVPD?
I joined HVPD at the end of January 2019, which I soon learned was a very exciting time for the company: we had just opened a new permanent office in the Middle East, we were about to open our Texas office, a new website project was already underway, and we were on the cusp of winning a third Queen’s Award. It soon became apparent that I was joining a company that is on the up.
What does your role involve at HVPD?
For the first few months it was website, website, website! I manage the marketing function in general, with Marketing Executive Sarah Liu, looking after email campaigns, events, public relations, branded collateral, digital content, multimedia, and more. I’ve always relished having a varied role; marketing and communications usually leads me into having fingers in multiple pies. Charity & CSR is another thing I like to get involved in.
What is one of your memorable moments working for HVPD?
To be honest, I haven’t been here very long, but it would probably be when we paraded a mosaic made from our old brochures down Salford Quays. The mosaic depicted Emmeline Pankhurst, and we did it to celebrate International Women’s Day ‘the Manchester way’. Our technology ‘sells itself’ in many ways, but in marketing you always have to stand out. It’s no use having the best product if you haven’t built an audience that knows about it – that’s why I like to do things a little differently now and again.
Actually, speaking of Emmeline Pankhurst, I once-upon-a-time met her great-granddaughter, the activist Helen Pankhurst (below) while working on a project together – just thought I’d slip that in.
What do you like most about working for HVPD?
There are lots of reasons why I enjoy working for this company, the main one being that my colleagues are a diverse but close-knit group of people. I’ve had a somewhat eclectic career, and although that answer might seem like a cliché, it’s certainly not the case at every company. It genuinely feels like people have each other’s backs here.
What led you to a career in marketing?
I suppose I fell into completing an English and Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, partly because my 6th form college tutor told me I was good at that sort of thing. In short, the course taught me how to appreciate and execute a number of different writing styles, from prose to poetry via persuasive and critical methods. I then took what I had learned into a career in journalism. I started off covering football and rugby matches up and down the country, working my way from Non-League up to FA Cup matches, Premier League stadia, and even Wembley. Match reporting taught me so many valuable skills that I’ve had to hold onto through my career in marketing: the ruthless efficiency required to provide on-the-whistle reports, the confidence and brashness to force my way into interviews with unwilling team managers who have just lost 3-0, and the general resilience that came with typing glove-less in an un-sheltered stand at a sub-zero Accrington Stanley match.
My first actual job with a desk was at the Dunstable Gazette in Luton. I covered everything from crime to town planning, and interviewing everyone from local residents who had reached their 100th birthday, to bona-fide A-listers such as Prince Andrew(below), the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Roy Hudgson. I picked up a lot of strings to my bow that I soon realised led me towards a switch to marketing: content creation, social media, digital design, multimedia, and more. I left journalism behind to work in a number of marketing roles in various industries: Online Retail, Market Research, Chemical Manufacturing, Law and Packaging. In my roles, I have covered everything marketing from all angles: email campaigns, website development, collateral design, social media, and crucially public relations – it helps being someone who knows what it’s like to be on the other side of the shorthand notepad.
My role at HVPD feels like a great fit. I’m able to utilise everything I’ve learned so far, and am given the freedom to try new things.
What’s the most unusual thing in your desk drawer?
To be honest, I haven’t filled my drawers with too many crazy things just yet, so I can’t take credit for what was already in there when I started. There’s a bottle of Tipp-Ex in there, which is something I haven’t used for a few years!
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work I like to keep busy and try to always have an ongoing ‘project’. Sometimes that will be an around-the-house DIY project but often I like getting stuck into large-scale ambitious artwork projects. I’ve actually sold some of these internationally, and even have a piece on display on Rodeo Drive in Beverley Hills – I still don’t really have any idea how that happened. I’ve been featured on MUTV and Manchester United’s social channels, and been recognised by Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mint for some of the work I’ve done. I like ‘producing’ things, and enjoy the creative process.
I also think sport is very important, and like to keep as active as possible. The older I get, the more I try to make space for competitive sport in my life. I love football, and have played in teams all my life, but I’ll never claim to be any good at it. A couple of years ago I played a season of American Football, which was an incredible experience, but I think it’s best if I leave it to the young uns, so I’ve since hung up my helmet.
What advice would you give to people seeking a job at HVPD and/or in marketing?
Certainly research what it is we do, with a focus on the problems we solve for our customers and the solutions we provide. It helps to come into the company with at least a baseline of knowledge, because the Partial Discharge learning curve can be quite steep due to the fact it is a relatively-young field. But in that same breath I must point out that we are all still learning, it’s a really interesting sphere to be involved in.
In terms of general marketing advice, I would just emphasise the importance of saying ‘yes’ to new things. I didn’t do formal qualifications or training for some of the things I’ve done, because learning on the job can sometimes be the best way. Trying things is the best way to learn things, even if they don’t work. In fact, sometimes trying things that don’t work is the best way to learn something new.