19 Mar A catch up with our Business Development Director, Jonathan Mills
Tell us about your new role?
With the backing of the team under Anna’s guidance, I’m excited for the opportunity to focus on growing the company and building relationships. My day-to-day will certainly be varied and covering the region means there are plenty of early starts and late finishes! It will all be worth it, I’ll be able to invest in spending time with our clients, both old and new!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting people – without doubt, that’s what business is all about! It’s great to take on the variety of challenges that our clients give us, whether it’s a complex website or a marketing campaign with a short lead time. I thrive on knowing that Formedia delivers, each and every time it gives me a sense of achievement and pride in the team.
What has been a highlight / favourite moment of your career?
There have been many, but the stand-out moment was working with the Royal Marines on the RM350 Celebrations and meeting the Duke of Edinburgh. I was honoured to have met him and to have been asked to introduce the event’s marketing team. We had a lot of fun putting the project together, along with a fair few challenges!
What are your hopes for the future of Formedia?
We’ve achieved so much in the last few years and I’m eager for this to continue! I’d love to see us continue to grow our regional and national clients as well as develop Formedia’s team and services even further. We’re quickly moving some way towards this with recent clients that we are now working with as well as two new team members starting this week!
You have enjoyed a long and varied career, tell us more about what you did before you worked at Formedia?
My break into marketing came with direct advertising sales, this was before the internet, of course! Initially I worked with property agents all over London, the Midlands and the south of England before moving onto luxury brand projects with hotels, restaurants, air charter companies and super yacht brokers. Through my career I was also lucky enough to discover life in Jersey, Guernsey and even Gibraltar, where I donned a permanent sun tan!
What is the most exciting project you have worked on so far?
I love getting involved with all of our client projects! In recent years I particularly enjoyed working closely with River Dart Country Park where we have seen huge growth in their social media following, an effective re-brand as well as a healthy growth in awards – that they still continue to win! I have also valued our work with Sherford, we have supported the team there before they had even started digging! No two days are ever the same and while we have challenges like any business, possibly the most exciting project has been developing Formedia!
What do you enjoy doing outside of work – we hear you have a passion for cars!?
What do you mean outside of work? I’m always working! My 14 year-old twin boys, Will and Barney, take up a fair amount of my time (and energy!) their sporting commitments never fail to keep me busy. I’ll also be competing in The Rhino Charge again this year – it’s a Kenya based 4×4 Competition and fund raiser for the Rhino Ark Foundation. It’s a tough competition and I don’t even drive! I’m actually one of the team’s runners. I do go to the gym and have a few PT sessions to keep me fit but as you seem to have already guessed… my true passion is cars! I’m always locating unusual and fast BMWs and I’m lucky enough to now have a few ‘toys’ that I just can’t part with.
Why do you think media and marketing is important to businesses in the South West?
The region’s location throws up a few geographical challenges and while it’s loved by those who live here and those that come to visit, we need to maintain the message that there is talent, opportunity and prosperity right here in the South West. For example, Sherford which is a consortium of three national house builders and Urban Splash, the Manchester based regeneration company, have both invested in this region. Marketing the businesses, the opportunities, the work force and the financial value that this area offers, is essential in the longer term and we are committed to doing so.
What do you think the biggest challenge/opportunity is facing SW businesses?
There’s plenty of opportunity here in the region with key sectors thriving – property, construction and leisure attracts investment and it’s always in the news as a measure of what’s going on. The business community is part of what makes the region special. I hear there are almost 1000 tech businesses in Cornwall now, with more to come and it’s this type of innovation and success we need to broadcast. This will help to keep the talented workforce here and have our region’s voice heard nationally. The southwest is so much more than just a holiday destination!
In your 30 years in business, what do you think has been the biggest change for the region’s businesses?
Digital connectivity has opened up opportunity for businesses to operate from the region, servicing national and international clients. At a basic level £2 million has just been invested nationally to research and support tech project trials, and Devon County Council has a chunk of this to help bring rural micro-businesses in line with today’s commercial world. Digital tech has positively affected pretty much everyone, so I’m hopeful that as an area we’ll always be supported with the fastest connectivity.
What is your dream/long term objective for Formedia?
I’m immensely proud of my colleagues and how, as a team, we have grown the business. My objective going forwards is for the company to be the most well connected and influential agency. Being a regional business we can’t always be sector specific, which actually works in our favour as we can easily apply our skills to most organisations. We live for the results that we achieve for our clients and it’s the honest, ethical approach with dynamic flair and creativity which allows us to thrive. I want to build on these values and allow the team to continue to grow with it.