Meet the MD: Julie McLauchlan, Perceptive Communicators

Meet the MD: Julie McLauchlan, Perceptive Communicators

Julie McLauchlan helps clients promote and protect their reputation, developing the Perceptive Communicators model based around having exclusively expert team members. A big fan of positive energy, Julie is very passionate about people who've positively influenced her both professionally, and personally...

Describe your role in no more than 100 words

I launched Perceptive Communicators, a multi-award winning communications consultancy in 2006.  I spent 15 years as a client myself with IBM, PwC and RBS. Every single consultancy I worked with pitched the big guns to win the work only to pass it onto more junior staff.  This business model didn’t seem very fair so we have taken a different approach, with exclusively expert team members with at least 10 years’ experience. 

As well as running and promoting the business, I still work with these team members to deliver our client results.  Their experience makes managing them and my life much easier!

What is it the company does?

We help clients promote and protect their reputation, helping them achieve their goals. As well as only employing expert people with at least 10 years of experience, team members must have been clients themselves.  We specialise in just a few sectors: construction, economic development, technology, life sciences, public sector, professional services and travel.

The upshot? We hit the ground running, deliver better results and 98% of business comes from client referrals. A good example of our work is at The Athletes’ Village with City Legacy Homes.  We helped transform perceptions of living in the East End of Glasgow and helped the homes sell out two years ahead of schedule.

Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

After studying marketing and psychology at Strathclyde University, I did a masters in PR at Stirling at their award winning film and media department.  My weekend job at university was selling kitchens and bathrooms.  Not as glamorous as my friends in River Island but ignited my inner property geek! 

I had a brief stint in a PR consultancy with the former business editor of The Scotsman, Jim Dow, a real gentleman and complete legend who generously shared his amazing media knowledge and insight. 

I went to PwC, then RBS with Direct Line which was a really entrepreneurial business and great fun.  Following the NatWest takeover, I was involved with the integration and culture change programme and my last role at RBS was leading the communications for RBS Group’s portfolio of mortgage brands.

I’d always wanted to set up a business so took the plunge of setting up Perceptive when I spotted the gap in the market for expert communications advice.

What do you believe makes a great leader?

Having a clear vision, providing direction and being able to bring people with you.

What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Finding the right team members who fit our culture and can become an extension of our clients’ teams.

How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Cycling and walking with my husband and kids and a good night out with friends.  I also love Fitsteps, a dance class based on different Strictly dance routines.  It’s great fun and my instructor Eilidh Lanzani could give Beyonce a run for her money.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Mr Ben, but even at 4 I thought this might sound a bit odd, so usually said a ballerina or a doctor.

Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

People with negative energy.  In a team you need everyone to be stimulating each other so it is important that everyone pulls together.

Where do you see the company in five years time?

I think we will stick to our A-Team business model and continue our specialist focus. In five years’ time Perceptive Communicators will have a bigger team and even more clients. 

What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Trust yourself. 

Remember it’s like having a child. It can be tough but exhilarating and great fun. There may be sleep deprivation at times, but you wouldn’t change it for the world.