For Peter Sutton, it’s fair to say that no two days are ever the same. That’s one of the reasons the job continues to fascinate and inspire him, 25 years after he founded PMW. So although there’s no typical 24 hours for our MD, we thought we’d ask him to share his schedule on one random day. Warning: you may feel a little breathless by bedtime…
Around 6am I wake up naturally – I never seem to need an alarm. I check news and emails on my iPad, then take a walk with my Labradors Pip and Bugsie. I love being outdoors, rain or shine (in fact especially in the rain!), and often have my best creative ideas when I’m walking.
After a shower I head to the office – only a 15-minute drive – and arrive by 8.15am. I run through my diary, making notes and to-do lists for the day to come. By 9am the whole team is in. I have an open door policy in my office – just as well as there are two doors, and there’s always someone passing through for a catch-up. Our friendly, informal culture is important to me. We work incredibly hard at PMW, but we’re friends as well as colleagues and I think that creates an amazingly rich and positive atmosphere.
9.30am and it’s time for an internal meeting to prepare ideas for a new client pitch. I’ve gathered together the heads of our departments – Account Management, PR, Social Media and Studio. We spend time trying to get to the heart of the company we’d like to work with, to grasp the DNA or the ‘thread’ of the business. Once we’ve made good progress with that, we look at how we can achieve tangible results to meet the needs and the budget of the prospective client. That might be through website redesign, an SEO campaign, PR and advertising or a creative push on social media (or all of the above!).
10.30am A trip to the studio where one of our adverts is being recorded. I’m a perfectionist and like to make sure I’m on-the-spot to ensure everything runs smoothly. Today it’s all good and we just need to make a last-minute tweak to the script to match the tone and inflection of the actor’s voice. I worked in radio before founding PMW, and still get a buzz from being in the studio. We finish the session on schedule – another PMW ad in the can!
Driving back I stop for lunch and a breath of fresh air. A quick check of emails on my phone and then I head to the office for my next meeting at 2pm. It’s a strategic planning meeting to discuss possible expansion of the PMW premises. When we first moved into our building 15 years ago we struggled to fill the space – now every desk is taken. I’m always up for a new challenge and get bored if things stay the same, so I find it really exciting to plan our evolution as an agency. For me that’s the key to staying fresh and relevant. If you think you know it all, that’s the time you know nothing!
3pm and I head into our boardroom for a client presentation. Pitching for new business (and re-pitching to existing clients) is something I absolutely love. In fact the challenge for me is toning down my enthusiasm, because by the time we’re ready to present – and we never present until we are absolutely ready – I’m champing at the bit to share our brilliant ideas. I like to win (possibly something to do with my past life as a competitive discus and shot put thrower) but we know it’s impossible to succeed in every single pitch. However, there’s a real sense of excitement and potential in the room and we’re hopeful that the company has bought into our vision. All we can do now is keep everything crossed.
5pm Back at my desk to catch up with emails and any other business before leaving the office by 6pm. It’s gorgeous weather and the evenings are light, and after dinner with the family I’m off out again for a walk with the dogs and my wife, Sandra. Often I’m joined by either my youngest son, Christopher, who’s 19, or my oldest son Luke, 22, who both love nature just as much as I do. I’m probably at my happiest when I’m out in the countryside, but I have to admit I find it hard to switch off completely. The closest I come is while listening to audiobooks (you can’t beat a bit of Sherlock Holmes) or later in the evening watching a TV box set such as House of Cards. Even when I finally go to bed at midnight I make sure there’s a notebook on the bedside table. I often wake in the early hours to scribble down an idea that I don’t want to forget.
My days are busy but I honestly never feel as if I’m working. Every hour, every month, every year is different at PMW, and that’s exactly how I like it.