How Nicky Colley Got Ahead

I guess you could say it has always been in my blood as my father ran an advertising agency.

Nicky Colley
Gardiner Richardson
Job title:
Project director

What made you want to get into brands/advertising/media/marketing?
I guess you could say it has always been in my blood as my father ran an advertising agency. I grew up in an environment where I was exposed to a lot of the cut and thrust of the industry, so my passion stemmed from an early age.

How did you get into the industry (including relevant qualifications and professional training)?
I think on the job experience is invaluable so decided to go out there and get as much experience as possible and from a variety of places. I worked as a media buyer at my father’s agency, for a photographer, in print production, account management and TV production – I made sure I had an all round experience of the industry and different sectors.

What was good and bad about your first job?
My very first job was on a fruit and veg market stall aged 12 – I earned a grand total of £6 a day and learned that fingerless gloves and frozen sprouts are to be avoided. My first industry job was for my dad so I couldn’t really say anything bad. It was interesting as I could never pull a sickie! The best thing about it was that it gave me a real insight into the industry and helped me to decide exactly what I wanted to do career wise.

List your jobs to date:
Dunn and Moffat Advertising
– Colin Thompson Photography
– Creative Marketing Consultants (CMC)
– I had my own business – Growing Stylish (maternity wear)
– Different
– Gardiner Richardson

What were the best and worst, and why?
I really enjoyed working at Different as I had lots of opportunities there, but the best has to be Gardiner Richardson because it has been the most challenging. The opportunity to build and shape a dedicated project management team was testing, but ultimately rewarding. Gardiner Richardson’s culture is also the best in terms of its sound working environment.

I can’t say there has been a ‘worst’ because I have enjoyed all of my jobs – each one has offered me something slightly different and I’ve gained valuable experience.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?
In October last year I attended an Entrepreneur’s Forum event entitled ‘Life’s a Pitch’ and one of the speakers was MT (Mary Teresa) Rainey, founder of Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe and Horse’s Mouth Foundation. MT, of course, famously championed the move away from commission income to agencies charging for ideas, but she also stresses the importance of account managers – something I wholeheartedly agree with.

Who in the industry do you most admire?
There isn’t one single person, but rather people who are passionate about what they do. I look up to people in our industry who are motivated by the quality of work they produce and who back that up with sound strategic thinking.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
Striking a work/life balance. Having two babies (Hannah (14) and James (11)) is definitely my greatest achievement. If you get the balance right you can be a full time single parent and continue a full time career. It is possible to achieve both.

On what do you base your success so far?
Never believing I know it all and never settling for second best in terms of my achievements and the service I deliver for my clients.

What are your ambitions?
I just want to be the best I can possibly be and to continue learning. I always want to work for an award winning company that has the same visions as me, such as Gardiner Richardson.

Change one thing about your job:
There isn’t really anything I’d like to change.

Change one thing about your industry:
It would be great if big brands didn’t always feel they had to go to London to get a quality service. If there was a true understanding of what we can deliver in the North they would be confident enough to come here.

Change one thing about the world:
I think most people would say this – we should put an end to fighting.

What is your favourite brand?
There are so many but I’d have to say Lucozade because of its longevity. In terms of reinventing and evolving one brand and its market it has been nothing short of sheer genius. My mum used to see it as the cure to illness when I was a child and now my son drinks it because apparently you can’t play football without it!

What is the next big brand in your view?
That’s a hard one. Gardiner Richardson – watch this space!

List your ‘media diet’:
Marketing Week, Campaign, Marketing, numerous websites and Hello (essential read).


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