Digital State Manchester Evening News Greg Cooper

The below is the interview given by Greg Cooper of Digital State to the Manchester Evening News. The original article can be found here.

What is your business motto?

My motto is very simple – don’t take on work you really don’t want to do or aren’t interested in. Life’s too short.

How do you make contacts in business?

I utilise a mixture of direct and indirect marketing, search engine optimisation, pay-per-click, etc, but also networking and good public relations. Being honest and good at what you do helps in any line of work, as it brings referrals.

What makes your firm different?
We are sat in a good place I would say. We have only senior staff and I’ve got 20 years of experience to offer, but without the price tag of a west London agency. We have a genuine and deep understanding of our space and believe in the plain English campaign. That, and we don’t have a pool table or a dog.

Do you dress up or down for business?
Generally, up. The team members wear a suit or business attire to work. It’s hard to offend a customer with a nicely pressed shirt, it’s easier with Bermuda shorts.

Which individual has inspired you most in business and why?
The CEO of Deutsche Bank is a massive inspiration. If they can lose millions at their size, it is reassuring that we are continuing to grow and make a profit.

What is your proudest achievement in business?
Relocating to Manchester a few years ago. I know that sounds easy, but closing the London and Cumbrian offices, plus moving to a new area with four young kids and all that involved wasn’t easy. It took a big leap of faith and thankfully it is paying off.

What is your firm’s greatest asset?
Honesty and experience. We simply don’t tend to lose clients – we lose one or two as all agencies do as part of the natural churn cycle, but generally the retention rates are fantastic and people stay with us. They know they are talking to people with solid commercial experience, not junior staff, and that counts for a lot. We’re loyal to our clients and they, in turn, are loyal back.

Do you use social media and if so, with how much success?
Not really in truth. We just don’t push social, we use paid social and LinkedIn, but not a lot else at the moment.

If you hadn’t gone down your chosen career path, what would you be doing instead?
I have no idea, I didn’t really choose this path, it just sort of happened. Likely I would still be doing something mathematically-based, which direct marketing is. I’m a huge cricket fan, too, so maybe I could have played professionally in another life.

What is a tip for success in business?
Focus on what makes you different and why people should trade with you. Always use good professional services firms, and insurance is always worth it.

At what time of day are you most inspired or creative?
With four kids under seven, days and nights tend to merge. Gym time is a sanctuary – 30 minutes a day or more can make a big difference and helps me focus.

How do you relax outside work?
As a pretty active guy with a large family, I’d say my version of relaxing is spending time with my wife and children – as hectic as that is. I spend my life driving the kids to sporting events and other kids’ parties and then I get to maybe watch some rugby highlights before Monday speeds around again. Food is good too.

Where do you take your coffee break?
I don’t take a coffee break, but I do like to visit an Italian restaurant on occasion.

Americano, latte, cappuccino – what’s your coffee of choice?
Double espresso, brown sugar and a glass of water.