Five reasons to celebrate 2019

CPL managing director Mike Sewell goes all Heather Small (Google her if you need to) in considering some of the things that have made him feel most proud about life at CPL in 2019

1. “Happiest son alive”
The picture above is one of my favourites of the year.

It’s from the day earlier this month when Ross, who has been doing weekly work experience sessions at CPL throughout 2019, went to observe his hero, DJ Ken Bruce, recording his morning Radio 2 show.

The visit had been organised by a CPL colleague with good contacts at the BBC. And it proved to be a day to remember for 18-year-old Ross, who is autistic. 

As his mum wrote afterwards: “I have the happiest son alive, he has had a fantastic day.” And Ross told us it was the “best Christmas present he’d ever had”.

It was the culmination of a year in which we have witnessed Ross grow hugely in confidence. In fact, in many ways, it feels like many of us have learned as much from him as he has from us.

CPL’s purpose is to “help people belong”. And that’s certainly happened with Ross.

2. Engaging stats
Talking of helping people belong, we were pretty chuffed with the results of our 2019 employee opinion survey.

The results were significantly better than in 2018 and in the all-important “employee engagement” measure we scored 77%, ahead of the average for other similar companies.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement, but our people are our greatest asset and it’s good to know we are moving in the right direction.

3. Golden win
My third reason to be cheerful revolves around another aspect of our business purpose – that the content we create should help readers and viewers feel a closer sense of belonging to our clients’ organisations.

It’s been fantastic to see some of the best examples of this content being recognised with a number of awards in 2019.

Picking up Gold for the Best Consumer campaign at the International Content Marketing Awards last month also felt highly symbolic – because it was for a full-service marketing programme that would not have been in CPL’s ‘sweet spot’ a few years ago.

4. Rising to the challenge
But not everyone can win prizes.

And, to be honest, I am just as proud of the high-quality work carried out by CPL colleagues day in day out, often with little external recognition.

One project we delivered this summer was arguably the most challenging in CPL history, involving multiple creative executions, tight deadlines, evolving briefs, new skills to be learned and plenty of long days and late nights on both sides of the Atlantic.

The many people involved should be proud of all they achieved on that project, while continuing to deliver an excellent service for other clients.

5. Meet Owen
Finally, this video about Owen, a formerly homeless person supported by the Wintercomfort charity in Cambridge, is great to see for a number of reasons.

Most importantly, because it will help Wintercomfort raise more much-needed funds, but it also shows how we have clarified our support for charities in 2019.

We work for a number of non-profits including Versus Arthritis, the Death Penalty Project and the National Autistic Society (which is what makes our experience with Ross – see above – particularly worthwhile).

In addition to these, CPL’s ‘official’ charities are now Wintercomfort and the Batemans Trust, which runs educational projects for disadvantaged children in Chennai, India.

As well as delivering some pro bono work, we have also pledged to raise funds for them via employee and other events – while we also support employees with their own charitable endeavours, including one colleague who ran an incredible 12 half-marathons in 12 months during 2019.


Most of the above don’t contribute directly to the bottom line.

However, I believe they nurture a culture that helps us hit some challenging financial targets – which we have done successfully in 2019.

Anyone who knows me will be aware my glass is never completely full, and there are plenty of things we can do better in 2020.

But I feel Team CPL has so much to be proud of in 2019. And now is the time to thank all the colleagues, clients, suppliers and other supporters who have made it happen.

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Mike Sewell
is managing director
at CPL

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