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How Tartan Became Beattie Tartan

By Deirdre Campbell
Monday, July 31 2017

Since announcing our merger two weeks ago, I’ve been asked a lot of questions, but most of them fall along the lines of “Why?” and “Why now?”

Like all journeys, it was both inevitable and unexpected. If you had told me in January that by mid-year I would be investing in and building a newly merged company across Canada – I would have scoffed. However, it is how this wonderful world works when one is curious and open to opportunities.

Those who know me well know I have always sought out mentors to challenge and guide me in my mission to bring value to my clients and my team. Over 16 years, Tartan was built in part on the advice and insight of such valued mentors.  

In March, I was consulting with the brilliant Kevin Roberts, the former CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi and the inventor of the “lovemarks” concept, about ways to augment Tartan’s healthy tourism base by expanding to other industries with limited staff capacity and, frankly, investment dollars.  Kevin asked hard questions, challenged me to look deep into the company and redefine its purpose. I hired a new Vice President who could help further define Tartan’s growth strategy. 

And then the email arrived. Kevin had an idea. A company he chairs in the UK was looking to expand into Canada. He thought Tartan was a good fit.  Was I interested?  Skeptical but curious, I took the first call with Beattie founder Gordon Beattie.  He was skeptical, too, about Tartan’s location (Victoria rather than Toronto) and its focus (tourism rather than more lucrative industries).

But what could have ended there, didn’t.  We liked each other, made each other laugh, and challenged each other’s assumptions.  Further meetings with Gordon and his senior leadership confirmed our shared values and work ethic.  Our mutual quest to deliver for our clients and build our companies to be respected globally for our work and our teams, resonated. 

My biggest hurdle was to acknowledge that I had only so much bandwidth and for Tartan to succeed and grow, I needed to relinquish some control. I didn’t want Tartan’s potential hampered by founder’s syndrome.  Merging my talent and team with Beattie Group has opened so many more opportunities for Tartan and its clients, including an unparalleled global network of expertise.  And I have a whole new crop of mentors to guide me along the way.

The journey started with Tartan. We built an exceptional communications and marketing company that helped our clients succeed. We traveled the world and built an international network, while remaining rooted in Canada.  The journey continues with Beattie Tartan, expanding across Canada and into new industries and building a more sustainable future for the company and its clients. The timing couldn’t be better.