Director biography

Director of Customer Interpreter Ltd, a market research and marketing strategy company specialising in online brainstorming language profiling and colour psychology to support clients in understanding and overcoming barriers to growth or strategy implementation.

Private sector projects have included:

  • Mega focus groups for change management: online qualitative employee research with up to 1000 employees leading to strategy and comms recommendations for multinationals pre, during and post major change processes
  • New product development: mega online focus groups with key customers to identify gaps and set R&D priorities
  • Colour psychology: Brand development, DVD packaging and merchandising, FMCG packaging
  • Strategy development: Customer profiling, segmentation, communications development, copywriting.
  • Brand development: workshops and customer research to identify brand values, logo, customer value proposition for start ups
  • Concept development: new product development research and strategy development
  • Market share improvement for retail: reasons for loyalty and ways to increase trial. Identifying ways to improve the customer experience.
  • Live Events (eg Motor Show, Motorbike Show): research based customer segmentation and development of archetypes and associated comms recommendations

Public sector projects have included:

  • Scenario planning project: developing and running 2 day workshop for NHS / Dept of Health
  • Nudging patient behaviour: for NHS re patients using A&E service
  • Campaign to stimulate adult learning: customer research, brand development and communications for DfES
  • Strategy development for young people: customer research, training and materials to stimulate demand for learning among 14-19s
  • Research and strategy – customer experience of libraries: identified barriers to use of libraries and how to improve for MLA
  • Training: Research led workshops for large audiences eg head teachers conference, Connexions management team, university/college senior management, careers advisers
  • Business training: Employer research to develop B2B brand for SEEDA and LSC. Advice to LSC on new Apprenticeship Strategy.

Other activities include:

  • Director of Bold Vision – a social enterprise to strengthen community and bridge the class divide in South London
  • Founder of to raise the level of public views and debate
  • Public speaking: workshop on creativity for NOP Top 100 managers, presentations at Marketing conferences, articles in press and trade press
  • Active RSA Fellow
  • Catherine Shovlin is a Colour Affects Accredited Consultant


Customer Interpreter (market research)

The Thinking Tank (public debate)

Bold Vision (community strengthening)

Previous experience

2000 – 2002 Consumer Products Marketing Director – BG Group

  • Headhunted to develop the first customer driven marketing and brand strategy for portfolio of 5 new businesses in Brazil, UK and India.
  • Research led £2million development of a master brand for BG products and services.
  • Media trained as spokesperson for alternative energy developments

1997-2000    International Communications Manager – Shell

  • Promoted to develop and run internal and external communications including press briefings, video productions, website.
  • Worked closely with CEO to develop key strategic messages from a complex range of information which created an unprecedented level of staff recognition of core messages (up to 80% from 30%) within a year.

1995-1997    Marketing Director – Shell Colombia

  • Managed a network of 90 distributors and launched new product ranges across all major markets. Marketing budget c £3million pa.
  • Identified customer insights to reduce marketing budget by 60%, growing market share
  • Led first Shell trans-national launch across South America.

1992-1994    Senior Account Manager – Shell

  • Invited to bring customer focus to a previously technical business.
  • Proposed global restructuring (now adopted)

1991-1992    International Market Research Manager – Shell

  • Promoted to bring customer research into business strategy.
  • Alerted Board to brand decline and set up global tracking.

1990-1991    EthiopiAid General Manager (Career break)

  • Created fastest growing UK charity in 1991, developing to £1m turnover

1987-1990    Management Consultant – Shell International

  • Developed strategies for 30+ countries, working at board level to improve their profitability and build sustainable competitive advantage.

1986-1987    Project Manager – Shell UK

  • Used customer research to plan and build network of 30 unmanned truck sites on budget

1984-1986    Strategy Development Analyst – Shell UK

  • Worked on project development team for first franchised forecourts including shop, staff training, service standards, suppliers and business performance measurement.

Qualifications and positions:

  • Post Graduate Certificate in Social and Market Research (distinction), University of Westminster
  • BSc (Hons) Maths and Computer Science – London University
  • Communications, Advertising & Marketing Certificate (distinction) – City University
  • Certificate in Counselling Skills (distinction) –  Mary Ward Centre, London
  • Distinction in Colour Psychology (distinction) –  Colour Affects Ltd, London
  • Language and Behaviour Profiling first and second level
  • IMD Lausanne – New Venture Booster
  • Oxford University – Business Summer School
  • University of Warwick Business School – Strategy
  • British.  Age 47.  I live in London with my 3 children, 1 dog, 2 chickens, 1 rabbit, several goldfish…

Last updated Apr 2011.

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