Posts from January 2011

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Fancy earning £140k a year? Make the move to India and this could be you!

Refresh PR’s Manchester team attended a fantastic event at our client Photolink Creative Group’s studios last week, and we learnt so much that we thought we’d share some of the juiciest morsels with you, in case you’re considering expanding your offering into India. Or if you’re a creative director over here and fancy doubling your income.


Tip 1: Be prepared to get back to basics

When Photolink arrived in India in 2007 to shoot a catalogue for one of the UK’s leading retailers, which became the first home shopping catalogue in India’s history, it needed to transform a 14,000 square foot warehouse in the centre of a slum into a state-of-the-art studio. Undeterred by this colossal challenge, it recruited a team of local men, which had the entire place ready in two days – without the use of ANYTHING electrical. Indian people are hugely resourceful; if they need a ladder, they simply build one out of any wood they can get their hands on, and scaffolding is made out of the remarkably strong, and abundant, bamboo.


Tip 2: Pick up the pace

Everything happens at super speed in India, as illustrated by the rapidity at which the studio mentioned above was constructed. Photolink’s MD, Jayne Riley, who has made over 30 trips to India in the last four years, loves getting caught up in the frenetic whirlwind, and finds the UK creative industry slow by comparison.


Tip 3: Go to parties

Never to decline an invitation – lots of business is done at parties, over dinner, and at sporting events, and Indian people are never happier than when they’re finding out how they can help you and who they can introduce you to, to help you achieve your business goals.


Tip 4: Remember that ‘yes’ doesn’t always mean, well, yes

Indian people are generally very proud and hate losing face by having to tell you that they’re not able to deliver for you. Learn that ‘yes’ has many, many inflections and you’ll be fine!


Tip 5: Give gifts

People love to give gifts in India. It’s a great way to break the ice at a business meeting, and it doesn’t need to be anything grand or expensive – the old adage “it’s the thought that counts” applies in Asia too.


Tip 6: Appeal to the youth market

23 is the average age in India, and the money sits with the youth - meaning that they hold all the power. There are hundreds of shopping malls currently being built all over India in illustration of this, so make sure that whatever your proposition or business model, it will appeal to this influential market. Cheesy Bollywood-style adverts are a thing of the past, and you’ll need to get clever with innuendo if you want to catch this audience’s attention.


Tip 7: Save your pennies

You might be surprised to learn that property in Mumbai is more expensive than in Paris and New York, so start saving now.


Tip 8: Deliver on time

Most of the big advertising agencies already have successful outfits in India, and smaller design shops are also thriving. The secret to their success isn’t that they’re necessarily doing anything spectacular, they’re just delivering on time. The prospect of moving continents becomes even more attractive when you learn that creative directors earn an average of £140,000 a year. Not bad!


Tip 9: Check out the employment regulations

There aren’t currently any employment regulations that would prevent a company from moving talent back and forth between India and the UK to meet demand, but this could well change, so it’s worth keeping abreast of developments in this area.


Tip 10: Put back into the community

To cement a company firmly in the hearts of the Indian people, it’s crucial to give back to the community. Take a leaf out of Photolink’s book and sponsor or fund a cricket team, or find a charity such as Youth Reach in Delhi to work with and deliver something that makes a real difference.



Tagged with: Creative Director, India, Mumbai, Networking Event, PR, Public Relations

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Embracing social without becoming completely anti-social?

I’ve had a few reasons to go home to my parent’s house recently and every time I reach the driveway, I reach for my BlackBerry with dread before walking to the door.  Without fail, within 30 minutes I’m guaranteed to get asked “Will you please put that phone down?”


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being rude, just diligently checking Facebook, twitter and the blog – and those of our clients too.  Okay, it’s a little anti-social, but at a recent networking event I was faced with a statement of fact from the speaker: In a few years the ‘phone’ function of our phones will become incidental and we will realise the ambitions of those who have been banging the drum for social media for decades.  The speaker was right – the phone will quickly become one small part of a beloved handheld device that offers us so much potential and access to the world. 


Trying to explain this to the folks is another matter entirely – even Facebook has (fortunately, some would say!) evaded their home entirely.  Yet currently around 40 per cent of mobiles in the UK are smartphones – I’m not on my own here.   I think it’s a shame that they are missing out on something that is gathering pace at incredible speed. Gowalla, Foursquare and Facebook Locations could provide them with some amazing instant voucher deals for their favourite local restaurants soon – and Groupon and Chiconomise would be fantastic for offers for them.  And introducing them to these sites via the computer in their office just isn’t the same, in the world of instant information it doesn’t work like this!


Rant over, it’s actually my old fave Facebook that is really interesting me at the moment – this week will launch its first store inside Facebook, allowing customers to buy its entire range from within the social network – so it’s a matter of months before this development in shopping becomes the norm.  Farmville and other social gaming apps continue to grow, creating direct revenue via Facebook credits which could reach over $1 billion in the next year.  Who knows the potential, even in the next six months, for this social network with over 600 million users worldwide? ‘F-Commerce’ – I love this term, although I’m not sure my bank balance is about to.


And with the advent of the tablet, from the IPad 2 which should launch later this year to other android-based devices, manufacturers are continuing to push the boundaries of life as we know it.  Predictions show that well over 50 million tablets will be sold by 2015.


The challenge in my work life is to keep ahead of developments, to apply these to work with clients and Refresh PR and make sure we capitalise on the exciting developments coming in the next few years.  The challenge in my home life is to help my parents become part of this phenomenon – mum’s already spending hours at a time on her DS since new games championed by the lovely Mr & Mrs Redknapp arrived under the tree this Christmas.  So, teaching them (and myself too it would seem) to become social while not becoming completely anti-social in the process will be an interesting one.    


It’s going to be a busy year!




Tagged with: F-Commerce, Facebook, Foursquare , Groupon, North West , PR, Public Relations, Silver Surfers

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Love is in the Air at Refresh ahead of Valentine’s Day

We’ve spent the past few weeks spreading the word about the Valentine’s Day Gifts being sold online by our fab client – in fact we’ve spent so much time cultivating Look Sheets and speaking to journalists up and down the country that we thought it was about time we summarised our favourite Valentine’s Gifts for those of you reading the Refresh PR blog too...and whether you love or loath the day, there’s going to be something in here to make you smile, I bet!!



These unique, made-to-order 400 piece map jigsaws centre on your place of choice – where you first met, got engaged, or tied the knot. The result is an intriguing street or Victorian puzzle that will draw on your local knowledge and map-reading skills. The box lid can also be personalised.


Love Rug SLANKET – rrp £24.99

There’s one massive Slanket fan in the Manchester office, and she’s enviously looking at these latest designs that are being sent out to journalists next week...hands off!!  They do look mighty comfy though...and at the last look were on sale too.



Hide a Valentine’s Day message inside this brushed steel arrow, which comes with five spare scrolls in case you don’t get your love note right first time round… or if you’re given to changing your mind!


Personalised Bottle of Champagne – rrp £34.99

These Personalised Bottles of Champagne are fantastic. A sophisticated present that stands the test of time, allows you to personalise the bottle with a name and message on the label, and a name on the smart presentation box it arrives in.



There’s a massive selection online which can be personalised for your Valentine.  We are fans and love the different designs.



Cooking for two on Valentine’s Day? Use this heart shaped pasta to get a few extra brownie points!  It’s currently being tested by a famous Mum’s website and they love it!



With a choice of Heavenly Honeycomb or Crunchy Munchy the pizzas come in three sizes (7, 10 and 12 inch). Each pizza comes with a personalised card with up to 50 characters – we are big fans...



These 400 piece jigsaw puzzles feature the front page of either the London or The New York Times newspapers on a date of your choice. These fascinating jigsaws are individually created using high quality mono reproductions taken from original front pages dating as far back as archive editions from 1888.



Brighten up rainy days with this funky umbrella, a must-have for any romantic. When it’s closed, it looks like a normal stylish brolly, but once opened it takes the shape of a huge heart. Choose between a red, hot pink and candy pink umbrella too



Heart shaped pancakes anyone?  Well, it’s going to make your partner smile if nothing else, and the beauty is it can be used time and time again.


Want to have a look for some more?  Just visit and browse to your heart’s content!!



Tagged with: Food & Drink, Gifts, Home Interest, Manchester, PR, Public Relations, Valentine's Day Gifts

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Let’s hear it for the Fish

The #fishfight being aired across our TVs at the moment really is raising a lot of interest and rightly so!  Since it launched,  Refresh PR has been monitoring the impact that social media is having on the campaign - twitter has been going crazy as the great British public pledges its support for the campaign; Facebook already has over 167,000 fans and has generated over 500,000 supporters.  Everyone is talking about the campaign and rallying behind Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey to encourage the industry, our supermarkets, policy makers and the like to make fundamental changes to the current EU fishing quota and landing laws.


It’s reported that half of all the fish caught in the North Sea are being thrown back overboard which is a huge waste of perfectly good fish.  They could instead be sold or even donated to needy charities instead of simply being left to drop to the bottom of the ocean – and that’s just one way to avoid this awful waste. 


In less than a week we’ve had our eyes opened to some pretty shocking revelations, mixed messages and misleading claims which, had these high profile chefs not championed the cause, we’d still be unwise to. First it was Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall uncovering the plight of the poor chickens, then Janet Street Porter reporting on the shocking findings of beef, Jamie doing his bit with the turkey twizzlers and school meals, and now our well-loved TV chefs are uncovering the shocking truths of our fishing industry. It’s these chefs who are passionate about sustainability, quality and freshness, and who can capitalise on their high profiles, who are helping to make a difference.  Sad that it takes this, though.


Having witnessed the truth about the UK’s mass fishing industry, , we’ll certainly be buying fresh fish from our local fishmonger on the infamous Northcote Road in SW London and avoid the temptation to buy ‘FRESH’ fish from the supermarket counters unless they can guarantee that it is indeed what is says it is – FRESH. As a business, Refresh PR will continue to monitor this campaign closely and will be keeping our eyes on the social media activity which is already proving to be  a powerful influence alongside the TV, digital and print coverage for the campaign.  What a great example of an integrated PR campaign – we hope it gets the outcome it deserves. 


Tagged with: Celebrity, Food & Drink, Marketing, PR, Public Relations

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A Gleeful return to our screens?

Glee made a comeback to British TV this week. Did you see it? Did you deliberately avoid it? Love it or loathe it, it gets people talking… and puts us back in touch with fab tunes we didn’t know we knew all the words to. Now, the teams in both the Manchester and the London Refresh PR offices love a good night howling down a karaoke microphone, but a couple of my friends have well and truly caught the Glee bug. They’ve even gone and joined the UK equivalent of a Glee club: a show choir. Manchester Show Choir to be precise.

Manchester Show ChoirI know what you’re thinking, but it’s nowhere near as ‘tantrum and tiaras’ as its US counterpart. It actually has a very noble founding principle – its sole reason for existing is to raise money for a fantastic Manchester charity, The Christie cancer hospital. Their goal is to raise £100,000 for a new early years treatment centre, and they’ve already made an impressive £20,000 dint in this. The fact that its members get to have a good sing every week is a bonus!

The fact that the choir’s founder doesn’t have a PR background certainly isn’t stopping the Manchester Show Choir making a name for itself.  His commendable ‘just do it’ attitude has seen them become Coronation Street’s resident choir – they even sang at Roy and Hayley’s wedding – and they’ve sung live on Radio 5 and Manchester institution Key 103 radio in recent months. They’ve now turned their attention from sell out shows to the dizzying heights of Britain’s Got Talent, another ‘marmite’ TV show that’s set to grace our screens this Spring and is guaranteed to get the nation talking. Having aced the first round of auditions, the show’s producers have asked them to attend the live heats in front of star judges Michael Macintyre, Amanda Holden and the legend that is The Hoff.

The BGT machine rolls into Manchester this week, and Refresh PR wants the Manchester Show Choir to know that this PR agency is in full support of its mission and is sending its members a huge amount of luck. After all, the more famous they get, the more they can charge for gigs and the more money they raise for The Christie. Simples!

Manchester Show Choir



























Tagged with: Leisure, Manchester, North West , PR, Public Relations

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Out and About - Approaching India with a Smile

The Refresh PR Manchester team is really looking forward to this networking event, which is being hosted by the Manchester Publicity Association (MPA) at our client Photolink Creative Group’s swanky studios next Thursday 20th January 2011.  

This is the second instalment of the MPA’s popular ‘World Class Series’ and will see Photolink founder David Walter sharing his tips on how to enter the Indian market, the best way to negotiate, how to deal with corruption, and how to recruit the hottest talent.

This must-attend event is being chaired by North West Business Insider’s Michael Taylor, and although tickets are free they are strictly limited so we’d recommend getting in touch with the MPA’s events team pronto to reserve your space – See you there!

Event details:

Date: Thursday 20th January 2011

Time: 5.30pm for 6.00pm start

Venue: Photolink Creative Group, The Old School House, Thirsk Street, Manchester, M12 6PN

Tagged with: Marketing, Networking Event, North West , Public Relations