Posts from October 2012

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What's the big deal about being green?

Being green is now what smoking was in the 50’s - fashionable and good for you. In the professional circles I’ve found myself mixing in over the course of my career in PR, the words ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ have come to be what I like to call buzz words. Truth is, if you’re an organisation working in the built environment, you’ll not fare well if you cannot communicate effectively that you and / or your products are green and sustainable.

PR Agency Manchester SmokingImagine Mrs Smith’s reaction when she realises that the windows you are trying to sell to her are not energy efficient – which will happen after she’s read about Planitherm’s superior energy efficient windows (in an article I wrote about the product being green and sustainable). She’ll evidently opt for Planitherm over your product – because the product is green and good for her. Plus, she’ll be that little bit more fashionable than that Mrs Jones from across the road, whose husband won’t let her have new windows. Result.


Plug over, it must be said that these days we’re constantly reading about changes in legislation and standards that practically force everyone to think more seriously about how green we are.

Legislation, that is, such as changes to Building Regs and standards like The Code for Sustainable Homes. As one speaker told the audience at a green seminar I recently attended at Grand Designs Live “we've only got one shot at this”.


Further to this, last week I attended the inaugural Build It Awards with my client, Polypipe (who was nominated for Best Heating & Plumbing Product for Overlay Lite). The event was hosted at the National Selfbuild and Renovation Centre in Swindon, and from the outset it was clear that one thing was being celebrated over and above everything else – sustainability.


With the housing market still stagnant, and many people now sitting firmly in their properties waiting for an opportunity to sell, there’s a wider thought among us that we would be better off improving, not moving.


Here is an opportunity for companies working within the built environment – your audience is ready and waiting, now it’s time to communicate to them.


Construction doesn’t have to be conservative, it can be fashionable. Sustainability and green living are both hot topics, and more importantly people are receptive to it – they want to live it.


So, next time you sit down to discuss your marketing or PR strategy, think about the opportunities that are in front of you, because despite the constant news that construction is suppressed, it’s far from it. PR Agency Manchester Home


P.s - Just in case you’re wondering, Refresh PR is sustainable. We recycle our paper and I use the same cup for my copious amounts of coffee each day. I also think twice about printing my emails, opting to read them on the screen instead. See, sustainable.

Tagged with: Build It Awards, Built Environment, Construction, Green Living, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, PR Agency Manchester, Smoking, Sustainability, The Green Deal

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Team Refresh Go Ape!


You wouldn’t think throwing yourself from tree to tree was that much fun (unless you were a monkey, of course), but we like a challenge here at Refresh PR, so we recently took up  the tree top adventure that is Go Ape.


We thought safety in numbers might be best, so we enlisted the help of our client Rare Creative to bolster our numbers up to eight! Fully equipped with our safety gear and gloves, we took to the trees (something I never thought I’d say) and began our adventure.


It’s fair to say we laughed through any nerves we may have had and Tom’s attempt at the ‘wooden stilts’ was definitely a highlight for the Refresh ladies!


After the terrifying finale of the ‘Tarzan Swing’, we made our way over to the café for a well-deserved hot chocolate and debrief.


It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for everyone, with hilarious photos from the day still circulating the Refresh PR office!



Tagged with: , Buxton, Go Ape, Leisure, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Rare, Rare Creative, Tree Top Adventure

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Instagram's New Work-Around Makes It More Twitter-Friendly

Remember when Instagram used to let its users easily find their Twitter friends and mention their handles in their photos?


That was until Twitter began cracking down on which third-party apps and clients it would allow to use its application programming interface (API). Of course it wasn’t long before photo-sharing giant Instagram, owned by Facebook (Twitter’s social media rival) was left out in the cold.


These changes meant that new Instagram users could no longer add all their Twitter followers with one button. It also made sharing a photo to Twitter and "@mentioning" someone whose Twitter username was different from their Instagram username cumbersome.


However on October 19, Instagram announced that it had made changes that ‘will make sharing to Twitter more seamless’ on its blog.


But how will this work? Well:

If the @mentioned user has connected Instagram to Twitter:


  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.
  • The user’s Twitter username will appear in the tweet.

If the @mentioned user has not connected Instagram to Twitter:


  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.
  • The @ sign will be removed from the username when shared to Twitter.

What does this mean for those of us who work in PR? Well, for one, it shows that Instagram isn't content being an insular, photo-network smartphone app—it wants its users to integrate with Twitter as much as possible. This is also good news for brands and users that want to spread their Instagram photos far and wide.

Moving forward, it's safe to assume that Facebook's integration with Instagram will be more seamless, considering Facebook is its owner.


However, there will probably be a few more scuffles between Instagram and Twitter, as the photo network tries to further tap into Twitter's user-base.



Tagged with: , API, Facebook, Instagram, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Refresh PR, Social Media, Twitter

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'Talent follows talent' - delving into Manchester's Media scene

Undoubtedly, Manchester has been a hotbed of media activity for the last five years.

With the announcement of Media City in 2004 and the arrival of the BBC in 2011, the city has rarely been out of the spotlight – with critics split over the merits of our northern town!

A proud Mancunian myself, I was keen to hear the thoughts of some of the creative industry’s most influential figures at the Insider Business of Media conference.

Held at The Lowry on 19th September, the event was chaired and hosted by North West Insider’s editor, Chris Maguire.

Senior figures from the BBC, ITV and Westminster City Council were among the esteemed list of speakers, with the conference itself broken down into five sections entitled Vision; MediaCity; Showcasing the North West; Challenges; and An Audience With.

The first of the five sections focused on the future vision of business in the North West and was overseen by Sara Tomkins (Manchester City Council), Sue Woodward (The Sharp Project) and Kevin McManus (Liverpool Vision).

An insightful session, it was clear Manchester has a much more secure business network than that of Liverpool. Whether this was an accurate assumption or not, it was certainly the impression I got from the Q&As.

This opinion was only further strengthened by the introduction of Sue Woodward, who is the director of The Sharp Project in Manchester. A charismatic speaker, Sue has clearly spent the majority of her career carving the way for creativity in the North West. Keen to introduce more initiatives, Sue believes creativity cannot be shoehorned into one space – for it to flourish, it needs lots of little areas so it can grow and develop organically.

One of the key objectives that came out of the session was the announcement from Sara Tomkins that Manchester City Council is aiming to provide free public Wi-Fi by Christmas of this year. It seems to me an ambitious goal, but as I know little of digital workings I shall watch and wait in anticipation!

Another interesting point that was raised was the age at which young people should be exposed to their future career options. The general consensus was that we should be connecting with the 12 year olds of this generation and not the 22 year olds – as they are the ones who are capable of embracing the new technology. I believe the cycle of changing attitudes towards technological advancements needs to go much higher before it can fall on the 12 year olds of today. We must embrace change and pave the way for a younger generation.

A powerful and informative session, it seems Manchester is leading the way for digital innovation in the north – if not the UK. With new initiatives designed to improve scope for SMEs and young talent rising through the ranks, Manchester is sure to see some exciting developments over the next 12 months.

In my next post I will be delving into the complex issue of BBC North, ITV and ‘that move’ to Manchester!


Tagged with: BBC, Manchester, Media City, PR, Salford

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Award nominated Manchester agency Refresh PR, has won the contract to deliver the PR offering for independent national contract caterers, Catering Academy.


On target to reach a turnover of £30 million this year, Catering Academy has grown to be one of the most successful contract caterers in the UK; with over 100 national education, B&I and healthcare contracts and 1,000 team members.


Catering Academy has appointed Refresh PR to undertake its trade PR, with an additional focus on team initiatives to communicate both internally and to the press. This activity will be supported by awards, events and the introduction of a new managing director of client services.


Catering Academy Founder Director, Louise Wymer said: “Team Academy has grown rapidly over the last eight years. We felt we needed a PR company which understood our ethos and key aims to tackle our communication infrastructure, both internally and externally. The team at Refresh PR demonstrated a passion for what they do and their experience across the food and drink sector only further highlights their capabilities.”


Refresh PR’s founder, Laura Mashiter said: “Our approach to PR centres on delivering results our clients are happy with. Catering Academy came to us with a clear objective to support internal communication initiatives and reach out to the trade with a high impact communication campaign. We are confident we can deliver and are delighted to be working with such a forward thinking, successful company.”


New client wins have enabled Refresh PR to grow its team, with three new team members joining ‘team Refresh’ within the last six months.


Visit for more information or call 0161 212 1695Follow us on Twitter; @RefreshPR





Tagged with: Food & Drink, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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The Facebook Generation

In the week where Facebook gained its one billionth user and subsequently cemented both itself and creator Mark Zuckerberg in the history books, I was creating a new profile of my own as a Junior Account Executive at Refresh PR.

Having graduated from the University of Salford in July of this year, I had spent the last few months tirelessly applying for jobs and seeking working experience opportunities in what is a highly competitive market, thanks to the recession and the rise in youth unemployment.

Many people are beginning to question whether a university education is worthwhile following the recent hike in tuition fees and given that only a handful of my friends have gone on to find full time work in their chosen sector after completing university, who could blame them?  However for anyone who needs reminding of the importance of a university education they need look no further than Facebook itself for inspiration.

In the 2010 film The Social Network, a movie adaptation of the ‘Facebook Story’, we discover that the foundations of Facebook were created whilst Zuckerberg was studying at Harvard University.

The link between Zuckerberg’s success and a university education isn’t merely coincidental. Well, at least I don’t think so.

University gives you the opportunity to further your knowledge and gain a greater understanding about what really interests you. It gives you the foundations to be able to pursue a career in something that you grow to feel passionate about. Nevertheless it is important to point out that graduating from university does not automatically give you the right to a job or success.

Instead , rather more importantly, it is the friendships that we form and the connections that we make that ultimately influence our futures, especially for those who choose to study any of the creative industries.

If I were to give any advice to someone looking to break into Public Relations (in fact this is advice that works for most industries) I would firstly recommend studying a degree that encourages you to take a placement year where you can gain valuable experience from working within the industry.

However if, like me, you weren’t informed to make that decision I would urge you to make the most of every opportunity. When your lecturers tell you that work experience and making ‘contacts’ is important, they aren’t lying.  Whether that be taking advantage of networking events, promoting yourself via social media or creating a good reputation for yourself as a result of a work experience placement, it is all about using your initiative and being confident in your own abilities to make those opportunities really count.

As much as I would like to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, who was a billionaire by the age of twenty-three I must add, the reality is that being successful on that scale only happens for a handful of us...

It does of course depend on what you qualify as being a success. Twelve months ago I would have jumped at the chance to work for a PR Agency that has been shortlisted for CIPR North West’s Outstanding Small Consultancy 2012 and look what happened!

Cue Facebook status update.

Why not check out Refresh PR on Facebook here:

Tagged with: CIPR , Facebook, Graduates, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, The Social Network, University, University of Salford, Work Experience, Youth Unemployment