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Posts from October 2016

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Awards, awards, awards



We’ve had plenty of reasons to celebrate over the last few months, with our campaigns shortlisted for some of the most prestigious marketing and PR awards in the country.

The Northern Marketing Awards took place on the 19th October, and we were delighted to have been shortlisted in three categories; Best Food and Drink Campaign for our work on the Food Porn Awards, Best Property and Construction Campaign for our work on the Heating Installer of the Year Awards and in the Small Agency category alongside some of the finest marketers in the North.

We unfortunately didn’t come away with any trophies, but we’re extremely proud to have battled against some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Rubicon, Pepsi and Britvic.

Looking forward, this month will see the CIM Northern Awards Ceremony where our work on the Food Porn Awards has been shortlisted for Best Northern Region campaign. We are also just one of two agencies shortlisted for Small Northern Agency – testament to our talented team!

Rounding off 2016, December’s Construction Marketing Awards will be particularly exciting with Refresh PR shortlisted in a whopping five categories! Once again, it’s not just our campaigns being recognised for their excellence as we’re also up for Agency of the Year – a nod to our expertise in communications for the built environment. 

Tagged with: awards, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Exactly how hard has the Brexit vote hit the construction industry?



It’s been over four months since the British public headed to the polling stations to cast their vote on EU membership. Having worked in Refresh PR’s B2B team for a year now, my vote in the referendum wasn’t one that would solely affect my personal circumstances. We specialise in construction and the built environment, so a great deal of time pre-vote was spent speaking with our clients about how a ‘leave’ result might impact their company.

 

There was of course uncertainty around how it could potentially affect our business, too.

 

This was thanks, in large part, to the media but also the undeniable – and well publicised - reliance on our EU membership to bring materials, contracts and tradesmen to the UK. Four months down the line, and the headlines are no less confusing. Some claim businesses are booming, while others are apparently facing an uphill struggle to survive and continue securing business.

 

Only last week news emerged of Travis Perkins, one of the UK’s leading construction merchants, having to close 30 stores and lose 600 jobs as a pre-emptive measure in anticipation of ‘an uncertain UK outlook in 2017’.

Similarly, last week Telford-based rail freight firm DB Cargo announced redundancy consultations on 893 jobs throughout the UK. The company made significant losses during 2015, long before the EU vote, but has said: “Since the Brexit result, investment decisions relating to major construction and infrastructure projects have been delayed, or cancelled in some instances, meaning some of our construction customers are reviewing their future demand for transport of materials.” The more you read, the more worrying it sounds.

According to the Office for National Statistics, construction output dropped 1.5 per cent in August, putting the sector on course for its worst quarter in four years. However, experts insist the figures are in absolutely no way related to the Brexit vote.

Indeed, t
he October edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI, revealed the residential sector played a prominent role in stabilising construction figures during September. House prices are stable and mortgages are lower than ever, collectively playing a big impact on sector contracts, which reached £5.6bn in September.

Performing similarly well is the hotel, leisure and sport industry, with construction contracts in the sector valuing over £500m – 99 per cent higher than a year ago.


So what is the truth, and what do the people working in the industry have to say about it all? A survey undertaken by merchants Gibbs & Dandy with builders, joiners, electricians, plumbers, and painters and decorators revealed more than two thirds (69.5 per cent) are optimistic about the future, while only 12 per cent are pessimistic. Furthermore, 14 per cent have seen an increase in work, while 84 per cent reported that their workload is about the same as before the vote.

Is it purely a cautious attitude and scaremongering media that’s dampening outlook within the sector?

Comfort surely came for many this weekend in the form of positive forecasts, which show the British economy as a whole is performing better than predicted in the immediate aftermath of the vote. GDP was expected to grow by 1.8 per cent in 2016, but has been so resilient experts instead anticipate growth of 1.9 per cent. Similarly, wage growth is expected to stay steady at 2.4 per cent until at least the end of 2017.   

With Prime Minister Theresa May last week demanding the UK continues to play a full role in the EU and its decision-making until we officially leave, it’s up to construction experts to seize the opportunity and these more positive forecasts, and – during what could turn into a two-year charade – use the time we have today to start protecting the future of their business. The construction industry really is stronger together.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Brexit, Construction, Politics, PR

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New office launch sees industry experts debate value of great design



With years of experience leading campaigns in the built environment sector, here at Refresh we know our clients truly value developing new relationships with key decision makers. Having built a large network of contacts, we relish the opportunity to bring together experts in the field who we know will hit it off professionally and to help create new partnerships for our clients.

 

At the end of 2015, our client Space Zero, a Manchester-based interior design consultancy specialising in education and healthcare, shared the news it would be moving to a brand new office in September 2016 and would be designing the space to create an unrivalled workplace in the city.

Never one to miss an opportunity to showcase our clients’ expertise and innovation, we organised a series of round table events.

Working together with Space Zero, we brought together academics, contractors, architects and consultants on two October mornings to discuss challenges affecting their sector and be treated to a guided tour of the new office from Space Zero’s CEO, Wayne Taylor.

The first event focused on healthcare design with attendees from leading businesses including Pozzoni, Rider Hunt and Interserve discussing the challenges of designing spaces to provide an empathetic and comfortable environment for dementia patients.

The second, focussing on the design of schools across England, saw experts from JM Architects, Wates, Bowmer & Kirkland, the University of Manchester and other industry heavyweights debate the elements of school design most likely to result in positive outcomes for pupils.

While the attendees shared their varying views, different experiences and raised questions about the future of the industry, what was clear from both events is that the sector thrives on collaboration, shared values and a passion for using design to make a difference – whether for employees, students or dementia patients.

Plans are already in place for a third round table to be held very soon. So if you work in the interiors, architecture or construction industries, look out for an invitation heading your way!

Tagged with: Built Environment, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , Roundtable

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Refresh captures the best view in Britain



 

September saw our ‘Window with a View’ campaign with the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) come to an exciting conclusion – and with phenomenal results.

Having launched its consumer advice site MyGlazing.com in September 2015, the GGF came to us in December looking for ways to raise awareness of the new brand. Its aim was to drive 100,000 consumers to the website by October 2016.

Understanding that visual and interactive campaigns are leading the way in the press and on social media, we devised the ‘Window with a View’; a competition to find the country’s most stunning view through a window.

Since January, we’ve been reaching out to the nation’s tourism attractions, hotels, bars and restaurants – anywhere open to the general public – via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, in the press and even over the phone, encouraging people enter a snap of their best window view to the competition.

We received 150 nominations – including entries from the Houses of Parliament, Titanic Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral, Blackpool Tower and Blackpool Tower – and the competition made the news in every corner of the UK, on TV, in print and – crucially – online. Web coverage was key throughout the campaign, providing opportunity to link back to the MyGlazing.com site, taking us ever closer to that 100,000 visitors target.

Following an intense judging day, two stages of public voting and an anxious wait to find out which attraction would take the national crown, the Museum of Liverpool was announced as the first ever winner of the Window with a View competition live on BBC Radio Merseyside’s breakfast show at the end of September.

The following week, we were over the moon to hear the news that the 100,000 visitors target had not only been achieved, but exceeded. It just goes to show a well-thought out strategy with a dedicated team behind it can result in great things.

Plans are already in place to launch Year Two in 2017, so watch this space!

 

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Facebook, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Enter the Food Porn Awards and get a bite of the action!



September saw us launch the 2017 Food Porn Awards with STM Photography. We’re calling on eateries from across the North West, Yorkshire and Cumbria to get snapping their most mouth-watering dishes!

Following a hugely successful 2016 launch, the Food Porn Awards have returned, with a mission to find the most tantalising dishes in the North West, Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Restaurants, bars, pubs and eateries should enter images of their best-looking food in order to win the coveted 2017 award.

The Refresh PR team has been leading press office activity for the campaign, engaging key media and influencers in the target regions to encourage entries, and will be supporting at all four cook-off events in Leeds and Manchester in January.

We have also approached leading industry figures to join our judging panel, which this year includes Maria Bracken, editor of leading industry publication, Eat Out, Professor Stewart Morell from Manchester Metropolitan University, and Maria Whitehead, event director of Taste Cumbria.

The shortlisted dishes will be showcased at the Food Porn Awards exhibition at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show on 21st and 22nd March 2017, where the ultimate winner will be announced.

Entries have already been pouring in from both sides of the Pennines, with 2017 hopefuls including Neighbourhood in Manchester, Iberica in Leeds and Marco Pierre White’s renowned Marco’s New York Italian in Sheffield. If you know a Food Porn-worthy hidden gem in the North, encourage them to get involved and enter online by Sunday 13th November.

 

 

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

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Refresh PR is on the job with Detail2Recruitment



Our direct marketing campaign for recruitment specialist, Detail2Recruitment, will use content generation to reinforce its expertise in key industries.

 

Creating content that is informative, engaging and highly relevant to their target audience is top of the list for many businesses, but can be a tricky balancing act. Working with recruitment specialist, Detail2Recruitment, our latest direct marketing campaign will produce creative content to cut through the noise in the retail and leisure sectors and highlight the business’ expertise.

 

With offices in Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Dublin, Detail2Recruitment has specialist teams covering the retail, leisure and hospitality and digital sectors. Its expertise has resulted in significant revenue growth and long-term partnerships with household names including Casual Dining Group, Debenhams and Carphone Warehouse.

 

With the recruitment sector booming and a spotlight on how best to provide businesses with engaging materials that resonate, this project enables us to do just that by offering creative content and new insights. The campaign runs until the end of November and we can’t wait to see the results!

 

Tagged with: Appointment, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, Recruitment, Skiing

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Refresh PR boosts consumer team with senior appointment



October saw us expand our award-winning team further with the addition of Caroline Gibson, our new consumer account director.

 

Caroline joins from BJL, where she worked with the likes of Marriott, Ronseal and Eurocamp. Caroline will work alongside our senior management team to further grow the agency’s consumer client base, and continue to deliver standout campaigns for clients.

 

Caroline brings with her a wealth of experience, working with leading brands across the hospitality, retail and FMCG sectors, including Burger King, Cravendale, Wilko, GG Hospitality and GO Outdoors.

 

The appointment follows a number of senior hires at Refresh PR in recent months, with Emma McCallum and Sarah Mashiter joining the agency as associate director and HR and operations director earlier this year.

 

Emma McCallum said: “Caroline’s appointment supports continued growth within Refresh PR’s consumer arm over the past six months. She brings with her a huge amount of experience within the hospitality and retail sectors, and will be a real asset to the agency.”

 

 

 

Tagged with: Appointment, Marketing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Team

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AAC back with a bang for 2016



 

To help make its annual conference the biggest to date, our skincare, cosmetics and nutrition client, Arbonne, tasked us with increasing engagement with delegates on social media.

Arbonne’s Annual Conference (AAC) truly is a celebration of everything that is great about the brand, and this year it welcomed more than 2,000 Arbonne Independent Consultants to the NEC in Birmingham.

The theme for 2016 was ‘Be The Inspiration’ and the event featured motivational speeches from the likes of US comedian, Connie Podesta alongside the launch of Arbonne’s new Festive Collection and an unforgettable ‘Arbonne Does Gatsby’ evening event. As well as celebrating its success in the UK, AAC enabled Arbonne to update delegates on its worldwide expansion programme, which this year saw launches in Taiwan, New Zealand and Poland.

The Refresh PR team was tasked with capturing the energy in the room, delivering accurate and timely posts, in line with Arbonne’s tone of voice, and interacting with any responses. Over the two days we delivered a real time experience on social media, using the live feed feature on Instagram and regular updates on Facebook, which enabled delegates to be part of the action, even if they were unable to attend. As well as this social activity, we interviewed a number of key attendees for vox pops, which were included in the event showcase to encourage further sign up for the 2017 conference.

The team at Arbonne worked tirelessly for months to pull off such a large-scale event (more than 215,000 square feet to be exact!), and the hard work didn’t go unnoticed. With record numbers of Arbonne teams attending and a significant uplift in social media engagement, AAC 2016 was a huge success and planning is already underway for the next big calendar event - the Global Training Conference.

 

 

 

Tagged with: AAC, Arbonne, Beauty, events, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, Public Relations, Retail, Social Media

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Why video is vital for PR professionals



 

As the digital work carried out by PR professionals evolves, it’s no longer a case of simply using it to bolster our ‘traditional’ press office activity and campaigns. More and more, PR professionals are asking whether social media should be the crux of how we reach our audience.

 

Last week I attended the #PRCADigital event, where the statistics and insights shared came as no surprise. Increasingly clients’ budgets for digital activity is spent on boosting SEO, paid social media activity and creating video based content - with 62 per cent citing this as the main area of spending.

 

Like many of our clients, we recognise the importance of video based content and this creates a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with other creative businesses, echoing what we discussed in a recent blog post.

 

Video content has well and truly hit the mainstream. Facebook’s Live function is growing in popularity, highlighting the importance of such content to audiences by allowing users to live-stream videos, a maximum of 30 minute long, directly from their smartphones.

 

Other social networks are also making a big push on video with Twitter recently announcing it will be launching an app for live-streaming video on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft's Xbox One. This move again highlights how important it is to harness this type of content and create truly integrated campaigns.

 

As well as these developments by social networks, figures show people spend three times longer watching live video compared to a video that's pre-recorded, which is an important insight for content creators. It shows that it’s the creativity and message that users are responding to and therefore not every video has to be at a Hollywood level of production.

 

Everyone has the capability to create videos and with the quality of camera phones reaching new heights, consumers, brands and PR professionals can get filming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , CIPR , Digital, Facebook, Facebook Live, Networking Event, PR, PRCA, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter, Video

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The power of positivity



When a couple of team members from Refresh received an invite to attend a day-long session on Positive Psychology with Graham Keen Partnerships, how could we say no? We always need a bit more positivity in our lives.

 

Graham started the company in 2000.  In this time he has worked with some household names, and has a successful track record.  So, we were looking forward to understanding how he could help us.

 

My main takeaway from the day was to always think in a positive way. In a similar way to how communication works – in that telling people the same message over and over again encourages people to remember it, digest it, acknowledge it, believe it and repeat it – applying the same principle to our internal thoughts by making them all positive means things will become…well, more positive.

 

Obviously there’s a little more to it than that; we attended a one-day course but Graham runs courses of different lengths and with different content to suit the audience – he even talks at company conferences.

 

There is a lot to look forward to and be positive about. PR is changing and evolving at a huge rate, with some massive milestones this year already. In 2016 we’ve seen a British astronaut tweeting from space, engaging a whole new generation in science as a result.  It is also fascinating to watch how it is influencing political campaigns (rightly or wrongly), more so than ever before, from Brexit (coining this term alone was a genius stroke for PR) to the current US election.  

 

Closer to home at Refresh, we’ve delivered changes in the past few months in terms of the way we work and approach client campaigns. The integrated communication campaigns that we’ve built and produced as an agency over the course of 2016 have produced real, tangible business results for our clients – and we’re nominated for lots of industry awards as a result. Strong additions to the senior management team, together with a solid training package for the whole team, are pushing the company forward at a fast pace, and I’m extremely excited to see what the next six months will bring.

 

So, what have I done differently? Graham set us a task to think more positively: we must control how we talk to ourselves as our self-talk creates our beliefs. In all honesty this positivity lasted all of 10 minutes until I hit the Manchester traffic on the way back to the agency. I don’t care how you sugar coat it, every road ‘improvement’ over the past five years has made it worse to get round our city centre! But town planning aside, in terms of dealing with work, it definitely has been worthwhile. Dismissing the unimportant negatives that have a habit of coming into our lives regularly has enabled me to concentrate on the good, and make that even better where I possibly can. Long may it continue.  

 

One piece of advice I would give anyone attending Graham’s course is to sign up for the follow up session and use it as a check in. I didn’t, so instead Graham’s ‘new impetus’ workbook sits on the side of my desk as a gentle reminder.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , positivity, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, psychology, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, training