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Posts from October 2019

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Another success story for Eurocell’s Future of Homes campaign



To finish off our blog series on this year’s Construction Marketing Awards, we’ve written about our work with Eurocell on the Future of Homes campaign. In this blog we talk through the campaign to help explain why it repeatedly achieves award shortlists.

 

To address the housing shortage and ensure that the housing stock deficit is erased, the UK needs to build 340,000 new homes every year until 2031, and it’s critical that these homes meet the needs and demands of future homeowners.

 

To gain insight into this, we worked with Eurocell to survey 1,000 25-40-year old renters and homeowners to investigate their views on the subject. The findings were then displayed in a digital, downloadable whitepaper hosted on Eurocell’s website, which also incorporated the thoughts of leading architects who participated in a roundtable discussion to analyse the findings.

 

The Future Homes campaign achieved strong media interest in highly specialist titles, positioning Eurocell as a leading authority on a range of key subjects and creating new opportunities to establish relationships with architect practices.

 

We’re really proud of this one and we’re looking forward to seeing if it can claim the title of best Big Budget Campaign at the CMA’s awards ceremony in November.

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment

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The sky is the limit for Refresh PR and Uponor!



Last week we announced that Refresh has been shortlisted for eight Construction Marketing Awards, making 2019 the best in the company’s history in terms of CMA’s!

 

Kicking off our blog this week, we’re looking at Uponor’s ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ campaign which has been shortlisted for three CMA’s this year: Strategic Planning & Management, Best use of Press & Public Relations and Best Low Budget Campaign.

 

In January 2019, Uponor appointed Refresh to accelerate the company’s brand awareness.

 

We started out by holding a strategy development session with the Uponor senior team, then followed it up with further research and creative development in order to create 'The Sky's the Limit' campaign. The campaign utilised independent research among Uponor's target audience to identify key trends and issues in high rise construction in order to create a compelling PR story driven by a piece of 'hero' content on Uponor’s website: 'The Sky's the Limit' whitepaper.

 

Designed to deliver top-level, issues-based and opinion-led content to encourage engagement and debate, the campaign delivered clear results, including backlinks in media coverage, downloads of the whitepaper and direct leads generated through a download of the whitepaper.

 

Both Refresh and Uponor are both thrilled to see the campaign being recognised by the CMA’s by being shortlisted for three different awards and look forward to seeing if they can go the whole way on 28th November!

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction PR, creatiive agency Manchester, High Rise PR, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR for specifiers and architects, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Window with a View gets shortlisted for Best use of Press & Public Relations and Best Mid-Range Budget Campaign



As you may have seen last week, Refresh PR has been shortlisted for EIGHT Construction Marketing Awards, making 2019 a personal best for the company in terms of CMA’s! Today on our blog we’re going to be delving into the Window with a View campaign we’ve been working on with MyGlazing.com, the consumer arm of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF).

 

Refresh has been working with GGF for a number of years, and has worked on the Window with a View competition for the past four years. This year the competition, which invites members of the public to embrace their inner photographer and capture any particularly impressive window and view, involved changes to make it bigger and better than ever.

 

This year the competition moved from being solely held on MyGlazing.com’s website, to involve its social channels at both entering and voting stages. This raised awareness of the organisation on social media, as well as prompting a spike in number of entries for the 2019 competition.

 

In late July a panel of photography, architecture, marketing and glazing professionals met to judge the hundreds of images that the public had submitted, resulting in a winner for each of the 11 regions across the UK. These regional winners, and the competition in general, led to record numbers of pieces of coverage across regional and national titles, which in turn led to an intense few weeks of voting for a national winner on the MyGlazing.com website, Twitter and Instagram pages.

 

In early September 2019, the national competition closed and Arundel Castle was announced as the national winner of the Window with a View 2019 competition, again providing MyGlazing.com with coverage across a number of regional and national titles.

 

Both Refresh and MyGlazing.com are over the moon that the competition and its success has been recognised by being shortlisted twice for the Construction Marketing Awards, for Best use of Press & Public Relations and Best Mid-Range Budget Campaign. We’re all looking forward to the ceremony on 28th November - wish us luck!

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , backlink building, Built Environment, Built Environment PR, Construction, Construction Marketing Awards, Construction PR, North West , online PR, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR award winner, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Eight Construction Marketing Award shortlists for Refresh PR



It’s a very happy Monday at the Refresh PR office. We’re celebrating after being shortlisted for not just one, but two agency gongs at the 2019 Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs) – in the Small Agency of the Year and PR Agency of the Year categories.

 

CMA awards

That’s alongside another SIX nominations for campaigns with our clients Uponor, MyGlazing.com and Eurocell!

Entries are judged on criteria such as consistent high performance, having delivered client satisfaction, met client objectives and demonstrating a strong culture of creativity and originality.

 

Our MD, Laura Mashiter, said: “The CMAs, run by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, showcase the commitment, strategic thinking and creativity that sits behind the UK’s most successful construction marketing and communications campaigns. They’re the gold standard so it feels wonderful to be recognised once again – particularly as we approach our tenth anniversary in business. The night provides a chance to look back on the successes of the past 12 months and give our team (and our fantastic clients) the recognition they deserve for being amongst the hardest-working and PR folk in the business.

 

We can’t wait for the ceremony on 28th November. Watch this space!

 

The Refresh PR team has over seven decades of PR experience in both the built environment and tech sectors and experienced record growth in 2018/19, with 2019/2020 set to be even bigger. 

 

 

 

Tagged with: #CMA19, B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Built Environment PR, Construction, Construction awards, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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3 things we learned from UK Construction Week: day three



And, just like that, it’s over! The third and final day of this year’s UK Construction Week certainly did not disappoint.

Importantly, today was World Mental Health Day. The entire event showed its support for this vital initiative – and not just at the designated wellbeing zone.

Getting materialistic

Materials. They’re at the very core of built environment projects – but ongoing conversations around sustainability mean that it has perhaps never been more important to consider the environmental impact that materials can have. It was encouraging to see the issue being taken seriously in a talk by Natasha Watson, a senior structural engineer who highlighted her belief that you can always find a way to reduce the impact of the materials you use, but that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

The session chimed with many other talks this week, that have zoned in on the importance of sector unity in the face of the climate emergency, and the critical role we have to play in tackling it. Watson stated: “we can start solving these issues with collaboration and new ways of thinking.” It’s an important message and one that resonated with the audience.

The future of skills

Talk turned to skills this afternoon, with a panel discussion on the ever-present need for businesses to recruit and retain qualified teams. The skills crisis is, of course, not limited to the construction sector alone, but it’s certainly started to bite a little harder in the past few years. Just this week, Randstad revealed that Brexit has created recruitment slump across the sector this summer, with fewer than half of jobs being filled due to parliamentary uncertainty. It was therefore an apt seminar, which included contributors such as Liz Male of the eponymous consulting firm and Sarah Beale of the CITB.

As promised, the team delivered a whole host of practical ways that businesses can tackle the skills crisis head-on – leaving the audience members (including myself!) feeling inspired to put their tips into action back at the office.

The workplaces of the future

The changing face of the traditional “office” has become a central point for discussion in recent years, specifically for the construction industry. Flexible working and the growing number of entrepreneurial digital businesses (that can operate from anywhere with a WiFi connection) are changing the face of town centres and business districts as we know it. 

Architects, planners and developers must therefore dramatically reassess how to design these spaces; that’s to say, with the agility and flexibility required to meet the needs of our future workforce. Disruptors in this space have come in the form of co-working offices such as WeWork and pop-up marketplace Appear Here – both of which fundamentally change how buildings are used by their occupants.

It’s something that was explored in depth on the Main Stage in a session entitled “Future-proofing town centre and workplace: what buildings do organisations need and want?”

The panel included experts from Google, John Lewis and Grimshaw Architects and it was fascinating to hear from some of the biggest names in the field discussing how the sector can create places and communities that thrive. As we have seen throughout the event, a lot of time and effort is – quite rightly - focused on the tech and digital solutions that will drive innovation in coming years. But it will be equally important to ensure the industry designs for people; after all, what is the point of built environment projects if not to improve the lives of those engaging with them?

Key takeaways

There may be weary feet aplenty heading out of the NEC this evening – but it’s safe to say that everyone has come away with a greater understanding of the key issue at stake across the entire construction sector. We are still sad that we didn’t win the Peaky Blinders gin competition…but we’ll have to live with it.

Here’s our three key learnings from day three of the conference. Bring on 2020!

·         The climate emergency can only be solved if the industry comes together as a whole and develops new ways of tackling it

·         The skills crisis is only what you make it – you need to ensure that HR works harder for your business

·         We must design and build to ensure future communities are not just created – but thrive

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction

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UK Construction Week 2019 day two: what we learned



Day two dawns at UK Construction Week and there was a huge buzz around the keynote speaker of the day – construction minister Nadhim Zahawi. Much of the discussion yesterday centred around the importance of regulation when it comes to tackling issues such as sustainability and changes to process following the Grenfell disaster, so Zahawi naturally commanded a crowd.

Top of the government’s current agenda is, of course, the housing crisis – something that was discussed in great detail by a panel led by the BBC’s Steph McGovern in “The Housing Crisis will never be solved, unless…”

Pressures from ministers to deliver 300,000 new homes a year is undoubtedly an optimistic target, which is hampered by constraints such as land provision, planning, quality design, energy efficiency expectations, dropping sales prices, skills and workforce shortage and Brexit. It was therefore intriguing to hear from experts on what they feel are the most valuable solutions to the crisis as we head into the 2020s.

Sustainability

Sustainbility: the word on everyone’s lips – including those of George Clarke, who has been a brilliant host of the event so far. He has partaken in many a selfie and is still smiling!

In his session on “Heat pumps, sustainability and MMC” the celebrated architect highlighted how heat pumps and modern methods of construction will be two critically important methods by which the UK can reach – and exceed – its CO2 reduction targets. Alongside a spokesperson from Mitsubishi Electric, he explored the responsibilities of the UK housing supply chain when it comes to addressing the climate change disaster.

What was clear is that robustly considering the environment is more important in construction now than ever, and it’s up to the industry to stand up, be counted and do better every day.

Mental health and wellbeing

This year, there is a real focus on mental health issues within the sector. It’s an incredibly important issue; recent statistics from the ONS show that male construction workers are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average male. The reasons for this are multifaceted but long working hours and concerns around the current instability of the sector and future job security are all said to contribute.

A number of talks are exploring the problem, for example “Enhancing workplace environments for mental wellbeing and neurodiversity” which looks at how construction organisations can recognise those with “neurodiversity” – that’s to say a condition such as autism or ADHD – how it’s often linked to poor mental health and how to make practical changes to accommodate.

The event is also being supported by Every Mind Matters, an NHS and PHE-backed campaign that champions mental wellbeing in the workplace. It’s such an important initiative so it was great to see a busy stand and people getting on board with the message.

Key takeaways

It’s been another day of incredibly insightful sessions (not to mention some of the most creative and engaging merchandise we’ve ever seen on stand. Top marks to Storage on Site and their bright yellow “SOS” tote bags and Quinn BP’s adventures in green screen!)

TL;DR – here are the three top takeaways from day two!

·         To address climate change, the industry must come together and be brave

·         Construction must no longer be a “tough man’s industry” – mental health and wellbeing should be taken as seriously as any other physical ailment

·         The industry cannot alone solve the UK housing crisis – it needs support from a wide range of stakeholders to truly improve lives

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Public Relations

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UK Construction Week 2019 day one: what we learned



Day one of the UK’s largest built environment event was – naturally – full of expert insights and important conversations from across the sector. It’s a key date in the calendar for a reason; the event seeks to shine a light on the most vital issues and opportunities faced by the industry – from architects and specifiers to housebuilders, contractors and everyone in between.

This year, the theme is innovation and there is certainly a clear focus on the future. In essence, how can we come together to make the construction industry more profitable, more productive and more sustainable in the coming years? And what can we do about it right now?

Digitise or die

One of the first talks of the day addressed this head-on, with architect George Clarke leading a discussion on the solutions that will transform the way we build, increase profitability, deliver projects faster, safer - all without having to compromise on quality.

Entitled: “Are you being left behind? Capitalising on innovation and disruptive change,” the slot saw Clarke being joined by leaders from forward-thinking organisations such as Big Innovation Centre and Construction Blockchain Consortium. All emphasised the rapid speed at which the sector is evolving and how important it will be for every single business within it to keep pace with the change. 

Although not necessarily a new topic, it was great to see how well the audience engaged with the issues raised and showcased why digital transformation is on everybody’s minds.

As Felipe Manzatucci, director of digitalisation at Skanska UK, highlighted later in the day: “Construction is one of the least productive industries in the UK. If you want to stay in the game, digitise.”

Zoning in

And speaking of innovation, the newly-created Innovative Zone provided an inspirational look at the disruptive businesses that are creating genuine change within construction. As organisers highlight, the aim is to show how innovation can create new value in the industry and stop the short-term, purely cost-driven ‘race to the bottom.’

This came across strongly when visiting stands such as JCB Industrial. It’s a business that has been around for decades but has its sights very much on the future of construction, using technology (such as its new “Hydradig” excavator) to improve efficiency and productivity across the board.

A number of other launches were also on show, such as the debut of Platform Design Programme - a project that encourages innovation in offsite construction for a range of projects, including schools, hospitals and prisons.

Offsite

One launch that garnered a good deal of attention was a unique, curved eco-building with a green roof. Exhibited by manufacturer, Green King, it formed just one small “pod” of an entire building structure – a number of which are already in use residentially, commercially and in public buildings such as schools and visitor centres. The structure is manufactured offsite in modular sections and delivered to site virtually complete.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that it is often cited as one of the key solutions to the UK housing crisis, offsite was another central talking point of the day. In her talk, Lorraine McMorrow of The McAvoy Group explored about how digital technology is advancing off site construction – speaking at length about the latest digital techniques which radically improve the way we design and produce new buildings. For example, she discussed how BIM, virtual reality, augmented reality and laser scanning is driving offsite construction to the next level. A fascinating insight.

Key takeaways

As the sun sets on Birmingham’s NEC and exhibitors head to the Beer Festival which is kicking off the evening’s festivities, below are just some of the most salient points we have taken on board. Another great day in store tomorrow!

·         Digitise now, or risk being left behind

·         As a priority, organisations much change their mindsets, embrace innovation and attempt to drive disruptive change

·         Offsite will continue to play a vitally important role in future

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction

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Discovering digital careers with Greater Manchester’s next wave of talent



As you may already know, last month we launched our employer-supported volunteering scheme to ensure we continue to play our part in giving back to the Greater Manchester community.

With both of us having a strong interest in tech and working together for a number of businesses in the sector, account director, Lucy, and I recently volunteered to contribute to a ‘Discover Digital Careers’ event, hosted by our good friends and client Manchester Digital.

We’re #DigitalFutures Ambassadors for Manchester Digital as part of its wider Digital Futures programme, which was established to connect industry with education to inspire more young people across Greater Manchester to pursue a digital career, as well as to support educators in delivering a more relevant curriculum and careers guidance.

Having arrived bright eyed and busy tailed with our teaching hats on, we spent the morning presenting to a room full of 14-17-year-old students from schools across Greater Manchester. We discussed the public relations space as a whole, shared shining PR examples, and talked to the students about the various pathways into the industry.

From studying a communications-focused degree at university, to jumping into the industry straight out of school by pursuing a placement or apprenticeship, there truly is no right or wrong route into a career in our sector so long as you have the right soft skills. These include creativity, integrity, resilience, curiosity, being a good team player and, perhaps most importantly, a hunger to learn and grow; the rest (the technical stuff) can be learnt on the job!

We felt it was also important to discuss how varied and diverse working in the PR landscape is, and of course we shamelessly dropped-in the old cliché that no two days are ever the same…c’mon, it’s true!

We were joined by three other businesses on the day – Wattl, GDPR Assist and Studio 91 Media – who we had the pleasure of exchanging our knowledge with on how we can encourage more young people in the region to pursue a digital career and narrow the digital skills gap.

After wrapping-up the presentations and a spot of lunch, it was time for an afternoon of workshops. We put together an activity on drafting social content for businesses across the four major platforms; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The aim of the workshop was to get the students thinking about how to tailor content specifically to suit each platform, and highlighting that yes – you can produce social content for a living! Some of the students’ faces lit-up when this became apparent, as for many of them, this was already a huge passion and the thought of channelling it into a career was really exciting.

We gave the students made-up briefs to tackle from three very different brands. We then asked them to split into smaller groups, choose one brief, and produce a post for each of the four platforms. It was fascinating to see the students’ thought processes behind tackling the briefs; the room was bursting with potential.

From a Facebook livestream of Stormzy rapping the national anthem to launch the new team GB kit for Tokyo 2020, to a ‘half and half-style’ image for Metrolink to post on Instagram to show the positive impact more people using the tram could have on Greater Manchester’s environment, there were some really creative ideas for promoting the brands through social. Though the students were there to learn from us, we certainly felt inspired by them too!

At the end of our workshops we held an evaluation session. We asked the students what they had learnt and if they’re now thinking about considering a digital career in the media and communications industry, to which the vast majority said yes.

Before attending the event, many of the students were unaware of the breadth of opportunities available across the sector, which highlights just how important it is to educate students on the opportunities available before they are faced with making life-defining decisions about their futures.

While the future of Manchester’s digital and creative space remains bright, initiatives such as this are vital to ensure industry helps lead the way on nurturing the talent of the future. This will ensure education, government and parents have the right information and support to advise our young people and meet the sector’s current and future needs.

To find out more about the programme and how you can get involved, or sign up for free, please visit https://www.manchesterdigital.com/become-digital-futures-ambassador or join the conversation on social media by following @McrDig and using the hashtags #DigitalFutures and #GMDigitalSkills



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