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Posts from November 2017

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Please respect the power of PR



In our line of work we’re used to change, sometimes on a minute by minute basis – and change is good. But even by our industry standards, the past few months have been transformational in a number of ways.

 

Being passionate about PR and everything it can deliver for a brand or person, I keep reading dramatic (perhaps clickbait?) headlines declaring that PR is dead. PR will never be dead; it may evolve, morphing with other disciplines and regenerating itself – particularly as technology continues to force change – but PR has been around as long as records have been around, and it’s here to stay.

 

What other discipline could change opinion as quickly as an effective PR campaign can? Simply look at politics now: suddenly it’s cool to be a proud Labour supporter and in a lot of areas of the UK, embarrassing to outwardly express a pro-Tory opinion. And whether you agree or not, rightly or wrongly the Brexit campaign (and the coining of this word alone) was PR demonstrating its strength on a monumental scale.In the world of food and drink, who would have said it would be desirable for the middle class to proudly announce they shop at Aldi five years ago? And to be seen drinking Stella Artois? These brands reinvented themselves thanks to clever PR strategies.

 

PR helps to change opinion, reinforce a message, has the power to change the demographic purchasing a product, manages the message in times of a crisis…I could go on. My point is that PR is powerful. It isn’t dead! The tactics we use to cut through the noise and bring a message to the public’s opinion will continue to evolve quickly – for example this year we’ve done more work with micro influencers and Instagram ambassadors than ever before - but strategically most Company Boards see that PR is critical to a brand. It’s the strategic value that PR brings which shouldn’t be forgotten, or lost, in the debates circulating at the moment. PR is an investment not a cost.

 

And in times of a crisis, when the freedom of social media allows pretty much anyone to write pretty much anything about a company, and enable these comments gather pace second by second, what other tool in the marketing mix would be called upon to attempt to refocus the message and set the record straight? None.

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR celebrates being shortlisted for industry awards!



What a year it has been so far at Refresh PR, with new clients, new team members and the CIPR outstanding small agency award win. But it doesn’t stop there, due to the team’s hard work Refresh PR has been nominated for, and won, a range of other industry awards.


Refresh PR’s Heating Installer Awards campaign was nominated for the best SME targeted campaign at The B2B Marketing Awards. The awards recognise the best in global B2B and we were excited to be recognised alongside giant brands including Vodafone, Samsung and Sage.

 

As well as scoping the outstanding small agency award win at the CIPR North West PRide event, we were also shortlisted twice for the corporate and business communications campaign, eventually taking home gold for our work on the 2017 Food Porn Awards.


Last but not least we have also been shortlisted for two CMAs (Construction Marketing Awards). These are for best use of press and public relations for our Window with A View campaign for our client, MyGlazing as well as PR agency of the year. The CMAs recognise marketing campaigns across the built environment industry, a sector we have years of experience in, so one we’re honoured to be recognised in. So watch this space to see if we’re crowned winners again across these industry awards.

 

 

Tagged with: , B2B PR agency Manchester , CIPR North West PRide, CMAs, Lifestyle, MyGlazing, North West , PR Agency Manchester

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In a world of endless technology are we losing the personal touch?



We are living in a world where technology is progressing faster than ever before. More texts, instant messages and emails are being sent, as more and more people adopt this as the typical way to communicate with friends, family, colleagues or even complete strangers.

But as we spend more time staring at a computer screen, whether that is at a desk or in the palm of our hands, are we losing that personal connection?

As a communication agency we are constantly looking for the latest technology, channels and forums that we can use to share brand messages, but within all of this we can never forget the power of personal contact.

A huge part of what we do is educating journalists on our client’s brand and their products or services and we know that no matter how many calls we make, or emails we send, face-to-face is the best way of doing this.

Whether that is setting up a Skinny Lager sampling bar at Unilad's Manchester office or taking one of our latest client’s, Esteem, down to London to meet health journalists across national and women’s glossy titles, getting the product into the hands (and mouths) of these influential journalists is invaluable.

Journalists, like everyone else, are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands of messages every day and as PRs we need to make that cut through and despite the ever evolving world we live in, nothing beats face-to-face.

Face-to-face communication gives you a captive audience, without the modern day distractions and allows people to react and respond, not just to verbal language, but to body language and environment – all of which is crucial for building relationships successfully.

So, what are you waiting for? Step away from the keyboard, put down the iPhone and join us for a coffee!

If you’d like to chat more to the team at Refresh PR we can meet up face-to-face, or if you’d like the team to build these personal relationships on behalf of your brand let us know.

Tagged with: , Creative Agency, Home Interest, PR Agency Manchester, technology

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How PR can make a difference to new businesses



Since Refresh PR launched eight years ago the team has successfully impacted its clients business, helping to build awareness and drive sales. But the businesses we’ve worked with have all been completely different and all come with various challenges and opportunities.

Recently, Refresh PR has worked with a number of start-up companies and in the process has learnt more about what it takes to help kick-start their business.

From the launch of Skinny Lager less than 12 months ago, which now has listings nationwide, to introducing Calla Shoes to the media, with a piece in the Mail Online increasing website visitors by 300 per cent – we’ve had huge success with these start-up businesses.

With all of our clients, the Refresh team immerses itself into the industry or sector they’re operating in, but with a start-up this is even more crucial. Often working with smaller teams, any insight or observation the team here at Refresh shares could not only make a difference to the PR success, but also the success of the business.

When starting a business it can often be difficult to know where to spend the marketing budget to make the biggest impact and ultimately provide the biggest ROI. So as part of our job as marketing professionals we take the consultancy role very seriously. If the business objectives can be achieved in a more effective way, other than PR, then we won’t be afraid of telling our client just that. Ultimately we want our client to succeed so we can grow with them.

Often with smaller in-house teams, start-ups rely on their agencies to be an extension of their business, even more so than a more established brand. This is one of the best parts about working with a start-up, as you can begin to see the genuine impact the team is having, across the board, not just in the marketing sector.

With a number of new start-ups, the world of PR and marketing is often completely foreign to them, as a number of these entrepreneurs don’t have this type of industry background. Again, this is one of the reasons we love working with start-ups here at Refresh – the education and support we can offer to make a genuine difference to a business.

Talking about the role Refresh PR played in launching the business, Stuart Cordingley of Gourmet Meat Club, said: “We started working with Refresh early on to help improve our SEO and generate brand awareness, ahead of a new website launch. In the six months we have been working with the team they have gone over and above the coverage delivery you’d expect from a PR agency, also acting as consultants across a wide range of marketing and business issues, helping to drive the launch forward.

“They’ve understood the needs of a new business and have become an extension of our internal team here at Gourmet Meat Club.”

If you are starting a new business, or would like to kick-start your current PR activity, then call 0161 871 1188.

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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The UK’s most stunning view is revealed!



A panoramic view from the iconic Tower Bridge has taken the top prize in the 2017 Window with a View campaign.

An annual competition we run with our client, MyGlazing.com, the 2017 Window with a View campaign reached its dramatic finish with an award ceremony in front of regional and national media earlier this month.

Beating off stiff competition from the likes of The Lighthouse, Glasgow, and Portsmouth’s Emirates Spinnaker Tower, which took second and third spot respectively, Tower Bridge’s Walkways window was announced as the national winner after receiving thousands of votes from the public.

Every year, Window with a View invites the public to submit – and later vote for – the locations across the UK they feel share fantastic views from their windows. At each key stage of the competition, we liaise with the media to secure far-reaching coverage of the competition, focusing on online articles that include a link back to the MyGlazing.com website so we can prove we’ve been integral to the company’s internet traffic.

After an outstanding first year of the competition in 2016, we extended the competition further this year with the addition of Home with a View – an identical campaign that invites families to share the views from their homes; those only they are lucky enough to enjoy. This year’s winner was a beautiful property in Stratford-upon-Avon overlooking a tranquil lake. While also working to drive hordes of traffic to our client’s website, the Window with a View and Home with a View campaigns also work to promote our MyGlazing.com’s key messaging: the importance of modern, energy efficient glazing, the role glass plays in some of the most important parts of our lives and the importance of using a reputable supplier.

The third year of the campaign will launch in 2018. Keep up to date with our newsletters to find out more, and follow MyGlazing.com’s Twitter account (@myglazing) to hear more about its initiatives.

Tagged with: Lifestyle, MyGlazing, North West , PR Agency Manchester, Tower Bridge, Window with a View campaign

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Refresh PR Crowned Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy 2017



Earlier this month the Refresh PR team celebrated double success at the CIPR PRide NW Awards, scooping two Gold awards for its work over the past 12 months.

First up, we were recognised in the Corporate and Business Communications Campaign category for our Food Porn Awards campaign. Refresh PR appeared twice in the category, with our Heating Installer Awards also receiving a shortlist place, but it was the “robust rationale, clear objectives and a well-informed strategy” that led to the Food Porn Awards taking the top spot.

Later in the evening, we were celebrating again, as Refresh PR was crowned Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy 2017. This award really is testament to the hard work, talent and commitment of the team, and the clients we work with who allow us to deliver award-winning campaigns.

Following on from our shortlist place in 2016, we were thrilled to take the Gold award home in 2017. Judges were impressed with Refresh PR for ‘recognising the need to evolve’, something we have put at the forefront of our work and client campaigns over the past year. We were also praised for our ‘commitment to CPD’ with our Refresh Academy initiative, which focuses on the training and development of our staff.

The whole team has worked extremely hard to continuously build and improve the campaigns we run for our current clients, as well as bringing new clients on board, and we’re excited for the next 12 months to see where the PR evolution takes us.

Tagged with: Creative Agency, Manchester, PR Agency Manchester

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Social media – the dos and don’ts



Social Media is constantly developing and expanding, and it can be a tricky one to get right. The temptation to use it as a platform to promote your products and service can often lead to a lacklustre feed with minimal engagement. Here, we’re going to look at the golden rules of social media and how you can use it to maximise your business.

Sharing is caring

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook et al are designed to share information. Whether it is quick snippets limited to 280 characters (we’re still not onboard with the character increase), or thought leadership articles hosted on LinkedIn, there are no limits to the content that can be shared to your following. It is important however that each piece of content shared is valuable to your audience. Throwing out product plug after product plug, however interesting you find it, will turn your followers off and create a stagnant account. Share industry news, relevant national news items, social trends and information your following will find valuable.

Engage

Twitter describes itself as ‘sparking a global conversation’, with conversation being the most important word here. There is no point in executing a social media campaign if you aren’t going to engage. Reply to tweets, express your opinion, ask open ended questions, even set up a poll; it is paramount you use social media to engage with your potential customers. Creating a relationship with potential customers is the first step to generating a sale, and this first connection can be made without leaving the comfort of your office.

Hashtags

You can’t expect people to stumble across your profile without promoting yourself. Whilst links directing people from your website will work at engaging current customers, using hashtags could generate new business. Whether it’s #Lipstick, #PlasticPlumbing or #StudentAccommodation, anyone using these search terms will be presented with your content, helping you widen your audience and build your following.

Tone of voice

From our experience, people think the social media platform dictates the tone of voice, meaning LinkedIn is full of formal jargon whilst a Twitter feed is littered with colloquialisms and GIFs. This leads to a confused company ethos and a disjointed tone of voice. The best way to determine how and what you write is by looking at your audience and adjusting accordingly. If you’re targeting potential investors, then Kim K memes are probably not best placed, across the board. Likewise, if you’re looking to engage with football fans or families, then a more colloquial term is more appropriate.

Images

A picture’s worth a thousand words has never been truer than on social media. Timelines are a very busy place and you need to use any tool possible to grab a user’s attention. Images achieve a higher engagement rate than plain text on social media and so are a vital tool to adopt. Whether it’s a photo to support and article, an infographic or a video, where appropriate use an image to see your content interactions increase. Moreover, Facebook rewards this content and so you will see your posts appearing above others, further increasing engagement.

Social media can be tricky to navigate, and with rules and trends changing so quickly it can be difficult to keep up. Investing a couple of hours a week in your social media offering will see you reap the benefits. If time isn’t an option, hiring an agency to provide expert guidance on your social media output will see you hit your key business objectives.

For more information on how Refresh PR can help your social media efforts, call: 0161 871 1188.

Tagged with: Facebook, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, Social Media, Twitter

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Is it too late now to say sorry?



Don’t worry this isn’t the Refresh PR team admitting to be secret Justin Bieber fans (we’re more One Direction in this office), this is us looking at the number of brands apologising for causing offence with  their marketing activity.

From Greggs and its sausage roll Jesus [http://www.refreshpr.co.uk/blog/post/11/2017/Flaky-campaign-or-a-roll-of-genius] to Paperchase receiving backlash for its Daily Mail promotion and many more in-between, these all have one thing in common – the apology that comes afterwards.

We are now living in a world that people can give instant feedback on anything they want – adverts, news, celebrities – and they do, in abundance. Because of this increased two way communication brands are able to know within seconds of their latest marketing campaign going live if it is going to have the desired effect.

And for many, this doesn’t always end well.  Just this year alone we have seen big brand names have their advertising approach slated across social media – look at Pepsi (Kendall Jenner), L’Oreal (Munroe Bergdorf), Dove (racist Facebook advert) and McDonalds (children’s grief advert). All household names with multimillion pound marketing budgets, that really should know better.

All of these brands have since come out to apologies about their ill-advised advertising decisions. But is an apology enough? Do they mean it? Does it really make an impact to their bottom line?

In many cases an apology is an absolute must, however sometimes (just sometimes) an apology is wasted. Look at the Protein World’s ‘Beach Body’ campaign, where social media exploded with complaints about the brand putting pressure on women to look a certain way. Protein World’s marketing team didn’t back down to the pressure and never apologised for the campaign, because realistically that campaign was never targeting the men and women who found it offensive.

I respect a brand who stands by their campaign and understands its audience enough not to back down. So sometimes it isn’t too late to say sorry, but it is unnecessary.



Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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Flaky campaign or a roll of genius



It seems everywhere you go you can’t escape Christmas. Even our favourite pasty shop has been caught up in array of festive controversy this week! 

Greggs has received a wave of publicity following its nativity sausage roll take over, seeing baby Jesus changed into a sausage roll. 

Thousands found it a funny twist on the classic nativity scene, whereas others branded the advert a disgrace making a mockery out of the Christian religion.

Greggs has issued a formal apology, saying: "We're really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention."

The advert has fuelled a wider debate around what is and is not acceptable when it comes to the use of religious symbolism in marketing. I, for one, wasn’t offended by the advert, but can understand why it would cause upset to a large proportion of the public. 

Daniel Webster, of The Evangelical Alliance, told the BBC they were "not too outraged", but seemed to imply the mocker of the nativity has become commonplace, adding: "Every year, some company creates a Christmas controversy for commercial gain."

Funny, or a disgrace, the advert has had the whole country talking. It even received a mention on Loose Women when they conducted a poll, in which 82 per cent of voters defended Greggs’ decision. 

With #Greggs trending on social media, the campaign has also secured Greggs a lot of coverage in a variety of online publications including the BBC, The Guardian, The Sun. 

Whether it was meant to cause controversy or not, I applaud Gregg’s PR team for another wonderful campaign and I can’t wait to see what exciting ideas they bring in 2018.

Tagged with: , Christmas, Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Greggs, Lifestyle

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Christmas adverts: why are they so popular?



The much anticipated arrival of the John Lewis advert seemed to divide the nation, and definitely caused a stir on social media. Some viewers fell in love with the friendship between Moz the monster and the little boy, while others were of a different opinion and took to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their disappointment. One member of the public even went so far as to tweet, Worst #johnlewischristmasadvert I've ever seen.”

As we settle down to watch TV on these cold, dark and dismal nights, whatever time it may be, we are now bombarded with a variety of Christmas adverts. From supermarkets to department stores, as soon as November arrives, there is no escaping these overly sentimental ads.

Every year without fail, the adverts receive a huge amount of online recognition. From trending hashtags to articles, we are constantly reminded of the different adverts we should be looking out for. The M&S ad even made national broadcast news, simply due to some poor enunciation (I still believe he wasn’t saying ‘thank you little bear’). It really is amazing how much publicity these adverts receive and how they completely dominate social media for two months of the year.

Some people are now beginning to argue whether or not the huge power that these Christmas adverts have is getting a bit extreme. John Lewis spent £7 million on its latest advert and it seems it is turning into a competition between brands as to how much can be spent each year, with a variety of articles now being written comparing the latest ads and their budgets. One thing is for sure, the PR value achieved outweighs the initial ad spend.

However, it is indisputable that these Christmas adverts show how integral social media can be for a company’s marketing, showing how even the most popular companies rely on social media to be successful. Are you applying the same practice to your business?

If you think your business could use some assistance, get in touch with us on 0161 871 1188.

Tagged with: Creative Agency, Gifts, John Lewis, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations

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The awards you never knew we should’ve won…



Following our incredible double win at the recent CIPR North West awards – where we took home the gong for Best Small Consultancy and Best Corporate and Business Communications campaign – we celebrated as a team and got talking about the more unusual awards we might receive if our peers knew us behind closed doors.

And so began an alternative prize giving – an impromptu celebration of everything we share, day in day out, here at Refresh, and the things we know we do differently. Here’s a rundown of the awards you never knew we should’ve won:

Laura Mashiter – Managing Director

‘The Versatility Award’ – we are experts in being more than the traditional PR agency: we advise clients on SEO, we all watch our clients’ Google Analytics daily, we lead social media campaigns, and we can advise on AdWords. None of this would be deemed a PR person’s remit a couple of years ago. Now, we not only have to be great at the old PR job – creativity, sell ins, copywriting, setting up speaker opps, guiding clients through strategy and key messages, crisis management (and more), but we have a whole new set of skills which mean we’re great for marketing directors and managing directors alike to work with.

Erin Heywood – Account Director

‘The Talking Heads Award’ – like most bunches of young women who spend 9 hours a day, five days a week together, we love to chat, and can often be caught getting way too deep in conversations that people outside our agency would just find weird. But that’s because we’re an in-tune team that gels, and we learn great things out of the most surprising of topics. Plus, the more we chat about our industries and clients, the more likely we are to come up with new ideas, impress our clients and secure coverage with journalists.

Caroline Gibson – Account Director

‘The Chameleon Award’ – we love a challenge, and sometimes the most exciting challenge is taking on something we’ve never done before! From make-up to plumbing, we work across such a variety of areas within our four specialist sectors (construction, tech, lifestyle, food, drink & retail) we think we’re pretty well rounded. But actually, we still get new business leads in areas we’ve never covered before. When we get these through the door (or inbox!), we dedicate time to immersing ourselves in that area, whether it takes days, weeks or month, until we know it like the back of our hand. 

Aishleen Davies – Account Manager

‘The Golden Idea Award’ – Whether it’s plumbing or cosmetics, glazing or meat, Refresh PR comes up with ideas that are not just creative and push boundaries, but also helps clients hit their key business objectives. What’s even more exciting is that Refresh has BIG ideas in the pipeline that will help other businesses grow.

Rebecca Wallace – Account Executive

‘The Itchy Feet Award’ – As an agency, we’re always itching to do more and continually thinking of ways to improve. We let our imaginations run away with us while we create award winning campaigns, but our feet always remain firmly on the ground as we remain forward thinking, and take pride in knowing exactly what our clients need.

Emily Knight – Account Executive

‘The Friendly Faces Award’ – we’re a group of enthusiastic and passionate individuals who love to have a laugh (and get the job done at the same time of course!). We are always happy to help one another and we work well together as a team. The Refresh team is always there to offer a helping hand and friendly face to colleagues and clients alike.

Sound like the agency for you? Get in touch today!

Tagged with: CIPR , Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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Refresh PR is named Outstanding Small PR Agency 2017 by CIPR



Refresh is officially the North West’s Outstanding Small PR Agency 2017, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.


Crowned at the North West PRide Awards, the long established and most recognised awards in all PR professional’s calendars, Refresh was recognised for the steps that it has taken in the past year to listen to its clients in an ever changing business landscape, and adapt to the new requirements that customers demand from PR.


The best small PR agency in the North West

The CIPR judges said: “Recognising the need to evolve, Refresh PR has achieved great success across its business. From winning an impressive new line-up of clients to implementing sound business processes, the agency has delivered on what it said it would. It's commitment to CPD is evident, particularly its Refresh Academy initiative, while the quality of work is evidenced by the campaign they chose to highlight – a worthy Gold Award winner.”


Copywriting, press office, SEO, Google and more



The evolution at Refresh that the judges refer to is a direct response to understanding the needs and wants of clients, and the daily challenges that they face. From support with SEO, responding to Google Trends and the statistics on Google Analytics through to driving the strategic direction of PR, social media campaigns, managing PR in a crisis situation and organising roundtables – in addition to press office of course! – the role of the PR professional in 2018 is a very different one to years gone by. Clients need versatile agencies which can deliver informed and tangible campaigns driven by sound and unquestionable statistics and research – all backed with a creative that helps them to stand out from the crowd.

 




Best North West Business and Corporate Communications Campaign

 

Refresh PR, based in Manchester, also took home the award for the Best Business and Corporate Communications Campaign for its work in the food, drink and retail sector. The judges commented that: “Among several strong contenders in this category, it was a robust rationale, clear objectives and a well-informed strategy that helped Refresh PR win the award, not to mention tangible, measurable outcomes. Building on their success…the team applied what they learnt, combining it with some smart thinking to bring together current media and social media trends in the world of food.”


If you’d like to hear more about how Refresh PR’s consultants can help you, please get in touch via info@refreshpr.co.uk or 0161 871 1188.


Tagged with: CIPR , Lifestyle, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR event, PR Manchester