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Posts from November 2019

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Two more wins for the Refresh PR team at the Construction Marketing Awards



It’s been another successful year for Refresh PR at the Construction Marketing Awards as we walked away with two new additions to our trophy cabinet, including: 

 1. Best campaign under £25k (Uponor)

 2. Best Small Agency

 

Construction PR has always been at the core of our business and our decades of experience has truly allowed us to get under the skin of our clients and become fully immersed in their businesses. We pride ourselves on planning and executing hard-hitting campaigns for our clients that create real results and it was fantastic to have this recognised by the Construction Marketing Awards.

 

Alongside our two wins, Refresh PR was shortlisted for six other awards on the night including:

- Strategic Planning & Management (Uponor)

- Best use of Press & Public Relations (MyGlazing.com)

- Best use of Press & Public Relations (Uponor)

- Best campaign under £50k (MyGlazing.com)

- Best over £50k campaign (Eurocell)

- PR Agency of the Year

 

It’s clear 2019 has been a success but what are our predictions for 2020?

 

Sustainability – we have seen an increase in manufacturers wanting to promote their green credentials as opposed to pushing products, something we believe we’ll see much more of in 2020. With carbon targets and more eco-conscious consumers than ever before, it’s never been more important to consider your impact on the planet.

 

More integration – cross agency activity isn’t a new concept but we’ve noticed it becoming more and more frequent and it’s something we love to do. Rather than be a jack of all trades, agencies are specialising in their chosen discipline and working together to create strong results for their clients.

 

Breaking the mould – in what is a very traditional sector, we’ve seen some truly innovative campaigns at the CMAs and each year, they’re getting increasingly creative. We always create campaigns that cut through the noise and get people talking within the industry which is why we achieved eight shortlists and two wins this year!

 

With the shortlists and wins, Refresh PR cements its place as one of the UK’s leading construction agencies on the national league table and we’d like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for believing in our ideas and allowing us to do the work we love, every day.

 

Want to talk to us about how we can help you and your business? Give us a call on 0161 871 1188 to speak to one of the Refresh PR team.

 

 

 

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

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Anti-aging Gin to viral adverts – our favourite PR campaigns over the last 10 years



During Refresh’s lifetime we’ve seen some memorable and exciting campaigns come from a whole host of sectors. In honour of our 10th birthday, we’re looking back at the ones which have really resonated with us.

 

Deliveroo – the Friends trifle

In May 2018, to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the episode airing, Deliveroo added the famous Rachel Green trifle to its service. The delivery company partnered with pop-up restaurant, Regina Phalange (if you know, you know) to serve one dish and one dish only – The Meat & Sweet Trifle.

 

Containing lady fingers, jam, custard, raspberries, beef sautéed with peas and onions, bananas and whipped cream, the trifle replicated the classic dessert cooked up by Rachel for the gang’s Thanksgiving dinner.

 

But what was the result for Deliveroo? Well, as you can image, the news of the trifle going on sale went far and wide – despite the company only serving up the sweet, meat treat in London. Even though fans were dubious about how the trifle would taste, Deliveroo received a record number of orders. The campaign is a perfect way to represent how a business understands its audience – using a pop culture reference to tap into the audience and get the message of the service out to them.

 

Warner Leisure Hotels – Anti-aGIN

Warner Leisure Hotels’ Anti-aGin was said to include collagen and a variety of antioxidants and skin-healing botanicals which would reduce cellulite and sun damage – perfect for anyone on their holiday.

 

The campaign attracted attention from national print media, radio, and TV leading to the gin selling out online in a mere 24 hours. 

 

It has to be noted that there is no real evidence that the gin actually has any real benefits, but the stunt certainly garnered attention for Warner Leisure Hotels in a fierce and competitive market. It accumulated a massive number of sales in the hotel bars as well. The campaign is a key example of a brand generating buzz from something outside the realms of its core product offering to appeal to a wider audience.

 

Klarna – House of Klarna

After announcing 50,000 new Klarna customers a week are choosing ‘Pay later’ at retailer checkouts, and with over 12 million transactions in the past year alone, Klarna hit the high-street with over 27 of the best retail brands in the UK. For 10 days, Klarna took up residence in the heart of Manchester’s city centre with an immersive and playful retail space for shoppers, transforming the bricks and mortar experience into pure joy.

The “House of Klarna” kicked off with a VIP launch party attended by regional stars, before welcoming the public a day later. The three-storey house transformed into the home of the best of fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands including: ASOS, Oliver Bonas, Topshop, Topman, House of Holland, Missguided, BEAUTY BAY, My Protein and Schuh.


Not only this but the company hosted fashion and lifestyle events, beauty treatments, live DJs and a Klarna Kafé offering free sodas and coffee. It became massive on Instagram soon after opening its doors attracting the attention of its key target audience, millennials. 
The pop-up put Klarna on the map in Manchester, raising its brand awareness and showcasing it as the cool, vibrant company that understands the interests of the people using its services. Who said payments have to be boring?

 

ASB – Auckland Open dog ball boys

For its ASB Classic international tennis tournament in Auckland, New Zealand bank ASB put on a match like no other.

 

It gathered the best ball boys in the world to take part in the game between Venus Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova, unbeknown to all the attendees, these ball boys were actually canine tennis ball fanatics: Oscar, Ted, and Super Teddy.

 

This charming and light-hearted campaign brought a different approach to the game and shone a light on the bank’s friendly and humorous side.

 

Tate & Lyle – edible hotel

In 2013, sugar company, Tate and Lyle, invited guests to eat through its life-size hotel made entirely of cake and other baked goods.

 

Whether you wanted to eat meringue rugs, fudge windowsills, or cake pillows, guests headed to Soho to dine out on the creation which took 14 artists 2,000 hours, 900 hours of decorating and 600 kilos of sugar to construct.

 

The hotel was built to promote a new range of golden and brown cane sugars from Tate and Lyle and inspire others to get creative in the kitchen. The businesses looked at not what it was but what it could do and sparking the imagination of others.

 

ASOS – Tinder dress

After being trolled on Tinder for wearing an ASOS dress, one girl took to Twitter to vent her frustrations, gaining 101,000 likes and 8000 retweets. Being quick off the mark, ASOS soon turned the girl in question’s picture into the model example on its website. Later, it posted the image on Twitter telling users to “swipe right to see who had the last laugh” sparking 3,500 retweets and 24,300 likes. 

 

Being dubbed a hero and sporting women’s empowerment, ASOS gathered hundreds of pieces of coverage, mentions, and brand engagement off something as simple as changing an image on its website. A small gesture by the company but gaining massive results.

 

Ikea – Classic TV show living-rooms

As part of its new UAE campaign, Real Life Series, Ikea designed the living rooms from The Simpsons, Friends, and Stranger Things, with furniture entirely from Ikea.

 

The rooms were displaced across the Middle East with replications even being shown in its stores. What’s more, Ikea tagged all of the products featured in the designs to ensure those seeing the image could quickly click a purchase – raising sales and streamlining the purchase process.

 

Virgin Holidays – Holiday Spirit

Virgin Holidays partnered with IBM’s Watson – the world’s most intelligent super computer – to analyse the thoughts and feelings of more than 15 million holidaymakers’ social media posts to develop a rum which tasted like a holiday.

 

The spirit sold out in all nine of Virgin’s V-room retail stores bringing in a huge amount of revenue for Virgin and adding another string to the giant’s bow.

 

CALM – male statues

CALM, the charity that works to prevent male suicide, added 84 male-suicide statues to the top of the ITV Tower in 2018. The statues, which featured male mannequins with hoods pulled over their faces, was part of the charity’s Project 81 aiming to raise awareness of the number of men who take their own life each week in the UK.

 

The purpose of the campaign was to stop people in their tracks and bring those suffering alone into the centre spotlight. Following this, CALM partnered with Change.org to set up a petition to put pressure on the government to make a real change and support these men who so desperately needed it.

 

As a result of the campaign, CALM met 80% of user sign up of the previous year in just three days, 36,000 Twitter mentions, and 2.1 billion pieces of earned media. There are also now 256,000 signatures on the petition which was taken to Number 10.

 

John Lewis – not a retail store

There’s no denying it, the John Lewis Christmas advert release date is one of the pinnacle moments of the year, receiving thousands of tweets, mentions, pieces of media coverage, and opinions each year. But, for poor American John Lewis, it’s the day his Twitter feed gets busier than any other day of the year.

 

John spends a lot of his time replying to angry and confused customers who tweet him thinking he’s the retail store and has become a cult icon on the internet. So, seeing John’s dedication to going above and beyond to direct disgruntled tweeters to the right Twitter handle, the retailer gave John his very own Christmas ad. Dubbed ‘not a retail store’ the advert saw John replying to tweets of customers asking questions. Also, as a bonus for his namesake, the internet star receives a Christmas present off the retail giant each year.

 

Not only did the online ad go viral, but it cemented John Lewis’ place in the retail market as a store which cared about each and every person who interacted with it.

 

 

Have any different thoughts on what should have made the grade? Why not tweet us your favourite campaign of the last 10 years at @RefreshPR or comment below. Stay tuned for more blog posts in the lead up to our birthday celebrations. 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR event, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Another ten things we have learnt at Refresh



A lot can happen in ten years; we’ve seen advances in technology, changes in government and plenty of scandals and interesting events in the news. The PR industry has evolved hugely in the last decade and here are just some of the things we’ve learnt.

 

Keeping up with technology is key
Ten years ago we weren’t glued to our smartphones, investigating virtual reality or loving the convenience of ApplePay. A lot has evolved and changed, and whilst our laptops have got lighter and smaller, our appetite for the latest technology has only grown bigger.


Keeping up with the latest technology has been essential for us in the PR biz, not just because it allows us to speak to the media in more ways than ever but also because news breaks even faster and with the latest technology we can be reactive and get in front of the story as it unfolds.

 

People are busier than ever
The average journalist is writing a minimum of ten stories a day and the days of PR and journalist boozy lunches have long gone (shame!). People are busy and for us in the media it shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Being time efficient is a highly valued skill; we pride ourselves on working quickly and getting maximum value out of the work we do for our clients.

 

A good work/life balance is essential
Whilst we are busier than ever, having a work/life balance has been a hot topic in recent years and one at Refresh that we are keen on! If you’re burnt out then you can’t work at your best, and everyone needs to switch off at some point. Whilst the news happens at all hours, we certainly can’t be awake 24/7 so making sure we take time to recharge means we can be at our best at work!

 

PR is still a people game, and always will be
Networking, building relationships and being part of the community are all ways that we keep our industry alive, and we love to meet new people! Not much has changed on that front for us, but we’ve found new ways of meeting and chatting with interesting people on LinkedIn and Twitter – we even found some of our staff via relationships on social media!

 

You don’t need to be in London to be in the media
Yes London is our capital and the bulk of the British media is based there but honestly, we value being based in Manchester. We still have great relationships, get great coverage, hold brilliant events and we get to do it from our beloved home city. Not to mention Manchester is getting more vibrant and busier by the day. We couldn’t dream of working from anywhere else!

 

A good idea is still the best way to get a journalist’s attention
The golden rule of PR is to have a brilliant story, otherwise you risk a journalist ignoring or even putting the phone down on you. Whilst the world has changed a lot in the past decade, you just can’t beat a good story.

 

Social media is a two-way platform
It’s easy in this golden age of social media, where everyone is happily sharing their thoughts and opinions, to forget that social media is supposed to create conversation. Whether you’re a brand or an agency, we’ve learnt to make sure we’re not just shouting into the noise but actually responding and being an important part of the conversation.

 

Print isn’t dead, and we don’t think it will be!
We are regularly asked whether print is dying out and digital is the only way to go. Absolutely, we champion digital for many reasons – none more so than how trackable and measurable a campaign is through it – but there will always be a place in our world for print.

 

Every industry can use PR to its advantage
Ten years ago PR was really being challenged by boardrooms as the recession took a strong grip on the economy and every part of a company’s budget was scrutinised. Some took the decision to cut all none ‘essential’ spend – and it was interesting to see which companies viewed PR as essential v non-essential at this time. It’s also interesting to look at how some of those companies have faired in the years since….(just ask us for those examples!).

 

Teamwork makes the dreamwork
We wouldn’t be where we are today without the hard work and amazing work of our team here at Refresh, both past and present! After all, teamwork makes the dreamwork as they say and we might be biased but we think our team comprises some of the best people in the business.

 

 

 

 

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What are the top 10 changes in our world over the last 10 years?



The countdown to our 10th Birthday party is well and truly on and to celebrate, we’ve taken a look back to see what’s changed since we first started a decade ago. Here are our top 10 changes over the last 10 years:

 

Climate change is now being taken seriously

Over the past 10 years, the frequency of extreme weather such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods has continued to increase to the point where it’s now become normality. This, alongside activism from the likes of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion has helped to turn climate change into one of the biggest talking points of 2019. As a result, most people are now taking climate change much more seriously than in 2009 and it’s even been a key discussion point of the General Election.

 

Smart homes have evolved

At Refresh, two of our biggest passions are tech and construction so we get very excited about smart homes which combine the two sectors. Smart homes have evolved over the last 10 years and they now provide a range of benefits including improved security by alerting people to intruders and ensuring homes aren’t expending unnecessary energy to help people to live in more environmentally friendly ways. With current home automation trends including smart thermostats for underfloor heating and remote video surveillance, we’re excited to see what the future holds for smart homes.  

 

Smartphones have taken over

The iPhone was only a couple of years old in 2009 with more people opting for a BlackBerry as their go-to phone. Fast forward 10 years and whilst blackberries have gone back to being just a fruit, Apple and smartphones, in general, have really taken over with more than three billion people now using one worldwide. Having a personal computer in our pocket gives us constant access to entertainment and information which has changed not only our personal lives but also the way we work.

 

24-7 availability

Whilst the evolution of smartphones has made much of day to day life easier and more convenient, it also means that many of us are now available 24/7. This can, at times, be a positive, particularly in our industry where we’re required to monitor the news agenda as we (in theory) can now react at any time, securing coverage for our clients. However, not being able to switch off with emails, texts and phone calls bombarding constantly bombarding us can have a negative impact on wellbeing and mental health and has blurred the lines between home and work.

 

Social media has evolved

Back in 2009, Facebook had just 150 million users, Bebo was still big and Twitter was only just taking off. Social media has changed significantly since then and now plays a key role in almost all of our client’s marketing and PR strategies. With 330 million users on twitter, 610 million users on LinkedIn and 2.45 billion people now on Facebook, social media offers a fantastic opportunity for companies to reach and connect with a range of existing and potential customers. It’s not always all plain sailing though as anyone can now become a critic so crisis management must be a key part of any social media strategy.  

 

The rise of influencers  

As social media has grown over the last 10 years, bringing people together online, it has paved the way for the rise of influencers who have an often-significant impact on a business’s target audience. Influencers, in the form of bloggers, analysts, industry experts or individuals who are well known and trusted by potential customers, have begun to play a key role in helping companies to spread their messages and provide credibility over the past few years. We’ve seen some great results using influencers for our clients but each influencer must be thoroughly vetted first to ensure they will deliver the required results.

 

More and more content  

Content has always been a crucial part of any marketing and PR plan but as the wants and needs of audiences have changed over the last 10 years, those in marketing and PR have had to adapt. When it comes to content, just drafting press releases is no longer enough and in 2019, we produce a wide range of materials for our clients including blogs, infographics, social media content, case studies, videos and whitepapers, each part being of a clear strategy to achieve a certain goals for the business.

 

Getting to and from meetings

Meeting with our clients is crucial to enable us to catch up, present the results from the month and plan for the month ahead. In 2009, if we were driving to visit a client, we would probably have used an old school map or maybe a TomTom GPS. We now can’t imagine getting to a meeting without the turn-by-turn spoken directions provided by apps such as Google Maps and Waze on our phones. When it comes to getting the train to meetings, however, services seem to be becoming more expensive but often less reliable (we're talking about the service AND the wifi here)!

 

PR has become more measurable

One of the great things about digital PR is that it’s provided us with more data to be able to measure tangible results. Ten years ago in Refresh PR's infancy, we were just starting off with our first link building campaigns for two major ecommerce clients. However with the advent of major Google algorithm updates across the decade (Penguin and Panda being two we particularly enjoyed), this work has become a lot more technical and meaningful, in turn allowing us access to even more robust metrics from which we can absolutely prove our worth. We can now use a variety of outcome measurements such as website traffic, leads, social engagement and search rankings to prove the value of the work we do.

 

Refresh PR went from start-up to a multi-award-winning agency

It’s hard to believe but 10 years ago Refresh PR was just start-up business in our MD Laura’s living room. We’ve spent the past decade building a committed team of PR specialists at our Manchester city centre office with a wide range of experience and expertise across our three core sectors: the built environment, tech and food and drink. We’re now a multi-award-winning agency and we were recently shortlisted for eight National Construction Marketing Awards 2019, capping a hugely successful 10 years – here’s to another decade!   

 

 

 

Tagged with: #RefreshTurns10, B2B PR agency Manchester , Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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“Manchester, so much to answer for” – 10 reasons we love our city



In the lead up to our 10-year anniversary in December, we’re hosting a series of blogs to get us warmed up for a night to remember. Without further ado, what better way to start than deep-diving into why we love Manchester and what our glorious city has bestowed upon the world. You may even learn some Mancunian lingo along the way.

 

1  We’ve got “mint” regional press

No true Mancunian would ever turn down the latest news from the bible that is the Manchester Evening News (MEN). Established in 1868, the publication has been delivering the forefront of the Mancunian news agenda ever since – with it finding form and growing in popularity across the UK over recent years.

 

Not only do we have the MEN but The Guardian was also first published in our very own Printworks in 1821, following the wake of the Peterloo Massacre. But it’s not just newspapers that established themselves here, the city publishes some of the most influential business and technology magazines such as Business Desk, North West Business Insider, and Prolific North.

 

More recently, even the BBC moved its Children’s, Radio, and Sport’s operations to Manchester’s Media City in 2011. Therefore, there’s no better place for a PR agency to thrive than in the centre of this media hub.  

 

2  Michelin star restaurants and “dead good” bars

This year saw Manchester’s Mana win the city’s first Michelin star in over 40 years, showing you don’t need to visit London in order to experience fine-dining.

 

But, if you’re “gagging for a drink” instead, you’d struggle to find a bar in the city which hasn’t been showered with awards. Whether it’s the Northern hospitality or the delicious drinks (they’re not all Vimto flavoured we promise!), Manchester is the place to wine and dine your clients without the expensive price tag associated with London.

 

3  “Our Kid”, the ‘Manchester Baby’, was born here

That’s right the birthplace of the first modern computer was Manchester. On 21st June 1948, Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn, and Geoff Tootill ran its first programme at the University of Manchester. Since then, Manchester’s digital feet haven’t touched the floor.

 

Our technology industry is thriving, being the single biggest technology hub outside of the Capital and boasting over 62,000 tech jobs. This is something our client, Manchester Digital, has latched on to. The not-for-profit organisation works with the region’s most progressive digital and tech organisations to create the optimum environment for success. It creates a healthy ecosystem; supports the acquisition of talent and upskilling; is committed to innovation across the city; helps businesses in the region collaborate to lead to better outcomes; and profiles Manchester as a great digital destination.

 

4 Our city is “Buzzin”

With a growing population, and an increased need for housing at all levels, our residential sector continues to drive record levels of real estate development, with over 14,400 residential units under construction across 48 developments. Not only this but, more of these units are due to be delivered in the next three years than in the last 10 years combined.

 

Therefore, where’s better for suppliers, constructors, and architects to set up shop? What’s more, as experts in built environment PR, we know what makes these individuals tick and how to access them.

 

5  There’s a “mad fer it” music scene

You can’t help but think of music when you think of Manchester: we birthed The Smiths, Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Courteeners, Joy Division, and a whole host more. We live and breathe music with our live venues and nights out being some of the best in the UK.

 

Therefore, when the work is done and it’s time to relax, Manchester is here to carry you through into the early hours of the morning.

 

6  “Swear down” Manchester was the first industrial city

Manchester has always driven change and pushed industries forward, often in the face of adversity. We pioneered the Industrial Revolution in 1760 setting the country on a course it was never coming back from.

 

From the industrial revolution to the technological revolution, Manchester has cut through the noise to deliver the next generation of evolution pushing the city and its reputation forward – much like Refresh does for its award-winning clients.

 

7 “Top” partnerships

There’s no denying it, we’re good at putting things together. Whether it’s chips and gravy, Morrissey and Marr, or Rolls and Royce, we sure know how to spark a partnership which changes history.

 

Like our city, Refresh builds lasting relationships with its clients set on trust, expertise, guidance, and the delivery of great results – we wouldn’t have made it to 10 years if we didn’t!

 

8   Red or Blue, we’re “sound” at football

As famous as the weather, our football teams really are world-class. If you’re in Manchester, at some time or another, you’ll be asked the ultimate question: “Red or Blue?” – one that’s divided the city for eons. But, no matter which side of the fence you’re on, there’s no denying our city is a hub of collaboration for success – whether it’s on or off the pitch.

 

Therefore, at Refresh we take this ethos with us, it’s through the collaboration of our skilled team and expert clients that we can create campaigns which ignite the food and drink, built environment, and technology sectors.

 

9  “Give yer head a wobble” if you think we’re not international

Manchester is the third most visited city in the UK, bringing in nearly £670m to the economy and 28.38 million passengers using our airport in 2018. With direct routes to Beijing introduced this year, business and tourism from China has boomed. Additionally, new routes to San Francisco were added to Manchester Airport’s growing roster this year, connecting the city directly to tech-booming, Silicon Valley.

 

Therefore, when businesses across the globe are making strategic decisions to partner with the best talent there is, there’s no need for them to hone in on London. Manchester is now more accessible than ever for business all over the world.   

 

10 We think inequality is “angin”

We sparked Votes for Women! Not only this, we have one of the largest LGBT communities in the UK and are championing a diverse population, being home to the third-largest Chinese population in Europe and having over 200 languages spoken in our city every day.

 

With Manchester’s feet firmly grounded in promoting equality, it’s fitting that Manchester Digital’s scheme Digital Her is empowering women and young girls to pursue a career in the tech and digital industries to bridge the gap and show girls that they can be whatever they want to be.  

 

As you can see, we may be biased but there’s good reason for it! We’re proud of this city and wouldn’t want to be sharing our 10th birthday anywhere else.

 

Keep posted for our next blog in this series.

 

 

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