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Posts from December 2017

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Refresh Reflects: Refresh PR’s top moments



And finally, we look at our own successes of this year. It was tough to narrow it down to just five but we got there. Here’s to many more memorable moments in 2018.

  1. Winning CIPR’s North West Outstanding Small Agency – in November we scooped the prize for best small agency for our work over the past 12 months. We were hugely honoured to be recognised by our industry body and it is a real testament to the hard work of the team

  2. Introducing a new agency structure – at the start of 2017 we appointed a head of consumer and head of B2B. These two directors oversee the dedicated teams and lead the way in our key sectors; built environment, food and drink, lifestyle and tech

  3. Launching The Refresh Academy – following the appointment of our head of HR in 2016, we launched our internal training scheme this year to ensure our teams are delivering the highest standard of work to our clients

  4. Delivering PR that matters – PR is no longer about generating column inches, it’s about impacting behaviour and we’ve demonstrated that over the past 12 months. From increasing our client’s web traffic by 300 per cent to helping improve local plumbing businesses with our Heating Installer Awards, we know the work we’ve done is helping others succeed

  5. New team members – we all agree what makes Refresh PR what it is, is the people, so it was great to welcome new faces to both our B2B and B2C team as the agency evolved over the year

Tagged with: higlights, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, Top moments

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Refresh PR: Top Five Celebrities of 2017



What makes someone a celebrity is constantly changing and evolving but below are the ones that got us talking this year.

  1. Gemma Collins – the queen of memes. Whether people are laughing at her or with her is still up for debate, but the internet has elevated her fame in 2017 and no one can really understand why!

  2. Meghan Markle – with her engagement to Prince Harry earlier this month, Meghan has gone from Hollywood superstar to royalty. Her soon to be place as Duchess of Sussex is further demonstrating the evolution of the Royal family

  3. Ariana Grande – her response after the devastating arena attacks made her an Honorary Citizen of Manchester and we’re proud to have her

  4. The Women of Hollywood – for finally standing up to the male centric power that have long ruled the entertainment industry

  5. Holly Willoughby – a new look and a new wardrobe has helped raise Holly from loveable TV presenter to absolute fashion icon (who doesn’t love a rebrand?)

Tagged with: , Celeb, celebrities, Lifestyle, PR

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five Fails of 2017



Bloomers, blunders or just massive mess ups, here we see the people, brands and events that have made us cringe in 2017.

  1. Pepsi & Kendal Jenner – the nation reached for their Diet Coke and took to Twitter with their disgust surrounding Pepsi’s 2017 advert, which raised questions about racial insensitivities and trivialising demonstrations. The advert was pulled immediately but it still impacted Pepsi’s sales (oddly for the positive though!)    

  2. Dove – body wash that can turn a woman of colour white – where to start with this advertising fail? For a brand that has worked so hard to convey a body confidence message this was a huge step backwards

  3. Trump – tweeting the wrong Theresa May, the still unexplained covfefe and not forgetting his various questionable political decisions, we could have had a full category for Trump’s personal fails, but we don’t have that much time  

  4. Bake Off Tweet Gate – working in PR we know there is nothing more annoying than someone breaking an embargo, so when it is the star of the show it really is a head in hands moment

  5. United Airlines – for simply not realising that in this modern world, where everyone has a video recorder in their back pocket, the actions of your staff will impact on your brand. The video that surfaced of a passenger being physically dragged off a flight, simply because it was overbooked, impacted the airline’s brand equity, as well as sales

Tagged with: Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five Songs of 2017



Luckily for us there are very few arguments over the radio or playlists in this office, but we do find a very eclectic mix playing through the speakers at Refresh HQ.
  1. Slow Hands, Niall Horan – the former One Direction star takes the top spot for Refresh PR. The song must feature on at least 50 per cent of our playlists
  2. Noel Gallagher, Holy Mountain – celebrating our Manc roots, MD Laura picked Noel Gallagher’s latest tune as her song of 2018
  3. New Rules, Dua Lipa – our head of B2B, Erin, brought the girl power with new artist Dua Lipa’s song
  4. Justin Bieber, Despacito – it had to appear somewhere and it was B2B manager, Ash, that voted for this catchy song
  5. Blossoms and Chase & Status, This Moment – again celebrating Manchester music, head of consumer, Caroline, voted for this summer anthem, continuing her love affair with the Stockport band

Tagged with: 2017, Lifestyle, music, North West , PR Agency Manchester, Songs, Top 5

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five PR campaigns of 2017



We are constantly on the lookout for impactful PR campaigns – whether that’s big budget stunts or small scale reactive media relations. We monitor what makes consumers sit up and take notice. These are our favourite campaigns from brands other than our own.

  1. Hotels.com - ‘sanctuary’ for pool inflatables at a hotel in Majorca. Really fun idea that generated plenty of coverage and even though it’s one step away from what the brand offers, it’s still relevant. Just shows that clever ideas needn’t cost the earth
  2. Disney – Dream Big. A global photography campaign that showcases empowering images of real life women to encourage girls to aspire to be more than just a princess. A brave campaign by the creator of the world’s most iconic fictional princesses
  3. Greggs – Sausage Roll Jesus. Whether the controversy was all part of the plan or not this got people talking and generated a huge amount of coverage – both ideal outcomes for a PR campaign, whether it’s intentional or not
  4. Sky’s Ocean Rescue – a campaign that could make a real difference on a global scale. With lots of famous faces and maximising its connection to Sky News with plenty of coverage, so far this campaign looks like there’s no agenda other than clearing the seas. If successful it may lead to new legislation about plastics too, so has wider environmental impact
  5. Missing Type – going into the third year this campaign still packs a punch for National Blood Week. Removing key letters from iconic road signs, such as Downing Street, and brands such as Waterstones, even the Daily Mirror got involved. Even better, it is still making an impact and helping to drive people to donate blood

Tagged with: , Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five Adverts of 2017



There’s nothing we love more than seeing how brands are representing themselves through the power of advertising. Here are our top ads of this year.

  1. Spotify – 2018 Goals – the only print ad campaign that made it on to the list, but Spotify’s clever use of its own data and people’s listening habits made us all laugh and possibly re-evaluate our own music taste (read all about our favourite songs of 2017 here )
  2. Peter Kay for Warburtons – it had everything; the comedy, drama and romance, not to mention the local relevance, nods to Peter’s previous adverts and delicious carbs!
  3. Aldi - Kevin the Carrot – continuing a winning formula with the second year of Kevin the Carrot, this time adding a bit more of a storyline to the little vegetable’s Christmas adventure  
  4. Google Pixel 2 – for unashamedly calling out the flaws of iPhones and highlighting how the Google alternative is far superior, it made it on the list for sheer bravery
  5. AA – iconic song, tick. Cute kid, tick. Clever CGI, tick. Three for three for AA this year!

Tagged with: 2017, Advert, Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, TV

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five TV Shows of 2017



As Netflix has taken over TV for the first time ever (in the US at least) in terms of viewing figures, the way we are consuming our favourite shows may be changing, but here are the series that got us all talking in the office.

1.Cold Feet – this Manchester based series is still going strong even after 19 years

2.Line of Duty – returning for season four with a star studded cast this crime drama kept everyone talking

3.Blue Planet ll – what better way to spend a Sunday night than listening to the soothing tones of David Attenborough and learning about this amazing planet?

4.Love Island – love it or hate it, this show swept the nation, divided opinion and caused plenty of controversy. Check out the blog we wrote here

5.Dr Foster – in its second series, Suranne Jones kept everyone guessing with this intense drama


Tagged with: , 2017, Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, TV show

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Food for thought at the Construction Marketing Awards



We spend our working lives advising our clients how to utilise PR to benefit their business, but we have to admit, our own PR often takes a backseat. In agency life, no two days are the same and often a day starts at 9am with a to-do list that doesn’t even get touched due to other priorities that hit the inbox at 9.01am. This makes writing an award entry for ourselves – a task that can easily take a whole day – a challenge.

 

But every so often we try to enter some awards to showcase the campaigns that we deliver and gain a stamp of approval for the value that we add.

 

Award winning Refresh PR

 

This year the agency brought home two awards at the CIPR North West PRide Awards – and we’re still celebrating almost a month on. We have also recently been recognised as finalists for our work by the CIM, the B2B Marketing Awards and, most recently, at the CMAs in London last night.

 

Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs)

 

A sector that we specialise in at Refresh PR is the built environment. Construction PR has always been at the core of our business and over the years we’ve delivered many different campaigns that have won recognition from CIMCIG (that’s the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Interest Group, which runs the CMAs). This year, despite travelling to RIBA in London for a 25 minute interview with the awards judges earlier in the year (potentially my shortest ever stay in London!) unfortunately we didn’t bring home the trophy.

 

We did however have a great night – what other award organisers would put Laura and Ash on a table with…another Laura and Ash? The dance floor was packed right up until the last song too - a fabulous testament to a room full of hard working marketeers letting their hair down just a little at the end of a long year.

 

Construction PR in 2018

 

So this leads us to predict what the coming year may bring. Personally, I’m hoping for a massive increase in the level of creativity in the sector. We’ve made great strides, but there’s still a long way to go. The sector still needs to effectively embrace the ways in which people consume news, so on our Christmas wish list this year we have:

-        More fun on social media – we’d like less cheese and fewer corporate posts, and more to engage those listening across the social channels  

-        Fewer leaflets – it’s shortly going to be 2018 everyone!! There are more effective – and environmentally friendly – ways to speak to your audience

-        More for the apprentices – let’s continue to make this a sector that people are proud to work in, where great work is rewarded with peer endorsements and promotion/referrals, and we may just help to narrow the skills shortage gap

-        Making the most of new channels – let’s see some Snapchat campaigns or Instagram stories, let’s embrace channels that can really reach our audiences…it’s what they’ve been designed for after all

-        A ban on colour seps – there’s no need to pay to get news into a trade title, if the quality of the news is good enough. Any decent PR agency will advise on the angle to take in order to get editorial (aka free) coverage. Colour seps existed when there was no digital printing, and it genuinely cost more to print a page in colour; now it’s purely a money making exercise. Question if a presence in a magazine that demands a colour sep fee is actually effectively reaching your target audience. Consider an editorial partnership with a magazine, utilising its different channels instead

-        Fewer grey suits – we don’t wear them, we don’t even own them, and we don’t think anyone else should have to

 

We’ll be presenting 2018 plans to a lot of our clients over a mulled wine or two in the coming month, and I’m looking forward to showing them all of the above, but most of all how this sector can be exciting, fun, challenging and brilliant to work in.

 

 

 

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

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Little Miss… SEO Superstar



The ultimate aim for anyone working in PR is to create and deliver campaigns that can reinvent themselves time after time after time, and never grow old. But in recent years, what’s happening with Google and its algorithms is dictating more and more of our work and to get it right, you have to think outside the traditional realms of ‘PR’.

One recent example came with the news that an addition is being made to the Little Miss and Mr Men book collection. The newest member of the family, Little Miss Inventor, is a polite nod and point of inspiration to young girls who might consider taking up STEM subjects in school.

It’s a clever move to both gain a new audience and re-engage an already loyal following, but also demonstrates the brand’s ability to mould its offering in line with current affairs, trends and an ever-changing audience, making itself always relevant.

You could argue the new character could’ve been anything – Little Miss Botox, Mr Protein Shake, Little Miss Vlogger – and it would’ve received as many headlines and column inches as Little Miss Inventor did. That might be true. But what the news HAS done, is got PR bods wondering to what extent this choice of character was a strategical decision in line with Google search terms?

Was it a coincidence that just a few days after the news broke on Little Miss Inventor, Philip Hammond announced a huge amount of investment into STEM in UK schools? The Chancellor revealed in his Autumn budget that schools are set to receive £600 for every student taking A Level maths, and more resource is to be allocated to technology departments.

Was it just by chance that they created a character in line with one of the most written about subjects in the world right now – the skills gap, and role of women, in STEM industries?

Was it just a fluke that Little Miss Inventor came at the same time as we’re being encouraged to support cottage industries, local suppliers and technological innovation, not just in our professional lives but in our personal lives too?

All of the above makes STEM one of the most searched for Google terms of recent years, and aligning a PR campaign with trends of this type makes for great organic SEO results – something brands the world over are trying to achieve – thanks to Google’s algorithms.

Type STEM into Google today, and what appears on Page 1? We’ll give you a few clues: She’s yellow, with green hair and a pencil behind her ear.  

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, PR, SEO