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Posts from March 2018

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What makes team Refresh happy?



Today is International Day of Happiness, a day which aims to inspire individuals to share happiness with others and create a happier world for all.

So in honour of this, I asked the team at Refresh to tell me a few things which makes them happy.

Our MD Laura, said:

Definitely holidays as they provide quality family time (and sun!)

Seeing people realise their full potential at work

Our head of B2B Erin, said:

Simple pleasures – a cup of tea with my doggy and Coronation Street on the TV

In work, it’s hearing from clients who are impressed with our ideas, who can see our campaigns are working, and brainstorms which get all our creative juices flowing

Our latest team member, account director Lucy, said:

Walking in the countryside, in the freezing cold and then calling into a warm pub to sit in front of the fire, and have a pint and a packet of crisps

The feeling you get when you walk off the plane into a wall of heat in a hot country

Eating and drinking lots of food and wine with my nearest and dearest  

Account executive Rebecca, said:

There’s nothing I love more than going on holiday, discovering new places and trying new food

The older I get, the more I realise how much I value and love spending time with my family, quality family time makes me happy

Festivals – who doesn’t love listening to their favourite band, in a muddy field in the sun, with a drink in their hand?

Account executive Emily, said:

As I’m working at Refresh as part of my placement year at Newcastle University, I am now back living at home with my family, so spending valuable time with my family and my little dog is something that makes me extremely happy

I do also love going back to visit my friends in Newcastle, basically, I’m most happy when spending time with the people I love 

Tagged with: , Happy, International Day of Happiness, PR agencies Manchester

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Say hello to our newest team member!



This month we’re welcoming a new member to the Refresh team, Lucy Moore.

Lucy has joined us as an account director on our B2B team and will work with clients to deliver strategic, creative campaigns. She’s super passionate about the technology sector in Manchester so will also be helping us to grow our technology client base, having worked with a number of tech businesses over her career, from trade organisations such as Manchester Digital, right through to UX agencies, web developers, eLearning companies and FinTech businesses.

We thought it was only right to ask her a few questions during her first few days so you can get to know a little more about her…

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m a Yorkshire girl at heart, but a proud adopted Mancunian, having lived here for the past seven years. I’ve just arrived back in England following a seven month career break where I travelled Asia and met lots of lovely people, learning about their different cultures along the way.

With seven years’ worth of PR agency experience under my belt, I’m passionate about working with businesses – whether start-ups or blue chip organisations – to tell their stories in interesting ways and get them in front of the right people, at the right time.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies and interests?

I love travel and try to get to new countries as often as money and annual leave days will allow! Reading is also important to me so I try and find time as much as possible to sit down with a good book. I’m also a keen yoga-goer but still love a pint and packet of crisps down at the pub – it’s all about balance!

What will your role entail at Refresh?

I’ll be looking after the B2B team here, working on clients spanning the entire B2B spectrum. I’ll be helping the team come up with creative ideas for campaigns that will really help our clients stand out against their competitors, as well as advising clients on PR strategy and top level business issues. I’ll also be working with the senior management team to help the agency secure new clients.

I only started a couple of weeks ago but I’m already really enjoying working with the brilliant team here at Refresh!

If you could invite three people to dinner who would they be?

  • Author Irvine Welsh as I love his books – as soon as you can get your head around the Scottish dialect they’re great!
  • Arctic Monkeys’ lead singer Alex Turner because they’re my favourite band and I’m a secret fan girl at heart.
  • Documentary maker Louis Theroux as I’ve watched every one of his documentaries about five times and would love to ask him about some of the crazy things he’s seen! 

If your mates had to describe you in three words, what would they be?  

Confident, analytical, ballsy. 

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Refresh’s Heating Installer Awards announces regional winners



For four months we have been accepting entries showcasing the best work of heating installers from across the UK. On Monday this cumulated in the Heating Installer Awards judging day.


A representative from each of the award sponsors, Danfoss, Polypipe, Sentinel, Installer Magazine, Wolseley, Avanti Gas and Vaillant UK met at Vaillant HQ, in Belper. Our expert panel judged each entry on four elements; technicality, professionalism, exceptional service, and happy customers, where hundreds of entries were whittled down to the top nine, ready to go head to head for a public vote. The national winner of the awards will be announced on the main stage at trade show, Installer2018, in May.


The team at Refresh PR prides itself on being able to come up with innovative and creative campaigns that bring a new buzz and fresh talking points into industries that are more traditional in nature.  The Heating Installer Awards is now in its third year, and it keep on getting bigger and better. Through the awards, we have made long lasting relationships with journalist, influencers and key personalities within the industry, all of whom support the awards and the good work it celebrates.


We’re always looking for new and exciting companies we can collaborate with. If you’d like to see how Refresh can inject some creativity into your company, feel free to get in touch. Failing that, make sure you support your region by voting in the Heating Installer Awards by clicking here.

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Protect your business: prepare for a crisis today



From the most bizarre to the most extreme, businesses of all shapes and sizes will suffer some form of crisis scenario, at some point. In the eight years since we launched as a business, we’ve been regularly called upon by clients to help them with a potential media storm, and have had to work quickly and strategically to protect brand reputation, in even the most controversial of situations.

When social media and the immediate spread of news is leading audiences to challenge the businesses they expect to be delivering outstanding service around the clock, it’s no surprise that brands are becoming unsettled. To help those looking to put processes in place to protect your business, should the worst ever happen, we’re holding a crisis communications workshop – and we’d love you to come along.

We’ll be sharing our knowledge of how to handle internal and external communications, as well as the steps you can take to ensure journalist and customer relationships remain as strong as possible, during a business disaster.

The Refresh PR team will deliver the session, to be held on 11th April, followed by two speakers who’ll share real life scenarios that required quick thinking and a calm manner in order to protect their brand’s reputation. Mark Stringer of Ahoy will be joining us to share his tactics on effective internal communications during a crisis, while Helena Banfield of Equity Housing Group will be detailing her experiences of the worst crises to hit social housing in recent years, and how her team reacted to ensure business continuity throughout.

The event, which costs just £20 to attend, will be held on 11th April at 8am, at Leaf on Manchester’s Portland Street and will include tea, coffee and a breakfast sandwich, as well as plenty of time for networking. More event details can be found here . We look forward to seeing you there!

To find out more about Refresh PR’s crisis communications support, get in touch on CrisisComms@refreshpr.co.uk

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It’s award season! Make sure you shine



After working solidly for 12 months (and sometimes longer) on campaigns designed to make huge cut through in our sectors, there’s no better recognition for our hard work and creativity than an industry award. And right now, award season is getting into full flow!

Awards for every industry, whether food and drink, PR and marketing, construction or technology, are opening for entries, but if you’re unsure where to get started to make sure you stand out in front of those all-important judges, we’ve pulled together our top tips for ultimate awards success.


Pick the perfect project


No matter which awards campaign you wish to enter, the judges are looking for a standout project which defines everything that’s special about your business and abilities. Before getting started on your entry, look at everything you’ve worked on in the last 12 months. Is there a project or campaign which really made a difference to a client’s bottom line, or made headlines in your industry? If so, that’s probably your best bet! The key is choosing a project which is complete – something you can detail from start to finish, including the great results you achieved.



Gather your evidence


Once you’ve chosen your project or campaign, map it out from inception to completion and highlight the areas that stand out as remarkable. For these sections, gather as many statistics, testimonials, images, videos and extra material which you can use to prove to the judges that your campaign is deserving of the award. Include as much evidence as possible to back-up your work, and the judges will be left with little option other than to give you the prize.


Ask for extra support


Gain input from every team member that contributed something to the project or campaign – whether big or small. Additionally, when informing your client you’re entering their project for an award, ask them politely for a testimonial as to the difference it has made to their business. It’s not enough for them to advocate how hard you worked or your organisation (although this is helpful too!); ask questions about how the campaign impacted their bottom line, or operations, or pipeline. If you can get those golden nuggets of information, you’re in with a fantastic shot at winning.


Supporting material


A lot of award campaigns ask you to submit additional supporting material, usually in the form of a one page document which you can use to show off all the great parts of your campaign that didn’t make it into your written entry (pesky word count!). Enlist the help of a great designer to help ensure you make best use of the space you have available, match the supporting material to your brand and produce something that looks really professional. The judges will be impressed, and you’ll get extra marks.


Triple check


Before submission, go back to the mapping out of the project or campaign you’re entering and make sure you have ticked off everything you wanted to include. If you’re struggling for space, and really want to include that last little bit of information, see if there’s anything you can remove that perhaps has less clout or is just a ‘nice to have’ within the entry. It’s all about priorities.


Deadline


There are no extra marks for submitting an entry on time, and a lot of campaigns do extend their deadline, but you should never take this for granted. Set a schedule to have your award entry finished a week before the original deadline; this will allow you time for final, FINAL tweaks and to run it past other members of your team to ensure everyone thinks it’s as brilliant as it could possibly be. From there, there’s only one thing left to do – submit it!


Good luck during award season. It’s an exciting time, and brings together all the greatest minds within you industry. If you’re looking for a little extra support with your award entry, let us know – we’ve tonnes of experience of writing awards on behalf of clients, and would be more than happy to help you with yours. Call 0161 871 1188 for more information.

 

Tagged with: , awards, awards season, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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Metrics, measurement and analytics – the importance of evaluation



Over the years PR has gained itself a bad rep for producing ‘fluffy’ results, thanks to the difficulty in evaluating the impact of our campaigns. But now, thanks to improved technology and changes in how we consume the media and engage with brands, all of that is changing.

Here at Refresh PR we are increasingly tasked with proving that our campaigns, and press office activity, have a genuine impact on key business needs. With each client comes a different challenge, and we strive to reach individual objectives, but one thing remains the same throughout – AVE and coverage volume just don’t cut it anymore.

Before work begins for any campaign, we work with our clients to identify the appropriate metrics that will demonstrate success – whether that’s social growth, customer engagement, increased sales or improved website traffic. Knowing this means we can put in place campaigns that deliver.

In the last few months alone, we’ve successfully generated coverage and ran campaigns that directly drove a 300 per cent spike in website traffic for an ecommerce brand, encouraged 100,000 visitors through to a new consumer advice website and generated thousands of pounds worth of sales off the back of daytime TV coverage, to name a few.

We know that our work has had this impact because we constantly monitor and evaluate everything we do, using tools such as Google and Facebook Analytics. So, we can prove PR, if used correctly, can make a difference to a range of business objectives.

If you want to talk to the team at Refresh PR about creating impactful, measurable campaigns, email Hello@RefreshPR.co.uk

Tagged with: , Campaign, coverage, Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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Reactive PR – how acting fast can get results



The media agenda is now faster paced than ever before, and with immediate access at our fingertips we can now consume it at almost the same rate. This means that it is vital for brands to stay on top of what is happening in their industry and what is important in the lives of their target audience.

From what competitors are doing, to wider issues that impact the world we operate in, there is always something to be reacting to, even if it is behind the scenes.

But when the opportunity does arise for a consumer facing response (no matter who your audience is), you have to be quick for maximum impact.

This immediate reaction that is required to drive the desired results, means as PR professionals we have to stay on top of the media and our clients’ wider industries, as you never know when an opportunity may arise.

We’ve recently experienced success with this reactive approach for our client, Calla Shoes, when images circulated showing Victoria Beckham wearing a foot brace, causing rumours to start circulating that she was recovering from a bunion removal operation.

Here at Refresh PR we jumped on this opportunity for Calla Shoes, a range of beautiful shoes designed specifically for women with bunions, providing commentary from founder, Jennifer Bailey. This comment was picked up by the world’s biggest news site, the Mail Online, helping to position Jennifer as a leading bunion expert – all within an hour of the original story going live.

Check out the coverage here.

If you want to see how Refresh can help you respond to the media and wider industry trends call us on 0161 8711 188. 

Tagged with: , Calla shoes, Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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Are you a Senior Account Executive looking for a new challenge? Get in touch!



At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses. Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both private and not for profit sectors.

 

We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as a senior account executive working across a range of B2B accounts in the construction, built environment, property, tech and e-commerce sectors.  You’ll have already gained valuable PR agency or in-house experience with at least a year spent working in B2B PR.

 

You will be great at preparing sector specific copy for trade press as well as developing and maintaining great relationships with journalists to secure the best possible coverage for your clients. You’ll work closely with account managers to ensure we are delivering consistently for our clients, yet will be able to use initiative, working independently most of the time.

 

You should be able to think creatively, and be interested in working together with our team to inject disruptive campaigns into the most traditional of industries in order to help our clients get noticed. After all, it is this way of thinking that has seen us secure so many award wins over the years!

 

More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may even pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive; a real team player with the ability to remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations.

 

Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a sociable bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to contribute to the direction of the organisation.  What’s more, we’re dedicated to helping our people grow and achieve their potential through The Refresh Management Academy – a 6-month programme of structured training and development, created and delivered by experienced PR practitioners and expert trainers. This unrivalled programme provides you with all the key skills that will help you to become a highly effective senior account executive and progress your career with Refresh.

 

Interested in applying or finding out more about the role? Send your CV to iwantajob@refreshpr.co.uk

 

 

 

 

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

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The most courageous women in history



On International Women’s Day, account executive, Rebecca, identifies some of the most courageous women in history.

Throughout history, women have fought courageously and tirelessly to assert themselves as equals whether that’s pay, opportunity, or even the ability to vote. So ahead of International Women’s Day, and 100 years since the suffrage we look at women who are far from equal – they are innovators, leaders and inspirations. Their achievements have led the way for other women to stand up for what they believe in, and share their opinions, showing others that their voice needs to be heard. 

Florence Nightingale

To light the way for the rest, I decided it was only fitting that Florence Nightingale was mentioned first. The lady with the lamp has transformed nursing as we know it. Florence is the founder of modern nursing, her greatest achievement was transforming nursing into a respectable profession. She established the first professional training school for nurses, the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ Hospital and her perseverance when told she wasn’t good enough didn’t stop her. Her attitude is something which can inspire us all, to keep pushing ourselves to achieve our dreams. 

Emmeline Pankhurst

Like many suffragettes, Emmeline was arrested on numerous occasions throughout the suffrage campaign, and even went on hunger strike, resulting in a violent force-feeding. She managed to organise one of the first women’s marches, targeting the main state institution, the British Parliament, to celebrate the release of activists from prison. It’s hard to believe that women suffered so much for the right to vote, but I’m proud that it’s a woman from Moss Side who paved the way for the rest of us. 

Malala Yousafzai

Malala is one of the bravest women in the Middle East’s history, she grew up in a poor family and had to witness horrendous mistreatment of her family, who suffered under Taliban coercive. She was only in her teens when she became an advocate for the rights of her people to get a proper education. When her campaigning gained momentum, and media coverage, it led to her shooting, which thankfully she survived. Despite this attack Malala continued to battle for education for Pakistani girls and she is now recognised as one of the bravest women in world history, and has even been awarded the Nobel Prize for her activities.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia, once said: ‘Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.’ Amelia was the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean back in 1928. Amelia also joined ‘The Ninety-Nines’, an organisation of female pilots who joined together to encourage women in aviation. In the end, Amelia disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean during a flight and was never found. But her passion to encourage women to reach their goals and prove that women and men should be equal will always live on. 

Dame Kelly Holmes

When looking back at Dame Kelly Holme’s history she has had a diverse career. She only became a professional athlete at the age of 29, before this she had worked in shops, as a carer, and an army lorry driver. At the 2004 Olympics, she became the first Briton in 84 years to receive a gold medal for both the 800m and 1500m, from this success she became a Dame. Her grit and determination shows that you should never give up on your dreams, persistence and hard work is key, and it’s never too late to achieve your goals.

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Faking it: why PR pros must work harder in the fake news era



Fake news: Collins Dictionary’s ‘word of the year’ in 2017 and the current friend/foe of politicians and spin-doctors around the world.

While fake news is by no means a new phenomenon, its proliferation in the US election and the myriad of fake news sites that have popped up over the past 18 months have amplified it hugely.

And although our favourite technology giants Facebook and Google are both taking steps to reduce the spread of fake news and misinformation, the growing group of people it is impacting is a worry. No longer solely an issue facing bickering politicians and super celebrities, fake news is now an issue for more than just the world’s elite.

Businesses and brands are just as at risk, as we’ve seen in recent months. Starbucks fell victim to the trend last summer when it was falsely reported that the coffee chain was giving away free coffee to undocumented American immigrants – something it quickly debunked over Twitter. And more locally to us Mancunians, the city’s tram system had to quickly tell its customers that a poster claiming it was offering free travel across the network on Valentine’s Day was incorrect.

But it’s not just businesses, brands and public figures that are at risk – it’s PR pros too. Working with brands and businesses of all sizes on a daily basis, PRs must ensure our clients are producing valuable content to cut through the rubbish, especially considering dwindling trust in the media and the fact that a number of people now have trouble distinguishing which stories are real and fake. PRs will also have to work harder to protect their clients’ reputations in the era of fake news.

Of course, all good PR pros will provide top quality content to journalists and should therefore already have good relationships with their key contacts. Good PRs will be trusted by these journalists, so the situation will be easier to manage should misinformation be spread about a client. Journalists will also increasingly rely on PRs to provide them with accurate information from the off, as cutbacks make them even more strapped for time and reliant on us to give them factual information the first time, every time.

In addition, PR pros that haven’t already will need to brush up on their social media and crisis comms skills to ensure that any situations that arise in this fake news era can be managed quickly and efficiently.

Here at Refresh PR we’ll be keeping our eye on the situation and ensuring our clients don’t suffer damage because of it. So if you’re a business that thinks they need a bit of help, or could benefit from some crisis communications advice or training, give us a call on 0161 871 1188 or check out our upcoming event here.

Tagged with: Fake news, Lifestyle, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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The changes to the lives of women over the past 100 years



As International Women’s Day draws closer, you may have noticed phrases such as, ‘inspirational women’ crop up in a few of our blog posts. Here at Refresh PR we want to celebrate the determination of the suffragette movement, who 100 years ago changed the course of history, for women and men, forever.

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act was passed, allowing women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification to vote. This only represented 40 per cent of the total population of women in the UK, but it was a step in the right direction.

After lots more steps in the right direction, I want to delve back in time and look at key aspects that have changed for women in the UK over the past 100 years, thanks to the suffragette movement.

We’ve broken into government: Not only was 1918 the year some women gained the vote, it was also the year that the first female MP was elected. As an Irish republican, Constance Markievicz chose not to join the Commons. However, the following year Nancy Astor took her seat. According to BBC News, the 2017 election saw the number of female MPs in parliament increase from 191 in 2015, to 208 in 2017. Furthermore, we’ve had two female Prime Ministers and the first female Scottish minister. Where women in politics will take us in 2018 and beyond, remains to be seen. But with more and more young females becoming involved in the movement, perhaps our third female Prime Minister is already be in the making.

We’ve taken control of our relationships: Recent weeks have shown just how courageous women can be. The #MeToo movement, which has swept the globe, mobilised by social media, has enabled the voices of women who have experienced the most traumatic situations at the hands of men across the world, and across a variety of industries, to be heard. The last 100 years has seen divorce lose its stigma and crimes such as domestic violence and stalking are finally taken seriously in both the law and media.  

We’re educated to degree level – 100 years ago, a woman’s career options were extremely limited. Many women were housewives with no prospect of gaining a career. Today we see women given the choice to embark on further and higher education, with millions educated to degree level. Women are doctors and business owners, head up construction firms and run accountancy practices. A glass ceiling is still in place in many industries, but with more women on boards than ever before, we’re definitely heading in the right direction.

One thing is for certain; 100 years ago, the all girl team that make up today’s Refresh PR wouldn’t have existed. We wouldn’t have been around to help raise the reputation of growing UK business, help in times of crisis, create innovative campaigns and advise our clients on where to take their businesses.

Don’t take women for granted. If you believe your business may need a bit of extra guidance, feel free to contact us on – 0161 871 1188.

 

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Why Did the Chicken Cross The Road? To Teach Us About Crisis Management



We all know about the recent KFC ‘Chicken Gate’ news story. Some of us will have experienced the chicken-less disappointment of an empty restaurant first hand, others will have read about it in the media, and some may have seen their social media connections in uproar about the situation.  

 

A chain of chicken shops running out of chicken and having to close restaurants nationwide is a pretty big crisis by all accounts, and will ultimately cost the fast-food chain millions.

 

But what really got people talking is KFC’s reaction to the crisis. The full page ‘FCK’ image placed in a national newspaper was genius. It didn’t make excuses, it didn’t pass blame – the company owned up in a funny, but to the point, tone of voice, and most importantly it apologised.

 

The image caught the attention of celebrities and marketing professionals alike, all praising the response, but the debate in the Refresh PR office is around whether this is an advert or a PR stunt.

 

Many people have called it a masterclass in PR crisis management, however does using paid for media space remove the PR element of the reaction?

 

The crisis reaction will have been designed by an advertising agency, the space in The Metro will have been bought by a media buying agency, so can this be classed as PR?

 

Here at Refresh PR we decided that this is an example of first class crisis communications, not necessarily PR – although that will have played a part.

 

The chicken shop didn’t wait for a nib in a newspaper carrying their quote apologising for the situation, or for a 30 second video of a spokesperson being interviewed outside of a restaurant. They owned the situation they were in by being bold, brave, funny and apologetic.

 

They understood the power of social media to spread the word and that ultimately with the right advert and the right sentiment, their customers would respond in the way they needed them to – by sharing pictures of the advert and most importantly forgiving them. 

 

So hats off to the Colonel and his marketing team – they nailed this situation with the perfect crisis communications response.

 

To learn more about crisis communications why not attend our event on 11th April 2018 https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/crisis-communications-would-you-know-what-to-do-tickets-43308180935

 

 

Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, Food & Drink, food and drink PR agency, leisure PR, lifestyle pr, Manchester, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester