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Posts from July 2015

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Refresh PR rounds up Manchester’s top working lunches



Absolutely Fabulous’ Edina describes PR as a roll call of ‘endless bloomin’ lunches and launches’ – and just like the rest of the show, this is way off the mark when it comes to reality, sweetie darling. Often for those working in PR, just like most of the UK’s office workers, lunches are rarely endless and often involve the same, reliable homemade sarnie or £3 meal deal from a supermarket. In fact, a recent survey found that a whopping third of us eat exactly the same thing each day when at work. Furthermore, this is usually a cheese sandwich or jacket potato – hardly an inspiring choice for a midday meal.

 

In order to break away from this dissatisfying culinary trend and bring life back to lunch, Refresh PR has sampled the best working lunches in the city – a task we attacked with much relish. Check out our top five below:

 

1.      A particular favourite with the team is Barburrito, which offers a super quick custom service when it comes to all things Mexican. Ideal for when you don’t have time for a long break but need something substantial, the Burrito Bowls come highly recommended. Operating across the city, we favour the Piccadilly Gardens branch which offers the al-fresco dining opportunities should you be able to take a longer lunch in the sun

2.      Set in the heart of the Northern Quarter, Home Sweet Home provides a freshly made hit of culinary naughtiness. Perfect for those days when carb-loading is high on the agenda, the café’s cakes are just as tempting as its savoury snacks. All dishes can be eaten in or taken away

3.      Bakerie offers a range of platters and dishes, each of which is complimented with one of the establishment’s homemade breads. Worth a visit for the freshly baked scent alone, Bakerie has a wide variety of options including hearty stews and childhood favourites such as fish finger sandwiches, so there’s something for all palettes

4.      Philpots is our go-to café for a healthy yet satisfying lunch to take back to our desks. The made to order salads featuring fresh ingredients are yummy during sunnier weather, while the carvery-based sandwiches offer much-needed warmth once the colder months arrive

5.      Several Refreshers are known for their sweet tooth and there is often only one place to satisfy this - Teacup. A Thomas Street institution, Teacup has a massive selection of hot beverages and never fails to deliver a door-wedge-sized slab of cake. Queues can be large, so consider taking away to enjoy your treat

 

But what if you haven’t got time to pop out for a sit-down lunch but need a dish from a favourite restaurant to satisfy a craving? Don’t panic; simply look no further than the latest takeaway service to hit the city! Deliveroo provides food from some of Manchester’s best known eateries straight to your desk – so grabbing lunch at the Gaucho or a snack from Solita is not out of the question even if time is tight.

 

Have any top tips for spicing up a working lunch? We’d love to hear them – tweet us @RefreshPR or simply comment below.

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Manchester, Manchester food and drink, Manchester PR, Manchester Public Relations, North West , North West PR, North West public relations

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Tempted to take a bite out of Apple Music?



When it comes to listening to music, I use Spotify. It allows me to listen to albums, create playlists, and since I have upgraded, I no longer have to suffer interruptions from the ads. Other than that, I have a small selection of music I appear to have at some stage downloaded on iTunes (which is now embarrassingly out of date). My Spotify app on my iPad gives me everything I need but I am, like many, a fickle and fleeting consumer, easily persuaded and attracted by free trials.

 

So as the owner of an iPad and iPhone I am now starting to wonder if Apple’s latest venture should be something I look more seriously at. All of a sudden my Spotify app on my Apple iPad seems a little pointless - it surely makes more sense to use Apple Music on an Apple device? Is it worth the challenge (well, for me) of getting to grips with how to use yet another music service?

 

I was never won over by Tidal, the Jay-Z owned American-based streaming service which claims to pay the highest rates to the artists. Costing £19.99 for its premium service, I think of it more as ‘status symbol streaming service’ – one for the cool kids. I am most certainly not a cool kid. Neither is Taylor Swift, who after removing herself from Spotify chose not to stream through Tidal either. However, in the wake of the Apple Music launch at the end of June this year, Taylor Swift controversially chose to pledge her allegiance to Apple and decided the streaming service was for her – a move she claims is not part of a lucrative deal. Taylor Swift even took on the corporate giant over their decision not to pay musicians and songwriter’s royalties for any music listened to during the free three month trial, needless to say, Taylor won.

 

The Apple Music app certainly looks impressive, and using the handy ‘heart’ button you can tell Apple what you like in order for it to make further suggestions for your playlist - perfect for when you are needing some inspiration. It costs the same £9.99 per month as Spotify and even has the same 30 million plus tracks at its disposal. However, several features make this app distinct; Apple Music is available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC – Spotify however, is available across a handful of other devices. Apple Music does not have the much loved Spotify feature of being able to see what your Facebook friends are listening to, however, after accidentally connecting my Spotify to my Facebook and listening to Shania Twain’s first album on repeat for two days, the lack of this feature is of huge appeal.

 

Further to this, Apple Music’s most crucial difference is the fact it lets you access all of your music on the streaming app. Old CDs you uploaded onto iTunes will be available, as well as all your other iTunes music downloads. This clever feature allows me to keep hold of those outdated downloads I am so fond of, whilst enjoying the latest music from the Apple Music library. Naturally, it is this feature that appeals to me most and seems like the perfect solution to collating my music collection. Everything, altogether, in one place. On top of this it also offers Beats 1, a 24 hour radio station that allows users to be inspired by music outside their current collection and keep up to date with music news.

 

I believe it will be tricky to persuade some of the diehard Spotify fans to convert to Apple Music, but as a self-confessed tech amateur simply looking to make my technical life a little simpler, I see no reason why I shouldn’t try it. I won’t be kicking Spotify to the curb just yet, those three years of playlists cannot simply disappear into the abyss like the artists who sang on them (…Dido, Javine and Gabrielle to name a few). I have made the executive decision that for the next three months, whilst I can enjoy the luxury of Apple Music’s free trial, I will continue on Spotify and make an informed decision. Check back then to see how I get on!

 

 

Tagged with: Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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A PR team's top tips to hosting a press event



We recently held a press event at the Abel Heywood pub in the Northern Quarter for our client STM Photography, a specialist food photography studio based in Ancoats. The event was held to show the media the art of food photography and the role it plays in today’s thriving restaurant and bar industry. The photography masterclass was teamed with Abel Heywood, which used the event to showcase its delicious summer menu, including cocktails and food boards galore!

 

This is one of the many events we have worked on at Refresh PR and with each one that goes by we learn something new. For that reason, we wanted to provide you with ten of our top tips for organising a media event:

 

1.  The guestlist - this is the most important thing to consider when holding a press event. Bear in mind who your client’s target audiences are, what publications they read and order the guestlist in tiers with your priority publications first. Remember to assume a 30 per cent drop out rate, which could even rise in bad weather or traffic - extra invites will save you here

2.  Give notice - journalists are busy people and their diaries get booked up quickly, so ensure to give plenty of notice so they can pencil your event in before being invited to another. Doing this will also give you time to change the date of the event if a majority of your tier one journalists can’t make it

3.  The date with point two in mind, check what else is on that day that the press could potentially be attending - is there a new bar or restaurant opening, or a big concert on? This could come into competition with your event. It’s also important to consider the day of the week and the date that you’re holding it - Fridays may not be the best day as people have finished work for the week, summer holidays could also pose an issue

4.  Keep a record - when planning an event it’s easy to lose sight of who’s accepted and who’s declined, so make sure you’re recording this on a spreadsheet, this will also highlight where your gaps are

5.  Timing is key - when you’re hosting an event creating a timeline of actions before you begin is essential. If one activity falls behind this will have a knock on effect on everything following, which will all build up until the last two days when you’re running round like a headless chicken!

6.  Communication - elements of the event are likely to change, but remain flexible and ensure you communicate changes to everyone involved, this will ensure no one shows up a week ahead of the event if you’ve had to change the date

7.   Roles on the night - assign each of your team members separate roles on the night and make sure you have all bases covered. This will ensure a relaxed atmosphere where everyone knows their responsibilities and will ensure the smooth running of your event

8.  Keep it interactive - the last thing you want is a journalist fast asleep at your event after a long day at work, so make it fun and interactive. Getting people involved in activities is a great way to keep them on their toes, encourages questions and usually provides some humour for the attendees

9.  Food and drink - make sure there’s enough food and drink to replenish guests if it’s an after-work event. Canapés and cocktails are a great way to kick start the evening on arrival so make sure there’s just enough but not too much - you don’t want the night to descend into all-round drunken carnage

10. Relax - we know what you’re thinking - ‘hmmm, right’ - but seriously, when you relax those around you will relax. Even if your head is about to burst, keep a calm face and let on everything’s under control. If you have to, text your colleagues if there’s an issue and sort it out incognito.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Lifestyle, Manchester, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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A Manchester PR agency’s guide to holidaying in 2015



To say that we’re an eclectic bunch at Refresh PR really doesn’t cut it. We often find ourselves disagreeing and agreeing on music choices, liking and disliking celebrities and debating over lunch choices. So after having studied article upon article telling us where the place to be is this year, we decided to conduct our own mini social experiment to create the ULTIMATE PR agency holiday guide; so pull out your swim shorts, slap on some sun tan, because we’re going to… urrr, Manchester (and a few other places):

 

Rome: this was a big hitter with the Refresh PR team this year with two people planning a trip in their calendars. We know what you’re thinking, it’s because of the pizza... and yes, it is largely to do with the pizza, but believe it or not, when we’re not busy working away at Refresh Towers we do like to better ourselves with culture. There’s plenty to see and do in Rome, especially if you’re into history; visit the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel, and if you like your Italian cuisine, one of our team’s recommendations is the Twilight Trastevere Food Tour. One more thing, if you’ve got a selfie stick be sure to take it ..as apparently you’ll be the odd one out if you don’t!

 

Berlin: another double scorer for the team this year; Berlin has so much to offer in terms of history and it’s also a European epicentre for nightlife. The city is host to a number of famous techno nightclubs. Perhaps you fancy the famous Berghain, which opens on Friday and closes on Monday? If so, you may want to research some tips on how to get past the world’s strictest bouncer, Sven - here’s a bit of help from the Telegraph. By day there’s museum upon museum and from the Reichstag to Checkpoint Charlie, there’s plenty to do - just make sure you don’t fall asleep in one after a night clubbing, like one member of our team... To eat in Berlin try Katz Orange and 3 minutes Sur Mer.

 

Amsterdam: this quiet city situated in the heart of Holland…okay I’ll start again...this city situated in the heart of Holland is absolutely perfect for a weekend break. You can get a pretty cheap deal to Amsterdam, and with a flight time of only 45 minutes it’s quicker to get to than some parts of the UK. While you’re in Amsterdam be sure to rent out a bike and cycle along the canal belt, where you can find a whole world of wonders up the side streets; then make your way to the beautiful Vondelpark for an afternoon picnic. For food, try Bazar, for African and Middle-Eastern food served in the setting of a mural-adorned converted church.

 

Madrid: before you head to Madrid, make sure you swot up on your Spanish as English speaking isn’t as common-place as it is in Spanish holiday resorts - trust us on this one! Do you like football? If you do the Real Madrid stadium tour is only 19 euros, a small price to pay to ditch the other half for a day out shopping! Be prepared for late evenings in Madrid as the normal time for dinner is 10pm but you can always make time for an afternoon siesta to compensate. In the evening head to the trendy area Malasaña, where the restaurants and bars are set between modern street art covered walls and the siesta doesn’t stop until the early hours.

 

Budapest: Corey went to Budapest earlier this year and when we say it’s for the history, we really aren’t joking. A big lover of all things historical, Corey swapped Downton Abbey and Poldark for a weekend of persuing the sites of Budapest. A big recommendation from Corey is the Houses of Parliament, but make sure you go when the assembly isn’t in session for the entire tour and be sure to ask for the Lady Gaga lookalike tour guide. When all the historical stuff makes you thirsty, you need to visit at least a handful of the city’s ruin bars. Built in Budapest’s District VII neigbourhood (the old Jewish quarter), these bars are a popular hot spot for locals and tourists.

 

Manchester: so what happens when your holiday’s been and gone? Rather than getting the holiday blues check out what’s on near you over summer. We’re going to see Noel Gallagher on the 11th July at Castlefield Bowl and are more than excited for The Striker with Maxine Peake as part of the Manchester International Festival.

 

Where will you be going, what will you be doing and what will you be eating? We want to know your suggestions so tweet us @refreshpr.

 

Tagged with: Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Twitter