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Tech Companies Thriving in Manchester



Last week the 2018 Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 ranking, which lists the UK's fastest-growing tech companies, was published, with businesses from Greater Manchester accounting for nearly a tenth of the list.

 

In total, eight Manchester based companies made the ranking which recognises those UK private technology businesses with the fastest growing sales over the last three years. Those that were included were reflective of the city's diverse, and growing, tech scene with software developers, wi-fi providers and online publishers all being included.

 

The ranking is just the latest sign that Manchester is a place where tech businesses can thrive, providing a viable alternative home to London for the UK tech sector. It follows on from a report last September that found that the city's strong tech scene would drive economic growth prospects comparable to the capital in defiance of a gloomy outlook predicted for the rest of the country.

 

As things stand the city already supports 62,653 digital jobs creating an output of £2.8 billion per annum. This is only going to increase thanks to the city's broad tech infrastructure, leading higher education institutions that drive exceptionally high levels of graduate retention and its strong investor and funding community.

 

Avoiding boom turning to bust

 

While this strong performance and positive outlook for the city's tech scene is encouraging it's critical that it does not become blind to potential threats to its future success. One such risk is a pending shortage of skilled tech professionals, as a recent report found that 91% of UK businesses expect to experience a moderate to severe shortage within the next 12 months.  

 

Conducted by recruitment firm Robert Walters, the report found that the speed of acceleration in technology capability and adoption was likely to cause the skills shortage to get worse as the range of technology skills have also grown in demand. As such 36% of respondents expected to struggle when trying to recruit sufficient junior tech specialists.

 

Clearly this threat is a problem that needs to be solved at a national level with investment in developing the tech skills that businesses are going to be in desperate need of in the coming years. Positive steps have already been taken, with coding now being taught as part of the core curriculum from primary school onwards. However, the full impact of those changes still won't be felt for a number of years - and putting it bluntly businesses - particularly those in the tech sector - can't afford to wait.

 

Promote, engage, attract

 

In the short term, therefore, it is essential that the sector works to promote tech careers to those who are coming toward the end of their compulsory education, encouraging them to consider further education courses that will develop the tech skills that will help alleviate the shortage.

 

Key to this will be engaging with key demographics, to extol the benefits of working in the sector demonstrating how exciting and dynamic the industry can be to work in. This should include highlighting the enhanced career prospects that those with the relevant skills will have as businesses become increasingly digital and tech centric.

 

To achieve this tech businesses should consider a variety of options covering everything from entering into partnerships with schools, colleges and universities through to running competitions such as hackathons and offering scholarships. And of course, a PR and marketing push isn't going to hurt either...….

 

For all the hard work that has gone into making Manchester's tech scene the huge success story it has become nothing should be left off the table to ensure that all that good work isn’t undone. 

 

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

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Manchester is wonderful



This Sunday is Manchester Day, a celebration of all the great things about this city. We will see the centre turned into a hub of activity with gigs, comedy shows, club nights and much more, including the annual Manchester Day parade.


We maybe slightly biased but we think Manchester is a great city. It’s literally got something for everyone whether you are wanting to sip on crazy cocktails at one of the city’s sky bars, or go hunting for the latest vintage shirt in one of Northern Quarter’s quirky shops. For the more cultured you can get lost wandering around the city’s museums, libraries and galleries.


There’s an abundance of things to do and see in this great city, not forgetting, we’re home to two of the country’s best football clubs, and our music is second to none! We literally are a city like no other.


Ahead of Manchester Day, team Refresh reflects on our favourite things about this beautiful city of ours.


Head of consumer, Caroline Gibson,


The thing I love most about Manchester is the music. From seeing Oasis at the old City ground when I was 18 to watching more recent bands, such as Blossoms, at venues like Sound Control and growing in popularity to selling out Albert Hall. The city seems to breed rock stars and there’s always a gig to go and see.


Account executive, Rebecca Wallace,


My favourite thing about Manchester is there is always something to do or see! I love trying new bars and restaurants, as well as finding a new brunch spot. Brunch is something that Manchester takes very seriously. My brunch recommendations would definitely be Federal, Home Sweet Home, Moose Coffee and Pen and Pencil.


Account executive, Emily Knight,


I’m not actually from Manchester, I’m from Morecambe and commute into the city every day, Manchester is my home away from home. My favourite thing to do here is shop. There’s an abundance of shops from designer and high street favourtives to little hidden boutiques and vintage shops. It’s such a great city to explore, the city spirit is truly unique.


B2B account director, Lucy Moore,


My favourite thing about Manchester is the music scene, the fact that so many legendary bands have come from here and you can see gigs in really cool venues every night of the week. I also love the general buzz of the city and the tech scene up here. 


Tagged with: , Celebration, Manchester, Manchester Day, PR Manchester

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The Heating Installer Awards 2018



After 12 months of hard work, the Heating Installer Awards culminated in the announcement of our national winner at trade show, Installer2018.

Opening in October 2017, we spent five months accepting entries from heating installers across the U.K. before our regional winners were decided. In March, our sponsors, Polypipe, Sentinel, Vaillant, Danfoss, Wolseley, Installer magazine and Avanti Gas, along with last year’s winner, Peter Booth, met to judge the entries and finalise our regional winners. Our nine regional finalists then when head to head in a public vote, where the national winner was decided.

This month, thanks to our media partner, and owner of trade exhibition Installer2018, Installer magazine, the team travelled to Coventry to make the winner’s announcement. For me, the Installer exhibition is the highlight of the year. The Heating Installer Awards is such an intensive campaign that it’s really rewarding to see the final product of all our hard work. Our stand was busy from day one, with installers enquiring how to sign up for next year and people wanting to meet the faces behind the awards.

In the weeks leading up to the announcement, we had the typical exhibitor to-do list: finalise exhibition stand, organise the announcement, plan stand activity, but the work was all worth it when our time to grace the mainstage arrived. We started off with a Q&A with our sponsors, who were unanimous in their opinion that the plumbing and heating industry needs awards like these. From here, we made the winner’s announcement and last year’s winner took to the stage to hand over his metaphorical crown in front of the growing crowds. All of the regional winners deserved their place in the final, but Shaun Scott, from Scotland, was a deserved winner of the coveted title. 

The exhibition and announcement were a great success and has made us even more excited to kick start 2019’s awards.

For more information on the awards, and to get involved, contact us at hia@refreshpr.co.uk

 

 

Tagged with: , B2B PR agency Manchester , Heating Installer Awards, HIA, Manchester, PR Agency Manchester

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Meet the team



Last month we introduced you to our head of consumer and now we had across our office to give you an insight into our B2B team. Here we learn more about our B2B PR account manager, Ash Davies.


How did you get into PR?

I did history at University and had no real idea what I wanted to do, I just knew working in a museum wasn’t for me. I carried out various internships and work experience placements in different sectors and nothing ever felt quite right – that was until I started my PR internship. From the offset, I was going to new biz pitches, client meetings and working on creative campaigns and fell in love with the job. From that moment I knew I needed to work in PR.  

 

What do you love most about working in PR?

After six years of working in PR, the thrill of generating real results for our clients never wears off. I love working with our clients to truly understand their business objectives and implement creative campaigns that help meet these. Working in B2B PR, there is often the misconception that there is no room for creativity; showing clients how their PR can be fun, creative and results driven feels great. I have even written a blog post on this – you can read it here.

 

What do you think you bring to Refresh PR?

A cliché but I’m definitely a people person. I integrate myself into our client’s companies and consequently build long lasting relationships; in fact, I’m good friends and still work in some capacity with past clients from many years ago. These relationships have allowed us to collaborate with some great companies that understand the importance of creativity within PR and appreciate the impact Refresh PR can have on their business.

 

Outside of the office, what do you do for fun?

In my opinion, Manchester is the best city in the UK for socialising. With so many new restaurants and bars opening on a monthly basis, I’ve made it my personal aim to try them all. I also love to travel, and have just had my annual leave signed off for my drive across Europe this summer!

 

Finally, where do you see the future of PR?

The media landscape is changing and a basic press office function just doesn’t make a big enough impact anymore. Whilst a solid press release and effective pitch used to be enough to get great results, in today’s climate we need more integrated campaigns incorporating events, social, digital PR and SEO, amongst others.  Many traditional B2B PRs will need to get a greater understanding of, and build relationships with, digital outlets. At Refresh, we pride ourselves on coming up with creative campaigns that utilise much more than just a press office. The Heating Installer Awards and our work for MyGlazing.com are great examples of this. Not only are they proven ways of getting better results, they’re more fun to work on!

Tagged with: , B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Creative Agency, Lifestyle, Meet the team, North West

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Painting the town red with TableNow



Last month Refresh PR supported with the relaunch of TableNow.co.uk’s new website and app, via media coverage in the likes of Lovin’ Manchester, North West Caterer and NW Business Insider, as well as the launch of the Professional Eater campaign.


But to celebrate a successful first month and the thousands of pounds already saved by diners across the North West, Refresh PR arranged and managed a launch party for TableNow.co.uk at Manchester’s 1761.

 

The guest list was filled with bloggers, influencers, journalists, members and VIPs from across the North West who enjoyed canapés, fizz and a chance to play TableNow’s money grabber – think Crystal Maze!

 

Bloggers in attendance included What Emma Did, Elsa Eats, Be More Fashionista and Manchester Tart, as well as the team from UniLad.

 

Social media was buzzing with people sharing pictures of the event across Twitter and Instagram, with a total reach of nearly 100,000, and even more people signing up to the North West’s number one dining club on the evening.

 

Events are a fantastic way to celebrate milestones, connect with members or customers, as well as building relationships with key influencers and media. Nothing is more powerful than face-to-face engagement, and a glass of fizz always helps too. If you are looking to run an event for your brand then please contact our head of consumer, Caroline on 0161 871 1188. 

Tagged with: , Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Launch event, Lifestyle, Manchester, Networking Event, PR Manchester

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More recent media gaffes that demonstrate the importance of media training…



Anyone remember the cringey video clip of Sainsbury’s chief executive, Mike Coupe, singing “We’re in the money”, thinking he was off camera ahead of a media interview with ITV around the supermarket giant’s merger with Asda? How could we forget? Last month’s fiasco was just the latest in a string of media gaffes to hit the press.

The internet never sleeps, and with social media use increasing daily, there’s no place to hide for public figures and big businesses. Knowing how to deal with the media is becoming more and more important, which is why we recommend that all of our clients that have regular dealings with the public or media, or work in high risk industries and sectors, invest in media training.

Media training can be uncomfortable and nerve-wracking, it may be the last thing you fancy doing with your day, but it’s always useful. For those considering media training but don’t know what to expect, here are some things to prepare for:  

·     Good media training courses tend to span a full day, so ensure you allocate this time in your calendar in order to make the most of it. Media training should be treated like any other business engagement and be prioritised like one too. Teams should be bought into it and fully understand the value it delivers. And don’t let people chicken out at the last minute – it’s important!


·    Media training classes can be public or private, but we recommend taking a private session so you can fully be yourself and use the day as a team building exercise, too. The number of people permitted to attend sessions is flexible but we find media training works best in groups of two to eight, so everybody within the group receives enough individual attention.


·    Expect a mix of theoretical and practical elements throughout the day. Media training sessions are designed to bring you up to speed on the good, the bad, and the ugly of the media, so expect everything to be covered. Training days usually begin with the theoretical application of media training, giving participants examples of real life blunders and asking what they think was wrong in each scenario, before the practical element begins. The theory side of things will also look at different media channels and why it’s important to have a different communication strategy for each of them.


·    Be prepared to be put through your paces during the practical session. Depending on who you book your media training with, you might actually be in a real-life setting, such as a TV or radio studio. If there isn’t access to this type of equipment, the scene will be staged to feel as real as possible. Expect to have cameras flashing in front of you, microphones being pushed in your face, and questions fired at you, based on made up (but oh so real feeling) crisis situations. This can be daunting but they always say you learn best from being thrown in at the deep end!


If you’re interested in hearing how media training could be beneficial in preparing your business for a difficult situation, or even to just make your team more comfortable speaking to the media on a day-by-day basis, speak to our managing director, Laura Mashiter on laura@refreshpr.co.uk or call 0161 871 1188.  

Tagged with: , Creative Agency, Manchester, Media training

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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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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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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.

Tagged with: , International Women's Day, Women in history

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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 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 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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Refresh PR celebrates being shortlisted for industry awards!



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


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

 

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


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

 

 

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Flaky campaign or a roll of genius



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Is Silicon Valley nearing its demise?



Thirty-four billionaires live in Silicon Valley. The majority are owners or founders or CEOs of some of the world’s largest and most renowned tech companies. As part of a tech company yourself, it’s likely you’ve envisaged what life is like on the opposite side of the pond, in an area that we imagine to be paved with gold.

But after a few recent news stories, questions are being raised about the part Silicon Valley is playing in lives across the world – and not in a positive way. Could this be the start of its demise?

Two quite significant scandals emerged from the area last week. The first, that credit agency Equifax came asunder to a massive cyber attack that put the data of 143m Americans at risk. Second came the admission from Facebook that it has uncovered advertisements places on its platform by Russian-backed groups interfering with American elections to the tune of at least $100,000. While these stories specifically impact America, other challenges on the tech giants residing in SV have caused us to wonder if allowing these organisations to reach such enormity is actually more damaging than good.

While the argument about #fakenews continues to ramp up, authorities are casting their eye towards platforms like Facebook and Twitter that allow false or staged activity to do the rounds, with many questioning why the platforms don’t block content that’s deliberately misleading and potentially harmful.

And as extremist behaviour continues to plague the globe, the UK Government is putting extra pressure on Silicon Valley giants to prevent unlawful material from appearing online. They say that doing so is fuelling terrorism, and only by intervening will we preserve freedom and liberal values. The Telegraph quoted digital minister Matt Hancock this week, who has urged that encouraging Google and Facebook to intervene in this activity is “an opportunity for Britain to gain a ‘massive advantage’ after Brexit by being the first country to make sure offline principles apply online”.

Part of the reason tech has grown so exponentially is from an assumed (and not at all proven) view that the online world is different to the offline world, different rules exist and it acts instead as a challenger to what is engrained in our society. But think about it – when’s the last time a significant scandal played out that has absolutely no involvement from the internet? (not including health epidemics or natural disasters).

So what part can you play? Whether you run a social media platform, create ecommerce software, process big data or manufacture smart items for the home, it’s a case of questioning whether what you’re doing is for the greater good, definitely doesn’t put people at risk of harm and plays a helpful part in wider society. If you can’t tick all three boxes, tweak what you’re doing. Because the chances are, if you don’t, you’ll have the spotlight shone on you soon enough.

As Mr Hancock so eloquently put it: “We must build an internet… where we cherish freedom yet prevent harm to others.” Silicon Valley, are you listening?

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Feed your appetite for blogger engagement



The blogosphere has grown exponentially: bloggers now influence consumers and their purchasing habits, while creating social awareness for brands and their campaigns. Using both traditional PR and utilising bloggers is a great way to gain maximum exposure for brands, as they both reach out to different audiences, reflecting the way they consume the media to ensure an impactful campaign.

 

Here at Refresh PR we work with bloggers, influencers and micro influencers in order to engage with a wider, more targeted audience for our clients.

 

Where to start?

 

Before selecting bloggers or influencers to work with it’s essential to research and understand your audience and decide who will work best for the brand. These influencers, in whatever format, will become advocates for your brand, so it’s vital they are portraying the brand messages and tone of voice back to their audiences correctly.

 

It is crucial you decide who will be the best fit for your brand whether that be a blogger, influencers, or micro influencer and establish how they can reach your customers via their audience.

 

Micro and Macro influencers – what’s the difference?

 

Micro influencers typically have around 10-90k followers on social media, whereas macro influencers tend to have a following of more than 100k, however it is micro influencers who get higher engagement rates on posts.

 

A smaller following means your brand will be reaching less consumers, but it will reach more of your target audience, as their followers will be more specific towards your sector. Micro influencers also tend to demand smaller budgets, so if you’re looking for a cost effective way to promote your brand to a new audience, micro-influencers could be the perfect approach.

 

Why should we use bloggers and influencers?

 

Using bloggers and influencers helps to create a specific brand message, while growing a strong and loyal social following to build brand awareness within your target audience.

 

Using bloggers is an effective way to create engaging content for your brand whilst relaying the brand message across numerous channels. Bloggers also help to improve SEO and drive sales, if done correctly.

 

One of the benefits of using bloggers is they create a trusted brand message. Data from influencer marketing platform MuseFind shows that 92 per cent of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement – so if you’re not utilising these channels, then why not?

 

Future Predictions

 

The blogosphere is always expanding, with a new wave of bloggers and influencers set to storm the internet. A study showed that nearly 85 per cent of marketing and communications professionals worldwide expected to launch at least one campaign involving an influencer in the next 12 months, so if it’s not in your plans, why not?

 

If you think your PR strategy could benefit from blogger outreach, get in touch to see how Refresh PR can help at hello@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

Tagged with: , bloggers, creatiive agency Manchester, Food & Drink, PR agencies Manchester

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Will GDPR take a bite out of your business?



The EU General Data Protection Regulation, otherwise known as GDPR is about to start making waves within companies across the UK.

 

The new law will be coming into place on 25th May 2018, in order to protect consumers’ data on the web, preventing people being signed up to mailing lists they may not want to be on. By this date, companies will be required to contact all those on their mailing lists to ensure they do still want to receive information from them. If they choose not to, or if they don’t reply at all, companies will be obliged by law to remove them from the list.

 

Food and drink companies will often send out e-newsletters to communicate to their database, sending regular information on offers, deals or company news. All these send outs will have to be in line with the GDPR guidelines, and if a company fails to do so, it could risk a €20M fine.

 

As a creative agency, we understand the importance of cutting through the noise and communicating directly with the customer. The introduction of GDPR will mean brands have to get creative between now and May to keep their databases opting in to receive the email information.

 

So how will food and drink brands stand out from the crowd come May? Putting in place a creative content strategy now is the first step for any business, and here are our three top tips to start to prepare.

 

Keep it topical

 

Food and drink, much like fashion, has trends, so it’s important to stay on top of these. Ensure your content is matching what your audience wants, and what they are searching for online. React quickly to news, for instance the egg cloud was a huge trend in 2017, but only for a matter of days – jump on the news quickly and bring the information to your customers before anyone else does! There are tools that can help with these trend predictions, so make sure they are utilised to give you a full insight into what your customers are searching for online.

 

Keep it audience specific


When it comes to email marketing, the content must be of interest to those who receive the information. If a shopper uses your company to buy a particular product, ensure they are targeted with news that is relevant for them. Vegan customers will have no interest in deals on meat, families will have little interest in meals for one and students no interest in family recipes. Ensure the message you send out resonates with the customer for maximum impact. This can be done via data capture at the payment stage, or via an incentivised survey on the website. But start now so your database can start seeing the benefit of targeted messaging well ahead of the GDPR deadline.

 

Treat your customers

 

It’s important your customers feel wanted by you, so whether its discount codes, offers or the odd complimentary drink,  get generous before May. If customers see a value in being signed up to your emails, they will stay signed up. Food and drinks companies now have nine months prove to customers that by staying connected to their business, they will benefit.

 

 

Tagged with: , Food & Drink, GDPR, Lifestyle, PR agencies Manchester

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Advance your career with the award winning B2B team at Refresh PR



Refresh PR is a Manchester based PR agency located in fantastic space in the Northern Quarter.  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 quickly learn and progress your career.  What’s more, we’re dedicated to helping our people grow and achieve their potential through The Refresh 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 highly effective and progress your career with Refresh PR.

 

We pride ourselves on our no-nonsense approach and our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses.  Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver creative campaigns that drive 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 pride ourselves on our unique approach and are industry recognised by the CMA’s and B2B Marketing Awards for our creative campaigns working with brands such as LG Electronics and Vaillant.

 

Due to a number of new business wins, we’re looking for confident and articulate people with a passion for B2B PR who will relish the chance to join our team at all levels.  You’ll be working on accounts across the construction, built environment, e-commerce, online tech, property and insurance sectors.  You’ll have already gained valuable PR agency or in-house experience with at least a year spent working in B2B PR.

 

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 are considerate and supportive; a real team player with the ability to remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll work closely with the rest of the B2B team to ensure we are delivering consistently for our clients, yet will be able to use initiative, working independently most of the time. 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , Account Executive, Account Manager, junior account manager, Manchester, manchester jobs, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Jobs, PR Manchester, pr vacancies, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, senior account exectuive, senior account manager

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Are you a Junior Account Executive or an Account Executive looking for a new challenge?



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 an account executive working across a range of accounts.

 

You’ll have already gained some valuable agency experience so will be really good at preparing sector specific copy 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.

 

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 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: , Account Executive, Jobs, junior account executive, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Jobs, pr jobs manchester, PR Manchester, pr opportunity, pr vacancy, Recruitment, Senior Account Executive

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Things are heating up at the Food Porn Awards



 

 

Last week, the Refresh team had the best job in PR – managing the Food Porn Awards regional cook-offs. And yes, we got samples!

 

Alongside Shoot the Moon and STM Photography, we witnessed some of the best chefs across the North West, Cumbria and Yorkshire work their magic to create some serious Food Porn.

 

From freakshakes to Michelin star masterpieces, last week proved that Food Porn takes many forms – all a feast for the eyes in their own individual way.

 

Following an incredible 2016, the 2017 campaign launched in September, attracting entries from some of the best pubs, restaurants and cafes. Since then, the team of expert judges have had the tough job of whittling down the finalists to attend this week’s cook-offs.

 

At the four-day event the chefs got to cook up their dishes, before seeing them captured by STM Photography, with a little help from food stylists, making already Food Porn worthy dishes even more tantalising.

 

The next stage will see all of the dishes showcased in all their Food Porn glory for the judges to select their regional and category favourites, which will be announced at the National Restaurant and Bar (NRB) show in March – so watch this space for more updates on the regions tastiest looking treats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , Food & Drink, Food Porn Awards, Leisure, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Restaurants

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Could Manchester give the green light to the congestion charge?



Greater Manchester’s new Elected Mayor is being urged to reconsider introducing a congestion charge in the city.

 

Think-tank Centre for Cities has reignited the controversial issue, suggesting that the road tax would be a ‘quick win’ to help manage traffic, cut pollution and pay for better transport links to outer boroughs.

 

In 2008 voters rejected the congestion charge following a referendum, but with city centre traffic steadily increasing, it could be back on the agenda for the region’s decision makers.

 

The congestion charge in central London, which was introduced in 2003, is £10 a day, 7am – 8pm, Monday to Friday. Yet with regular 24-hour buses and an expansive underground system, commuters are well served by the city’s public transport system.

 

Like London, Manchester is heavily populated with people living within the city centre boundaries, making it a bustling hive of activity even in the evenings – something since moving here seven years ago, I have always loved.  

 

A congestion charge would certainly have implications for those who live in Greater Manchester and the surrounding areas. On top of high council tax, this would be another monthly charge, which many can ill afford.

 

The charge could potentially have a direct effect on property prices in the city, which could lose value if demand were to fall. Then there are those who come into the city to enjoy the restaurants, bars, theatres and shops Manchester has to offer. In order to avoid additional charges, it is possible these shoppers would opt for out of town shopping centres as an alternative – driving footfall out of town.

 

Manchester is a hugely accessible place to work – by adding a congestion charge we could be discouraging skilled and talented job hunters from taking positions in the city centre. It would be down to the employer to decide if the increase in living costs due to the congestion charge was reflected in wages, which could be a considerable cost to a company. This may also mean businesses in Manchester could choose to relocate out of town, which could have an impact on the city’s economic infrastructure.

 

The congestion charge would undoubtedly make Manchester a less appealing place to work and live – potentially detrimental for a city growing so rapidly. With public transport already at capacity, would Manchester’s infrastructure cope with the additional commuters?

 

Surely this needs to be considered first and foremost before implementing a tax that will prevent a lot of people from living and working in our great city.

 

 

 

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2017 – What’s in-store for the PR industry?



So as 2016 sped past us in a whirl of elections, weather warnings and Kardashian scandal (just me?), we’ve finally reached a new year and with that brings new technology, trends and challenges. We’ve already reflected on how the 2016 predictions came to light, so now it is our turn to look into our crystal ball and foresee what is to come in 2017:

 

Media Expansion

For years we’ve been told magazines and newspapers are dying, but despite the amount of publications on the shelves decreasing, I don’t think it’s a dying industry – simply changing and evolving. We’ve already heard about Chat and Marie Claire moving into TV production – a brave move, but one that demonstrates their commitment to adapting to consumer trends.

As PRs it is essential that we align ourselves with this media expansion – whether it’s using video messages over a press release or tailoring our content to meet their changing platforms – 2017 will see us working with journalists in new and exciting ways to meet their needs.

 

Micro-influencers

A buzz word for 2016, that isn’t going anywhere in 2017. Yes your mum and dad don’t know who they are, your client might not either – but consumers do and they care about their opinions.

With budgets getting smaller and expectations and competition increasing, micro-influencers are an effective way to engage with your audience. Bloggers have become celebrities in their own right, as explored in our previous blog, and now demand the same fee as the famous folk we’d listen to on the radio or watch on TV. Whereas micro-influencers are respected, but attainable and most importantly engaging.

However, in 2017 we will see marketing professionals explore different ways of working with these micro-influencers to get maximum impact.

 

Standing for Something

With so many new brands coming to market, consumers now have more choice than ever before – meaning brands need something to differentiate themselves. So, in 2017 I think we will see more brands choosing to stand for something more than just their product or service offering. Research has shown that customers are looking to support brands that feel part of their community, so for national companies they must look at their operations and marketing to find how they can immerse themselves in the local area, to have this consumer appeal.

 

The Death of B2B

OK, so not quite – I exaggerated for a good headline – but we will see more brands begin to treat their B2B target audience as the everyday consumer they actually are. With trade titles no longer appealing to the full spectrum of professionals, especially in areas such as construction, we must look at ways of communicating a business message, in an engaging, fun way that appeals to the target audience, and beyond.

Our Food Porn Awards for STM Photography is a great example of this, already in its second year, and seeing more success than ever before, we’ve created a campaign that communicates with the hospitality industry, while still being of interest to the everyday consumer – meaning we have more avenues for press coverage, and we expect to see more B2B campaigns adopting this approach in 2017.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , 2017, B2B, Marketing, New Year, PR, Public Relations, Social Media

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Calling all Account Managers, a new challenge awaits



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 one of our B2B account managers, working across a range of B2B/corporate accounts in sectors such as construction and professional services.

 

You’ll have already gained valuable agency experience so you’ll hit the ground running and will have already proved you’re great at developing and managing PR campaigns aligned to clients’ objectives.  You’re great at building relationships; a trusted partner to your clients and experienced in coaching teams to ensure they are delivering quality results consistently, you’re a vibrant team member who works hard but adds to a lively atmosphere. From networking, to developing and delivering pitches, you have a real passion for business development and will want to bring on board new clients you’re passionate about. 

 

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. You’ll be confident in managing and developing our talented PR team while also supporting with recruitment as the team continues to grow.

 

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 account manager 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: , Account Manager, Jobs, Manchester, opportunity, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRjobs, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Recruitment, Vacancy

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Refresh PR's Christmas gift guide 2016



December is in full swing and it’s the season of giving, but we all know it’s not so easy to pick the perfect present for the loved ones in your life. Here at Refresh, we’ve compiled a Christmas gift guide with the help of our client Arbonne that not even the fussiest of family members could refuse.

 

1.      For the one waiting under the mistletoe

It’s hard to find the perfect red lip to enhance your look during the festive season, but Arbonne’s Smoothed Over Lipstick will leave your lips super soft and with the perfect pout, ideal for kissable lips under the mistletoe! Elle Magazine recommend Arbonne’s Smoothed Over Lipstick in Hibiscus, as the perfect deep red shade in its Christmas Gift Guide this month.

 

2.      For mum

Mums deserve extra love and attention at this time of year, especially after they’ve most likely prepared most of the Christmas dinner and done most of the shopping! Cosmopolitan thought the Olive Blossom & Eucalyptus Gift Set is the perfect treat for any mum underneath the Christmas tree.

 

3.      For the toddler

It’s sometimes difficult to find a gift for a toddler as they become more independent and want to take on the world, but their little hands aren’t quite capable yet! This is where Arbonne’s Leaf it to Me Gift Set comes in. Recommended by B Baby Magazine, the parent and child friendly bottles have larger pumps, giving children the confidence to use it on their own, and the clean refreshing scent is bound to be a hit with both parents and grandparents this Christmas.

 

4.      For the teenager

For the teenager that no longer springs out of bed on Christmas morning, a revitalising hair mask is just what they need.Treat their tresses after a lengthy lie-in; cotton pillowcases can dry out the hair, which can leave a serious case of ‘bed head’ - a big no-no for any stylish teen. Popular TV streaming service Hayu recommends Arbonne’s Pure Vibrance Hair Masque in its gift guide for reality TV lovers.

 

 

5.      For the vegan

More and more people are turning to veganism, not just for the health benefits, but also for their concerns about the environment and the treatment of animals. The experts on all things ethical, Veggie magazine, also included Arbonne’s Olive Blossom & Eucalyptus Gift Set as the ideal luxury gift set, which includes a cleansing body polish and body butter that will help keep dry winter skin at bay and you feeling good that it’s 100 per cent cruelty free.

 

 

Tagged with: , Christmas, gift guide, Gifts, Health & Beauty, Leisure, Lifestyle, Public Relations, Wellbeing

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Why video is vital for PR professionals



 

As the digital work carried out by PR professionals evolves, it’s no longer a case of simply using it to bolster our ‘traditional’ press office activity and campaigns. More and more, PR professionals are asking whether social media should be the crux of how we reach our audience.

 

Last week I attended the #PRCADigital event, where the statistics and insights shared came as no surprise. Increasingly clients’ budgets for digital activity is spent on boosting SEO, paid social media activity and creating video based content - with 62 per cent citing this as the main area of spending.

 

Like many of our clients, we recognise the importance of video based content and this creates a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with other creative businesses, echoing what we discussed in a recent blog post.

 

Video content has well and truly hit the mainstream. Facebook’s Live function is growing in popularity, highlighting the importance of such content to audiences by allowing users to live-stream videos, a maximum of 30 minute long, directly from their smartphones.

 

Other social networks are also making a big push on video with Twitter recently announcing it will be launching an app for live-streaming video on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft's Xbox One. This move again highlights how important it is to harness this type of content and create truly integrated campaigns.

 

As well as these developments by social networks, figures show people spend three times longer watching live video compared to a video that's pre-recorded, which is an important insight for content creators. It shows that it’s the creativity and message that users are responding to and therefore not every video has to be at a Hollywood level of production.

 

Everyone has the capability to create videos and with the quality of camera phones reaching new heights, consumers, brands and PR professionals can get filming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , CIPR , Digital, Facebook, Facebook Live, Networking Event, PR, PRCA, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter, Video

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Are you a Senior Account Manager or an Account Director looking for a new challenge? Get in touch!



Are you a Senior Account Manager or an Account Director looking for a new challenge?

Get in touch!

 

We’re looking for a confident, articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join our team. An account director working across a range of accounts, you’ll have already gained valuable agency experience leading client accounts, constantly planning ahead, developing and managing creative campaigns and PR plans aligned to strategy and objectives.  You’re great at building relationships; you’re a trusted partner to your clients, providing strategic advice and industry insight. You’ll also have proven experience in leading and coaching teams to ensure they are consistently delivering high quality results. From networking to developing and delivering pitches, you’ll have a real passion for business development.

 

We’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm. Proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive; a real team player able to remain calm and considered when faced with new or high-pressure situations. You’ll be confident in managing and developing our talented PR team while supporting with recruitment as the team grows.

 

Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a 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 input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through structured learning and development programmes.

 

Interested in applying or learning more about the role? Contact Sarah - sarah@refreshpr.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , account director, job advert, Jobs, opportunity, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR job, PR Manchester, senior account manager, Vacancy

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Calling all Consumer Senior Account Managers



Calling all Consumer Senior Account Managers

A new challenge awaits…

 

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 public and private sectors.

 

We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the consumer team as our senior account manager and quickly progress to director level with the support of the Refresh Leadership Academy.

 

You’ll have already gained valuable agency experience so will be really good at developing and managing creative consumer focussed campaigns and PR plans aligned to clients’ objectives.  You’re great at building relationships; you’re a trusted partner to your clients and you’ve proven experience in managing and coaching teams to ensure they are delivering quality results consistently. From networking to developing and delivering pitches, you have a real passion for business development and will want to bring on board new clients which you’re passionate about. 

 

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 pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive - a real team player with the ability remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll be confident to manage and develop our talented consumer PR team while supporting with recruitment as the team grows.

 

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 input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through our mentoring programme – where our team works alongside experienced PR practitioners - and our structured training and development programme.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , account director, Jobs, Manchester, opportunities, opportunity, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, senior account manager, Social Media, vacancies, Vacancy

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‘Behind the Leather’ - the campaign that made me think twice



 

I’ve always been a strong believer in animal rights and have been a committed vegetarian for the last three years. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that I occasionally bend my principles for a new pair of leather shoes or that must-have suede jacket, but I’ve always alleviated my guilt by mentally separating the product from its source. Until now, that is.

So you can imagine how I felt after viewing the latest PETA campaign ‘Behind the Leather’ created by Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok. The animal rights organisation is renowned for its use of shock tactics to communicate its message, but this latest campaign makes even those with stomachs of steel squeamish.

In ‘Behind the Leather’ shoppers visit a seemingly normal Bangkok pop-up store, The Leather Work, offering ‘handcrafted luxury’ and displaying rails of exotic leather goods. It’s only after curious customers begin to investigate the products further that they’re presented with the cruel cost of the seemingly beautiful merchandise. Handbags are opened to reveal grotesque pumping hearts, belts are turned around to expose flesh stuck to their undersides and hands covered in a thick coating of blood are pulled out of gloves, leaving both the customers and the viewers jumping back in shock. In a matter of seconds, we are presented with the very real reality that the soft, attractive leather is only half of the story.

The campaign has struck a chord with me because I am one of those shoppers, lured in by luxury and the latest styles. I silence my conscience by telling myself that it doesn’t make much of a difference; the animals were probably going to be killed for their meat anyway and I don’t often buy leather products so once in a while doesn’t matter. The product is so enticing that we forget about where it came from.

While some may not agree with the graphic nature of PETA’s latest campaign, it delivers its objective, forcing us to think ‘Behind the Leather’.

You can view the campaign for yourself here, although, be warned, it isn’t for the faint hearted!

 

Tagged with: , Behind the Leather, Lifestyle, North West , PETA, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Calling all Consumer Account Managers



Calling all Consumer Account Managers

A new challenge awaits…

 

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 public and private 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 our consumer account manager working across a range of consumer accounts.

 

You’ll have already gained valuable agency experience so will be really good at developing and managing creative consumer focussed campaigns and PR plans aligned to clients’ objectives.  You’re great at building relationships; you’re a trusted partner to your clients and you’ve proven experience in managing and coaching teams to ensure they are delivering quality results consistently. From networking to developing and delivering pitches, you have a real passion for business development and will want to bring on board new clients which you’re passionate about. 

 

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 pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive - a real team player with the ability remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll be confident to manage and develop our talented consumer PR team while supporting with recruitment as the team grows.

 

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 input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through our mentoring programme – where our team works alongside experienced PR practitioners - and our structured training and development programme.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , Account Manager, consumer, Manchester, North West , opportunity, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Jobs, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Vacancy

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It was acceptable in the 90s…but which beauty trends will survive the summer?



New client product launches = excited PR teams. This has certainly been the case for the Refresh consumer team this week as our client Arbonne unveiled a number of exciting new product launches at its annual GTC conference in Las Vegas.

Amongst the line-up (and one of our favourites) is the new eye programme, which comprises a new colour suite of eyeshadows and pencils, all botanically infused and bang on trend for this season’s fashionistas - and what an eclectic array of trends we have to choose from this season!

It’s been difficult to embrace the latest fashion and beauty nods from the spring/summer 2016 catwalks as the weather has resembled more autumn/winter so far this year, but as the warmer days creep in, which beauty trends are more likely than others to shine this season?

Whether it’s a smear of cyan liner or a splatter of indigo glitter, it seems the blue-eyed girl is definitely making a big return this season. Sported by designers such as Chanel and Marc Jacobs to accentuate their bold designs, it’s a look that has naturally divided opinion, yet journalists seem to be loving it! Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan have all hailed the 80s look as the ‘only colour to wear on your eyes this season’, allowing brands to jump on endorsements and market a colour range that has long been dormant.

Beauty often takes its lead from fashion and spring/summer 2016 was no exception; the 90s made an epic return to the catwalk with retro sportswear and grunge reimagined to create effortless iconic looks that mirrored ultimate 90s fashion icon, Kate Moss. Interestingly, designers chose to revamp and modernise their accompanying beauty makeovers – shying away from the harsh brows and over-powdered blusher we all remember from that era. In a sharp contrast to the blue hues, the ‘updated 90s style’ sees less glam and more glow with barely-there foundation, blush-free cheeks and dewy complexions. An au-natural look is perfect for long summer days – a great primer, CC cream and highlighter is all that’s needed to create a healthy glow.

Now for a particular favourite of the season – metallics. Favoured by designers such as Prada and Michael Kors, it seems high shine equals high fashion at the moment with bold golds and sultry silvers complementing an array of summer-ready looks – perfect for desk to dancefloor.  

Our client Arbonne has a beautiful range of fashion-forward products to help create and array of on-trend looks, from the perfect 90s dewy glow to glittering metallic shadows. Check out its latest ranges here. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , Arbonne, Beauty, Beauty Trends, Eyeshadow, GTC, Make Up, Product Launch, Vegas

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Get snappy, UK!



Here at Refresh PR we love a good visual campaign. A few of us in the office are constantly testing out our photography talents (jaunty angles, abstract and meaningful images – you know the drill) and sharing them on social media with the hope of receiving umpteen likes to gratify our self-taught skills with the lens (find good and bad attempts by searching ‘refreshpr’ on Instagram).

 

That’s why when we began our PR campaign for The Glass and Glazing Federation, which wanted to run a campaign to raise awareness of the new consumer-facing website MyGlazing.com, along with the benefits of modern, energy efficient glazing, we devised a photo-led, visually-engaging social media competition. We knew that not only would it put the public’s (and our) photography skills to the test, but it would also get the nation thinking about the importance of using window frames and modern efficient glass to keep a home warm, bills low and views clear.

 Window with a View

And so ‘Window with a View’ was born. In a nutshell, the competition asks for those visiting or working from businesses or locations that are open to the public to enter a photograph of a window boasting a great view. It could be anywhere; from a theme park or golf club, to a derelict cottage in the highlands or restaurant in a city centre – it’s up to you, and we can’t wait to see your images!

 

Once your photo is submitted it’ll be judged by a panel of pros, who will select the four best photos submitted in 12 areas across the UK. After that, it’s your turn to get involved again, as the images will be open to a public vote, determining the 12 area winners. These will then go into the national heat, competing to be crowned the UK’s Best Window with a View.

 

Now we don’t mean to burst any bubbles, but there are some rules. Yes it’s 2016 and yes we’re all filter-happy – but to count the photos submitted must be the originals. The location of the photo must be somewhere that’s open to the public (people and car registrations must be unidentifiable) and – here’s the biggy – at least some of the window frame MUST be in shot. 

 

Whether you’re a traditionalist with a Canon EOS, or you use your smartphone to snap images, it can’t be denied we’re living in an age where photo sharing is rife – so if you’re out and about over the next few weeks and spot an amazing ‘Window with a View’, test out your photo flair and submit the entry at MyGlazing.com/WWAV.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , #WWAV, Construction, Glass and Glazing PR, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Window with a View

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Refresh PR whips up a storm in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support



On Friday 25th September we rolled up our sleeves, dug out our whisks and all got baking in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Refresh PR Manchester

 

With recipes including raspberry brownies, lemon layered sponge cake and cherry and almond cake, we pulled out all the stops to deliver a variety of sweet treats in order to tempt our neighbours into digging deep for charity.

 

We opened our doors from 11am, welcoming neighbours and passers-by with a chance to indulge on a Friday afternoon. As the day came to a close we also went out and about in the Northern Quarter to sell the remaining cakes, ensuring we collected the most we could for charity.  

 

On the day we managed to tempt our favourite Tariff Street haunts into generously parting with their cash, with Tariff and Dale, The Whiskey Jar and newcomer The Pen and Pencil all making a donation in return for cakes. Neighbours such as My Clever Agency, Paul Danson Imagineering and Spacemen helped us raise a grand total of £70.

 

We want to say a huge thank you to all of our generous neighbours who made a donation to Macmillan Cancer Support – with a special thank you to Tariff and Dale, which kindly let us sell cakes to all of its customers, and the team at Paul Danson Imagineering which generously donated in return for a full tray of our remaining cakes.

 

Refresh PR’s Gemma Killackey commented, “As a team we were delighted to have contributed to Macmillan Cancer Support. This is an extremely worthwhile charity which supports not only cancer suffers, but also their families, helping them cope with the illness. The money raised from our cake sale and the infamous coffee mornings which took place up and down the country will go towards ensuring those facing cancer are not alone – this is something we are proud to have been a part of.”

 

This year alone Macmillan Cancer Support has raised nearly £1,000,000 from coffee mornings across the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , Charity PR, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Refresh PR rises to the Caketober challenge



Refresh PR raised some serious dough for Forever Manchester last week, hosting a #Caketober bake sale as part of the charity’s month long celebration of cake and fancy dress.Caketober 1

Team Refresh whipped up a storm of ‘refreshing’ delicacies, selling flapjacks, cupcakes and ‘Refreshing Rocky Road’ to our Tariff Street neighbours, raising a total of £81.91 for Caketober.

A month-long initiative, Caketober events across the city are raising money for Forever Manchester, a charity for people with a passion for Greater Manchester. In the last three years Forever Manchester has supported nearly 2,500 community projects and more than 484,000 people have directly benefitted from services or projects made possible by the charity’s support and funding.

To find out more about Forever Manchester, visit www.forevermanchester.co.uk.

And if you want to show your support for Caketober, it’s not too late! Visit www.caketober.com to find out more and register details of your own event!

Tagged with: , #Caketober, bake sale, Caketober, Charity, Food & Drink, Forever Manchester, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Keep calm and eat up your rations



While some food associated with wartime rationing makes the modern stomach shudder – there was an awful lot of corned beef eaten during the blitz – research by nutritional therapists and a brand new cook book of historical military recipes suggests that the meals of the era could be the key to finding hearty, healthy and economical recipes for families today.

Jackie Lynch, an expert in nutrition says the rationed dishes eaten during the two World Wars had high levels of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals – all of which provide quality sustenance to power a human through the day, which is the prime purpose of any meal after all. One meal alone, dubbed the Woolton Pie after a wartime minister for food, contains four of the recommended five daily portions of fruit and vegetables.

Lynch even says the high fat dishes of the day are better than some modern day equivalents.

Although the homemade sausage recipe of WW2 contains 27 grams of fat per serving, these fats are in fact beneficial to us. The poly and monounsaturated fats in the recipe promote hormone balance, increase brain function and help to keep skin and hair healthy.

The unattractively named ‘baby’s head pudding’ – a wartime alternative to the good old northern steak and kidney pie – contains double the amount of protein found in many commercial ‘bodybuilding’ shakes. Sweet rationing meant carrots were used to sweeten fudge instead of sugar, a much healthier option for a child with a sweet tooth. So far, so healthy.

But how can these recipes help us as 21st century consumers?

As food prices rise they could be one way of cooking food that is high in nutritional value but low in price. A cottage pie made using ration style ingredients could feed a family of four for £6.20 in today’s money.

Research published in The Telegraph indicates families are cooking smaller portions to combat food pricing. This could be the perfect way of filling up without splashing out.

Could cooking in a style still well-remembered by many people today (sweet rationing lasted until 1957, my Dad still remembers the joy felt by children everywhere when toffee was allowed once again) be the best way to keep both our pockets and our bodies healthy? Lynch, writing in the Daily Mail, certainly thinks so.

It’s a great idea and something I’m sure could work for many families – the budget element of the recipes is especially tempting, as is this the thought of hearty meals like Lancashire hotpot. However, I do think children are unlikely to be impressed when presented with carrot fudge.

Could you be tempted into trying a rationed recipe? If so, click here to try your hand at Woolton Pie and other wartime favourites.

Tagged with: , Food & Drink, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West, rationing, rations, recipes, wartime, WW2

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‘Feed Me Better’ v ‘The School Food Plan’



Whether it’s picturing the face of the notoriously evil dinner lady, recognising the musty smell of cabbage from the school dinner hall or simply remembering being excited when cornflake tart and custard came on the menu, we can all recall something that was great, or not so great, about school dinners.

Despite the school menu evolving in recent years to become much healthier, the negative perception of school meals held by parents appears to have stayed the same. The percentage of children eating within the school canteen has fallen from over 70 per cent in the early 1970s to just 43 per cent today, with some schools “lagging behind, serving food that is much too bland, boring and beige,” according to Dimbleby and Vincent’s School Food Plan.

With good nutrition attributed to better performance in the classroom, it is no surprise that campaigns and initiatives, such as the School Food Plan, have been introduced over recent years. However, up until now, none have been successful – including Jamie Oliver’s 2005 Feed Me Better campaign.

Whilst Oliver’s campaign, backed with heavyweight PR support, led to the formation of the Children’s Food Trust, the introduction of basic nutritional standards to school meals and the widespread ban of junk food within the school environment and the shock tactics he employed as part of his campaign, had adverse effects.

Such was the panicked response of parents to Channel 4’s documentary series Jamie’s School Dinners, which recorded an audience of over five million in February 2005, that the uptake of school meals fell to an all-time low of 37 per cent, much to the dismay of school caterers. 

In contrast, Dimbleby and Vincent have taken a more strategic approach to instrumenting change, as outlined in the rather hefty 149 page document that is the School Food Plan.

With the support of the Secretary of State for Education already secured, Dimbleby and Vincent’s challenge is somewhat easier. The government has already agreed to provide funding for specialist organisations to go into 5,000 schools that are struggling with their lunch service and Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has also agreed to create flagship ‘food boroughs’ in the capital.

In addition, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced yesterday that five to seven year olds in England will receive free school meals from September 2014, a move that has been welcomed by schools and parents alike.

However this doesn’t quite meet Dimbelby and Vincent’s original recommendation, as it will not apply to those pupils aged over seven. Acknowledging this recommendation, Nick Clegg stated:

"My ambition is that every primary school pupil should be able to sit down to a hot, healthy lunch with their classmates every day.

"We will start with infant school pupils because teaching healthy habits young, and boosting attainment early, will bring the biggest benefits.”

In order to avoid us having to address the same problem again in another ten years’ time, Dimbleby and Vincent’s solution is to educate today’s children with the skills they need to feed themselves – and, in time, their own families.

When asked to give his opinion on the School Food Plan, Jamie Oliver too felt that educating children would go a long way to improving school food:

“Getting cooking on the curriculum until the age of 14 and encouraging kids to eat school food are big steps, and we really need to get behind school cooks and head teachers to improve school food. I know how much energy and passion has gone into this plan. Now it has to deliver on its promises and make sure no schools are left behind – and that responsibility sits with this Government.”

 

Whilst Dimbleby and Vincent’s School Food Plan appears to have all the answers, my concern is that they will fail to get the support of parents, which they will come to rely on if the Government fails to meet its promise of providing free school meals.

 

Today, social media is one of the most powerful campaign tools available, and it must be utilised by campaigns such as the School Food Plan. Imagine if Jamie’s School Dinners was broadcast on our televisions today. Hashtags such as #JamiesSchoolDinners would be trending on Twitter, angry parents would be tweeting their child’s school and Facebook would be awash with statuses appalled at the contents of a Turkey Twizzler.

 

In August the School Food Plan had just 1,692 followers on Twitter, demonstrating its inability to really engage with the public. Despite yesterday’s free school meals announcement, the account has gained just 229 followers, which is disappointing considering that Twitter has been awash positive comments about the School Food Plan in the past 24 hours.

 

Whilst it is great to see the industry responding and engaging with the issue on social media, those behind the School Food Plan need to identify this as a creative opportunity to build momentum around the campaign.

Tagged with: , Channel 4, Dimbleby and Vincent, Feed Me Better, Food & Drink, Jamie Oliver, Lifestyle, Manchester, Nick Clegg, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, School Caterers, School Dinners, School Food Plan, Twitter

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Manchester Bierkeller, How Refreshing



The Bierkeller On Thursday evening a few members of Refresh’s food and drink PR team took a trip to the opening of The Printworks’ new bar, The Bierkeller Manchester.

With business for The Bierkeller booming in neighbouring cities Liverpool and Leeds, it was only a matter of time before the chain opened a venue here in Manchester, occupying the former Pure nightclub site in Withy Grove.

On arrival we were met with a complimentary cocktail and left to our own devices to explore the enormous complex, which combines four different bars in one venue.

First stop was the Around the World in 80 Beers Bar where apparently you can get over 100 different beers from over 80 different countries – complete with a live ukulele band!

Having grabbed another free drink at the bar, we went in search of Shooters Sports Bar. Opening just in time for the start of the Premier League Season, the bar has over 20 HDTVs and claims to be the largest sports bar in Manchester.

It was here that we got to sample Rekorderlig cider’s new passionfruit blend, which is delicious but I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t got a sweet tooth!

The venue will also be serving a selection of food from across the globe, ranging from Kangaroo Burgers to Quesidillas, with more traditional German dishes available in the Bavarian Bierkeller. Sadly we didn’t get to sample any of the fayre, but I’m sure it would go down nicely with a Stein!

It will be interesting to see how busy The Bierkeller is on its opening weekend, with Live Oompah Band shows on Saturday and Sunday.

Manchester’s food and drink scene is thriving at the moment, with newcomers popping up all over the city. Not that the Refresh PR team is complaining – we love a complimentary Bellini.

For more information about The Bierkeller, visit the website: www.thebierkeller.com

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: , Around the World in 80 Days Bar, beer, cider, Food & Drink, Leeds, Leisure, Lifestyle, Liverpool, Manchester, North West , Oompah Band, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Pure, Rekorderlig, Shooters Sports Bar, Stein, The Bierkeller, The Printworks

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Refresh nominated for prestigious PR award



We’ve definitely got that Friday feeling at Refresh PR today as it was revealed we have been shortlisted in this year’s prestigious CIPR PRide Awards.

 

We have been recognised alongside four other notable North West PR agencies in the coveted ‘Outstanding Small Consultancy of the Year’ category for the second year running.

 

The ceremony will take place on Wednesday 13th November at Manchester’s Old Trafford Cricket Ground. Companies, along with their campaigns, will be thrown under the spotlight as they vie for the top prize – a much coveted PRide Award!

 

We’re proud to receive such a reputable nomination and would like to extend thanks to all our clients for supporting us and making this possible.

 

This news follows an exciting month for the agency, which has seen three new staff members join the team and a move of premises.

 

Let’s hope there’ll soon be another award making its way to Refresh headquarters!

 

 

 

Tagged with: , CIPR Awards, Manchester, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PRide Awards, Public Relations North West

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REFRESH PR GETS NEW OFFICE AND APPOINTS THREE TO EXPANDING TEAM



Champagne corks have been popping at Refresh PR this week as we celebrate moving into our new office and welcome three new recruits to our growing team.

 

We have relocated to the city’s stylish Northern Quarter, following a successful first half of the year which saw us scoop a number of significant new client wins, including the national PR campaign for the plastic plumbing and underfloor heating arm of national plastic piping manufacturer, Polypipe.

 

Joining our team at the new office will be account director, Sophie Smith. Previously at Tangerine PR where she was for over four years, Sophie will be working across B2B and consumer clients including Planitherm and Rare Creative Group. Sophie will also be heading up the Polypipe Plumbing & Heating campaign as well as Polypipe Home Solutions, the manufacturer’s consumer offering.

Recent graduate in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Katherine Mountain, joins the team as junior account executive after working part time with us for the past 18 month alongside her university studies. Corey Kitchener is also new to the team and starts as junior account executive, having recently graduated in journalism from Sheffield Hallam University. Katherine and Corey will be working with both trade and consumer clients as well as supporting the team with new business opportunities.

 

Refresh PR’s founder and managing director, Laura Mashiter, said: “Refresh PR has had a fantastic few months, where we have seen real growth in the business with our national award success, client wins and with new team members.

 

“The site on Tariff Street fits perfectly with our future expansion plans and allows us to welcome clients, suppliers and visitors to a self-contained space that’s unique to us. It’s exciting to see what the future holds for Refresh PR!”

 

Do you want to find out exactly where we’ve moved to or get in touch? Check out our contact us page, here.

Tagged with: , Corey Kitchener, Gemma Cannon, Katherine Mountain, Kimberley Bull, Laura Mashiter, Manchester, North West , Northern Quarter, Planitherm, Polypipe, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Rare Creative Group, Sophie Smith

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Refresh PR runs Twitter Q&A with client Polypipe Home Solutions



Have you a burning question about heating your home? Are you fighting for furniture space with your radiators? Or are your curtains staying cosy while they cover an under-window radiator, while you’re still snuggling into a onesie on the sofa whilst relaxing in the evening?

 

Perhaps you’ve recently received a quote from a plumber and you’d like a second opinion?

 

Or, do you read OK! magazine every week and secretly yearn for a celebrity style home, complete with underfloor heating to pad around, but think this is impossible without an enormous celebrity salary (we’re looking at you Kylie, with your £2m cheque for a 60 minute gig at a hotel launch)?

 

Well here’s your chance to get these questions and more answered when Refresh PR assists client Polypipe Home Solutions with its first live Twitter Q&A session on the 28th June.

 

Having launched @PolypipeHome for Polypipe Home Solutions, Refresh PR’s tracking tools noticed an increasing number of homeowner and self-builder conversations on such subjects. Running a Q&A session directly from those in the know is just one way that the brand will be interacting with its customers over the coming few months.

 

So homeowners, get tweeting!

 

Tagged with: , Polypipe Home Solutions, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Q&A session, Social Media, Twitter, Twitter Q&A

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Refresh PR attends STYLEetc Spring Party



Refresh PR attends STYLEetc Spring Party

 

Manchester has long been established as a hub for the creative industries, with music playing a huge part in capturing the vibrancy and true spirit of the city in recent decades. 

With the Hacienda transformed into apartments, Oasis separated by feuding brothers and The Smiths long defunct, it appears that Manchester-born fashion is the next big thing!

With that in mind, the Refresh PR team went along to the STYLEetc Spring Party at Harvey Nichols this week, welcoming the magazine’s new editor Gemma Latham with a glass of champagne, whilst also taking a peek at the latest edition of the free quarterly glossy.

The magazine is a fantastic opportunity for Manchester-based designers and boutiques to get in the spotlight, and I would urge you to pick up a free copy of the magazine or visit the website to check it out for yourself!

In attendance were Manchester Evening News’ Diary Editor Dianne Bourne, stylist Matthew Moxham and TV presenter Michelle Eagleton.

I was a bit surprised that there wasn’t a Coronation Street cast member in sight, nor was there an appearance from Manchester designer Nadine Merabi.

Despite Manchester Fashion Week being postponed for the foreseeable future, it still remains an exciting time for Manchester fashion and it’s great that it is finally starting to gain the recognition it deserves.

If you have a fashion or lifestyle brand that you would like to see grow, why not get in touch with the award winning Refresh PR Team here.

 

Tagged with: , Celebrity, Coronation Street, Dianne Bourne, Fashion, Food & Drink, Gemma Latham, Harvey Nichols, Lifestyle, Manchester, Manchester Evening News, Manchester Fashion Week, Matthew Moxham, Michelle Eagleton, Nadine Merabi, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, STYLEetc

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Tweets turn up the heat on mainstream media



For as long as I’ve been on Twitter (and it’s been a while), I have wanted to write a blog about the site’s hypnotic pull on people’s curiosity.

The foundation of its success stems from the short, sharp bites of news that are easily consumed (or disregarded) by followers. Although very frustrating at times, the 140 character curse, as some people refer to it, is in fact a blessing in disguise.

What Twitter seems to have grasped that Facebook hasn’t, is if you give someone a limited amount of space, they’ll get straight to the point. Granted, it won’t always be thrilling, and you may have to sift through posts about your friend’s lunch choices, but in general the premise does work. The ‘what I’m doing now’ notion seems to have lost its way on Facebook recently. In my opinion, the share button has become an invitation to pollute newsfeeds with endless amounts of friendship quotes and animal abuse awareness – neither of which I enjoy over lunch to be honest. I’m pretty sure Facebook wanted it to mimic the RT function that Twitter has successfully established, but it’s fast becoming an annoying burden to a lot of users.

Facebook’s spiral from ‘social’ to ‘spam’ has left the door open for Twitter to capitalise on the hordes of news hungry folk searching for the latest on current affairs, celebrity gossip and global trends.

If you’re a regular user of Twitter you’ll know the fastest way to access any breaking news is to check your newsfeed – not a credible, mainstream news website. The reason for this? There are many factors, not least the journalists’ ability to tweet live from ‘the scene’ and on the go. There’s no waiting around for the online team to upload it to the web, and it’s a great tool for brand awareness of course.

If you were critical, you’d think the bigwigs at the mainstream news channels would be twitchy about reporters and journos speaking directly to the public without edits, but in fact it’s a sure-fire way of gaining exclusivity and staying ahead of the competition. Not only that, working in the industry myself, it seems the mechanic of Twitter has restored the old school investigative journalistic values that have been lost in recent years due to budget restrictions.

A great example of this is Manchester’s local newspaper, the Manchester Evening News. Always a credible source for breaking news, the M.E.N was quick to spring into action when the city centre was rocked by a bomb scare in February this year. As Refresh PR is based in Piccadilly Gardens (one street away from the suspicious package), it was vital that we kept up-to-date with the changing developments. The paper’s journalists, who were at the scene, fast became the number one source for local businesses, residents and the wider media. Our decision to evacuate the building came directly from the advice of one particular M.E.N journalist on Twitter – powerful stuff, eh?

Whether you buy into the hype or not, one thing is for sure - Twitter is gaining pace and seems to be ahead of Facebook in predicting what its audience wants next. It should be an interesting year ahead for the social site, as Facebook announces plans to integrate the hashtag into its user interface. Only time will tell how that’ll work out, but no one likes a copycat, Zuckerberg!  

Want to hear more of my musings? Follow me @GemmaC_PR.

 

Tagged with: , Facebook, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Refresh PR launches video as part of campaign for client OTONE Audio



Our client, speakers brand OTONE AUDIO, has been exhibiting at the Gadget Show Live 2013 this week. We have worked with them to create a cheeky film asking the show’s gadget loving crowd how it likes to relax and let loose... We got some pretty funny responses! Check out the video here:

Tagged with: , Birmingham, Facebook, Home Interest, Leisure, Manchester, NEC. Gadget Show Live, Otone Audio, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Retail, Social Media, Twitter, YouYube

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The average Brit now spends £1300 a year on takeaways and buys 12 takeaways a month



Research published in the Daily Mail reveals the average person in the UK eats 12 takeaway meals a month and spends £1320 a year on fast food.

Even scarier is the revelation that people in my age bracket spend double the national average; that’s a whopping £2600 a year on fatty food.

Thankfully I think I fall below this average – at the moment at least – the post-Christmas healthy eating plan has lasted considerably longer than usual. However while at university I could easily match this statistic; the cycle of a takeaway after a night out and maybe one the next day because you were too lazy to cook anything happened far too often.

Then there were the ‘let’s be sensible and not go out – we’ll have a night in front of the telly with a takeaway’ evenings, that accompanied our X Factor viewing sessions. Thankfully, this cycle has been broken by graduate full time employment, something both my wallet and my waistline are very grateful for. The purveyors of fast food in Sheffield probably miss me very much though.

Another statistic the newspaper announced was that a Chinese takeaway is now our number one choice, followed by an Indian in second and fish and chips in third. Surely nothing beats the Great British fish and chips?

Tagged with: , average spend, Daily Mail, fast food, fish and chips, Food & Drink, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, takeaways

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Refresh PR supports client OTONE at the Gadget Show Live 2013



This week Refresh PR travelled to Birmingham’s NEC with long-standing client,OTONE Audio, to support the speaker systems company at the Gadget Show Live 2013.

Plans have been in place for months and activity has been ramped up during the past few weeks as Team Refresh has worked hard to arrange offline coverage and organise a full day of press appointments on stand. To complement the offline activity, a carefully crafted social media campaign has been running in the build-up to the show, complete with competitions and a video (to be release shortly…watch this space!).

Yesterday two team members helped OTONE Audio meet and greet the media including tech journalists and bloggers from national newspapers and magazines on the press day. OTONE was showcasing its two major product launches – the Soundship and Soundship Micro, and the Soundbar – both of which the journalists seemed very taken with.

The day was highly successful for OTONE and the team was thrilled to receive tweets and praise from the press. Technology blogger Twin Geeks tweeted: “I was loving the new @otoneaudio Soundship - can't wait to try it out and you can expect a review soon!”

Other press delegates to visit the stand were representatives of What HiFi, Tech Strike, Gadget Helpline, The Full Setup, The Digital Lifestyle,. BBC Radio Lancashire, Connected Digital World, MixMag, Channel 4’s S4C and Performance Magazine UK – quite a line up.

Instant feedback about the products from social media is fantastic but the success of the press day at The Gadget Show Live – which saw us interacting with visitors and running competitions as well as blasting out Gangnam Style– will be shown over the next few weeks as the team returns and rolls its sleeves up to deliver on the media opportunities.

Meanwhile, if you’re at the show this week, why not head to stand D80 to see the OTONE products and meet the team for yourself.

Tagged with: , gadgets, Lifestyle, Otone, PR, Public Relations North West, Social Media, technology, The Gadget Show

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Cheesecake in the City



Last night Refresh PR had the pleasure of attending an event structured around cheesecake. And if there’s anything Refresh PR likes, it’s an event structured around a dessert.

 

‘Cheesecake in the City’ took place at the Bali Health Lounge in Manchester’s China Town, just a stone’s throw from our office in Piccadilly.

 

On offer was a massive range of desserts, each one reflecting a different country to fit the international theme of the event. For example, France offered up a crème brulee take on cheesecake while Jamaica’s dish featured spiced potato and coconut.

 

Surprising favourites among the Refreshers included the Moroccan rosewater cheesecake with spiced plums and the Indian mango and lime creation.

 

We’re not going to lie, not every combination was for us - using Tofu to create a vegan cheesecake isn’t something we’ll be attempting at home anytime soon. 

 

The spread was provided by two Manchester-based bakers, Teatime Collective and Manchester Cheesecake Company, both of whom love to try out new flavour combinations. They even created special recipes just for the event (for which we, but probably not our waistlines, are very grateful).

 

As always, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, and we ate far too much of the cake on offer. If you’re bored of your average vanilla cheesecake, check out these bakers for something new.

 

Or, if you’re a company looking to boost awareness of your baked beauties, why not give us a call? We may be interested in a contra deal. J

Tagged with: , Bali Health Lounge, cheesecake, Cheesecake Collective, Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Manchester Cheesecake Company, Networking Event, PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Beyonce, Jay Z, Britney and Kim Kardashian’s finances leaked online. But it isn’t just the A-list in danger



Celebrities including Jay-Z, Beyonce and Britney Spears have had their financial information leaked online by a group of hackers - but it isn’t just the rich and famous that need to be wary.

 

A number of celebrities woke up to the news that financial details including mortgage payments and earnings had been posted on a website created by fraudsters.

 

The details posted online also include highly sensitive information such as social security numbers, which can be used in fraudulent activity.

 

Other victims include US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Kim Kardashian. Unflattering pictures and anti-police posts make up the rest of the site.

 

The website which posted the details uses a suffix linked to the Soviet Union and contains posts in Russian.

In less exciting circumstances this week, my bank account was hacked too.

 

The bank called on Monday to check I hadn’t tried to withdraw money in the Republic of Korea (I hadn’t). Thankfully, the bank had declined the transaction and I didn’t lose any money.

 

Admittedly my own financial information is quite dull compared to mega-stars like Beyonce (she has multi-million dollar endorsement deals, my statements include £2.99 for a Boots meal deal).

 

However, both examples show that anybody can be targeted by a financial hacker, and that perhaps we should be more aware of how we bank online and how financial data is insured.

 

Oh, and if anyone does fancy making my bank statements more interesting, I can be booked to front advertising campaigns at a fraction of the cost of the average star (Beyonce is reportedly raking in $50 million from Pepsi). I’ll happily do it for a bag of chips and a quick trip to Topman.

 

Tagged with: , Beyonce, Britney spears, celebrities, finance, fraud, hackers, Hilary Clinton, income, Jay Z, Kim Kardashian, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Team Refresh Go Ape!



 

You wouldn’t think throwing yourself from tree to tree was that much fun (unless you were a monkey, of course), but we like a challenge here at Refresh PR, so we recently took up  the tree top adventure that is Go Ape.

 

We thought safety in numbers might be best, so we enlisted the help of our client Rare Creative to bolster our numbers up to eight! Fully equipped with our safety gear and gloves, we took to the trees (something I never thought I’d say) and began our adventure.

 

It’s fair to say we laughed through any nerves we may have had and Tom’s attempt at the ‘wooden stilts’ was definitely a highlight for the Refresh ladies!

 

After the terrifying finale of the ‘Tarzan Swing’, we made our way over to the café for a well-deserved hot chocolate and debrief.

 

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon for everyone, with hilarious photos from the day still circulating the Refresh PR office!

 

 

Tagged with: , Buxton, Go Ape, Leisure, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Rare, Rare Creative, Tree Top Adventure

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Instagram's New Work-Around Makes It More Twitter-Friendly



Remember when Instagram used to let its users easily find their Twitter friends and mention their handles in their photos?

 

That was until Twitter began cracking down on which third-party apps and clients it would allow to use its application programming interface (API). Of course it wasn’t long before photo-sharing giant Instagram, owned by Facebook (Twitter’s social media rival) was left out in the cold.

 

These changes meant that new Instagram users could no longer add all their Twitter followers with one button. It also made sharing a photo to Twitter and "@mentioning" someone whose Twitter username was different from their Instagram username cumbersome.

 

However on October 19, Instagram announced that it had made changes that ‘will make sharing to Twitter more seamless’ on its blog.

 

But how will this work? Well:

If the @mentioned user has connected Instagram to Twitter:

 

  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.
  • The user’s Twitter username will appear in the tweet.

If the @mentioned user has not connected Instagram to Twitter:

 

  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.
  • The @ sign will be removed from the username when shared to Twitter.

What does this mean for those of us who work in PR? Well, for one, it shows that Instagram isn't content being an insular, photo-network smartphone app—it wants its users to integrate with Twitter as much as possible. This is also good news for brands and users that want to spread their Instagram photos far and wide.

Moving forward, it's safe to assume that Facebook's integration with Instagram will be more seamless, considering Facebook is its owner.

 

However, there will probably be a few more scuffles between Instagram and Twitter, as the photo network tries to further tap into Twitter's user-base.

 

 

Tagged with: , API, Facebook, Instagram, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Refresh PR, Social Media, Twitter

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Girls On Film...Again



What with the move to our new offices and our recent client wins hitting the headlines, we’re getting a little bit used to having our photo taken in the Refresh PR office these days! So when last Wednesday arrived, we came to work ready to ‘strike a pose’ for another photo shoot, this time for the RBS World magazine. 

As you can imagine, with this came just a little bit of pressure, and the morning flew by in a haze of mild panic as the arrival time of the photographer grew closer.  I unfortunately experienced  a ‘dress disaster’ in the middle of this, that resulted in a mad dash in heels through Piccadilly for a mini sewing kit, and let me tell you that trying to thread the world’s tiniest needle with the world’s tiniest thread to remedy a wardrobe malfunction isn’t the easiest thing to do when time is against you!  But, ever the professionals here at Refresh PR, when the photographer arrived we were ready for our close ups….

Refresh PR was asked to take part in the photo shoot by the NatWest, as we have recently been working closely with NatWest Business Manager and Women in Business ambassador, Gemma Kirby.  Gemma joined us for a full day in the office to conduct a case study on our business and observe how we work, to enable her to better advise us on the most appropriate banking services for our organisation.  She chose us from a portfolio of 500 customers because she wanted to experience life at a growing start-up.

 We put Gemma to good use, and had her on the phones calling nationals and magazine editors pitching in story ideas and products - she did a fantastic job, and was a great asset to the team.  It was enlightening working with Gemma and hearing her feedback on our work; she introduced us to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business networking group, which RBS sponsors, and fully supports what we do at Refresh PR.  As a relationship manager for the bank, Gemma is always keen to promote us to her other customers, which speaks volumes both about our services and about how well we are supported by the bank and our business manager.

We had a great time on the shoot, and the photographer Anthony McArdle was brilliant to work with.  He shot some fantastic images of us, both in the office and walking through Piccadilly Gardens – Sex and the City style!   We definitely provided the entertainment for the passers-by in Piccadilly that day!  It was a lot of fun, and it’s always reassuring to know that as Refresh PR grows, we have the backing of the RBS. We’ve gained some great contacts as a result…and some fabulous photos to go with it too!

 

Tagged with: , Lifestyle, Manchester, PR, Public Relations, Refresh PR

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And the winner is...



Refresh PR has been whipped into a frenzy by Awards Season! Almost every industry imaginable is holding an awards ceremony to celebrate the most outstanding work in its sector… and almost every entry deadline imaginable has fallen in July too. The Refresh PR team loves producing award entries on behalf of its clients – it’s a fantastic way of demonstrating to a group of people who never really get time to take stock and congratulate themselves on company milestones just how much they’ve actually achieved. And it makes us damn proud to have them as clients!

So, we’ve been busy behind the scenes collating information on the most exciting developments that have happened at our various clients over the past year, and have carefully crafted a series of award entries that we’re hoping will prove irresistible to the various judging panels who will be meeting over the coming months to decide which companies are worthy of this year’s gongs. All that remains now is for us to keep our fingers crossed and wish a huge amount of luck to:

·         Naughtone, which entered its hush family of products and its newest addition, busby, into the FX International Interior Design Awards that will be held on 29th November at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel

·         www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk, which has entered the eCommerce Awards that will be held at the Sheraton Park Lane on 11th October

·         Photolink Creative Group, which has entered its social media work for clients Kitbag.com and Regis Hair Salons into the Fresh Digital Awards and SomeComms Awards, taking place at Old Trafford Cricket Ground on 29th September and the Hilton Manchester on 19th October respectively

 

Refresh PR client naughtoneRefresh PR client www.find-me-a-gift.co.ukRefresh PR client Photolink Creative Group

Tagged with: , award entries, awards, judging panel, Manchester, naughtone, PR, Public Relations

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All's well in Clerkenwell!



Refresh PR’s senior consultant, Katie Burbidge, was out pounding the pavements of Clerkenwell at the end of last month, taking in the sights and sounds of the celebrated design festival, Clerkenwell Design Week:

Manchester PR agency hits Clerkenwell

60 showrooms, 150 events, countless pop up exhibitions and three journalist meetings. I am pooped! Ok, so I didn’t get to all 60 showrooms and all 150 events, but I gave it a good go. Here are (in my humble opinion) the best bits of Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW), the festival that celebrates design’s creative richness, its social impact and its power for change:

Haworth Showroom: The Lunch Lab - A clever way to entice weary festival goers, Haworth’s Lunch Lab provided a haven from the CDW hubbub, looking at the relationship between food and mood. Experts shared their wisdom on all things food: food to make you happy, food to affect your mood at work, and when best to eat it, taking the term ‘power lunch’ to a whole new level. Oh, and there was cake there too. Lots of cake. But it was ‘Caketecture’ and therefore all in the name of work. 

Lulu Guinness ‘Be A Pin Up’ – Remember those retro Pin Art toys you used to stick your hand (or face) in to make a 3D imprint? Well, Lulu Guinness commissioned a huge version of this, which was placed along the route from the Farmiloe Building to the House of Detention, to mark the launch of the Clerkenwell Lips Clutch. Visitors were queuing in their droves to create full body poses and portraits. I don’t blame them; Lulu Guinness will be creating a gallery of all the pin impressions sent in from visitors on its Facebook page and will be giving away the Clerkenwell Lips Clutch (worth £450!) to the owner of photo with the most ‘likes.’

Camira Fabrics - A company Refresh PR’s client naughtone does a lot of work with, Camira teamed up with emerging graphic artist Emily Forgot to create a pop up showroom in the Farmiloe Building with a fun twist on a nostalgic British theme. Cheeky seaside peepholes and a swinging pendulum leg lured mischievous visitors to Camira’s corner of the Farmiloe Building, where they were treated to a sneak preview of David Fox’s new Nuna collection.

Camira's beach side theme was a hit with this Manchester PR agencyCheck out naughtone's Pinch stools bottom right!

House of Detention – scary. But cool. The Victorian prison housed an international design exhibition showcasing some exciting contemporary talent. Exhibitors went to town to customise their cells, with most of them creating one-off installations just for the show. I’m afraid my photos don’t do it justice – I was a bit overcome and only ended photographing the less eerie artefacts on display.

Farmiloe Building – This former lead and glass merchants’ house exudes dilapidated sophistication. When it’s not being used to showcase some of the most exciting names in design during CDW, it’s usually being decked out as a film set. This year, principal sponsor Jaguar had scattered its cars among exhibitors including Muuto, Ella Doran and Material Lab to give a satisfyingly eclectic edge.

And finally, there was one team of exhibitors that divided visitors, filling some with dread and others with hope: the Milliken Street Style Spotters. Who would be deemed stylish enough to have made the grade? If you didn’t get chance to check out the fashionistas that were chosen to feature on the ‘street style’ wall at 5tudioMilliken during the show, head over to Milliken’s Style Spotter blog to see some Clerkenwell Style Icons: http://millikenstylespotter.com/?cat=3

This year’s exhibitors have clearly set the standard high, and I’m told that many more hopefuls were turned away than were given a space – it’s not a case of ‘pay now, decide later’ with this exhibition. Companies keen to take part next year will have to pitch to – and impress – CDW’s organisers, who are by their own admission an unashamedly discerning bunch. And boy is the proof in the pudding – what a show!

Tagged with: , Camira, Clerkenwell, Clerkenwell Design Week, Farmiloe, festival, Jaguar, Lulu Guinness, naughtone