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A day in the life of Refresh PR



This week, one of our lovely clients spent two days with us learning all about PR. Here’s what she had to say about her experience…

A day (or two) in the life of Refresh PR

This week I was lucky enough to gain some experience working with the Refresh PR team. With a predominantly in-house marketing background, I was interested to see how agency work differs; in terms of structuring accounts, their priorities and to see where the marketing and PR disciplines cross over!

About the team

Nestled in the heart of Manchester, the Refresh office is a hive of activity all on its own. Structured into two main teams, Refresh works with companies spanning both B2B and B2C markets. As well as being a really friendly and welcoming team, they really know their stuff and are definitely a well-oiled machine when it comes to all things PR.

Why did I want to gain experience in PR?

I wanted to get a greater understanding about what PR is and what it involves day-to-day. I’m ashamed to say that, for me, the the difference between marketing and PR hasn’t always been clear. After spending some time with the team, I now understand that PR acts as the fundamental mouthpiece of a brand. Working in PR is ultimately a customer facing role, and it can be an extremely rewarding vocation when you are creating content that the target audience enjoys to engage with.

As well as defining PR, I wanted more insight into how an agency works. As a third year university student currently on a 12-month placement, I have only experienced working within a small marketing department, where we each work on our own projects whilst working towards overall goals for the business; such as increasing product sales or growing consumer engagement online, to name just a few.

From just a couple of days in the world of Refresh, I’ve witnessed a whole host of activity behind the scenes: juggling accounts, meeting deadlines, being at the forefront of the news as it lands, all whilst maintaining a relationship with the audience and delivering results for many different clients.

What are some of the things I got to do whilst being here?

Over the two days I got to try my hand at a few key activities with the team:

-          “Creative Club” – a monthly session at Refresh PR which brings the team together to share learnings and encourage creativity. This month’s discussion was on how to consistently create sharp, engaging posts for online audiences.

Social media is a great platform for free and easy communication. However, that’s not all it’s good for. One of the key takeaways from this discussion, for me, is that social media is ultimately about creating an online personality – all whilst sat behind a screen! In the words of Caroline Gibson, Head of Consumer, “people want to talk to people”.

-          Drafting social media content – with our discussion in mind, I had a go at drafting some Twitter content for Refresh’s Apprentice of the Month campaign

This task is harder than it seems. Producing engaging, informative content is a fine art - something that Refresh is a dab hand at - you can tell by just listening to their office banter!

Overall?

Overall I’ve really enjoyed my short stay at Refresh PR, it’s definitely been a worthwhile experience. The team couldn’t have been more welcoming, and thanks to them I can now confidently say that I understand key differences between marketing and PR! Not only that, but I also understand how integral it is to have the two disciplines working together in order to create a truly successful brand image. Agency work is a fast-paced lifestyle that is both exciting and rewarding, and Refresh’s contagious energy is something I look forward to keeping with me – with whatever it is that I decide to do next.

Author: Steph Dewhurst, marketing assistant at Sentinel

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Creative Agency, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter, Work Experience

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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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Major client wins for Refresh



We are celebrating this month after two new client wins have boosted both the consumer and B2B teams in their specialist fields.


The B2B team, has been appointed by Sentinel, a water treatment and filter expert in the plumbing and heating sector, to deliver its PR and social media services.


Sentinel offers water treatment products and services that provide the best lifetime protection for boilers and heating systems in the domestic and commercial sectors. While predominantly trade facing, it is also a specialist in the social housing sector, providing products and services to help extend the life and improve the performance of heating systems.


Having already worked closely together for several years on Refresh PR’s Heating Installer Awards, the newly established campaign with Sentinel will see Refresh PR work to launch the company’s newest product, a best-yet magnetic filter set to disrupt the industry, as well as establishing Sentinel’s presence in key trade titles.


Continuing the expansion of its hospitality credentials, Refresh PR’s consumer team has been appointed by Lakeside Hotel & Spa to manage the luxury hotel’s PR. The superior 4 star hotel, based in Newby Bridge, is working with the agency to raise the profile of its leisure and business offerings, including weddings, spa and conferences. 


Refresh PR has been tasked with driving footfall to the hotel, set on the shores of Lake Windermere, from businesses and travellers from across the North West and beyond.


Talking about the two new clients, Refresh PR’s managing director, Laura Mashiter, said: “Hospitality and construction are two industries that the team has a huge amount of experience in and passion for, so everyone is delighted to be working with Sentinel and Lakeside Hotel & Spa.


“Although the two industries are very different, our B2B and consumer teams will both pull on their previous experience to approach these accounts in a strategic and well-thought out way to achieve maximum results – whether they’re talking about spa breaks or water filters!” 


Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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Why brands should follow Netflix’s customer first approach



We live in a world where endless technology is at our fingers tips. Gone are the days of dial up internet and the much hyped introduction of Channel Five. We now live in a world where waiting for entertainment just isn’t an option.

Streaming services are making it easier than ever to keep up to date with our favourite shows and films on demand; while digital downloads are allowing us to take them anywhere in the world. Forget VHS, we can now carry all 10 series of Friends in our back pocket. And it is the range of streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, that makes this possible.

As a brand, Netflix has taken the world by storm. With a range of exclusive shows and content, it offers a well-rounded, customer-led service. The account has been continuously working hard to steal our attention away from traditional broadcasters and its 2017 figures show it is succeeding. Figures were reported as being at a record high, with the business being worth a staggering $100bn, with more than 104 million users across the globe.

As an active Netflix user it’s easy to see why viewers are flocking to the service. It has an abundance of exclusive shows which have been created using in-depth customer research. A simple way Netflix reviews its customer research is through ‘recommended’ algorithms. This process is started when new users create an account. They are asked to rate their personal viewing interests and by doing so, Netflix discovers its audience’s viewing preferences. The algorithms show patterns in the viewer’s preferences and viewing history, which are then used to see how they can develop their service, to make it more personal to the user. This audience-first approach is one which works for the service and helps it to provide relevant content that their viewers will love, even if they don’t know it yet.

Netflix has also steered clear of the traditional content delivery model, which usually sees a series released episode by episode, inviting the audience to build up an appetite for the show. Instead, Netflix releases a series all in one go. This allows viewers to binge watch, and become obsessed with their favourite shows. Binge-watching is a new concept; it’s not something we previously had the option to do. By giving us the option, Netflix has actually changed our viewing behaviour, setting the precedent for other providers to follow.

This year Netflix is set to increase its content budget to £5.9bn, which is a major leap from the £1.5bn spent in 2017. By spending so much money on its content, it’s evident Netflix is determined to keep increasing its portfolio of shows. The collected research from the recommended algorithms will all help towards Netflix’s audience-first content approach and will allow the streaming service to continue creating and adding unique material for its viewers.

Due to Netflix’s growing popularity, and other brands now harnessing this customer first approach, consumers are increasingly expecting a personalised service. But to do this brands need to take a leaf out of Netflix’s book and get to know their customers. This doesn’t have to involve fancy algorithms, but it does have to take centre stage of your business, if it doesn’t already. 

Tagged with: Creative Agency, Customer, Lifestyle, Manchester, Netflix, PR Agency Manchester, Research

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Roses are red, violets are blue, which Valentine’s Day campaign would you choose?



How did you spend February 14th? Did you end up having a romantic dinner for two, or crying alone into a tub of Ben and Jerry’s? With the hype surrounding Valentines Day, it can be hard for PR campaigns to stand out from the crowd. Here at Refresh PR certain campaigns didn’t go unnoticed. Here are a few that caught our eye:                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Greggs - Greggs decided to mix things up this Valentine’s Day by becoming the antithesis of its normal self and hosting candlelit dinners for customers. A selection of its branches turned into restaurants, accompanied with dimmed lighting and classical music. Although only available at five of its branches, this story was covered far and wide, proving to be a PR success.

 

Moonpig – Moonpig partnered up with NHS Blood & Transplant to encourage the public to sign up for organ donations. Pun-heavy cards were created to help raise awareness for the cause and 6,400 free cards were given to those on the organ list. Delivering a strong social message as well as creating awareness for the brand, this is a firm favourite at Refresh PR.

 

Uber Eats – For those who remained single this Valentine’s Day, help wasn’t too far away. Renaming the period from the 14th February to 18th February as #BFFWeekend, Uber Eats offered friends the chance to buy one get one free from a number of their restaurants. When the brand undertook research last year, it found the most popular dish ordered on Valentine’s Day was in fact a donner kebab, so this was of course included in the deal.

 

Refresh PR – It would be rude of us not to mention our own Valentine’s Day campaign. Here at Refresh PR we hand delivered heart shaped balloons to local businesses and sent our clients personalised cards. It was our way of spreading a little love to those we work closely with, and resulted in interaction on our social media feeds, as those who received our gifts sent us their own message using the hashtag #LoveRefresh. It goes to prove that even the most simple of ideas go a long way!

 

PR campaigns built around specific times of the year can be a great way to create brand awareness and encourage new business. If you believe your company could benefit from a PR campaign, get in touch with us on 0161 871 1188.

 

 

 

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

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Maximising the Media Agenda to Make Brand Impact



Any keen social media user knows by now that there is a national day for everything. As soon as we’ve finished stuffing our faces with Domino’s on National Pizza Day (9th February), we’re kicking back with a cocktail on National Margarita Day (22nd February).

 

Along with the weird, wonderful and quite frankly obscure (National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day – 13th March, in case you were wondering), there are days that genuinely have a big impact on the media agenda. The most obvious of which is Christmas.

 

On the run up to December 25th, you can’t open a newspaper or go online without reading about festive decorations or gifting ideas. So when BuildMyGift.com asked us to support the launch of its new website in November by generating coverage in Christmas gift guides we grabbed the challenge with both hands.

 

We knew that we had to make a big impact-and-fast for BuildMyGift.com and ultimately our coverage had to drive website traffic. To do this we used tactics we knew would secure online coverage with a live link. This included a strategic mix of media outreach, blogger partnerships and top tips and features, working with a leading gifting psychologist.

 

This three month campaign resulted in 89 pieces of Christmas focused coverage in titles including Metro.co.uk, Glamour.co.uk, Express Online and The Scotsman. The team also secured a further four pieces of coverage in the news pushing the brand’s Valentine’s Day offering, including a mention on This Morning.

 

Using Google Analytics we were able to track the success of this coverage, proving that it not only drove website traffic but also generated sales at these key times.

 

For vegan health, beauty and wellness brand, Arbonne, the new year not only marks the start of the ‘New Year, New Me’ craze, but also Veganuary, a campaign that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January.

 

Knowing the impact this has had in previous years across the media and popular culture, and veganism’s overall rise in popularity, Refresh PR’s consumer team worked closely with key target media to secure inclusion in product roundups, in 11 top tier titles throughout January, including Elle, Good Housekeeping and The Daily Telegraph.  

 

To hear more about how we can generate coverage for your brand at the right time, in the right place, contact info@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, PR agencies Manchester, PR campaign essential, Press office, Public Relations North West

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Maximising a new product launch



Marketing managers, R&D teams and sales reps work hard to bring new products to market. There’s even more pressure to deliver when products are seasonal and need to be ready to launch ahead of the key buying times, whether this be summer or Christmas (or any time in between). After months of toiling away testing and learning, running focus groups, revising, remoulding, reformulating and testing again, the satisfaction of knowing a product is ready for sale is truly special.

 

So, what’s the new product launch plan?  After all, this has been a key focus for many of the internal teams for months, so all eyes are on the marketing department to make sure it keeps up its end of the bargain and promotes the launch effectively. Have a look at some of the options below.

 

For the frugal

Isn’t it often the case that despite the blood, sweat and tears, when it comes to marketing there’s no additional budget available to launch? While frustrating, it doesn’t have to be a problem.  Firstly, ask your PR agency to build the new product launch into its existing retainer for a start – unless your agency is delivering a specific plan to specific targets (and therefore this falls outside of the existing plan) it shouldn’t be a problem, and the agency will be delighted to be flexible and support the new product launch. Then challenge your agency – what new ideas does it have? This is a major product launch, so you need more than a standard press release. When a strong idea is presented, it often equates to a little more budget being found. Finally, how do they suggest tracking the PR activity and linking it to results – so you can effectively report back your success to the Board?

 

So, you have a little bit more budget? 

Excellent! Ask your PR agency to get creative – this is a must to cut through the volume of noise out there in 2018. Creative doesn’t have to break the bank, but it does have to mean clever thinking. Give your agency a budget - you should have a strong enough relationship with your agency to trust that they will maximise this for you. Without a budget, ideas could be way off and you could end up wasting a lot of time.

 

Whether it’s a B2B or B2C product launch, creativity is essential. If you’re not getting this, try to provide some examples of product launches you like, and have obviously delivered in terms of sales – this may give your agency a guide and may help, particularly if it’s a new relationship.

 

You’ve been told money is no object?

Lucky you! While extremely unlikely, it’s not unknown! Ask your PR agency to lead on an integrated launch plan for you. A good PR agency will have strong links with partners, such as creative, digital and SEO consultants. Some will choose to have this resource as part of the agency already, and others will choose to bring on relevant third parties who are particularly skilled in either the job at hand or in a specific sector. Together, they can formulate an integrated campaign combining key elements that your campaign needs.

 

Again, if you follow key influencers who you feel could represent your product well, tell your agency. Work in partnership with your agency and you’ll get the best results – we aren’t mind readers but we are keen to make a success of everything we do, and will happily adopt a client’s idea, expand, offer more suggestions and make a damn good success of it.

 

As entrepreneurship and innovation continues to be embraced by the UK, and as more and more products are launched each and every day, the competition to grab attention is getting harder and harder. Creativity is essential, but this is only successful if combined with a strong and organised plan which is executed efficiently with enough budget put behind it to buy the time to achieve great things.

 

Our top tips for marketing managers:

-        Plan ahead of time: the more time an agency has, the better it will deliver the campaign. This is even more important if it is a seasonal product which must go to market at a certain time of year, or if the activity needs to support a six month product listing (this is not a lot of time to mobilise and deliver a campaign!)

-        Know your budget and tell your agency: If they advise it’s not enough, it probably isn’t – after all, they only want to succeed and continue to work with you! Be fair with them, and they will work hard for you in return

-        Be proactive with the relationship: share ideas and thoughts as this may spark more ideas at agency end, resulting in some fantastic collaborative work

-        Tell them how you want to be communicated to: not sure what your agency is doing? Chances are the team is working hard for you behind the scenes, but if you don’t know, ask! Ask for weekly updates, a regular call, face-to-face meetings or Facetime. At the same time, make sure this doesn’t eat up most of your budget!

-        Be clear with KPIs: ensure internally you have these signed off, so everyone knows what success looks like

-        Celebrate with them: you get a pat on the back? Give them a quick ‘thank you’ – you’ll be top of the to-do list the next day, I promise

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, ideas for PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR agency UK, PR campaign essential, PR for new product launch

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What I Love About PR This Valentine’s Day



So this Valentine’s Day, as everyone is getting soppy over flowers and chocolates, I thought I would reflect on what I love most about working in PR. After all, you probably spend more time at work than with your significant other, so you may as well love what you do.

 

After a decade working in PR I have experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of the industry and I have also seen it grow and develop into a marketing force to be reckoned with, something that I know will continue. So here are the top three reasons why I love this job.

 

PR gets results

For a long time measurement has been a dirty word in PR. As we typically form part of a complex marketing mix it has been very difficult to prove that PR has activity driven any form of action – whether that’s a purchase, increased brand awareness, or footfall/web traffic.

 

But now, thanks to the changing face of the media and improved analytics it is easier to see the impact of our activity. Now, more than ever, clients are wanting online coverage and it is easy to see why. Not only does it live on a site forever, but it helps improve a brand’s SEO and for ecommerce offerings, it can drive sales.

 

For example, we were able to track every piece of online coverage we got for our client BuildMyGift.com on the run up to Christmas to see how it performed. Having achieved backlinks on the likes of Glamour.co.uk, Metro.co.uk and WhatEmmaDid.co.uk, we used Google Analytics to track the activity and could prove it drove website traffic and even more importantly, sales.

 

PR is subtle

Now subtle isn’t always good when it comes to marketing, so bear with me on this one. It is very rare that you’d find a brand that wants a subtle approach to marketing; most want to make a big impact and fast. But with consumers now being hit with up to 10,000 marketing messages a day, sometimes too many in-your-face campaigns can become white noise.

 

PR has to be smarter than that. Just the other day a friend send me a travel article about the best places for a girls’ trip, which I read from start to finish, taking in the tips and advice on where the best bars and Instagram moments are.

 

It took a few minutes to realise that this wasn’t just a handy travel guide, but a PR feature for a new dating app, which received a couple of mentions throughout (with a live link of course). Now, if it is taking someone who works in the industry a few minutes to figure this out, then to the untrained eye the app is simply part of this feature recommendation. See, subtle, while aligning a brand with your values – now that’s clever.

 

PR is cost effective

Bill Gates said: “If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR”, and let’s face it, he seems like a pretty smart guy. Bill knows that you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of pounds to make a big impact with PR. There are no big production budgets and you don’t have to spend a penny on buying the media space.

 

It is about putting your audience at the heart of what you do, and understanding where they see messages and what they trust (see point 2 – subtle and clever). Sometimes the most effective piece of PR is one that didn’t cost a thing, other than a person’s time; a person who is creative, strategic, intelligent, forward thinking and adaptable to audience needs. And luckily I am surrounded by those people every day.

 

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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PR Debate: Who was Right – The Influencer or the Owner?



Last week we saw The White Moose Café hotel owner hit the headlines for shaming a blogger and social influencer after she asked for a free hotel stay in return for coverage on her website.

 

The owner wrote a damning letter back asking the blogger, Elle Darby, who would pay his staff and bills if all he received for her stay was exposure? He later went on to announce that all bloggers are now banned from his business.

 

The response that The White Moose Café put out was anonymous, but the blogger decided to out herself to respond to the letter, admitting she had been exposed, while still feeling that the hotel owner was acting in a bullying way.

 

The blogger and wider marketing community have since been debating who was in the right and who was in the wrong. Should bloggers and influencers assume they deserve free stays and special treatment? Should businesses be more aware, and appreciative of the exposure and the impact this has on their business? Or is there a better way for small businesses to work with bloggers and influencers entirely?

 

No matter what your opinion on the situation, both parties have received a huge amount of PR and exposure from the story, no doubt increasing both of their social followings and website traffic. This hasn’t gone unrecognised, as the owner of The White Moose Café sent Elle an invoice for the PR coverage she has received off the back of the story going viral – apparently it equates to £4.6m (not bad hey!).

 

My first thought when reading this story, was would the owner of The White Moose Café have responded in the same way if it was a ‘mainstream’ journalist contacting him about a review? Something we’ll never know.

 

At Refresh PR we often work with bloggers and influencers and we know that used in the right way for the right client they are an extremely powerful medium. We have seen blogger coverage drive direct website traffic and sales, not to mention brand awareness and social followings.

 

So, although this isn’t the ‘typical’ way of a blogger and a business working together there is no denying the success of this activity, intentional or unintentional. Both parties have increased their exposure, generated column inches and sparked debate – hands down a successful PR stunt whether they intended it to be or not!

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you have Britain’s best Window with a View?



The search is once again on to find Britain’s best Window with a View. For the third year, Refresh PR will run the campaign on behalf of MyGlazing.com, the UK’s independent consumer advice website for home improvement and glazing.

 

The campaign, which drives hundreds of thousands of visitors to the MyGlazing.com each year, comprises social media, digital PR, backlink building and traditional media relations activity to generate entries into what is fast becoming a key event in the calendar year.

 

Adding to a very successful two years, for the first time in 2018 views from offices will be eligible to enter the campaign. So if you’re lucky enough to gaze out of your office window each day onto an amazing view, we want to hear from you. We’re also still inviting entries from tourist attractions and other public buildings as usual.


The campaign will launch at the start of February, so get snapping your views now (remember to include the window frame) and save them up ready to upload to www.myglazing.com/wwav

 

 

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

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Polypipe on Twitter



Earlier this month the team behind the Heating Installer Awards 2018 hosted an evening Twitter Q&A with sponsor, Polypipe.  The hour-long burst of activity was aimed at heating installers who want to know more about Polypipe, its services and also have a bit of downtime at the end of the day.

 

The Q&A achieved 281 engagements and 6440 impressions from @HIAwards, with further engagement on the @PolypipeTrade account. High quality interactions were achieved from the installer community throughout the duration of the hour.

 

The hour went seamlessly, with the teams at both ends typing furiously to respond to the questions, and banter, thrown at them.

 

As an added bonus, the awards saw additional entries over the following days, attributed to the increase in awareness and engagement from this activity. More Twitter bursts of activity are planned for the coming weeks, including giveaways – so get following @HIAwards!

 

Twitter campaign construction 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Construction, Creative Agency, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, Twitter

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Merry Christmas everyone



Christmas for an online retailer is the pinnacle of the year – a chance to boost sales, which also results in the busiest time of the year and generally a well-deserved rest from 23rd December onwards as the final postage date delivers a welcomed respite.

 

Preparations for the Christmas period usually start in March-April time, with campaign ideas discussed and decided upon, then actioned in plenty of time to meet the deadlines of the long-lead magazines, which start work on Christmas in July, followed by the short-lead titles and then online. So when we started a campaign for brand new online retailer, http://www.buildmygift.com in mid-November, you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d got giddy on an early mulled wine or two.

 

However, in just six weeks we were able to plan the Christmas campaign and its key messages, then work with a gift psychologist to obtain a unique story angle while undertaking research to gain additional statistics to support the story, appoint key social influencers to post about the personalised gift hampers, and complete a tough media sell in to achieve coverage, with backlinks, for our new client.

 

A fantastic start to our work with BuildMyGift.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, Digital PR, online PR, online retailer PR

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five Fails of 2017



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

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

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

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

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

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

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five Adverts of 2017



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

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

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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


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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.

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Refresh PR Crowned Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy 2017



Earlier this month the Refresh PR team celebrated double success at the CIPR PRide NW Awards, scooping two Gold awards for its work over the past 12 months.

First up, we were recognised in the Corporate and Business Communications Campaign category for our Food Porn Awards campaign. Refresh PR appeared twice in the category, with our Heating Installer Awards also receiving a shortlist place, but it was the “robust rationale, clear objectives and a well-informed strategy” that led to the Food Porn Awards taking the top spot.

Later in the evening, we were celebrating again, as Refresh PR was crowned Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy 2017. This award really is testament to the hard work, talent and commitment of the team, and the clients we work with who allow us to deliver award-winning campaigns.

Following on from our shortlist place in 2016, we were thrilled to take the Gold award home in 2017. Judges were impressed with Refresh PR for ‘recognising the need to evolve’, something we have put at the forefront of our work and client campaigns over the past year. We were also praised for our ‘commitment to CPD’ with our Refresh Academy initiative, which focuses on the training and development of our staff.

The whole team has worked extremely hard to continuously build and improve the campaigns we run for our current clients, as well as bringing new clients on board, and we’re excited for the next 12 months to see where the PR evolution takes us.

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Is it too late now to say sorry?



Don’t worry this isn’t the Refresh PR team admitting to be secret Justin Bieber fans (we’re more One Direction in this office), this is us looking at the number of brands apologising for causing offence with  their marketing activity.

From Greggs and its sausage roll Jesus [http://www.refreshpr.co.uk/blog/post/11/2017/Flaky-campaign-or-a-roll-of-genius] to Paperchase receiving backlash for its Daily Mail promotion and many more in-between, these all have one thing in common – the apology that comes afterwards.

We are now living in a world that people can give instant feedback on anything they want – adverts, news, celebrities – and they do, in abundance. Because of this increased two way communication brands are able to know within seconds of their latest marketing campaign going live if it is going to have the desired effect.

And for many, this doesn’t always end well.  Just this year alone we have seen big brand names have their advertising approach slated across social media – look at Pepsi (Kendall Jenner), L’Oreal (Munroe Bergdorf), Dove (racist Facebook advert) and McDonalds (children’s grief advert). All household names with multimillion pound marketing budgets, that really should know better.

All of these brands have since come out to apologies about their ill-advised advertising decisions. But is an apology enough? Do they mean it? Does it really make an impact to their bottom line?

In many cases an apology is an absolute must, however sometimes (just sometimes) an apology is wasted. Look at the Protein World’s ‘Beach Body’ campaign, where social media exploded with complaints about the brand putting pressure on women to look a certain way. Protein World’s marketing team didn’t back down to the pressure and never apologised for the campaign, because realistically that campaign was never targeting the men and women who found it offensive.

I respect a brand who stands by their campaign and understands its audience enough not to back down. So sometimes it isn’t too late to say sorry, but it is unnecessary.



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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.

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Christmas adverts: why are they so popular?



The much anticipated arrival of the John Lewis advert seemed to divide the nation, and definitely caused a stir on social media. Some viewers fell in love with the friendship between Moz the monster and the little boy, while others were of a different opinion and took to Twitter and other social media platforms to express their disappointment. One member of the public even went so far as to tweet, Worst #johnlewischristmasadvert I've ever seen.”

As we settle down to watch TV on these cold, dark and dismal nights, whatever time it may be, we are now bombarded with a variety of Christmas adverts. From supermarkets to department stores, as soon as November arrives, there is no escaping these overly sentimental ads.

Every year without fail, the adverts receive a huge amount of online recognition. From trending hashtags to articles, we are constantly reminded of the different adverts we should be looking out for. The M&S ad even made national broadcast news, simply due to some poor enunciation (I still believe he wasn’t saying ‘thank you little bear’). It really is amazing how much publicity these adverts receive and how they completely dominate social media for two months of the year.

Some people are now beginning to argue whether or not the huge power that these Christmas adverts have is getting a bit extreme. John Lewis spent £7 million on its latest advert and it seems it is turning into a competition between brands as to how much can be spent each year, with a variety of articles now being written comparing the latest ads and their budgets. One thing is for sure, the PR value achieved outweighs the initial ad spend.

However, it is indisputable that these Christmas adverts show how integral social media can be for a company’s marketing, showing how even the most popular companies rely on social media to be successful. Are you applying the same practice to your business?

If you think your business could use some assistance, get in touch with us on 0161 871 1188.

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The awards you never knew we should’ve won…



Following our incredible double win at the recent CIPR North West awards – where we took home the gong for Best Small Consultancy and Best Corporate and Business Communications campaign – we celebrated as a team and got talking about the more unusual awards we might receive if our peers knew us behind closed doors.

And so began an alternative prize giving – an impromptu celebration of everything we share, day in day out, here at Refresh, and the things we know we do differently. Here’s a rundown of the awards you never knew we should’ve won:

Laura Mashiter – Managing Director

‘The Versatility Award’ – we are experts in being more than the traditional PR agency: we advise clients on SEO, we all watch our clients’ Google Analytics daily, we lead social media campaigns, and we can advise on AdWords. None of this would be deemed a PR person’s remit a couple of years ago. Now, we not only have to be great at the old PR job – creativity, sell ins, copywriting, setting up speaker opps, guiding clients through strategy and key messages, crisis management (and more), but we have a whole new set of skills which mean we’re great for marketing directors and managing directors alike to work with.

Erin Heywood – Account Director

‘The Talking Heads Award’ – like most bunches of young women who spend 9 hours a day, five days a week together, we love to chat, and can often be caught getting way too deep in conversations that people outside our agency would just find weird. But that’s because we’re an in-tune team that gels, and we learn great things out of the most surprising of topics. Plus, the more we chat about our industries and clients, the more likely we are to come up with new ideas, impress our clients and secure coverage with journalists.

Caroline Gibson – Account Director

‘The Chameleon Award’ – we love a challenge, and sometimes the most exciting challenge is taking on something we’ve never done before! From make-up to plumbing, we work across such a variety of areas within our four specialist sectors (construction, tech, lifestyle, food, drink & retail) we think we’re pretty well rounded. But actually, we still get new business leads in areas we’ve never covered before. When we get these through the door (or inbox!), we dedicate time to immersing ourselves in that area, whether it takes days, weeks or month, until we know it like the back of our hand. 

Aishleen Davies – Account Manager

‘The Golden Idea Award’ – Whether it’s plumbing or cosmetics, glazing or meat, Refresh PR comes up with ideas that are not just creative and push boundaries, but also helps clients hit their key business objectives. What’s even more exciting is that Refresh has BIG ideas in the pipeline that will help other businesses grow.

Rebecca Wallace – Account Executive

‘The Itchy Feet Award’ – As an agency, we’re always itching to do more and continually thinking of ways to improve. We let our imaginations run away with us while we create award winning campaigns, but our feet always remain firmly on the ground as we remain forward thinking, and take pride in knowing exactly what our clients need.

Emily Knight – Account Executive

‘The Friendly Faces Award’ – we’re a group of enthusiastic and passionate individuals who love to have a laugh (and get the job done at the same time of course!). We are always happy to help one another and we work well together as a team. The Refresh team is always there to offer a helping hand and friendly face to colleagues and clients alike.

Sound like the agency for you? Get in touch today!

Tagged with: CIPR , Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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Does ethical PR equal good PR



In this fast moving industry where do we source our ethical guidance?

As marketing professionals it is our role to promote people, brands or companies, to change consumer behaviour – whether that is buying a product or voting for a politician. But with this power comes responsibility, as Bell Pottinger recently found out when it was removed from a leading industry body, following a campaign that the PRCA claimed spread racial hatred.

We also recently read about the TV advertisements which received the most complaints in 2017. One featuring a businessman twerking in high heels, another a kissing scene between a same sex couple and one which shows a mother telling her son about his dead father’s favourite  burger.

Whether you are offended by these ads or not, the point is that there is a regulator which is actively protecting UK consumers from misleading advertising or ones they find inappropriate. Whereas for PR the lines are not as clear-cut. 

For example, the ASA has recently tightened its rules on advertising high fat, salt and sugar foods (HFSS) to children, following the original ruling in 2006, to include social media – a reflection of children’s media viewing habits.

However, this ruling doesn’t include any PR activity. Yes, the PRCA and CIPR have codes of conduct, but these are best practice guidelines which allow you to be part of the industry bodies. There isn’t actual legal implications or restrictions for not following them.

So, it poses the question – where do PR agencies get their ethics from? 

Here at Refresh PR we get our ethics from our people and our clients.

Firstly we only employ the best people across our built environment, food, drink and retail, leisure and lifestyle, and tech teams, professionals who are able to connect the dots between business objectives, current consumer behaviour and future trends to create campaigns that achieve impact for all the right reasons.

Secondly, we will only ever work with brands that we believe in and which are as transparent with us about their operations as we are with them. From low calorie alcohol and botanically based health and beauty to student accommodation and social enterprises, our clients are passionate about their products and providing the best to their customers.

Both of these factors mean that we rarely have to question the ethical impact of the work we’re doing and if we are ever unsure we simply change tack, for something equally as impactful but without any negative connotations.  

Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, Marketing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Three things I loved about Arbonne’s AAC this year!



Arbonne has been a client of Refresh PR’s for almost four years and each year we have the pleasure of attending its annual conference, which is unlike any other annual conference you will ever attend!

Arbonne is a health, wellness and beauty brand; its products are all vegan friendly, botanically based and cruelty free – something that sets them apart in such a busy industry. It’s a client I love working with, given my passion for all things beauty and skincare – so the annual conference is always a highly anticipated event.

It is the company ethos that shines through at this event, an inclusive company that celebrates the success and achievements of its Independent Consultants, whilst being family friendly and incredibly feel-good!

I had been invited along with the Arbonne team to capture the atmosphere on Instagram, creating a live stream of the event, allowing teams from Australia, the US and many other regions to experience it alongside the UK. I was also there to assist the videographer in capturing footage and interviews with some of Arbonne’s key players, in order to create a round up video montage.

This year’s event kicked off in my home town of Glasgow and celebrated Arbonne’s tenth anniversary, so of course this year was always going to be extra special. Here is my run through of the three things I loved most about AAC 2017 – though the list could go on forever!

Red Hot Chilli Pipers

On the Friday morning, Scottish piping band the Red Hot Chilli Pipers took to the stage to kick start the day! The band play a mix of modern music to the Scottish bagpipes, so it was a fitting way to get the crowd going in Glasgow. The atmosphere was electric, after all, dancing to high tempo bagpipe songs at 9:30am on a Friday isn’t the usual start at an event, but it certainly worked and got the 2,500 attendees to their feet.

Recognitions

During the course of the three day event, there was a number of people who are recognised for their achievements over the past year. Every year Independent Consultants are welcomed up on to stage and receive a huge round of applause and a single rose, however this year, of course, it was a Scottish thistle. The atmosphere in the room when the stage fills with promotion recognitions is unbelievable; each and every person shows such encouragement to those on stage and the positivity is felt from wall to wall.

The People

Often at conferences it can be hard to encourage a crowd of people to participate in social media videos, to show genuine enthusiasm and portray the atmosphere felt in the room. At AAC, this wasn’t an issue. The social media content creates itself, as the buzz in the room and the smiles on people’s faces make for an incredibly upbeat event. With people so willing to throw themselves into every part of the event, eager to get the Arbonne message out there, everyone is such a pleasure to work with – it is the people who make the conference what it is! 


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How to adapt campaigns to fit in with popular culture and trends



We currently live in a world where an endless amount of information is available to us at the tap of a finger. We are bombarded with news, adverts and brand messages constantly, and we have the ability to stay up to date with whatever is going on in the world, at whatever time of the day.

Because of this constant access to information, social trends and crazes are now playing a bigger part in our day-to-day lives than ever before. Therefore, as a creative communications agency we need to be aware of what’s going on around us – planning for the trends and responding quickly to the crazes.


We  know that the media will be guided by these seasonal trends and in the next few months we have two big annual events coming up – Halloween and Christmas. Although Christmas has always been a major calendar date, we are now seeing Halloween growing in popularity.


Last year retailing around the holiday reached more than £472 million. It is now the third biggest calendar event for retailers, growing 3,000 per cent since 2001, and we don’t expect this to slow down anytime soon. In response to this, we're seeing thousands of brands update their stock, strategies and social media campaigns to compete for sales and maximise Halloween’s new found popularity.


While we can plan for calendar events, social crazes aren’t something that we can predict or build into our campaigns ahead of time. But this is one of the reasons why they are so successful. Crazes respond to popular culture, mirror a mood of a nation, or simply surprise people, so they sit up and take notice. Who would have ever thought that pouring freezing cold water over yourself/loved ones would raise hundreds of millions for charity?


If businesses stay ahead of these trend,s and keep a close eye on the crazes, with the help of a PR agency, they can respond and ultimately drive sales. One of the best examples of this is Starbucks. The global coffee giant is known for its special edition Pumpkin Spiced Latte (maximising each year on the Halloween trend), and who can forget this summer’s Unicorn Frappuccino (linking to the hype around the mythical creature), which sold out in stores in just three days?


As a PR agency we are constantly looking for opportunities for our clients to join these nationwide conversations – whether it is something that we can plan into our campaigns, or simply something that we respond to quickly with social engagement and rapid media relations. If you’d like to talk to us about how we can maximise crazes and trends for your business, get in touch at info@refreshpr.co.uk


Tagged with: Creative Agency, Food & Drink, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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When personalisation goes wrong...



Personalisation can elevate a marketing campaign; everyone likes to feel a bit special. A favourite of mine was EasyJet’s 20th anniversary campaign. For such an impersonal brand, intent on the stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap mentality, they used personalisation incredibly well with fantastic results.

EasyJet looked at all previous customer data and found each customer’s personal EasyJet travel story, for the past 20 years. This allowed them to create emotive, personalised stories shrouded in nostalgia for all customers. Each email told the story of previous flights, holiday destinations and miles travelled, and included suggested next trips.

The campaign was very successful; open rates were over 100% more than average, with 25% higher click-through rates. Social media also went wild for the campaign with a reach of 685,000 and 1.1 million impressions. Moreover, within a few hours, EasyJet had improved it’s positioning within the public, becoming a loved brand with positive sentiment.

Whilst this personalisation campaign was a complete success, not all go down quite so well. Remember what happened with Walkers earlier this year? To mark their competition to win tickets to the Champions League final campaign, Walkers launched a campaign on Twitter, the ‘Walkers Wave’, asking people to respond to a tweet from the Walkers Twitter account with a selfie, using the hashtag #WalkersWave. The user's picture would then appear in a personalised video, featuring Gary Lineker.

It wasn’t long people the public abused the campaign and Gary was seen holding pictures of Fred West and Harold Shipman, not what Walkers had in mind and damaging to the brand.

Earlier this month, The National Lottery experienced a PR fail surrounding their World Athletics Championship campaign, leading to them rapidly deleting tweets.

Users on Twitter were asked to retweet a post from the National Lottery using the hashtag #Represent. The National Lottery would then automatically reply with an image of the British athletics team holding a sign displaying the user’s Twitter handle; so far so good. It didn’t take long however for Twitter users to change their handles to very controversial characters, including the likes of Jimmy Saville. Despite being a total fail, the hijacking achieved more coverage than the campaign itself ever would have. 

When it’s good, it’s very good, however it is difficult to get personalisation right. Where Walkers went wrong was their lack of data. Their campaign depended on interaction with the public, rather than intelligently using already stored data to create a personalised email.

Our client, Kagool, specialises in personalisation, and understands the sensitivities and technicalities surrounding it. If you’re considering a personalisation campaign, we would recommend working with experts, ensuring the execution goes smoothly, and a using a PR agency to come up with creative and interesting content, increasing open rates and results. And if you do run an automated personalisation campaign dependent on public engagement, make sure you have a PR agency on hand to handle the backlash…

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Celebrity, Creative Agency, Marketing, PR, PR campaign essential, Social Media, Twitter

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Hat trick for Refresh PR



This morning was very tense at Refresh PR HQ.  As we sat refreshing the CIPR Awards Twitter page, the shortlists for each category were announced and Refresh PR appeared not once, not twice but three times!


The hard work we’ve carried out over the past twelve months for the Heating Installer Awards and Food Porn Awards meant both were shortlisted for the best Corporate and Business Communications Campaign, which had the office jumping for joy.


Recently launched for the third year, the Food Porn Awards was created to find the finest looking food from eateries across the North-West. From restaurants, pubs, bars or pop-up bistros, the Food Porn Awards were open to every chef, cook or caterer across the North of England. With 350 entries, the finalists, selected by a team of experts, went head-to-head at the regional cook-offs with winners announced at the Northern Restaurant & Bar show last March.


The Heating Installer Awards set out to disband stereotypes of cowboy installers and celebrate the good work in the industry. Accepting entries from, and on the behalf of, installers, the winner was announced at trade shower, Installer 2017, in May of this year. The hardworking campaign saw coverage achieved in a range of regional, national, trade, and broadcast media, including BBC Radio and The One Show.


Refresh PR was also nominated for Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy, which created a great atmosphere in the office on another wise grey Friday morning.

It’s great to be shortlisted with other agencies in Manchester and the wider area and we look forward to the awards dinner later this year. The awards ceremony will take place on the 2nd November at the Principal in Manchester, we can’t wait!

For more information about Refresh PR, visit www.refreshpr.co.uk or call 0161 871 1188. Follow on Twitter @RefreshPR.

 

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

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Being passionate in PR



99 per cent of PR professionals are passionate about what they do. A love for telling a great story, the buzz of media relations and the fast-paced nature of the job is what gets us up in the morning. Sometimes, however, a love for the industry is just not enough.

 

If you work in a PR or creative agency, chances are you will have clients in a range of fields. From glitter to plumbing, we have it all at Refresh PR and that old cliché, no two days are the same, rings very true. In order to do justice to your clients, a love of their industry, as well as your own is imperative.

 

PR’s speak with dozens of journalists in a day, and we need to persuade them that what our client has to say is more valuable than their competitors. Unless you speak about your clients with true passion, you’ll get nowhere. If the news doesn’t excite you, how do you expect a journalist, who’s received 40 similar calls that day, to be enthused? If you love what you do, and love working with your clients, this will come across. 

 

Being fully engrossed in your client’s work will eventually lead to your PR agency being an arm of their company, rather than a supplier-customer relationship. Once this happens, you’ll automatically be kept in the loop regarding company news, be able to contact everyone and anyone when that golden opportunity comes through and be totally honest with them- a valuable but often over overlooked trait in our industry. At Refresh PR, we promote hot desking at our clients’ offices, giving us a chance to see what they do, and how they work day to day. Realistically, can you ever really get a true insight into your clients from just a bi weekly WIP call alone?

 

You’re much more likely to want to learn about an industry or topic that you’re interested in. Whether it’s cosmetics, food and drink or heating installations, find what excites you and you’ll never work a day in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: alcohol, B2B PR agency Manchester , Beauty, Built Environment, Construction, cosmetics, creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, drink, Food, glitter, heating installation, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , plumbing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, Social Media

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Glastonbury – The Ultimate PR Win



Last month I left my real life at Manchester PR agency, Refresh, behind to spend five nights sleeping in a tent, while getting up close and personal with thousands of people who hadn’t washed in a few days – that’s right, I went to Glastonbury.

Anyone who hasn’t made the pilgrimage to Worthy Farm may read that opening paragraph and shudder with dread, but those who have experienced the magic of Glastonbury will be nodding along, knowing that those things that would usually fill people with fear are all part of the experience.

Where else can you crawl down a rabbit hole and party with Brad Pitt (apparently he was there, although I didn’t see him), watch films in a fleet of vintage cars, see circus performers at 1am – not to mention the music?

From secret acts and unknown musicians to the Foo Fighters finally headlining the Pyramid Stage, Glastonbury offers something unique – which is why tickets can be harder to get your hands on than Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.

And each year around October time there are newspaper articles about how the festival has sold out in record time, with countless fans turning to social media to complain if they were unsuccessful or to celebrate their excitement if they were one of the lucky ones.

And as a PR professional I can see why this record speed growth and demand is occurring – the ultimate PR coverage – the BBC!

Due to the BBC’s regulations, the corporation isn’t a PR’s best friend – they have to remain impartial and not to be seen to be advertising brands, yet they give unrivalled coverage to this incredible event each year.

Returning from Glastonbury you are greeted with friends and colleagues who tell you which sets they watched on TV and how they have to go next year. And of course, who wouldn’t be swayed when they see thousands of people singing along to rock anthems or disco classics in a place so unique, you can’t describe it to someone who hasn’t been. Even whispers of “I’ve been to other festivals” have Glastonbury veterans’ eyes rolling – it simply isn’t the same.

The BBC’s coverage captures this perfectly and is therefore the ultimate PR dream – radio, TV, on-demand service, online – a huge achievement for any creative campaign.

If we need to measure this impact, let’s check back in October 2018 and see if tickets take longer than 50 minutes to sell out. Watch this space…

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: BBC, creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, festivals, Lifestyle, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter