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Welcome to The Lakeside Hotel and Spa



Well-known for hosting business events and conferences, we began working with The Lakeside Hotel and Spa three months ago to promote the hotel to the masses.The Lakeside Hotel and Spa

 

Ashamedly it has taken me three months to get a weekend free to nip up with my family to experience - as a customer rather than in a business context - this gem at the very base of Lake Windermere. Just a 10 minute drive from the M6 Kendal turn off, the hotel is on the shores of the Lake, meaning it’s in a very useful location for anyone coming from the south in particular.

 

Starting by shThe Lakeside Hotel and Spaowing my other half the conference centre (if you or your partner is in PR you’ll understand this), we had a quick tour of the two first-class dining rooms, traditional pub, coffee area, conservatory and spa, and headed out for a walk.

 

The steam train had just pulled into the station next to the hotel. It looked like lots of families were heading on and off the train - so for this reason I'd recommend it as something to do while at Lakeside, although we didn't try it ourselves.

 

Handily, the Lake cruises stop at three points - Ambleside, Bowness and Lakeside - meaning we spent part of our day on a cruise of the Lake, eventually hopping off at Lakeside and enjoying afternoon tea on the hotel’s outdoor terrace.

 

 The Lakeside Hotel and Spa

Inside a wedding service had just taken place in one of the many downstairs rooms in the sprawling hotel, and just a stone’s throw away outside on the Lake a boat was getting ready to take a group out on a private charter. It really enforced what we’re here to do from a PR point of view: make sure the business community and holiday makers/day trippers alike know that whatever you want from your stay at Lakeside, it is probably possible!The Lakeside Hotel and Spa terrace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To find out more visit http://www.lakesidehotel.co.uk/ and for conferences and meeting venues ask for Amy.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, Public Relations North West, Silver Surfers

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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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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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Is smart technology taking over your world, without you even realising?



Here at Refresh PR we specialise in communications within the food and drink, construction and lifestyle industries. Over time we’ve seen the internet gradually make its presence in every one of these sectors, from smart thermostats to hairbrushes. We’re sure that soon enough we’ll be able to control most things remotely, at just a touch of a button (or should I say a 3D facial recognition scanner).

 

Smart technology is no longer marketed solely at the young, successful and tech savvy among us. Take the recent launch of L’Oreal’s smart hairbrush; created with sensors to assess hair quality, fully equipped with a microphone that records the sound of breaking hair and an app that recommends products, it is clear that even the beauty industry, which sees customers range in age from 12 to 90, has taken a step up in the world of smart technology.

 

Our client Arbonne was one of the first to embrace cutting edge technology, with the launch of the Intelligence Genius Ultra Device, an ultrasound device that makes products work not only faster but smarter. It works by utilising a combination of gentle ultrasound waves and a warmed applicator to smooth products onto the skin for maximum results. Find out more here.

 

Beauty brands are increasingly investing in innovation, and it seems that soon the average hair brush just won’t cut it. Will using your fingertips to apply cosmetics go out of the window completely?

 

On the subject of windows, one of the leading sectors in smart innovation is home interest. Reports claim that using affordable smart home technology is already playing a significant role in reducing energy costs, due to it allowing companies and households to use energy more efficiently, reducing the need to build more power stations.

 

Not only does smart technology affect what’s in the home, but also the wider house building industry. Manufacturing and construction jobs both feature in the top five sectors that may be vulnerable to automation according to recent data released by jobs search engine Adzuna. So do the positives, increased production and a reduction in costs, outweigh these potential negative implications?

 

Revolutionary internet-based software has also made its way into the food and drink industry. Recently, a coffee shop in London used 3D printing to match people together by having the face of the person they admire lasered onto the froth of a coffee. This is personalization a step too far for me, but not everyone will feel the same.

 

Finally, cutting edge technology is not only changing how we use products, but also how we purchase them. Amazon is used to leading the way, however its new automated retail prototype has caused quite the controversy. It has already made shockwaves with pioneering the use of drones to deliver packages instead of humans, and has now revealed plans to launch a two-storey, automated grocery store; manned by just three humans, it is mostly run by robots.

 

I think that smart technology is great and I would invest in anti-ageing tools in the future, however 3D printing of food and drink seems a little too futuristic for me!

 

Are you embracing smart technology or do you appreciate the human touch? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Home Interest, Lifestyle, technology

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Refresh captures the best view in Britain



 

September saw our ‘Window with a View’ campaign with the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) come to an exciting conclusion – and with phenomenal results.

Having launched its consumer advice site MyGlazing.com in September 2015, the GGF came to us in December looking for ways to raise awareness of the new brand. Its aim was to drive 100,000 consumers to the website by October 2016.

Understanding that visual and interactive campaigns are leading the way in the press and on social media, we devised the ‘Window with a View’; a competition to find the country’s most stunning view through a window.

Since January, we’ve been reaching out to the nation’s tourism attractions, hotels, bars and restaurants – anywhere open to the general public – via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, in the press and even over the phone, encouraging people enter a snap of their best window view to the competition.

We received 150 nominations – including entries from the Houses of Parliament, Titanic Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral, Blackpool Tower and Blackpool Tower – and the competition made the news in every corner of the UK, on TV, in print and – crucially – online. Web coverage was key throughout the campaign, providing opportunity to link back to the MyGlazing.com site, taking us ever closer to that 100,000 visitors target.

Following an intense judging day, two stages of public voting and an anxious wait to find out which attraction would take the national crown, the Museum of Liverpool was announced as the first ever winner of the Window with a View competition live on BBC Radio Merseyside’s breakfast show at the end of September.

The following week, we were over the moon to hear the news that the 100,000 visitors target had not only been achieved, but exceeded. It just goes to show a well-thought out strategy with a dedicated team behind it can result in great things.

Plans are already in place to launch Year Two in 2017, so watch this space!

 

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Facebook, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Twice is nice for Arbonne at the Pure Beauty Awards



Our skincare, cosmetics and nutrition client, Arbonne has been shortlisted in two categories at the prestigious Pure Beauty Awards 2016. A highlight of the beauty industry’s calendar, the awards celebrate the most innovative products launched in the sector over the last 12 months.  

 

Arbonne’s Prime and Proper Eye Makeup Primer, which helps to prevent eyeshadows from creasing or fading, has been nominated as one of the best new eye products.

Arbonne award Refresh PR

In the Best New Electrical Product category, the recently launched Intelligence Genius Ultra Device secured a coveted place in the line-up. The Genius Ultra offers the ultimate next generation solution to help target signs of ageing, by using a gentle circular movement which smooths products onto the skin for just one minute on each area.

 

Kelly Lloyd-Sanderson, marketing director at Arbonne UK, said “We pride ourselves on the creation of innovative products that are vegan friendly and 100 per cent botanically based. To be recognised in two categories is a wonderful accomplishment and is testament to the hard work of our product development teams who stay ahead of industry trends to create products that our customers really want.”

 

Voting is now open for this year’s Pure Beauty Awards. If you’d like to vote for Arbonne, you can do so here: http://www.hpcimedia.com/pure-beauty-awards/award-categories/.

 

 

 

Tagged with: awards, Beauty PR, Health & Beauty, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Inspiring installers floor industry judges



 

This week, we headed to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry for Installer2016, the UK’s largest plumbing and heating trade show. As well as checking out the latest technologies that the heating and plumbing industry has to offer, we were there for a very important reason: the Heating Installer of the Year Awards (HIOTY).

Way back in October 2015, we were appointed as the PR agency for the awards, working closely with our client, Continental Underfloor, the headline sponsor and company which established the awards. Between then and now, our team has worked tirelessly to bring the awards to fruition, liaising with our nominees, producing engaging content for social and organising the presentation itself. In March, our judges met and selected eight regional winners, who were then put up for an online public vote to decide the winner. To see the culmination of all this hard work at Installer 2016 was a fantastic experience.

Alongside Installer’s compère extraordinaire, MC Dave, Continental Underfloor’s Managing Director Chris Ingram led the presentation. After welcoming our wonderful regional winners on stage, it was time for Chris to announce who had taken the overall title. “So who won?!”, I hear you ask! Drum roll please… the UK’s Heating Installer of the Year is the North West’s very own, Dennis Hollingworth!

The moment it was announced, the crowd erupted into rapturous applause, Dennis’ friends and family chanted his name with glee and I transformed into a fully-fledged member of the paparazzi, snapping as many photos as possible to share with all of our social media followers. Dennis was delighted with his well-deserved win and it was brilliant to be able to celebrate with him, our runner up, Ian Dickson, and all of the regional winners.

As well as looking after the awards themselves, we managed to fit in a bit of star spotting and met this year’s winner of The Apprentice, Joseph Valente. Naturally, we couldn’t resist asking him for a quick photograph but stopped short of asking him for his autograph…

Having bid adieu to the Ricoh Arena and returned to our Mancunian headquarters, we’re now looking forward to working on increasing awareness of our fantastic winners and, of course, planning for HIOTY 2017. Watch this space!

 

Laura Holden, Joseph Valente & Lauran Mashiter

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Continental Underfloor, Heating Installer of the Year Awards, HIOTY, Home Interest, Manchester, Networking Event, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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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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ClaireaBella Paints London Pink



It’s the end of November, and at the end of a month we like to sit back and look at what we’ve achieved.

 

Going right back to the start, November kicked off in style for the Refresh PR team with an exciting and uber glamorous press for client ClaireaBella.

 

ClaireaBella is a fabulous personalised lifestyle brand with a huge celebrity following, boasting Michelle Keegan, Little Mix, The Saturdays and the TOWIE girls among its army of fans. Each ClaireaBella product is completely bespoke and every bag is hand painted, making it the perfect brand for extra special Christmas gifts this year. The aim of the press trip was to achieve coverage for ClaireaBella within the consumer press Christmas gift guides – features we knew the brand would make a lovely addition to!

   

It can be a challenge to arrange meetings with the press, especially at this time of year when journalists have extremely hectic schedules, so we needed to do something different to give editorial teams no option other than to see us. With this in mind, we secured the most ClaireaBella-esque vehicle in the land, a hot pink limo no less, complete with sparkles and lighting to boot. Journalists wouldn’t be able to resist, right?

 

After lots of planning we lined up meetings with leading publications such as the Daily Star, OK!, new!, The Sun, Woman, Woman’s Own, Now Magazine, Reveal and Closer.

 

The limo itself created quite a buzz around London, with lots of pedestrians taking photographs as we hopped between media houses. This was a great opportunity for the press to meet Claire Barrett, founder of ClaireaBella, personally. Claire got to tell her inspiring success story and share the history of the brand, starting the company with just a £30 loan and through belief and hard work, developing it into what it is today.

 

The journalists were extremely impressed with their personalised ClaireaBella jute bags packed full of goodies. I have to say, the bag we had made for Steven at OK! magazine was my personal favourite – and as I am sure you can imagine, it was a huge relief that we managed to get everyone’s personalisation details correct and no one had drastically changed hair colour over night!

 

The press trip was a lot of fun for all involved and the results spoke for themselves. Coverage is expected across a range of publications and we can’t wait to see ClaireaBella listed alongside other Christmas must-halves at every shopper’s favourite time of year!      

 

 

 

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

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A taste of success for Chip Strips!



When a new snacking product like nothing we'd ever seen before landed on our desks, we jumped at the chance to represent the brand. After all, who doesn't love a good snack; particularly one that's obviously going to fly off the shelves?

 

With its unique proposition Chip Strips is a new snacking product from Mr Cookes Kitchen, a fellow Manchester-based company which has innovation and a focus on good quality food at its core.  

 

The company has boldly gone where no brand has gone before, launching with no less than 10 (yes, that's 10) different flavours to deliver taste twists for Britain's snack lovers, meaning there is something to suit everyone's potato penchant. And the brand is set to take over the shelves of a supermarket, or corner shop, near to you soon.

Chip Strips and Refresh PR

As experts in food and drink PR, the Refresh PR team was well aware of the potential for the brand: media outlets across the UK would go mad for Chip Strips and its flavours, which range from sour cream and onion, cheese and onion, sea salt and vinegar and sea salt to wasabi, bacon and onion, sweet paprika, tangy ketchup, chilli and paprika and smokey bbq.

 

So there was only one thing for it! We packed a few rather large suitcases full of product, booked our trains and headed to London for the biggest press trip to date. With no less than four representatives hitting the streets of London, we met with dozens of journalists and tasted more Chip Strips than we thought we'd ever be able to eat!

 

Meetings were held with the trade magazines, national newspapers, supplements, glossy magazines, bloggers, reviewers, vloggers and so many more!

 

As expected the journalists loved the brand, seeing and tasting how the potato snack is completely different to anything else on the market. With such positive feedback and the ball rolling with impressive coverage, Refresh PR successfully converted some of the UK's top food journalists to Chip Strips.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a pack at local One Stop shops and selected Tesco stores from 23rd November!

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Good product placement examples, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR wins at the CIPR PRide Awards 2015



Last Thursday night Refresh PR graced the stage at the CIPR’s North West PRide Awards, collecting a gong for Best PR Event 2015.

The judges recognised Refresh PR’s event which ran in conjunction with OTONE Audio, a fellow Manchester-based company which manufactures and sells Bluetooth speakers, headphones, soundbars and computer speakers.

Refresh PR wins CIPR award

So why did this event stand out? Otone briefed Refresh PR to conduct a media trip to launch its latest range of speakers. Knowing the media houses well, demonstrating the true power and sound quality of Otone’s speakers in an open plan office full of busy journalists was a big no-no. So, Refresh PR hired a branded stretch Hummer, filled it with drinks and party food, and took the journalists for a quick spin.

It meant Otone was able to really show off just why its products are superior – both in sound quality and price – to its (world-famous) competitors. In a confined space Otone could really ramp up the sound and show off!

‘rOadTONE’ was a huge success; media coverage came flooding in and it’s created good will which lives on nine months later.

From all this year’s entries, Refresh PR appeared twice in the shortlist of six agencies in the Best Event category, firstly for its Otone event and secondly for the Arbonne Manchester Drive-By. Refresh PR was also shortlisted for Outstanding Small Consultancy 2015.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: awards, CIPR , Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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September Success for Refresh PR



As all PR agencies will know, every month brings with it triumphs and challenges but for Refresh PR, September has been particularly triumphant. We couldn’t let October kick off without celebrating some of the team’s fantastic achievements, so without further ado, here are our nine PRoud moments (in no particular order of course – they’re all great):

 

1.       Breaking a Guinness World Record: back at the start of the month Hannah and I travelled to Birmingham to attend our client Arbonne’s annual team conference, AAC. Equipped with a glamorous line-up of Independent Consultants, Vice President and UK General Manager, Vicky and Chief Sales Officer, Heather, we attempted to break the  Guinness World Record for the most kisses in 30 seconds – previously set by comedian David Walliams (we like a challenge). After careful planning and a few morale boosting team talks, we were absolutely delighted to break the record. A very proud moment for the team to be involved in such a landmark occasion and a fantastic reaction from the 2,000 attendees of AAC

2.       A triple client win: we’re very excited to announce that we have won three new clients this month. New snacking brand, Chip Strips, interior architecture company, SpaceZero, and website www.myglazing.com have all retained the services of Refresh PR to execute high-impact campaigns. The team has worked hard to meet the brief for all clients and their tenacity has certainly paid off

3.       Grand nationals: we’ve secured a flurry of high profile national coverage this month across numerous client accounts. Shout outs to the Bras and Honey team for coverage in The Sun, The Mirror, Daily Mail and the Metro, the ClaireaBella team for the Telegraph and Daily Mail and the Continental UFH team for securing The Sunday Times. Just another day at the office…

4.       Welcoming a new Refresher: September brought the arrival of our brand new team member, Emma! After completing work experience at Refresh earlier this year, we were delighted when Emma interviewed for our junior account executive role. A great addition to our team  

5.       Re-Fresh for the win: another great boost for the team this month was receiving a nomination for Freshest Consultancy Team at the national Fresh PR Awards! We’re looking forward to mingling at the glitzy ceremony next month and hopefully we’ll be bringing the award home to Tariff Street

6.       Client nominations: as well as a nomination for Refresh PR this month, we’ve also helped some of our clients receive award nods too. Catering Academy has been nominated in the EDUcatering Excellence Awards for Secondary School Caterer of the Year and Arbonne has received a coveted nomination at the Pure Beauty Awards for its RE9 Advanced® Lifting and Contouring Eye Cream

7.       New projects: we can’t say too much, but we’re VERY excited to be working with our lovely client ClaireaBella on an exciting new campaign this Christmas…stay tuned

8.       Baking for charity: we love an excuse to eat cake, so we were thrilled to get involved with MacMillian’s Biggest Coffee Morning. Check out our Twitter feed for the best bakes and to see how much we raised!

9.       Doing the do with flu: and finally, we’re pleased to be surviving September after being hit with a bad bout of flu - which originated from a team member who will remain anonymous (Laura). We’re stocking up on vitamins and Arbonne’s Fizz Sticks in the hope of a healthier October!

 

Well done team!

 

 

 

Tagged with: CIPR , Fresh Awards, Health & Beauty, Home Interest, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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A lot can ‘appen in a week



Heading into the app store can sometimes seem as overwhelming as checking out the shelves of an overstuffed shop; there’s just so much to look at and such a lot of it seems useful! Following extensive research into the most popular apps around (yes, including Candy Crush and the Kim Kardashian game), team Refresh has compiled the seven most useful apps – one for each day of the week, and of course they accompany old faithfuls such as social media, messaging apps and storage!  

 

Monday

An ultra-busy day at work means nipping out for lunch can be tricky, however, you may well be tempted by a post-weekend treat. Step in Deliveroo, which allows users to order from their favourite restaurant and have their ideal meal delivered straight to their desk. With many of Manchester’s most popular eateries already signed up, this is the perfect app for those who fancy a cheeky burger for their Monday midday meal.

 

Tuesday

Stay fully organised throughout the week using Evernote, a productivity app that makes syncing devices, to-do lists and even documents ultra-simple. Ideal for workers on the go, Evernote acts like a digital personal assistant – think of it as Siri meets Stepford Wives.

 

Wednesday

Ever wondered how much (or how little!) activity you actually undertake in the day? Then you need to download Moves. This app tracks how much physical activity you complete in terms of time, actual steps, distance and calories burnt; ideal for those who are working on their fitness, Moves can even be used to set targets and will reward you with personal bests.

 

Thursday

Late night shopping on Thursday may inspire a cheeky post-work trip to buy a weekend outfit. Ensure you’re getting the best possible price for your splurge by downloading Quick Scan Bar Code Scanner before you shop. Simply open the app and photograph a product’s bar code; the app will then show where the item can be bought and will show you which store is offering the best price, leaving you with more spending money in your pocket.

 

Friday

The best music always seems to play on the office radio on Fridays. While this is no bad thing (who isn’t happy when Crazy In Love plays on Kisstory?), what can be annoying is when an absolute tune plays but the name of the track or artist cannot be remembered. Worry not; simply open Shazam and hold your phone in the direction of the music. Shazam will tell you the artist and song name and can even link up to iTunes so you can buy it.

 

Saturday

Taxi to your favourite haunt on a Saturday with Uber, which can be booked and paid for via your smartphone. This app proves especially useful when heading home with, perhaps, a little less cash to hand then you originally planned at the start of the night. It has rescued us on many occasions.

 

Sunday

Find that those Saturday night selfies don’t look quite as fresh upon review on Sunday? Filter to your heart’s content with FaceTune to make sure none of the weekend’s shots are duds. Providing more editing options than Instagram, FaceTune is an ultra-simple way to improve your pictures. Be warned however, the temptation to stray into Mariah Carey levels of airbrushing can be all too tempting; less is often more.

 

We’d love to know what apps are your essentials throughout the week, be they for selfies, storage, social media or singing  – tweet us @RefreshPR or simply comment below.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Best apps, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR advice, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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Tempted to take a bite out of Apple Music?



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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A Manchester PR agency’s guide to holidaying in 2015



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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We're on the road again...



The Refresh PR team recently brainstormed event ideas for our consumer technology client, OTONE Audio. Otone was launching a new range of portable speakers and we wanted to make a song anRefresh PR stunt with Otone Audiod dance about it. We researched locations, venues, bands and DJs which would appeal to our audience (savvy tech journalists). But we wanted to do something different. That's where rOadTONE was born.

 

 

 

Journalists are extremely busy people; many don't have time to attend every event in their calendar, so instead, we decided to take the event to them! For two days we hit the streets of London in a gleaming white #Otone branded stretch Hummer which was fully equipped to sit, feed and water up to 16 people at a time. The Hummer was decked out with green lighting, the full colour range of Blufiniti speakers were on display, the cooler was filled with beers and an impressive party playlist was pumping.

 Otone Audio and Refresh PR gadget

 

With our route planned out we wound through the city to 20 separate appointments where at each stop the journalists (and their colleagues) were escorted to the Hummer and promptly driven off. During the quick spin our client was able to talk about the new product, and more importantly let passengers hear the power and sound clarity of the new Blufiniti. We dropped our guests back at their offices with a Blufiniti sample, goodies to take away and hopefully fond memories of their best meeting yet - all in a day's work!

 Refresh PR Manchester Otone Audio

 

 

 

rOadTONE showed us that in this day and age, when journalists simply have less time and competition between brands is fierce, it's more important than ever to think outside the box. Here's what just one passenger said:

 

 

Drew Middleton, ZOO magazine: "The event was classy and professional; the PR team and Otone designers were friendly, informative and knew their product inside-out i.e. its features, its beginning and its future. I thought it was a fantastic idea. The slow drive around Camden, plus product conversations in and outside the vehicle was opportune to show ZOO the range of Otone products."

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Refresh PR’s Top 10 Festive Food Picks



Blog by Emilie.

 

It’s nearing lunchtime and we’re starting to think about food – again! Working in the city centre of Manchester gives us so many food choices, and every time we walk out of the door at the moment we’re surrounded by the sights and smells of Christmas food – we are spoilt, we know!

 

We’re all slightly addicted to Costa Coffee’s Orange Hot Chocolate and Gingerbread and Cream Latte. But drinks aside, we’ve pooled our thoughts together and come up with our favourite food picks for the perfect Christmas dinner. Our picks have been inspired by our food and drink client, Catering Academy, which has some creative and tempting festive dishes on its catering menu this year.

 

10. Roasties! Our mums, grandmas and aunties all have their own tips and tricks to make the perfect roast potato. They always taste better on Christmas Day too (and they beat Brussel sprouts!)

 

9. Roasted veg. Drizzled in olive oil and thyme, slow roasted veg has a gorgeous sweetness to it which you can only really appreciate on Christmas Day! We think that Jamie Oliver’s take on it is perfect

 

8. The turkey. As vegetarianism is popular here at Refresh, this one didn’t manage to get the 100 per cent vote needed for a #1 top spot. Plus, does anyone even care about the turkey? After around 100 hours in the oven, it’s usually as dry as toast and enough to keep a family of five going on turkey sandwiches for the next three weeks! Check out these turkey tips from Delicious magazine to help you out this year

 

7.  Christmas Pudding. For 364 days of the year, we all vehemently deny our love for fruit cake, but there’s something special about pouring brandy all over the pud and setting it on fire which appeals to us

 

6. Smoked salmon. If you’re not too hungover from Christmas Eve, you might wake up on Christmas Day to a champagne breakfast with smoked salmon pinwheels and scrambled egg. If salmon and eggs don’t excite you, have a read of Good Housekeeping’s breakfast ideas to savour the start of the day

 

5. Cranberry sauce. Sweet and a perfect accompaniment to turkey, this comes bang in the middle of our Christmas food list. We think Nigella has cracked it with her “Redder Than Red” recipe

 

4. Nut Roast. For those of you who haven’t tried it in place of turkey, it’s packed with protein and deliciousness. Our favourites include mushroom and cashew nut, and cranberry and Brazil nut. If you make one change to tradition this year, try this! We will be using this lovely recipe from Food.com this year

 

3. Pigs in blankets. Sausages wrapped in bacon, dipped in gravy - what’s not to love?!

 

2. The stuffing. Whilst not a key part of everybody’s Christmas dinner, we firmly believe that Tom Kerridge has possibly the most delicious recipe for stuffing in the world and you can find it here

 

1. The absolute winner has to be chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Really, any excuse for indulging in chocolate from 7am until we all collapse into bed during the early hours of Boxing Day is a winner for us here at Refresh PR! And if you feel a bit guilty the day after but still haven’t had enough chocolate, why not try Weight Watchers Jaffa Cake Hot Chocolate, it tastes deliciously festive!

 

If you have any suggestions or tips which we can add to our cracking Christmas menu, let us know in the comments below.

 

 

Tagged with: Christmas; food, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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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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We Are Recruiting



In case you've missed it on our news tab, we are recruiting.  If you're interested in a new challenge, read on.

 

We’re on the look out for experienced PR people to join Refresh PR.  In particular we’re searching for an account manager and account executive to join our ‘home’ PR team, which means working with trade and consumer clients who supply products for the home - from underfloor heating through to building materials.  

 

We want to boost our team at all levels.  We’d like to meet you if you:

·        Are a team player

·        Have experience of both consumer and trade PR – agency side. Sorry, we already have two great interns!

·        Are already an account manager with experience of managing clients

·        Can see a consumer PR angle and sell this to national consumer home journalists – and equally be confident drafting a trade feature

·        Have a great portfolio

·        Are keen to work on lots of projects and use lots of skills outside of the above ‘home’ remit - we're a growing agency and you could be helping with new business by day three!  In any sector that is!

·        Want to progress

·        Are as enthusiastic and passionate as we are

 

Execs will get a clear chance to progress and managers will get the responsibility and room to develop to account director level, should they choose.

 

Start date is asap.  Please get in contact with us - laura at RefreshPR.co.uk - for more information and with your CV.

Tagged with: Built Environment, CIPR , Construction, Home Interest, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Can we fix it? Yes we can: Why we need Home Improvement Blogs



What do you do when you’re not sure what tiles to lay in your new bathroom, or which type of shelving unit to install? You may pop down to B&Q and ask them what you should do, or may do a quick Google search to try and find an answer. Ever increasingly, you will find that a Google search will lead you to home improvement and DIY blog posts about your problem of choice. Be it top tips, Q&As, DIY projects or guest blogs about specific products; home improvement blogs have more of a role to play now than ever before. Blogs can be run by tradesman, who know their industry inside out and can provide you with inside knowledge without having to cough up for it, or by brave folk who may be undergoing a huge renovation and letting everyone know the dos and don’ts of a big project.

The fact is that a home improvement blog provides you, as a consumer, with better and impartial knowledge of the products out there and the amount of blogs out there is only increasing. The popularity of DIY blogs is on the up as the housing market struggles; many property oweners are opting to improve rather than move, and often undertake work themselves. Seeking free help from online experts has been the answer for many residents across the UK.

So, whether you’re nosey and want to check out other people’s projects or need top tips for your own project, be sure to check some home improvement blogs out!

Here are some of the UK’s top home improvement blogs that have hit the nail on the head:

Top Home Improvement Blogs:

1. UK Home Improvement Blog: for tips on green living, information on alternative products and articles ranging from conservatories to plumbing and power tools, UK Home Improvement Blog covers all areas, and includes guest blogs. There’s something for all you DIY-ers.

2. Homebuilding & Renovating Blog: for real life project blogs from self-builders and renovators. You'll also find news, views and comments from the Editors and Experts behind Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.

3. Home Improvement 101: With 15 categories to choose from, this blog has everything you need in home improvement from roofing to flooring and home decoration.

4. UK Building and Construction: specialising in DIY and home improvements, this blog gives you hints, tips and advice on the construction world, and with the potential of guest blogging, it welcomes anyone who wants to share their DIY experiences of their own.

5. You? There’s nothing to stop anyone starting up a home improvement blog – so, if it is something that interests you, get involved!

 

Tagged with: Blog, Construction, DIY, Home Improvement, Home Interest, Social Media

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Bring a conservatory alive with a new glass roof!



Refresh Glass site visit – November 2012

Last week I went on a site visit to see some work being carried out on a conservatory in a home in Gateacre, a pretty area just outside of Liverpool. I went to see a new conservatory roof being fitted by our newest client – Refresh Glass, manufacturers of replacement glass roofs for conservatories.

Refresh Glass conservatory roofs are fitted in place of those not so effective plastic polycarbonate conservatory roofs commonly found on the majority of conservatories in homes across the country.

The semi-detached property I visited in Gateacre was owned by the Taylors, a retired couple who were keen to improve their home and reinvigorate their lifeless conservatory, situated to the rear of the property and overlooking their pretty, well maintained back garden full of flowers and plants.

The Taylors have a common conservatory story that is shared with many homeowners across the UK – their conservatory was not in use as much as they’d like it to be as it never really felt comfortable enough to sit in – generally feeling a bit too cold in winter and often overheating in summer months.

You might be surprised to learn that in the UK alone there are over 3.5 million homes with conservatories.  Despite good intentions, the conservatory is very often the least used room within a home. And I can tell you why this is. It’s largely due to the fact that like the Taylors, many of these out-of-use conservatories have been fitted with plastic polycarbonate roofs, which are, quite frankly, both inefficient and unsightly.

Although plastic polycarbonate roofs for conservatories are light, low cost and durable, they do the conservatory roof no favours when it comes to staying clean, reducing noise caused by rain, and controlling the temperature inside the conservatory.  Plastic polycarbonate roofs are a reason for making a conservatory an uncomfortable place to relax in, whatever time of year it is.

Refresh Glass conservatory roofs offer a clever and practical solution to all of these problems – and they are set to drastically improve the performance of a conservatory roof and transform a conservatory like the Taylor’s into a comfortable room to relax in. The recent availability of new Refresh Glass could not be timed any better either; as the housing market struggles, many property owners are opting to improve rather than move so the chance to create a new space in a home with minimal fuss and maximum results is an appealing one.  

This new glazing concept for conservatory roofs has been made possible due to advancements in the manufacturing process of glass. New Refresh Glass conservatory roofs work well in place of old plastic polycarbonate roofs because Refresh Glass has a special, invisible metal oxide coating on it, which gives it a perfect balance of solar control properties (reflects heat away) and thermal insulation properties (retains more radiated heat within a room).

The invisible metal oxide coating within this roof glass means it is able to reflect up to 78% of the heat from the sun away. The clever glass is also able to retain radiated heat within the room due to the roof glass having a centre pane u-value of 1.0, an impressive measurement that means Refresh Glass conservatory roofs are extremely thermally efficient.

As I mentioned earlier, plastic polycarbonate roofs are also unsightly. And this is because they are not as clear as glass roofs and they are also inherently difficult to clean, often building up with green mould over the years that can be difficult to remove.

Refresh Glass conservatory roofs tackle this issue with a built-in self-cleaning function. This reacts with natural daylight to break down dirt and rainwater then washes the dirt away, helping to keep the glass cleaner for longer.

A Refresh Glass conservatory roof also offers a far clearer view of up above than a plastic polycarbonate roof, helping to make a conservatory a brighter, lighter space, something that is due to the special aqua-tint of the glass.

The Refresh Glass conservatory roof installer was at the Taylor’s property for just over a day before the conservatory roof had been replaced and the space had been totally transformed, which is a pretty speedy turnaround.

The Taylors were delighted with the result and are looking forward to eating Christmas dinner in their conservatory this year.  The before and after pictures (below) speak for themselves.

Tagged with: conservatory, Construction, cool, extension, glass roof, Home Interest, Lifestyle, new home, Silver Surfers, warm

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What's the big deal about being green?



Being green is now what smoking was in the 50’s - fashionable and good for you. In the professional circles I’ve found myself mixing in over the course of my career in PR, the words ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ have come to be what I like to call buzz words. Truth is, if you’re an organisation working in the built environment, you’ll not fare well if you cannot communicate effectively that you and / or your products are green and sustainable.

PR Agency Manchester SmokingImagine Mrs Smith’s reaction when she realises that the windows you are trying to sell to her are not energy efficient – which will happen after she’s read about Planitherm’s superior energy efficient windows (in an article I wrote about the product being green and sustainable). She’ll evidently opt for Planitherm over your product – because the product is green and good for her. Plus, she’ll be that little bit more fashionable than that Mrs Jones from across the road, whose husband won’t let her have new windows. Result.

 

Plug over, it must be said that these days we’re constantly reading about changes in legislation and standards that practically force everyone to think more seriously about how green we are.

Legislation, that is, such as changes to Building Regs and standards like The Code for Sustainable Homes. As one speaker told the audience at a green seminar I recently attended at Grand Designs Live “we've only got one shot at this”.

 

Further to this, last week I attended the inaugural Build It Awards with my client, Polypipe (who was nominated for Best Heating & Plumbing Product for Overlay Lite). The event was hosted at the National Selfbuild and Renovation Centre in Swindon, and from the outset it was clear that one thing was being celebrated over and above everything else – sustainability.

 

With the housing market still stagnant, and many people now sitting firmly in their properties waiting for an opportunity to sell, there’s a wider thought among us that we would be better off improving, not moving.

 

Here is an opportunity for companies working within the built environment – your audience is ready and waiting, now it’s time to communicate to them.

 

Construction doesn’t have to be conservative, it can be fashionable. Sustainability and green living are both hot topics, and more importantly people are receptive to it – they want to live it.

 

So, next time you sit down to discuss your marketing or PR strategy, think about the opportunities that are in front of you, because despite the constant news that construction is suppressed, it’s far from it. PR Agency Manchester Home

 

P.s - Just in case you’re wondering, Refresh PR is sustainable. We recycle our paper and I use the same cup for my copious amounts of coffee each day. I also think twice about printing my emails, opting to read them on the screen instead. See, sustainable.

Tagged with: Build It Awards, Built Environment, Construction, Green Living, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, PR Agency Manchester, Smoking, Sustainability, The Green Deal

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Everyone’s heard of climate change, but are we ignoring it?



Guest blog by Naomi Tan, work experience (17th – 21st Sept)

 

Climate change is caused by many things such as pollution, deforestation, use of fossil fuels etc… Increasing levels of greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun, on earth, and prevent it being reflected back into space. This means the temperatures rise and the polar ice caps melt which leads to rising sea levels (which isn’t good for polar bears) and unfortunately means there could be more rain for Britain.

The ozone layer protects our planet from the sun’s harmful UV rays, however it is being damaged by things such as CFC’s (harmful chemicals which are found in aerosols) and as a result of this, half the ozone in the stratosphere has completely disappeared. To try to stop further damage to the ozone layer some CFCs are replaced with HFCs, however these are greenhouse gases which don’t help at all against climate change. Climate change has a lot of effects such as rising sea levels and change in temperature and weather.

So what are we doing to try and stop climate change? By 2020, 10% of fuel will be biofuel made from plants such as maize or sugarcane. Although this is better for the environment as the fuel is renewable and carbon zero, it also has bad effects for example causing hunger in other countries as the maize is used to fuel cars and not feed people.

Do your bit!

5 Top Tips to help save the planet:

·       Turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth. Leaving the tap running wastes up to 5 litres a minute. The water is just wasted and then has to be recycled and cleaned before it can go back to your taps. This process uses energy, and electricity which is produced when you burn fossil fuels. Burning these contributes to global warming.  

·       Turn off the lights when you leave a room or get energy saving light bulbs. This will reduce the amount of energy used, so could lower your energy bill significantly.

·       Turn your TV and computer off at night. Putting them on stand-by still uses energy, so if you turn them off at night you will save more energy and up to £30 a year.

·       Only fill the kettle with the amount of water necessary. Boiling the kettle uses a lot of energy, and the more water you put in, the more energy is needed to heat it and make it boil. This means that by only putting in the amount of water you need, you are using the minimum amount of energy required, which means you can save energy and money.

·       Have a quick shower instead of a bath. Having a bath uses on average 80 litres of water whereas a quick shower uses only around 30 litres.

(stats courtesy of Energy Saving Trust)

So, are you doing your bit?

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Home Interest, Lifestyle, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Dallas - The nation's new favourite?



It’s time to dust off the stetsons and trumpets! It’s over 30 years since Dallas first appeared on our TV screens and more than 20 since we last saw a TV episode, but it’s got the nation – almost three million of us that is (including our office) - hooked after just one week.

 

And it’s not just women tuning in to get a glimpse of Patrick Duffy (he’s 63 years young!) and Jesse Metcalfe. Since the first episode in the new series hit our screens via Channel 5 Refresh PR has been out and about networking and – unexpectedly – we’ve spoken to so many men who are proud to admit they tuned in…and loved it! And they said they would be glued to their sets tonight at 9pm when we will see the conniving JR in fine form taking on his brother in the battle for Southfork – just like the old days.

 

So, just what makes this soap so damn popular?

 

Dallas represents ‘youth’ for a generation of 30 and 40-something’s, where we somehow managed to illegally tune in without our parents finding out (remember, we didn’t have computers, let alone On Demand. We had four TV channels. But we still succeeded…). For the silver surfer generation, could it be that it simply takes them back with a bucket full of nostalgia to the glorious 80s? Dallas was absolutely crackers and unrealistic in many ways – and far away from our lives - but unmissable at the same time.

 

Casting Jesse Metcalfe as Bobby’s son Christopher attracts a slightly younger audience too. And it seems that the producers are keen to borrow fans from Desperate Housewives to assist the ratings, as that makes at least three actors who cross both programmes, including John Ross Jnr (Josh Henderson aka Edie’s teenage nephew) and Ann Ewing (Brenda Strong aka Mary Alice, the ‘wives narrator) – a good move we think.

 

 

So will this get families tuning in together? It’s a chance for husbands and wives to have an hour together to reminisce about their youth – at a time before they had even met maybe? It certainly set twitter alight with comments and we’ll be watching closely this week at the sentiment online.

 

So, could this be the kick we all need after an amazing summer of sport? Let’s face it, the Strictly line up is looking good, X Factor’s nearing Boot Camp, but can anything beat Dallas? Let’s hope the series has as strong storyline with as many twists and turns as its 80s counterpart. And please don’t invite me to any networking events post-8pm on Wednesdays. I need an hour to get home, get settled and get a brew. It could get awkward.

 

A Dynasty come-back anyone?

 

 

Tagged with: Home Interest, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Silver Surfers, Twitter

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Gary Neville is a red no more - he's a greenie



As reported in the MEN today, Gary Neville has scrapped his plans to power his £8 million ‘Teletubby’ home in the Lancashire countryside with a giant wind turbine. Despite getting approval from the council for the turbine; at 127 foot, neighbours protested that it would become an eyesore. Neville had initially wanted to create the ‘greenest’ house in Britain, and by installing the wind turbine, it would have allowed the property to be completely carbon neutral.

 

Not wanting to upset his neighbours, Neville has now revoked his plans for the turbine and is now opting for a different ‘eco-system’ to power his green bunker. This ‘eco-system’ will now include a ground source heat pump, sustainable rainwater harvesting and photovoltaic cells, which convert light directly into electricity.

 

As Refresh PR has clients such as Polypipe Home Solutions and Planitherm Glass which specialise in green products and technology, we appreciate the importance of the former Manchester United captain taking the initiative to make a difference to the environment. Living sustainably and becoming more environmentally aware is becoming a more important aspect of life, and with new government actions such as The Green Deal around the corner, ‘green’ issues are more topical than ever before.

 

It’s fantastic that Gary Neville is going green, and although the rest of us don’t have millions of pounds to spend on building our dream ‘eco home’; there are still hundreds of options available to those who want to make a difference. Be it installing underfloor heating or rainwater harvesting, which are part of the range by Polypipe Home Solutions to reduce energy and water bills or opting for the UK’s most energy efficient glass, Planitherm – all eco measures will make a difference.

Tagged with: Energy Efficiency, Gary Neville, Green products, Home Interest, Planitherm, Polypipe Home Solutions, Sustainable Living

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REFRESH PR PONDERS THE SURPRISE WINNERS AND LOSERS IN FEBRUARY 2011’s ABC FIGURES



We were pretty shocked when the ABC Circulation figures for February 2011 were announced yesterday – not only is there a general downward trend that suggests the predicted shift in Britain’s media consumption habits is finally gaining momentum, but some of the stalwarts of consumer media have been dislodged from their seemingly secure positions at the top of the ladder.

 

It’s not all doom and gloom, though; there are some definite winners emerging triumphant. Publishing houses BBC Magazines and IPC Media are up 0.5% and 1.1% year on year respectively, and despite Natmags dropping 2.4% year on year overall, its Good Housekeeping magazine boasts one of the highest rises in circulation at 5%. Zest, however, has fallen 11% over the past six months – does this mean we love our homes but not our bodies? Not so, if IPC’s Essentials is to be used as a guide; its circulation is up 9.6% in just six months. IPC will no doubt also be celebrating the fact that its seven home titles are also up year on year, indicating that the home is still the Great British public’s castle.

 

Hachette Fillipacchi has cause to crack open the champagne too, with Red magazine posting its highest ever circulation at 231,028, a rise of 2%. Elle is also up 2.6% on last year, taking some of the sting out of the publisher’s difficult decision to close Sugar magazine last month as a result of teens opting to consume media online or using smartphones.

 

Bauer Consumer Media, however, is more likely to be drowning its sorrows than toasting its success. With circulation down 8.6% year on year overall, its former jewel Heat Magazine has dropped 19.3% and Zoo magazine falls an alarming 32.8%. Could we finally have fallen out of love with celebrity culture? It remains to be seen whether this is the case, or whether people prefer the more instant gratification that platforms such as Twitter and celebrity bloggers such as Perez Hilton can deliver. Either way, PR practitioners up and down the country need to keep a keen eye on developments and adjust their strategy and their tactics accordingly – their careers depend on it!

Tagged with: Celebrity, Home Interest, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR, Public Relations, Retail

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Love is in the Air at Refresh ahead of Valentine’s Day



We’ve spent the past few weeks spreading the word about the Valentine’s Day Gifts being sold online by our fab client www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk – in fact we’ve spent so much time cultivating Look Sheets and speaking to journalists up and down the country that we thought it was about time we summarised our favourite Valentine’s Gifts for those of you reading the Refresh PR blog too...and whether you love or loath the day, there’s going to be something in here to make you smile, I bet!!

 

PERSONALISED MAP JIGSAW – rrp from £25.99

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/personalized-jigsaws-london-street-map-400-piece-jigsaws.html

These unique, made-to-order 400 piece map jigsaws centre on your place of choice – where you first met, got engaged, or tied the knot. The result is an intriguing street or Victorian puzzle that will draw on your local knowledge and map-reading skills. The box lid can also be personalised.

 

Love Rug SLANKET – rrp £24.99

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/home-gifts-for-women-love-rug-sleeved-blanket.html

There’s one massive Slanket fan in the Manchester office, and she’s enviously looking at these latest designs that are being sent out to journalists next week...hands off!!  They do look mighty comfy though...and at the last look were on sale too.

 

SECRET MESSAGE ARROW – rrp £14.99

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/gifts-for-men/personal-gift/secret-message-arrow.html

Hide a Valentine’s Day message inside this brushed steel arrow, which comes with five spare scrolls in case you don’t get your love note right first time round… or if you’re given to changing your mind!

 

Personalised Bottle of Champagne – rrp £34.99

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/personalised-boxed-bottle-of-champagne.html

These Personalised Bottles of Champagne are fantastic. A sophisticated present that stands the test of time, www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk allows you to personalise the bottle with a name and message on the label, and a name on the smart presentation box it arrives in.

 

PERSONALISED VALENTINE’S DAY NOTEBOOKS – rrp £8.20

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/personalised-notebooks-snuggle-monster.html

There’s a massive selection online which can be personalised for your Valentine.  We are fans and love the different designs.

 

HEART SHAPED PASTA – rrp £2.99

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/heart-shaped-love-pasta.html

Cooking for two on Valentine’s Day? Use this heart shaped pasta to get a few extra brownie points!  It’s currently being tested by a famous Mum’s website and they love it!

 

CHOCOLATE PIZZA – HEAVENLY HONEYCOMB AND CRUNCHY MUNCHY – starting at £11.95

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/10-inch-chocolate-pizza-heavenly-honeycomb.html

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/12-inch-chocolate-pizza-crunchy-munchy.html

With a choice of Heavenly Honeycomb or Crunchy Munchy the pizzas come in three sizes (7, 10 and 12 inch). Each pizza comes with a personalised card with up to 50 characters – we are big fans...

 

PERSONALISED 400 PIECE JIGSAW: TIMES NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGE – rrp £27.99

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/personalised-times-front-page-newspaper-jigsaw-400-piece.html

These 400 piece jigsaw puzzles feature the front page of either the London or The New York Times newspapers on a date of your choice. These fascinating jigsaws are individually created using high quality mono reproductions taken from original front pages dating as far back as archive editions from 1888.

 

HEART SHAPED UMBRELLA – rrp £18.99

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/heart-shaped-umbrella-hot-pink.html

Brighten up rainy days with this funky umbrella, a must-have for any romantic. When it’s closed, it looks like a normal stylish brolly, but once opened it takes the shape of a huge heart. Choose between a red, hot pink and candy pink umbrella too

 

HEART SHAPED FRYING PAN – rrp £4.99

http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/heart-frying-pan.html

Heart shaped pancakes anyone?  Well, it’s going to make your partner smile if nothing else, and the beauty is it can be used time and time again.

 

Want to have a look for some more?  Just visit http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/valentines-day-gifts/ and browse to your heart’s content!!

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Gifts, Home Interest, Manchester, PR, Public Relations, Valentine's Day Gifts

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Doing a bit for charity



Refresh PR Laura MashiterLast Sunday Refresh PR spent the morning helping our client Easy Access Self Storage in Heaton Moor raise funds for some worthwhile local charities. The company held a family fun day earlier in the year (which we got some great coverage for) and this time it was The Big Charity Car Boot sale.

We promoted this through the Facebook page (Dan the Super Storage Man), the twitter feed, on the website and in online directories, and through editorial on the community pages in the Stockport Express. The team spent days delivering flyers and posters around the area too.

Stockport's Pure Radio was fantastic and brought a DJ down from 9am-1pm to entertain the car booters and shoppers, plus gave us plugs on air and on the Pure Facebook page leading up to the event. Needless to say everyone got into the swing of things. In total the company has now helped to raise well over £2000 for Rachel's Wish Lanterns (affiliated to The Christie), MacMillan Nurses in Stockport and St Ann's Hospice in Stockport. Well done to all of the team and here's to more events soon!

Tagged with: Home Interest, PR, Public Relations