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Can delivery replace the microwave meal?’ Certainly not.



Today’s ‘big thought’ in Martin Bryant’s Big Revolution newsletter - which I recommend subscribing to if you haven’t already for daily insight into how technology is changing society - is Can delivery replace the microwave meal?

 

This stems from a statement made by the CEO of tech investor Naspers in an FT article about the rise of food delivery start-ups, and how they’re evolving, which reads: “I’m fairly convinced that 20 years from now, we will mostly not make our own food.”

 

Now, I’m all for embracing technology to reach new and innovative solutions that make our daily lives run more efficiently, and love shouting about exactly this on a daily basis for my clients, but to me, this statement is a tad farfetched.

 

For starters, the thought that in just 20 years, we will eat more food made by others than by ourselves is downright depressing. I know I don’t speak for the minority when I say I love a home cooked meal; the same goes for when I say I’m often disappointed by delivery food.

 

There is a real sense of reward and shared satisfaction in preparing food for others, and sitting around a table to enjoy it together is one of the only remaining constants in society that encourages genuine human interaction.

 

Despite attempts to lure people into thinking they’re getting value for their money by offering mass deals on heavily inflated ‘full’ prices, in most cases, preparing your own food is also much cheaper that ordering it online, and it doesn’t come with a hefty delivery charge.

 

What’s more, it’s significantly better for the environment, with delivery food often unethically-sourced, arriving in separate components, each with its own induvial plastic packaging, not to mention the additional emissions expended to deliver it and the tiny cut of the profits drivers get for doing so.

 

Bryant goes on to discuss how ‘dark kitchens’ - kitchens set up purely to serve delivery orders - are the new big thing, and how they’re a sign that investors believe there’s much more growth to come from the likes of Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

 

Taster has gone one step further, offering 'delivery-only’ food brands for distribution through food delivery companies, and while such businesses have proven time and time again that there is a huge market for quick and convenient food delivery which will undoubtedly continue to grow, it is important to note that the convenience of delivery food comes at a cost.

 

Referring back to the title of this blog and the question posed by Bryant, it might be a fair point to make that microwave meals could see further impact on sales with the rise of delivery food, but to say that this will play a larger role in our lives than food we have prepared ourselves by 2039 is absurd.

 

Though I will hold up my hands and admit I am probably more biased to home cooked food than the typical consumer, the day where the convenience of over-priced, unethical food in a sweaty plastic box takes priority over a home cooked meal will be a very sad one indeed.

 

 

 

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

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Influencers: Are they still influential?



2018 has undoubtedly been the year of the influencer… whatever industry you are in, from tech to plumbing and from food and drink to construction, there will be people with a huge online following who are now promoting brands and making a living from social media activity. This ‘trend’ of influencers has gained praise and criticism alike, because amongst all of the genuine influencers, you can often find people who have paid for followers in a bid to become ‘Instagram famous’.

 

I recently attended a brilliant and insightful Chartered Institute of Marketing influencer event at Manchester Metropolitan University. The event reaffirmed my belief that the good outweighs the bad when it comes to influencer marketing, and that despite the rise in the number of influencers, they are definitely still a force to be reckoned with.


The making of an influencer

The panel at the event started out by discussing what makes an influencer, for instance can you be an influencer if you have under 1,000 followers? After all some people have more than 1,000 followers that are just their friends. However, after some discussion, a conclusion was reached that in some cases fewer followers can mean a more engaged following. Through being more engaged, the followers often care more about what the influencer has to say, which can be more valuable.

 

By taking this view, this saturated market can definitely be seen as an advantage, as it just means more choice. For different opportunities, companies can target niches and specific sectors, whereas in the past only ‘traditional celebrities’ and large multinational companies with big budgets had the means to do this. Now, whilst celebrities with millions of followers are still most likely to promote bigger brands, micro influencers (people with 10,000-50,000 followers) are more accessible to smaller companies with smaller budgets.

 


The role of social media

Social media has also meant the rise of unlikely influencers, for example 30 years ago I don’t imagine you’d find many builders that could reach tens of thousands of people as easily as they can now via social media communities. This means that influencers are not just useful to obvious brands, there is an influencer for everyone! This view was supported by a number of statistics at the event. For example:

- 81% of marketers that have used influencers have found them to be effective

- 51% of marketers believe that they have a better customer base due to influencer marketing

- Social Media Explorer discovered that 92% of consumers are more likely to trust an individual (influencer) over a brand

 


Trusted voices

One of the final points made at the event was that 92% of consumers say that they trust word of mouth recommendations, and that influencers are basically an extension of this. For me, this really solidified the important role that influencers should play in a marketing strategy. We all listen to recommendations from friends, family, colleagues, and anyone with an opinion that we trust. And ultimately, that is all influencers are, just an extension of every day word of mouth recommendations. It’s nothing new, it’s just the social media tools that are different. And even with the rules of social media that state you must put #ad in any paid for posts, if followers trust and engage with an influencer, this #ad is irrelevant and people will still listen.

 


Importance in PR

So why should this be considered in PR? As reiterated throughout this blog, influencer marketing is going from strength to strength as the world becomes increasingly integrated. From a public relations perspective, this opens doors to a number of opportunities to improve and increase awareness for businesses through relevant influencers. 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Influencers, Lifestyle, PR, Product Placement, Public Relations

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What does Gen Z mean for the future of HR?



You may think this is a funny topic to be included in a PR blog, but it is actually the topic we explored in our latest roundtable, this time held for our client, Lakeside Hotel & Spa, earlier today. 

Lakeside Hote and Spa

 

To showcase the superior four star hotel as the ideal meeting venue in the North West, we wanted to invite key business professionals from across the region to experience it for themselves, and what better way to do this than with a roundtable?

 

The roundtable, attended by the likes of Nando’s, AO.com, Speedy, RBS and of course, a representative from Lakeside and Refresh PR, explored the topic of Gen Z, and more specifically their entry into the workforce. Chaired by Olive Strachan MBE, the group of leading HR professionals debated this generation’s strengths, challenges, attitude and future in the comfort of Lakeside's Oak Room.

 

Exploring the differences, and similarities, of the generations that have come before them the roundtable questioned how the role of HR can maximise young people coming into the workforce, who are true digital natives.

 

It was agreed that this generation sees social media and technology as a way of life, something that has always been there, meaning they are already on the forefront of future technological advances. The big question then was how, as HR professionals, should this be managed and utilised within organisations, for the benefit of them and their workforce?  

 

The attitude of a Gen Z workforce was also touched upon, with the acceptance that “it wasn’t like that in my day” being said by every generation before us, and more than likely every generation after us. Yes, they are different, but this shouldn’t be feared - it should be celebrated.   Lakeside Hotel meeting venue

 

Gen Z’ers have grown up in a world of instant gratification and the pressure to be perfect on social media; this is mirrored in their attitudes towards work, meaning they are hardworking, hungry to learn, but need the right recognition and encouragement.

 

Overall, it was agreed that a future with Gen Z in the workforce is exciting. They will be able to teach baby boomers, millennials and Gen X, just as much as the older generations will teach them. Mentoring will no longer be one way and communication between the generations is key to allow this continuous learning and development.

 

The debate continued long after the roundtable finished as everyone enjoyed lunch in the hotel’s conservatory overlooking Lake Windermere, proving that there is a lot to be said on this topic, but overall the future’s brightLake District meeting venue.

 

Meanwhile, the hard work of securing comments, features and Q&As on behalf of the delegates starts now for the Gen Yers (and some Gen Xs, yes) at Refresh PR - watch this space!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , future of work, Gen Z, Leisure, Lifestyle, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR debate, PR event, PR Manchester, PR roundtable, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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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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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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It’s award season! Make sure you shine



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

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


Pick the perfect project


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



Gather your evidence


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


Ask for extra support


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


Supporting material


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


Triple check


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


Deadline


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


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

 

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

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Metrics, measurement and analytics – the importance of evaluation



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reactive PR – how acting fast can get results



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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out the coverage here.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Bottoms up to Lidl’s New Campaign



We’re only six weeks into 2018 and already I am amazed at how technology continues to shape our lives and what consumers are now expecting from brands in terms of maximising these developments for marketing purposes. 

From VR and AR to wearable tech, brands are constantly looking for ways to connect with consumers and budget supermarket, Lidl is leading the way with its latest campaign.

Winebot, launched last week, allows consumers to engage with the brand using a chatbot on Facebook messenger, to get personalised wine pairings, based on their tastes and food choices.

As well as blanket coverage across titles such as Huffington Post, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, the Winebot creates genuine customer engagement; something that brands across the globe are desperate to achieve.

The Winebot helps to position Lidl as experts in the wine retail industry and also shows the brand cares about a customer’s eating and drinking experience, all while adopting new technology – not bad for a supermarket which has previously sat in Aldi’s shadow.

Going alongside its latest TV ad, which shows a customer who’s sceptical about Lidl’s wine offering, the supermarket chain is positioning itself as a market leader in the retail sector.

But the most impressive thing about the Winebot campaign is just how simple it really is, if you’ve got the knowhow and algorithms of course. Supermarkets recommending wines based on what food it complements is nothing new. Brands using your data to personalise its offering, either by eshots or via its website, has been around for years. Lidl has just taken these elements one step further and incorporated chatbot technology.

After I got over the initial “I wish I thought of that” moment, I could appreciate this campaign for all of its elements, but mainly for how Lidl combined the old with the new. Faced with new technology it is easy to go too far and potentially alienate current customers, but this struck the balance perfectly.

So cheers Lidl – pass me the pinot!

 

Tagged with: Lifestyle, Marketing, PR

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It’s raining cats and dogs for the British public



There’s no debating that when we’re chatting with friends, we use colloquialism and regional slang. In day-to-day life, this is the norm; no one speaks the Queen’s English all the time. Our weather reports, however, are soon to follow suit, with terms like ‘it’s brass monkeys’ and ‘chucking it down’ about to become commonplace.

The Met Office has announced it is planning to include regional slang terms in its weather reports after research found millions of Britons do not understand the official terms used.

I’m all for using regional terms in a professional setting where appropriate, and think no one should try and conceal an accent, but is translating this into our weather reports a good idea? The English language is a complex system to navigate, but this is another step in making it obsolete completely.   

Derrick Ryall, Head of Public Weather Service at the Met Office, said: “As the UK’s National Weather Service, we’re always looking to improve the way weather forecasts are communicated, to make them as useful as possible and increase their understanding.

 “Ultimately we hope to use the insights from our research to tap into local dialects and vocabulary to make it easier for people across the UK to understand the forecast and make informed decisions based on it.”

I understand where Ryall is coming from, and agree to a certain extent. People do need to understand weather reports, however with colloquialisms used more and more often in our everyday lives, I can’t help but think that the English language is dying a death.

As a PR person, I’m a particular lover of lexis and a pedant for punctuation, but I can’t help but think that the bigger issue that needs solving here is teaching the British public what the word precipitation means.

Tagged with: Lifestyle, North West

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Demand grows for backlink building campaigns



Increasingly, clients – particularly online retailers – are seeking the support of Refresh for digital PR. Delivered successfully, a digital PR campaign will not only increase a company’s ranking on Google, but will increase traffic to a website, reduce bounce rate and ensure there’s real buzz around a company in online media and social channels, which are continually increasing in popularity.

 

The wants of the media change daily. For many journalists working in today’s world, the aim is to keep users on their website or social media channels for as long as possible. By doing so, they prove the value of the content they’re writing to their editors, advertisers and audience in order to achieve cut through in a noisy and ever-changing industry.

 

This has, in turn, impacted the ways businesses think about their PR and marketing. Objectives are now targeted by online visibility scores, social engagements and the success of cross-channel campaigns. In addition, being on page one of Google for a key search term can make a company successful overnight – similarly, being bumped down to page three can also have catastrophic outcomes.

 

Refresh PR has substantial experience in creating digitally-led PR campaigns, targeted specifically with helping to improve a brand’s SEO. This is achieved by using clever techniques to secure coverage on high authority news and social websites which include live links back to a website.

 

By doing do for clients including Kagool, MyGlazing.com, GourmetMeatClub.co.uk, BuildMyGift.com, insureTAXI.com and more, we’ve driven hundreds of thousands of consumers to engage and buy from the brands via their websites, increased domain authority, secured bounce rates of less than 40% and moved our clients up Google rankings for many of their keywords - in some case, moving from page three to page one.

 

Refresh PR’s digital tactics are delivered with a business’ objectives in mind and aim to exceed expectations. If you’re interested in working with Refresh PR to improve your online and digital PR, get in touch today.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Lifestyle, PR agencies Manchester, PR backlink campaign, PR campaign essential, Public Relations North West, SEO and PR

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Strong start to 2018 as Refresh PR welcomes four new clients



Manchester-based agency, Refresh PR, has secured four new clients, delivering the agency’s most successful growth period to-date.  The PR agency, which recently celebrated its eighth birthday, has won new clients for its built environment, retail and lifestyle teams.

 

After a competitive five-way pitch, Cheadle based Equity Housing Group, a social housing provider with over 4,500 properties across the country, selected Refresh to manage its PR and deliver crisis communications. The campaign will work to reinforce Equity Housing Group’s established position within the housing sector.

 

When speaking of the win, Erin Heywood, head of B2B at Refresh PR, said: “Refresh PR has extensive experience in both the housing and construction sectors and our expertise in these areas shone throughout the pitch. The social housing market presents some exciting challenges and we look forward to working on Equity Housing Group’s PR and communications.”

 

Helena Banfield, marketing, brand and comms manager at Equity Housing Group, continued: “A number of agencies pitched for Equity Housing Group’s PR contract however we were impressed with the industry knowledge, out of the box thinking and enthusiasm from the team at Refresh PR. There are exciting times ahead for Equity Housing Group and we look forward to welcoming Refresh PR to be a part of that.”

 

Following project work in 2017, Refresh PR has also been appointed by Calla Shoes, a manufacturer of beautiful and stylish footwear for women with bunions, and Esteem – No Pause, a clothing collection designed specifically for women experiencing symptoms associated with the menopause. Calla and Esteem are both part of the successful Entrepreneurial Spark Business Accelerator, the world's largest free people accelerator for start-up and scaleup businesses.  

 

Using its extensive knowledge of the fashion, women’s lifestyle and e-commerce markets, Refresh PR has developed bold strategic consumer campaigns for both Calla and Esteem, utilising a clever mix of content, video, imagery and media relations to reach the brands’ niche audiences effectively.

 

Further cementing Refresh’s expertise in online retailing PR, BuildmyGift.com has also signed to work with Refresh PR. Launched in November 2017, BuildmyGift.com, was created out of a need for better and more personalised gifting options. Refresh PR has already used a hard-working press office and influencer outreach to secure prominent coverage for the ambitious start-up.

 

Caroline Gibson, head of consumer at Refresh PR, said of the wins: “Calla, Esteem and buildmygift.com were all new business launches that required intensive PR campaigns to introduce them to both the media, and the public. Conducting project work in 2017 demonstrated not only Refresh’s ability to provide PR that has clear influence on the profitability of the companies, but also our love for the work that we do. 2018 is an exciting time for Refresh PR and our new clients.”

 

Contact Refresh PR on 0161 871 1188 to find out more about the business.

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, Health & Beauty, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Stupidest monkey in the industry



We are less than two weeks into the New Year and fashion giant H&M has already caused a mammoth amount of controversy surrounding its ‘coolest monkey in the jungle’ hoody.

The product, which was modelled on a black child as part of the company’s marketing material, has sparkled a huge amount of backlash on social media and news channels alike, with many calling it ‘disgusting’, ‘inappropriate’ and ‘negligent’, for obvious reasons.

Many of the outraged customers hit back at H&M by heading straight to social media. And as the tweets began to grow, more and more people started to learn about the campaign, including celebrities and MPs. Singer The Weeknd has already cut ties with the company despite having a collaboration with them. The ‘Starboy’ singer took to twitter in a statement saying: “shocked and embarrassed by this photo. I’m deeply offended and will not be working with H&M anymore.”

Fashion brands are a huge part of our lifestyle and culture, and they go to great lengths to grow a loyal following and build relationships with customers. With this in mind it’s hard to understand how H&M didn’t think of the potential consequences surrounding launching a campaign featuring this material. Labelling and discrimination are always hot – but contentious – topics on the global agenda, so it’s bizarre to think H&M, a brand that famously stands for international equality and raising standards across the world, could have had such a poor judgement on the campaign.

H&M has since apologised, has recognised the concern and more importantly has admitted its failure. The jumper in question has been removed from sales and all images have been removed from their website.

I feel all of these are the first steps for H&M to try and build back brand loyalty and trust.  I think recovering trust amongst those who took offence probably requires more action than this, however it shows H&M has recognises an insensitive campaign – albeit a little too late.

 

Tagged with: Lifestyle, PR, PR campaign essential, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter

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Refresh Reflects: Refresh PR’s top moments



And finally, we look at our own successes of this year. It was tough to narrow it down to just five but we got there. Here’s to many more memorable moments in 2018.

  1. Winning CIPR’s North West Outstanding Small Agency – in November we scooped the prize for best small agency for our work over the past 12 months. We were hugely honoured to be recognised by our industry body and it is a real testament to the hard work of the team

  2. Introducing a new agency structure – at the start of 2017 we appointed a head of consumer and head of B2B. These two directors oversee the dedicated teams and lead the way in our key sectors; built environment, food and drink, lifestyle and tech

  3. Launching The Refresh Academy – following the appointment of our head of HR in 2016, we launched our internal training scheme this year to ensure our teams are delivering the highest standard of work to our clients

  4. Delivering PR that matters – PR is no longer about generating column inches, it’s about impacting behaviour and we’ve demonstrated that over the past 12 months. From increasing our client’s web traffic by 300 per cent to helping improve local plumbing businesses with our Heating Installer Awards, we know the work we’ve done is helping others succeed

  5. New team members – we all agree what makes Refresh PR what it is, is the people, so it was great to welcome new faces to both our B2B and B2C team as the agency evolved over the year

Tagged with: higlights, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, Top moments

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Refresh PR: Top Five Celebrities of 2017



What makes someone a celebrity is constantly changing and evolving but below are the ones that got us talking this year.

  1. Gemma Collins – the queen of memes. Whether people are laughing at her or with her is still up for debate, but the internet has elevated her fame in 2017 and no one can really understand why!

  2. Meghan Markle – with her engagement to Prince Harry earlier this month, Meghan has gone from Hollywood superstar to royalty. Her soon to be place as Duchess of Sussex is further demonstrating the evolution of the Royal family

  3. Ariana Grande – her response after the devastating arena attacks made her an Honorary Citizen of Manchester and we’re proud to have her

  4. The Women of Hollywood – for finally standing up to the male centric power that have long ruled the entertainment industry

  5. Holly Willoughby – a new look and a new wardrobe has helped raise Holly from loveable TV presenter to absolute fashion icon (who doesn’t love a rebrand?)

Tagged with: , Celeb, celebrities, Lifestyle, PR

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five 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

Tagged with: Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five Songs of 2017



Luckily for us there are very few arguments over the radio or playlists in this office, but we do find a very eclectic mix playing through the speakers at Refresh HQ.
  1. Slow Hands, Niall Horan – the former One Direction star takes the top spot for Refresh PR. The song must feature on at least 50 per cent of our playlists
  2. Noel Gallagher, Holy Mountain – celebrating our Manc roots, MD Laura picked Noel Gallagher’s latest tune as her song of 2018
  3. New Rules, Dua Lipa – our head of B2B, Erin, brought the girl power with new artist Dua Lipa’s song
  4. Justin Bieber, Despacito – it had to appear somewhere and it was B2B manager, Ash, that voted for this catchy song
  5. Blossoms and Chase & Status, This Moment – again celebrating Manchester music, head of consumer, Caroline, voted for this summer anthem, continuing her love affair with the Stockport band

Tagged with: 2017, Lifestyle, music, North West , PR Agency Manchester, Songs, Top 5

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five PR campaigns of 2017



We are constantly on the lookout for impactful PR campaigns – whether that’s big budget stunts or small scale reactive media relations. We monitor what makes consumers sit up and take notice. These are our favourite campaigns from brands other than our own.

  1. Hotels.com - ‘sanctuary’ for pool inflatables at a hotel in Majorca. Really fun idea that generated plenty of coverage and even though it’s one step away from what the brand offers, it’s still relevant. Just shows that clever ideas needn’t cost the earth
  2. Disney – Dream Big. A global photography campaign that showcases empowering images of real life women to encourage girls to aspire to be more than just a princess. A brave campaign by the creator of the world’s most iconic fictional princesses
  3. Greggs – Sausage Roll Jesus. Whether the controversy was all part of the plan or not this got people talking and generated a huge amount of coverage – both ideal outcomes for a PR campaign, whether it’s intentional or not
  4. Sky’s Ocean Rescue – a campaign that could make a real difference on a global scale. With lots of famous faces and maximising its connection to Sky News with plenty of coverage, so far this campaign looks like there’s no agenda other than clearing the seas. If successful it may lead to new legislation about plastics too, so has wider environmental impact
  5. Missing Type – going into the third year this campaign still packs a punch for National Blood Week. Removing key letters from iconic road signs, such as Downing Street, and brands such as Waterstones, even the Daily Mirror got involved. Even better, it is still making an impact and helping to drive people to donate blood

Tagged with: , Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five 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!

Tagged with: 2017, Advert, Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, TV

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five TV Shows of 2017



As Netflix has taken over TV for the first time ever (in the US at least) in terms of viewing figures, the way we are consuming our favourite shows may be changing, but here are the series that got us all talking in the office.

1.Cold Feet – this Manchester based series is still going strong even after 19 years

2.Line of Duty – returning for season four with a star studded cast this crime drama kept everyone talking

3.Blue Planet ll – what better way to spend a Sunday night than listening to the soothing tones of David Attenborough and learning about this amazing planet?

4.Love Island – love it or hate it, this show swept the nation, divided opinion and caused plenty of controversy. Check out the blog we wrote here

5.Dr Foster – in its second series, Suranne Jones kept everyone guessing with this intense drama


Tagged with: , 2017, Creative Agency, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, TV show

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Refresh PR celebrates being shortlisted for industry awards!



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


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

 

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


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

 

 

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

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How PR can make a difference to new businesses



Since Refresh PR launched eight years ago the team has successfully impacted its clients business, helping to build awareness and drive sales. But the businesses we’ve worked with have all been completely different and all come with various challenges and opportunities.

Recently, Refresh PR has worked with a number of start-up companies and in the process has learnt more about what it takes to help kick-start their business.

From the launch of Skinny Lager less than 12 months ago, which now has listings nationwide, to introducing Calla Shoes to the media, with a piece in the Mail Online increasing website visitors by 300 per cent – we’ve had huge success with these start-up businesses.

With all of our clients, the Refresh team immerses itself into the industry or sector they’re operating in, but with a start-up this is even more crucial. Often working with smaller teams, any insight or observation the team here at Refresh shares could not only make a difference to the PR success, but also the success of the business.

When starting a business it can often be difficult to know where to spend the marketing budget to make the biggest impact and ultimately provide the biggest ROI. So as part of our job as marketing professionals we take the consultancy role very seriously. If the business objectives can be achieved in a more effective way, other than PR, then we won’t be afraid of telling our client just that. Ultimately we want our client to succeed so we can grow with them.

Often with smaller in-house teams, start-ups rely on their agencies to be an extension of their business, even more so than a more established brand. This is one of the best parts about working with a start-up, as you can begin to see the genuine impact the team is having, across the board, not just in the marketing sector.

With a number of new start-ups, the world of PR and marketing is often completely foreign to them, as a number of these entrepreneurs don’t have this type of industry background. Again, this is one of the reasons we love working with start-ups here at Refresh – the education and support we can offer to make a genuine difference to a business.

Talking about the role Refresh PR played in launching the business, Stuart Cordingley of Gourmet Meat Club, said: “We started working with Refresh early on to help improve our SEO and generate brand awareness, ahead of a new website launch. In the six months we have been working with the team they have gone over and above the coverage delivery you’d expect from a PR agency, also acting as consultants across a wide range of marketing and business issues, helping to drive the launch forward.

“They’ve understood the needs of a new business and have become an extension of our internal team here at Gourmet Meat Club.”

If you are starting a new business, or would like to kick-start your current PR activity, then call 0161 871 1188.

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Health & Beauty, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester

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The UK’s most stunning view is revealed!



A panoramic view from the iconic Tower Bridge has taken the top prize in the 2017 Window with a View campaign.

An annual competition we run with our client, MyGlazing.com, the 2017 Window with a View campaign reached its dramatic finish with an award ceremony in front of regional and national media earlier this month.

Beating off stiff competition from the likes of The Lighthouse, Glasgow, and Portsmouth’s Emirates Spinnaker Tower, which took second and third spot respectively, Tower Bridge’s Walkways window was announced as the national winner after receiving thousands of votes from the public.

Every year, Window with a View invites the public to submit – and later vote for – the locations across the UK they feel share fantastic views from their windows. At each key stage of the competition, we liaise with the media to secure far-reaching coverage of the competition, focusing on online articles that include a link back to the MyGlazing.com website so we can prove we’ve been integral to the company’s internet traffic.

After an outstanding first year of the competition in 2016, we extended the competition further this year with the addition of Home with a View – an identical campaign that invites families to share the views from their homes; those only they are lucky enough to enjoy. This year’s winner was a beautiful property in Stratford-upon-Avon overlooking a tranquil lake. While also working to drive hordes of traffic to our client’s website, the Window with a View and Home with a View campaigns also work to promote our MyGlazing.com’s key messaging: the importance of modern, energy efficient glazing, the role glass plays in some of the most important parts of our lives and the importance of using a reputable supplier.

The third year of the campaign will launch in 2018. Keep up to date with our newsletters to find out more, and follow MyGlazing.com’s Twitter account (@myglazing) to hear more about its initiatives.

Tagged with: Lifestyle, MyGlazing, North West , PR Agency Manchester, Tower Bridge, Window with a View campaign

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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.

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

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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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Refresh PR is named Outstanding Small PR Agency 2017 by CIPR



Refresh is officially the North West’s Outstanding Small PR Agency 2017, according to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.


Crowned at the North West PRide Awards, the long established and most recognised awards in all PR professional’s calendars, Refresh was recognised for the steps that it has taken in the past year to listen to its clients in an ever changing business landscape, and adapt to the new requirements that customers demand from PR.


The best small PR agency in the North West

The CIPR judges said: “Recognising the need to evolve, Refresh PR has achieved great success across its business. From winning an impressive new line-up of clients to implementing sound business processes, the agency has delivered on what it said it would. It's commitment to CPD is evident, particularly its Refresh Academy initiative, while the quality of work is evidenced by the campaign they chose to highlight – a worthy Gold Award winner.”


Copywriting, press office, SEO, Google and more



The evolution at Refresh that the judges refer to is a direct response to understanding the needs and wants of clients, and the daily challenges that they face. From support with SEO, responding to Google Trends and the statistics on Google Analytics through to driving the strategic direction of PR, social media campaigns, managing PR in a crisis situation and organising roundtables – in addition to press office of course! – the role of the PR professional in 2018 is a very different one to years gone by. Clients need versatile agencies which can deliver informed and tangible campaigns driven by sound and unquestionable statistics and research – all backed with a creative that helps them to stand out from the crowd.

 




Best North West Business and Corporate Communications Campaign

 

Refresh PR, based in Manchester, also took home the award for the Best Business and Corporate Communications Campaign for its work in the food, drink and retail sector. The judges commented that: “Among several strong contenders in this category, it was a robust rationale, clear objectives and a well-informed strategy that helped Refresh PR win the award, not to mention tangible, measurable outcomes. Building on their success…the team applied what they learnt, combining it with some smart thinking to bring together current media and social media trends in the world of food.”


If you’d like to hear more about how Refresh PR’s consultants can help you, please get in touch via info@refreshpr.co.uk or 0161 871 1188.


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The future of Uber: will it crash and burn?



It has recently come to light that Uber, the taxi firm, will be fighting a decision made by Transport for London, to strip it of its licence. It was concluded last week that Uber has not been conducting thorough background checks on its drivers and hasn’t been reporting criminal offenses directly to the police.

The Uber chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, said he was sorry for the "mistakes we've made” and has admitted that the company needs to change its ways. However, its license is set to expire on the 30th September. The Mayor of London has acknowledged the apology but with London being the company’s biggest market in the UK, the main question on my mind is, has Uber completely damaged their reputation? Will it be able to overcome this hurdle, or will the brand image be tarnished forever?

What will make or break the firm will be the way in which it reacts and responds to the issues that it faces. It needs to ensure that it is being proactive in making a change in its actions. It must reassure the public that the same mistakes will not be made again as many customers may not feel safe getting into their taxis due to the reported increase in incidents of sexual assault by Uber drivers.

However, using the power of social media, it could be suggested Uber may be able to turn the situation around. It has begun a petition to “Save your Uber in London” and has already received 720K votes, suggesting the firm still has support from the public.

It has focused greatly on social media to appeal to the public, conducting a variety of tweets. It could be argued it is trying to play into the hands of the public by appealing to emotions, as it tweeted that 40,000 drivers risk losing their jobs and livelihood. The public have been engaging with social media to express their opinions about the issue.

It is interesting to question whether or not this situation has brought to light flaws in the company structure or, has it made people realise how crucial Uber is in their day to day lives?

The public response has been mixed, however, a recent article by the Evening Standard has suggested that Londoners are against the TfL decision. An analysis of a variety of social posts found that more than 51,000 online conversations have shown that 64% were against the decision and 25% were in favour.

It has been argued that it will be a major lifestyle change for those who have relied on the service for getting to work and could potentially impact the economy. This makes me question our moral stance: are we willing to put our ethics on the back burner for convenience? Rather than focusing on Londoners’ safety are we focusing on the practicalities?

It is clear that Uber has said all the things that we want to hear and has gained a lot of support from the public, but the next few weeks will be critical for the firm. It must show us that it is changing its ways before it reaches a point of no return. If it does manage to overcome the ruling it may be great PR for the firm as it shows just how much the public love them. And that is the best brand advocacy that money can’t buy.

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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


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Five tips to perfect a work social in time for Christmas!



When it comes to work socials, it’s important to get them right. A good work social can be valuable bonding time for your team; however a bad one can put staff off attending them in the future.

As a creative agency in Manchester, we have a vibrant team with an array of interests, so it’s not always easy to find one activity to suit everyone.

That being said, we also understand the importance of taking a break from the daily grind and working on building your office relationships. After all, you spend a considerable time of each week with your colleagues, so getting to know them can make a huge difference – you may have more in common that you think!

Here, we offer our top tips on how to plan and execute the perfect work social, regardless of different tastes!

Keep it relaxed

Though many believe organised fun is the best kind of fun, this isn’t always the case. After all, no one wants to give up their evening to be ordered around – even if it may seem fun to you! Let people relax and keep timings flexible so no one feels tied down. You want staff to relax and bond, not feel as though they are networking, so put a ban on talking about work!

Plan activities

Many people can be put off by the prospect of a ‘group activity’ however, these are a really good idea when it comes to crowd control. Activities such as a quiz will get everyone involved, create a competitive atmosphere and encourage teams to work together in a less formal setting. Often, if the social is simply drinks, people will split off and the team won’t spend as much time together. With a quiz, you can also incorporate a number of different rounds to play to people’s strengths - be it movies, music or sport!

Keep it exclusive

Try and keep it to simply the office team. Though inviting people to bring a plus one can be a nice way to create a bigger group, it can leave those without partners feeling a little singled out. It also encourages people to spend more time with their guests than one another, something you should always look to avoid. Remember a staff social is about the staff, so don’t dilute this!

Mix it up

If you are planning group activities, quiz teams or table plans, this offers a great opportunity to mix the teams up. Often it’s beneficial to team people up with others they may not always work directly alongside. This will allow people to strike up conversations with those they may not usually get the chance to talk to and create a better atmosphere in the office moving forward.

Book ahead

If you are planning a staff social, I would also recommend making bookings in advanced. Be it dinner or drinks, try to get a bar or restaurant to reserve you an area. This will ensure you have a plan and prevent nights out turning into turmoil as people decide where to go. Often staff will be willing to try out most places and just need a prompt!

Keep it varied

Not everyone is the same, and you may have members of staff who are unable to, or choose not to drink, so ensure this isn’t the focus of the whole evening! If you have activity on booked, such as cocktail making, ensure there is a non-alcoholic option available. If you are in bar, make sure there is additional entertainment, other than simply the next round of drinks!

 

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It’s Roald Dahl Day!



Happy Roald Dahl Day! Here at Refresh PR, we’re reminiscing about our favourite Roald Dahl books and celebrating the life of the much loved children’s author. Some of the team have shared their views on the books that added a sprinkle of magic to their childhood.

Sarah (Director)

Favourite Roald Dahl book - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was my favourite Roald Dahl book as it appealed to me on two very different levels. The story really tapped into my imagination and senses.  I could smell the chocolate river, feel the marshmallow pillows and see the lemonade swimming pools. I desperately wanted to experience this chocolate factory.  Dahl’s ability to capture my vivid imagination made the strong moral message about good behaviour and kindness being rewarded over greed, laziness or ill-manners, even more profound. “

Erin (Account Director)

Favourite Roald Dahl book - George’s Marvellous Medicine

“The syntax Roald Dahl uses throughout George’s Marvellous Medicine is some of his very best – it’s practically poetry. I used to love imagining I was George, cooking up special potions in my kitchen, whether for good or bad. I think my mum probably came across a few random concoctions in the house, actually. Dahl is to blame!”

Christy (Account Manager)

Favourite Roald Dahl book - The Twits

“I have always loved Roald Dahl books and first read The Twits at school. It’s a bit of a twisted comedy, with some really interesting characters, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much!”

Emily (PR Assistant)

Favourite Roald Dahl book - The BFG

“This book will always remind me of my childhood. I immediately fell in love with the loving character that is the BFG, and I always wanted him to be my best friend. Roald Dahl’s ability to transport me to a magical world of dream catching and snozzcumbers was mesmerising.”

Aishleen (Account Manager)

Favourite Roald Dahl book - James and the Giant Peach 

“Roald Dahl had the amazing ability of bringing words on a page to life and truly capturing the imagination of any child, or adult, that picked up his work. There’s no holds barred with Dahl’s work, nothing is off limits and the fact that James and the Giant Peach was banned in numerous countries due to drink and drugs references makes it, in my opinion, legendary.”


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The Monarchy’s changing image



A few weeks ago I stepped foot into the adult world. I began my year long work placement at Refresh PR. Two years of university life definitely did not prepare me for the early morning starts that I was due to face. As I stumbled off the train, trying not to get swept along in the sea of people, I made my way to the office.

As I stepped into the business in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, I was greeted by many smiling faces, making me feel extremely reassured. As the days passed, the words blog, content marketing and SEO were making their way into many discussions and I knew it wouldn’t be long before it would be my turn to put my skills to the test. As if by magic, Kate Middleton kindly decided to fall pregnant as I began to compile ideas I would discuss in my blog.

The Royal Family, arguably the most famous family in the world, are constantly featured in many forms of media. From Prince Harry’s latest escapades to Kate Middleton’s sartorial choices, their presence is so influential, the British public seem to be in awe of them. The monarchy has developed a way to portray themselves in predominantly positive headlines, from hosting pop concerts at the Palace for golden and diamond jubilees, to attending various charity and sporting events.

It got me thinking: what is it that makes them so popular? How have they been able to transform their image from an old fashioned institution to top of the news items on the Daily Mail? Is it their new found ability to connect with the public? Although some may have viewed the release of nude pictures of Prince Harry in Vegas as obscene, it actually showed him as a personality, and one that likes to enjoy himself as much as the next person.

As we remember the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, the ‘People’s Princess’, it could be argued that her legacy continues through her children and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Kate Middleton has helped change the perception of the royal family for the younger generation. Her fashion choices have helped to develop a positive spin on the monarchy. The public admire her elegance and high street fashion choices, and takes note of the ways in which she dresses her children. Outfits similar to those that Prince George and Princess Charlotte wear have been circulating high street clothing stores.

The monarchy’s new image is essential to their survival, and one that brands should take note of. It is never too late for a tired brand to have a revival.

If you think your company could do with a PR refresh, call us on 0161 871 1188.

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We’re celebrating #LoveLambWeek



Here at Refresh PR we love all things food. Whether that’s eating it, talking about it, making it, or working with some of our favourite foodie brands – it’s a major part of our lives.

But with Great British Bake Off and The Big Family Cooking Showdown taking over our TVs, like many PR agencies in Manchester, we are now an office full of budding chefs! And thankfully, we have the experts on our side.

To celebrate Love Lamb Week, we asked the team at GourmetMeatClub.co.uk to share their top tips on cooking lamb, and they’re so good we couldn’t keep them to ourselves.

Select the best cut: For a lean cut, opt for a leg of lamb. This cut is best served pink and juicy in the middle yet crisp on the outside. For a slightly fattier cut, opt for a lamb shoulder, which is full of rich, traditional flavours. This cut is perfect for slow roasting, which gives a beautifully tender result

The warm up: Before cooking, allow the lamb to come to room temperature by removing it from the fridge an hour earlier, this will help the meat cook more evenly

Enhance with flavour: To add simple flavour to lamb, start by rubbing the top of the cut with a small amount of salt and pepper. Then make serval small incisions to the meat using a sharp knife and place a small sprig of rosemary and garlic clove into each incision – this will give the lamb a fresh and fragrant flavour as it cooks

The cooking: Always preheat the oven fully before cooking the meat. To guarantee the cooking time is correct, use the following guide:

Ø  Leg (whole, half, boneless) cook at 180C/Gas Mark 4: Pink – 25 minutes per 500g, plus 25 minutes: Well done – 30 minutes per 500g, plus 30 minutes

Ø  Shoulder (whole, half, boneless) cook at 170C/Gas Mark 3: 40 minutes per 500g, plus 40 minutes

Ø  Rack – Seal the meat in a pan then cook at 190C/Gas Mark 5: - Medium – 15 minutes; Well done – 20 minutes

Baste whilst cooking: Whilst cooking remove the lamb from the oven once or twice and drizzle the cooking juices over the top using a spoon or a turkey baster, to ensure the meat stays tender and doesn’t dry out

Knowing when the lamb is cooked: If cooking a slow roasted joint such as a lamb shoulder, you will know the meat is cooked through when the lamb is falling apart. If cooking a lamb cut that can be served pink or well done, use a meat thermometer to gauge the internal temperature – medium should be 60C and well done should be 70C

Allow the lamb to rest: Once cooked, remove the lamb shoulder, rack or leg from the oven and allow it to rest for 20 minutes before carving. This gives the juices chance to settle back into the meat, which will make the meat juicier and easier to carve

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From fake farms to hepatitis C: how can our supermarkets avoid a naming and shaming dilemma



This week it was widely reported that an unnamed British retailer was found to have sausages on its shelves containing hepatitis C. This follows another recent story, claiming Morrisons, alongside other supermarkets, had previously been stocking produce from ‘fake farms’, and as a result would now only be stocking British products.

With Britain’s largest and most loved retailers continually facing scrutiny, how they can manage a situation when it does flare up? As a PR agency, we understand the importance of communicating in a timely and effective manner when it comes to a crisis.

Though no two crises are the same, brands can keep a few key points front of mind when it comes to how to handle these effectively. So listen up Tesco, Morrisons and the many more to come, these points may come in handy!

1.    Be honest

Don’t add fuel to the fire by not being honest, so we would always recommend coming clean about a situation. Often if you don’t, it can whip up an unnecessary media storm, leading to ongoing speculation and make the brand look evasive. Being straight up about your position shows you have nothing to hide, are addressing the situation and are being transparent with your customers.

2.    Be direct

Release a statement as soon as it is requires, and be clear in what you say. Don’t use industry terminology or complicated language; ensure the statement is something your everyday customer will be able to understand and the media won’t be able to misinterpret.

3.    Pick a spokesperson

When someone delivers a statement to the media, it’s important the person is close enough to the situation to understand its gravitas. Often brands will send marketing or PR professionals to speak due to media training, however if product issue arises – send a product developer, financial – send a senior member of the finance team or staffing, let it be HR. It is however important to ensure anyone speaking on behalf of the company is media trained and confident in the subject matter. Or if in doubt send the MD or CEO to show how seriously the company is taking the incident.

4.    Give solutions

The public will want to know what your brand is doing to rectify the situation at hand. Will it be recalling the product, ending a relationship with a third party supplier or putting a policy in place to prevent the situation occurring again? If so, tell the customer!

5.    Make change happen

If you want to be seen as a trusted brand, it’s important not to make mistakes twice. Learn from them and put strict policies in place to ensure change happens. Revaluate policies and their impact every six months: ultimately have they worked or do they need looking at again? Trust can be rebuilt, but if change doesn’t happen, in a market spoilt for choice, consumers can easily shop elsewhere.

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Proud to be in Manchester



As Manchester gears up for a weekend celebrating diversity, and more importantly love, Refresh PR has even more reasons be proud of this great city.

As a creative agency in Manchester, the team has been busy observing how the different brands around the city are planning to celebrate Pride.

A city known for its acceptance and forward thinking ways, we are seeing rainbow flags appearing everywhere, while bars, restaurants and brands are all putting their individual stamp on what is set to be a fantastic event.

From Almost Famous’ Rainbow Burgers and Albert Schloss’ Pride Kronuts to I Love MCR’s rainbow heart t-shirts and our very own Wish Upon a Sparkle’s fabulous pride design with legendary Manchester Drag Queen, Anna Phylactic - brands are going above and beyond to show their support for the LGBT community.

So, in honour of Pride, here are the top three reasons Refresh PR is proud to be based in Manchester:

1.       Manchester’s Music Scene

Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis, The Courteeners, Blossoms, The Smiths, even Take That, the list goes on. Manchester is the home to many a music legend and this flows through our fair city. From the many gig venues across the city, to the buskers on Market Street, it is hard to ignore Manchester’s musical heritage and you would be hard pushed to find a city bursting with more talent and passion.

2.       #ACityUnited

Blue or red (or neither in my case), whether you like football or not, you can’t deny that Manchester boasts some of the best (and most iconic) teams out there. People come from all over the world to visit our football stadiums and watch some of the most talented players in the sport. Even for someone who couldn’t tell you the difference between off-side and an indirect free kick I can still feel smug that if I wanted to watch a match I have two teams to choose from, right on my doorstep.

3.       The People of Manchester

Ultimately it is the people who make this city great. We are big, bustling city yet people still take the time to stop and chat, help other people and make a difference to the community. But as well as all the everyday Mancs out there, there are also some very un-average residents of this city. Alan Turing, Emily Pankhurst and Tony Wilson, to name but a few. With these individuals all hailing from Manchester it is clear to see that this one city has changed the world.

Tweet us @RefreshPR and tell us why you’re proud to live and work in Manchester

 

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Will GDPR take a bite out of your business?



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Keep it topical

 

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

 

Keep it audience specific


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

 

Treat your customers

 

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

 

 

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Love Island – A Marketers Dream?



Confession time: I am currently going cold turkey, suffering withdrawal symptoms from my latest TV addiction – Love Island.

 

For the past few months I would sit at my desk desperate to talk about last night’s ‘muggy’ behaviour and who everyone’s type was on paper. But now it is over and all I have to remind me of the good times is my Love Island personalised water bottle (not even ashamed). Celebrity endorsement and PR

 

But although the show may be over, its marketing power isn’t. Superdrug was the headline sponsor for the second year running, but there are plenty of other brands that are utilising the show’s runaway success to reach their target audience.

 

From the contestants’ constant sponsored posts on social media to Primark’s range of slogan t-shirts, there has emerged a range of new celebrities and a common interest that binds this young audience together.

 

I imagine that the names of the show’s finalists will be banded about in brainstorms in every creative agency in Manchester and beyond, and we will see them feature in marketing campaigns for years to come. For example last year’s contestant Olivia Buckland has just been announced as the face of Cocoa Brown – securing plenty of coverage for the brand with the campaign launch.

 

So what is it that makes these game show contestants just so appealing? Well firstly they’re all ridiculously good looking, but it’s more than that. Brands have used models to showcase their wares for decades, but these are a new breed. They are models who consumers watched live their lives on a daily basis and created a genuine relationship with. Having these people represent a brand means that the relationship and bond with the ‘model’ can instantly transfer to the product or service you’re trying to sell.

 

Secondly, they’re just like us. Before they went on Love Island they were just normal people with normal lives and jobs – hairdressers, careers advisors and bomb disposable officers (OK, not that normal). Which means that the glamourous lifestyle they’re now living seems almost attainable to mere mortals like us. Their teeth are so white because of this tooth paste – OK I will give it a go. Their bodies are so toned because they drink this protein shake – sign me up…you get the picture!

 

So for now I am going to sit back and watch how brands utilise these new found celebrities – the good, the bad and the ugly. Because for all the brands that get it right with their celebrity endorsements, there are always going to be some that look like they’re jumping on a bandwagon.

 

When considering a celebrity endorsement, it is important to consider the brand and its audience – all of the audience – not just the ones you’re wanting to target, as you don’t want to lose customers in the bid for new ones. As well as that you need to closely look at the celebrity; no matter how old or new, you don’t want their scandals or misdemeanours reflecting on your brand.

 

It can be a minefield but when done properly it can have a really significant impact on a campaign and brand reputation. So if you want to talk about incorporating celebrities into your marketing campaign to boost its reach then contact us at info@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, creatiive agency Manchester, Leisure, Lifestyle, North West , PR agencies Manchester, PR campaign essential, Product Placement

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Refresh PR proves a success for start-ups



As an entrepreneur, launching a new business is an incredibly exciting time, but also one that carries overwhelming commitment and often, a lot of stress. It is therefore important for any entrepreneur to be working with companies that are equally excited and invested in the business’ success.

 

For new, often unheard of businesses, PR can play a significant role in raising awareness of a brand to their target market; introducing them to a potentially lucrative audience. Get it right, and it’s a worthwhile investment for the business owner and can help build the foundation for a successful future.

 

In order for PR to be effective for new businesses, the start-up and the agency have to be completely aligned on the business objectives. The start-up businesses have to be clear on what they want to achieve from PR – from listings and sales to brand awareness or improved SEO, while also taking the professionals’ advice on the best approach to achieve these goals and what will most benefit the wider business plan. An open and honest relationship from the start, as well as clear account direction, is required to deliver strong results.

 

Over the past few months, Refresh PR has worked with some impressive start-ups, including SkinnyBrands, the producer of Skinny Lager and Skinny Cocktails, and Calla Shoes, a bespoke shoe designer for women with bunions.

 

With each client, we worked to deliver results quickly and efficiently, understanding the client (and any investors) would need to see return on investment within weeks, not months.

 

For Calla, we carried out a press trip introducing the brand to some of the UK’s largest consumer magazines including Prima, Good Housekeeping, and newspapers including the Daily Express, all of which offer the perfect reader demographic for Calla.

 

Earlier this month Calla was included within the Daily Mail’s round up of brands that were set up by entrepreneurs looking to solve their own health issues. This feature went into the Daily Mail and the MailOnline, a combined reach of nearly 240 million, increasing traffic to the Calla website and resulting in a considerable increase in sales, a phenomenal and potentially pivotal achievement for a start-up brand.

 

For SkinnyBrands, trade press was a huge focus in order to secure listings in the UK’s major multiples, a target the brand quickly achieved. Buyers in Tesco and Morrisons, which now stock the product, expressed that they have been impressed by the brand’s unique product offering, as well as its strategic PR and marketing campaign running parallel to the sales success.

 

Seeing the tangible difference that a piece of coverage can make to sales isn’t always something you encounter every day in PR, but with start-ups, this impact is noticed and hugely appreciated.

 

If you are a start-up and would like to have a conversation on how we could support you, then please give us a call on 0161 871 1188 or email info@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Good product placement examples, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR for start-ups, Public Relations North West, Wellbeing

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The great big gaping gender pay canyon



If you haven’t seen pictures of Chris Evans and Gary Lineker splashed all over the front pages, social media, news websites and probably your WhatsApp this week, where the hell have you been hiding?

If you didn’t know, the country is currently in uproar as to the huge fluctuation in wages being paid to male and female stars of the BBC, after the corporation published the figures to the masses.

The numbers show that men who work for the BBC are being paid wages significantly higher than their female counterparts. Evans, Lineker and fellow presenter Graham Norton, the three highest paid males at the Corp, earn an average of £1.6m a year – EACH. In comparison, the three highest paid females – Claudia Winkleman, Alex Jones and Fiona Bruce – earn an average of £400,000 a year each. That’s a great, big, whopping, £1.2m difference in pay.

Back in May 2016, when it was announced the salaries of the BBC’s top earners would eventually be released, information from Companies House was uncovered by national journalists who challenged the BBC on the numbers. They hinted at this most recent outcome, but the BBC refuted it, saying the information was misleading.

But now, 14 months down the line, the prophecy has been proven.

And I’m shocked. Not at the wages (I saw it coming), not that the country is upset (I saw it coming), but that this is even still a THING. Perhaps it’s because I work for a PR agency that would never dream of paying members of staff differently based on their gender. But, regardless, I simply fail to understand how it could ever be justified in any organisation – least of all one paid for by the public.

Yes, a lot of organisations still have a long way to go in getting the pay split right, but the BBC should be the one setting the standard, telling people this draconian practice is unfair and unjustified. Unfortunately, in this instance, it has taken its duty to be a fair representation of the nation a little too seriously.

By the way, if it were the other way round, I’d be saying the exact same thing but in favour of the fellas. Inequality really grates on me, and to find out the shows I’ve been watching, headed up by dynamic male/female duos are rewarding said couples differently, leaves a bitter taste.

Given that just five days ago, the first ever female Doctor Who was announced, I wonder whether the BBC will be heading forward paying Jodie Whittaker less than they did Peter Capaldi, Matt Smith, David Tenant, Christopher Eccleston… 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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…

 

 

 

 

 

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Food Porn Winners Announced



 

On the second day of NRB, the Refresh PR team joined headline sponsor Stephensons, STM Photography, White Noise Media and this year’s compere, Virgin Radio presenter Tim Cocker, to make the highly anticipated winners announcement in front of the 2017 finalists and other leading industry professionals.

 

After months of searching the north for the most delicious looking food, plus holding four cook-offs and one judging day, the finalists were excited to finally hear the judges’ decision.

 

Our esteemed judging panel had the task of pouring over the final images from STM Photography, determining a winner for each of the Alternative Eats, Fine Dining, Casual Dining and Boutique Pubs categories, as well as the overall winner for the North West and Yorkshire.

 

This year saw entries from some of the north’s most prestigious eateries including Manchester hot spot Tattu, Iberica in Leeds and the Grand Hotel and Spa in York.

 

The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House took the title for the North West, for its Laksa with Barbary Duck, while Black Swan was crowned victorious for Yorkshire, for its Pan Fried Snapper.

 

Category winners: 

 

Yorkshire

             Fine Dining – The Grand Hotel and Spa, York – Autumn Vegetables

             Boutique Pubs – The Star Inn, Harome – Fridlington Beetroot Terrine

             Alternative Eats – Shoot The Bull, Hull – My Version of A Smore

             Casual Dining – Black Swan, Leeds – Pan Fried Snapper

 

North West

 

             Fine Dining – The Flixton, Urmston – Prosecco and Gin Cheesecake

             Boutique Pubs – My Thomas’s Chop House, Manchester – Corned Beef Hash

             Alternative Eats – Menagerie, Manchester – Cloud Affogato

             Casual Dining – The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Windermere – Laksa with Barbary Duck

 

After another fantastic year of the Food Porn Awards, we will be opening entries for the 2018 competition in June, and for the third consecutive year will be encouraging restaurants from across the north to submit their most mouth-watering dishes. For regular updates on next year’s competition, follow the awards on Facebook (Food Porn Awards), on Twitter (@Foodpornawards) and on Instagram (FoodPAwards).

 

 

 

 

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A perfect mum? No. A perfect PR campaign? Perhaps.



 

One of my closest groups of female friends each have an additional few years on me. So while I’m 27 going on 31, some of them actually ARE 31. And like millions of other 30-something women, they have recently become new mothers (or are preparing to be).

 

It’s been a privilege to watch them morph from their party animal, not-a-care-in-the world selves, into empowered providers to little people who depend on their every whim. To me, they are stronger and more beautiful than they ever have been because of that, and I do my best to tell them often.

 

But they don’t always think that – in fact, I’d say they rarely feel that way. And one new PR campaign from Baby Dove has proven exactly why.

 

Donning the slogan ‘Is there a perfect mum?’ alongside an image of a highly polished young woman cradling her (also perfect – it has no cradle cap or skull bumps) baby, at first glance you’d disregard the campaign as yet another attempt to make new motherhood appear breezy and beautiful. And many have, with the campaign receiving a mixed opinion on social media.

“Where does she get her hair done?” ask some. “How does she find the time?” ask others. “Where is the manic look in her eye?” – one of my favourite questions posed.

 

However, there is more than meets the eye to this campaign. The woman in the picture, Aimee, is actually a graphic made up of artificial intelligence gathered from other new mother advertising and PR campaigns. Aimee is an amalgamation of thousands of images real mums are exposed to in the media, mainly UK women’s lifestyle and parenting magazines. And therefore, Aimee isn’t a real mum.

 

Round of applause to Baby Dove. Yes it takes further research to find out the reality behind the campaign, but its simple posing of the question ‘Is there a perfect mum?’ is enough in itself to start challenging the ideal.

Yes Aimee looks perfect – but you can guarantee that, if she were real, there would be a minimum of 10 times a day where she looks a bag of rags, is exhausted, questions why she made this choice and wonders when it will ever start getting easier. Because THAT (I’m told), is normal. And that is what makes the perfect mum.

 

So if you’re a new mum out there, take a look at this campaign and see it as an opportunity to disregard the flawless women you see In the pregnancy/parent press. They’re even less real than Aimee is – and only YOU know what is perfect for you and your little one.

 

I hope there will be more PR campaigns of a similar ilk coming our way (if one could tell me it’s okay to eat fast food three times a week, that would be grand).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three things we loved at NRB



 

 

On Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 March Refresh PR joined thousands of other passionate foodies from across the North at the annual Northern Restaurant and Bar Show 2017.

 

The NRB brings together industry professionals, food and drink lovers, as well as suppliers from across the North for an action packed two days, with 300 exhibitors, 65 live demonstrations and over 7,500 trade professionals.

 

The event was a highly anticipated one in the industry calendar and here are our top three highlights.

 

1.       The Food Porn Awards

Of course NRB is particularly special to Refresh PR as we joined our client and creator of the Food Porn Awards, STM Photography to announce the Yorkshire and North West winners of this year’s coveted prize.

The announcement took place on the second day of NRB in The Hub. This highly anticipated announcement came after months of trawling the region to find the most mouthwatering and food porn-worthy dishes, all of which were be available to view on the day.

 

Huge congratulations to Black Swan for taking the Yorkshire title and The Gilpin Hotel and Lake House for scooping the North West coveted prize, as well as all the other deserving category winners.

The winners’ announcement also gave us an opportunity to showcase products from another client, SkinnyBrands. All those who attended were treated to Skinny Lager and Cocktails – which went down a storm.

 

2.       Manchester Three Rivers Gin

Due to its geographic origins this is a gin that has been on my radar for some time now and as a gin lover – it’s one I was excited to know more about. So when I heard they would be exhibiting this year, I was delighted.

The Manchester Three River Gin is actually based in Green Quarter, an unusual spot for a boutique gin distillery, but recently I’ve seen this brand pop up behind the bars of several Manchester haunts. And after tasting the drink at NRB and learning more about the brand, I can safely say I will be changing my drink habits and supporting Manchester’s gin economy more often!

 

3.       Getting up close and personal

Northern Restaurant and Bar Show was a hub of activity across the two days and it gave us a fantastic opportunity to network with some of the North’s most prolific food and drink professionals.

Since moving to Manchester seven years ago, there has been an unprecedented number of openings including bars, restaurants and eating concepts. It’s really what I love so much about this city – the amount of variety on our door steps, which leaves us spoilt for choice.

NRB gave me the opportunity to see the faces behind a lot of the establishments I find myself in far too often, meet some of the most successful restauranteurs in the North, as well as introducing me to some new brands I am now keen to try.

 

We’re already excited for next year!

 

 

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National Careers Week 2017



Do you love creative writing and social media? Does the media excite you, and do you thrive off a fast paced environment? Well PR or marketing could be the career path for you.

To celebrate National Careers Week, We interviewed Refresh PR’s HR Director Sarah Mashiter, to find out her top tips on what it takes to nail an interview in the creative sector!

1.       With over 10 years’ experience working across a breadth of senior HR roles, we’re sure you’re aware of a few indicators that show whether someone is passionate about a role. Do you look for anything in particular within the first 15 minutes of meeting someone?

Sometimes all it takes is 15 seconds! The first thing I look for when I meet someone is that they are warm, friendly and are smart in appearance. Great eye contact and a firm handshake are a great start too, as I’m looking for people who can easily build rapport.

 

2.       What would you say are the key skills for a job in public relations?

I like to use what I call the five C’s. First of all, Collaboration is key. It’s very important for us to collaborate internally, but also with other agencies to create successful integrated campaigns. Everyone has different ways of working, so it’s a great skill to be able to work effectively and be supportive of others.

Creativity is also a vital skill, should you decide to work in PR. This is the ability to not only generate new ideas, but to also use them to solve problems and achieve great results.

Be conscientious. This includes being dependable, responsible, organised and always going the extra mile.  

Critical thinking is an important part of working in PR as it allows you to analyse, evaluate and create. The role has evolved and there are now higher expectations with fewer resources. I want people to be able to think analytically and solve problems without the benefit of previous experience.

Be committed to the job, by this I mean living and breathing the media, reading the news 24/7 and staying up to date with changes in the sectors that will have an impact on our clients.  

 

3.       Public relations is a very fast paced industry. Do you have any tips for preparing yourself for a busy working environment?

Work on building your resilience. This will give you the ability to learn and bounce back from your failures, stay positive and manage your emotions.

I’ve worked with Cargyll on a training programme to help leaders improve their resilience. Through this I learnt just how important it is to look after your health and wellbeing, as it relates to how well your brain functions. Did you know the brain is split in to three levels? The 3rd level is the thinking part of the brain concerned with higher functions – decision making, problem solving and goal achieving. But the heart is capable of switching off the 3rd level – so to avoid this, breath steadily and deeply during challenging times, as it will help you to think clearer.

Compartmentalising is something I also use that allows me to create dedicated times in the day to do specific work-related activities. Try grouping similar tasks together to get through tasks easily – it works for me!

 

4.       Research shows that more than 50 per cent of graduates end up in non-graduate jobs. Why do you think this is?

There are simply a lot more graduates and not enough highly skilled jobs. It all comes down to the quality of career guidance at A-Level and GCSE stage. Very few people at that age know what they want to do, so we need to look at how we inform students about their options and the most effective way of achieving their chosen path.  

 

5.       It’s becoming more apparent that students can’t rely solely on a degree to get a job. What would you recommend they do to stand out from the crowd?

Make the most of the summer holidays by getting relevant work experience and going over and above with internships. However, not everyone can take part in an internship, so alternatively I look for experience in a fast paced customer facing environment as it shows that you can work under pressure and can communicate with a variety of people.

Your hobbies and interests are also a great way of standing out from the crowd. Are you the captain of your netball or football team or do you write a blog? This is one way we can see who the natural leaders are and those who like to take responsibility.

Consider your social media presence. Follow the media and engage with them, and avoid posting content that you wouldn’t want brought up in a job interview.

 

6.       Careers Week isn’t only for students, do you think it’s ever too late to change career paths?

Not at all! Many people fall into a career after they leave education, rather than a passion they’ve pursued, so it’s understandable that many people look to change this later in life. I’ve seen many people change their career path due to family commitments, or the fact that they can’t progress further intheir current role, or even their industry.

 

7.       How do you know when someone is ready for a promotion and what do you advise people do if they want one?

I take in to account a combination of factors when considering if someone is ready for a promotion. First of all you have to be a strong performer in your current role in regards to its tasks, responsibilities and the required leadership behaviours and have the desire to want more. I use The CEB Approach to identify high potential employees, this recognises three combined factors, Aspiration, Ability and Engagement.

 

8.       Last but certainly not least, if there isn’t a role available would you advise people applying speculatively and if so, how?

Absolutely! Refresh PR is a growing business that is always looking to meet talented people. When a role becomes available, the people that I have spoken to or met previously will be the first I contact. Simply send an email to iwantajob@refreshpr.co.uk 

 

 

Thanks for your time Sarah.

Keep up to date with our latest work, PR news and opinions over on our Twitter account @RefreshPR.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Career Advice, HR, Lifestyle, National Careers Week, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester

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Refreshing Your Library for World Book Day



Refreshing Your Library for World Book Day

 

Here at Refresh we love reading, everything from national newspapers and glossy magazines to trade titles and blogs aplenty. But as today is World Book Day, we have asked our team what their favourite read is and why – check out our recommendations below.

 

Laura Mashiter, MD

 

 

                                                                                                                       

 

Released in 1996, the year I finished my A levels, The Beach by Alex Garland, was the book that everyone was reading. In summary, it’s the story of a young backpacker who travels to Thailand and goes in search of a perfect beach untouched by the modern world.

 

What I most love about the book was that it inspired me to travel. After Uni I took a year out, working on a kiddies camp before doing a ski season in France. During the ski season the film adaption of the book was released; the seasonnaires in Courchevel rushed to the cinema for a one-night-only screening – people sat on the cinema’s floor and in the aisles so they didn’t miss it.

 

I re-read the book, and as a result I spent that summer backpacking around Australia, followed by several trips to Thailand and Vietnam. I like to think the book gave me the inspiration for some of my happiest memories.

 

Maya Powell, account executive

 

                                                                                                                         

 

My favourite book is 1000 Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It’s a tale of two women growing up in Afghanistan in the early 1960s and the complex society they live in. It not only tells the story of the main characters, but also gives you a bit of a history lesson.

 

The story focuses on Mariam who is the daughter of a poverty stricken woman, and when her mother dies and her rich father denies her, she gets married off at a young age to a much older man. To contrast this, her neighbour Laila an educated, ambitious and beautiful young woman has a great life ahead of her, but tragedy strikes and she becomes the second wife to Mariam’s husband.

 

It made me laugh, cry and get (really) angry, but I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially any feminists out there!

 

 

 Sarah Mashiter, HR director

 

                                                                                                       

 

Upon a friend's recommendation, I was introduced to The Island by Victoria Hislop and instantly became a fan. However, it was her next book, The Return that really struck a chord. 

 

The novel intertwines a story of love and passion for dancing, as well bringing to life a harrowing account of the suffering endured during the Spanish Civil War.

 

But for me personally, it unearths some of the most enchanting qualities, as well as recounting the past atrocities of one of the most beguiling places I have been fortunate enough to live in.  A place where you cannot help but feel its vivid and visceral connection to its past - Granada, Spain. 

 

Caroline Gibson, account director

 

                                                                                             

 

The Five People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom, may be a relatively short read, but it definitely packs a punch.

 

Following one man’s journey into heaven it explores the idea that you are greeted by five people who will explain the course of your life to you. Some of those who welcome Eddie, the central character, aren’t who’d you expect and that is what makes this book so powerful.  

 

A life affirming read, this book doesn’t touch on religion or beliefs – it simply reminds us that how we behave and the choices we make are important, and your actions are bigger than you’ll ever realise in this lifetime.

 

Erin Heywood, account director 

 

                                                                                                        

 

Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is probably one of the UK’s favourite books but it's more than a book for me!

 

Yes the story is completely captivating, and the twists and turns and ongoing uncertainty of who to trust is what keeps the reader gripped. However, what makes it a firm favourite for me is Hawkins’ ability to make the read a complete sensory experience.

 

I could almost smell the hangover on Rachel at each turn of the page, when finding out more of her spiralling state. I could feel that gut wrench in her stomach each time she reminisces on Tom’s betrayal.

 

I could imagine those beautiful London homes and their never ending gardens and – having read this book on my honeymoon – was also able to associate with being at home. Were the story not as compelling as it is, Girl on the Train wouldn’t have received the international acclaim it has, but if you’re looking for more than just a tale this could be the one for you.

 

Christy Milmine, account manager

 

                                                                                                     

 

 

I was recommended Until You’re Mine by Samantha Hayes by a friend years ago and have since recommended it to many more. I have always loved a mystery and this had me hooked from the first page! It follows the lives of three completely different women and you instantly form an opinion on each. To me the three characters represented people we have all met at some point in life, and exploring their motives and lifestyles was the key to the huge twist at the end.

 

I have yet to read a book that has gripped me like this, so I would highly recommend!  

 

 

What is your favourite book? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @RefreshPR

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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Things are heating up at the Food Porn Awards



 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Refresh PR brews up a storm for SkinnyBrands' launch



 

This month we started working with exciting new brand, SkinnyBrands, to launch its new range of low calorie alcohol drinks.

 

The first product we will be working on is Skinny Lager – a full strength and full flavour lager that contains just 89 calories per 330ml.

 

We’ve initially been tasked with launching the unique new brand to consumers via targeted media relations throughout the key January period.

 

We will continue to support SkinnyBrands with creative campaigns throughout 2017 as it creates the perfect portfolio of lower calorie alternative products, including ready-to-drink cocktails, Skinny Wines, including Sauvignon, Merlot and Frizzante, as well as ciders, speciality beers and spirits.

 

For the launch, we will once again be collaborating with Shoot the Moon, which is responsible for creating a social media strategy that defines and aligns with how SkinnyBrands’ consumers behave.

 

We’re excited to create a real buzz in the food and drink market!

 

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Public Relations, Skinny Brands

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Goodbye 2016, hello 2017



 

 

 

Well, what a year that was. Many people will be glad to see the back of 2016 and will be looking forward to the challenges and possibilities of 2017.

 

But for Refresh PR, 2016 has been one of our strongest years yet. From client wins and new appointments to award wins and campaign success, it has been a busy but a hugely rewarding 12 months for the team.

 

We will be working hard to mirror this success in 2017, with a focus on creating the strongest team possible and continuing to deliver award-winning campaigns. Emma McCallum joined us in May 2016 as associate director and Caroline Gibson was appointed shortly after as consumer account director, bringing with them a wealth of experience, which will support our existing clients and spearhead our future growth strategy.

 

2016 also saw Sarah Mashiter join the team as HR and operations director, utilising her experience to improve operational processes, implement stronger training programmes and launch the Refresh Academy to provide the highest level of training to our team. 

 

2016 was an interesting year for the PR industry; with consumer demands and technological advances developing at a faster rate than ever, it is becoming a more challenging, but undoubtedly more exciting industry.  We reflect on 2016’s changes, and our 2017 predictions in previous blogs, but only time will tell what this year holds for the PR industry and Refresh PR – watch this space! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: 2017, Lifestyle, Manchester, New Year, North West , Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Food Porn Awards heat up



The awards are bigger and better for 2017, with more entries and a successful expansion into Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Our team has been liaising closely with key media and influencers in the target regions, generating a real buzz around the 2017 competition and driving restaurants, pubs and cafés to enter.

Following a competitive shortlisting process, our prestigious judging panel selected the 32 most mouth-watering dishes from the North’s best eateries, including Menagerie Restaurant and Bar, Mr Thomas’ Chop House, Ricci’s Tapas and Ciccheti, and The Star Inn the City.

The next stage of the competition will see our finalists move through to the cook-off stage, recreating their favourite dish in the specially selected kitchens, with the culinary creations captured on camera by STM Photography. Our team will be there on each of the four days, working closely with STM Photography to ensure the events run smoothly and generate great content for social media.

The judges will then review the final images and select the category and regional winners, due to be announced at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show on 22nd March 2017.

One thing’s for sure, we can’t wait to see the final dishes in all their glory!

 

 

 

Tagged with: Food Porn Awards, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR

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Refresh PR's Christmas gift guide 2016



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

 

1.      For the one waiting under the mistletoe

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

 

2.      For mum

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

 

3.      For the toddler

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

 

4.      For the teenager

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

 

 

5.      For the vegan

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

 

 

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

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Is bigger always better? How micro-influencers are putting authenticity back into marketing



Increasingly, social media influencers who amass millions of followers are becoming the new celebrities, working with media partners, such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, as well as luxury brands, including Range Rover and Mulberry.

However, is bigger always better? As an avid viewer of vloggers such as Zoella (11m YouTube subscribers), Fleur de Force (1m YouTube subscribers) and Patricia Bright (980,000 YouTube subscribers), I’ve found a shift in the style of their content has impacted authenticity.  

The blogosphere has changed from a community of people who reply to every comment, struggle to fit blogging around their ‘normal’ day jobs, and share the best bargains at Primark, to an elite group of full-time blogging superstars, with management teams and professional photographers.

This shift, generated as a result of higher earnings from Google, partnerships with brands and the pressure to be politically correct, means that the majority of content is advertorial in nature and no longer as relatable.

There’s no doubt that the success of social media stars is an incredible achievement - they are no longer just internet-famous. Publishing best-sellers, forging TV careers and taking on Hollywood has become the norm.

But today’s savvy consumers are more aware to when they are being targeted by advertising, helped by the Federal Trade Commission’s recent enforcement of actions, influencers need to take to keep advertising clear and conspicuous. Sponsored posts must be clearly marked with the hashtags #spon or #ad in a visible place, which often causes a negative backlash from audiences.

Research from Markerly also shows that Instagram engagement drops as follower numbers rise. While macro-influencers with one to ten million followers have, on average, an engagement rate of 1.66 per cent, those with a reach between of 1,000 and 10,000 have an increased engagement rate of four per cent. Bloggers with fewer than 1,000 have an even higher engagement rate of eight per cent.     

Looking at the general reach of a blog post is no longer enough to see its true value and the return on investment for a campaign; it’s comments and engagements that really matter.

This is good news for smaller brands that may not have the budget to work with talent-managed bloggers, or the resources to spend the time it takes to build a relationship with them.

As we discussed in a previous blog post, the majority of Instagram’s 200,000 advertisers are small businesses, while Buzzfeed reported this week that brands are taking a new approach to target the everyday shopper, by paying people with as little as ten followers to promote products.

It’s important to consider a brand’s objectives before ruling out collaborations with high profile influencers, as there is no doubt that the impact is still impressive. However recognising the relationship between bloggers and their audiences is a great way to keep the authenticity in marketing.

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Vloggers

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HS2: Manchester to London in just over 60 minutes – what do we think?



Last week, the second phase of the North West and Yorkshire HS2 route was revealed. Once complete in 2033, the £56 billion project will see the rail journey time between Manchester and London cut from 127 minutes to 67 minutes.

 

Since the HS2 project was first announced, it has received both criticism and support from politicians, businesses, environmental groups and the public.

So what do some members of the Refresh PR team think?

Laura Mashiter: “I welcome the new HS2 route. We need to connect the north with the south more and it will open up further exciting opportunities for businesses in and around Manchester. While it’s great that the links between Manchester and London will be improved, we also need to make sure that links between the north improve to make sure the Northern Powerhouse is as strong and successful as it can be. In this year’s budget, a number of infrastructure announcements were made including HS3, a new road tunnel from Manchester to Sheffield, and completion of a four-lane M62 – and I really hope to see these and more improvements started in the very near future.”

Erin Heywood: “At Refresh we regularly travel between Manchester and London to meet clients, suppliers and partners, as well as attend events, and I personally think two hours for this journey is absolutely fine. To improve the Manchester to London journey, it would be great if some of the peak trains could be more affordable and to make the Wi-Fi more reliable so we could use the time effectively to catch up on work. £56 billion seems a lot of money to improve something that a lot of people wouldn’t really consider a problem in the first place. I think the money being invested in this project could be put to better use in helping the UK economy – in particular healthcare and the NHS.”

Maya Powell: “I think the shorter journey time between London and Manchester will be a good thing for the UK. It will help London be less disconnected with the north and blur the north-south divide. As a recent graduate who has a lot of friends looking for work, I think it’s great that the HS2 railway will help to boost employment opportunities for those in the north who don’t want to move away from home or live in the capital where the cost of living is so much higher. We might also see more London-based companies moving to other parts of the country. I think generally the HS2 will help to rebalance the UK economy and open up employment opportunities, which is a good thing in my eyes.”

Claire Gamble: “On one hand, I think it’s great that we’re investing in a faster, more efficient rail infrastructure which is bound to open up more opportunities for businesses and individuals. However, it’s a huge sum of money to spend on saving an hour on a trip which isn’t that bad in the first place – and this money could be used to improve the wider rail network around the UK. Another potential issue we may see as a result of HS2 is house prices rising in Manchester, as it would become more feasible for people to live further out of the capital but still commute. While it’s an exciting opportunity to be able to work and commute more easily between two major cities, rising costs would be bad news for lots of families in and around Manchester. We’ve already seen prices rise considerably in areas such as Chorlton and Didsbury as more people are moving up from London for jobs in Media City, for example, and this trend could well continue in other parts of the city.”

Laura Holden: “I’m worried the HS2 project will see train fares rise in general all over the UK. As well as paying a premium for the Yorkshire or North West route to and from London, it could result in costs rising for local rail journeys too.  There are a lot of people whose homes and/or businesses will be impacted as a result of the HS2 route and I hope they’ll be reimbursed fairly for the upheaval. Overall, I’d prefer to see the money invested in helping education and the NHS.”

Christy Milmine: “I think HS2 will be good for Manchester. It won’t just open up the north to London, but to the rest of the world too – we’ll have easier access to the Eurostar and the London airports with lots more direct flights than what we currently have access to. It could also lead to a property boom in Manchester and the north as more people could move here from all over the country for the better transport links and infrastructure. I think that’s great if you’ve already bought property in or around Manchester but if you’re trying to get on the property ladder it could become even more of a struggle.”

What do you think of the HS2 high speed rail link? We’d love to hear your opinion!

 

 

Tagged with: Construction, Debate, HS2, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West

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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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AAC back with a bang for 2016



 

To help make its annual conference the biggest to date, our skincare, cosmetics and nutrition client, Arbonne, tasked us with increasing engagement with delegates on social media.

Arbonne’s Annual Conference (AAC) truly is a celebration of everything that is great about the brand, and this year it welcomed more than 2,000 Arbonne Independent Consultants to the NEC in Birmingham.

The theme for 2016 was ‘Be The Inspiration’ and the event featured motivational speeches from the likes of US comedian, Connie Podesta alongside the launch of Arbonne’s new Festive Collection and an unforgettable ‘Arbonne Does Gatsby’ evening event. As well as celebrating its success in the UK, AAC enabled Arbonne to update delegates on its worldwide expansion programme, which this year saw launches in Taiwan, New Zealand and Poland.

The Refresh PR team was tasked with capturing the energy in the room, delivering accurate and timely posts, in line with Arbonne’s tone of voice, and interacting with any responses. Over the two days we delivered a real time experience on social media, using the live feed feature on Instagram and regular updates on Facebook, which enabled delegates to be part of the action, even if they were unable to attend. As well as this social activity, we interviewed a number of key attendees for vox pops, which were included in the event showcase to encourage further sign up for the 2017 conference.

The team at Arbonne worked tirelessly for months to pull off such a large-scale event (more than 215,000 square feet to be exact!), and the hard work didn’t go unnoticed. With record numbers of Arbonne teams attending and a significant uplift in social media engagement, AAC 2016 was a huge success and planning is already underway for the next big calendar event - the Global Training Conference.

 

 

 

Tagged with: AAC, Arbonne, Beauty, events, Lifestyle, Marketing, PR, Public Relations, Retail, Social Media

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The power of positivity



When a couple of team members from Refresh received an invite to attend a day-long session on Positive Psychology with Graham Keen Partnerships, how could we say no? We always need a bit more positivity in our lives.

 

Graham started the company in 2000.  In this time he has worked with some household names, and has a successful track record.  So, we were looking forward to understanding how he could help us.

 

My main takeaway from the day was to always think in a positive way. In a similar way to how communication works – in that telling people the same message over and over again encourages people to remember it, digest it, acknowledge it, believe it and repeat it – applying the same principle to our internal thoughts by making them all positive means things will become…well, more positive.

 

Obviously there’s a little more to it than that; we attended a one-day course but Graham runs courses of different lengths and with different content to suit the audience – he even talks at company conferences.

 

There is a lot to look forward to and be positive about. PR is changing and evolving at a huge rate, with some massive milestones this year already. In 2016 we’ve seen a British astronaut tweeting from space, engaging a whole new generation in science as a result.  It is also fascinating to watch how it is influencing political campaigns (rightly or wrongly), more so than ever before, from Brexit (coining this term alone was a genius stroke for PR) to the current US election.  

 

Closer to home at Refresh, we’ve delivered changes in the past few months in terms of the way we work and approach client campaigns. The integrated communication campaigns that we’ve built and produced as an agency over the course of 2016 have produced real, tangible business results for our clients – and we’re nominated for lots of industry awards as a result. Strong additions to the senior management team, together with a solid training package for the whole team, are pushing the company forward at a fast pace, and I’m extremely excited to see what the next six months will bring.

 

So, what have I done differently? Graham set us a task to think more positively: we must control how we talk to ourselves as our self-talk creates our beliefs. In all honesty this positivity lasted all of 10 minutes until I hit the Manchester traffic on the way back to the agency. I don’t care how you sugar coat it, every road ‘improvement’ over the past five years has made it worse to get round our city centre! But town planning aside, in terms of dealing with work, it definitely has been worthwhile. Dismissing the unimportant negatives that have a habit of coming into our lives regularly has enabled me to concentrate on the good, and make that even better where I possibly can. Long may it continue.  

 

One piece of advice I would give anyone attending Graham’s course is to sign up for the follow up session and use it as a check in. I didn’t, so instead Graham’s ‘new impetus’ workbook sits on the side of my desk as a gentle reminder.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , positivity, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, psychology, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, training

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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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Ready, Set, Pokemon Go!



Last week saw another social media trend break the internet, and this time it wasn’t Kim Kardashian. It was in fact the latest mobile gaming app set to take the world by storm – introducing… Pokémon Go! With struggling gaming group Nintendo holding a minority share, its launch is being hailed as the brand’s rebirth and it’s no wonder…

By the end of the game’s first weekend in the US, it had already racked up approximately 7.5 million downloads; only two days later this number had more than doubled to 15 million and this was before it even reached the UK. By Thursday of last week though, it had arrived fascinating even the less gaming savvy among us.

The idea behind the game is simple; catch as many Pokémon as you can using a game based on augmented reality. As a result, the concept has really made augmented reality just that: a reality for everyone, as Marketing Week reported recently.

I think this is the unique selling point of this game; it allows us to blur the lines between the Pokémon world and the world we live in. The Pokémon are hidden in the garden, on the street even in offices around the UK - a rather exciting concept. The aim of the game is obvious – ‘you gotta catch em’ all’.

This game has been so popular in the US that it has now overtaken Twitter as the most used app with users spending an average of 33 minutes a day catching Pokémon. Based on the response so far it is likely to do the same in the UK too, particularly as it launched just in time for the school holidays.

Like all social phenomena that appear quickly on our screens, it comes with an army of sceptics. Concerns have been raised asking whether it will lead children into unknown and unsafe areas or result in mobile phone theft as more people go out hunting for Pokémon. Only this week in Manchester, a 15 year old boy was arrested after stealing the phones of two student out playing the game.

However, it’s safe to say that Pokémon Go has started the largest gaming trend in history, and I for one am pretty impressed with the use of augmented reality, bringing to life a popular 90’s kids TV show that has captured the minds of adults and children alike. What’s more, it adds a real sense of hilarity to what was once a mundane walk home from work.

Tagged with: Augmented reality, gaming, Kim Kardashian, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing Week, Nintendo, North West , Pokémon Go!, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Radio campaign, Social Media

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We Need Your Help To Find The UK’s best ‘Window With a View’!



Refresh PR is half way through a visual, interactive, online campaign for MyGlazing.com, the new consumer facing website from The Glass and Glazing Federation – and now we need your help!

‘Window with a View’ is a national campaign to find and celebrate the very best the UK has to offer in terms of architecture, design and landscapes. It was created to help boost awareness of the new MyGlazing.com website, as well as encourage people to think about the benefits of modern, energy efficient glazing.

During March and April, people were invited to nominate their favourite ‘Window with a View’ from any building or attraction open to the public. As well as media relations, the team at Refresh took to social media to find suitable images and encourage people to enter. At the end of May, a panel of experts from the construction, architecture, interiors, photography and tourism industries came together to whittle the 150 nominated entries down to four for each region.

Now we need your help to determine which shortlisted entries are the best for each region. Regional voting for ‘Window with a View’ is now open and runs until 29th July. Everyone who votes will be entered into a prize draw to win a GoPro kit, and the regional winners will all be put forward for the title of the UK’s Best Window with a View.

So whether you like the images of city skylines, sea fronts, countryside or mountain ranges, vote now to help us find the ultimate winner!

 

 

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Window with a View

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London’s Top Grooming Gents Make The Cut For Arbonne’s Latest Launch



When Arbonne tasked us with launching its new vegan friendly RE9 for Men range, the Refresh PR team took a traditional approach to grooming and devised an English Gentleman’s Day concept.

To coincide with St. Georges Day on 23rd April, we invited journalists to join us at Sharps Barbers in London’s Soho for a choice of treatments.

Journalists from the likes of GQ, Men’s Health, the Daily Mail, Runners World and the Gentleman’s Journal were all in attendance. As part of our event co-ordination, we ensured each journalist had an in-depth consultation and introduced them to Dr. Xavier Goodarzian, an Arbonne Independent Consultant for skincare and cosmetics, who explained the benefits of the new product range.

After an exciting day of 16 haircuts, eight traditional straight razor shaves, five beard trims and more than 50 teas and coffees, the team could finally breathe. The event was a huge success; all journalists were delighted with their treatment, the range received positive feedback and we secured coverage in notable publications, including the Gentleman’s Journal and The Huffington Post.

Following such a positive reaction from the UK’s media, we’re looking forward to running more Arbonne product launch events later this year.


Tagged with: Beauty PR, Gentlemans Day, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR cooks up a storm with the Food Porn Awards



Refresh PR is definitely a team of foodies, so you can imagine our excitement when, in 2015, STM Photography tasked us with launching the inaugural Food Porn Awards in the North West.

Over a six-month period, we delivered a successful communications strategy that swept the region and encouraged the North West’s best chefs to enter the 2016 competition. Achieving 47 pieces of media coverage and 4,632 unique visitors to the Food Porn Awards’ website, our work helped generate more than 350 quality business leads for STM Photography, with eight new clients signed up to date. The Food Porn Awards not only celebrates the North West’s thriving food and drink scene, but also showcases the value of professional food and drink photography.

Developing relationships with key food influencers, we devised and implemented a successful PR campaign that generated entries from over 250 bars and restaurants, all aiming to be crowned the region’s best. Our judges, which included All About Food’s Robert Gong and Manchester Evening News journalist Emily Heward, had the tough task of shortlisting the entries across four categories: Alternative Eats, Casual Dining, Fine Dining and Boutique Pubs.

January’s hugely anticipated ‘cook-off’ event at Manchester Metropolitan University saw the finalists given just two hours to complete their cooking session, while the team at STM Photography captured their culinary creations on camera. Our judging panel then selected the winners from a shortlist that included Burger and Lobster, The Botanist and Don Giovanni.

And so, following a hard fought competition, the overall winner was announced at March’s NRB Show at Manchester Central. With an attentive audience watching on, Jeff Green of Earle by Simon Rimmer was awarded the title for having the most visually appealing food, the “ultimate WOW factor”.

Refresh has once again been tasked with leading PR for the 2017 Food Porn Awards. We can’t wait to get our teeth into the project and celebrate more mouth-watering meals from across the North!

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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



 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Dementia care is changing… for the better



 

 

When you think of care homes for dementia patients, what springs to mind? You would be forgiven for describing a clinical environment; white walls, pale blue sturdy carpets, easy-clean surfaces and a lack of anything remotely familiar or comforting.

Even a small amount of research into the topic will show dementia patients, perhaps more so than those suffering from other mental health conditions, need to live in environments that remind them of home, which in turn helps to trigger memories, providing comfort and enabling care staff to maintain the patients’ wellbeing with ease.

Last week I attended the Design in Mental Health Event held at the National Conference Centre in Solihull, with our client SpaceZero. The exhibition was filled with companies demonstrating everything from innovative technology to ensure residents are engaged in brain-stimulating activities, to furniture that’s designed in such a clever way that it provides a sense of comfort to residents who’ve had to move to unfamiliar surroundings. It was amazing to see the initiatives being developed to make life easier both for dementia patients and their carers.

During the event, SpaceZero’s healthcare expert Kristina Mann delivered an insightful presentation that demonstrated just how much of an attack on the senses dementia can be. She transformed a basic seminar room into a chaotic, disorientating environment through the use of lighting, sound and visual equipment. It provided just a small indication of how dementia takes over a person’s life.

The presentation delved into SpaceZero’s expertise in the dementia arena; how the use of colour is integral to the safety of patients, how small touches remind those with drastic memory loss of happier times, and how adept signage can reduce challenges such as incontinence levels. As the UK’s first interior architectural practice to produce Stirling Gold–ready designs in BIM Level 2 – a set of robust design standards for care organisations that aspire to provide the best in class for dementia sufferers – there is certainly no better organisation prepared to explain how crucial design is to the long-term wellbeing of dementia sufferers.

Instigating a range of insightful questions from the audience, it was clear Kristina’s presentation had impressed. I, for one, had been captivated.

When dementia is taking up so much of the news agenda (‘Allergy medications increase risk of dementia’; ‘Over 50s are more scared of dementia than cancer’; ‘High blood pressure raises risk of dementia’), and our awareness of the impact it could have on each of our lives is increasing, it’s somewhat comforting to see experts like SpaceZero working relentlessly to ensure that, should it happen to us, the homes we’ll move into cater for our needs, are comfortable, familiar and are – most importantly – safe.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Birmingham, Design in mental health, Dimentia, Kristina Mann, Lifestyle, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, SpaceZero

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Ban women? In 2016? Seriously?



When I was nine years old I picked up my first golf club and trudged out to the practice ground with a group of 10 boys for my first ever junior golf lesson. My mum, a passionate and very good golfer, drove me there and waited in the pro’s shop for an hour with all her fingers crossed that I’d return with even a tiny amount of the passion that she has for the sport instilled in me – which I did. It was 1986 and I was the only junior girl playing at my golf club.

 

Week after week, year after year I learned to play, the pinnacle of my short love of the game coming when I was 16 years old and won the club’s annual Ladies Open.

 

My parents and brother regularly told me that despite my love of hockey, tennis and badminton, my talents lay in golf – it was something I should pursue. So why didn’t I?

 

It was the late 80s and golf clubs were sexist. There was a clear hierarchy in the club: firstly men, then women, then junior boys, and lastly junior girls. My brother and I would queue up on the first tee on a Sunday afternoon and regularly wait one or two hours while adults came and went, taking priority. Add to this the fact that I’d been brought up by a mother who absolutely believed in equal rights for girls and boys, yet finding myself in an environment which had ‘men only’ lounges in the club house where my younger brother could go but I couldn’t, meant my frustrations grew. The final nail in the coffin was the dress code: as the only teenage girl in the club my lessons were with the boys I went to school with, yet being forced to wear out-of-date, old-fashioned outfits meant I regularly tried to bend the rules, and regularly got told off by the adult male members (who in my opinion should have been concentrating on their own games rather than mine).

 

What I didn’t appreciate at the time though was the fact that, being a girl, I actually should have been grateful I was allowed on the course at all! Nothing in my education had prepared me for the fact that girls wouldn’t naturally be allowed the same permissions as boys. And is there anyone who can actually believe that, 30 years on, women still aren’t allowed to walk on all courses in the UK?

 

A lot has changed since the late 80s and the club I played at as a child has been very inclusive for decades now – no areas are out of bounds for either women or men, the dress code is more relaxed which has invited in a whole wave of younger people (and junior girls!) which will ensure the club continues to thrive for decades to come. Like a lot of changes of policy in this life, I put this down to a new generation coming in and leading the club forwards.

 

So I’m proud, really proud, of the decision by the R&A to refuse to let Muirfield host The Open because it has voted to remain a men only club which continues to ban female members. It’s the only decision that could have been made by the R&A, but at the same time a decision that shouldn’t even have to be made in the first place. How embarrassing for golf, which incidentally this year is hosting the Championships at another Open venue which still excludes women, Royal Troon. 

 

Muirfield is yet to really comment on the decision, other than to defend its member's voting system. But after enjoying such an illustrious heritage for well over a century, I’ll be enjoying watching the outcome of this antiquated decision, while pondering how in 2016 it’s even possible that this debate is taking place. And if any PR agency steps forward to defend Muirfield, good luck to you (unless of course the decision is reversed) – sometimes the indefensible really is just that: indefensible.

 

 

Tagged with: golf, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Muirfield, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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REASONS TO GET EXCITED FOR SUMMER IN MANCHESTER



 

With summer now starting to creep through after what feels like a very long winter, it’s time to defrost those flip flops, dust off the sunglasses and start dreaming of long summer days in Manchester’s best beer gardens. So, to ensure you catch every ray, we have put together a list of Manchester’s best summer hot spots.

1.       Dukes 92

This bar-come-restaurant is the perfect location for tanning and relaxing this summer. With one of the largest outside areas the city has to offer, Dukes sits in the picturesque heritage site of Castlefield. Enjoy a drink by the canal, or sample the Strawberry Daiquiri’s served from the slush machines during summer. This venue also boasts a very extensive and very delicious barbeque serving till late during the weekends.

Top tip: Get down early, as this place gets busy from about 11am during the peak summer months!

2.       Screenfields

Summer 2016 welcomes back the return of Spinningfields’ outdoor cinema, Screenfields. Screenfields is positioned in the heart of Spinningfields within the gardens of The Lawn Club. Relax in the Spinningfields sun chairs, whilst enjoying an array of movies on the large screen, with classics such as It’s A Wonderful Life and Pretty Woman. This alfresco cinema is the perfect way to enjoy those long hot summer evenings whilst sipping from the large selection of cocktails on offer at The Lawn Club. During Wimbledon

Screenfields also show all the matches, along with serving strawberries and cream for all those sporting fans!

Top tip: Members of The Lawn Club benefit from free cinema tickets. To join The Lawn Club, simply register on its website and there you have it, free viewing! 

1.       Spinfest

Another Spinningfields-based event, Spinfest is the annual summer festival from Manchester favourite, The Oast House. The stage and outdoor bars are a permanent fixture at The Oast House during the summer months and welcome a host of live musical talent. The festival itself is free to attend and last year welcomed some very up and coming Manchester talent such as the Little Comets. The friendly vibe and jugs of Pimms makes this a city summer hot spot!

Top tip: The indoor bar gets very warm and very busy so ensure you bring cash to make use of the outdoor bar and avoid a lengthy wait.

 

 

Tagged with: Dukes 92, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Screenfields, Spinfest, Summer

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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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An Eggcellent Easter at Refresh PR



There really is no better time to exercise your creative juices than ahead of a long Bank Holiday weekend.

 

So this Easter at Refresh we’ve gone old school; we’ve taken everyone back to their younger years by challenging the team to an eEaster egg Refresh PRgg painting competition.

 

Today the team carried their precious eggs to work, trying to avoid their eggstravagant (sorry!) masterpieces from tipping over. Each was lovingly and proudly displayed in our meeting room – and tweeted out too, of course.

 

We never shy away from a bit of friendly competition at Refresh PR, but this Easter, things got serious. Despite everyone’s effort and hard work, there had to be one winner. The eggs were analysed and the votes were cast, and we can proudly announce that the winner of this year’s Refresh PR eggstravaganza is Fliss, with her eggoji’s (see pic).

 

Tell us what you think @refreshpr and #refresheggstravaganza

 

 

 

Tagged with: decoration, Easter, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Twitter

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Joe Wicks: The lean, mean, Instagram machine



I have a bit of an obsession with Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, and no – it’s not for the reasons you think. The personal trainer – who encourages people to rethink how they train and eat to get into shape – has racked up a staggering 758,000 Instagram followers. And as his fame has been growing – both on and offline – so too has his success. Not only have 100,000 people signed up to his 90 Day Shift, Shape and Sustain (SSS) Plan, but his new cook book Lean in 15 has become the fastest selling book ever released by a chef and he was also named one of “Britain’s 500 most influential people” by the Sunday Times.  

 

So how has Joe used Instagram to help fuel his success and build up an online community of loyal fans and customers?

 

1. Video

Joe’s regular features on his Instagram feed include his quirky #Leanin15 videos, where he reveals a quick and simple video of a healthy recipe which takes just 15 minutes to create, and example videos of his HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. There are a multitude of stats out there to illustrate just how effective video can be in marketing and it’s estimated that 74 per cent of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video in 2017. Joe’s videos are short, quirky and informative – just what people want from online videos.

  

2. Tone of voice

Midget trees, prepping like a boss, the sad step, bosh, GUILTEEEE are all words and phrases commonly used by Joe and his fans alike. His humorous language shows his personality, makes health and fitness fun, and sets him apart from the thousands of other fitness and food bloggers. I have a sneaky suspicion that due to Joe’s increasingly busy schedule he may not upload all of his Instagram content himself (sorry if I’m mistaken though Joe!) but it doesn’t matter if he’s got a team supporting him – and you probably wouldn’t even notice. Thanks to Joe’s distinct tone of voice, along with the familiar types of content, everything on his feed is very on brand and in line with what his thousands of followers have grown to love and expect.

 

 

3. User generated content and community engagement

Joe’s main aim is to get people fit and healthy, and nothing shows this more than the transformation pictures he posts of customers who are doing or have completed the 90 day SSS plan. Along with the ‘before and after’ comparison photos, Joe includes a quote from the customer about how they have found the fitness and eating schedule. Not only is it a great advert for the plan (the transformations are amazing – where do I sign up?!) but it’s a fantastic way to engage with people. As well as getting a personal ‘well done’ from Joe, the users whose photos are posted will receive words of encouragement from his followers too. It’s a really positive experience for those involved and a great way to encourage people to be an active part of Joe’s gang.  

 

The Body Coach Instagram account has been a firm favourite of mine for a while now - it’s inspiring, informative and inclusive. With a good understanding of how to use the tools available, consistent messaging and effective community engagement, Joe has been able to create and build his brand which is now recognisable all over the world. So sit up, take note and get your own Instagram account in shape!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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The new health-conscious hybrid set to conquer the caffeine craze



Over the past few years, food and drink hybrids have proven extremely popular with consumers who are chomping at the bit to try new flavours, and retailers that are consistently looking to drive innovation to stay ahead of the competition.

 

We’ve seen products such as the Cronut (croissant and doughnut), the Flagel (flatbread and bagel) and the Brookie (brownie and cookie) try their luck as serious food mashup contenders but nothing has quite hit the spot like beverage hybrids.

 

Variations in tea and coffee are nothing new, with brew lovers spoilt for choice in terms of blend, flavour and even temperature (extra hot skinny mocha with an iced frappe on the side anyone?!). Brands certainly haven’t been shy when it comes to fusion innovation and the newest kid on the block is no different…

 

Joffee, a Fairtrade coffee mixed with fruit juices, is new for 2016 and is aiming to bridge the gap between coffee lovers and haters. Created in the heart of Texas, the new coffee/juice blend is fast gaining momentum in America, with health conscious consumers opting for a Joffee instead of an energy or fizzy drink due to its lower sugar and caffeine content.   

 

As an office of coffee fans (or caffeine fans), we’re not overly enthused by the idea of sharing our coffee with anything other than milk and two sugars, but we are looking to get fitter in 2016 so Joffee could be the answer! Feedback to follow…

 

Refresh PR has extensive experience in working with a wide range of food and drink brands – spanning both trade and consumer campaigns. If you’re looking to speak to an agency about your company’s communication plan for 2016, why not give us a call on 0161 871 1180.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Coffee, Food & Drink, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations

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Are you Peachy keen?



So there is a new kid on the block, a social media platform that is getting a hammering on the download charts and causing ripples amongst the major players in social networking. Named Peach it could be said to be the virtual lovechild of Facebook and Tumblr. In basic terms, it’s social media messaging minus the effort. 

 

What makes Peach unique is the existence of ‘magic words’, so keywords that act as text commands allowing the author to share information with his or her network quicker.

 

For example, prompts like “song” commands Peach to “listen” to what you’re playing and paste the song title/artist into a new status update. Peach will also let your network know what the weather is like where you are, it can pin point your location, and even share the percentage of your phone’s battery life. Peach also has an in-house GIF-maker – which is lots of fun!!

 

The core aim of Peach is to keep users more easily connected and equip users to share content with greater ease; the technical term for which is being touted as ‘contextual data’.  It’s similarly used by platforms such as Snapchat, which uses filters specific to a certain context.

 

The question is whether Peach will put a dent into the existing social media matrix or if will disappear like so many others that have gone before it. Command-prompts along with contextual data have been inherently linked before now, the difference with Peach, is that it has neatly packaged both together in an intelligent, user friendly app.  

 

Peach certainly seems to be leveraging wider cultural trends, namely jumping on the bandwagon of private social networks, since Peach allows you to share stuff, but only to your close network. It supports native multimedia content, relies on emojis and makes content sharing more efficient. As far as using social media platforms go, we are certainly becoming lazier and less reliant on manual information-finding and more reliant on a social network’s ability to allow us to share information efficiently, spoon feeding us content that we wish to consume and interact with without having to spend time looking for it.

  

As a result, we’re likely to see a continued shift towards contextual data applications but whether or not Peach will do damage to the likes of Facebook will be down to how quickly they and the other big players adapt to changes in social behaviour. If you’d like to find out more about Peach or need some advice about which social media platforms you should be utilising to support your business, call Refresh on 0161 8711 188.

 

 

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

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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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Spooktacular Halloween



Each October the UK is engulfed and bewitched by Halloween costumes, props and products. It is becoming a much loved event for children, adults and not surprisingly brands, especially on social media. Last year, retailers were expected to see a £330 million boost in sales, an astonishing amount compared to the meagre £12 million spent in 2001. Therefore, it is no surprise that brands areRefresh PR Manchester using social media to engage with their consumers, whether it is to increase company sales or just to have a little bit of ghoulish fun.

 

The great thing about social media is the ‘social’ aspect, especially during timely events such as Halloween, because everybody can get involved. In a world which now focuses heavily on digital and social media, the realms of creativity for brands are endless.

We have selected a couple of examples that we loved last Halloween based on their creativity.  

 

Mobile network Three helped customers choose their last-minute Halloween costumes with an interactive Vine video, allowing them to flick through a mountain of interactive cards and ‘click’ to discover their perfect costume!

 

Oreo Cookie, known for amazing campaigns, went all out last year and created the online #OreoLab. Oreo posted five Vines in the run up to Halloween, showcasing different creations made in the Oreo Lab. See some of the examples here. The Oreo Lab Nomster was a Refresh PR favourite. You can understand why we’re looking forward to seeing what the brand does this year!

 

Brands such as Coca-Cola, Pringles and Guinness also put a twist on infamous logos for the seasonal event and we can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves this October!  

 

And if you’re looking for thrills, screams and a fright night in Manchester, look no further than Manchester’s number one scare attraction ‘House of Dead’ at the Great Northern. House of Dead opened its doors to the public from October 9th ‘til the end of the Halloween season. It looks frighteningly good!

 

 

 

 

   

Tagged with: Halloween, Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Retail, Social Media

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Refresh PR speeds up with Jan Farrell



You may not have heard of Jan Farrell before now, but he is the UK’s fastest speed skier in 2015; speed skiing being the fastest non-motorised sport in the world. At the end of Jan’s last season which finished in April 2015, he came sixth on the World Cup circuit. When Jan approached us recently, it came as a shock that ourselves and the British public had not been made aware of his sport, that he was one of the best in it - and comes from just down the road in Lancaster.

 

Jan wanted to make the British media aware of himself and his highly technical and admirable sport, encouraging more people to follow it and the younger generations to get involved with it. We knew this challenge wasn’t going to be an easy one: it was out of season and the UK press was focusing on summer sports, the Grand National was a week later and the golf coverage was in full flow, but we certainly believed in what Jan was doing and were going to try our damnedest to make this great sport known.

 

Three weeks later we’d done it, and we were on the train on our way to London where Jan was meeting us for a live interview with Sky Sports News, skis and helmet in tow. Jan headed into makeup and then was placed in front of the presenters where the ten minute interview commenced. This is just what the sport needed - the chance to be on live TV and to tell avid sports fans why they should follow it. Jan highlighted all the great stuff coming up for him and encouraged younger skiers to come up through the ranks and join British teams. This interview also gave Jan the chance to tell the viewers about the seven world record attempts he would be going for over the next few years, or as we favourably named them; the seven deadly skis.

 

Later that day we’d also arranged for an interview for Jan with The Independent’s sport team. A very lively journalist quizzed Jan on speed skiing, the tremendous speeds Jan and his competitors reached and how it feels racing down a mountain at over 140mph (yep, you heard us). This lengthy interview resulted in a great write up online and nearly a full page in the paper - a piece of coverage that now hangs proudly on the wall next to my desk.

 

Jan completed day two of his trip with an appearance at Chill Factore, the indoor ski centre in Manchester, where he wow’ed onlookers with his red latex skiing outfit and beat the centre’s record for the fastest to ski down its slope, all captured on cam by CBBC Newsround. A quick pop back down to London for a live chat on talkSPORT’s Hawksbee & Jacob’s show then turned into 20 minutes of friendly chit chatter on-air, followed by a quick try of Jan’s helmet for the presenters - all publicised on the show’s Twitter feed. Jan then flew back to Madrid after a hectic but fruitful two days to make up for his short break from the intensive training regime, which involves long mornings in the gym and even longer days on the piste.

 

This is just one example of the dedication and passion of the team at Refresh PR. We produced amazing results, and it’s a campaign that I will personally always be proud to have worked on. We’re counting down the days to join Jan out in Andorra this winter, when the season kick starts and the slopes speed up!

 

 

 

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Skiing PR, skiing PR agency, snow PR

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A PR team’s guide to August action in Manchester



We are well and truly in the swing of summer and Manchester has already played host to some fantastic events. From Parklife at Heaton Park to Noel Gallagher at the Castlefield Bowl and most recently Manchester International Festival - which saw a selection of internationally renowned artists, performers and musicians entertain at iconic venues across Manchester - there has been something for everyone at Refresh PR HQ to appreciate and enjoy.

 

Looking into August (I know, how is it August already?), Manchester has plenty more to offer. Take a look at just a few of the events we are looking forward to in Refresh PR’s What’s On Guide for August:

 

1.      Manchester Jazz Festival (31st July - 9th August) - this is the longest-running music festival in the city. With almost 80 gigs and performances from over 400 artists, this 10 day event celebrates 20 summers of jazz. Albert Square is the heart of the festival, hosting the main performance hub where live music will start at lunchtime and run ‘til late every day. Some of the events are free and some are ticketed but with a festival bar and plenty of food outlets, we will certainly be dropping in!  

2.      NQuiz Frog and Bucket (Sun 9th August) – if quizzing is more your thing, check out the monthly NQuiz.  Tipped as the fastest, funniest and best quiz around, teams go head-to-head through rounds comprising elements of infamous shows including Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Countdown and QI. With the title of NQuiz champions and £50 prize money up for grabs, Refresh PR is up for entering a team – if nothing else it will be a laugh! 

3.    Dig the City (31st July – 6th August) – this seven day summer siesta returns for 2015 and promises to bring a summer garden festival vibe to some of the busiest and most urban streets in Manchester.  As a fan of all things quintessentially British, this series of pop-up picnics, markets, music, gardens and floral installations sounds a delight! Mix this with the chic city atmosphere, street food, treats and discounts from some well-known fashion outlets, it is Manchester’s own version of a classic summer garden festival

4.   Musical Madness – a couple of members of our team unashamedly like a good musical! Manchester Place Theatre will host West Side Story. The all singing, all dancing American story of gang warfare hits the stage from 13th - 15th August.   For those looking for something a little more light-hearted, Duncan James (of boyband Blue) will make an appearance in Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Manchester Opera House from 20th - 29th August

5.   Opening of Pen and Pencil - ok, so there isn’t an August launch date confirmed for the latest addition to the NQ family, but the team at Refresh PR has been closely monitoring the progress of this new bar. With the promise of brunch, lunch, cocktails and good times, just over the road from the office, we are hoping this exciting new bar and restaurant will open during August. We will keep you updated and review our first official visit very soon!

  

If none of the above events tickle your fancy maybe the Manchester Food and Drink Festival would be more up your street? Food is always a hot topic of conversation at Refresh PR HQ and the team is already discussing which stalls and attractions to visit during the September event – keep your eyes peeled for our MFDF highlights coming soon!

 

Are you looking forward to other events during August? If so, share them with the Refresh PR team in the comment box below or tweet us @RefreshPR.

 

 

 

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

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Refresh PR rounds up Manchester’s top working lunches



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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Tempted to take a bite out of Apple Music?



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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



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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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A Manchester PR agency’s guide to holidaying in 2015



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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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Here come the hens!



Manchester has its fair share of weekend visitors, with its thriving food scene and two of the country’s biggest football teams.  One thing the city is also famous for is playing welcome host to hundreds of hen and stag dos each year.

We thought we’d provide some top tips on planning arguably the most important and possibly last night out in the single girl’s calendar. So unless you want your hen do turning into high-street carnage with inflatable dolls, handcuffs and a nervous mother-in-law, we suggest you pay close attention:

1.     The all-important invite list - as if the wedding list wasn’t enough of a pain! Consider who you’re inviting and remember the wild-night out that your best mate has in mind, may not be suitable for your mum and auntie. You can always split the weekend up into parts, a spa day or a cocktail making masterclass followed by a meal for all of your party, followed by a night out on the tiles for your more energetic attendees

2.     It’s never too early to fix a date - remember people’s diaries fill up quickly and it’s best to make sure you let people know well in advance to ensure you get a really good turnout

3.     The dreaded M-Word - the cost of a hen do really can be a deal breaker for some people, especially if they are strapped for cash! So before you plan that Las Vegas weekend getaway, set a realistic budget. No-one likes talking money or being lumbered with collecting the cash, so make sure whoever is in charge makes it clear how much is needed and when

4.     Home or Away - location, location, location! Again, budget will be a big decider on this but sometimes there are some great weekend deals to be had, in the UK and abroad. Do your research and then sound out options. Also remind everyone to check their passports are up to date if you’re jetting off overseas!

5.     The big idea - everyone loves a theme and hen parties are no exception. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for ‘vicars and tarts’! Far from it; Sex and the City, or the 80s are just some of the themes that are quick to pull together (think shoulder pads and backcombing!!)

6.     The personal touch - personalisation makes all the difference and can make a hen do feel that little bit more special. A Refresh favourite is the personalised jute bag from our client ClaireaBella, also a fave with a whole host of celebs from Michelle Keegan to Kelly Brook. Not only will you be bang on trend but it will be a great keepsake

7.     Plan for success - we know drinking and bit of naughtiness will undoubtedly be on the cards and some venues might be able to provide both! However, don’t forget to include some day time activities such as beauty treatments to make the bride feel special. That said, don’t also over plan to military precision so that the day is so jammed packed that you’re rushing from one place to another

8.     Delegation and collaboration - as seasoned planners, team Refresh knows the importance of the above! Make sure that if you are delegating, people are clear about what you’re asking them to do.  Involving people in decisions can be a great way of generating some fun ideas, but remember, what you think the bride would like is the final decider

9.     What would the bride say - if in doubt on any aspect of the day this is the great decider. If her idea of fun isn’t straddling a stripper and walking round with a 6 foot inflatable then think again! Having said that, if she is a wild child what the heck, you only live once and you are planning a night to remember

10.  The big day - on the day itself there are two key buzz words - communication and pace. We know it sounds a bit school teacher-esque, but how many nights out degenerate because people are lost in a strange city? Make sure everyone knows where to meet, what’s happening where and when. Discuss a meeting point just in case you get split up and mobiles run out of juice. 

We hope these tips come in handy for your hen dos and if you are planning on coming to Manchester we’ll be happy to provide a Refresh PR selection of favourite venues to hit!

 

 

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

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Refresh-ing the ClaireaBella Classics



It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for the consumer team here at Refresh PR’s HQ in Manchester. Our client, personalised lifestyle brand ClaireaBella, has relaunched its popular range of classic jute bags and we’ve been drafted in to help spread the word!

 

Female fashionistas can now enjoy a suite of brand new outfits, accessories and hair styles, designed to bring out their true aspirational selves and reflect their day-today personas.

 

A project such as this one is so much fun to work on, so we’re never short on ideas from the team! As well as a high-impact press office, we’ve been liaising with our celebrity agent contacts to ensure the UK’s fan favourites are armed and ready to strut the red carpets and exotic beaches with a refreshed classic on arm.

 

We've had some lovely feedback in the first couple of weeks from the likes of Corrie's Samia Ghadie to Ex on the Beach starlets, Talitha Minnis and Jess Impiazzi.

 

The press also love the refreshed designs, especially our friends over at Love It! magazine!

 

Have a read of the write-up: http://loveitmagazine.co.uk/article/290/clairabella-relaunches-popular-bag-range. 

 

The ClaireaBella classic jute bags are available in two sizes, medium (£34.99) and large (£39.99) and can be purchased from toxicfox.co.uk.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, Gifts, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, 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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‘Feed Me Better’ v ‘The School Food Plan’



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Manchester Bierkeller, How Refreshing



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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Refresh PR attends STYLEetc Spring Party



Refresh PR attends STYLEetc Spring Party

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Refresh PR supports client OTONE at the Gadget Show Live 2013



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Dog Bowl Launch Party



Refresh PR began the bank holiday weekend by attending the launch of Manchester’s newest bar.

The Dog Bowl is a new bar and restaurant complete with a bowling alley on Whitworth Street fronted by I’m A Celebrity star Helen Flanagan.

Decorated with dark wood and featuring the brand’s dog Bruce the Patterdale Terrier at every turn – on the toilet signs, menus and even in the bowling ball dispensers - the Dog Bowl is more stylish than your average bowling alley.

Food wise the Dog Bowl offers a Mexican inspired menu featuring everything from nachos to barbecue wings (which smelt amazing).

Adding to the Mexican flavour that evening were the mariachi band from the Doritos advert. Their Latin flavoured rendition of Don’t You Want Me Baby went down very well (especially after a few mojitos) and the band had several encores.

The members of the team who enjoy a celebrity spot (ie. all of us) were not disappointed. Coronation Street cast members past and present including Tina O’Brien, Jack P Shepherd and Paula Lane were in attendance along with Helen Flanagan who opted for an eye-catching hot pink ensemble.

Refresh PR even managed to snag a quick chat with John Miccie (aka Corrie arsonist Karl) and he happily posed for a snap.

Best bowler of the night goes to Gemma Cannon. A less impressive performance came from Kimberley Bull (pictured top) – she blames the free cocktails.

Tonight the bar officially opens to the public – it’s the perfect mix of food, drink and fun.

Tagged with: Black Dog Ballroom, Coronation Street, Dog Bowl, Doritos, Food & Drink, Helen Flanagan, Jack P Shepherd, John Miccie, Leisure, Lifestyle, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Go go Gadget Show Live 2013



Apologies for the bad Inspector Gadget pun.

Here at Refresh we are looking forward to our trip to the Gadget Show Live 2013 next week, taking place at Birmingham’s NEC.

We’ll be heading down to the show with our client Otone who’ll be launching its new, powerful soundbar and two spaceship-style speaker docks (come and check them out, and you’ll know what we mean!).

As well as the cool new products, Otone will be showing off its full range of existing speakers to technology enthusiasts, professionals and journalists at the show.

One guest we’re especially excited to meet is Youtube sensation and gadget enthusiast Mr Thai Box, who’ll be popping along to check out Otone’s new products so he can feature them in his video blog.

Be aware, our film crew will be working their way around the NEC looking for volunteers for a video project (don’t worry we won’t be asking you to sing. We’re not searching for the next Rebecca Black. One is enough!).

Also the Otone ‘big o’ (cheeky) will be at the stand with our promo girls. Guests who pose with the O are automatically entered into our exclusive Otone competitions for free products and more!

And of course we’ll be keeping an eye out for celebrity guests. Along with The Gadget Show’s presenters (see picture of Jason Bradbury on stand), last year’s special surprise guest was 50 Cent (someone we’d definitely let take us to the candy shop).

There’ll be updates, sneak peeks and competition winner announcements from Otone throughout the event so pay attention to their Twitter and Facebook pages.

The Gadget Show Live starts on the 2nd April. If you’re going make sure to say hi, we’ve giveaways and freebies on offer all week.

Check out Otone's site for more information on their products and The Gadget Show Live:  www.otoneaudio.co.uk

Tagged with: Birmingham NEC, Facebook, Jason Bradbury, Lifestyle, North West , PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Social Media, The Gadget Show, Twitter

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Cheesecake in the City



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Promoting a hashtag increases tweets about a TV show by a massive 63%



A new study by Brandmatch has looked at the characteristics of a sample of Twitter users. The study reveals that while women tweet more, men are more likely to have a moan and complain via the social networking site.

Interestingly, the report also finds that TV shows promoting a hashtag at the beginning of transmission saw massive increases in the number of Twitter users commenting and talking about the show.

 

For example, when X Factor used the hashtag ‘#xfactor’, it got 63% more tweets than shows that didn’t use a hashtag.

 

That’s a huge increase in online traffic; and if all these people are talking about your show or product (hashtags also feature in adverts) online, you could also consider how many people will turn over to watch or research what’s creating the Twitter frenzy.

 

It’s like an enormous living room of people discussing their viewing habits together.

 

The survey also found that viewers of Downton Abbey tweeted throughout the show whereas Homeland viewers only tweeted before the show started or after it had concluded.

 

This seems perfectly plausible to me. Poor Downton Abbey viewers have to go for the hardship of beloved characters dying unexpectedly every week (i.e. cousin Matthew and Lady Sybil). Of course they’re going to tweet ‘OMG’ mid episode.

 

#Jointheconversation with @RefreshPR on Twitter. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

 

Tagged with: Brandmatch, Downton Abbey, Lifestyle, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, report, Social Media, Twitter, X Factor

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Britain’s oldest building site unearthed in Berkshire



Think of building sites and you’ll probably think of the modern ones we see in big cities today such as The Shard or Gherkin  -  masses of steel, hard hats, high-vis jackets and maybe the odd wolf whistle if you’re lucky. You probably don’t think that large scale construction projects were attempted in pre-industrial days 5,700 years ago.

However archaeologists think they’ve found just that, a construction site which was put up in 3700BC in Cemex’s Kingsmead Quarry, Berkshire. That makes the remains of the buildings older than Stonehenge!

The site would have consisted of four houses made of timber with the largest measuring 15x7 metres. Quite an impressive feat when you consider everything was built without large scale equipment. The timber materials which formed the walls have rotted away, but the foundations and examples of pottery and even leftover food remain.

It’s unlikely the hunter-gatherers who might have lived in these buildings thought about creating eco-friendly residences; but amazingly that’s what these houses are. Made of natural materials such as timber and weathering quite well in their five thousand year history, these buildings could also be the first example of green housing.

Much to my disappointment however, the houses wouldn’t have looked like the Flintstones’ rather chic residence with leopard print accessories. They would have had no windows and indoor smoking fires. I suppose the cavemen couldn’t have it all.

Tagged with: archaeological dig, archealogy, Berkshire, cavemen, Cemex, Construction, Kingsmead Quarry, Lifestyle, Manchester, neolithic, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations North West, settlement, Stonehenge, The Gherkin, The Shard

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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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Samantha Brick: The self-publicist



Samantha Brick has hit the headlines in the last few days as she speaks out about her bad experiences as an attractive woman.

 

Recently, in the Daily Mail, Samantha divulged her life story of flowers from strangers, bottles of champagne from pilots and free drinks from waiters. However, according to Samantha life in the pretty lane isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Her article on the Daily Mail Online describes the abuse and coldness she has received from other women, and she has come to the conclusion that “women do not like attractive women”. And it’s this, not her opinion on her appearance, which has attracted huge outrage.

 

There has been an overwhelming negative response against Miss Brick as tweeters brand her an arrogant, self-absorbed woman, who is deluded about other women and their opinions of her. And this may be the case, but there is something more prominent to be noted than her opinions of herself. That is the effect of self-PR.

 

She has become an overnight ‘star’ – out of one simple article for the Daily Mail, her name has become a national phenomenon. Celebrities have been tweeting about her, she appeared on This Morning and she’s even written a follow-up article about the response from her initial article. Samantha is clearly a publicity-hungry individual, and she’s succeeded in getting the publicity she wants. She is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame, and the scale at which it has escalated overnight purely demonstrates the power of the internet, including twitter.

 

So, what can we learn from Samantha Brick? The fact that the response to her article has been overtly negative is beside the point. She certainly knows how to sell herself, and that is the most important thing to take out of this whole media frenzy. Now, she can turn her bad publicity into good publicity, or go back to her idyllic home in the French countryside. Whatever she chooses, she’s certainly made her mark. 

 

Blog by Katherine Mountain, PR Assistant at Refresh PR

Tagged with: Celebrity, Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, Public Relations

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The Baby Show



Some of the Refresh PR team headed over to The Baby Show at Manchester Central this morning to drop off the press packs we’d prepared for our client Puddle Ducks, which was busy presenting its unique baby and toddler swimming programme to mums-to-be and families in Manchester.  Its stand was brilliant and attracted plenty of parents and little ones throughout the morning.  Whilst we were there, I had a stroll around and took in some of the other stands too.  Here are my highlights:

The Superdrug stand and manicure barThere was a fantastic array of stands and some really interesting information and advice being given out to new and/or expectant parents.  The Superdrug stand stood out as they had great show offers on and some pampering treats for mums-to-be too.  There was even a brow and manicure bar where it offered very reasonably priced treatments.  Not too bad for the pregnant lady looking for a little bit of me time before her big arrival. It also had discounted beauty products and a great offer of a free yummy mummy pack when you signed up to their Superdrug beauty card, free of charge.  It was the perfect stand for the mummy with all intentions of being yummy.

The next stand that caught my eye was the Mothercare area, which had fitting rooms ready for pregnant women to go and try some of their maternity clothes and underwear.  I spoke to one of the fitting room assistants who told me that it can be difficult to find the right fit and style to suit your body when pregnant, so they are there to lend a helping hand and advise women on how to dress their bump as it grows and changes throughout the nine months.  There were plenty of baby bumps being dressed by the Gok Wans of the Mothercare world this morning.  I thought this was a fantastic idea and a great help to mums-to-be.

The Puddle Ducks stand

Mothercare also has a photography service called Pixifoto, which is available in many of its larger stores.  It’s running a special offer over this weekend which lets families pay £9.99 for a photo sitting and then receive a 12 x 10 portrait as a free gift worth over £45.  It’s also holding a competition to find the new face of Pixifoto…could your baby be the new face of Mothercare’s photography service?  Get down to the baby show this weekend to find out.

A really impressive stand was Pregnacare, which had a midwife on hand to offer guidance and support to new parents and pregnant women.  It was great to see that The Baby Show was covering all areas, right through from pregnancy to the first few years of a baby’s life.

The Pregnacare stand with a midwife on hand for advice

Sky Living was also at the show, searching for a mum-to-be to feature in a new programme called The Perfect Pregnancy.  They want to film a pregnant woman all the way through her pregnancy, making sure that she is achieving the ‘perfect pregnancy’ with guidance and help from experts, doctors and midwives, covering everything from doctors’ appointments to baby showers.  If you think you could feature in the show, why not contact Simon Mcdonald and tell him about yourself on 0207299 3448 or e-mail scott.mcdonald@nutopia.com.

Of course, with this being The Baby Show there were plenty of little ones pottering around with their mums and dads checking out some of the latest baby gadgets.  There was a crèche available though, sponsored by Fisher Price, where there were mountains of toys and plenty of staff on hand to take care of the kids in case mum wanted to have a wander on her own or maybe visit the brow bar or nail bar for a mini pamper session.

The Prima baby stand

So if you’re an expectant or new parent and if you want some advice, help or just fancy having a little wander around Manchester Central this weekend to take in the stands and offers, then head over to The Baby Show which is on all weekend, Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th September. 

 

Have fun!

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle, Manchester, PR, Puddle Ducks, The Baby Show

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We’ve been rated!



“When you find an Agency which far exceeds your expectations, hang on to them!” – a Refresh PR client (August 2011).

 

Last month we decided to ask our clients what they thought of Refresh PR.   They didn’t have to tell us though, instead they filled in a questionnaire and told the experts directly (and anonymously).  We’re delighted to report that, thanks to the testimonials given, we are now on the UK-wide Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

 

RAR covers every aspect of the UK marketing sector. It provides online searchable information free of charge to brand owners looking for agencies and has a team of specialist agency selection professionals who assist brand owners on an individual level, using the wealth of information contained in its database.

 

We’ve just received the comments and, having truly put our money where our mouth is, are delighted with what we’ve read: Refresh PR team

 

“Refresh PR always goes beyond the call of duty to understand the industry within which they are working, the key drivers, impending changes and trends.  They always strike a good balance between allowing client input but also bringing new and innovative ideas to projects. I work with Refresh on a range of PR activities and find they always give value add and more importantly get results.”

 

“We have been working with Refresh for the past six months, so far they have exceeded our expectations on every level. We have consulted on our advertising direction, award entries, press liaising, social media voice and they have also managed to secure a fantastic company profile in the trade press.”

 

“The brand I am promoting has featured in several articles with positive feedback. They have assisted with my preparation for the Autumn Fair International 2011 and have been extremely supportive in my new venture.”

 

“Refresh PR have worked hard since we started working with them to understand our sector, hit their targets and maintain and develop relationships with media contacts. They are a friendly agency who are easy to work with and have a lot of experience in their field.”

 

We received a rating of 100% for creativity, 100% for on budget and 99% for client service...and we’re all wondering how our heads are going to fit through the exit of Piccadilly House tonight now!

 

We’d like to send out a MASSIVE thanks to all our clients who took time out from their busy days to fill in the questionnaire.  We appreciate it a lot and it’s spurred us on even more.

 

For more information about the RAR visit our new profile, which recommends us for Public Relations Services, at ww.recommendedagencies.com/profile/3646/experience.

 

Tagged with: Lifestyle, Manchester, North West , PR, Product Placement, Public Relations

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Girls On Film...Again



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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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In the end….these things matter most



July has always been a special month for me, and not just because we start to feel the sunshine just that little bit more than usual, or because the countdown to a long awaited summer holiday is usually down to the final few weeks!  No, it’s because my birthday lands on the fourth, which means I spend a good few weeks before hand getting ridiculously excited, making party plans and guessing presents.

 

This year it was a little bit different… In the build up to my birthday I was spending two weeks island hopping in Thailand, visiting a very good friend who moved out there almost a year ago.  If there is anywhere in the world that removes you completely from your normal life and general mindset, it’s Thailand.  I was sitting on paradisiacal beaches, surrounded by cliffs and mountains, with nothing but sea around me. It is very difficult to imagine that life is going on as normal at home when you’re so far away, in a place that could not be more different to the world that I am used to.

 

It wraps you up in a bubble and you’re carried along, in awe of the beauty you see before you.  I have never been one to venture too far from my comfort zone, so travelling all the way to Thailand was a very big deal for me.  Not just that, I had to limit my packing, because nobody wants to be lugging a suitcase around from island to island!  For a girl like me, who has to decide the next days outfit and accessories before going to bed at night, you can imagine it was just a bit difficult.  However, one can’t be silly about these things when a once in a life time opportunity arises to travel to a far away land, with a life long friend, for a guaranteed fantastic holiday.  Wardrobe issues aren’t worth a second thought.

 

Lately, certain things have happened in my life that have urged me to push myself forward just that little bit more than usual.  I received news recently that a friend I had known well in school had lost a cruel battle with cancer and her life was taken from her.  She was 22, the same age I was up until this Monday just gone.  The truth is, we don’t know how long we are here for and the path that life has carved out for us is one we walk with uncertainty.  I read an article yesterday, on the anniversary of the 7/7 bombings in London.  I read of families that said goodbye to loved ones in the morning expecting them to walk through the door at the end of the day, but they never came. I also read of people that had changed their route, unexpectedly, and were saved by a fleeting decision or a random mishap that had prevented them from being in the danger zones on that fateful day. 

 

I have decided not to be scared, or question what life holds because I don’t think that gets us anywhere.  I think the key is to be brave, and live with courage.  If we had to live our lives over, what would we do differently?  I know that for a long time I was questioning travelling so far away as Thailand on my own, I worried about money, I worried that something bad would happen.  In the end, I chose to be brave….and had the best experience of my life so far.  I travelled through Thailand, dragging my rucksack on my back (not the best part of the trip I must admit!), I snorkelled, I ate fabulous food, and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt and I had tears in my eyes every single day. 

 

In a world where we are faced with terrorism, ill-health, and stressful existences it can be difficult to take a little time to stand back and observe.  What I’ve learnt though, is that time waits for nobody.  So I have decided to walk my path courageously, and fill it with fun, the people that mean the most, strive for those things that I hope for, because in the end these things matter most.

 

When I returned home, not only was it my 23rd birthday, but I was coming home to my new job at Refresh PR.  A fresh start, with a slightly altered state of mind after being in a place as amazing as Thailand, and a determination and the motivation to work hard, aim for the best and most importantly, enjoy it all.  It is the time for a busy life, of hard work but plenty of fun with Refresh PR, to discover what the next year holds…..before the birthday countdown to next July begins!!

Tagged with: Leisure, Lifestyle

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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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Calling all voters!



Refresh PR recently found out that our client Modern Herbals has been shortlisted for Best Product in the Natural Lifestyle Awards and naturally this has made us very proud indeed!  We’ve been working with them for a few months now and we’ve got everything crossed they will walk away with the top spot. 

 

We’ve just caught up with one Modern Herbals customer who has been using Syno-Vital Hyaluronan – here is how she’s getting on:

 

Patricia Green - “After suffering with knee pain for a fair few years and undergoing an operation to replace my left knee just over two years ago, I was naturally somewhat distressed when I started to experience some pain in my other one.   While these ailments are certainly related to the wear and tear that comes with age (sadly), I’m not keen to rush back to endure the pain and discomfort of having my right knee replaced.  Not yet anyway!

 

“I’d been doing quite a bit of research on alternative treatments and looking at ways to help ease the pain that is being caused from my bones rubbing together and the loss of movement between my joints.  I’d heard about a product called Syno-Vital Hyaluronan, certainly a mouthful to repeat, which helps to replenish the synovial joint fluid which depletes as we age, and decided to order it in the hope that it would perform miracles. 

 

“The instructions advised me to drink the contents of the sachet each morning in a glass of water for at least four weeks.  Within the first month I can certainly say that I’d started to feel the benefits of this product - the aches in my joints have drastically reduced and I’m finding it much easier to move around.   Three months on and shopping isn’t a problem anymore either, although I do need to remember that I’m not as spritely as I used to be (I’m approaching 70!).   While I now only take a sachet every second day, I’m happy with the results and my skin is looking much healthier and plumper too, certainly an added benefit when most things travel south these days!”