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Paddy Power’s latest PR campaign gets people talking again



Paddy Power is certainly not averse to controversial PR and its latest campaign has once again got plenty of people talking. After announcing a sponsorship deal with the bookmaker, Huddersfield Town FC released images of the club's supposed new kit for the upcoming season featuring the Paddy Power logo splashed across the shirt in a sash-style design.

It didn’t go down well with football fans and sparked outrage across social media with many describing it as the worst kit they’d ever seen. Paddy Power issued a press release saying that it “didn’t want to get into shirt sponsorship just to do the same as everyone else" and Huddersfield even wore the contentious kit for a friendly match against Rochdale.

The sponsorship certainly got people talking before, as many people suspected, Paddy Power eventually confirmed it was in fact a stunt. Huddersfield’s shirt will, in fact, bear no sponsor this season as part of Paddy Power’s ‘#SaveOurShirt’ campaign. The bookmaker released another statement saying “As a sponsor, we know our place, and it’s not on your shirt.”, calling on other sponsors to join the campaign to give something back to the fans.

Was it worth it?

The aim of the stunt was to get people in Paddy Power’s target audience talking about the bookmaker and it certainly achieved that. It was trending on Twitter in the UK when the shirt was first released and again when it was confirmed as a stunt. It also gained a huge amount of coverage, with not just sporting publications, but almost all of the national newspapers running the story, making it a major talking point up and down the country.

The initial stunt gained Paddy Power the desired exposure but the fact it has backed it up with a campaign that will appeal to football fans, one of its main target audiences, is a smart move. Whilst the stunt got people talking, almost all of the publicity was negative, whereas the ‘#SaveOurShirt’ campaign highlights a key issue that many fans are passionate about. This will not only result in even more coverage but also get its target audience back onside, putting the bookmaker front of mind.

The power of PR

Whilst the company’s logo will not feature on the Huddersfield’s shirt this season, Paddy Power has almost certainly gained more media coverage and overall exposure in its target audience from its ‘non sponsorship’ of a team in the Championship than any of the 10 bookmakers sponsoring Premier League teams will get throughout the season. When you consider that shirt sponsorship is considerably more costly in the Premier League than in the second tier, it helps to demonstrate the impact that a well thought out PR campaign can have.

Getting our clients front of mind through clever campaigns targeting their target audiences is exactly what we do at Refresh so it’s great to see Paddy Power pulling off a campaign like this, highlighting the power of PR once again.

Tagged with: Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, PR

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Refresh PR sees a digital future



At Refresh we passionately believe in investing in developing the future workforce and helping talented youngsters acquire skills and experience. And we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk as we demonstrated with the launch of our grad scheme last October.

Building on this we have now gone one step further by signing up to become a Digital Ambassador as part of Manchester Digital’s Digital Future initiative, a scheme that is asking businesses in the region to help bridge the digital skills gap by signing by passing on their expertise to young people. In this role we will provide advice and introductory training to youngsters across the North West on developing and implementing digital PR campaigns and strategies.

As an agency we are already seeing a growing demand for a more digital approach to PR and marketing and we passionately believe that our knowledge in this area can help young people consider a career in the field and provide them with skills that will generally aide them when they enter the workforce.

The Digital Futures programme aims to encourage more young people across GM to pursue a digital career and support educators to deliver relevant curriculum and careers guidance.

The scheme was launched following the findings of the independent trade body’s 2019 Skills Audit, which revealed that almost a third of digital businesses in the region had turned work away over the past year as a result of not being able to find the right talent to fulfil it.

Businesses already signed up to support the Digital Futures campaign include AutoTrader, On the Beach, Sainsbury’s, The Co-Op, NHS Salford Royal Hospital and Sigma. In total Manchester Digital aims to have 250 GM businesses on board by May 2020, through the GMCA-supported campaign.

We’ll share details on our first Digital Ambassador training session in due course! 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, Creative Agency, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Isn’t it ironic: Amazon heads to the high street



Over the past decade, the UK high street has increasingly looked set to die, killed by a thousand cuts.  Since the collapse of Woolworths in 2008, 32 major retailers have met the same fate as the former icon of British retail.  

Last year alone led to the loss of an estimated 85,000 retail jobs as 1,000 large and small retailers went out of business. Among those that closed their doors for good were the fallen giants of Toys R Us and Maplin while countless others, including M&S, announced a raft of store closures.

The turmoil on the UK’s high streets has been caused by a number of factors ranging from reduced consumer confidence to ever increasing business rates and rents. Then of course it has been plagued by the rise – and rise – of online behemoths that have offered consumers competitive pricing and value-adds such as next day delivery.

An unlikely hero

Very much leading the assault on the high street has been Amazon, the one stop shop for seemingly everything and the pioneer of the Prime service. So, at the risk of quoting Alanis Morrisette, the sense of irony was not lost on us when Amazon opened it’s first bricks and mortar store, right here on our doorstep in Manchester.

Selling everything from food and drink to electronics, beauty products and homewares, and housing a number of Amazon Lockers for customers to collect their online orders, the store is the first of ten that Amazon plans to open across the UK this year. Part of a year-long pilot aimed at providing 100 small independent retailers their first taste of high street retailing, the store openings have been launched in partnership with the small business support organisation Enterprise Nation.

Explaining the decision to join forces with Amazon, Enterprise Nation highlighted that UK consumers like to be able to shop online and in-store, outlining that it hoped that the new stores would “help small businesses succeed by combining the best elements of online and high street retail”.

A change in fortunes?

This noble ambition certainly gives pause for thought on the idea that the UK high street is in terminal decline and gives some hope that it could yet be revived. After all Amazon hasn’t built its global success by backing losing horses, which would suggest that it’s first tentative steps onto the high street are part of a well-researched initiative aimed at further strengthening the business and meeting a consumer requirement.

If Amazon has got its calculations correct (which let’s face it, it usually does) it could be the start of a great revival for the UK high street. This will particularly true if the innovation of Amazon encourages others on the high street to modernise and innovate their approach to retailing, prompting further signs of life for traditional retailers.

Should this play out the giant of 21st century retailing that bought the high street to its knees could just be the one to help bring it back to life. Now that really would be ironic. 

Tagged with: Amazon, B2B PR agency Manchester , Lifestyle, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Manchester

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The not-so-smart market of smart speakers



“Google, how long will it take me to get to work today?”

 

This request rings out from my living room every, single, morning as my husband asks our personal assistant, Google Home Mini, to do the job he could do perfectly well himself just one month ago.

 

When it came to deciding which smart home assistant we should purchase, there was a lot of deliberation. After all, there are a wealth of options now available to compare. But it was decided, a Google Home Mini would tick all our boxes. And we’re not the only family venturing in to this arena.

 

It’s predicted that 164 million smart speakers will be purchased worldwide in 2019, according to Deloitte. If achieved, this figure will be up 67 per cent on the previous year; so, there’s no denying, uptake is strong. Will 2019 be the year of the smart speaker?

 

Well, seemingly not. Further research from Deloitte shows that even though lots of us are out there purchasing smart speakers, we’re nowhere near making them a part of our daily lives. In fact, smart speakers are our seventh most used device every day, coming behind the likes of smart watches, tablets and even the desktop computer. Why, when it was predicted that smart speakers would become a fundamental part of our connected homes, are they not achieving their envisaged potential, from both a personal and professional perspective?

 

Our preferred smart speaker has so many capabilities, it is almost mind-blowing such technology is possible from a device 10cm in diameter. But the fact is, I don’t have time to figure out all its functions (of which there are hundreds); to release its full potential would require significant investment time from me and my family. I just want it to work quickly, and to make my life easier. I’m not marrying it so therefore I don’t need to know its intricacies. Has overthinking the possibilities of smart speakers in turn, turned us off as consumers?

 

From a business perspective, to achieve voice search-Nirvana and be the business Google and its equivalents recommend when tasked with finding ‘the best garage in Manchester’ or ‘Cardiff’s number one restaurant’, a huge amount of background work is needed. The way voice search works requires another level of expertise entirely to SEO, and by the time we have engineers trained to meet this need, we’ll be on to our next gadget. Either that, or businesses must spend thousands on the relevant search engines, and I’m not sure it’s a good business model to base your success on, when the top uses of smart speakers, Deloitte says, are listening to music, checking the weather and setting alarms.

 

The market saturation of smart speakers is leading to a race to the bottom on price, so while sales and revenue are up, margins are dropping quickly. Not until a manufacturer creates a smart speaker that is by nature intuitive, rather than requiring training, will they be part and parcel of family life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, smart speakers, Tech PR Manchester agency, Tech PR. Digital PR

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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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A day in the life of Refresh PR



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

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

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

About the team

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

Why did I want to gain experience in PR?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall?

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

Author: Steph Dewhurst, marketing assistant at Sentinel

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

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Are you a Senior Account Executive looking for a new challenge? Get in touch!



At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses. Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both private and not for profit sectors.

 

We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as a senior account executive working across a range of B2B accounts in the construction, built environment, property, tech and e-commerce sectors.  You’ll have already gained valuable PR agency or in-house experience with at least a year spent working in B2B PR.

 

You will be great at preparing sector specific copy for trade press as well as developing and maintaining great relationships with journalists to secure the best possible coverage for your clients. You’ll work closely with account managers to ensure we are delivering consistently for our clients, yet will be able to use initiative, working independently most of the time.

 

You should be able to think creatively, and be interested in working together with our team to inject disruptive campaigns into the most traditional of industries in order to help our clients get noticed. After all, it is this way of thinking that has seen us secure so many award wins over the years!

 

More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may even pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive; a real team player with the ability to remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations.

 

Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a sociable bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to contribute to the direction of the organisation.  What’s more, we’re dedicated to helping our people grow and achieve their potential through The Refresh Management Academy – a 6-month programme of structured training and development, created and delivered by experienced PR practitioners and expert trainers. This unrivalled programme provides you with all the key skills that will help you to become a highly effective senior account executive and progress your career with Refresh.

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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Refresh’s Inspiration



There’s a lot of talented women at Refresh PR. With a combined 50 years’ experience in the industry, it’s safe to say we know our stuff. As a team, we bring out the best in each other, and when working collectively, we generate PR campaigns that achieve great results for our clients.

As an all female agency, we’re always looking to channel girl power, so in honour of International Women’s Day, I asked the team at Refresh to tell me about women who inspire them.

Our head of B2B, Erin, is never one to conform, and her inspiration reflects this perfectly. She said:

“The author and columnist, Caitlin Moran – she’s really socially intelligent, probably due to having a challenging upbringing, but doesn’t apologise for herself, she embraces everything she is and if people don’t like it, well frankly, they can go to hell.

“She inspires other young women to feel the same way, teaching self-acceptance in her books, including ‘How to be a Woman’. Additionally, takes no nonsense from anyone who is a bit of a silly idiot – latest example was her challenge on Piers Morgan after his interview with Trump.

“Her writing has a huge amount of flair, and is so honest – she reinforced my love of writing and reading, because I realised it is okay to write what you want to write, and not conform to what other people think you should be writing.”

We clearly have Caitlin to thank for Erin’s ability to create persuasive arguments and write for our clients with passion.

Our head of consumer PR, Caroline, doesn’t let anything phase her and can generate fantastic results, often in the face of adversity, so her inspirational women, Serena Williams, makes total sense. Caroline said: “She is an absolute sporting legend and has shown that you don’t have to slow down just because she’s a mum. She won the Australian Open while pregnant and returned to the game just four months after giving birth.”

Account executive, Rebecca, is always willing to go out of her way and lend a helping hand and admires Katie Piper’s philanthropy and commitment to help others: “Despite everything she has been through, Katie has helped others to combat their own body issues, giving them a new found confidence. She has turned a horrific situation into a positive by giving strangers the confidence to believe they can achieve their dreams too.”

Following the Manchester attack last May, Ariana Grande’s support for the city has made her an honorary Manc, with Morecambe based account executive Emily, taking that role for Refresh: “After the Manchester bombing last year, the world saw Ariana Grande in a new light. She was no longer just a pop star, but the face of a campaign that united a city. Only in her early twenties, I think we all try and channel her strength and composure.”

Me personally, I derive inspiration from a range of people. From Beyonce to RuPaul; Meryl Streep to Malala Yousafzai, anyone that grabs life by the reins and uses their platform to spread a positive message is an inspiration in my book.

Throughout the week, Refresh PR is honoring International Women’s Day by a series of blogs, so keep an eye out for more posts about inspiring women. 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Celebrity, International Women's Day, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations

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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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Does ethical PR equal good PR



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work



Is the whole really greater than the sum of its parts?

Simply put, yes! Whether you believe the rule of seven or not, there is nothing more impactful than a campaign that communicates the same message to its audience across all of its platforms. Whether that’s a social media campaign that complements the print advertising, or a feature in a magazine that backs up the brand messages shared on its latest viral video – consistency is key.

It’s for this reason that we enjoy working with other agencies to create a ‘whole’ campaign that makes an impact and ultimately changes behaviour.

However, with so many creative brains around one table, inter-agency relationships can sometimes be challenging, as everyone champions their own discipline, often fighting for budget. The first step towards a harmonious working relationship is to always remember you’re all working towards the same goal – success for your client.

This means it is essential to know what that goal is right from the start of the campaign, so setting measurable objectives is a must. The objectives should cover the entire campaign, as well as individual goals for each specialism; this means everyone can focus on their own targets while celebrating each other’s success.

To ensure the correct targets have been set it is vital that each agency is open and honest about its own specialisms, what they are able to achieve and how this fits with the client’s objectives. The marketing mix exists because each element offers a different approach and impact – so maximise on these. A conversation early on about roles and responsibilities will lead to a much smoother campaign journey.

Once these roles and objectives are in place there is the opportunity to cut out the client, if required. Remember, your client is busy, they are not there to manage these inter-agency relationships, so take the initiative to set up your own conference calls or meetings – so everyone is up to date on progress, while strengthening the working relationship.

So when it comes to inter-agency relationships and campaigns just remember the four Cs – clarity, consistency, celebrate, communicate. 

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

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How to network and get results



Free drinks, nibbles and the chance to catch up with other professionals; networking is rife amongst PR agencies in Manchester, and they can be fun. However, often, people do not make the most of networking opportunities and let many potential new business leads pass them by. By following our top tips, you’ll be able to get more than a free prosecco out of networking:

Don’t use it as a free team social

We know, networking can seem intimidating and the opportunity to sit in a corner with colleagues can be tempting but you will gain nothing from this. Mingle, get chatting and ‘work the room’. Sometimes you won’t meet anyone, it happens, but every now and then, you’ll strike up a conversation with someone who needs just what your business provides.

Do your research

If there is an Eventbrite page or Facebook group about the event, have a look at who is attending and do your research. Know someone there is launching a new business? Drop it into conversation. Knowing your audience can set you up to make some very valuable contacts.

Be ready

Before you attend, have an elevator pitch ready about where you work, what you do and who you work with. Sell yourself, and the company you work for, but more importantly, make sure you do it all in less than 90 seconds!

Ask questions

When engaging in conversation, don’t be the person stood looking bored and glassy eyed. Asking questions, whether it’s high level industry related issues or just ‘do you attend many networking events?’, show your’re interested and make an impression.

Leave a lasting impression

You’ve introduced yourself, engaged in conversation and even got a few laughs. What now? Make sure you have business cards to hand and don’t be shy to hand them out. We’re not talking about scattering around them around the room, but if you’ve made that connection, give people a way to get in touch with you.

Keep in touch

After the event, use social media to keep the conversation going. Connect on LinkedIn, follow on Twitter, subscribe to their newsletter (a Facebook add admittedly is a step too far). It will help keep you front of mind and give them a way to get in touch with you if ever they need it. But don’t leave it too late before you connect; chances are they will meet a lot of people networking and after four weeks, they’ll probably have forgotten all about you if you haven’t yet been in touch.

Networking can be a great opportunity to make new contacts, learn more about the industry you work in, and potentially get some great new business leads. Just make sure you follow our top tips and don’t overdo the free booze!

 

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

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Team work makes the dream work



According to John Donne, no man is an island, and this can also be said for marketing activity. It isn’t possible to build a brand based on just one marketing function – there has to be a carefully balanced mix including (but not exclusive to) PR, SEO, PPC, advertising and social media.

But with many agencies focusing their skills on one area of this mix, more brands than ever take a multi-agency approach to meet their business objectives.

At Refresh PR, we work with other agencies across the UK to make sure that we are delivering for our clients – because whatever function you specialise in, it is vital that your approach aligns with everyone else.

Here we share our top tips on making the most of a multi-agency approach.

Work towards the same goal

Set out the marketing objectives from the start of any campaign and make sure that each marketing function is fully aware of their role in achieving this. Ultimately, when working for a brand success only comes when these objectives are achieved. Be open and honest about each function’s strength and what part it can play in the journey towards meeting these objectives, so there can’t be conflict later on.

Share, share, share

The agencies, whatever function they cover, should all be open and honest with each other. From brainstorming sessions to regular reviews, each person working for the brand will have a different view of how to achieve success and a unique insight into what works. Utilise these at every opportunity, because you never know, something that cannot be implemented via PR could spark the next social media campaign.

Remove the client contact

Well, sometimes. Setting

up inter-agency calls or meetings, where the client isn’t involved allows for an open and honest dialogue between the agencies. Whether these are face-to-face or a conference call they are invaluable to the success of a campaign. Communication is really key between the agencies, so creating a regular platform for this will further cement the agencies as an extension of the internal team, rather than outsourced specialists. 

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When personalisation goes wrong...



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another shortlist for Refresh PR



Monday morning started off like any other, but as the Refresh PR team sat down for our weekly kick-off meeting, the postman made a special delivery.

In an envelope was a sheet of glitter paper and instructions on how to make an origami mask, alongside a card announcing that our very own campaign, the Heating Installer Awards, had been shortlisted for yet another award – this time, the international B2B Marketing Awards.

As one of the top eight in the ‘Best SME - Targeted Campaign’ category, we’re up against large household names such as Vodafone, Samsung and Saga - something we are very proud of.

For three years, The Heating Installer Awards has been a huge celebration of good news within the plumbing and heating world, and has gained the support of large companies within the industry such as Vaillant, Danfoss and Sentinel. The awards have also been endorsed by big characters such as Charlie Mullins from Pimlico Plumbers. The team at Refresh PR has generated great results with coverage landing in an array of national, regional and trade titles, as well as appearing on BBC Radio and The One Show.

We’re very excited to launch the next year of the awards next month, and in typical Refresh PR fashion, we have a few surprises up our sleeve…

Good luck to all those shortlisted at the B2B Marketing Awards; we’re very excited for the ceremony in November!

If you want to read more about the Heating Installer Awards, visit: http://heatinginstallerawards.co.uk/

 

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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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An interview with our latest recruit



Agency life is exciting, fast paced and very rewarding, if done properly. At Refresh PR, with a mix of consumer and trade accounts, we rely on a wide range of talented PR people to deliver results for our clients, a roster we’re always adding to. Here our latest recruit, PR Account Manager, Aishleen, discusses how she has found her first four weeks at Refresh PR.

 

What made you want to join the team at Refresh PR?

 

Having always been in B2B comms, I’d heard Refresh’s name many times. From amazing campaign ideas (that I wish I’d thought of!) to award wins at the Construction Marketing Awards, B2B Marketing Awards and North West PRide Awards, Refresh is top of its game. It helped that after coming into the office a few times, the team all seemed friendly and welcoming.

 

What has your first few weeks at Refresh PR been like?

 

Manic, but I expected no different! The week I started, one of their year-long campaigns, the Heating Installer Awards, was culminating in an awards presentation which I attended. Despite not doing any of the leg work beforehand, it was very rewarding to see how successful the awards had been. After that, it’s been non-stop. Refresh PR is very results driven, that’s how they’ve managed to secure and retain so many interesting clients and it’s meant that no two days are the same.

 

Best thing about Refresh PR?

 

It’s so cliched but I think I’ve most enjoyed working with the team. They’re a lovely, and very talented bunch, who secure great opportunities for our clients. Despite working on the trade team, we’re very much one agency and have a one agency approach to the work carried out. The clients are a close second though. With such an eclectic mix of sectors, there’s no time to be bored. Our clients trust Refresh PR, and the campaigns we come up with, 100%. That’s how Refresh has been able to implement so many award-winning ideas!

 

And the worst?

 

I’m going to have to say being in the middle of the Northern Quarter, it’s a blessing and a curse. Whilst we can grab cocktails and a pizza after work, sometimes the temptation is too much and I’ve had to abandon my lunch for some tastier options in one of the many restaurants we are surrounded by!

 

Describe Refresh PR in 140 characters

 

An exciting agency with a talented (and hilarious) team, innovative award-winning campaigns and proven results #TheResultsSpeakForThemselves

 

We are currently adding a PR Account Executive to our team. If you like the sound of what Ash had to say about starting at Refresh PR, send your C.V. to iwantajob@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

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Marketing Status: It’s Complicated



 

 

Marketing, like any industry, is constantly changing and evolving. As new technologies and trends emerge and consumers’ expectations change, marketing professionals are constantly looking for innovative and creative ways to engage with the target market.

But recently, it seems that these professionals may be overthinking things, when they could be keeping it very simple.

Take for example Dove’s recent body shape bottles. Are these needed? Are they wanted? Are they a waste of NPD time and marketing spend? The majority of people online seem to think the latter.

I personally don’t want to have to pick a bottle of moisturiser based on what body shape I am. I want to get something that works and is effective – regardless of whether I am pear, apple or any other fruit.

In my opinion it seems that in trying so hard to convey a message and support real women, Dove has gone too far.  Online feedback to the new packaging is that it’s tried to be too clever and has ultimately overcomplicated things.

However, in recent weeks we have also seen a brilliant example of marketing at its simplest, and ultimately finest.  Designer, Dave Blackhurst, was asked to create a club poster for a local pub – which he did in the most basic and cost-effective, but genius of ways.

Blackhurst simply printed the Whatsapp conversation between himself and the pub’s owner, discussing the design request. It contained all the relevant information, presented in a way the target audience recognises and most importantly, it stood out. So much so the poster went viral –lazy.

As PR and marketing professionals it’s key that we explore ways to utilise any new technology and trends without losing sight of how our target audience consumes its media. We need to evolve while keeping it simple.  

 

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A Facebook Diagnosis



 

It’s no secret that advertisers are tapping into most areas of our digital lives. Viewing a product once can leave us bombarded with targeted ads through social media channels. However, with the recent news that Facebook has been monitoring teenagers’ every tap, click and post to gain insight into their emotional state, has this gone too far?

By keeping tabs on our online searches on Facebook, the social media channel is able to make assumptions on how we are feeling and share this information with advertisers.

Leaked documents show the social media giant telling advertisers it can identify teens feeling 'insecure' and 'worthless' following extensive research it carried out on the platform.

In turn, this allows advertisers to then push the appropriate ads to the appropriate audience, whether it is self-help, confidence building, therapy or counselling – there are a host of companies just waiting to reap the financial reward of a teen’s misery.

This could be seen as a preventative measure, offering help to those who may not be willing to speak up and ask for it, however I don’t believe this is Facebook’s decision to make.

I personally see it as another form of intrusion on our lives which many of us don’t even know is happening. If someone has chosen not to speak up about their emotional state, it’s likely because they are not ready to talk. And if they haven’t discussed it with friends or family, what gives Facebook the right to facelessly intervene?

Offering teens in emotional turmoil an imbalance of messages through advertising will likely do more harm than good, offering a diagnosis for a problem that may amount to nothing. It may also pressure teens into taking unnecessary preventative measures, while making silence a feasible option by taking power away from parents and guardians. After all, not all problems can be solved by simply clicking a button.

The solution here, I believe, is to let teens understand the facts surrounding online searching, asking platforms like Facebook to be more transparent with how it uses your online activity to target ads and influence the content it shows you. If we all understood that these adverts are a direct result of our searches, they would have less effect on us and could prevent teens being overwhelmed.

It’s Facebook’s responsibility to ensure people are protected when using its social media platform, therefore it should ensure vulnerable teens are not bombarded with confusing messages – simply for financial gain for a company already worth $435 billion dollars.

 

 

 

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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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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking ahead: Prolific North Live



 

Prolific North Live 2017 will take place at EventCity, Manchester, and Refresh PR will be there!

 

This February, Refresh PR will be exhibiting at Prolific North Live, offering businesses advice on how to maximise their use of PR and social media to help achieve business objectives.

 

The annual media, marketing and creative industries expo, which takes place at EventCity in Manchester on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th, will see more than 100 exhibitors and an anticipated 5,000 delegates attend.

 

As well as offering delegates the opportunity to have a one-to-one PR consultation with our team of experts, our managing director, Laura Mashiter, will be leading a talk in the main exhibition hall.

 

The event is free to attend and delegates can attend a range of informative seminars from experts in the creative and media sectors.

 

Book your free place, and come and see us on stand 85! http://live.prolificnorth.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Award-winning campaign back for 2017



Having won two awards at the 2016 Construction Marketing Awards – claiming first prize in the Best Use of Press and Public Relations category, and Highly Commended in the Best Mid-Range Campaign category – the campaign is back bigger and better, complete with a rebrand and redesigned website.

 

The Heating Installer Awards work to champion plumbers and heating installers who make it their mission to bring a superior level of credibility and customer service to the industry. It recognises those using innovative skills and technicality to install energy efficient solutions which change the lives of homeowners.

Sponsored by LG , Vaillant UK, Danfoss, Graham The Plumbers’ Merchant, , Pegler Yorkshire , Sentinel and Continental Underfloor, the Heating Installer Awards is open for entries from now until February, when an expert panel of judges will select the best heating installers from 11 regions across the country.

Following the announcement of the regional winners in March, it will be over to the public to decide the UK’s Number One Heating Installer. The winner will be announced at the industry’s leading plumbing and heating show, Installer2017, in May 2017 at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.

Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “The 2016 Heating Installer Awards campaign was a bold move from our agency – we wanted to create something unique that had a positive impact on the heating industry, which for so long has been plagued by the ‘cowboy’ tagline.

We know that’s not a fair representation of the industry, so we thought it was high time that there was a scheme that recognised the excellent standards of work taking place by tradespeople, and which created a new buzz for the industry.

“We had high hopes back then, and after the success of year one and the multiple award wins, we’re aiming even higher in year two. We’ve created an integrated campaign which utilises online PR coverage, a mobile-responsive website, social media, emarketing and direct marketing which not only works to promote the superstars of the heating industry, but which ties into the individual PR objectives for each of our sponsors over the next 12 months.

“If you know a heating installer or plumber who deserves to stand in the spotlight, encourage them to enter – they could go on to be crowned the UK’s Number One Heating Installer!”

To enter, plumbers and heating installers should visit www.heatinginstallerawards.co.uk and fill in the short form, detailing a project the installer is particularly proud of, or which demonstrates going above and beyond for the customer. The deadline for entries is 5pm on 17th February 2017, and full terms and conditions can be found on the website.

 

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

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



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

 

Media Expansion

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

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

 

Micro-influencers

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

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

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

 

Standing for Something

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

 

The Death of B2B

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

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

 

 

 

 

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2016 PR trend predictions – where are they now?



At the start of each year industry experts join together to identify the big trends developments in the sector. Like any other industry, it is important for PR and marketing professionals to stay ahead of key trends, utilising the latest technology or consumer insight to create effective campaigns.

 

But now, as 2016 is drawing to a close, we take the opportunity to look back over the past 12 months to see which of this year’s predictions have had a real impact.

 

Using PR Week’s Consumer PR: Predictions for 2016, we take a look to see what became a reality, as well as trends’ impact on the industry and our work.

In the article, M&C Saatchi’s Chris Hides talks about Shopper Marketing and the importance of understanding how customers shop and how campaigns can interlink with these habits. This is one of the key predictions that really stands out, as it further demonstrates how customers are demanding more from brand experiences than ever before. River Island is the perfect example of effective shopper marketing with the launch of its ‘Snap & Share’ Snapchat partnership in August.

 

The campaign took advantage of Snapchat’s growing popularity, especially within River Island’s key target audience, with the view to engaging with shoppers and making their experience more fun.

 

This trend - and specifically the focus on customer engagement - won’t be going anywhere in 2017, particularly with consumers becoming more savvy to advertising. Now it is more important to create an opportunity for two-way conversation in a natural environment, rather than a creating platform to communicate a brand’s messages.

 

Another prediction from Hides is nothing beats a great idea – it may seem an obvious one, but for me it is what makes this industry so exciting. From the resurgence of National Blood Week’s ‘Missing Type’ campaign, to Paddy Power’s ‘Juan Direction’, as PR professionals we have the opportunity to make consumers sit up and take notice.

 

In 2016, Refresh PR’s creative campaigns have been recognised with a number of industry award wins – from the Food Porn Awards to the Window with a View competition – we have been able to use our creativity to come up with campaigns that have a genuine impact on our clients’ business objectives.

 

Going into 2017 there will be more demand for these creative approaches; whether utilising new tools, or reinventing the way we approach traditional methods in a busy and noisy marketing environment, we need to be able to create that cut-through.

 

Stir PR’s Alicia Mellish continues the predictions with her thoughts on evaluation and measurement. With brands still cautious with their budgets and spending, there is more need than ever to provide metrics above and beyond PR value and reach. By working closely with the client from the start to identify genuine business objectives, we have been able to create measurable campaigns that impact consumer behaviour, to deliver the brand’s needs.

 

Earlier this year, our client, The Glass and Glazing Federation, launched a consumer facing website, MyGlazing.com - the PR campaign had one very clear objective; drive traffic. By creating the Window With a View competition, we successfully managed to exceed the target of 100,000 hits to the website, proving that the coverage generated was having a genuine impact on consumers.

 

The challenge of measurement and evaluation is an ongoing one for our industry and something all professionals need to concentrate on. We know nothing beats a good idea, but we need to be able to prove its worth!

Mellish also predicts the ever changing media landscape will continue to develop, largely through the commercialisation of bloggers. Moving away from opinion-led commentary, the biggest bloggers are now businesses, with a team of people growing their brand. Our previous blog  explores the movement towards micro-influencers as mainstream bloggers continue to grow in popularity, which will continue into 2017.

 

The final trend prediction we explore is Hides’ thoughts around talent. In Manchester specifically we have seen a marketing boom, with more agencies opening and services expanding, making it a vibrant and exciting place to work. But, for many this is leading to a skills shortage – meaning there isn’t enough talent to deliver what has been promised. Here at Refresh PR we are tackling this by focusing on in-house, high level training to upskill our talented team. The Refresh Academy offers our staff the chance to learn and grow and develop the skills we need to keep pace with this fast moving industry.

 

The Refresh Academy is still in its first year, so in 2017 we will continue to see it grow and develop. As the industry changes, the training we provide our team will grow with it, to ensure we can deliver high-standard service and offering that clients have come to expect.  

 

So onto 2017, where I am sure we will see even more developments and changes in this exciting sector and watch this space for our PR predictions.

 

 

 

Tagged with: 2017, consumers, Marketing, media, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, predictions, Social Media

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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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Refresh PR builds reputation with wins at Construction Marketing Awards



 

 

Last night, we won three awards at the prestigious Construction Marketing Awards in London, cementing our reputation as construction communication specialists.

 

We scooped two awards for our Heating Installer of the Year Awards campaign, which was awarded the top prize for its use of press and public relations, and also highly commended in the mid-range budget campaign category.

 

Celebrating plumbers and heating installers who have delivered exceptional customer service, the Heating Installer of the Year Awards used a sustained, integrated communications approach, which included trade and regional PR, social media, email marketing, sponsorship and events.

 

Our Window with a View campaign, created in association with the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), was named winner in the best mid-range budget category. The campaign captured the imagination of homeowners and businesses alike, successfully driving high levels of traffic to GGF’s newly launched consumer advice website, MyGlazing.com.

 

The CIM’s Construction Marketing Awards celebrates the best talent from across the UK, showcasing the construction industry’s creativity, innovation and effectiveness in marketing.

 

Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “Bringing three awards back to the North West is a fantastic achievement. Our team has specialist expertise in the construction sector and for this to be recognised on a national level is testament to our successful and innovative delivery.

 

“The public relations win is particularly special as it’s the second time we’ve been recognised in this category, having also won back in 2013, for our work with Polypipe. With more and more businesses in the construction industry looking for dynamic ways to reach their audiences, these campaigns demonstrate how creativity can be used to capture audiences’ imaginations and help achieve business objectives.”

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Construction Marketing Awards, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations

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Triple triumph for Refresh PR at industry awards



Refresh PR has scooped three prestigious PR and marketing industry awards, including northern small agency of the year at the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) Northern Awards.

The CIM Awards, which are judged by a panel of leading industry experts, including several chartered marketers, were announced at the Crowne Plaza in Newcastle to celebrate outstanding marketing campaigns and talent from across the North of England.

We also took the top prize in the CIM’s best northern region campaign category for our work on the Food Porn Awards. Launched to restaurants across the North West, our team delivered an all-encompassing communications campaign that swept the region and made a genuine business impact for our client, STM Photography.

On the same night, we also picked up silver for the Food Porn Awards in the corporate and business communications campaign category at the North West CIPR PRide Awards, which recognise the leading campaigns and agencies in the region.

Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “The CIM Northern Awards celebrate the best marketing talent across the north of England so to take home the award for best agency is testament to our talented team and the results that we deliver for our clients. Winning two awards in one night for our Food Porn Awards campaign cements our agency’s reputation for food and drink communications.”

Diane Earles, network manager for CIM, said: “Congratulations to Refresh PR, which won the Northern Region campaign and Small Agency of the Year categories.”

Paul Say, owner and director at Say-DE Consulting Ltd, who judged the Region Campaign category, said: “It was low cost, but had high impact tactics showing how a small budget can be well utilised with a big idea at the heart of the strategy.”

Charlie Nettle, chair of CIM North East, who judged the small agency category, said: “The strategic focus, implementation of company values and business processes alongside a commitment to training and development suggest this business is mature beyond its years from the perspective of business excellence.”

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B, Chartered Institute of Marketing, Chartered Institute of Public Relations, CIM, CIPR , communications, Food & Drink, Food Porn Awards, Manchester, Marketing, northern, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, PRidenw, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Solid foundations? Prefab homes and the housing crisis



Britain’s housing crisis has been building over the past decade. It’s no secret that a lack of affordable housing and the increasing size of deposits required has resulted in rising levels of temporary accommodation, as well as a market where home ownership remains out of reach for millions.

As a prospective first time buyer and reluctant member of “Generation Rent”, considering how to get on to the housing ladder is daunting to say the least. So, naturally, discussions this week about the Government’s plans to build 100,000 modern prefab homes piqued my interest.

First created in the post-war era to bridge the shortage of housing after World War Two, the original prefab homes were hampered by quality issues. Quickly constructed, they offered a lifeline for many displaced families, but were designed to last no more than ten years and thus provided only a short-term fix.

This week’s announcement has been at odds with these long-standing perceptions of so-called “ready-made homes”, repositioning them as a potential long-term solution for the UK’s modern day housing crisis.

So, is the plan built on solid foundations or will it all come tumbling down?

A recent report by the homelessness charity, Shelter, forecasted that the Government will miss its target of one million homes by 2020, with a predicted shortfall of 266,000 and a new solution required. Enter stage right, prefab housing.

This new generation of modern homes takes on a whole new design and manufacturing model. While they are still in a ready-made format – produced in factories and constructed on site – improvements in technology mean that quality is no longer a limitation. Modular design enables designers to work off-site and use new technologies that keep quality, and the end user’s needs, in sight.

Let’s take an example of this approach in action. Property innovator, Urban Splash, has recently unveiled its Manchester-based Irwell Riverside house development, offering prospective buyers autonomy over their living space. Marketing itself with the slogan “offering space not rooms” is very astute; people first decide how many square feet they require and then how to use the space. For example, if a tenant wants their kitchen on the top floor and an open plan environment, this can be easily factored in thanks to the flexible modular design. Urban Splash has won awards for its innovative approach and it appears that the powers that be are taking note.

As well as more control over design decisions and increased flexibility, modern prefabs offer another key advantage for the Government’s house building initiatives: speed. With the manufacturing process generally taking between 12 and 14 days, and then a further ten to 12 days to construct on site, prefab homes offer the kind of turnaround that traditional house building could only dream of.

With 2020 fast approaching and the housing crisis deepening, prefabs could be the solution that the country so desperately needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: building, Built Environment, Construction, homes, houses, Manchester, Marketing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, prefab, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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New office launch sees industry experts debate value of great design



With years of experience leading campaigns in the built environment sector, here at Refresh we know our clients truly value developing new relationships with key decision makers. Having built a large network of contacts, we relish the opportunity to bring together experts in the field who we know will hit it off professionally and to help create new partnerships for our clients.

 

At the end of 2015, our client Space Zero, a Manchester-based interior design consultancy specialising in education and healthcare, shared the news it would be moving to a brand new office in September 2016 and would be designing the space to create an unrivalled workplace in the city.

Never one to miss an opportunity to showcase our clients’ expertise and innovation, we organised a series of round table events.

Working together with Space Zero, we brought together academics, contractors, architects and consultants on two October mornings to discuss challenges affecting their sector and be treated to a guided tour of the new office from Space Zero’s CEO, Wayne Taylor.

The first event focused on healthcare design with attendees from leading businesses including Pozzoni, Rider Hunt and Interserve discussing the challenges of designing spaces to provide an empathetic and comfortable environment for dementia patients.

The second, focussing on the design of schools across England, saw experts from JM Architects, Wates, Bowmer & Kirkland, the University of Manchester and other industry heavyweights debate the elements of school design most likely to result in positive outcomes for pupils.

While the attendees shared their varying views, different experiences and raised questions about the future of the industry, what was clear from both events is that the sector thrives on collaboration, shared values and a passion for using design to make a difference – whether for employees, students or dementia patients.

Plans are already in place for a third round table to be held very soon. So if you work in the interiors, architecture or construction industries, look out for an invitation heading your way!

Tagged with: Built Environment, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , Roundtable

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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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Enter the Food Porn Awards and get a bite of the action!



September saw us launch the 2017 Food Porn Awards with STM Photography. We’re calling on eateries from across the North West, Yorkshire and Cumbria to get snapping their most mouth-watering dishes!

Following a hugely successful 2016 launch, the Food Porn Awards have returned, with a mission to find the most tantalising dishes in the North West, Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Restaurants, bars, pubs and eateries should enter images of their best-looking food in order to win the coveted 2017 award.

The Refresh PR team has been leading press office activity for the campaign, engaging key media and influencers in the target regions to encourage entries, and will be supporting at all four cook-off events in Leeds and Manchester in January.

We have also approached leading industry figures to join our judging panel, which this year includes Maria Bracken, editor of leading industry publication, Eat Out, Professor Stewart Morell from Manchester Metropolitan University, and Maria Whitehead, event director of Taste Cumbria.

The shortlisted dishes will be showcased at the Food Porn Awards exhibition at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show on 21st and 22nd March 2017, where the ultimate winner will be announced.

Entries have already been pouring in from both sides of the Pennines, with 2017 hopefuls including Neighbourhood in Manchester, Iberica in Leeds and Marco Pierre White’s renowned Marco’s New York Italian in Sheffield. If you know a Food Porn-worthy hidden gem in the North, encourage them to get involved and enter online by Sunday 13th November.

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Marketing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR is on the job with Detail2Recruitment



Our direct marketing campaign for recruitment specialist, Detail2Recruitment, will use content generation to reinforce its expertise in key industries.

 

Creating content that is informative, engaging and highly relevant to their target audience is top of the list for many businesses, but can be a tricky balancing act. Working with recruitment specialist, Detail2Recruitment, our latest direct marketing campaign will produce creative content to cut through the noise in the retail and leisure sectors and highlight the business’ expertise.

 

With offices in Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Dublin, Detail2Recruitment has specialist teams covering the retail, leisure and hospitality and digital sectors. Its expertise has resulted in significant revenue growth and long-term partnerships with household names including Casual Dining Group, Debenhams and Carphone Warehouse.

 

With the recruitment sector booming and a spotlight on how best to provide businesses with engaging materials that resonate, this project enables us to do just that by offering creative content and new insights. The campaign runs until the end of November and we can’t wait to see the results!

 

Tagged with: Appointment, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations North West, Recruitment, Skiing

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Refresh PR boosts consumer team with senior appointment



October saw us expand our award-winning team further with the addition of Caroline Gibson, our new consumer account director.

 

Caroline joins from BJL, where she worked with the likes of Marriott, Ronseal and Eurocamp. Caroline will work alongside our senior management team to further grow the agency’s consumer client base, and continue to deliver standout campaigns for clients.

 

Caroline brings with her a wealth of experience, working with leading brands across the hospitality, retail and FMCG sectors, including Burger King, Cravendale, Wilko, GG Hospitality and GO Outdoors.

 

The appointment follows a number of senior hires at Refresh PR in recent months, with Emma McCallum and Sarah Mashiter joining the agency as associate director and HR and operations director earlier this year.

 

Emma McCallum said: “Caroline’s appointment supports continued growth within Refresh PR’s consumer arm over the past six months. She brings with her a huge amount of experience within the hospitality and retail sectors, and will be a real asset to the agency.”

 

 

 

Tagged with: Appointment, Marketing, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Team

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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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The business benefits of a community spirit



Over the past few weeks Richard Branson’s famous quote has, once again, been doing the rounds on LinkedIn: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”

 

While we should all make every effort to grab the opportunities that are presented to us, in a creative industry like PR, utilising others’ strengths can be a real game changer – why not collaborate to benefit a campaign or project?

 

Based in the Northern Quarter, Manchester’s creative hub, Refresh PR is fortunate to benefit from an impressive array of talent on our doorstep. Indeed, the wider Greater Manchester region boasts the third highest number of creative businesses in the UK - pretty impressive..

 

For this very reason, our agency is a firm supporter of business collaboration: if a company can offer expertise that we don’t have, we’ll collaborate to create something special.

 

As a city we are great at collaborating. Let’s take it up a notch – lets support fellow Manchester businesses, nurture and grow top talent, and keep it in the City.

 

Manchester has invested £3.5billion building a global hub for creative industries. It’s the home of creative talent. We have numerous great organisations set up for the purpose of encouraging collaboration in the creative sector – the MPA, Creative Pioneers, and numerous collaborative workspaces to nurture those starting out in the city. The opportunities are endless. It’s up to us to jump in and get involved.

 

So, why are we so passionate about collaboration?

 

Well, quite simply, embracing a collaborative approach allows us to build a great network of contacts, while working with other fantastic businesses and talented people.

 

If a campaign needs a certain element that we don’t offer, we find the best partner in their field to work alongside us. Partnership and collaboration, done properly, is hugely effective.

 

We’re very proud of the companies we work with and the award-winning campaigns we have produced over the years.

 

In recent weeks we’ve been recognised by several prestigious industry bodies, from CIPR to the national B2B Marketing Awards, for integrated campaigns including the Heating Installer of the Year Awards and the Food Porn Awards. We’re also working on the Window with a View campaign for the Glass and Glazing Federation, bringing together several collaborating agencies.

 

While Refresh PR has spearheaded the delivery of these projects, the campaigns undoubtedly benefited from the additional clout and expertise of the talented partners we worked alongside.

 

We want to talk to like-minded businesses, so if you see us out and about or want to pop in for a coffee, our door is always open!

 

Let’s talk about how we can work together to achieve more.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: CIPR , Manchester, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR shortlisted for three Northern Marketing Awards 2016



We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for three of Prolific North’s Northern Marketing Awards 2016!Northern Marketing Awards Refresh PR

 

Our work for the Food Porn Awards and Heating Installer of the Year Awards has been shortlisted for the Best Food and Drink Campaign and Best Property and Construction Campaign respectively, and we’ve also been shortlisted for the Best Small Agency in the North (up to 30 employees).

 

Over the last seven years, we’ve worked hard to tailor our offering to our clients across the B2B and B2C sectors to ensure they get the most out of their communications and marketing campaigns. By combining strategic marketing insights with creativity, we pride ourselves on developing and implementing powerful, integrated campaigns that help business cut through the noise and be noticed.

 

The team in the office this morning is over the moon to hear about the shortlists – and it really is testament to their hard work, passion and expertise. You can find out more about our Food Porn Awards and Heating Installer of the Year Awards integrated marketing campaigns on our blog, and we’ll let you know how we get on at the awards ceremony in October.   

 

 

Tagged with: awards, Construction, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Refresh PR drives away with insureTAXI brief



Refresh PR has been appointed by the UK’s largest taxi insurance broker, insureTAXI, to create and implement a PR campaign to boost brand awareness and increase the company’s presence online.

 

We will work closely with insureTAXI, part of The County Group, to generate headline grabbing news stories and creative content, targeted at national and regional news sites. Part of this activity will see research commissioned to investigate the working habits, attitudes and opinions of taxi drivers. Our team will also build relationships with educational institutes and local councils as a further way to raise awareness of the insureTAXI brand, and boost online engagement.

 

We have years of experience delivering effective SEO-boosting PR campaigns for clients, and working with such a reputable company in an industry with such diverse topics is a great opportunity for us to produce some really outstanding online content.

 

More and more businesses are approaching us to help them become more visible online. By understanding the media and not only tapping into but creating the news agenda, thereby getting the client in front of new audiences, creating a buzz and driving traffic to their website.

 

We can’t wait to get started – watch this space!

Tagged with: Construction, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Is a picture really worth a thousand words?



The news last week that Twitter is introducing functionality to enable brands to target users by emoji has, according to Campaign, put another nail in the coffin of the written word. Coincidentally, on the same day that this emoji story broke, I attended a creative therapy session that provided interesting insights into the dramatic shift in PR from traditional modes of communication to visual, interactive content; it’s no longer what you tell your audience, but how long you can hold their attention for.

 

This is the smartphone generation after all and we (apparently) have no time to read articles; I’ve got a high score to beat on Angry Birds! Right? As a proud English graduate and believer in the power of language, you may think this prompted some kind of existential crisis for me. In fact, I asked myself, is a picture really worth a thousand words? While it’s true that dwell time has become a viable measure of success for some campaigns, such as Deliveroo’s fun gherkin puzzle, I don’t think we should be mourning the written word quite yet.

 

There are still plenty of occasions where businesses can use words to generate the right results, whether that’s a thought leadership piece to offer expertise and build credibility on a particular topic, or penning an open letter to raise awareness of a social issue or charitable cause. At the same time, campaigns have been known to overstep the mark due to the language they use.

 

Let’s take the EU Referendum campaign and the recent controversy surrounding Nigel Farage and UKIP’s anti-immigration poster as an example. The image shows the suffering of migrants and refugees fleeing violence in their own country, in tandem with the phrase “breaking point” to intentionally stoke fears around immigration. This divisive language is completely at odds with Brendan Cox’s incredibly poignant statement about his late wife, Jo Cox MP. The poster and statement demonstrated in one day how words can either be used to divide or unify.

 

 

In my own life I find words give colour, humour and happiness to the everyday. I’m getting married in September and on our table name stationary we have images that we associate with places that are special to us. Enter stage right, an alpaca from Kent and a lobster from Springfield... Without a short accompanying description on the table stationary, this wouldn’t mean much to anyone other than Tom and I, but words tell stories and invite others into your world in a way that pictures sometimes fail to do alone.

 

I’m of the belief that words are not redundant for brands, campaigns or people, nor do I believe that they are mutually exclusive from images. The acceleration towards video and image-based content is exciting and positive, and can be done without leaving words behind.

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Tagged with: Emoji, Images, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Twitter, value of words

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Refresh PR bolsters senior team with two new appointments



Award-winning Manchester PR agency, Refresh PR, has welcomed two new members to its senior management team following a successful start to 2016.

 Refresh PR senior management team

Emma McCallum and Sarah Mashiter join the city centre agency as associate director and HR and operations director respectively to support the company’s budding client base and spearhead its future growth strategy.

 

Bringing more than eight years’ experience from her previous role at MC2, Emma has implemented PR and marketing campaigns for some of the UK’s most high profile businesses, including Assura, Business Growth Fund, Secure Trust Bank, HSBC, Ainscough, Crane Hire and Deloitte Real Estate.

 

Sarah joins the Refresh team with over 10 years’ experience in the client contacting industry working across a breadth of senior HR roles. Having touched upon all aspects of HR strategy, employee relations, resourcing, learning and development, change and leadership management and organisational design throughout her career so far, Sarah will be utilising her experience to improve operational processes, implement stronger training programmes, launch the Refresh Academy and support the wider team with Refresh’s day-to-day operations.  

 

Laura Mashiter, founder and managing director of Refresh PR, said: “It’s been an exciting start to 2016 for team Refresh with business growth, client and project wins and fresh new talent joining our expanding team.  

 

“We’re delighted with our new recruits, especially as Emma’s previous experience dovetails perfectly into our future growth plans, which focus on two core sector targets and the wider team’s combined experience within construction and food and drink. Bolstering our team not only allows us to drive forward with future expansion, but enables us to support team development whilst maintaining the values we’ve worked hard to establish over the last seven years.”

Emma and Sarah join existing senior management team members Laura Mashiter, Gemma Killackey and Claire Gamble.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Donald Trump wins the internet election



It’s been difficult to escape the tirade of news from the US elections this year and there’s one nominee in particular that’s had us talking, Donald Trump. Regardless of what you think of Trump, he’s made us laugh, cry, wince and at points, question the future of humanity – all in reaction to his robust and somewhat unavoidable social media campaign.

 

Donald Trump ascended to the top on Super Tuesday, winning 11 out of 15 states contested. He marked the occasion with a string of Tweets promising to ‘make America great again’ and thanking each state that backed him. It’s this commitment and Trump’s mastery of social media that has so far gained him 6.59 million Twitter followers - that’s 1 million more than Hillary Clinton - over 4.5 million Facebook fans and 1.1 million Instagram followers; all of which bear witness to his infamous video clips evolved from his YouTube channel, aptly named - the ‘Trump’ channel.

 

When Trump was asked about his use of social media he said: “It’s great, it’s like owning a newspaper but without the losses”. This poses an interesting point; Trump’s disregard for mainstream media means that by turning down appearances and minimising ad spend, he can tell the world exactly what he wants to…in 140 characters…ten times a day.

 

Abnormally for a political figure, Trump engages in social media debate not only about politics, but popular culture too. His live coverage of events such as the Oscars, although questionable, does help him serve his message of being a man of the people and more in-touch with the public than his competitors. Despite Trump’s trivial, racist and outrageous comments, he’s proven to be giving followers exactly what they want – controversial and highly engaging content. And because of this, Trump’s community continues to ardently support him with more memes than you can shake a stick at.

 

So while we not-so-patiently wait to find out what the election outcome will be, we leave you with some of our favourite social media Trumps:

 

On Obama – “Obama is, without question, the WORST EVER president. I predict he will now do something really bad and totally stupid to show manhood!”

 

On the media – “I never fall for scams. I am the only person who immediately walked out of my ‘Ali G’ interview.”

 

On education – “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest - and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault.”

 

On the environment – “It's Friday. How many bald eagles did wind turbines kill today? They are an environmental and aesthetic disaster.”

 

On culture – @cher- I don’t wear a “rug”— it’s mine. And I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn’t work.”

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Donald Trump, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, US election, USA

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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 Refresh PR Text Santa challenge



On Friday 18th December, now known as Christmas Jumper Day, we dug out our most festive Christmas jumpers in order to raise money for ITV’s Text Santa appeal.

 

This year, the Text Santa appeal was supporting three incredibly worthwhile charities: Make a Wish, Save the Children and Macmillan Cancer Support, so the pressure was on to raise as much as we could to back each.

 

On top of enjoying a huge number of festive treats during Christmas jumper day, and all looking particularly dashing in our jumpers (even if we do say so ourselves), the main aim was to raise as much money as possible through our Text Santa challenge. The challenge for everyone in the office was to ‘do our bit in a Christmas knit’ and get as many people as we could to text Santa and donate £5.

 

As more and more people started donating, our total began to climb and the competition started to really heat up. The team soon realised there was a clear winner storming ahead with seven donations; Neil finally stole the show and was declared the winner. For his efforts Neil won a selection box and was awarded very impressive certificate.

 

Overall, we raised an impressive £115.00. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped us achieve our wonderful total and we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

 

Refresh PR Christmas

 

 

Tagged with: Christmas, Jumpers, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, 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 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 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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Instagram Masterclass Success



Last Thursday Refresh PR teamed up with CIM Manchester and The Talk of Manchester to deliver an event for our client, STM Photography.Refresh PR Manchester

Dubbed ‘The Art of Photography and its role within the Marketing Mix’, over 60 marketers from across the city headed over to STM Photography’s food and drink studio on Naval Street in Ancoats to glean insights from the experts.   

With mouth-watering food being served from the kitchen every five minutes, there were plenty of opportunities for delegates to snap away. Several STM Photography team members were on hand to provide tips and pointers, which meant the standard of photography got better anRefresh PR Manchesterd better throughout the evening culminating in a winner being presented with a prize for their efforts.

As the first CIM Manchester event of 2015, it looks set to be an exciting year for the organisation.

Why not visit Instagram and Twitter and search #STMmasterclass to take a look at just some of the photos from the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Food & Drink, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media, Twitter

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It's lights, camera, action for Refresh PR and STM Photography



Specialist food and drink photography studio, STM Photography, has tasked fellow Manchester-based Refresh PR with a brief to raise awareness of the unique professional capabilities of the studio.

The experienced food and drink studio, based in Ancoats in Manchester city centre, is fully equipped with the latest in specialist equipment and lighting, kitchens, chilled and frozen storage, client work areas, and extensive prop stores, all of which ensure the best results.

Together with a roster of leading food stylist, client chefs and development teams, the team work both from the studio and on location. With existing clients including bars, restaurants, retailers, food manufacturers and a number of well-known chefs, the agency’s proven track record will be used to underpin the PR campaign.

Darren Hickson, photographer at STM, commented: "We’ve been working around food and drink for over 10 years for clients within the food and drink industry, including Simon Rimmer, Masterchef, national brands and marketing agencies. With so many successful food and drink brands based here in the north, on top of the teams experience, we’re also convenient and don’t have the overheads of Central London.

"After a period of significant investment, which has seen the expansion of the studio and its facilities, it’s time for us to really start shouting about what we do. With a background of working with clients in the food and drink sector, Refresh PR was the obvious PR partner for us to choose. The team has exciting ideas, great contacts and solid experience to help us deliver our strategy so we can’t wait to get started."

The PR campaign will launch with a series of events targeting in-house marketers, marketing agency teams, food bloggers and journalists. It will integrate trade and regional PR with a heavy emphasis on utilising photo-based social media tools to reach the niche target audiences.

For more information about STM Photography contact 0161 205 7417 or visit www.stmphotography.co.uk

ENDS

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

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Ten of the Best Christmas Jumpers for 2014



Blog drafted by Emilie.

 

Friday 12th December is Christmas Jumper Day in aid of Save the Children. The charity has secured the support of a whole host of celebrities for its annual campaign which is now in its third year and gaining momentum.

 

Strictly star, Frankie Bridge, along with the vivacious Fearne Cotton and mumpreneur Myleene Klass, have all been involved in digging out their favourite Christmas woollies to show their support for the charity.

 

Not to miss an opportunity for a bit of fun, the Refresh PR team will be getting involved too this year.  But on our quest for the most stand-out jumper of 2014, we’ve found there is just so much choice when it comes to festive fashion. So, we’ve donned our thinking Father Christmas caps and rated our favourite Christmas jumpers across the high street. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our final choices on Friday!

 

10. When it comes to Christmas jumpers, not everybody likes to stand out as much we do here at Refresh PR. If you like to blend in whilst still feeling festive, check out this sparkly sequinned number from New Look

 

9. Christmas jumpers aren’t all sequins and glitter you know. Check out this fantastically festive and very manly ReinBEERS top, perfect for the pub on Christmas Eve

 

8. If you love Christmas films, Home Alone in particular, then this one’s for you - MERRY CHRISTMAS YA FILTHY ANIMAL!

 

7.  Those darn Christmas tunes are playing everywhere you go, so instead of getting annoyed, join in! JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS…

 

6. If you prefer your Christmas jumpers to be cosy, cuddly and all things fluffy then get hold of this gorgeous snowflake sweater, from our neighbours at Boohoo

 

5. For all the Scrooges out there, we recommend this delightful jumper from River Island. Just try to at least smile when you wear it

 

4. This jumper has everything: snow, a Christmas tree, twinkling lights (no seriously, it lights up)...but maybe it’s just a little too much?

 

3. Some of us prefer to think of the Christmas jumper season as an excuse for fancy dress, so if this is you, why not go for this (slightly eccentric) elf jumper from River Island

 

2. If you still like the idea of dressing up as an elf, but aren’t quite sold on going all out, this jumper provides the perfect solution

 

1. Our absolute favourite Christmas jumper from Peacocks combines festive colours, glitter and pompoms! So here it is, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

We absolutely adore Christmas fashion over here at Refresh PR, so why not let us know your favourite jumpers, or even send us a pic? Don’t forget to join in with Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day – find out how to get involved here.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Christmas jumper; Christmas, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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New Beginnings



The rain has held off today and this week continues to be a sunny one, as I have finished my first few days as part of the Refresh PR team.
It is certainly true that Refresh is a ‘refreshing’ PR agency to work with. I have already witnessed a very hardworking and professional, yet personable, team in action and I have been welcomed warmly.

I am certainly looking forward over the next few weeks and months to getting involved at the agency, and working with a fantastic set of clients, being set new challenges and learning PR skills from a new perspective.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working the PR and digital industry over the past two years, and I am keen to further my skills at this flourishing agency at the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

To introduce myself as a new Refresher here’s some facts about me:

- Digital PR geek
It’s perhaps sad, but true, I love the digital side of PR – whether it’s Google Analytics, Social Media or using other tools such as Majestic SEO. I have previously worked with a number of digital clients and I find whole industry extremely fascinating, and I look forward to using my digital skills at Refresh!  

- I love music
From Techno to Beyoncé- I am a big music fan. I can play a number of instruments too. I like to keep up with what’s new in the music industry, but I am not afraid to admit I have some guilty pleasures too (Justin Timberlake!) I try and go to festivals and music gigs throughout the year, and most recently I have attended Manchester’s Parklife festival, seen Prince live at the Phones 4 U arena, and been to The Libertines reunited gig at Hyde Park. 

- I like to explore
Whether it’s a new restaurant, venue or holiday destination – I love to explore and widen my horizons.  I am looking forward to exploring Manchester’s North Quarter where the Refresh office is based and seeing what’s going on around the area.

If you would like to find out more, you can follow me on twitter here: @emilylucy

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Refresh PR constructs a campaign worthy of a national award shortlist



Manchester’s Refresh PR will compete against three other PR teams at the national Construction Marketing Awards in December, having been shortlisted in the ‘Best Use of Press and Public Relations’ category for the second year running. Organised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Group, Refresh PR is the only North West-based PR agency shortlisted for the PR award.

Refresh PR’s nomination acknowledges the success of the agency’s campaign to launch and raise brand awareness for Polypipe Home Solutions, a consumer-facing offering from international manufacturer, Polypipe.

Following an extensive audience analysis and media audit, Refresh PR developed and implemented an ongoing creative strategy which saw sustained results secured on TV, across the national consumer media and online.

Speaking about the agency’s nomination, Refresh PR’s managing director, Laura Mashiter, said: “It’s been an incredibly tough few years for the construction industry.  As the situation improves, companies will need to do even more to stand out from the competition. PR activity needs to be creative, engaging, on message and importantly demonstrate ROI – all of which our campaign delivered. Being recognised in this category for the second year running firmly cements Refresh PR’s position as an expert within this sector.”

The Construction Marketing Awards, which seek to recognise national marketing excellence across the built environment sector, will take place on 5th December in London.

 

For further information on Refresh PR, visit www.refreshpr.co.uk or call 0161 8711 188.

Tagged with: awards, Best Use of Press and Public Relations, Built Environment, Chartered Institute of Marketing, CMA, Construction, Construction Marketing Awards, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Refresh PR

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Taking the initiative: CIM Manchester presents the latest in innovation for businesses



The latest CIM Manchester event focuses on how innovation can be used in businesses to drive growth and development. By reflecting on real examples where innovation has helped a company flourish, the event is set to evoke discussion and engage business leaders and marketers alike.

Guest speakers will include Dom Rodwell, chief creative officer at Play, Manchester’s design and innovation company, and Claire Gavin, head of innovation at Pets at Home, Britain's largest specialist pet retailer.

The irony we often face when discussing innovation within business is whether the actions of a company are in fact innovative – businesses need to be able to walk-the-walk as well as talk-the-talk. Understanding the expertise behind the processes of introducing innovation into a business is the first step to being able to implement a successful strategy into your own company.

Practically applying innovative ideas to a business can be tricky – but it isn’t limited in scope. Informative guidance about previous successful strategies and access to experts can prompt you to adopt a different way of thinking that is most suitable to your company.

Pets at Home has grabbed innovative thinking by the horns and launched an appeal to product inventors to get their designs on the shelves of the national retailer. Through pursuing alternative measures and communicating with experts outside of the company, Pets at Home has been able to assert itself as a leader of innovation within the industry, and Claire will no doubt have invaluable advice for businesses looking to adapt a similar approach.

With an increasing amount of technological advancements throughout the business and marketing world, it is vital for companies to effectively capitalise on their strengths by utilising the vast range of platforms, both online and offline.

 A stand out example of innovation that got everyone talking in the office was Asda adding real social media posts from customers about the products from the ‘Chosen By You’ own-brand food range to the packaging of the products themselves. The pre-launch utilised a multitude of online platforms – incorporating social media and customer feedback – as well as building trust in the brand by demonstrating customer satisfaction.  

With Manchester as a national hub for business and digital innovation, this event will be a great opportunity to hear from the experts about how to effectively invest in innovation, as well as a chance to network and meet like-minded professionals. We’ll see you there!

'Managing innovation: how to drive business growth' will take place at Manchester Business School on Wednesday 9th October. For further information and to register for tickets, please click here

Tagged with: Business, CIM, CIM Manchester, Innovation, Manchester, Marketing, Networking Event, North West

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#Royalbaby: Jumping on the brand wagon



I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s a new royal baby in town. Reading the Metro on my way into work for the last few days, this is clearly the story of a generation (to those who care). But even if you’re not a Royalist, something that can be appreciated as a creative is the industry’s response to the media frenzy.

A sudden surge of royal baby branding by top companies perfectly encapsulates the strengths of the creative industry and its ability to react and be a part of an international news headline. You could characterise it as hopping on the “brand-wagon” (excuse the pun), and it doesn’t matter what the business represents, the imagination of industry creatives will find a way to engage with the public lapping up the new baby news.

While these adverts and marketing stunts will have been in the pipeline since the pregnancy was announced last December, it is the reach that these brands have achieved through social media platforms and advertisements in newspapers across the world in such a short space of time that is impressive.

The Drum has highlighted a number of top brand celebrations and you’ve got to admit, some of them are pretty impressive.

I asked the Refreshers what their favourites have been so far, check them out:

Does your brand need boosting? Want to keep up with the latest consumer and business trends? Contact our  Manchester PR Agency on 0161 8711 188.

Tagged with: Brand Awareness, Manchester Agency, Marketing, Refresh PR, Royal Baby, Stunts

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Refresh PR Scoops National Industry Award



Celebrating Refresh PR's national award win

 

As a young PR professional, it is not very often that you get to drink champagne in a 5 star hotel in central London. However last night it seemed my luck was in as I celebrated Refresh PR’s win at the national Recommended Agency Register (RAR) Awards. RAR Awards 2013

 

It had been announced a few weeks ago that we had been selected as finalists in two categories at the awards, which were to be held on Thursday 18 April at The Montcalm Hotel in London. As with all awards I was secretly hoping and wishing that we might be successful in one of the categories, but I honestly did not expect that we would in fact go on to win!

 

Imagine my surprise, when shortly before 11pm, Diane Young announced that we had won the RAR Award for Public Relations (under 30 staff).

 

Being a young agency, with only seven team members, it really was an honour to go on stage and collect the award on behalf of the Refresh PR team, who work hard to consistently deliver excellent PR services to all of our clients.

 

The RAR Awards are the only industry awards that are based solely on the ratings that agencies receive from brand owners, with clients rating agencies in key areas such as creativity, effectiveness, value for money, strategic thinking, client service, on-time record and on-budget record.

 

On behalf of Refresh PR, I would just like to thank all of our clients who took the time to rate us on our services and help us achieve this incredible milestone.

Tagged with: client services, creativity, Diane Young, effectiveness, London, Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, RAR Awards, Recommended Agency Register, Refresh PR, The Montcalm Hotel

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Airport City: we’re excited, are you?



Refresh PR has been out and about networking a lot over the past few weeks.  From Women in Business events to the CIM Manchester’s Building Credibility in the Boardroom talk, we’ve been hearing about the amount of optimism out there at the moment in Manchester.

 

One talk that has got our tongues wagging in the office is a presentation about Manchester’s Airport City, which we watched while at the CIM Construction Industry Group’s Northern Conference. 

 

In recent years airports have had to diversify to generate income; with an increase in taxes on aviation and fuel prices, plus an increased need for security, the profit per person has been in decline.  So through car parking, retail and accommodation, airports have been able to re-address this balance and build new areas of profit into their business plans. 

 

Manchester Airport Group (MAG)’s biggest development plan is Airport City in Manchester.  It recognises that airports can be more than places that people use to travel.  That said, Manchester is the third busiest airport in the UK and flies to over 200 destinations (more than Heathrow).

 

So, what’s Airport City?

 

More than 80 Airport Cities have been built across the globe in the last 10 years.  Hong Kong, Singapore and Memphis are three examples.  Airport Cities consist of retail malls (which, we’ll be honest, is what really got our attention), conference centres, warehousing and logistics, office space, hotels, advanced manufacturing sites – and basically create areas for people to live, work and play.  Manchester’s Airport City will compete with Amsterdam, Barcelona and Frankfurt.

 

Airport City will reach out to international companies needing international access quickly.  These include graduates and entrepreneurs as well as those working in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, R&D, pharmaceuticals, professional services, IT, retail and leisure and hotel and conferencing.  The enterprise zone will offer tax breaks. 

 

·        Location: Land adjacent to Wythenshawe is being developed, which is situated between Jn5 and Jn6 of M56 over 4m sq feet of land.  It will take 15 years to complete and will cost £650m to build, becoming the best connected business destination in the world

·        Transport:  Links will be via train, bus and coach, plus via the Metrolink in 2016 which will go through various stops in Wythenshawe on the way into the city centre

·        Jobs: The airport employs around 19,000 workers, mainly from the local community.  The expansion of Airport City will see more local jobs created for people from Wythenshawe and the surrounding areas

 

So all in all, a great move to boost Manchester’s economy, create jobs and make us our city an even more desirable destination to visit than ever before – we’ll be up from seventh in no time!  Watch You Tube for more information:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhg5RVBidLk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrfAoQ_zzfw

 

 

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Leisure, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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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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Refresh PR's Anna goes to prison with Acorn Treatment and Steve Baker MP



An MP visited Rochdale’s Buckley Hall Prison this week to experience a slice of prison life and learn more about a rehabilitation program for inmates dealing with addiction problems.  And Refresh PR was there too.   Refresh PR and Steve Baker MP with Acorn Treatment

 

The prison visit formed part of a wider initiative organised by the Centre for Social Justice called the ‘Inner City Challenge’.  The Inner City Challenge is a two – three-day placement programme for Members of Parliament and other key influencers, providing them with first-hand experience of the vital work carried out by small, effective poverty-fighting organisations.

 

Steve Baker, the Conservative MP from High Wycombe, is spending three days with registered addiction and rehabilitation charity Acorn Treatment and Housing as part of the scheme.  Acorn is a growing charity working across Greater Manchester and is celebrating 15 years of successfully treating those with addiction problems this year.

 

The charity, which offers counselling and rehabilitation services in three prisons across the North West has welcomed the MP’s visit as a chance to create more awareness about the challenges the prison and the charity face on a daily basis, and how they are successfully working in unison to improve the lives of its inmates who are struggling with addiction.

 

Steve met with organisers from Acorn Treatment on Tuesday, and was then transferred to Buckley Hall prison, following in the path of a new inmate.

 

Upon arrival, Steve was signed in and taken through the prison’s security procedures. He then went on to visit one of the prison wings, where he participated in one of the regular group therapy sessions (RAMP) that Acorn Treatment runs on the prison wing. He listened to inmates talk about their experiences and gained more of an understanding about their motivation to overcome addiction problems and the challenges they face on a daily basis.

 

Steve also learnt about the care services provided by Penine Care NHS Foundation Trust community and mental health services, who work in partnership with Acorn Treatment and Housing at Buckley Hall. 

 

After therapy, Steve spent some time in cells across three wings of the prison, where he experienced what it really feels like to be behind bars.

  

Steve said: “Today was a great experience and I was tremendously impressed by the humanity and care shown by Buckley Hall staff towards prisoners. The prisoners I met during Acorn Treatment’s RAMP group showed a clear determination to transform their lives. I am looking forward to learning how that commitment to abstinence and better social relationship is taken forward once ex-offenders leave prison.”

 

John Hopkins, CEO at Acorn Treatment said: “We treat hundreds of clients in prisons across Greater Manchester every year, and the work we do with them is vitally important. In many cases, addiction is to blame for the crimes our clients in prison have committed.  Buckley Hall is a class C prison, and the majority of the inmates at the prison are coming to the end of long sentences and are often keen to start a new life. Acorn’s treatment plan supports them during their sentence and also when they leave. The success of the treatment is growing steadily here.”

 

During the rest of his visit to Acorn Treatment and Housing, Steve will spend two nights and one full day at one of Acorn’s residential housing, taking part in more group therapy sessions and activities with its clients. He will also visit Restore, Acorn’s social enterprise scheme, a furniture store in Stockport where many of its ex-clients now work.

 

Acorn Treatment and Housing bases its therapy and treatment methods on addressing the problems associated with addiction with an ultimate aim of helping clients achieve abstinence from drugs and alcohol. With treatment centres across Greater Manchester, Acorn Treatment has successfully treated clients from Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Tameside and Manchester. 

 

Do you or someone you know have a problem with addiction?  Do you want to find out more about Acorn Treatment and Housing?  Call in confidence today on 0161 484 0000.

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

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Latest Twitter Updates



New things are always happening at Twitter HQ and a recent email issued by the company has let us know about the latest developments. Twitter’s commitment to simplicity, transparency, and reaching every person on the planet continues – and here’s what they had to announce on Saturday 19th May:

 

·         There’s a new weekly email that delivers the most interesting news and items you might have missed from the people you’re connected to on Twitter

·         Now Twitter is in more languages than ever. You can check for your preferred language and change your setting

·         Download the latest Twitter mobile apps at twitter.com/download

·         There's more to Discover on Twitter.com - try out the new Discover tab

 

In addition, Twitter has made a number of updates to its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Here are some of the main changes to the Privacy Policy, with links for more information:

 

·         Twitter has provided more details about the information it collects and how it uses it to deliver its services and to improve Twitter. One example: its new tailored suggestions feature, which is based on your recent visits to websites that integrate Twitter buttons or widgets, is an experiment that Twitter is beginning to roll out to some users in a number of countries

·         The Twitter team has noted the many ways you can set your preferences to limit, modify or remove the information twitter collects. For example, it now supports the Do Not Track (DNT) browser setting, which stops the collection of information used for tailored suggestions

·         Twitter has clarified the limited circumstances in which your information may be shared with others (for example, when you've given Twitter permission to do so, or when the data itself is not private or personal). Importantly, its privacy policy is not intended to limit your rights to object to a third party's request for your information

 

In its Terms of Service, Twitter has clarified how your relationship with Twitter works and made a number of small changes and formatting improvements, such as new headings for easy reference and updated descriptions of its service.

 

Read the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service – and make sure you follow Refresh PR @Refreshpr

 

Tagged with: Manchester, Marketing, North West , PR, Public Relations

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The Big Marketing Debate



The CIM Manchester branch held its first Big Debate on 1st March 2012 at The Castlefield Rooms above Dukes 92 in the city centre.  Refresh PR helped to support the event by running the twitter feed live on screen during the evening.  And of course writing the blog below which can also be read on the CIM Manchester blog

Sponsored by digital, creative and marketing recruitment firm Orchard, the debating question was: “Does Marketing Deliver Enough Value to Business?”

The Teams

Representing the ‘for’ team (arguing that yes it does indeed deliver enough value) was Han-Son Lee, employer brand manager at The Co-Operative Group and Richard Frost, managing editor at theEword.

Sat on the opposing team was the formidable team of chartered marketers, Ray Clarke (managing director of Shaping Business) and Jeremy Bassett (of Corve Consultancy).

The Debate

The opposing team opened by arguing that marketing does deliver value, yes, but the key is does it deliver ENOUGH value. Touching on issues around financial accountability, the team quoted research which suggested that 1 in 3 marketers surveyed build budgets based on the knowledge of spending without knowing what key corporate goals are. They also claimed that only 2 in 5 marketers can tell what the marketing impact will be on sales!

The opposers confirmed what we all know, that measurement requires time and resources, yet suggested that many marketers think that tracking is too difficult to undertake. And if tracking isn’t undertaken, how can full financial accountability happen?

Getting into his stride, Ray claimed that marketers aren’t engaging key stakeholders in the organisation with strategy. In fact the FTSE 100 made up of more financial CEOs than marketers. He finished by arguing that the relentless focus on ‘promotions’ and tactical marketing is ripping the strategy out of marketing. And that strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.

Strong words!!

Digesting Ray’s points, Han-Son took to the floor to and asked the room to remember one thing – Ray is wrong!
• Marketing has added £137bn to the UK economy. There are 146k people work in marketing according to ONS – that’s not a bad productivity output
• Marketing is the touchpoint to customers, who are empowered more so now than ever before. As evidence of this, the CEO of Greggs said recently that Facebook page was a driver of change – and the page is run by marketers

Han-Son argued that yes, marketing is under-represented in the boardroom, and marketers need to show the value they bring. Marketing not only adds value to the bottom line, but it’s the only department, as the gatekeepers to customers, that DRIVES this value.

Both teams agreed that what we are sometimes lacking, as marketers, are the skills to push marketing at a board level by quantifying marketing activity in a way that financially-focused board members recognise. Marketing is more than just a function in an organisation, it’s a way of thinking. Marketing needs to educate other departments about its value and a good marketer can interpret data, analyse and make actual financial returns.

Summary

It was a big ask for Ray and Jeremy, as passionate marketers, to argue against the debating question, but from the look of the voting that’s come in, they seem to have pipped Han-Son and Richard to the post – congratulations to the winning debating team!

Thank you to Phil Smith, chairman of the Manchester branch of the Institute of Directors for chairing the CIM debate too.

Follow CIM Manchester on twitter @CIMManchester and follow the blog http://cimmanchester.wordpress.com/ for regular marketing updates.

Tagged with: Marketing

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MediaCity UK – Opportunities Galore



Last week Refresh PR went along to an event organised by the CIM Manchester committee at MediaCity UK. The audience, both CIM members and non-member marketers from the region, went along to listen to Paul Newman’s talk and then take a tour round the awe inspiring site which is set to change the media landscape in Manchester forever.  Sponsored and filmed by WebVM – http://www.webvm.co.uk/ - the video of the event can be viewed here.

 

Some quick media facts that we gleaned from Paul’s talk:

·      The BBC currently has 1200 staff on site, which will increase to 2500 by end of move

·      Coronation Street is due to complete a whole new build of its famous cobbles, moving the whole team from its historic Quay Street site in the city centre to the modern MediaCity UK by June 2013

·      Question of Sport was one of the first programmes to be transmitted, and the first Match of the Day came from studio next door last Saturday night.  In December the BBC’s flagship  Sports Personality of the Year will come from MediaCity UK too

·      BBC Breakfast will begin to broadcast from the site next March, and Radio 5 Live and the children’s programmes are already mostly transferred   

 

Planning permission has been gained for a big screen on the piazza, to entertain the crowds day and night.  The huge screen can even broadcast different content on each side, meaning that any potential programme clashes of next year’s sporting events – from London 2012 and Euro 2012 to Wimbledon – can be avoided, and the big sceen will still cater for all tastes by streaming live content across the site. Of course, there’s also the opportunity for commercial user generated content...watch this space!

 

 

Student opportunities

What an opportunity for students at The University of Salford!  By January 2012, 1500 students and staff will be occupyingthe site, providing each and every one with access to the best broadcast technology in existence today.  Students will even share the same building as ITV staff. 

 

And for the people of Manchester?

Businesses have launched in a creative way on the site over the past year, most notably Booths which brought sheep down from Cumbria for a photoshoot – the unusual stunt certainly created news headlines!  The shop is open until 10pm every night to cater for workers and local people in Manchester.

 

Since the site opened many local people have been to visit and see the site for themselves – everyone is welcome. The Holiday Inn is well occupied during the week and weekends – and the site is going from strength to strength.  And did we mention there are 400 flats for sale on the site, all supplied with up to 100mb broadband at the owner’s fingertips?  Navigation around the site is easy and parking is available at The Lowry Outlet car park – why not go and have a look next time you’re visiting Salford Quays? 

 

Tagged with: Construction, Manchester, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, Public Relations

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Refresh PR at Marketing Week Live - Day 2



It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for – the second instalment from Refresh PR’s trip to Marketing Week Live. Here are the highlights from Day 2:

The biggest opportunities in online marketing have been identified as:

·         Mobile platforms – the popularity of accessing web pages via smart phones continues to snowball, so make sure your website works on screens of all sizes or better yet, develop a mobile version of your site  

·         Cloud hosting – enables companies to expand and contract their storage quickly and easily, to accommodate a surge in web traffic as a result of an offer or sale, for example

·         Using social media to create new products and help make business decisions – your fans and followers should already be a captive audience, so use them as a focus group

·         Putting customers at the centre of campaigns - as we saw from our blog about Day 1, this can generate some really engaging, unique content

·         Near field comms integration – touch technology like that advertised by Barclaycard is expected to be scaled up to adverts, so rather than scanning a QR code, people simply need to hold their phones next to an advert for it come to life on their phones or take them directly to the relevant page on a website

·         Learning from social gaming – and boy is there a lot to be learned! Social games allow audiences huge levels of control over their product, enabling them to sculpt it into something they want to play and share. It’s time to let go…

 

And the biggest challenges we’re facing are:

·         Regulation changes on cookies at EU level – this will have a massive impact on affiliate sites as this is how they measure results. It also means that as consumers, it’ll impact on retailers’ knowledge of our buying decisions

·         Managing data and security – customers increasingly need reassuring about this as previously impenetrable organisations such as Sony continue to fall foul of hackers

·         Facebook acting as a gatekeeper for your content – while we’re big fans of Facebook and what it can do for businesses, it’s becoming more and more commonplace for this social behemoth to insist on businesses doing things it’s way. In a similar way to Google affecting how websites are being built and subsequently optimised, Facebook is essentially controlling how businesses can and can’t communicate with their customers, and this is only set to escalate

·         Thinking like a customer – all too often, companies think like companies when they undertake social media activity, rather than thinking like their customers. This simple change in mindset will help determine what info customers would like to receive, how often, via which medium, in which tone of voice etc

We hope you found this post useful. If you have any questions or would like more information on PR and social media campaigns, contact info@refreshpr.co.uk or call 0161 212 1695 for a chat.

Tagged with: F-Commerce, Facebook, Marketing, PR, Public Relations, social games, social gaming

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Skype / video chat on Facebook – coming soon!



The Refresh PR team loves Facebook for so many different reasons, none more so than because it’s constantly changing, evolving and a company that can truly say it’s innovating.  Today Facebook announced three major changes which will begin rolling out immediately to everyone's accounts.

 

The changes are based on a sound grounding too. Since it was developed, social networking has been about connecting people together and this will continue – Facebook knows that its users will grow and grow (it’s now up to 750 MILLION users).  In addition, it doesn’t see the value of measuring the number of users either, in fact what is instead important is the number of people who are interacting on Facebook, and how they interact.

 

Facebook knows we like to share things.  Four billion things are shared on Facebook every day.  We are now sharing twice as much information on Facebook as we did this time last year.....so if Facebook provides us with new ways to share things, will we share even more?  Of course we will!!

 

So what’s new?

 

GROUP CHAT:  Half of all Facebook users are a member of a Group, whether it’s a Group planning someone’s birthday, or something bigger.  The average number of people in a Group is seven – people like Groups as it makes it easy to organise an event or chat to close friends privately.

 

To make it easy to communicate with several different people at the same time, rather than having to start a Group, we are now going to be able to do this through chat.  On the chat tab, with one click, we will all be able to select several people to add to a conversation and message them all instantly – at the moment we can only chat to one person at a time.  Everyone selected will see the chat thread instantly and those offline will receive a summary of the conversation when they log in.  This begins rolling out today so watch out for it soon.

 

NEW DESIGN FOR CHAT: Chat is one of the most loved features on Facebook with billions of messages being sent each day.  The new design will take into account browser size and show all friends - together with the ones who are chatted to most often (so not just those online) - making it quicker to strike up a conversation.  The new design will also have space for more features which will be announced in the near future.

 

VIDEO CALLING:  The most exciting development (in our opinion)!  Facebook has teamed up with Skype and video calling will now be possible on Facebook.  Think about the implications for this:

1.       You’re already connected to your friends – you don’t need to find out their Skype username

2.       You’re already on Facebook so in just one click you can call a friend

3.       You don’t need to log out of Facebook or go elsewhere to contact a friend...they’ve got you hooked!

4.       It connects immediately

5.       It’s easy, simple and almost anyone can use it, from teens to silver surfers

This is a massive development.  Users will be able get to video calling via any of their friends' profile pages or via a button on the chat tab.  The plug-in needed takes 20 seconds to download...so no big software downloads are necessary.  It’s not available on mobile devices yet, but watch this space.

 

Skype already sees 300 million minutes of video calls per month and this will take it into the billions.  Quickly.  Skype says it’s ready and is already thinking about new products that it can bring to market on Facebook.

 

The changes won’t happen overnight, but what Facebook does know is that it will help us to share even more information over the social network than ever before, helping it to grow as the ‘social eco system’ it aims to be.  And there are many more apps and partnerships to come.  So it seems we’ll be sharing at least twice as much information this time next year again, if not more. 

 

If you’re on Skype will you switch and just use Facebook from now on?  If you see the changes, let us know what you think. 

 

 

Tagged with: F-Commerce, Facebook, Marketing, PR, Public Relations

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Girls on Film



Spectus Window Systems, one of Refresh PR’s clients, is launching an exciting new marketing campaign for its customers.  As part of the launSpectus Window Systems launches new marketing campaignch activity, marketing manager Joanna Plane prepared herself for the camera and took to the big screen today as she was interviewed by top industry online publication The Glazine.

 

 

 

With not one but two cameras on her, Joanna rose to the occasion and we’re very excited to be getting a sneak preview of the edit on Friday, before it goes live on www.the-glazine.com on Tuesday. 

Refresh PR

 

 

Joanna will also be appearing with a specialist marketing column in Glass and Glazing Products magazine this month, so for top marketing tips why not visit the magazine online over the next month?  For more information visit http://bit.ly/jy1wUU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Manchester, Marketing, PR, Public Relations

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CIM event review: Creating one of Manchester’s greatest assets



Refresh PR went along to Manchester Airport’s Concorde Conference Centre recently for a very insightful Chartered Institute of Marketing networking event.  Situated just next to the runway, and housing a Concorde (pic to follow we hope!), the facility was a great venue to hold a conference – if you don’t mind the sound of planes taking off and landing every few minutes of course.

 

So, to start off, here are a few facts that you may not know:

·         19,000 people are employed at Manchester Airport

·         There’s 3,000m of runway serving the three terminals

·         The airport typically targets people in a 90 minute travel time radius with its marketing

·         There’s a brand new Escape Lounge in Terminal 1 (which we like the sound of a lot)

·         There are still opportunities for more carriers to fly from Manchester airport – even now it has capacity

 

After networking and lots of food, we sat down to listen to some of the marketing plans, strategy and tactics employed by one of Britain’s best airports.  What quickly became obvious is the massive marketing machine that sits behind its public face.   The airport certainly has a well thought out, and continually evolving, marketing strategy that considers every aspect of the customer experience.  So, whether it’s subtle lighting to subconsciously guide a traveller around the terminal (and into the shops) or the amount of research and feedback being constantly processed, everything revolves around making the customer centre stage, and ultimately making sure numbers come through the door. 

 

Understanding that the most visited page on its website is the flight tracking page, the airport has developed an iPhone app for people to check flights on the move.  Car park booking is now a lot easier over handhelds too – and as a major revenue generator for airports around the country it’s certainly worth the investment.  The car parks have been made much more visitor friendly, with green traffic lights above a space to indicate that it’s free, meaning those in a rush can easily see where the free spaces are – whilst trying to stick to the car park speed limit of course...

 

Twitter, which began as a discount/promotions newsfeed, became a major news source for customers and journalists during the ash cloud in April ’10.  Again, during the snow for the past two winters, the @manairport feed has been a way to communicate with travellers and those seeking the most up to date information.  It’s got nearly 17,000 followers and Sky News journalists are big fans.

 

While embracing social media has been a priority, it’s also great to see the airport sticking to tried and tested methods of marketing.  Local door drops to inform residents of changes and promotions are measured for success through visits to specific URLs, redemption of specific discount codes and the general uptake following an e-shot is tracked.  In addition, the team works in the Wythenshawe community (near to the airport) to support local initiatives to ensure the airport gives back to the community.

 

It was also interesting to hear about a new CRM package being implemented which means that when travelling through the airport, all passengers will soon be tracked and data on each visit recorded.  Those flying regularly will develop patterns of behaviour which will be highlighted on the system, from using the car park to purchases made inside the terminal, opening the door for specific discounts and more targeted campaigns.  Well, I’m hoping for the specific discounts anyway – must remember to hand over my boarding card when I buy a G&T! 

 

All in all, this was one of the best CIM events of the year so far – informative, interesting, well attended and useful for marketers to know what’s happening on their own doorstep.  More please!

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Leisure, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Marketing, North West , PR, Retail

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Let’s hear it for the Fish



The #fishfight being aired across our TVs at the moment really is raising a lot of interest and rightly so!  Since it launched,  Refresh PR has been monitoring the impact that social media is having on the campaign - twitter has been going crazy as the great British public pledges its support for the campaign; Facebook already has over 167,000 fans and www.fishfight.net has generated over 500,000 supporters.  Everyone is talking about the campaign and rallying behind Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey to encourage the industry, our supermarkets, policy makers and the like to make fundamental changes to the current EU fishing quota and landing laws.

 

It’s reported that half of all the fish caught in the North Sea are being thrown back overboard which is a huge waste of perfectly good fish.  They could instead be sold or even donated to needy charities instead of simply being left to drop to the bottom of the ocean – and that’s just one way to avoid this awful waste. 

 

In less than a week we’ve had our eyes opened to some pretty shocking revelations, mixed messages and misleading claims which, had these high profile chefs not championed the cause, we’d still be unwise to. First it was Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall uncovering the plight of the poor chickens, then Janet Street Porter reporting on the shocking findings of beef, Jamie doing his bit with the turkey twizzlers and school meals, and now our well-loved TV chefs are uncovering the shocking truths of our fishing industry. It’s these chefs who are passionate about sustainability, quality and freshness, and who can capitalise on their high profiles, who are helping to make a difference.  Sad that it takes this, though.

 

Having witnessed the truth about the UK’s mass fishing industry, , we’ll certainly be buying fresh fish from our local fishmonger on the infamous Northcote Road in SW London and avoid the temptation to buy ‘FRESH’ fish from the supermarket counters unless they can guarantee that it is indeed what is says it is – FRESH. As a business, Refresh PR will continue to monitor this campaign closely and will be keeping our eyes on the social media activity which is already proving to be  a powerful influence alongside the TV, digital and print coverage for the campaign.  What a great example of an integrated PR campaign – we hope it gets the outcome it deserves. 

 

Tagged with: Celebrity, Food & Drink, Marketing, PR, Public Relations

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Out and About - Approaching India with a Smile



The Refresh PR Manchester team is really looking forward to this networking event, which is being hosted by the Manchester Publicity Association (MPA) at our client Photolink Creative Group’s swanky studios next Thursday 20th January 2011.  

This is the second instalment of the MPA’s popular ‘World Class Series’ and will see Photolink founder David Walter sharing his tips on how to enter the Indian market, the best way to negotiate, how to deal with corruption, and how to recruit the hottest talent.

This must-attend event is being chaired by North West Business Insider’s Michael Taylor, and although tickets are free they are strictly limited so we’d recommend getting in touch with the MPA’s events team pronto to reserve your space – events@mpa.org.uk. See you there!

Event details:

Date: Thursday 20th January 2011

Time: 5.30pm for 6.00pm start

Venue: Photolink Creative Group, The Old School House, Thirsk Street, Manchester, M12 6PN

Tagged with: Marketing, Networking Event, North West , Public Relations