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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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PR resolutions for 2019



As the year draws to a close, it is customary to reflect on the year that has passed and set goals and plans for the year to come. A key tradition at this time of year is to make resolutions for the year ahead - both personally and professionally. In keeping with this tradition, we asked some of the Refresh team for resolutions for 2019.  

Laura, managing director

1.Don’t panic, stay strong

2019 is going to be a major year of change in our political landscape. As speculation grows about how Britain will leave the EU, companies are currently in no-man’s-land, which makes planning for 2019 and beyond a challenge. For the majority of our clients it’s business as normal, and until we know more, there’s only so much we can all do to hedge our bets. And absolutely, we work with each of our clients to respond to their changing agendas – and we’ll continue to do so as 2019 evolves.

What we do know in times of uncertainty is that businesses which hold their nerve, and look for opportunities to evolve with the changing landscape (however tough it may seem), often come out on top. I will therefore always argue that PR is integral to supporting a business through times of change, so it’s going to be an exciting year for us as we work with existing and new clients to support them through the twists and turns.

2. Get prepared

As an amount of volatility is expected in 2019, a key resolution for businesses should be to get all their ducks in a row as soon as possible. Brief all external agencies quickly, and have them ready and on standby for if/when you need to increase their service levels. If a challenge hits your business and there’s no PR agency support in place, it’s going to be extremely difficult to find agency support at the last-minute. Rushing could ultimately lead to the wrong choice; having an agency you trust and want to hear from (sometimes multiple times each day) is crucial, so not only is this a capability/business match, it’s also about having a good relationship with like-minded account handlers who can understand your requests and action them immediately.  So get prepared but take your time and find the right agency for you.

3. Work out what return on investments truly means for you

For each of our clients, strong ROI means something different. Have a look at your PR metrics and make sure they can stand up to scrutiny from the FD. In 2019 and beyond it’s going to be ever more crucial to demonstrate strong ROI, and the business impact that all elements of the marketing mix are having.

PR must stand up and be counted, so how can it make a tangible difference? If you haven’t already, ask your agency how they propose measuring this. If your FD came in tomorrow and needed to cut budgets, would the PR spend be protected because of the value it’s delivering? Make this a resolution in early 2019 and it’ll make the process of collating 2020’s budgets a lot easier!

Lucy, account director

1. Integrate with clients more closely

As an industry we should be spending more time working out of clients’ offices. In a world where email is king, it can be easy to fall back on this, but getting in front of clients and really integrating in what is going on in their businesses is crucial. The entire Refresh team will be making a bigger effort to hot desk from clients’ offices throughout 2019.

2. It’s time to PR ourselves

As an industry its high time we bigged ourselves up more! We do an amazing job shouting about what our clients are doing but rarely shout about the cool things we’re doing. An agency’s own PR often falls to the bottom of the pile, but expect to hear more from us on this front next year!

3. Continue to upskill

It might seem an obvious one but we must keep learning new skills. Every year, PR becomes even more united with the general marketing and digital mix. The team at Refresh will be looking to further broader their knowledge and not just rest on our laurels – whether that’s dipping our toes in coding or digital marketing, or taking a crash course on influencer marketing.

Matt, senior account manager

1. Keep the basics front of mind

As digital platforms evolve, the media landscape changes and new buzz words like ‘influencer outreach’ bubble to the surface it is easy to get distracted by the latest shiny toys. However, while these new platforms, channels and techniques will play an important role in helping us to reach audiences and drive engagement it’s critical that we don’t forget the fundamentals in the process. Good content, good stories, and good pitching will remain king in PR in 2019 and we’d be wise to ensure these skills and competencies don’t slide at the expense of the next big thing.

2. Become a trusted advisor

All too regularly PR agencies are too easily pressured into actioning something for a client that we would advise delivers little value. However, if we move the perception away from ‘supplier’ to ‘trusted advisor’ we would be better placed to push back on ideas that are unlikely to pay dividends for the overall PR strategy.

3. Pause for thought

PR is a fast paced environment to work in, constantly striving to keep up with the news agenda and ensure no opportunities are missed. However, in 2019 there were one or two mishaps in the PR world which resulted from going ahead with an idea before fully thinking it through. As such it’s critical that we make sure we take time to pause and evaluate ideas before pressing the launch button.

Got your own ideas? Please add them to our list below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, resolutions

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Tech Thrives Outside London



For many of us living outside our nation’s capital, we can be left exasperated by how ‘London- centric’ business and the media can be - especially when there is so much going on outside the M25. However, it’s something that we seemingly can’t avoid and just have to get on with or risk becoming bitter and twisted over the imbalance.

 

Equally, for the frustration at the London-centric attitude that prevails, the rest of the nation is not blind to its weaknesses. After all, if the rest of us are going to compete with the capital city, attention needs to be drawn to shortcomings that may exist to ensure that they are addressed, enabling us to become stronger and stronger.

 

As such, there were mixed emotions recently in the Refresh office when we saw the Guardian run a story under the headline ‘Can Tech Thrive Outside of London?’. On first reading there was a sense of indignation at such a patronising headline: one look at our recent blog posts is enough to tell you that in Manchester alone the tech sector is booming.

 

The city already supports 62,653 digital jobs, creating an output of £2.8 billion per annum.  What’s more, the most recent Tech Nation report revealed that almost 70% of tech investment in 2016 took place outside of London, with £78 million of this invested in Manchester, making it the UK’s second largest tech cluster.

 

However, on further reading, the article was far more balanced than the headline perhaps suggested. Covering a roundtable sponsored by Cisco, the article sought opinions from senior figures from across the UK tech sector on the challenges tech companies face outside of London. 

 

Structural Weaknesses

Speaking at the event, Mike Jackson entrepreneur success director at Tech Nation, told participants that while there are distinct advantages to being based outside the capital (such as a lower cost of living), businesses are still hamstrung by four primary problems. He outlined these ‘structural weaknesses’ outside London as:

1.      Access to capital

2.      Access to growth space for businesses that are growing

3.      Access to second-generation mentorship i.e. experienced people who can help develop younger employees

4.      Wider access to talent such as CTOs, CMOs and CPOs

 

Some of these challenges are not surprising, after all we have explored them in recent blog posts looking at the need for office space and the potential skills gap that is developing in the North. However, the roundtable shed light on some of the issues around the senior staff shortage, further expanding on the skills gap. 

 

Salary drop versus lifestyle boost

For instance, when it comes to the skills gap, one of the problems discussed was people expecting a London salary in Northern cities. Speaking at the roundtable Sarat Pediredla, CEO of Newcastle-based Hedgehog Lab, a tech consultancy, noted that when speaking to senior people based in London there is a “mental block to reducing your wage” despite the fact that a five-figure salary in Newcastle instead of a six figure one in London will “leave you in a comfortable place”.

 

Andy Cooper, co-founder of Draw & Code, a tech studio in Liverpool, said that he felt this message was starting to cut through as tech professionals from London were starting to look for a more affordable lifestyle, including cheaper housing, in the North, saying that he no longer had any issues attracting people to the business. He noted that for those wanting to save to buy a house or start a family the North was an attractive alternative to London.

 

There are strengths – and they need to be played to

In addition to challenges the Northern tech sector faces, the roundtable also highlighted its strengths, including that it is easier to collaborate than in London. Vimla Appadoo, service designer at FutureGov commented that the more “open” northern attitude, and the smaller nature of its towns and cities, gives it a distinct advantage over the capital as “across the north you can know all the startups and all the founders, and what the events are – and you can get involved.”

 

This view was seconded by Ian Finch, Chair of BIMA North West and founder of digital agency Mando, who argued that collaboration has become increasingly important to the tech industry, saying that “you can’t do multiple things well, so the way digital has gone you have to collaborate. The people who’ve been slow to collaborate are dying off.”

 

The future is bright

As a result of the strengths of collaboration and its ability to offer a more affordable lifestyle, the conclusion of the event sponsor, Cisco, was that the future for the Northern tech sector is bright. Speaking at the event, CTO John Johnson said he was positive about the future as “investment in the north now is increasing at pace”, giving a vote of confidence to the tech sector outside of London. Indeed, this tallies with our own experiences of a UK tech scene which is exciting and thriving, and without doubt cities across the North are playing a critical role in its success.

 

 

 

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

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Refresh PR takes top spot at the national Construction Marketing Awards 2018



Refresh PR has won Best use of Press and Public Relations at the national Construction Marketing Awards 2018 for its industry-leading Heating Installer Awards campaign.

 

Refresh PR Construction Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

The awards, designed and launched by Refresh PR four years ago, were initially developed to support plumbers and heating installers who were delivering high-quality, professional work to homeowners and commercial companies across the UK but facing increased competition from unqualified workers.

 

Evolving over the past four years, the awards still remain true to their roots while incorporating new elements, including a search for the best apprentices across the UK.

 

Sophie Smith, awards director, commented: “We’ve worked closely with our sponsors over the years, who realise that while the value for heating installers is in the credibility that the awards bring toRefresh PR Construction Marketing Award winner their business, the value for sponsors is in being able to form strong working relationships with these key industry influencers. It is a form of sponsorship that delivers so much more.

 

“We’ve built the campaign in this way to ensure we maximise opportunities for heating installers at every point, whether that’s incentives to enter or prize bundles for regional and national winners that deliver real business benefits for them. At every point possible we’ve kept the campaign digital, with a real focus on creating a supportive community on social media. The challenge now is to continue to evolve to strengthen it again for Year 5!”

 

Beating off competition from five other campaigns, which included Refresh PR’s own PR work for www.myglazing.com, the judges had the following observations: “The campaign had very clear outcomes versus objectives which were surpassed in all cases. Research was undertaken with key audiences and plans made to evolve the awards and introduce new elements. The campaign clearly met its objectives, delivering an annual awards campaign that can grow in future years.”

 

Refresh PR was shortlisted for three other awards on the night including two Best Mid-Budget Campaign awards and national PR Agency of the Year.

 

Laura Mashiter, managing director of Refresh PR, said: “This was a real highlight in Refresh PR’s year. 2018 has been a year of fantastic PR campaigns in the sector produced by some top agencies, making this recognition even more special. Refresh PR's Heating Installer Awards campaign continues to gather momentum thanks to our amazing 2018/19 sponsors, and despite already being part way through Year 4 of our campaign, it's about time the team working on this account took a step back and realised just what they have achieved and how far they have come in a relatively short space of time.

 

“As we go into another year faced with more political uncertainty and Brexit debate, PR campaigns must be able to demonstrate true business benefit in order to secure the support of the Board. Creative campaigns that can cut through the noise to deliver real value will always be in demand, so it’s up to us to continue to push the boundaries and use all the communication channels we have at our disposal – from social media and influencers to broadcast, print and online – to ensure clients’ messages are being heard.

 

With the shortlists and win, Refresh PR cements its place as one of the UK’s leading construction agencies on the national league table.

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction Marketing Awards, Construction PR, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester

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Manchester now rivals some of the top cities in the world for tech: why the sector needs to shout about it more



I’ve come out of two events in recent weeks, centred around Manchester’s digital tech sector – Manchester Digital’s ‘digital revolution’ and Insider’s ‘Northern Powerhouse digital and tech conference’ – feeling energised, excited and proud to work in the sector. I genuinely think you’d struggle to find a more exciting place in Europe to be doing business in the tech sector than Manchester.

 

While skills, talent acquisition and retention, the region’s digital ecosystem, and investment were of course high up on the agenda at both events, I wanted to write a few words about something else: marketing and promotion. Attending these events and hearing about the exciting things going on in our city and region, I’m often taken aback at the number of companies that are doing brilliant things in the sector, but forgetting to shout about it.

 

Why it’s important

For companies with their heads in R&D, their latest round of investment, trying to attract and retain staff, or any of the other critical focuses of an innovative tech company, it’s easy to see why promotion often falls to the bottom of the pile.

 

However, prioritising promotion will often lead to benefits in a number of the above areas – whether that’s more investment opportunities through increased awareness in the right places, at the right time, or attracting staff due to prioritising building a great brand on social or sharing regular positive news stories, for example.

 

How tech companies can do more of it  

But, with PR options often feeling like a minefield, how can time-strapped entrepreneurs choose which tactics will benefit them most? Of course, that’s down to the goals and objectives of each individual organisation, but there are number of ways to get you started:

 

Figure out what you need from PR

It’s easy to fall down the route of taking a scatter gun approach to PR, particularly in the early stages. This can, however, leave you time poor, stressed, and unable to realise all of the opportunities afforded to you through it. Start by working out your PR aim by asking yourself why you need PR and how it can feed in to the wider business goals? Cleverly thought out PR campaigns can help you achieve a number of core business objectives - from gearing your business up for investment or sale, to launching a new product or increasing sales – so it’s crucial you identify the business need and mould your PR around it. 

 

Make a name for yourself at events

Events will always be a great way of meeting likeminded people and sharing your story. Securing a speaker or panellist slot is a great way of raising your profile and demonstrating expertise on key topics, themes or issues. You’ll often find that these opportunities don’t start and end with you up on that stage: there are lots of opportunities for cross promotion, whether that’s blogging ahead of the event, being included in post-event press coverage, or tagging onto social media campaigns around it. In terms of the events to target, it’s worth considering getting out of your comfort zone and instead of going to solely tech-focused events, seek out ones in other sectors, where you’re keen to make inroads.

 

Make the most of industry bodies

If you’re member of a trade organisation, such as Manchester Digital, ensure you make the most of your membership. Many of these organisations will offer promotion as part of your membership – whether that’s a profile page on their website, shout outs on social media, allowing you to draft content for their websites and eShots, or even be part of news stories they’re putting out to media. Speak to your contact at any trade body you’re a member of about how you can get involved.  

 

Get out there!

Network, network, network. The more people you meet, the more you’ll be able to spread the word about what you do: simple. While it can be difficult to find time to get out to these events, if you select them wisely, they can bring huge benefits. Consider making the most out of networking sessions by talking to as many people as you can while you’re there, engaging in any social media before or after the event by following event hashtags, for example, or writing up a short LinkedIn or blog post following the event to give your time there more longevity.

 

Leading the way

Manchester and the wider North West are making strides towards becoming one of Europe’s top tech destinations. However, in order to ensure sustained growth, businesses must understand the importance of PR and marketing, whether that’s starting small and testing the waters or employing the help of a specialist PR company to elevate your business to the next level.

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Manchester, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Product Placement, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Tech PR Manchester agency, Tech PR. Digital PR

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Refresh PR earns silver stripe at North West CIPR PRide Awards 2018



Refresh PR has scooped the Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy Silver Award 2018 at the North West CIPR PRide Awards 2018.

 

The awards, judged by a panel of leading industry experts, took place on Wednesday 7th November at the Hilton Deansgate in our hometown of Manchester and celebrated the achievements of outstanding businesses and individuals in public relations across the region.

 

More than 320 PR professionals were in attendance to represent the North West’s flourishing PR community at the UK’s most prestigious nationwide awards scheme in the industry.

 

On the same night, we were also shortlisted for Best Integrated Campaign for our work on The Heating Installer Awards 2018, plus another campaign, TableNow.co.uk’s search for the Professional Eater, was also a finalist and in the running for an award on the night.

 

Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “The North West CIPR Pride Awards recognise the very best in public relations from across the region, so winning the Outstanding Small Public Relations Consultancy Silver Award is a testament to our dedication and commitment to delivering tangible results for our clients.

 

“The past year has been one of rapid evolution and growth for Refresh PR, and with the team we currently have in place, I’m genuinely excited to see what another year will bring.”

 

Hayley James Chart.PR, MCIPR, Chair of CIPR North West, commented: “The quality and quantity of top class entries for this year’s PRide Awards was once again very, very high. Everyone who was recognised should feel incredibly proud of their achievements.

 

“All our finalists demonstrated a level of insight and strategic thinking that, as the CIPR turns 70, bodes incredibly well for the future of our profession over the next 70 years.

 

“The PR profession plays a pivotal role in helping organisations and the wider public navigate the pace of change in modern life, and so I was delighted we could take a moment to celebrate all that is great about PR in the North West at the PRide Awards.”

 

If there is one thing to take away from the awards, it’s that PR in the North West is thriving, and we’re thrilled to be amidst the thick of the action. It was a fantastic evening of celebration and a pleasure to share a room with businesses and individuals that help drive the industry we love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, PRide Awards, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Tech and Construction Key to Manchester’s Next Wave of Growth



At Refresh PR two of our passions are the built environment and technology, so there was great excitement in the office last week when a new report identified the tech and construction sectors as key to Manchester’s - our home city - next wave of growth.

 

Published by property consultants Knight Frank, the report flagged that, generally speaking, the more commonly used definitions of tech are not broad enough and don’t take into consideration verticals including energy and environmental services, advanced manufacturing and media, advanced materials, life sciences, and marketing and entertainment. According to the study, this oversight puts the future depth and vitality of the city’s tech sector at risk.

 

For instance, in the five years preceding 2017, IT and telecoms businesses accounted for 144 occupier agreements taking 700,000 sq ft of space in Manchester. However, when broadened to include these five specialist verticals, that number soars to 406 occupancy agreements amounting to 1.4m sq ft of office space.

 

A booming sector needs space to grow

 

As such, while Manchester’s technology sector is already booming (the latest 2018 Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100 featured eight Greater Manchester companies) it’s critical that the city’s real estate continues to support the needs of tech businesses. As the sector continues to grow businesses will increasingly demand office space that can flexibily cater for, and support, their needs as they evolve. Occupiers want the opportunity to scale-up and down when necessary and will be prepared to pay a premium for this privilege.

 

Indeed, the 28-page report, Catching the Next Wave: Manchester, Technology and Real Estate, emphasised that office space in the city must be both adaptable and supportive in order for tech to thrive. This way, the city can nurture the development of small, fast-growing companies that are key to attracting the attention of tech titans searching for secondary HQ locations outside the capital.

 

Success attracts success

 

Already, Manchester’s thriving technology sector has begun to attract global behemoths such as Amazon, which recently confirmed that it will take over 90,000 sq ft of space in Hanover House in the Northern Quarter. The new Northern hub will be the tech giant’s first corporate office outside of London in the UK and home to 600 staff specialising in software development, machine learning and research and development.

 

In addition to Amazon, advertising giant WPP, also announced that it is close to finalising a deal to move its entire Manchester workforce to the former Granada Studios development. The move would see 450 communications experts from Code Computerlove, MediaCom, JWT, Wavemaker and possibly Kantar consolidating offices under one roof. While not a ‘traditional tech’ company this is a prime example of a business that falls into the broader definitions of technology outlined in the Knight Frank report.

 

These two recent announcements follow on from technology services giant CGI announcing that it is set to take over 7,000 sq ft of Salford’s former Soapworks as its Northern headquarters. The £400K transformation of the former Colgate Palmolive factory is already home to a cluster of tech corporates including TalkTalk and the government’s national cybercrime operation.

 

Manchester – the second city

 

It is perhaps not surprising that so many tech giants are turning to Manchester as a second home for their UK operations. The most recent Tech Nation report revealed that almost 70% of tech investment in 2016 took place outside of London, with £78 million of this invested in Manchester, making it the UK’s second largest tech cluster with nearly 70,000 employees.

 

Tech companies are without doubt the industrial giants of our age, and Manchester’s real estate market is fast becoming a hotbed to house them. Whilst the current growth is very promising, it is vital that the city continues to build on this momentum by providing diverse, collaborative and adaptable work spaces too keep up with demand.

 

 

 

 

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

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Factoring Brexit into PR plans



There’s no escaping the fact that the ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ mantra is cliched. But it’s cliched for a reason: it’s scarily accurate – especially when it comes to business.

 

Whether it’s the development and launch of a new product or service, an acquisition, a recruitment drive, a new round of investment or anything and everything in between the key to success is planning and preparation. After all, if these initiatives aren’t executed precisely they are less likely to deliver organisational goals and potentially leave the business exposed to risk.

 

Anticipating the unexpected

 

Obviously, organisations can’t plan for everything; the nature of business is that it has a habit of occasionally throwing up unexpected ‘surprises’. But even the majority of these are foreseeable (they are usually factored into business plans) and those that aren’t are often catered for with crisis response plans.   

 

This level of preparation is not out of the ordinary; indeed in my experience I’d go as far as saying it is commonplace in business – certainly when it comes to successful ones. Perhaps it’s for this reason that I’m finding it difficult to understand why businesses are being so complacent when it comes to Brexit and factoring it into their PR and comms strategies.  

 

Putting politics to one side

 

In conversations with business the reason for this appears to be that either they don’t want to appear to be panicking, they have no idea of the outcome (none of us do!) so don’t see the point in putting time into creating plans which may be shelved in a few months, or that they don’t want to be seen as coming out in favour of or against the act of leaving the EU. But factoring this into their comms strategies is not a question of scaremongering, talking politics or debating the merits, or drawbacks, of Brexit. Nor is it a case of trying to predict what the final ‘deal’ will look like; it’s simply about having the same pragmatism that already exists across the business; i.e. assessing and planning for all possible outcomes. And you never know, time spent away from the business planning could even throw up some genuine new ideas, Brexit or not!

 

Any form of Brexit that seismically changes how organisations conduct business will undoubtedly require them to make moves to respond to any challenges that arise. For instance, your distribution network might be affected delaying deliveries or an impact to your supply chain may slow production, or you may need a new operational model to continue serving markets outside the UK.

These are all challenges that might not only need to be addressed but will also need the action plan for how they will be tackled communicating to key stakeholders – including customers, investors, employees (etc)  in order to minimalise any impact. And, putting it bluntly, it seems a highly risky approach for any business that is not taking steps to factor these feasible possibilities into their comms strategies.

 

Factoring Brexit into PR and communication plans

 

This should be approached in a similar way to a crisis communication plan (not that I am saying Brexit will be a crisis – remember we’re putting politics to one side here). This means paying consideration to what messages and information you will both want, and need, to communicate– as well as how this will be communicated. How will you reassure all stakeholders that, in the event of the media frenzy that will arise from a ‘no-deal’ scenario, you are responding and taking steps to safeguard the business? The answer, of course, is a well-planned, well executed PR and communications plan.

 

It might be that Brexit is a huge success but I don’t believe that having a contingency plan is a bad decision. It’s simply the politically neutral act of preparing for all outcomes and makes commercial sense. And, in the event of the worst happening, any failure to have prepared for this in your communication plans could only add greater uncertainty, and possible confusion, to what will already be a fraught situation. And as we all know those conditions are rarely conducive to business success.

 

For more information please contact info @ Refreshpr.co.uk or call us on 0161 871 1188.

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Brexit PR plan, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR event, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Five Construction Marketing Awards shortlists for 2018 for Refresh PR



It’s safe to say that Refresh knows built environment PR. A team of sector specialists executes considered and strategic campaigns for clients on a daily basis. The UK's Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs) are therefore a key calendar date. As a chance to go head-to-head with other agencies, each shortlist gives the hard-working team at Refresh an opportunity to celebrate a job well done that year.

 

An email from the organisers today informed the delighted team that Refresh had been shortlisted for five national Construction Marketing Awards:  

·        PR Agency of the Year 2018

·        Best use of Press & Public Relations – for the Window with a View for the Glass and Glazing Federation

·        Best use of Press & Public Relations – for the Heating Installer Awards 2018

·        Best Mid-Range Budget (£25k-£50k) - for the Window with a View for the Glass and Glazing Federation

·        Best Mid-Range Budget (£25k-£50k) - for the Heating Installer Awards 2018

 

The Window with a View campaign, which Refresh PR created and implemented on behalf of the Glass and Glazing Federation’s consumer website, MyGlazing.com, searches for the best views across the UK. In 2018 Refresh generated first-class entries, millions of page views from coverage off and online, and moreover a host of results aligned with the client’s key business objectives.

 

Refresh was also able to prove the tangible benefits of being part of The Heating Installer Awards, which in 2018 are sponsored by Danfoss, Geberit, Glow-worm, Polypipe and leading industry magazine, Installer. Each year the awards scheme gets bigger and better, with 2018’s winner having just returned from a trip to Denmark with Danfoss.

 

With almost seven decades of construction PR experience, the team at Refresh is now providing PR campaigns for over a dozen clients within the built environment and building products sector, while heading for an agency-wide record growth year.

 

View the full shortlist here: http://www.cmawards.co.uk/shortlist-announced-for-the-construction-marketing-awards-2018/

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, Construction, Manchester, North West , PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester

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Refresh PR Graduate Programme 2018




We’re looking for talented Graduates to join our 1-year Graduate Development Programme starting in October 2018. We’re looking for confident and articulate people with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as graduate PR executive working across a range of B2B and consumer accounts in the built environment, e-commerce, tech and food and drink sectors.

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. We’re looking for people filled with energy and enthusiasm who are proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail and may even pride themselves on being a perfectionist! Considerate and supportive; we want real team players with the ability to remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations.

Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both private and not for profit sectors. 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 graduates grow and achieve their potential through The Refresh Graduate Academy – a programme of structured training and development, created and delivered by experienced PR practitioners and expert trainers. This unrivalled programme of discovery and development provides you with all the key skills that will help you to become a highly effective account executive and future business leader whilst progressing your career with Refresh.

The Refresh DNA

The Refresh DNA is something that people from across our business were involved in developing. Every aspect of it represents how we all need to work together, every day, in order to support our future success and continued growth. The DNA clarifies the skills, knowledge and behaviours that we look for in everyone as they’re critical for delivering the high-quality service that our clients have come to expect:

Focusing on clients – providing outstanding service, developing opportunities to retain and win business

Developing winning teams – supporting our people to achieve their potential and deliver results for the business

Building strong relationships – communicating and influencing to build understanding and collaboration

Seeing the bigger picture – shaping and driving the future of our business

Creating and Improving – continuously improving the way we work to be better every day

Delivering results – thinking commercially and optimising business performance, demonstrating energy, drive and tenacity.

 

More about the programme

The Refresh PR Graduate Programme is a 1-year journey of personal and professional development with support from your own mentor and full cycle of experience and development to cover every aspect of PR.

You will undertake a programme of learning outside of your day job which is on a par with our internal executive development programme for current rising executive talent.

 

What is the selection process?

We will undertake a comprehensive selection process with 3 stages:

CV selection – your CV will be scored against criteria including your qualifications and work experience.

Telephone Interviews – if successful in the 1st stage, you will be invited for a telephone interview that is based on the Refresh DNA.

Assessment Centre – if successful in the 2nd stage, you will be invited to an assessment centre which will include a variety of individual and group activities and interviews.

 

What next?

All you need to do now is decide whether after 3 to 4 years of hard work and sacrifice undertaking your degree you want to dedicate the next year to learn the nuts and bolts of a PR agency and gain an invaluable development experience that will create a solid bedrock for your lifetime career – You do? To apply please send your CV to grads@refreshpr.co.uk by 9am on 4th October 2018.

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Graduate, graduate scheme, Manchester, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Tech Companies Thriving in Manchester



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Avoiding boom turning to bust

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Promote, engage, attract

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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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Bee in the City



With just under a month left of Manchester’s Bee in the City, between the team at Refresh PR we’ve been making it our mission to visit them all! Whether it’s in the Northern Quarter, Spinningfields, Media City UK, Heaton Park or any of the other hundreds of locations in Manchester, we’ve been enjoying admiring the Bees, learning about the artists and watching them bring the people of Manchester together.

 

So what is all the buzz about? I have had friends ask me ‘what is the point in the Bees?’ and I must admit at first, I thought they were a nice idea but that was it; they were ‘just a nice idea’. However after walking past them every day for the last couple of weeks, I realise just how wrong I was to underestimate the public art event. It’s impossible to walk through the city not see families enjoying a day out following a trail, locals taking pictures for Instagram or tourists visiting and being totally impressed by what they find! The giant colony of Bees has truly brought a new buzz to the city.

 

The campaign also has a charitable side as people are being encouraged to donate to We Love MCR Charity to help Manchester continue to have a positive impact on its communities. And if all that wasn’t enough, I recently learnt that all of the Bees are also going up for auction on 17th October 2018 to continue to raise money.

 

You’ve got until 23rd September to check them out! Let us know what you think and which your favourites are. Here are Refresh PR's top three Bees (you can see an even bigger selection over on our Instagram @refreshpr):

 

Bee in the City

 

I absolutely love this bright, colourful bee in St Ann’s Square (and at Refresh PR we’re also proud to say that it was created by our agency’s lovely friend @mehaart).

 Bee in the City

Here is our local pretty pick Piccadilly bee!

 

Bee in the City

 

This bee is my personal favourite… you can’t beat a classic! Visit this bee outside Australasia on Deansgate.

 

 

Tagged with: creatiive agency Manchester, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR event, PR Manchester, 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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Manchester is wonderful



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


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


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


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


Head of consumer, Caroline Gibson,


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


Account executive, Rebecca Wallace,


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


Account executive, Emily Knight,


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


B2B account director, Lucy Moore,


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


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

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Painting the town red with TableNow



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


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Investment in tech in Manchester is at an all-time high: how the region’s tech businesses can capitalise on this



I seem to have been harping on about the potential of tech up North, and particularly in Manchester, for the past three years or so, ever since I started working heavily with clients in the sector on creative communications campaigns.

It’s been amazing to watch the sector grow at the rapid pace it has over the past few years, so I wasn’t surprised to read this week that tech companies in the North have attracted investment at the fastest rate in Europe over the past five years. The research by Prolific North told us that the region attracted a whopping £482m in investment in 2017, with Manchester named the fourth most popular city to invest in across the whole of Europe. In addition, TechCity’s 2017 Tech Nation report revealed that Manchester’s tech sector is worth £2.9bn to the regional economy, providing 63,000 jobs across the city.

Manchester has always been a city steeped in innovation, from being at the helm of the industrial revolution over 200 years ago, to the birth of the first modern computer, designed and built at the University of Manchester in 1948, right through to the present day, with hundreds of exciting digital businesses operating out of the city.

Born and bred Mancunian companies like Boohoo, Misguided, AO.com, Avecto and Autotrader, sit alongside huge corporate businesses such as Sainsbury’s  –  which moved its digital and tech team up to Manchester in 2016 – and co-working space, WeWork, which recently opened its first UK office outside of London in Manchester. All of these businesses are benefitting from the opportunities offered to them through the region’s dynamic digital sector.

Here at Refresh PR we love tech; we live it and breathe it. We really believe that Manchester is well on its way to becoming a global technology leader, so we want to shout about the brilliant work the tech sector in the region is producing. However, we know it’s often the last thing on the minds of tech entrepreneurs, as they prioritise growing their businesses and working on exciting projects.

We have a wealth of experience in helping tech companies – from digital agencies and app developers, to fintech and eLearning businesses – share exciting news and build their brands in creative ways. So if you’re a tech company that would benefit from some PR and communications we would love to have a chat. We’ll provide the brews and biscuits!

Give our tech account director, Lucy, a call on 0161 871 1188 or email at lucy @refreshpr.co.uk.

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , FinTech, PR, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, tech, Tech PR

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Meet The Team



Here at Refresh we know our people are our biggest asset; they are the brains behind our creative ideas and the workforce responsible for our impactful results. So, with this in mind, each month we’re going to delve deeper into the lives and minds of our team members, so you can get to know the Refresh team better. This month it’s our head of consumer, Caroline Gibson.

How did you get into PR?

Unlike a lot of people in the industry I actually did a PR degree, so from the age of 18 I knew I wanted to work in the sector. My mind was made up when I was trying to decide whether to study journalism or business studies and my dad suggested public relations. After a bit of research I knew this was the path I wanted to take and the rest, as they say, is history.

What do you love most about working in PR?

It has to be the people, and I don’t just mean my colleagues, although they’re great too. Working in PR, and an agency like Refresh, I get to meet so many people from different walks of life and different stages of business. From CEOs of major companies to young entrepreneurs striving to get their businesses off the ground, everyone has a different challenge and we get to work with them to achieve their goals and objectives.

What do you think you bring to Refresh PR?

I’d like to think that my main asset to the agency is my creative thinking. I love reading about what other brands are doing and how companies are approaching their own marketing, especially as technology and opportunities develop. This constant research gives me the knowledge to spark new ideas for my own clients. Over my 10 years in the industry I have worked on some big name brands such as Burger King, Wilko, GO Outdoors, Marriott Hotels and Disney’s Club Penguin; these accounts have allowed me to be come up with brave and exciting campaigns and I am now able to apply this thinking and approach to all my clients.

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

I am a huge music fan, so you will often find me at the Albert Hall, Academy, Apollo or The Ritz watching gigs. I am a typical Manchester girl and I love the music that has come out of the city; from The Courteeners and Blossoms, to The Stone Roses and Oasis, that is one of the reasons I love living here. The music and the culture that oozes out of the city makes it a very exciting place to live and work.

Finally, where do you see the future of PR?

I started working in PR 10 years ago, and back then social media was barely even considered when planning creative campaigns, whereas now it is front and centre of everything we do. This, to date, has been the biggest change and as people are increasingly spending their lives online, use of social media will be a major part of the future of PR – but the key is taking an intelligent approach. Consumers are more savvy than ever before and as PR professionals we need to be coming up with campaigns that respect this, while still making an impact.

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

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It’s award season! Make sure you shine



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

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


Pick the perfect project


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



Gather your evidence


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


Ask for extra support


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


Supporting material


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


Triple check


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


Deadline


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


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

 

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

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Metrics, measurement and analytics – the importance of evaluation



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

 

 

 

 

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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The Importance of LinkedIn



LinkedIn, if used correctly, can be an incredibly powerful tool, particularly in B2B PR. We implement LinkedIn activity into all of our B2B campaigns, using it as an essential channel to create discussion on hot topics within the industries our clients work in. LinkedIn doesn’t limit us with deadlines, breaking news pushing our story out of the paper or other journalistic agendas. Infact, some of the articles we’ve drafted and uploaded to LinkedIn have created intense conversation and lead to worthwhile professional relationships and new business leads.

With 500 million users around the globe, and 50 per cent of those active every month, we can’t understand why more people don’t take advantage of this free to use platform. At a recent networking event we went to, we discovered that only 2 per cent of users generate meaningful content. Two per cent. With figures like this, it’s easy to have the monopoly of content shared by your sector.

It’s important, however, to consider that personal profiles get three times as many views as company pages. Rather than investing time, energy and money into creating content for a business, or a client’s businesses, page, consider raising the profiles of key spokespeople within your industry. As LinkedIn doesn’t yet allow businesses to upload longform articles, creating content and sharing from your CEO, research and development team member or marketing colleague is a great way to raise the profile of your company.

Let’s take LinkedIn back. Let’s flood timelines with interesting, engaging and valuable content and make it the domain of recruiters and humble braggers no longer. 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Manchester, Networking Event, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Injecting creativity into B2B PR



Having worked in B2B PR for half a decade, I’ve witnessed my fair share of lacklustre PR campaigns.

For some reason, B2B PR is synonymous with colour seps, dry campaigns and rigid press office, and I’m not sure when this became the norm. There is no need for B2B PR professionals to hang up their creative hats, when in fact, they have the perfect opportunity to inject some creativity into their industries.

Take the Heating Installer Awards for example. Initially created as a way for an underfloor heating provider to communicate to heating installers across the UK, we abandoned a traditional basic press office function, which many would have deemed adequate, and ploughed the budget into a multi channel campaign that lives predominantly on social. This not only created a channel for us to communicate with our target audience directly, but also generated news, conversation amongst those within the industry and allowed us to forge long lasting relationships with key players within plumbing, heating and the built environment.

Refresh PR now owns the Heating Installer Awards and it has gone from strength to strength, recognised as an industry standard for success.

It doesn’t just have to be B2B PR though. Every now and then, a consumer product or service will come along that is really struggling to penetrate the market. Google’s latest venture is a prime example of this.

How many of us can honestly say we are avid users of the Google Art & Culture app that was developed last year? The app allows users to “Meet the people, visit the places and learn about the events that shaped our world. Discover collections curated by experts from the most famous museums. Be moved by stories depicted in thousands of photos, videos, manuscripts and artworks on every type of screen and in virtual reality. Find your favourite artworks, create your own collections and share them with friends”.

Google, however, acknowledged the lack of engagement with the very niche app and by applying some very creative thinking, transformed it into software that would appeal to the masses.

With the new feature, users can take a selfie, upload it, and the app will automatically match it with a work of classical art, finding your doppelganger. It is now the most downloaded app for 2018 so far. Not bad for something not many people knew existed until a few weeks ago.

With the lines between PR and marketing becoming increasingly blurred, it’s time for trade PR people to start causing a stir. Abandon the frustratingly safe press office, aim a bit higher than a colour sep, and show the world that B2B can be creative too!

At Refresh, our consumer and trade teams work in tandem to create creative and hard-hitting campaigns that, most importantly, get results.  

Get in touch if you’d like to hear what we can do for you by calling 0161 871 1188 or by emailing hello@refreshpr.co.uk . 

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Strong start to 2018 as Refresh PR welcomes four new clients



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five PR campaigns of 2017



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

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

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Food for thought at the Construction Marketing Awards



We spend our working lives advising our clients how to utilise PR to benefit their business, but we have to admit, our own PR often takes a backseat. In agency life, no two days are the same and often a day starts at 9am with a to-do list that doesn’t even get touched due to other priorities that hit the inbox at 9.01am. This makes writing an award entry for ourselves – a task that can easily take a whole day – a challenge.

 

But every so often we try to enter some awards to showcase the campaigns that we deliver and gain a stamp of approval for the value that we add.

 

Award winning Refresh PR

 

This year the agency brought home two awards at the CIPR North West PRide Awards – and we’re still celebrating almost a month on. We have also recently been recognised as finalists for our work by the CIM, the B2B Marketing Awards and, most recently, at the CMAs in London last night.

 

Construction Marketing Awards (CMAs)

 

A sector that we specialise in at Refresh PR is the built environment. Construction PR has always been at the core of our business and over the years we’ve delivered many different campaigns that have won recognition from CIMCIG (that’s the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Interest Group, which runs the CMAs). This year, despite travelling to RIBA in London for a 25 minute interview with the awards judges earlier in the year (potentially my shortest ever stay in London!) unfortunately we didn’t bring home the trophy.

 

We did however have a great night – what other award organisers would put Laura and Ash on a table with…another Laura and Ash? The dance floor was packed right up until the last song too - a fabulous testament to a room full of hard working marketeers letting their hair down just a little at the end of a long year.

 

Construction PR in 2018

 

So this leads us to predict what the coming year may bring. Personally, I’m hoping for a massive increase in the level of creativity in the sector. We’ve made great strides, but there’s still a long way to go. The sector still needs to effectively embrace the ways in which people consume news, so on our Christmas wish list this year we have:

-        More fun on social media – we’d like less cheese and fewer corporate posts, and more to engage those listening across the social channels  

-        Fewer leaflets – it’s shortly going to be 2018 everyone!! There are more effective – and environmentally friendly – ways to speak to your audience

-        More for the apprentices – let’s continue to make this a sector that people are proud to work in, where great work is rewarded with peer endorsements and promotion/referrals, and we may just help to narrow the skills shortage gap

-        Making the most of new channels – let’s see some Snapchat campaigns or Instagram stories, let’s embrace channels that can really reach our audiences…it’s what they’ve been designed for after all

-        A ban on colour seps – there’s no need to pay to get news into a trade title, if the quality of the news is good enough. Any decent PR agency will advise on the angle to take in order to get editorial (aka free) coverage. Colour seps existed when there was no digital printing, and it genuinely cost more to print a page in colour; now it’s purely a money making exercise. Question if a presence in a magazine that demands a colour sep fee is actually effectively reaching your target audience. Consider an editorial partnership with a magazine, utilising its different channels instead

-        Fewer grey suits – we don’t wear them, we don’t even own them, and we don’t think anyone else should have to

 

We’ll be presenting 2018 plans to a lot of our clients over a mulled wine or two in the coming month, and I’m looking forward to showing them all of the above, but most of all how this sector can be exciting, fun, challenging and brilliant to work in.

 

 

 

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

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Please respect the power of PR



In our line of work we’re used to change, sometimes on a minute by minute basis – and change is good. But even by our industry standards, the past few months have been transformational in a number of ways.

 

Being passionate about PR and everything it can deliver for a brand or person, I keep reading dramatic (perhaps clickbait?) headlines declaring that PR is dead. PR will never be dead; it may evolve, morphing with other disciplines and regenerating itself – particularly as technology continues to force change – but PR has been around as long as records have been around, and it’s here to stay.

 

What other discipline could change opinion as quickly as an effective PR campaign can? Simply look at politics now: suddenly it’s cool to be a proud Labour supporter and in a lot of areas of the UK, embarrassing to outwardly express a pro-Tory opinion. And whether you agree or not, rightly or wrongly the Brexit campaign (and the coining of this word alone) was PR demonstrating its strength on a monumental scale.In the world of food and drink, who would have said it would be desirable for the middle class to proudly announce they shop at Aldi five years ago? And to be seen drinking Stella Artois? These brands reinvented themselves thanks to clever PR strategies.

 

PR helps to change opinion, reinforce a message, has the power to change the demographic purchasing a product, manages the message in times of a crisis…I could go on. My point is that PR is powerful. It isn’t dead! The tactics we use to cut through the noise and bring a message to the public’s opinion will continue to evolve quickly – for example this year we’ve done more work with micro influencers and Instagram ambassadors than ever before - but strategically most Company Boards see that PR is critical to a brand. It’s the strategic value that PR brings which shouldn’t be forgotten, or lost, in the debates circulating at the moment. PR is an investment not a cost.

 

And in times of a crisis, when the freedom of social media allows pretty much anyone to write pretty much anything about a company, and enable these comments gather pace second by second, what other tool in the marketing mix would be called upon to attempt to refocus the message and set the record straight? None.

 

 

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How PR can make a difference to new businesses



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Refresh PR is named Outstanding Small PR Agency 2017 by CIPR



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


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


The best small PR agency in the North West

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


Copywriting, press office, SEO, Google and more



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

 




Best North West Business and Corporate Communications Campaign

 

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


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


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PR horror stories



October - the month that the majority of us now associate with Halloween due to its increasing popularity over recent years. It now dominates social media, from makeup tutorials to plumbing horror stories. Anyone and everyone can get involved, and because we didn’t want to feel left out, we compiled a list of some recent PR tales of terror. Be warned, some are very, very frightening…

1. Monarch - Earlier this month, Monarch, the low-cost airline left passengers stranded abroad. “Important! Monarch has stopped operating. Please do not go to the airport.”” read the message sent out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The way Monarch handled the situation can only be described as horrific. It left employees and holiday makers heartbroken. After 49 years of flying tens of millions of passengers to Europe and beyond, Monarch seemed unable to communicate its situation not only to customers, but staff too. An email was sent to employees by Andrew Swaffield, the CEO, just days before the collapse, telling them to avoid speculation about the airline’s problems, giving many false hope. 

2. Uber - Earlier this month Refresh PR wrote a blog detailing the events surrounding Uber’s fate in London. It was brought to the attention of the public that it had not been conducting thorough background checks on its drivers and hasn’t been reporting criminal offenses directly to the police. Although Uber fought for its right to remain on the streets of London, its licence was denied renewal. Uber received overwhelming support on social media as many members of the public took to Twitter to declare their outrage. However, it goes to show even mass social media support sometimes isn’t enough. The decision led to terrifying PR for the firm. 

3. Dove - The beauty brand often recognised for its empowering campaigns found itself in a sticky situation when it uploaded a three second video on its US Facebook page. The video showed a black woman removing her top to reveal a smiling white woman underneath and was deemed racist by many. Dove received a huge amount of negative press as many were in shock that the company could go against its well established brand values of equality and inclusiveness. 

4. Misguided - The clothing store Misguided, a brand extremely popular with women and teenage girls, got itself into a PR crisis when it decided to put up a neon sign in its Bluewater store in Kent saying: ‘Send me nudes x’. Rachel Gardner, a youth worker, declared her disappointment with the sign, creating a petition for it to be taken down. 9000 people signed the petition, believing the sign promoted a negative culture and was very disrespectful. 

Although some of these PR fails are truly terrifying they did get people talking about the brand, which always begs the question - is any press good press?

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CMA shortlist success for Refresh PR



For our B2B team, the Construction Marketing Awards are a highlight of the year. For one night, we get to celebrate the hard work put in over the year on our built environment clients, and now that the shortlist for this year's awards has been released, we're thrilled to say 2017 will be no different.

This year, Refresh PR has been shortlisted for 'Best use of Press & Public Relations' for our Window With a View campaign and ‘PR Agency of the Year’. 

Our Window with a View campaign, which we launched on behalf of our client myglazing.com, has been finding the best views across the UK for the last two years. We have generated great pieces of coverage throughout the campaign, whilst achieving results that were aligned with our client’s key business objectives.  

We are also incredibly proud to be shortlisted for ‘PR Agency of the Year’. With more than three decades of experience in built environment PR across our team members, we provide innovative and creative ideas, that drive results, for a range of clients within the construction sector. We're so proud to say this has been recognised by the CMA judges, and can't wait to see if we take any accolades home on the night. 

Congratulations to all those shortlisted!

You can view the full shortlist here: http://www.cmawards.co.uk/cma-2017-shortlist-announced/

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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.  

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International ‘National Day’ Week



With everyday bringing with it a new national or international day – has it gone too far?

 

This week is National Chocolate Week, National Curry Week and World Egg Day and as delicious as these sound, are they really likely to make you eat more chocolate, curry or eggs (like we need an excuse anyway)?

 

Which makes me wonder, are we just having these days for the sake of it? An excuse for marketers to create some fancy content linking to it in the hope that the hashtag is trending.

 

But also this week we had World Mental Health Day (Tuesday 10th), a day that tries to break the taboo around mental health and encourage people to talk about it openly. Unlike its foodie counterparts, this day really does have the potential to, at worse, raise awareness of the issue and, at best, change social behaviour in the long term.

 

World Mental Health Day saw a flurry of celebrities, journalists and influencers talk openly about mental health issues they’ve experienced in the past and post on their social channels and beyond that it’s OK to not be OK – a powerful message that hopefully resonated with anyone suffering.

 

The day also saw Kate Middleton’s return to the spotlight for the first time since announcing her pregnancy, at a royal event for the awareness day, demonstrating how centre stage the event was in the social calendar.

 

So in between the National Talk Like Pirate Day, National Chip Week and British Sandwich Week, there are some events that are making us take notice of the important issues in life (although who doesn’t love a chip butty).

 

So let’s continue to recognise World Mental Health Day, International Women’s Day, Foster Care Fortnight and all the other national days and weeks that are putting important issues at the forefront.

 

 

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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!

 

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The importance of gaining work experience



As autumn draws near, university students begin to re-emerge for the beginning of term, but most importantly for the much loved event, Fresher’s week. Scrolling through my snapchat recently I have been bombarded with updates from friends enjoying the celebrations and viewed a national snapchat story containing a mixture of different antics from a variety of universities.

Thinking about university, I began to consider my year’s work placement here at Refresh PR, and the importance of year long work placements for students. I am the first year long student intern at Refresh, however I know that I will gain a lot from this process and leave the company full of knowledge, ready for my final year at university.

One of the main reasons I chose my university course, Business Management at Newcastle, was due to the fact we were able to take a year out to gain vital work experience. Placement years are degree based work experience opportunities that tend to be aimed at undergraduate students.

I’m not going to lie, trying to find and apply for placements was difficult which resulted in many of my peers choosing not to do one. I knew that for my future, I needed to persevere in finding one and eventually I was offered this amazing opportunity at Refresh.

There are numerous benefits to completing work experience, but after my first month at Refresh, here are my top five so far:

It can help you find out if the industry is for you

Without having any experience in a particular industry how do you know if you will be suited to that particular career? I believe students should be encouraged to gain experience in the area of work they wish to pursue so they can make informed choices after university.

Helps you decide on a sector

My time at Refresh will help me better understand if I am more suited to working with the B2B team or the B2C team, and if working for an agency is something that will work for me. Throughout this placement they’ll be highs and lows, which will ultimately shape the sectors I choose to pursue a career in.

Develop skills and put the theory I’ve learnt at university into practice

A placement year can help a student develop essential team work and interpersonal skills. Students are able to apply their skills and knowledge to real business situations.  After spending the last two years in lecture theatres I now have the opportunity to apply everything I’ve learnt to real client situations.

Build confidence

Being put in a situation that is out of your comfort zone can help build confidence. A work placement involves creating relationships with work colleagues and business professionals. It can enable students to make contacts in the sector. After conquering my nervousness around media sell-ins I have already started to build my database of journalists.

Look more attractive to an employer

Although gaining good grades will help with finding a job, more and more employers are searching for experience in the sector rather than just relying on grades. Experience helps you stand out to an employer, as it shows you’re committed to being successful in the industry and not afraid of the hard work this takes.

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Rebecca Wallace discusses what it is like to work in the world of PR



After a flurry of account wins for the consumer team, we’ve added a new account executive to our team. Rebecca Wallace discusses what it’s like to work in our Manchester PR agency.

What is the first thing you do when you get in the office?

Get coffee!

Once I’m nice and caffeinated, I start to read through as many of the day’s newspapers, magazines and online headlines as I can. I then start to pull together a list of the stories that are relevant for all our clients here at Refresh PR. As we’re a creative agency we need to be very reactive towards the news. As a team, we then decide how to respond to these stories for our clients.

What are your three favourite things about working at an agency?

The people - As gimmicky as this sounds, my colleagues are so supportive. Literally no question is stupid, and they always make themselves available to offer advice and help.

Clients - Working with such different clients is so fun! It’s creative and eventful, no two days are ever the same. One minute I can be selling in glitter tips to Glamour magazine, the next I could be talking to top journalists at the Guardian regarding meat cooking tips, or regional press about a competition we’re running.

Future opportunities - There are many different opportunities at Refresh PR, which make me excited to work hard and be a part of them, including: working on new client pitches, managing events and planning press trips.

What got you interested in a PR career?

I graduated university last year with a degree in journalism. After numerous placements in news agencies, and different Manchester PR agencies I was certain it was the industry for me.

I have worked across various agencies in the city who all specialise in different aspects of PR, including consumer, fashion, hospitality and festivals. 

PR is the perfect career for curious minded people who can’t stop talking. So, pretty much, me.

What is your best advice to a PR student or anyone wanting to get into the industry?

Internships are key. It is essential to try as many different opportunities as you can. All the time you spend training is never time wasted, as you are constantly learning, developing key skills and understanding an industry and the opportunities which are available.

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



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

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

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

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

Keep it relaxed

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

Plan activities

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

Keep it exclusive

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

Mix it up

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

Book ahead

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

Keep it varied

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

 

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The Monarchy’s changing image



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Public Relations – Where Are The Ethics?



This week we have seen one of the UK’s biggest PR agencies, Bell Pottinger, expelled from an industry body, The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), following a campaign that was found to stir up racial hatred in South Africa.

While we read on almost a daily basis about advertising campaigns being investigated by the ASA, it is rare that we see PR campaigns under such scrutiny.

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 – which often seems to be the case. 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?   

From my experience of working at PR agencies in Manchester and London, it seems to be from the people. I have experienced cases where MDs and CEOs have sat down with their team about new business leads that could have some ethical implication, and asked the question: “are you prepared to work on this account?” If the answer is no, then the new business lead is turned down.

Our aim as PR professionals ultimately is to change consumer behaviour – whether that is encouraging them to buy a product, visit a website or use a service. Therefore we have a responsibility to make sure that behaviour doesn’t negatively impact on their day-to-day lives or the world around them. Furthermore it is even more crucial that we, as professionals aren’t actively encouraging a negative consumer behaviour, such as racial hatred.

Everyone has different ethical standpoints on what they would and wouldn’t work on – and these differences of opinions is what keeps the industry so interesting. However, it is vital that we maximise these differences. When planning a campaign that could be seen as controversial, run it past other people, and not just people who work in PR. Ask your mum, your grandad, your best friend and perhaps even another client from a completely different industry – a simple NDA will means this goes no further – but this exercise could save you some headaches later on.

This reliance on people to ensure an ethical approach is why it is so important to have the best people working for your agency and why everyone should be consulted before any work is carried out.

If you’d like to hear more about Refresh PR’s ethical standpoint, or to discuss a potential campaign, please call 0161 871 1188. 

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RIP PR?



I read an article over the weekend explaining that PR is dead. The discipline Bill Gates would spend his last dollar on is now apparently obsolete. As someone that has invested a lot of time into forging a career in PR, I was inclined to disagree. Granted, PR as we once knew it may be slowly dying a death, but as with all forms of communication, it has adapted and evolved into one of the most valuable assets a brand can have. And here’s how.

Social Media

Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+; there is a social media platform that will complement every business’ objectives. Whether your campaign relies on Instagram-worthy lifestyle shots or LinkedIn articles relaying opinions on legislation, if done correctly, social media can work for your company.

Facebook and Twitter were only made open to the public in 2006 and since then, they have become a communications staple, allowing brands to get their messages out succinctly, accurately and most importantly, whenever they want. Social media allows companies to engage with audiences directly, something traditional print coverage did not allow. Thanks to this, many PR agencies (including Refresh PR) offer social media management as a stand-alone service rather than the supporting platform it was only a few years ago.

Social influencers

The blogger-sphere has come to the forefront in recent years. Once used by hobbyists as a way of sharing information and opinions on a chosen topic, blogging is now a career choice, made by thousands who make a solid earning from it.

The beauty of bloggers and social media influencers is that they can be honest in the content they create, rather than write to the tone of voice of a magazine or paper. The rise of the blogger means fresh content is being generated on a daily basis, with each blogger or influencer targeting a unique demographic and the 21st century PR knows the importance of blogger endorsement. 

PR & SEO

Never have PR and SEO relied so heavily on each other. In a world where the Yellow Pages is deemed archaic and ranking on Google is pivotal to sales, backlinks on high authority sites are key to ensuring the success of a business. PR agencies can work with media outlets to provide quality information to be uploaded online, with a backlink. Working together not only reaps the rewards good PR offers, such as thought leader status, brand recognition and positive sentiment, but also supports SEO work.

Measurement

With this change in output, comes a change in results measurement. The value of AVE is often discussed amongst PRs, with most deeming it dated and inaccurate – and I’d agree. With social media, online coverage and blogger reviews fast becoming the best way to reach a target audience, how can you possibly use the colour ad rate for a magazine to work out if your PR campaign has been a success?

Tangible KPIs are much more valuable, with complete transparency on the results. At Refresh PR we work with clients to find out exactly what they want and need. If you want 100K visitors to your website, our KPIs will be set around that. Using Google Analytics, we can see where your users came from and adjust our PR plans in real time.

Have key objectives for social media? We’ll work our targets around outputs, engagement rates and follower numbers, with each set specifically to match your key business objectives.

That said, we still understand the importance of print coverage; it’s a valuable medium in an ever-changing industry due to readership loyalty. It is however paramount that PR agencies learn to adapt and evolve, ensuring they, and their clients, are not left behind.

If you want to have a chat with Refresh PR, and see how we can work with you to achieve your key business goals, call  0161 871 1188. 

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Top tips on how to blag your steak knowledge!



Since adding Gourmet Meat Club to our roaster of food and drink PR clients, we have all become fascinated by the tips, tricks and hacks from its experts. Like most creative agencies in Manchester, we all eat out a lot, so having a few extra nuggets of foodie knowledge to impress others with is always welcome. Here, Gourmet Meat Club shares its top tips on how to really sound like you know your stuff when it comes to all things steak!

 

Food and drink PR

1. When it comes to steak – order medium-rare

Surprisingly nearly 30 per cent of the population choose steak cooked well done when dining out, however, this can kill the flavour and leave the meat tough and dry. Medium-rare is recommended with most cuts and will ensure the meat is still tender and flavourful when it arrives on your plate. However, for thin cuts such as feather blade, rare is recommended to avoid to meat toughening.

 

2. Go for cut, not price

In a recent survey we conducted for GourmetMeatClub.co.uk more than 1 in 10 (11 per cent) Brits choose the second cheapest cut of meat on the menu due to lack of understanding. But try not to get too hung up on price; instead choose a cut you will enjoy. A bavette steak is fast becoming the foodie’s choice, packing a full flavour with all the tenderness of a sirloin, yet this is one of the best value cuts of meat. A feather blade steak is another cut rising in popularity, with restaurants now specialising in it, however this steak is also a great value cut and boasts a sweet flavour.

 

3. Know exactly what your ordering

When choosing between a rump, minute or sirloin, it’s important to actually know the difference in cuts. For instance, a minute steak is small and thin, so perfect for a steak sandwich – not so perfect for an evening meal. Sirloin is a common choice in restaurants and though full of flavour it can be fatty. If you want to stick to a full flavoured cut, try a rump steak, it’s incredibly tender and has very little fat.

 

4. Different sauces for different cuts

Many restaurant goers fall into the same trap; peppercorn sauce. Though peppercorn sauce can be a great option with steak, if you are expanding your horizons then try switching it up for something different. A simple garlic butter can work well with a high quality cut, or for the more adventurous, a Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce that is perfect with meat.

 

5. Order drinks to complement

A recent survey from GourmetMeatClub.co.uk revealed nearly 40 per cent (37.35 per cent) of the UK opt for red wine with a steak, but do we know what wine complements what cut of meat? The fatter the cut, the bolder the wine should be. For instance a rib-eye steak is typically marbled and so pairs perfectly with a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, where as a fillet, which typically has a lower fat content pairs well with a lighter red wine, such as a Pinot Noir. 

 

So with these handy top tips in mind, maybe it’s time to put them to the test, after all, our survey also revealed that one in five of the UK population opt for steak when trying to impress a date! Let us know how you get on!

 

 

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Hat trick for Refresh PR



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


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


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


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


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

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

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

 

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Christmas 2017 - ho, ho, ho-w not to get it wrong!



Whether you’re an online retailer or a property developer, the festive period will effect on your business in some capacity, so careful planning and preparation at this early stage could mean the difference between a positive or negative outcome.

 

Here are our top tips on how to make sure the festive season for your businesses is the icing on the Christmas cake of a fantastic year!

 

1. Remember how Christmas impacts the buying habits of YOUR customers

Whether this is seeing a spike in sales, or a dip while people shy away from big purchases, if you have predicted and planned these buying habits into your budgets, then it won’t come with quite the same sting or stress.

 

For food suppliers, gift retailers and convenience stores, Christmas has always been, and will always be, one of the busiest times of the year. Handled correctly, you will see sales soar, brand awareness increase and potentially secure new or returning customers for the foreseeable future. However, if not planned correctly customers and employees could be left with a sour taste in their mouths, as orders are missed and the pressure is piled on.

 

2. Fight for your Space

Refresh never condones violence. But, brands have to fight hard for space during the noisiest time of the year and this is especially true at Christmas time. We come to expect the major supermarkets and their big budget advert productions, but this doesn’t mean that smaller brands have to lose out. From timely and effective media relations to strong social media campaigns that resonate with your audience – there’s always an opportunity for cut through in this noisy landscape. Don’t be put off by budget restrictions – if time is on your side, then there is always something that can be implemented to meet business objectives.

 

3. Make Life Easier

Whether your business caters to consumers or businesses, Christmas can be one of the most stressful times of the year for a customer. So as a business, take the time to step back and consider how you can make life easier for them. Whether that is sharing top tips on how to cook up your leftovers on an e-shot in early December or ensuring their website won’t crash under high pressure during Boxing Day sales, your business has the opportunity to become a source of advice, ultimately making you a source of useful and relevant knowledge. Providing relevant information to you clients could ultimately become a lifeline for your business when the new GDPR rules come into place (watch out on the Refresh e-shot for more on that…)

 

4. Order in advance

It’s highly likely you use external suppliers to support your business – whether you use a construction team to build your developments, or a manufacturer to fill your physical and online shelves. Remember, they too will encounter all the stresses of Christmas, and are probably putting their plans in place now like you. To ensure you don’t leave your own customers hanging, or are left high and dry with no communication at a time you were expecting it, get in touch with all your suppliers today and find out when you need to place final orders, any anticipated issues with stock and who – if anyone – will be available during emergencies.

 

5. Be available

Christmas time is family time, and everyone expects communication from your business to go quiet during this time. But if you have advertised yourself as a 24/7/365 business, it is essential you remain true to this and have support in place for any major issues that need addressing. Your internal teams will be fighting it out for the best days off during the Christmas period, so let them know now the expectations that will be on them in terms of internal/external contact, social media presence, emergency telephone lines and more. Dropping this on them any later in the year might lead to upset team members, meaning any issues that do happen between January 25th and January 2nd aren’t handled as well as they could be.

 

If you want to talk to the Refresh PR team about making your Christmas a winter wonderland rather than a burnt turkey, call us on 0161 8711 188.

 

 

 

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Being passionate in PR



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Glastonbury – The Ultimate PR Win



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Refresh shortlisted for two Manchester PR Agency Awards



2016 was packed with award shortlists and wins and 2017 is looking to be just as busy. We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for two of the MPA’s Inspiration Awards 2017. Our ‘Food Porn Awards’ campaign for STM Photography has been shortlisted for Best PR Agency Campaign (one of just four shortlisted campaigns), and we’ve also been shortlisted in the Small PR Agency of the Year category.

 

At Refresh, we pride ourselves on providing innovative and creative ideas that help our clients achieve their business objectives, whether they are in the B2B or consumer sectors. Our campaigns have won awards since the inception of Refresh PR and we are very proud that we have been recognised for this once again. The team at Refresh is incredibly passionate about our clients, their campaigns and the PR and communications industry itself, and this is reflected in the results achieved.

 

Celebrating the best agencies and campaigns within the creative, media, publishing and digital industries, the MPA Inspiration Awards champions creatively minded people, which is clear from the agencies shortlisted this year.

 

Good luck to all those shortlisted and we’ll see you at the awards ceremony in October!

 

Meanwhile, view the whole shortlist on the MPA website here http://www.mpa.org.uk/awards/mpa-awards-2017-shortlist 

 

 

 

Tagged with: award winning PR agency, B2B PR Agency, Consumer PR agency, Consumer PR Manchester, creative PR agency, Food & Drink, food and drink PR agency, integrated PR agency, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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



Refresh PR is a Manchester based PR agency located in fantastic space in the Northern Quarter.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to quickly learn and progress your career.  What’s more, we’re dedicated to helping our people grow and achieve their potential through The Refresh Academy – a 6-month programme of structured training and development, created and delivered by experienced PR practitioners and expert trainers.  This unrivalled programme provides you with all the key skills that will help you to become highly effective and progress your career with Refresh PR.

 

We pride ourselves on our no-nonsense approach and our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses.  Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver creative campaigns that drive consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both private and not for profit sectors. We pride ourselves on our unique approach and are industry recognised by the CMA’s and B2B Marketing Awards for our creative campaigns working with brands such as LG Electronics and Vaillant.

 

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

 

More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail.  You are considerate and supportive; a real team player with the ability to remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll work closely with the rest of the B2B team to ensure we are delivering consistently for our clients, yet will be able to use initiative, working independently most of the time. 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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



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

 

We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as an account executive working across a range of accounts.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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Ecobuild 2017: Inspiring People, Places and Products



Fresh out of university, I’d be lying if I said I was aspiring towards a career in construction PR. Fast forward the clocks and although construction comms is not 100% of what I do, it’s certainly a sector in which I have built up (see what I did there) solid experience and have a keen interest in. Which brings me to Ecobuild – taking place this week, it has been one of the annual highlights of my working life for a number of years. Usually I’m off to London for the week armed with press materials to carry out a busy schedule of media meetings or events on behalf of one of more clients. Unfortunately, this year I’m unable to attend so instead I’ve been eagerly watching news from the exhibition unfold on social media.

 

Social media and industry news outlets have been awash with announcements from the event, from both exhibitors and visitors, so I’ve not been short of reading material. As well as the usual packed conference and seminar programme, the first two days of Ecobuild have seen the usual burst of product launches from companies across the sector, including from the Hadley Group, which launched a design competition for student architects with a prize worth up to £6,000.

 

Day one also saw the winner of Ecobuild’s Big Innovation Pitch announced. For the third year running, Ecobuild partnered with M&S in a search for commercial engineering solutions and innovations that have potential to make a huge contribution to achieving the retailer's Plan A sustainability objectives.  This year saw two winners for first time ever there - Protomax Plastics and Airedale Air Con – congrats to both!

 

Despite reports from last year claiming the show suffered from a lack of visitors compared with previous years, and many in the industry needing much convincing in order to allocate often large percentages of marketing spend to have a presence in one of the many halls, there is no doubt in my opinion that exhibitions such as Ecobuild provide a companies with the ideal opportunity to deliver compelling brand experiences to a captive, targeted audience.

 

Whether its via meetings with potential partners, live events on-stand, meetings with key media, hosting seminars or stunts etc, as long as activity is planned and executed correctly, exhibitions can provide organisations with the perfect platform to not only share their latest innovations with those who matter the most but also secure top quality business leads and gain valuable industry insight from their peers.

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Ecobuild, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Calling all Account Managers, a new challenge awaits



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

 

We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as one of our B2B account managers, working across a range of B2B/corporate accounts in sectors such as construction and professional services.

 

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

 

More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may even pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive; a real team player with the ability to remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll be confident in managing and developing our talented PR team while also supporting with recruitment as the team continues to grow.

 

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

 

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

 

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

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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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Awards, awards, awards



We’ve had plenty of reasons to celebrate over the last few months, with our campaigns shortlisted for some of the most prestigious marketing and PR awards in the country.

The Northern Marketing Awards took place on the 19th October, and we were delighted to have been shortlisted in three categories; Best Food and Drink Campaign for our work on the Food Porn Awards, Best Property and Construction Campaign for our work on the Heating Installer of the Year Awards and in the Small Agency category alongside some of the finest marketers in the North.

We unfortunately didn’t come away with any trophies, but we’re extremely proud to have battled against some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Rubicon, Pepsi and Britvic.

Looking forward, this month will see the CIM Northern Awards Ceremony where our work on the Food Porn Awards has been shortlisted for Best Northern Region campaign. We are also just one of two agencies shortlisted for Small Northern Agency – testament to our talented team!

Rounding off 2016, December’s Construction Marketing Awards will be particularly exciting with Refresh PR shortlisted in a whopping five categories! Once again, it’s not just our campaigns being recognised for their excellence as we’re also up for Agency of the Year – a nod to our expertise in communications for the built environment. 

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

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Refresh captures the best view in Britain



 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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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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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.   

 

 

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Twice is nice for Arbonne at the Pure Beauty Awards



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

 

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

Arbonne award Refresh PR

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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



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

Get in touch!

 

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

 

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

 

Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through structured learning and development programmes.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shortlist success for B2B Marketing Awards’ tastiest entry



Our work on food and drink campaign, the Food Porn Awards, has been shortlisted for a prestigious B2B Marketing Award! After successfully launching the awards to the North West’s eateries last year, our team of foodies has been rewarded with a nomination in the Best Public Relations Campaign category.

 

The innovative integrated communications campaign saw more than 250 eateries enter, with impressive results for our client, STM Photography.

 

The B2B Marketing Awards is an annual awards event, celebrating outstanding work in the B2B marketing industry. The Food Porn Awards’ nomination comes just a few weeks after it was shortlisted as one of the best creative campaigns at the CIPR PRide Awards 2016, with the winners due to be announced in November.

 

Laura Mashiter, managing director at Refresh PR, said: “Being nominated for such a prestigious industry award is a fantastic achievement for the team and again demonstrates our ability to create powerful campaigns that generate tangible business results. This year, the awards will be bigger and better. As well as expanding to the Yorkshire region, we’re inviting leading food and drink brands to get involved with the campaign and become sponsors. So, if you’d like to get a taste of what we have to offer, get in touch with me or my team.”

 

For more information on becoming a sponsor, email laura.holden at refreshpr.co.uk, or give us a call on 0161 871 1188.

 

Tagged with: B2B Marketing Award, Best Public Relations Campaign, Food & Drink, Food Porn Awards, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Picture Perfect: Instagram’s latest update to capture businesses’ attention



Instagram has primarily been known for its powerful visuals, beautiful galleries and, let’s face it, funny memes. However, with its latest investment in business tools, small businesses are set to see real results from using the app.

 

According to Instagram around half of its 500 million monthly active users now follow a business on the platform and 60 percent say they have learned about new products this way.

 

Last week, the photo sharing app launched Business Profiles for its 200,000 advertisers, with this group primarily made up of small businesses.

 

So, how will this latest update help businesses target audiences more effectively? One of the main benefits is the insights tool, which takes away the perplexity brands sometimes experience when it comes to measuring the return on investment of uploading an image or video clip.  

 

This insights tool will, much like Facebook, provide reports on user engagement, the demographic of followers and will also allow brands to turn popular posts into adverts with the click of a button. The latter is particularly beneficial for businesses with smaller budgets, enabling them to effectively try before they buy. This ability to see if content is actually working well offers small businesses the opportunity to be more agile in making changes to capture their audience’s attention.

 

As well as this insight led change, Business Profiles will be categorised by industry and a new contact button has been introduced to bring users and businesses closer together. This will also allow users to make a quick decision as to how relevant the profile is to them, meaning that analytics will be much more reliable and accurate.

 

This categorisation by industry signals that Instagram isn’t just for fashion brands showcasing their latest collections; trade and B2B organisations can also benefit. The implementation of Business Profiles could work particularly well in the construction industry. For example, a short video tutorial on how to build or install a product could click through to the product page on the company’s website, providing insights into which content works best and helping to drive sales.

 

American Express is one business taking Instagram by storm. Although it is a financial services company, it has shown that there are still ways to bring brand personality to life. The company’s 130,000 followers get an exclusive insight into the events that Amex has sponsored and can see user-generated content of experiences that have been made easier by using an American Express card.

 

This is a landmark moment for any businesses that have historically been tentative about the platform. I think Instagram is for everyone, whether it is a beauty brand, a food and drink business or in the built environment sector. We all have stories to tell, and images and videos are just another way to do it.

 

No matter what industry you are in, keeping up-to-date with social media developments is crucial and can open new avenues to market. So, what will your profile say about you?

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: American Express, Business, Instagram, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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Ready, Set, Pokemon Go!



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Refresh Academy Launches Following HR Investment



At Refresh PR, people are at the heart of what we do. Having great team members on board means we can continue to provide a fantastic service and achieve the best results for our clients, while building a sustainable future for our business.

We’re delivering a wider range of services than ever before. While PR is our bread and butter, we now often integrate this with digital marketing, social media and creative campaigns to help our clients cut through the noise in their industries and generate tangible results. Since the formation of the business in 2009, we’ve prided ourselves on providing our team members with diverse internal and external training opportunities. However, it’s not until now that we have formalised this process into a complete training package to enable us to attract and retain the best PR professionals, in order to achieve real success for clients and deliver our own ambitious growth plans.

At the beginning of 2016, we appointed Sarah Mashiter as HR Director. With more than 10 years’ experience working across a breadth of senior HR roles in the foodservice and client contacting industry, Sarah was the ideal HR leader to put in place a robust Learning and Development (L&D) framework.

Sarah has since launched The Refresh Academy, a key programme within this L&D framework, to provide learning opportunities at every stage of an employee’s development. The offer complements the wider HR programme and comprises five pillars: Induction, The Refresh Academies, Made to Measure – a menu of different options tailored to development plans – and Talent Development Programmes, all underpinned by mentoring.

The Refresh Academy programmes are based on job profile and split into three distinct levels – the Refresh Executive Academy, the Refresh Management Academy and the Refresh Leadership Academy. From client management to leading people, each academy has content built around the key job skills and competencies for that level, to provide our people with all the skills and tools they need to be highly effective in their role.

Sarah said: "When I joined the business, I immediately saw the strong foundations that had been put in place for training and wanted to use the experience I’ve gained over the years to formalise this into a complete package for our people. The Refresh Academy means that from day one, people are supported to achieve their career aspirations – whether someone is a new starter, well-established in their current job or working towards a promotion. These first class development opportunities will not only ensure we deliver an unbeatable level of service for our clients, but enable our team members to learn, excel in their roles and advance their careers."

Tagged with: HR, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, REFRESH ACADEMY, training

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



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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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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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Refresh PR Bolsters Senior Team With Two New Appointments



Refresh PR has welcomed two new members to our senior management team following a successful start to 2016. Emma McCallum and Sarah Mashiter join as associate director and HR and operations director respectively to support our client base and spearhead our 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 and learning and development to name but a few, Sarah will be utilising her experience to improve operational processes, implement stronger training programmes and launch the Refresh Academy.

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

Tagged with: Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, senior management team

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Refresh PR Builds For The Future With Interior Architecture Firm



Refresh PR has been appointed by leading interior architecture and furniture, fittings and equipment (FFE) consultancy SpaceZero to increase brand awareness as part of the business’ ambitious national and international expansion plans.

With specialist knowledge and experience in the education sector, SpaceZero has delivered more than 200 education projects, along with exciting, effective spaces for clients in the healthcare, commercial and leisure sectors.

Our team has been working with SpaceZero to implement a creative and comprehensive communications strategy, to reinforce and enhance its successes in the education sector and to build the brand in other areas, particularly healthcare. We have also been raising the profile of key spokespeople within the firm, organising speaking opportunities at relevant events, such as May’s Design in Mental Health conference.

SpaceZero has a clear vision of where it wants to go, and we are delighted to be on board and working with such a progressive, forward thinking company.

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



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

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

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

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

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


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The inaugural Heating Installer of the Year Awards



The team at Refresh PR prides itself on being able to come up with innovative and creative campaigns that bring a new buzz and fresh talking points into industries that are more traditional in nature.  

 

So last year when our client Continental Underfloor tasked us with developing a campaign that would shine a spotlight on the heating industry’s unrecognised champions, it didn’t take long for us to think up the Heating Installer of the Year Awards. Designed to improve the credibility and reputation of tradespeople, and overturn any negative perceptions of the industry, Heating Installer – or HIOTY as it’s become known in the Refresh office – launched officially in November 2015, inviting installers from across the country to enter and shout about the excellent service they deliver.

 

In the months following, we worked relentlessly as an agency to unearth heating installers from every corner of the UK who go above and beyond for their clients as a given, working to fit energy efficient heating systems that are environmentally friendly and reduce customer bills.

 Refresh PR Award

Our official sponsors – Continental Underfloor, Vaillant, Adey, Graham the Plumbers’ Merchant, Daikin and media partner Installer Magazine – supported us along the way, contacting their databases of customers and encouraging them to enter until March, when our panel of expert judges met to choose eight regional winners.

 

It was at this point we realised how big a deal HIOTY was to those who had entered. When we called the eight regional winners to give them the good news, each was thrilled beyond belief. They began making plans as to how they could share the news in their local communities, and we provided advice on how they could use their social media channels to further boost their profile across their region and encourage voting in the national heat.

 

So for six weeks, our installers (and the Refresh team) hammered Twitter and Facebook, while we liaised with our regional press contacts to get their names in the headlines.

 

At the end of April, the online voting system closed and – while no-one knew who it might be – the national winner had been decided.

 

Months of hard work and anticipation culminated on May 11th, when our regional finalists gathered at industry trade show Installer2016, where they would find out the national winner. Refresh PR had worked with Installer2016 organisers to ensure the stage was set for the big reveal, briefed the installers on what to do should they be announced the winner, and had our fingers poised to post the news on the HIOTY social media channels as soon as Chris Ingram, founder of head sponsor Continental Underfloor, announced the winner in front of the packed crowd.

 

And so it was to be that Dennis Hollingworth of Hollingworth Heating Limited, Stockport, took the national crown – and well deserved it was. Dennis took a large majority of the overall vote, being recognised for his sterling service and ability to install complex solutions that made his customers’ homes warmer and more energy efficient.

 

Not only this, but the hard-working team at Refresh PR has been shortlisted for an award the 2016 CIPR PRide Awards too!

 

 

 

 

  

   

 

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

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Refresh PR cooks up a storm with the Food Porn Awards



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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Putting a price on silence



You could be fooled into thinking that money really can buy you anything these days – including silence. Just ask Ryan Giggs, who in 2011 spent £150,000 on a super PR aencies Manchesterinjunction after his affair with “Miss Wales”. Unfortunately for Giggs, Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming, used his parliamentary privilege to ‘out’ the footballer just a few months after the injunction was granted. Hardly money well spent…

 

More recently, a well-known - but still unnamed - British celebrity was scandalised for their extramarital affair. The individual in question was granted a ‘super-injunction’ for an undisclosed sum after judges decided lifting the ban would have ‘devastating consequences’ for the celebrity’s family. Despite being named in the Scottish press, American press, and on social media, the name has yet to be disclosed in England and Wales.

 

Is it fair that money can buy you silence? Are such rulings impeding freedom of speech, and is judicial secrecy being overused?

 

Admittedly these super-injunctions do often protect innocent bystanders such as family and children. Caught up in a mess created by someone else, innocent parties shouldn’t suffer the consequences of a family member’s poor judgement.

 

Yet with increasing pressure on the law to overturn rulings and rising anger from the media around freedom of speech, speculators have suggested it is only a matter of time before super-injunctions are outlawed.

 

From Jeremy Clarkson to Andrew Marr and the countless others who had enough money to spare themselves embarrassment, there could be many more skeletons in the closet. Watch this space…

  

 

 

 

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

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Are we losing the human touch?



The headline said: ‘Pepper Drone-I’. I read on.

‘Drones delivering pizza will be amongst the biggest advances of the next 20 years, Brits predict,’ was the opening paragraph. Here we go again, I thought.  

Can I just make one thing clear? I am fully and completely aware of the benefits that technology – and its never ending advancements – brings to our life. When being used for the greater good, such as improving the delivery of healthcare, making supply chains more efficient and building platforms for free speech, believe me, I can’t get enough.

But every morning, when the Refresh PR team gathers to read the newspapers and share the day’s headlines, I’m hearing such ludicrous stories about new uses for technology that I worry we’re starting to rely on it more than we rely on each other – the people we live with, work with, socialise with.

According to The Sun, drones will one day soon be delivering my 14” meat feast with extra mushrooms and garlic sauce to my door. This is something that, apparently, the British public wants. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d find it rather unnerving to open my door and see an emotionless, floating robot holding my pizza rather than the lovely chaps from my local, friendly pizza establishment who deliver my meal with a smile (making me feel slightly less guilty about breaking my wedding diet… again).

Calm down, I hear you say; it’s just a drone delivering pizza. Except it’s not, is it? The list goes on. And on.

Take for example Rolls Royce, a quintessentially British brand that embodies all things traditional, which is currently developing its first driverless car. Complete with in-built sofa and glass canopy (fancy!), the new Rolls Royce 103EX will come complete with an A.I. chauffer called Eleanor. I’m sure she’s lovely, but when exactly did we fall out of love with driving to the extent we wouldn’t actually want to DRIVE one of the world’s most luxurious cars?

 

Did you know the surge in people taking selfies has led to a rise in coastal deaths? Yes, people have become so engrossed by the gadget in their hands they’re risking their safety and in some cases actually losing their lives.

Apparently, there’s a fear amongst workers whose bosses encourage them to use wearable technology that they’re being spied on. My question is why do bosses feel the need to outlay a huge amount of cash on wearable technologies in the first place? How about picking up your work and sitting with your team, getting involved in conversations and helping motivate them? If someone’s not pulling their weight, you’ll know about it sooner than waiting for a monthly data report back from their FitBits.

And there’s more! News broke last week of the first ever ‘social media wedding’. A couple getting married in Nottingham have hired iPhone-carrying photographers to live stream their nuptials to their Facebook and Twitter followers, with updates every 15 minutes until the end of the day. The bride said: 'It's the one day that's all about you and if you have different people talking about it all over the world, on different formats, it makes it that extra special’.

Warning: harsh content coming up. Seriously, why does the opinion of someone on the other side of the world, who’s never met you, knows nothing about you and will forget all about you as soon as they switch off the stream, even matter? Surely the most important thing about your wedding is to share it with the people who you love, and more importantly, who love you.

If things carry on the way they’re going, we’re at serious risk of losing the beauty of the human touch all together. All at once we seem more connected than ever and yet so far removed from the person standing next to us that they might as well be thousands of miles away.

Technology is fantastic; it’s an enabler, it’s increasingly intelligent and it allows us to do some wonderful things. In my line of work, when I’m learning more and more about social media platforms and virtual reality, I’m firmly of the belief it serves a great purpose. So let’s use it to improve our lives, our hobbies, our work, our relationships – not completely replace them. Call me old fashioned, but nothing beats an actual face-to-face conversation, whether it’s with a client, a colleague, a friend or my family. After all, isn’t that what makes us human?

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Manchester, 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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Calling all Consumer Senior Account Managers



Calling all Consumer Senior Account Managers

A new challenge awaits…

 

At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses.  Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both public and private sectors.

 

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

 

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

 

More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive - a real team player with the ability remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll be confident to manage and develop our talented consumer PR team while supporting with recruitment as the team grows.

 

Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a sociable bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through our mentoring programme – where our team works alongside experienced PR practitioners - and our structured training and development programme.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Picture perfect: Window with a View judging day



Last week, Erin and I went down to Birmingham to meet our client MyGlazing – the new consumer-facing website from the not-for-profit trade organisation The Glass and Glazing Federation (the GGF) – and a panel of experts from the tourism, architecture, interiors and photography industries for the Window with a View judging day.

If you’ve been following Refresh PR on Twitter, you’ll no doubt have noticed a number of updates on the Window with a View campaign, which aims to find and celebrate the UK’s best windows with views. At Refresh PR we love thinking of creative ideas to meet our clients’ briefs, and we came up with this visual and interactive campaign in order to meet MyGlazing’s objectives of boosting awareness of the new brand, driving people to the website and encouraging people to think about the benefits of modern, energy efficient glazing.

The first stage of the competition saw us encouraging people to enter photos of windows in buildings or attractions that are open to the public which have interesting, beautiful or unusual views. Twitter and Instagram were key channels for us to use in order to encourage people to participate in the competition, and we also liaised directWindow with a view judges ly with hundreds of organisations and business owners to get them on board.

We received over 150 entries from all kinds of buildings and attractions – including libraries, museums, hotels, bars and even derelict cottages. The views and photographs were stunning and we were extremely impressed by the quality and diversity of images we received.

The challenge our judges had last week was to score each entry to create a shortlist of four for each of the 12 geographical areas we’ve split the competition into. The judges (Aaron Andrews, creative director of The Gifted Few; Bernard Donoghue, director at Association of Leading Visitor Attractions; Ståle Eriksen, architectural photographer; James Lee, head of group marketing and communications at the GGF; Katy Tonkinson, partner at Hawkins Brown marked each image on three criteria – the window, the view and the photograph overall. At the end of the day, they also decided on an image to win the Judges’ Special Prize.

We’re delighted with the regional shortlists for the Window with a View campaign – they show the vast variety of wonderful architecture and scenery the UK has to offer, from landscapes to city skylines. Next week, we’ll announce the shortlists and the public will be able to vote for their favourites for each geographical areas. The winner for each region will then be put forward for another round of voting to win the ultimate title of the UK’s best Window with a View. We can’t wait to see the outcome of the first voting stage!

If you’ve been following Refresh PR on social media over the last few weeks, you will have seen us sharing lots of updates on a campaign we’re working on with for our client MyGlazing, the new consumer-facing website from the not-for-profit trade organisation The Glass and Glazing Federation.

The campaign – Window with a View – is a national hunt to find and celebrate the UK’s best windows with views. Nominations opened earlier this year. The window could be in any building or attraction that is open

Tagged with: Hawkins Brown, My Glazing, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, The Gifted Few, The Glass & Glazing Federation, Window with a View

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



 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Dementia care is changing… for the better



 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

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Ban women? In 2016? Seriously?



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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Inspiring installers floor industry judges



 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Laura Holden, Joseph Valente & Lauran Mashiter

 

 

 

 

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

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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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New Instagram logo – love it or loathe it?



Instagram this week revealed a new logo and look. Gone is the retro brown icon which has become recognisable by Instagrammers all over the world since it launched in 2010, replaced by a simpler outline of a Polaroid camera with a pink, purple and orange coloured background.

Commenting on its blog about the change, Instagram said: “The Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day. Our updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.”

While the new look may be intended to reflect a new era of Instagram, the reaction from the public has been mixed. From GIFs mocking how simple it looked to create to some, um, interesting descriptions of what the new logo looks like (“As if the camera was murdered, and chalk was drawn around its body. Murdered at sundown”), social media users, journalists and marketing professionals alike have all been quick to voice their opinions online.

On an online poll on The Telegraph, recent stats show 82 per cent of voters prefer the old logo while only 18 per cent prefer the new one. And how did I vote? I voted that I prefer the new one. “WHY?” I hear you cry. “It looks like it’s been designed by an eight-year-old on Microsoft Paint!! #Facepalm”

Listen up people. For brands to be successful and remain relevant to their customers and users, they have to evolve and adapt. And often that means updating its branding to mark this change and new chapter in its development.

Instagram has come a long way since it was first launched. It’s not just used to document photos of dinners and dogs anymore, it’s a powerful tool for individuals, businesses and organisations to communicate their ideas, thoughts, beliefs and creativity. From politicians and celebrities to bloggers and people like you and me, 400 million people all around the world now use the platform.

So let’s not get caught up in how the logo looks – let’s explore new ways of using the platform to communicate, engage and inspire – and of course, post pictures of our meals and cute baby animals.

 

 

Tagged with: Instagram, Logo, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Social Media

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REASONS TO GET EXCITED FOR SUMMER IN MANCHESTER



 

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

1.       Dukes 92

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

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

2.       Screenfields

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

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

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

1.       Spinfest

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

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

 

 

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

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Calling all Consumer Account Managers



Calling all Consumer Account Managers

A new challenge awaits…

 

At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses.  Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both public and private sectors.

 

We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as our consumer account manager working across a range of consumer accounts.

 

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

 

More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive - a real team player with the ability remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll be confident to manage and develop our talented consumer PR team while supporting with recruitment as the team grows.

 

Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a sociable bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through our mentoring programme – where our team works alongside experienced PR practitioners - and our structured training and development programme.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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My first fortnight with Refresh PR



It’s hard to believe that it’s only been two weeks since I joined the Refresh PR team. I say this because in the last fortnight I’ve experienced so much, and been made to feel so included that it feels like I’ve been here forever.

The first thing that really surprised me on my first day at Refresh was the hefty induction timetable. This wasn’t just a quick run through of the company policy and somebody showing me the toilets. This was a week long timetable including training on everything from Gorkana to magazines and coverage, as well as separate introductions for each individual client and one-on-one time with every member of staff. To say I was full of knowledge by the end of it is an understatement, but I have also never felt more prepared and well equipped to take on any task thrown at me.

Of course the best way to learn is through experience, and goodness, have I experienced! In the past few weeks I’ve worked on some really exciting national campaigns for our clients Care2Save, Arbonne and the Glass and Glazing Federation, as well as selling in stories, writing press releases, and putting together media lists. It’s been enlightening to witness the effective way the Refresh team crafts and implements creative, engaging and most importantly, successful PR campaigns on a daily basis. They say that no two days are ever the same in PR, and at Refresh that is definitely true.

Finally, the best part of being a Refresher is how welcoming and friendly everyone has been. Thanks to multiple lunches (and after work drinks) I’ve been able to get to know everyone on a personal as well as professional level and have been made to feel like a valued member of the team. It’s been so lovely to feel like there is a genuine network of people ready to offer help or support should I ever need it.

I joined Refresh PR looking for an exciting, fast paced, and engaging challenge, and that seems to be exactly what I’ve found.

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

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Want to be our next Consumer Account Director?



Calling all Senior Account Managers and Account Directors

A new challenge awaits…

 

At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ businesses.  Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both public and private sectors.

 

We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as our consumer account director working across a range of consumer accounts.

 

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

 

More broadly, we’re looking for someone filled with energy and enthusiasm who is proactive, persistent and methodical in their approach with a real eye for detail – you may pride yourself on being a perfectionist! You are considerate and supportive - a real team player with the ability remain calm and considered when faced with new or pressurised situations. You’ll be confident to manage and develop our talented consumer PR team while supporting with recruitment as the team grows.

 

Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a sociable bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through our mentoring programme – where our team works alongside experienced PR practitioners - and our structured training and development programme.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: account director, AD, consumer, Jobs, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Vacancy

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The FIT Show 2016



This week, the biggest trade exhibition for the window, door and conservatory industry was held at the International Centre in Telford. With manufPR agency Manchesteracturers, suppliers and installers showing off hundreds of new products and services from their stands spanning across three halls, it was clear that many of the exhibitors had gone all out with this year’s event. One of the stands was set up to look like a the coffee shop in the US sitcom Friends, another one was pop art-inspired, and there were even some Only Fools and Horses lookalikes!

  

We went on the last day of the event to visit our client The Glass and Glazing Federation, who had two seminar slots – one looking at consumer issues and the other one unveiling the new energy saving calculator.

 

During the first seminar, the GGF’s director of home improvement Brian Smith introduced the audience to the GGF’s new and revised Consumer Code of Practice, which takes into account new consumer legislation and has been approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. Covering sales, surveys, products, installation and the guarantee, the code of practice outlines how GGF members should work and deal with consumers and outlines the benefits of using a GGF member to homeowners.

 

In the second seminar, GGF technical officer Micky Sulston introduced the attendees to the brand new energy saving calculator, which enables homeowners to work out approximately how much they could potentially save on their energy bills if they upgraded their windows with modern, energy efficient glazing. Micky gave a live demonstration of the new online tool, which can be found on the consumer-facing website MyGlazing.com, and it’s user friendly, looks great and helps you to understand how new windows could benefit your home, your bank balance and the environment!

 

 

 

Tagged with: Construction, fabricator and installer, FIT show, Manchester, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Get snappy, UK!



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

 

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

 Window with a View

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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An Eggcellent Easter at Refresh PR



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Tell us what you think @refreshpr and #refresheggstravaganza

 

 

 

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

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Budget 2016: A Budget for the next generation – but what about now?



Earlier today I went to North West Business Insider’s Budget Live event at Lancashire Country Cricket Club where a panel of speakers (Tim Potter, chief executive HURST; Nicky Unsworth, chief executive of BJL Group; Vikas Shah, managing director of Swiscot Group; Lawrence Jones, chief executive of UKFast; Dr Kevin Albertson, Reader in Economics at MMU Business School; and John Keyes, partner and head of the Manchester office of Cushman & Wakefield) discussed their thoughts and hopes for this year’s Budget before we all watched the action unfold on screen.

 

After a lively introduction from George Osborne (which included him quoting the Office for Budget Responsibility that the UK would be “safer, stronger, and more secure” if we stayed in the EU), the chancellor got into the details of cuts and spending.

 

One of the key phrases Osborne kept repeating was how this was a Budget “for the next generation”. A levy on sugar for the soft drink industry which will be invested into funding for sports in schools, a proposal that pupils study maths up to 18 and the introduction of a lifetime ISA were some of the measures Osborne discussed.

 

However, in order to achieve his promise that the Government will be running a surplus by 2019/20, he announced that further cuts would have to be made to achieve this. While the idea of “living within our means” was justified by making sure we protect the next generation and ensure they don’t have to pay for our debts, it does beg the question – what about the generation of today?

 

Some other notable announcements included:

·        Corporation tax is to decrease to 17% by 2020

·        Around 600,000 commercial properties will be removed from business rates, while annual increases to business rates will rise in line with the Retail Price Index rather than the Consumer Price Index

·        Fuel duty will remain frozen for a sixth year running

·        The tax-free personal allowance will increase to £11,500 by April 2017 and the threshold for paying higher rate income tax rate will  move to £45,000

·        The HS3 link between Manchester and Leeds has been given the go ahead, as well as investment to upgrade the M62 to a four-lane motorway and a tunnel road through to Manchester and Sheffield

 

Once Osborne finished his announcements, the panel at the event discussed their reactions. While there were some pleasant surprises (for example, more support and tax breaks for small businesses) there was uncertainty around what the real impact of the announcements will be for consumers and businesses.

 

Perhaps more importantly, there was uncertainty around the issues that Osbourne didn’t go into – in particular, healthcare was a sector notably missing from the agenda. And as always, we failed to get in to the nitty gritty detail of exactly how plans and initiatives – such as the Northern Powerhouse – will be achieved…and just how long those transport and infrastructure improvements will take in and around Manchester!

 

How do you think today’s Budget will affect you and your business? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Budget 2016, Manchester, Networking Event, North West , North West Business Insider event, NWBI event, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Account Executives - A new challenge awaits



At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ business.  Giving bold, strategic advice based on robust insight we deliver fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both public and private sectors.

 

We’re looking for a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as our senior account executive working across a range of B2B and B2C accounts.

 

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

 

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

 

Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter, we’re a sociable bunch of like-minded people who really enjoy what we do.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work.  As a fast-growing business, we can offer you the unique opportunity to input in to the direction of this business.  What’s more, we’re focused on helping our people grow and achieve their potential through our mentoring programme working alongside experienced PR practitioners and our structured training and development programme.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Account Executive, Jobs, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Executive, PR Jobs, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Senior Account Executive, Vacancy

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A porn-worthy experience



Here at Refresh, we’re huge food and drink lovers so it goes without saying that we’ll be knocking on the doors of the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show tomorrow to see what’s on offer. And it’s even more exciting for us this year, as we’re one of the sponsors of The Food Porn Awards™, along with the lovely lot at Hobs and White Noise.

 

Food Porn Awards I hear you say?! Yes, that’s right. So what does this entail?

 

Well, last year, our talented client STM Photography created The Food Porn Awards™ - with our expert PR help, of course. A search was launched to find THE best food from restaurants, pubs, bars and eateries across our region; and let’s face it, us Northerners know how to eat.

 

In a nutshell, chefs were encouraged to enter images of their most mouth-watering dishes in a quest to be hailed with a coveted award for the most porn-worthy food. A cook-off entailed with 16 super-talented finalists presenting their dishes and having them expertly shot by STM Photography. The finished dishes were presented to an esteemed judging panel made up of food development chef Robert Gong, MMU Professor John Swarbrooke, home economist and food stylist Jo Brewer, food journalist Emily Heward, publisher of Bitten Helen Ramsbottom, Shoot the Moon creative director Oliver Zebedee-Howard. And now the time is here for the winner to be revealed at the Northern Restaurant and Bar Show on 15th March at 3.30pm in the Hub.

 

The NRB is the biggest hospitality exhibition in the north of England and will see over 270 exhibitors and 1000s of visitors over the two days. Jam packed to say the least. We’ll be on hand at STM Photography’s stand (C11) where canvases of the dishes from the Food Porn Awards will be on show, so don’t forget to come and say hi.

 

I encourage anyone who is around to come along to witness the beautifully placed food from fresh out of the sea lobsters and juicy ribs to rich, gooey chocolate cake and exquisite photography of these dishes. You’ll leave hungry for sure!

 

Hopefully see you there… and don’t forget to tweet us (@RefreshPR) - perhaps we could even meet for coffee and cake :o)

 

 

 

Tagged with: Food, food porn, Food Porn Awards, Food PR, North West , Northern Restaurant and Bar Show 2016, NRB2016, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, restaurant PR, Twitter

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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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Account Executives - a new challenge is here



Do you want to join a multi-award winning, fast-growing PR agency located in the heart of Manchester city centre? Then don’t miss out on a fantastic opportunity to take the next step in your career.

 

At Refresh PR we pride ourselves on our ability to get under the skin of our clients’ business giving honest, bold advice and delivering fresh and inspired ideas with consistent results.

 

A sociable bunch, we’re proud to be a fun, friendly team with a passion for PR and a craving for creativity. We also look after our team members, with consistent mentoring and training to help them achieve their own PR goals and ambitions.

 

We are looking for an equally passionate, dedicated and creative person who will relish the chance to join the team as our new account executive working across a range of consumer and B2B accounts. From cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both public and private sectors, this role will offer invaluable career development through its increased responsibility and accountability.

 

Responsibilities:

·       Preparing sector specific copy for both consumer and trade press

·       Media management - including developing and maintaining great relationships with journalists to secure the best possible coverage for our clients

·       Working closely with account managers to ensure clients’ activity is delivered on time, and more importantly, great results are achieved

·       Helping to manage social media accounts across a variety of platforms - including supporting the running of the agency’s social media channels

·       Preparing for client meetings - including evaluating results and presenting coverage

·       Helping to prepare for new business pitches

·       Regularly reading up on clients’ industries and the PR industry

·       Mentoring – as soon as you’re ready you’ll become a mentor so you can offer advice to a junior team member

 

What we can offer you:

·       Highly competitive salary and pension

·       A generous holiday package of 25 days plus bank holidays

·       A more social and flexible approach to working hours

·       Your own mentor and structured training package to help you achieve your ambitions

·       End of year bonus

·       The opportunity to broaden your PR knowledge and skills

·       The unique opportunity of being able to provide input in to the direction of a growing business

·       On-going training alongside experienced PR practitioners

·       Regular client and team social events

·       Working in a fantastic location in the Northern Quarter with friendly, like-minded people who really enjoy what they do

 

To apply, send your CV to iwantajob@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Rose Tinted Glasses



I’m proud to consider myself an ‘Equalist’. I choose not to focus too heavily on gender disparities, and instead quietly celebrate the wins – fair treatment of men and women, which believe it or not, does happen and quite often. I do so because, in a lot of cases, gender stereotypes and instances of sexism are quite hard to scientifically prove. Men aren’t always stronger than women. Women are actually quite good drivers. Etc.

But at the moment, something is troubling me. It’s the ongoing discussion of the Pink Tax, which, if you’ve not heard of yet, is described as the ‘inexplicable’ mark-up in pricing which sees women paying a premium on the same products as men.

A petition has been launched following a recent investigation that found the average difference in price between men and women’s products – things like razors, shower gel, and t-shirts (i.e. things we all need whether we’re a Sam or a Samantha) – is 36 per cent. The petition has received over 41,000 signatures from people calling on stores that participate in this practice to stop in their tracks and treat us all fairly when it comes to the products we buy – and need, to live a healthy life.

Because of its time in the spotlight, discussions on the Pink Tax reached Parliament earlier this month.

Pre-blog research, the words ‘Pink Tax’ filled me with dread; it’s the typical phrasing intended to raise awareness of equality, but which eventually becomes as demonised as equality itself. However, after doing some reading round into several social experiments – articles from journalists armed with shopping baskets heading out en-mass to their nearest shopping centre to investigate price differences – it appears the Pink Tax might be an actual thing. And it’s worrying.

The prime culprit, and the basis of the 41,000 strong petition, is Boots. A look at its Gillette razors sees a pack of 10 men’s disposable razors come in at £4.25 (40p each), while a women’s pack of just four disposable razors comes in at £4 – a whopping £1 each. Imagine paying for 10! It doesn’t stop there. Boots appears to up-price everything from its eye creams and moisturisers, to its deodorants and shower gels, if they’re packaged and marketed with a female buyer in mind.

But Boots is not alone, it seems. Topshop – or Topman, whatever takes your fancy – is selling the same plain, white T-shirt for both men and women, with the female, shaped version at a 50 per cent higher price point. You could argue the women’s version takes longer to create due to its shaping. But another would argue that only results in using less material.

Argos is selling children’s scooters in blue and pink – identical, apart only for the colour and price, for the pink toy comes in at £5 more expensive. Don’t bring the kiddies into this!

Boots has insisted on Facebook: "Our products are priced individually, based on factors including formulation, ingredients, and market comparison." That’s basically a claim that women’s products always have that added extra, a little something special, which requires a higher price point that shouldn’t be questioned.

I for one would be particularly happy to just own a razor that works, and pay a reasonable price for it – I don’t need it to be sparkly, with a soothing, aromatic gel pad to make me feel like a woman. Similarly, I don’t need a shampoo packed with gold leaf extract and smelling like papaya to have clean hair. I just want clean hair. And so does my fiancée. But I’ll be damned if he pays less than me for the luxury.

Every now and then, the world has five minutes where it goes truly barmy. The Pink Tax is one of these moments, and it’s going to take time to resolve, unfortunately. Whether you’re a woman, or a man who loves woman – be it your mum, sister, girlfriend, wife, friend or whoever – you’ll surely agree this isn’t fair. Sign the petition, then come join me in the equality camp where we all get along.

Until the issue is resolved, you’ll find me in the men’s toiletry section. Or the £1 shop, because as far as I know, this is one place that certainly can’t get away with this.

 

 

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

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Joe Wicks: The lean, mean, Instagram machine



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

 

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

 

1. Video

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

  

2. Tone of voice

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

 

 

3. User generated content and community engagement

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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Are you Peachy keen?



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  

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

 

 

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

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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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My first month at Refresh PR



As is often the case when you start a new job, I’ve seen, done and learnt a lot in my first month at Refresh PR. To use an obvious cliché, it’s been a breath of fresh air!

 

The walk to work is always a highlight, with Refresh located in the heart of Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter. But, perhaps more importantly, the work I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had since joining have been invaluable.

 

I’ve been entrusted with some big jobs, namely a national pitch for a newly launched awards and a trip to the NEC in Birmingham to represent a client at the Care and Dementia Show.

 

I make daily contact with journalists for a whole host of stories and have built some very close relationships with many editors and reporters (as a former journalist myself, it still feels quite surreal being on the other side!). The media coverage I have gained from these relationships has been very encouraging so far and I hope to continue this success in the coming months.

 

I have an equally strong working relationship with my clients – I have been involved in everything from feeding into new business proposals to discussing our upcoming Christmas nights out!

 

Internally, I’ve bedded in fantastically with the team and have a great group of colleagues. As the sole man in the office, they have kindly agreed to allocate me a man hour each week, which is testament to their commitment to equality in the workplace.

 

On a serious note, I have seen how hard everyone at Refresh works every day and how committed each of our team members is to their role. They recently reaped the rewards of their hard work when they won a Silver award for Best Event at the CIPR North West PRide Awards for the media trip Refresh PR ran for client OTONE Audio, a fellow Manchester-based company which manufactures and sells Bluetooth speakers, headphones, soundbars and computer speakers. A great night was had by all at the Midland Hotel – even if there were a few sore heads in the office the next day.

 

This all being well and good, what have I actually learnt from my time at Refresh so far? I would say mainly that it’s possible to have a solid work and social life balance. If you work hard, you earn the right to enjoy yourself. Another big thing I’ve learnt is that building relationships in this industry is paramount, whether it’s picking up the phone to a journalist or working alongside a client to generate some exciting new content.

 

Anyway, that’s all for now folks. Hopefully this was a ‘refreshing’ read (sorry). Look out for more blogs from me in future!

 

 

 

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

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ClaireaBella Paints London Pink



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

 

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

 

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

   

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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A taste of success for Chip Strips!



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

 

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

 

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

Chip Strips and Refresh PR

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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Refresh PR wins at the CIPR PRide Awards 2015



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

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

Refresh PR wins CIPR award

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Spooktacular Halloween



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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

   

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

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September Success for Refresh PR



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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Well done team!

 

 

 

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

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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A lot can ‘appen in a week



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