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Why in-housing doesn’t need to be a death mark for agencies



As budgets continue to be cut and every penny of marketing spend is scrutinised, in-housing is becoming a serious issue for agencies. Indeed, there have been numerous reports released recently about the proliferation of in-housing marketing functions. Dentsu Aegis’ annual CMO Study revealed that 58% of CMOs intend to bring more digital capabilities in-house within the next three years, while new research from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) told us that 86% of marketing teams are currently - or are planning on - in-housing in the next three years.

The proliferation of in-housing is also something we discussed at length during a roundtable with a number of North West agencies just a few months back. The event saw us discussing Manchester Digital’s 2019 Agency Insights Survey, which revealed that 69% of agencies have lost budget through in-housing over the past year.

And while some agency folks may squirm in their seats reading this, I believe there will always be a place for agencies - it isn’t an ‘either/or’ conversation. However, as in-housing continues to become more commonplace, one thing is certain: agencies will have to work harder and harder to prove value. To help in doing that, here are some of the main points of difference I believe agencies can provide to marketing teams:

1.       Creativity

This will always be top of my list. Indeed, when I speak to clients, a large proportion of them value creativity above anything else when working with an agency.  

Yes, there are a lot of very creative people in in-house roles, but those people are often pulled in every direction, dragged into a lot of meetings and landed with unexpected jobs that, a lot of the time, don’t actually fall into their remit. As a result, creative ideas sessions are often the last thing on an in-house marketer’s mind. So, they rely on us agency folk - who have time allocated in our days and weeks for ideation - to provide creative ideas and execute them well.

And as the threat of automation continues, the ability to inject creativity and a point of difference into campaigns - which can’t be done by a robot - will become an increasingly important way for agencies to stay ahead of the game.

2.        A new perspective

Ever feel like you’re stuck in an echo chamber? It seems like a lot of marketers do. A stat from the DMA survey stuck with me – 37% of respondents cited concerns about creating an ‘echo-chamber’ of ideas by in-housing – as really hitting the nail on the head.

Marketing teams that open themselves up to agencies coming in to their business and providing a new perspective (and challenging the norm if required) will benefit hugely. Those that don’t have their heads in the business day in and day out will be able to take a step back, take an overarching view of the problem, challenge or opportunity, and usually offer a new take on things that might have never crossed the mind of an in-house marketer.  Good partner agencies will also be able to provide support to internal teams and act as a sounding board.

In order for this relationship to work at its best, agencies and marketing teams must work hard on cultivating a transparent and honest relationship from the outset.

3.       Cross-industry thinking

Unless you are an extremely niche agency, it’s highly likely that you and the team around you has a great deal of experience across a range of different sectors. Marketing teams that feel in a rut from operating in the same sector day in and day out can make use of agencies’ cross sector experience and use it to their advantage.

Taking learnings from different sectors is another crucial element to adding new perspective and scoping out new ways of doing things. At Refresh, we operate across three pretty different core sectors – tech, construction and food, drink and retail - and we regularly make use of cross-sector knowledge when developing strategies and campaigns.

4.       Specialist knowledge

As a result of often being pulled in multiple directions, it’s common for in-house marketers to become generalists rather than specialists – something that I think is right, but not without its difficulties. Generalists simply don’t have the time to master every discipline of marketing - whether that’s comms, PR, PPC, SEO, advertising, POS, influencer marketing - well.

This is where agencies come in; there’s an agency out there for everything. While some agencies specialise in multiple marketing functions, I believe the opportunity for agencies here comes from offering a specialism and being great at it. At Refresh, we pride ourselves on doing PR and doing it well. We’re not an SEO agency, we’re not an influencer agency, we’re a PR agency. We’ve made a conscious decision not to jump on trends and instead be the absolute best in our core field.

The agency / in-house relationship can still thrive

As the instances of in-housing become increasingly common, agencies must continue to seek out their clients’ pain points and evolving needs and adapt their service offerings in line with these. At the same time, agencies and client teams must work hard to foster a true partnership approach. It’s the marketing teams that view agencies as partners rather than suppliers that will derive the most value from a relationship.

 

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

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Are you a Senior Account Manager or Junior Account Director looking for your next step up? Get in touch!




Working in a fantastic location in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, we’re a strong team proud to do PR a little differently.  We’re proud to be a fun, friendly team offering a more flexible approach to work. 

 

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 junior account director working across a range of B2B and consumer accounts in the built environment, food and drink and tech sectors. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both private and not for profit sectors.


With a whole new brand launching in October, and a wealth of new business opportunities reaching the agency each month, you'll be busy from day one, while having scope to work as broadly or as specialised as you want in sectors you choose. 


You’ll have already gained valuable PR agency experience with at least two years spent working at senior account manager level so you’ll hit the ground running and will have already proved you’re a strategic consultant capable of devising PR strategies and campaigns that deliver real business results.  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.  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.

 

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.

 

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 Leadership 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 director and progress your career with Refresh.

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

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PR: is it measuring up?



This week on the blog we’re discussing an age-old battle for PR pros: measurement.  

It comes off the back of another study released this month that told us ‘40% of execs don’t think PR delivers good value’. Unfortunately, this isn’t a one off; the study is in a similar vein to many others that have been released over the past few years. Not a good sign for an industry that already faces an ongoing battle for a slice of the marketing budget. 

I’d put my money on the fact that a lot of the confusion around PR’s value comes from the fact that many PR buyers still aren’t actually sure what PR delivers in terms of tangible results. And you can see where this feeling has come from. For years, the value of PR was measured pretty much solely on AVE – literally how much it would cost to place an advert in the space you’ve secured editorial coverage in and then multiplied by three or four, depending on the agency. A bit wishy washy and not exactly an accurate demonstration of your bang for buck.

Thankfully *most* of the industry has come past the stage of reporting back results on the AVE of press coverage and the majority of PR agencies are becoming more switched on when it comes to objective setting and measurement.

To prove value, the most effective PR measurement metrics need to be data-driven. Yes, the more vanity focused metrics, such as opportunities to see, key media infiltration, social engagement or positive sentiment, can still be hugely important, but it’s the harder metrics which make it much easier to show value. Whether that’s digital metrics such as website visitors and conversions, goal completions, or backlinks, or even more tangible, revenue-focused measures such as the generation of qualified leads or enquiries through PR.

Evaluation is something we take seriously at Refresh. In fact, one of the CIPR awards we were shortlisted for a couple of weeks ago was a success largely because of how well we could attribute tangible results of the campaign to the client. For this campaign, we were able to demonstrate to the client the value of every penny of their marketing budget spend, by reporting on a number of data-first metrics; perhaps most notably exactly how many leads were generated directly though the PR (which their sales team could then follow up on). Happy client, happy us. 

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

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Is it okay to post on social media once a week?



We’ve all heard the saying ’quality over quantity’, and it’s a phrase that is undoubtedly accurate in many situations, but does it apply to social media strategies?

To kick start a social media campaign, many would be likely to Google ‘how often should I post on social media?’ and then read through pages of advice forums, blogs and studies, and then stick to what the research has told you. However, prior to this research stage, a good social media campaign firstly thinks about what it wants to achieve, who the campaign should target to achieve the objectives, and which channels are best to achieve this.

Once all of this is decided, it’s important to think about how much time can be dedicated to social media. Many companies have full teams of people focused on social media, which gives an indication of how much time and effort the company can invest into its campaigns! However, if your resource means you can only commit to one social media post a week, don’t set yourself up for failure by pretending you’ll be able to post ten times.

Once you’ve researched, planned and begun to execute your campaign, the hard work doesn’t stop, and the question about the right level of posting for your business might still not be answered. Keeping an eye on social media analytics is the crucial next step in finding the answer. Looking into which of your posts perform well, and at what time, over a sustained period of time gives an invaluable insight into your social media campaign and its audience’s habbits. This can clearly highlight what is and isn’t working, and will help you understand what works well for you, whether that is one post a week or five posts a day.

In an ideal world, analytics would prove that your hard work and planning has paid off and you are doing exactly what you should be. However, this doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Social media algorithms and consumer behaviour is constantly evolving, so what works today is unlikely to still be guaranteed in a year’s time, so analysis is an ongoing adventure!  

For many people and businesses there is a fine line between ‘spamming’ social media channels and posting enough content to keep followers engaged. But there is no right answer! As long as you know your audience and your content is consistent, quality and engaging, then your audience will be excited to see it and will keep the online conversations flowing. For us, the key things to remember are to research, plan, keep an eye on social media analytics and last but not least, don’t be afraid to adapt accordingly.

To learn more about how Refresh PR can help you with your social media strategy, get in touch with us here.

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter

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Double recognition for Refresh PR in CIPR Awards



The Refresh PR team is pleased to announce we have received two shortlists in the CIPR North West PRide Awards for Best Business and Corporate Communications Campaign and Best Integrated Campaign of the Year categories. The nominations are for our work with Eurocell and the Heating Installer Awards, respectively.

The CIPR North West PRide Awards celebrate outstanding communications campaigns and recognise PR activity that makes a positive impact on the businesses involved.

Laura Mashiter, our MD, said: “When we were submitting our award entries for both campaigns and looking at the results we had achieved, we knew they were both high quality entries and deserved recognition.

“Our work with Eurocell involved market research, a roundtable, the drafting of a forward-thinking whitepaper and a hard-working press office, and the outcome made a real impact on Eurocell and its business. In six months alone, the whitepaper achieved over 750 downloads and generated significant sales leads for Eurocell, which they are now converting.

“The Heating Installer Awards, which is owned and managed by Refresh PR, has grown each year by mammoth proportions. We now use events, video, social media, press office and get on-the-ground with installers to become THE awards tradespeople want to enter - creating mass brand exposure for our sponsors at the same time.”

The Refresh PR team has over seven decades of PR experience in both the built environment and tech sectors and experienced record growth in 2018/19, with 2019/2020 looking to be even bigger. 


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

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Refresh PR sees a digital future



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Busting the myths around PR



PR has a problem: a PR problem. Seemingly a result of one of those inexplicable quirks of nature that exist, a sector that trades on its ability to communicate effectively and manage reputations struggles to do exactly that for itself.

This is an issue that the sector has talked about for some time now, and seemingly it isn’t getting any better. Research published in PR Week (we’ll get into the detail of that shortly) confirmed the fact only this week, as almost two thirds of people working in the industry admitted they did not know what PR actually is.

There is no denying that this is a frustration – and that is just on this stat alone, which brings flooding back so many conversations with my Mum as to what I ‘actually do’. The research, conducted by Ginger Comms, shone light on a range of myths and misconceptions that people hold about the sector that so many outstanding communications professionals work in, producing excellent work day in day out.

So, in an attempt to rectify this, I’ve gone through the report findings one by one in attempt to dispel the myths once and for all!

Myth #1: 92% believe PR is primarily used to deceive the public

With high profile political press spokespeople – particularly across the pond – currently in the news a lot it is easy to see where this myth has come from. However, for the vast majority of PR work, this simply isn’t the case.

For me and the fantastic people I work with, PR is primarily used to engage target audiences on subjects they are interested in, and influence their behaviour by providing them with quality, informative content that shapes their professional and personal lives. This takes a range of forms, from creating news stories and research-based whitepapers, through to producing web copy that improves website performance in SEO searches and organising events.

The goal of this is of course to influence people, but fundamentally in our line of work, it is far better to be honest. How we can ‘deceive’ people hasn’t been a discussion point in a single one of the meetings I’ve had here at Refresh PR. ‘Deceiving’ generally never really achieves anything in the end – and it is also something that trade bodies take a very dim view of.

Myth #2: 92% believe that PR professionals ‘bend the truth’

Again, this is simply inaccurate. Not once in my career have I been asked to bend the truth – or proposed doing so. Nor do I believe that anybody I have ever worked with has.

Our time is spent finding ways to effectively communicate to audiences in a way that they find engaging and informative. In the main this means working to identify the target audience, gaining an understanding of them and the content they consume, before devising excellent campaigns. This involves a great deal of creativity, knowledge and skill – with no bending of the truth needed.

Myth #3: 22% believe PR generates ‘fake news'

Thanks for this one Donald! But yeah, see myth #1.

Myth #4: 27% believe that public relations is exactly the same as marketing

PR has always been part of the marketing mix and it is probably fair to say that the line between the two is now more blurred than it ever has been before. However, some very important differences exist.

In short, marketing activities are trying to achieve direct revenue, while PR is trying to drive a positive reputation through an effective communication strategy. But what does this mean in practice?

As an example, while marketing can be very direct and promotional, this doesn’t pass the editorial test. As such, PR has to lead conversations and raise the profile of a business or individual by tapping into their broader expertise and adding value to the news agenda of the day.

Myth #5: 64 per cent believe PR professionals have glamourous, easy jobs

A quick straw poll of the office prompted a unanimous response: if only! Working in PR requires a lot of tenacity, skill and hard work – and the vast majority of it is simply not glamorous.

From starting the day with a frantic review of the news, working tirelessly to get hold of journalists and liaising with clients to establish their objectives, through to attending networking events in the evening and responding to breaking news stories at 9am, everyone in the industry is exceptionally hard working.

You need grit, determination and wit to work in PR; thankfully traits that everyone at Refresh PR has in abundance. And on that note, it’s time for Friday ‘drinks at the desk’.

 

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

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Is there still a place for press trips in today’s industry?



At Refresh PR, press trips are something that we believe are invaluable as they provide an opportunity to form more personal relationships with the people behind the email address that really influence the audience our clients are targeting.

Yet, despite these positives there is a growing scepticism as to whether they are worth the time and effort they require. Here we have pulled together our top three reasons detailing exactly why we think that the press trip remains as critical as ever.

Relationships

Going the extra mile and adding human interaction into pitching will always pay off. Despite living in a world where the sending an email or a text may seem to suffice, there is nothing better than a face-to-face catch up. This is the same in the media world. Meeting in person puts a face to a name and allows ‘real’ relationships to form.

Press trips provide all parties with the opportunity to form positive relationships, as a PR agency press trips present us with the opportunity to network with the influential people within our clients sectors, and for the press trip attendees they will have a reliable source to turn to when they need content on particular topics.

Cut through

We are in a time where almost every sector will have bloggers and journalists that truly influence the market by telling the world what they think. Making sure that your product or service is on their radar is absolutely the right thing to do.

Journalists can sometimes receive hundreds of press releases every single day, so by making sure your business/your name is memorable to them (which is much easier to do in person than it is via email!) means that you are the one they recognise instantly when your name pops up in their inbox. This ultimately means you’ve increased your chance of getting cut through. This familiarity also means you are likely to be able to pull in favours/be the first port of call when a magazine has a spare bit of space.

Impressing the right people with the right information will always help to provide cut through to the market you are trying to connect with and a write-up from the right person has the potential to create an abundance of opportunities!

Results

Following the press trip our clients will understandably want to see a good return on their investment. We have seen press trips work time and time again, if a client had a good story to tell and a journalist has invested their own time in allowing us to tell that story, then the journalist will inevitably be more interested in relaying it to their readers, listeners or viewers. And as long as that audience is engaged and exactly who our client wanted to target, then it’s a job well done!

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

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Procrastinating? You can now blame the internet



It’s a tale as old as time (or at least as old as 1990); we’ve been warned of the negative impact that the internet has on attention span, memory processes and social interactions. But now, this theory has been backed up by scientists from the University of Manchester, Western Sydney University, Harvard University and Kings College, Oxford University who say that the internet is significantly affecting the brain and potentially, our whole social fabric.

I hold my hands up, the first thing I do in the morning is check Twitter and the last thing I see at night is my Instagram feed but working in PR, surely this is acceptable and can’t have THAT much of an impact? According to the report, I couldn’t be more wrong. The constant stream of prompts the internet so helpfully provides us with means we are now constantly holding a divided attention – which then in turn decreases our capacity for maintaining concentration on a single task. This sentiment has been further brought to our attention in the latest series of Black Mirror, with ‘Smithereen’ looking at our almost dependent relationship with tech and social media.

When you take a step back and look at your working practices, when was the last time you sat down and concentrated solely on one task without an email, Whatsapp notification or Facebook comment taking your attention? In fact, in the 12 minutes it has taken me to write these first three paragraphs, I’ve had seven emails, one push notification from ASOS and a text from Dominoes – hardly conducive to a productive working environment.

The report also looks into the limitless amount of information available at our fingertips and how this affects our ability to retain and value facts and knowledge. Similar to when mobile phones first came out and we mocked that maths non-calculator exams would soon be redundant, it seems that having access to more information than ever means we are losing our ability to retain any information whatsoever.

 All is not lost, however. We have been given ways in which we can minimise the potential adverse effects of ‘high-intensity multi-tasking Internet usage’. Professor Jerome Sarris, Deputy Director and Director of Research at NICM Health Research Institute suggests practicing mindfulness and adopting ‘Internet hygiene’ techniques such as reducing online multitasking, ritualistic ‘checking’ behaviours, and evening online activity, while engaging in more in-person interactions.

If the above touched a nerve with you, read this blog post from our account director, Lucy Moore, on deep work and how shutting off from the internet can help you be more productive: http://www.refreshpr.co.uk/blog/post/05/2019/-Deep-work--and-how-it-can-be-effective-for-PR-professionals

Tagged with: Facebook, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, Social Media

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UK tech on a global stage: 2019 Tech Nation report



This week, I attended Tech Nation’s packed-out Manchester event in which it released the findings of its 2019 Tech Nation report. As a strong advocate for the UK’s tech sector, I always look forward to the release of the report and seeing how UK tech is ranking on a global scale. It’s quite a lengthy document, so to make your life easier, I’ve scanned through and put down everything you need to know in this easy to digest blog – and it turns out the UK really is punching above its weight globally.  

Here are the key points I think are worth reporting on:  

·         £6.3bn was invested into UK tech in 2018 – more than any other European country

·         Manchester digital tech businesses alone collectively have a £4.98bn digital tech turnover

·         The UK ranks fourth in the world - only behind the US, China and India – when it comes to scaleup investment

·         Unsurprisingly, our strongest sector is Fintech – with investment in UK high-growth fintech firms topping £4.5bn between 2015 and 2018

·         Marketing tech, manufacturing tech and AI are also particularly high growth areas for the UK

·         In fact, investment in AI grew almost six-fold from 2014 to 2018

·         The tech meetup density ratio in Manchester is the highest in the UK. This doesn’t surprise me at all - I might be biased by Manchester is the best city in the UK in terms of tech community spirit and collaboration

·         From late 2018 to present day, London scaleup firms grew by over 56% - more than anywhere else globally

·         Manchester is home to five tech ‘unicorns’ – businesses worth over £1bn

·         Over a third of all of Europe and Israel’s 169 unicorn tech companies have been created in the UK

And, one of the more random bits of information to end with: Manchester’s UK tech cluster is twinning with……… you guessed it (or maybe not) – Budapest! Worked out based on the investment the companies based in the locations have received over the past five years. So, there you go.

I’m incredibly proud to work in the UK’s digital tech sector – it’s dynamic, exciting, and has endless opportunities. The latest Tech Nation report proves just that. 

If you fancy reading the full report, here it is: https://technation.io/report2019/

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

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A ‘FEIN’ new client for Refresh PR



We’re delighted to announce that we’ve secured a new client – premium power tool manufacturer FEIN – to add to our ever-growing portfolio of clients working within the built environment.  

FEIN has been a world-leading power tool manufacturer for over 150 years, providing professional power tools and special application solutions in the metal, interior and automotive sectors. Having invented the first ever electric hand drill in 1895, FEIN has continued to develop durable power tools for those working in a wide range of industries, including steel construction, machinery production, ship building and repair, plumbing and general building.

Our established built environment PR team has a plethora of experience within the sector, enabling us to deliver considered campaigns for clients on a daily basis. FEIN joins over a dozen other Refresh PR clients within the built environment and building products sector and we’ll be working with the company to raise its brand awareness and ultimately generate business leads through PR strategies and strategic content.

Speaking of the reasoning behind choosing Refresh PR, Channi Revell, marketing manager at FEIN, said: “I felt since the first initial call that we just clicked really well -  I really appreciated how interested and enthusiastic the team has been in the brand and this project and I think Refresh PR is definitely the right team to push this forward. I was also looking for an agency who really understood the technical nature of what we do and Refresh PR demonstrated this well.”

One thing that sets us apart from other PR agencies is our creative campaigns and we were very proud to be shortlisted twice in the B2B Campaign of the Year category at the Prolific North Awards. This recognition for the Future of Homes campaign which we executed for PVC-U window and door manufacturer Eurocell on top of the Refresh PR owned and run Heating Installer Awards helps to demonstrate our prowess for built environment PR campaigns.

We’re passionate about creating successful PR strategies that work for our clients across not only construction but also food & drink and in the tech sector where we have significantly grown our client base following the introduction of several new specialist members of the team.

All of our hard work last year resulted in a record growth year for Refresh PR and we’ve continued to go from strength to strength throughout 2019 so far. We’re looking forward to working with FEIN alongside our existing clients as we help to propel them to future success with innovative campaigns and strategies. 

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

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Can delivery replace the microwave meal?’ Certainly not.



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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Heating Installer Awards - The Highlights



Last week saw the result of 12 months of hard work as the team at Refresh PR announced Tony Dumble of Unequaled Heating as the winner of the Heating Installer Awards 2019. The Heating Installer Awards, which is owned and run by Refresh, was established to celebrate the achievements of plumbers and heating installers who deliver top quality work and excellent customer service on a daily basis. As we enter its fifth year, we thought now was the perfect time to reflect on some highlights from the 2018/19 campaign.

National coverage

The campaign this year started with a bang when we got two past winners, Dennis and Shaun, in The Sun talking about their experiences as plumbers. Whether it’s The Sun, The One Show or The Daily Mail, we work hard as a team to get national coverage for the awards and our sponsors.                       

Meeting new people

As we often help installers write their entry, we get to meet hundreds of installers each year and it never fails to give us great insight into the industry. We work hard to develop and maintain close relationships with our installer network and as a result we now work with many of them on campaigns for a number of our construction sector clients.

Our sponsors

Undoubtedly, one of the major highlights each year is working with our sponsors. Working alongside other teams that are as passionate about the industry as we are is always great and helps the awards reach its true potential. We’ve worked so closely with sponsors that they have gone on to become clients of ours and it’s something we definitely pride ourselves on. We also embed ourselves in our sponsors’ businesses, working closely with their marketing and sales teams to try and drive as many entries as possible.

Social media

I’ve never personally met a trade that is as invested in social media as the plumbing and heating community, so we use this as a key channel to build relationships and engage with the industry. Installers don’t just use social media as a tool to sell their services, they also use it as a platform to learn about new products, applications and techniques, as well as support each other through work as a sole trader and meet new people.  For those looking to engage with this audience, it can be difficult to get the tone of voice right; we’ve seen many brands try to use social media as a platform to target installers but content has been too formal and therefore inaffective. Once you get it right, you’ll have access to a community of tradespeople who are very passionate about the industry they work in.

Sponsor events

This year, we arranged for our regional winners to attend a training day (and night out) with our sponsor, Glow-worm. This was a great chance for Glow-worm to show the installers just how great its products and associated services are. It was an incredibly interesting day (and night!) and we cannot wait to see where the Glow-worm Mystery Trip will be this year!

Installer2019

As we’ve done previously, we announced the winner of the Heating Installer Awards 2019 at industry trade show, Installer. We got to meet all of our regional finalists face-to-face again and seeing how much the awards meant to them made 12 months of hard work worth it. Last year’s winner, Shaun Scott, joined us at the announcement to hand over his crown to this year’s winner, Tony Dumble of Unequald Heating. As always, the announcement was watched by a big crowd made up of installers and manufacturers from across the industry. Our sponsors also got the chance to take part in a Q&A, discussing the benefits of entering the awards and the positive impact the scheme has on the industry.

Parties

No exhibition would be complete without some after parties and we definitely took advantage of this at Installer2019. Whether it was winning £1 at the casino with Big Wipes or attending a networking event in a brewery hosted by Wilo, we made every minute count and had a great time!

To get involved in the Heating Installer Awards 2020, drop us an email at hia@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Built Environment, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR event, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Social Media

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'Deep work' and how it can be effective for PR professionals



Working for a set amount a time with no distractions from emails, texts, or colleague interactions – seems near on impossible, right? Particularly in agency life which is just about as fast-paced as you can get. Well, that’s what ‘deep work’ asks you to do. And it’s something I’ve bene trialling over the past few weeks – all within a fast-paced agency!

 

So here I wanted to share some of my experiences with it and how I believe other PRs and marketers can use the concept to become a hell of a lot more productive.

 

First, let me quickly outline the concept of deep work. I came across it a few months back listening to one of my favourite work-related podcasts, Eat Sleep Work Repeat – check it out if you’ve not already. Cal Newport, who coined the phrase, defines it as “professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”

 

You can’t argue with that. However, this basically means avoiding the torrent of tech which is making us busier, yet less productive, than we ever have been! Think switching off your emails, Slacks, text messages and notifications for a set period each day.

 

Of course, there will be some jobs that the concept simply doesn’t work for, but for marketing and PR pros specifically, who spend much of their days pulling together strategic documents, plans to break into new markets, and writing high level pieces, deep work should – and can – be striven for.

 

Both my professional and personal lives have been overhauled as I’ve learnt to discipline myself and implement this, so here are a few tips I can give, based on my experience of trying it out:

  

#1 – Choose your environment carefully – sounds simple, but deep work needs to be done in the place you work best and for a lot of people, that might not necessarily be the office. Whether it’s in a co-working space, your local coffee shop, back bedroom, or your office, you need to be in a place you feel most productive and where you’re likely to have as few distractions possible. Next, set the best conditions in that environment; some people need total silence, whereas others need a little music. I find house music (with no words) does the trick, but I know classical music works for a lot of people, too.

 

#2 - Disconnect – turn your phone, email, Slack, social media – the lot – off. And tell your colleagues that you’re going to be unavailable for the next two or three hours. It might feel weird at first but once you’ve done it a couple of times your colleagues will get used to it and appreciate it as something that falls into your standard working routine.

 

#3 – Go – get that deep work done, and don’t be tempted to check your phone or email even once! My perfect time for deep work tends to be anything from 1 to 3 hours but some people can do it for much longer.

 

#4 – Set an intention – once you’ve done it and figured out if it works for you, set an intention for deep work in the future. You might decide to do it every day, once a week, once a month, or simply when you have a big project on that requires a lot of headspace. I personally try and do at least two hours twice a week – subject to how many meetings I have on that week!

 

Deep work won’t be for everyone, but for me it’s helped to give me clarity, focus and headspace to get big jobs done. It’s not easy for always-on PR pros and marketers – especially those working in an agency – but I reckon most people who try it will benefit enough to make it a regular thing. 

 

If you’ve read this blog and tried out deep work, I’d love for you to share your experiences with me on Twitter @ljmoore. 

 

Tagged with: PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester

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Second awards shortlist of 2019 for Refresh PR



The Refresh PR team has been celebrating this week, not only because it’s a four-day week, but also because we have been shortlisted for both the entries we submitted into this year’s Prolific North Awards. The awards celebrate excellence and recognise and reward outstanding campaigns and exceptional talent in the creative and media industries across the North of England.

 

Both Eurocell’s Future Homes campaign and the Heating Installer Awards campaign have been shortlisted for B2B PR Campaign of the Year 2019, vying against not only each other but also against six other outstanding campaigns led by top PR agencies.

 

The Eurocell Future Homes campaign is a research-based thought-leadership campaign. With over 600 downloads of a whitepaper, 1,400 visits to the campaign landing page and over 30 pieces of coverage in target, highly specialist media, the campaign has met and exceeded its objectives and KPIs.

 

The Heating Installer Awards, which Refresh PR owns, is an award scheme designed to celebrate quality heating installers across the UK. Every year it gets bigger and better and it is something we are incredibly proud of. We’re currently in our fourth year of the awards, and we are at a crucial and exciting time, with this year’s winner set to be announced in early May.

 

Congratulations to all those shortlisted for the Prolific North Awards, we look forward to catching up with you at the awards ceremony on 23rd May!

 

 

Tagged with: Award winning PR agency B2B Construction, B2B PR agency Manchester , Construction, PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Three takeaways from Manchester Digital’s 2019 skills festival



Earlier this week I spent the afternoon at Manchester Digital’s annual skills audit launch – part of its week-long annual skills festival – and I wanted to share some of the key points I took away from the event.

 

Want some insight into what's on the minds of the North West’s tech businesses? Brexit and brainpower…

 

Revealing the results of its latest audit at its Manchester Tech Incubator HQ on Monday afternoon, Manchester Digital reported that 37% of firms in the region had suffered a negative business impact from Brexit concerns over the past year. Additionally, growth slowdown was reported amongst tech firms across the North West, with just 54% reporting turnover growth this year compared to 83% in 2014 – much of this attributed to Brexit worries.

 

Skills also remained a top concern for digital businesses in the region, with almost a third having to turn away work as a result of not being able to find the right talent to fulfil it and 60% having to inflate salaries to compete for staff.

 

As someone that has been present at the skills audit reveal for the past few years, the skills issue is recurring; something which threatens to hamper the growth of the entire sector. And while there are a number of great initiatives now in place from lots of businesses and universities across the region to change this, the impacts of these efforts still haven’t been felt to their full extent yet. I think it will be another few years until the sector starts reaping the full rewards of these initiatives.

 

It’s worth mentioning here that we’re working closely with Manchester Digital to help the organisation shout about the work it does in the region, particularly around closing the skills gap. You can read more about Manchester Digital and check out the 2019 skills audit here: https://www.manchesterdigital.com/digital-skills-audit-2019

 

The robots are coming (but with the right prep, we shouldn’t be scared)

 

One of the most interesting talks of the day for me came from Matthew Gould, Director General from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. One of the topics he covered was the impending convulsion of the labour market as a result of AI advances. Matthew talked about a ‘serious displacement of people’ who are currently in what were previously thought of as ‘rock solid’ jobs.

 

This is the first time I have properly heard this being seriously acknowledged by someone in Government, which I thought was really refreshing. I agree with Matthew that this is going to be a huge issue and we should adequately prepare for it. Granted, it will be the monotonous, repetitive tasks in immediate danger, many of which have already gone.

 

To ensure that this doesn’t cause the catastrophe that many sensationalist headlines are currently “predicting”, I believe we now need to think carefully about those roles which are going to be harder to impact and consider how we can go about fostering skills and development in these areas. For me personally, this is where creative roles really come into their own - anything which requires creative thinking which can’t be done by an algorithm. I’m hoping this will lead to a bigger focus on creative and arts roles, something which was also echoed by Matthew, who emphasised the sector’s growth relies on these skills, as well as the more technical STEM ones.

 

The traditional ‘computer science’ degree taker stereotype is wrong, and corrosive

 

Sticking with the ever-apparent skills theme, my third key takeaway is something I’ve been discussing with various people for a while - and something Josh Smith from DEMOS made a very clear point of: the whole idea of what a ‘computer scientist’ is, is totally wrong. There are thousands of computer science degrees across various institutions in the UK – so why are we still suffering at the helm of a skills shortage?

 

Josh talked about the fact that many people have a singular view of what a job in computer science is, saying that the idea that technical skills are for certain types of people is bad. The idea that coders have to have a naturally brilliant technical mind is extremely corrosive. I’d agree that there are certain stereotypes attached to technical roles which are damaging for the talent pipeline. White man sat in a dark room behind a computer drinking red bull spring to mind?

 

I think the entire sector would benefit greatly from the removal of this stereotype. For me, it’s crucial to enhance the pipeline and get more people from diverse backgrounds to consider a role in the sector. For me, this starts with shouting about the huge breadth of roles available in the tech sector, and the fact that they aren’t only accessible if you have a technical background; whether you have a psychology background that would do you well in a user experience (UX) role, or a creative background which would work well in a game or app design role.

 

I really believe that in order to solve its talent pipeline issues, the tech sector needs to start pulling more on the talent pools of other sectors, as well as people from more diverse backgrounds - the UK’s fourth industrial revolution depends on it.

 

 

 

 

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

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The Growth of FinTech in Manchester



FinTech has really taken off recently, particularly in Manchester where a number of startups have emerged. This is perhaps unsurprising given that the city’s two largest industries are tech and financial services, and whilst London may still be the more popular location for companies in the industry, Manchester’s FinTech scene is really starting to boom.

 

By definition, FinTech is technology designed to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services and it’s changing the way we bank, invest, insure and pay for things. Manchester has a long history of innovation and productivity and, as a tech enthusiast myself, I’m excited to see how the city can attract more successful FinTech companies to the area.

 

In order to hear more about the growth of FinTech in the city, I recently attended Manchester Digital’s ‘Fintech: Beyond the Hype’ breakfast event. The event took place at the MSP Tech Incubator, a coworking space located in Manchester Technology Centre. The dedicated hotdesking space offers start up tech companies a place to grow their business at the start of their journey and provided a fitting setting for the event.

 

After a pastry and a quick bit of networking, I settled down with the rest of the packed-out audience to listen to a panel of experts give their insights. The panel was made up of FinTech startup founders and tech and product practitioners, all with extensive experience and knowledge of the sector. 

 

The event was chaired by FinTech entrepreneur Conny Dorrestijn, who kicked proceedings off by comparing her home city, Amsterdam with Manchester, noting the similarities between the two cities with their can-do attitudes, canals and famous football teams.

 

Bringing their practical experience of working in FinTech to the table, the panel offered astute advice for those looking to get into the industry, giving insight on what it takes to start up a successful FinTech company.

 

One of the key takeaways from the event was the need for FinTech products to solve a genuine customer problem. The panel discussed that many startup companies create a FinTech solution before actually finding a problem to solve. They stressed the importance of involving the customer right at the beginning of the process and working with them to get quantifiable data before writing a single line of code.

 

The panel also discussed the issue of funding which proves to be a barrier for many FinTech startups. Whilst traditional retail companies buy their stock for X, sell for Y and make a profit, tech startups require huge investment before you can see whether it’s a success or not. The experts argued that although venture capital is important eventually, it’s crucial to get the product to market before investment. They asserted that startup founders should concentrate on being passionate about making a difference and that once they’ve created a solution and put everything on the line for the product, the investment will follow.

 

When talking about growing the right team, the panel discussed the importance of finding people that both compliment and challenge you. The same can be applied for most industries - at Refresh PR, we have a passionate mix of varying strengths and personalities which complement each other and that’s what makes us such a great team. The experts reflected that this kind of team spirit is key to any successful FinTech business.

 

A question from an audience member produced a healthy debate on whether a FinTech startup should choose London or Manchester as their base. I may be biased, but having spent time in London, I have to say Manchester is the superior city - it’s more budget-friendly, everything’s accessible and the people are more welcoming. There seems to be much more of a sense of community in Manchester compared to London and the panel discussed that whereas FinTech businesses tend to get drowned out in London, Manchester has a developing eco system which is geared towards helping FinTech startups thrive.

 

A member of the panel mentioned that he’d been to a similar FinTech event 18 months ago in Manchester which only five people had attended; fast forward a year and a half and this particular event was completely packed out, giving an indication of the recent rise of FinTech in the city. Having led the industrial revolution, Manchester has now reinvented itself as a tech hub as a result of huge growth in the digital sector. As more money and time is invested, I’m excited to see how many global brands will choose to develop their FinTech projects in and around Manchester.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , FinTech, Fintech PR, FinTech PR Manchester, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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Should social media be left to the intern?



One of the biggest changes to the world over the last decade has undoubtedly been the rise of social media. It’s influence has been felt across the board, from personal use to B2C, to B2B. Would we still be in touch with school friends without WhatsApp? Would elections have swung different ways if it wasn’t for Facebook? Would the Kardashian’s be famous without Instagram? Would most people even use the # key if it wasn’t for Twitter? Many parts of our lives are now shaped by social media; for many, it’s the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we do at night.

 

As mentioned, the impact of social media is not just on our personal lives, but in business and leisure too: your place of work, your favourite shop, your WiFi provider… everyone is on social media, as it is the most immediate way to interact. Depending on follower numbers, and engagement levels, millions of people have the potential be captured with one simple post.

 

We can all think of social media fails, and know how quickly they can go viral. No company wants to be in that position, and no employee wants to be responsible for a faux pas. So why do companies all too often leave something with such great potential (both to do both good and bad) to the least senior people in the team?

 

Is it because interns are usually the youngest, and therefore have grown up with social media and understand it more? This assumption may be correct to an extent, as younger people do spend a lot of time on their phones and therefore have sight of creative campaigns, understand the tone that different companies use (for example the light-hearted tone of the Greggs Twitter account vs the more corporate account of IBM). But let’s not forget, this is the most direct way that companies can interact with their stakeholders, and once you put something out on the internet it’s there to stay.

 

With this in mind, giving an inexperienced person complete free reign may not be the most fool proof idea, especially when there are company rules and regulations with branding and embargos. In addition, just because social media posts are usually shorter than other pieces of content, they still require thought and understanding of the topic and tone.

 

Ultimately, social media is great fun, and it should be a place for creativity, however when it comes to company business, no one wants to get it wrong and be turned into a meme. So it’s important to get the balance right! In 2019 social media is likely to be the first place customers go to get an impression of your brand, so make it fun but get it checked!

 

Here are a couple of examples of why you can’t take your eye off the ball when it comes to social media:

 

When YouTube mixed up its flag…

You Tube example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When one of America’s most popular food chains forgot that Alaska is actually part of North America…

Alaska example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Social Media

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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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Three Months as a Grad at Refresh PR



Entering the daunting world of work

Having finally parted with the safety blanket of education, it was time to go out into the ‘real world’ and find myself a job. And whilst the opportunity to take my life wherever I desired was exciting, I know I speak for a lot of graduates when I say that the prospect of transitioning into the working world was also quite daunting.

 

The pressure to succeed and make the right decision to effectively justify all of my hard work up to this point became overwhelming at times. I was about to embark on what I hoped would be an exciting and fulfilling career, and it was important that my final step into adulthood was the right one.


Application process

Following a CV screening and telephone interview, I was invited to an assessment centre at the Refresh PR office along with five other graduates. The day consisted of multiple group and individual assessments followed by a final interview which allowed me to get a better feel for the company.

 

To me, people are the most valuable asset to any successful business, and upon meeting the team at Refresh, I knew I wanted the job almost straight away. Great people coupled with company values that paralleled my own assured me that I would be a good cultural fit.

 

On the job

Like a lot of media and communications graduates, I never thought my first job would be at an agency like Refresh, but now I can wholeheartedly say that I’m so glad it is.

 

Perhaps what I value most in my new role is the exposure I receive to all aspects of the business on a daily basis. There is a real team vibe in the office and I am able to sit with senior people who have years of industry experience and are always more than happy to lend their time and expertise. My colleagues are passionate about what they do and have a wealth of knowledge in a range of sectors including tech, food and drink, and the built environment.

 

I enjoy the fast-paced and varied agency setting, and though it sounds clichéd, no two days are ever the same. One day I could be implementing a multi-platform social media campaign for one of our clients, the next I could be networking with the heating installer and plumbing community rallying up entries for the famous Heating Installer Awards. I’m already seeing tangible results from the work I’ve been doing for clients which is such a rewarding feeling.

 

I was given responsibility from day one and have a great support system around me, as well as a structured personal and professional training and development programme which covers all aspects of PR to run alongside my day job. This will ensure that by the end of the year-long programme, I will have a well-rounded and refined skillset that will serve as a foundation for the rest of my career.

 

It’s also a really exciting time to have joined Refresh. In the short time I’ve been here, the agency has scooped two prestigious industry awards and seen multiple new business leads come through from companies which are keen to join our rapidly expanding client base. I’m eagerly looking forward to immersing myself in the client journey from the very start of the process in the New Year and (hopefully) creating some award-winning work myself!

 

I wanted to join a company that was innovative, collaborative and made a difference with the work it does, and Refresh PR is all of this and more. Everyone brings something different to the agency, and together we have an amazing opportunity to craft the company’s future and continue to reach new heights. I can confidently say it’s an environment in which I will learn, grow and fulfil my potential with a clear path for career development.

 

Refresh has set the ladder out in front of me, now it’s up to me to climb it.

 

Advice for other grads

-        Match the company’s culture and values with those of your own: This is everything. If this isn’t right, chances are you won’t enjoy the work you do

-        Find your unique selling points: Every man and his dog has a degree these days, so focus on what makes you stand out and shout about it

-        Practice competency-based interview questions: Employers will very often want to see how you can think on the spot and respond to situations

-        Fail to prepare, prepare to fail: Whether this mean prepping for an interview, research for a client meeting, or even planning what you’re going to have for lunch tomorrow, it always pays to be prepared

-        Take a gap year/time to think: This is possibly the best decision I’ve ever made. I got to experience incredible new places, immersing myself in different cultures and gaining valuable new perspectives. My gap year also gave me lots of thinking time to reflect on what specifically I wanted to do with my career (and everything else in my life). Plus, when will you ever get a better opportunity to take time off?

-        Make use of your colleagues and don’t be afraid to ask questions (even if you think it might make you look silly): Your colleagues will have all been in exactly the same position as you in the past, so they’ll know what you’re going through, and they’re there to help! Feed off their knowledge and learn from them

-     Always look forward: View all experiences and mistakes as opportunities to learn; take all feedback on board and use this to be even better in the future

 

 

 

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

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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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The next PR skill shortage will be of our own making



Refresh PR’s HR team recently launched our first ever graduate development programme leading to the appointment of Ben as our Junior Account Executive.

 

A one year personal and professional development scheme, the programme will provide Ben with support from a mentor and full cycle of experience and development to cover every aspect of PR. This includes a programme of learning outside of the day job which is on a par with our internal development programme for current rising executive talent.

 

The scheme itself had over 150 applications within 72 hours of it being advertised and interest was so intense we had to freeze applications sooner than we had originally intended. Not only were we completely taken aback by the sheer volume of applications but also by the high standard of them which made the process highly competitive. 

 

It was incredibly difficult to whittle the 150+ applicants down to an initial shortlist of 25 all of whom were interviewed by phone before a final six were invited to participate in an assessment day. The day, much like the shortlisting process, highlighted just how much raw potential PR talent there is out there for the sector to tap into.

 

However, while this does gives cause for optimism, it should be tempered by the reoccurring theme that cropped out throughout the assessment day: the lack of opportunities grads are being offered when trying to get their break into the PR industry. The overwhelming consensus was that there is a vicious circle whereby every job requires experience. However, without being taken on they are unable to gain that experience unless they take on unpaid internships – which they simply can’t afford to pursue.

 

Given the number of new agencies being formed, and the growth in the sector, it seems almost obvious that recruiting graduates for training within the sector is the right step to take. But after we spoke to applicants they reported that ours was one of the only PR grad schemes they had ever seen advertised.

 

This creates two major issues, the first being that talent is lost. From our experience it is evident that there is lots of interest in PR as a career choice, but without entry level opportunities the talent will undoubtedly turn to other sectors to kick-start their careers. This in turn creates a future skills shortage at mid-management level.

 

In 2008, after the recession hit, PR, along with many other sectors, suffered and as a result stopped recruiting at entry level. This was a temporary fix; it wasn’t an issue at the time, but it has created a skill shortage now, at middle management level: the exact level where people who were recruited in 2008-12 are now sitting. Or in other words, as a result of the drop in entry-level recruitment ten years ago there is now a dire shortage of talented account management level staff available today.

 

Sadly, it seems, we haven’t learned from the enforced choices we had to make as a sector during the recession. Not only are we suffering from the knock-on effects of that time period, but we’re risking recreating the issue for ten years down the line by not recruiting entry-level talent in the here and now. And if we are to avoid another future skills shortage, things needs to change and companies need to offer talented grads opportunities – because if we don’t we’ll only have ourselves to blame.

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , jobs in PR, jobs in PR in Manchester, Manchester, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR skills shortage, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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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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Persimmon – A Reminder that Media Training is More than a Nice to Have



When talking to businesses they can sometimes be reluctant to invest in regular media training, after all “it’s just a conversation with a microphone isn’t it?” However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, handling the pressure of journalistic scrutiny, the camera and the microphone while also managing to make it look like ‘just a conversation’ requires a combination of skill and training.

 

Still unconvinced? Then just ask Jeff Fairburn, CEO of Persimmon Homes, who has not only come in for criticism but also become a minor internet celeb, after a media interview went wrong with BBC Look North.

 

If you haven’t already seen it you can see the clip here but as a quick summary Fairburn walked off camera mid-interview after being asked about the £75m bonus he had received from the PLC last year. The interview had been going well as Fairburn discussed Persimmon’s performance but turned sour when the journalist, Spencer Stokes, asked Fairburn about the payment.

 

Caught off-guard Fairburn, stuttered before a PR professional could be heard instructing Fairburn not to answer. As Stokes pressed on with the line of questioning Fairburn stood in silence before walking off to be heard describing the situation as ‘unfortunate’ off-camera.     

 

Neglecting media training 101

In a mere 45 seconds Fairburn provided a crash course in basic media relations errors. He was caught off-guard suggesting a lack of preparation (especially considering the furore over the bonus only 12 months ago which made the question entirely predictable); failed to respond to the change in tact; didn’t regain control of the conversation and let emotion take-over.

 

For good measure Fairburn also criticised the journalist – a definite no-no - for asking a fairly reasonable question of a CEO of a PLC. The end result was presenting a negative image of both himself and the company. This catalogue of errors would all have been coached against in any media training session. 

 

Mistakes happen to the best of us

Of course, when viewing the clip, you may still feel that you simply wouldn’t make those mistakes – and maybe you wouldn’t. But let’s not forget that this is the CEO of a publicly listed company who will be well versed in handling the media – it’s not like he will be inexperienced in handling pressure situations. Yet he still managed to fall foul of a media relations disaster.

 

If that doesn’t convince you that media training and regular Refresh-er sessions are a worthy investment nothing will. And let that be at your own peril. 

 

 

Tagged with: crisis management, Manchester, media interviews, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, 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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Are you an Account Manager looking for a new challenge? Get in touch!



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 a confident and articulate person with a passion for PR who will relish the chance to join the team as an account manager working across a range of B2B and consumer accounts in the home, tech, built environment, e-commerce, lifestyle and food and drink sectors. Our fast-growing client base ranges from cutting-edge business start-ups to national companies across both private and not for profit sectors.

 

You’ll have already gained valuable PR agency experience with at least a year spent working at junior account manager/account manager level 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. 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.

 

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 six-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: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, Manchester, North West , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR agency jobs Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, pr jobs manchester, 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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Reasons to love Manchester…



Just when we thought we couldn’t love Manchester more, today it’s been ranked as the UK’s most liveable city. There are so many reasons we love Manchester, so I thought today’s news was a good time to reflect on some of them. Here is what some of the Refresh PR team said when I asked them why they love our city:

Our managing director, Laura, loves the fact that there’s always something going on – whether that’s the brilliant display of bee sculptures all around the city at the moment, the football matches which draw in tens of thousands each weekend, or the annual events such as Manchester Pride and the City Games. She said: “I’ve met friends for life here – such an eclectic mix of people, nationalities and personalities that there’s something for everyone. There’s always something new – whether that’s a new development, bar, or up and coming area – which keeps it fresh, interesting and a great place for people to visit too.”

Our account executive, Bex, loves working in Manchester as there is always something to do or see, which brings her back here from her hometown at the weekends. She said: “The city is a hive of activity, quite literally now more than ever as it is covered in amazing, diverse bees. I also love to try new bars and restaurants throughout the city - discovering a new brunch spot is always top of my agenda. Brunch is something that Manchester takes very seriously!”

Sarah, our operations director cited the people – their humour, resilience, sense of community, and no-nonsense attitude – as her favourite things about the city. When I asked her what else keeps her here, she told me: “Sport – which other world city boats two world class football teams? Obviously, I have blue-tinted glasses! It doesn’t stop at football though, it’s a brilliant city for hosting events. I’ll never forgot the Commonwealth Games 2002 and bumping into famous sporting stars in town. I watched a live athletics competition with upcoming young talent a couple of weeks ago at the stadium that was a legacy from those games (an amazing facility for local athletes). Away from the sport, the live music scene is brilliant – name a decade since the 60s when we haven’t produced an amazing band!”

Our account manager, Ash, says the best thing about Manchester is the rate at which it’s developing. Not surprising eh, as she takes the lead on many of Refresh’s built environment and property clients: “Looking out of the office window, right now I can see no less than six cranes which truly emphasises how much construction is going on in our city right now. From the Ordsall Chord to ‘Skyscraper Alley’, Manchester, in parts, is unrecognisable if we look back to even just five years ago. What makes Manchester so special though is that despite all of this, we still haven’t lost the feeling of Manchester being ‘home’. Mancs (both native and adopted!) will know what I mean.”

It's another nod to the music and arts from our head of consumer, Caroline, who told me: “nowhere in the world produces music like Manchester – from the Courteeners, to Blossoms, to the Gallagher brothers. Art is also part and parcel of Manchester, with its ability to capture social attitudes – from LS Lowry, right through to modern day art, such as Mancsy who gives away his original prints, and now the bees scattered all around the city.”

More music lovin’ from our senior account exec, Jake, who told me: “I love living in Manchester because it’s got everything you need and we’re spoilt for choice for things to do.

There are loads of brilliant restaurants and bars in Manchester, which is great for me as I love going out socialising. There are so many different options for food and some great bars and clubs, my favourite being Venue, where you’ll find me singing along to indie bangers most Saturday nights! Obviously, Manchester is famous for its music and two of my favourite bands, the Stone Roses and the Courteeners are from here. As a regular gig-goer, I’ve seen some great bands – both well-known and up and coming, in the many fantastic venues across the city.”

And for me personally, aside from all of the above, I believe that the technology sector here is second to none. Heading up Refresh’s tech PR team, I would say that, but in all seriousness, you can’t beat the buzz of the tech community here and all the great digital work that is being delivered daily by businesses large and small. I’ve worked on some amazing comms campaigns and projects over the past few years with some brilliantly talented and creative tech Manchester businesses, and know the city will continue to grow phenomenally in this field.

So there you have it; don’t tell me it doesn’t have something for everybody! Tell us why you love Manchester over on Twitter, and don’t forget to include @RefreshPR

 

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

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Welcome to The Lakeside Hotel and Spa



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 The Lakeside Hotel and Spa

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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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Wetherspoons, here’s where you went wrong…




I've seen lots of conversation surrounding Wetherspoon’s recent decision to shut down their social media channels. The popular pub has quit Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with immediate effect, and I can understand why. 

Why do people choose to frequent a Wetherspoons? Is it due to their extensive gin selection? Gourmet dining? Air of luxury? No, it’s convenience, cheap beer and even cheaper food, and there is no amount of tweeting that will change this. Wetherspoons serves an economic purpose, providing a basic night out for those on a budget – I seriously doubt anyone ever saw a picture of someone’s menu choice from curry club and put ‘Wetherspoons’ on their to-do list. 

My biggest concern is the reasoning provided for the termination of its social media account - the ‘addictive nature of social media’. I think there would have been less debate on the topic if Wetherspoons admitted they just couldn’t quite get it right. 

But what would I have done differently? Wetherspoons had the perfect platform to have some fun with their social media. It is doubtful that public perception of the chain pub would change if they injected a bit of ‘sass’ into their social. Take Tesco Mobile for example; rather than daily tweets about deals and offers, which seemed to be the crux of Wetherspoons’ social media strategy, Tesco Mobile has a bit of fun. I can’t stress enough that not everything on social media has to be a sales message. 

There’s a wealth of other brands that have adopted a more colloquial tone of voice and Wetherspoons was perfectly positioned to join them. Light hearted fun, self-depreciating humor and relatable content would not have just saved their social media channels but could have propelled the brand. 

Wetherspoons, if you ever see the error of your ways, give us a call!
 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR campaign essential, Social Media, Twitter, Wetherspoons

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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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What makes team Refresh happy?



Today is International Day of Happiness, a day which aims to inspire individuals to share happiness with others and create a happier world for all.

So in honour of this, I asked the team at Refresh to tell me a few things which makes them happy.

Our MD Laura, said:

Definitely holidays as they provide quality family time (and sun!)

Seeing people realise their full potential at work

Our head of B2B Erin, said:

Simple pleasures – a cup of tea with my doggy and Coronation Street on the TV

In work, it’s hearing from clients who are impressed with our ideas, who can see our campaigns are working, and brainstorms which get all our creative juices flowing

Our latest team member, account director Lucy, said:

Walking in the countryside, in the freezing cold and then calling into a warm pub to sit in front of the fire, and have a pint and a packet of crisps

The feeling you get when you walk off the plane into a wall of heat in a hot country

Eating and drinking lots of food and wine with my nearest and dearest  

Account executive Rebecca, said:

There’s nothing I love more than going on holiday, discovering new places and trying new food

The older I get, the more I realise how much I value and love spending time with my family, quality family time makes me happy

Festivals – who doesn’t love listening to their favourite band, in a muddy field in the sun, with a drink in their hand?

Account executive Emily, said:

As I’m working at Refresh as part of my placement year at Newcastle University, I am now back living at home with my family, so spending valuable time with my family and my little dog is something that makes me extremely happy

I do also love going back to visit my friends in Newcastle, basically, I’m most happy when spending time with the people I love 

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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Refresh’s Inspiration



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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Maximising the Media Agenda to Make Brand Impact



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Refresh Kick Starts a Campaign to Break Menopause Taboos



In order to normalise the conversation and break the taboo around menopause, Refresh PR is launching the Don’t Pause The Talk campaign for our client, Esteem.

 

Nightwear brand, Esteem, is the solution to night sweats and hot flushes for women going through the menopause. Founder, Jane Hallam, will soon be a key figure in the conversation around the menopause, which up until recently hasn’t been happening at all.

 

With a gradual increase in media attention and a wave of celebrities now coming out to discuss their experiences, Esteem wants to give other women who are suffering from the menopause the confidence to talk about it themselves and share how it has impacted their lives.

 

To kick-start the campaign we worked with our filming partners, Trunk, to capture two focus groups talking openly and honestly about their experience of the menopause – the good, the bad and the ugly.

 

The revelations emerging from these focus groups will form the basis of the campaign, being seeded out via social media to show women it’s OK to talk about the menopause and encourage conversation about this currently sensitive topic.

 

Watch this space for the video footage and join the conversation using #DontPauseTheTalk.

 

To talk about how Refresh PR can give you ownership of industry conversation call, 0161 871 1188.

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, Menopause PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR agency UK, Public Relations North West, Video and PR

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Maximising a new product launch



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

 

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

 

For the frugal

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

 

So, you have a little bit more budget? 

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

 

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

 

You’ve been told money is no object?

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

 

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

 

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

 

Our top tips for marketing managers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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The often forgotten element of live event planning



As the Winter Olympics launched over the weekend, eyes all around the world turned to take in the hugely anticipated, extravagant production that is the opening ceremony of every games event.

 

But while we watched in fascination as the South Koreans depicted their heart-warming tribute to the elements, while five young children dressed in the Olympic ring colours charged about the stage with a magnificent polar bear (fake, of course), perhaps a handful of us may have known a massive cyber-attack was taking place against the games’ official website.

 

The Winter Olympics website, as well as TV and internet systems, were affected during the attack which took place just before the beginning of the opening ceremony. Reports say all systems were resolved within 12 hours (eek! That’s a long time), but it leads us to once again look at the priorities event organisers place on ensuring all channels of promotion are supported during what would arguably be the remit of a lifetime.

 

Over and over again, we see websites that are designed, built and marketed as ‘just an extra medium’ within a wider production take a hit. It’s as if because the majority of eyes will be on the TV coverage, and potentially also social media, the website – and its capacity and security – should be given less consideration.

 

But doing so opens you up to the risk of a cyber-attack – whether in the form of a DOS or DDOS or a similar system-crashing virus – that compromises not only the potential of the coverage that’s been prioritized, but the reputation of the Olympic Games as a whole.

 

To classify yourself as a professional in the production of events, the ability of every single channel you’re utilizing must be considered with equal priority. Just like you wouldn’t use a faulty camera to showcase the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics for TV, neither should you go forward with a website that’s vulnerable. You’re waving a red flag to a bull.

 

Personally, I wasn’t aware of the crash until Monday – but the event organisers should have been. In January, Konstantinos Karagiannis, BT’s chief technology officer, described the multiple attempts to bring down the 2012 London Olympics’ online channels as like fighting a ‘cyber onslaught’. Event organisers around the world, take heed - the warning was there.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , crisis management PR, cyber security PR, event planning, PR agencies Manchester, PR campaign essential, PR event, website security, Winter Olympics

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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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The Apprentice of the Month Awards



As the Carillion crisis continues, apprentices are among the many who have been impacted by the downfall of the outsourcing giant. Good news came recently when the Department for Education settled the confusion and confirmed that apprentices will be paid until they find new employers.

 

According to GOV.UK, apprenticeship participation now stands at a record level with nearly all apprentices feeling that they acquire or improve their skills as a direct result of their apprenticeship. At Refresh PR we have recognised the importance of apprenticeships. A new arm of the Refresh PR owned, industry-famous Heating Installer Awards has officially launched, The Apprentice of the Month Awards.

 

The Apprentice of the Month Awards aims to recognise the efforts of apprentices who go above and beyond each and every day. The awards will accept nominations from lecturers, employers, family, friends and apprentices themselves, via a short video entry, submitted on social media.

 

Each month, entries will be collated and a winner will be selected by one of the award sponsors: Sentinel, Vaillant UK, Installer Magazine, Polypipe and Wolseley. The shortlisted entries will then go head to head in a public vote.

 

The Heating Installer Awards is renowned for its great interaction with the installer community, and with levels of engagement higher than ever, it is up to Refresh PR to build up the Apprentice of the Month campaign so it’s as successful as the Heating Installer Awards. We’ll particularly be focusing on the power of social media, with Twitter a key platform for the installer community whether qualified or still in training. Plenty of Twitter activity has been planned over the next few months so watch this space!

 

At Refresh PR we keep up with all the latest social media advancements, implementing changes and improvements to the social media campaigns we run for our clients. If you think your company could benefit from an engaging social media campaign contact us on 01611 871 1188. For more information about the Apprentice of the Month Awards, follow them on Twitter - @AotMAwards or email apprentice@refreshpr.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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 . 

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

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Demand grows for backlink building campaigns



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

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Polypipe on Twitter



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Twitter campaign construction 

 

 

 

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Refresh Academy adds modules for 2018



We work extremely hard to ensure our team is upskilled in the services that our clients require for today’s business environment. During 2017 we were advised by many of our clients that they were seeking additional consultancy services, and not only that, but more campaign-based activity too.

 

Having an effective team which can fulfil the needs of our clients is crucial to the success of the agency, and we’ve worked hard to make sure that each team member has the ability to deliver the high standards that have become synonymous with Refresh.

 

Whilst our team undertakes regular training each month as standard, it’s important for us as an agency to help each person stay one step ahead. New modules added into the Academy for 2018 include:

-        PR to deliver on business objectives

-        Creating creative ideas to cut through the noise

-        Effective PR backlink campaigns

-        GDPR

-        Effective KPI and measurement setting

-        Crisis management

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , creatiive agency Manchester, PR agencies Manchester, PR agency, PR training

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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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2018: A century on and another year of big change



While the event that comes to mind first and foremost for many when looking back 100 years to 1918 is the end of WW1, 1918 holds other key milestones – one of which will be celebrated up and down the UK over the coming few weeks: The Representation of the People Act 1918.

 

On 6th February 1918 the act passed electoral reform which would allow many returning soldiers, as well as women, to vote for the very first time. A massive milestone for women, it meant that 8.4 million females (but not all just yet, that’s a few years off!) could have a say in the country’s future.

 

As women, we’ve come a long way over the past 100 years – there are many milestones that I could (and I’m sure people will over the coming weeks) list out. And obviously I’m ultimately grateful to events from 100 years ago as it’s paved the way for many women, like me, to launch and grow successful businesses. However, I don’t want to focus this blog on women on boards, the perceived ‘glass ceiling’ or the gender pay gap though. Instead I want to look at the legacy that 2018 could leave.

 

The pace of change we’ve seen over the past 100 years is accelerating at a speed that would have been unimaginable even in the first decade of this century. Driven largely by technology, but also mass innovation, it’s impossible to compare the work environment of just 20 or even 10 years ago to that of 2018. And it’s simple – today’s businesses have to adapt, and quickly.

 

This year the media environment is going to change massively. In an era when there’s a big debate between freedom of speech and ‘fake news’ (thanks Donald) and the license to post whatever thoughts a person deems relevant on social media (ie in the public domain) with relatively no backlash, change is afoot. As every person is now technically a journalist able to report the news, I hope that the integrity of the more respected news outlets remains, without them bowing to advertising’s income too much. Meanwhile Google, Apple and Amazon continue to invest in original video content to hook people in, create differentiation and start to rival the bigger broadcasters.

 

The political environment is an ever moving beast too. Under President Trump, I’m in a horrific situation of almost feeling entertained by his Twitter account. I’m entertained (but probably in the wrong way), interested (that a President believes that the new era of politics is to dare and double dare another President), embarrassed (that I’ve resorted to following him in the way I occasionally would a Z-list celeb) and shocked. It’s 2018 and he’s already ripping up the rule book…could this be the way that politics is played out from now on? Could it?

 

Business-wise, Brexit continues to cause issues when companies can’t – or won’t – make buying decisions, unfortunately slowing things down. We work with several companies which import from the EU and I’m lucky to be in a position where I can hear their strategies, all of which are very different, but all aimed at buffering their business from the various political scenarios. In this area particularly I’m looking forward to coming out the other side.

 

Closer to home, as Refresh moves into its eighth year, we’ve geared ourselves up to deliver our most successful year to date. We’re lucky that as a company we can remain agile, and make changes happen quickly when needed (and we have). Yet it’s taken nine months of careful planning by a team of four directors here at Refresh to put in place the ‘new look’ Refresh which some clients have already been benefitting from over the past months, and others will be seeing shortly as we begin work on their 2018 campaigns. From a team of highly skilled consultants will come the best work we’ve ever been able to deliver, for big and small businesses alike. For clients, online content will be embedded into everything we do, together with inter-agency working to deliver clever and well thought out integrated campaigns.

 

And for me, I’m in a position where I consider myself more supported than ever by the fantastic team around me, which is a really simple thing to take for granted when you have it, but I’ll never stop being grateful for this, particularly given some past experiences. I focus strongly on making the right decisions which mean I can sleep at night – something that’s stood me in great stead so far and something I continue to pay close attention to.  We’re also here to make money – we want the team to get great bonuses and the pay increases that they deserve and I make no apologies for this, so a key focus is to work with clients which will genuinely grow with us, recognising our contribution to their growing success story. We’ll shortly be announcing four new clients which signed with us recently, allowing us to really kick 2018 off with a bang.  

 

Hot on the heels of being crowned the CIPR North West’s Outstanding Small Agency 2017, coming out of this key period of change has given Refresh a clear vision for 2018 and beyond – and we’re ready to run at 2018! It’s going to be an exciting year ahead; with small milestones of our own to reach - and then celebrate - throughout the year, I’m already looking forward to being part of this legacy!

 

 

 

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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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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/

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

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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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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Understanding GDPR for tech companies




General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation around data privacy and protection was adopted in April 2016 and will be enforced from the 25th May 2018. GDPR gives consumers more control over their personal information and failure to comply can result in very large fines.


For those that work in the world of tech, there are a number of instances where the new GDPR legislation will impact your business strategy significantly:


Opt in?


The ‘soft opt in’ we all regularly experience will no longer be an option. Users will need to provide explicit consent to receive marketing material, whether it’s emails, texts or brochures in the post. You will also need to provide proof that you have consent to contact a consumer, and an auto ticked box will not suffice. By providing content that is valuable, interesting and relevant, you can decrease your ‘unsubscribe list’ and continue to execute successful campaigns.


Cookies


It is also no longer sufficient to display a ‘we use cookies’ pop up window when a user visits your site for the first time. As of May 2018, website will need to provide a route for consent, such as a tick box and email capture, ensuring they have consent to track a user’s cookies. We can see an increase in websites implementing this strategy already, ahead of the deadline, in preparation for the enforcement of GDPR.


Third parties


Third party providers play a pivotal role in digital marketing and it is paramount that you check your suppliers are GDPR compliant. If you use a software or service that breaches GDPR, you may be held accountable for not ensuring the correct processes are in place regarding data you own. We recommend asking any suppliers what steps they are taking ahead of GDPR, and if none are planned, look for a new provider.

 

CRM


Everybody has the ‘right to be forgotten’ and this no longer means writing ‘do not contact’ on your notes. ‘Right to be forgotten’ means just that. You must ensure that any systems you use mean you are able to permanently delete the data of someone who hasn’t consented, with no way to recall it.


By following a few steps, you can ensure your company meets all GDPR regulations:

 

  • Hire a data protection officer to ensure the enforcement of GDPR regulations
  • Review all current data practices and implement changes where necessary

  • Raise internal awareness so all employees understand GDPR and its importance

  • Don’t hold onto unnecessary data and be sure to cleanse all current databases

  • Ensure that data is stored in a format that is portable, and can be sent to an individual upon request

  • Audit all data and ensure consent is explicit


GDPR doesn’t have to cause a revolution within your business. Use this new legislation to streamline systems and ensure good housekeeping, and by following our top tips, you won’t need to worry.




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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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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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Feed your appetite for blogger engagement



The blogosphere has grown exponentially: bloggers now influence consumers and their purchasing habits, while creating social awareness for brands and their campaigns. Using both traditional PR and utilising bloggers is a great way to gain maximum exposure for brands, as they both reach out to different audiences, reflecting the way they consume the media to ensure an impactful campaign.

 

Here at Refresh PR we work with bloggers, influencers and micro influencers in order to engage with a wider, more targeted audience for our clients.

 

Where to start?

 

Before selecting bloggers or influencers to work with it’s essential to research and understand your audience and decide who will work best for the brand. These influencers, in whatever format, will become advocates for your brand, so it’s vital they are portraying the brand messages and tone of voice back to their audiences correctly.

 

It is crucial you decide who will be the best fit for your brand whether that be a blogger, influencers, or micro influencer and establish how they can reach your customers via their audience.

 

Micro and Macro influencers – what’s the difference?

 

Micro influencers typically have around 10-90k followers on social media, whereas macro influencers tend to have a following of more than 100k, however it is micro influencers who get higher engagement rates on posts.

 

A smaller following means your brand will be reaching less consumers, but it will reach more of your target audience, as their followers will be more specific towards your sector. Micro influencers also tend to demand smaller budgets, so if you’re looking for a cost effective way to promote your brand to a new audience, micro-influencers could be the perfect approach.

 

Why should we use bloggers and influencers?

 

Using bloggers and influencers helps to create a specific brand message, while growing a strong and loyal social following to build brand awareness within your target audience.

 

Using bloggers is an effective way to create engaging content for your brand whilst relaying the brand message across numerous channels. Bloggers also help to improve SEO and drive sales, if done correctly.

 

One of the benefits of using bloggers is they create a trusted brand message. Data from influencer marketing platform MuseFind shows that 92 per cent of consumers trust an influencer more than an advertisement or traditional celebrity endorsement – so if you’re not utilising these channels, then why not?

 

Future Predictions

 

The blogosphere is always expanding, with a new wave of bloggers and influencers set to storm the internet. A study showed that nearly 85 per cent of marketing and communications professionals worldwide expected to launch at least one campaign involving an influencer in the next 12 months, so if it’s not in your plans, why not?

 

If you think your PR strategy could benefit from blogger outreach, get in touch to see how Refresh PR can help at hello@refreshpr.co.uk.

 

 

 

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Will GDPR take a bite out of your business?



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Keep it topical

 

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

 

Keep it audience specific


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

 

Treat your customers

 

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

 

 

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ASA; the recent changes and what you need to know



Last month saw the introduction of even stricter rules when promoting food and drink that is high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) to children. More than six years ago the initial rulings came into place that restricted TV advertising and now the ASA has updated its policies to reflect the ever changing ways we consume the media.

 

What is the HFSS ASA ruling?

 

The new rules reflect how young people’s media habits have changed over the last few years, with research showing that they now spend their time online, rather than in front of the TV. The ASA rulings now restrict the types of media that HFSS foods can be advertised on, above and beyond TV.

In summary, brands cannot advertise HFSS foods (based on classification by the Department of Health), on any platform where children make up 25 per cent of the audience. This includes using characters and celebrities popular with this age demographic.

 

What impact will the ASA ruling have?

 

As all parents, and retailers, know, pester power can be very influential on buying habits. The ASA’s new ruling will mean that children will no longer build these brand affiliations via advertising and marketing, meaning they are less likely to want to consume the products. With childhood obesity at an all-time high, the new restrictions aim to lower the consumption of these HFSS products, meaning a dip in sales for those selling or producing them.

 

What are the next steps for producers/retailers of HFSS foods?

 

If your business sells or produces HFSS foods that appeal to, and are consumed, by children then it is essential you re-evaluate your marketing strategy now. Ignoring the ASA rulings could see your campaign pulled or worse banned – meaning precious time and money has gone to waste.

 

However, it is important to remember that although children can be the end consumer, they often aren’t the customer you’re selling to. Take a step back from your current marketing activity and evaluate what it is mums, dads, and even grandparents want brands to stand for and try to align your brand with these values.

 

McDonald’s is a prime example of maximising this approach. Often considered the ‘junk food’ industry leader, McDonald’s has worked hard to position itself as a treat that parents reward their children with. From the various high profile sport sponsorships to the latest ‘Happy Dance’ advertising campaign that features children playing sports, shopping in the vegetable aisle and behaving at school, the brand has managed to target parents in a smart and engaging way.

 

Working with a creative agency will help brands re-align their marketing focus to abide by the new ASA ruling, while still allowing product promotion to a suitable audience.

 

If you want to talk further about how the ASA ruling will impact your business and the best marketing approach then contact Caroline, Refresh PR’s consumer director, on 0161 8711 188.

 

 

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Refresh PR shares ‘how to awards’ strategy with CIMCIG



You may have heard of the Heating Installer Awards; it’s the award winning campaign run by Refresh PR. From the One Show to BBC Radio, the public and plumbing industry were invested in the awards and engaged on a record scale throughout the 2016/2017 campaign.

 

Particularly in the construction and building product industry, face-to-face engagement with customers is a pivotal element of business strategy, and one required for successful campaigns. This November, our Head of B2B, Erin, will be in London to share the secrets behind the award-winning Heating Installer Awards, telling a room full of marketing professionals how they can inject the same passion and enthusiasm into their campaigns.

 

The talk takes place on November 8th 2017 at The Building Centre in London. Erin will be sharing her wisdom alongside experts within the industry, including EcoBuild and RIBA. Time is running out to register, so if you want to learn how to maximise your campaigns, booking details can be found here:

 

https://www.cim.co.uk/eventbooking/?crid=84861&ename=How%20to%20run%20a%20memorable%20event

 

If you think your PR strategy could benefit from some high engagement, award-winning campaigns, get in touch to see how Refresh PR can help.

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Are you ready for GDPR?



Companies that process a lot of personal data might know the ins and outs of GDPR, but what exactly is it, and what does it mean for the rest of us?

 

Essentially, the new General Data Protection Regulation gives consumers more control over their personal information. You might think this doesn’t affect you, however if you have a sales contacts database, or simply send e-newsletters to new or existing customers, you need to carry on reading. Here are five simple steps that will keep, you, your company, and your data safe.

 

Take control


With so much to consider when aiming to be a successful business in a competitive market, we suggest nominating a director or consultant within the business to ensure GDPR criteria is met. Make sure this person is invested and understands data management in the built environment. New information and developments are introduced to the industry regularly, so someone in the company needs to stay on top of these and apply them to your business.  

 

Secure your systems

 

Your nominated director should ensure your data is collected and stored correctly. Specifically:
- Controls and procedures must be put in place to ensure the data is kept confidential, is accurate, and available when needed
- Data should be anonymised and/or encrypted
- You must be able to restore the data and systems quickly in the event of an incident
- Regular testing and assessment of the effectiveness of your measures

In today’s day and age, this should all be commonplace anyway, however with the BIM (Building Information Modelling) mandate coming in last year, data has not been front of mind, so use this as a chance to update your systems, and adhere to the law.

 

Check your suppliers

 

You must ensure your suppliers and clients are also compliant. If your suppliers breach legislation, you could be held accountable. This is particularly important from those in the construction and built environment sectors that will potentially use third parties for everything from van hire to recruitment. With so many levels in the supply chain, it will pay to reach out to everyone you work with to ensure they are following the necessary steps.

 

Stay relevant to your audience

 

Currently, it’s easier to press ‘delete email’ than it is to unsubscribe, however, with the ‘unsubscribe’ button about to become more obvious than ever, it’s never been more important to provide interesting, relevant and up to date content for your subscribers. That way, they won’t need to unsubscribe and you save yourself a job.

 

Whether you manufacture plastic piping or deliver a specific service, it’s worthwhile speaking to an agency experienced in construction and the built environment to develop a content strategy to ensure you only send out valuable information, meaning you don’t lose customers at the first hurdle.

 

Stick to protocol

 

If there has been an information breach, you must report it to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as soon as possible. This is where having a person responsible for the management of data is crucial.

 

The introduction of this regulation won’t be unmanageable and in fact, it makes it the perfect time to update some potentially archaic systems. Focusing on accumulating and processing important, useful, and legally compliant information is a smart move – and if the GDPR provides some incentive for that, then those that work in the build environment industry will be better off for it.

 

If you want to know more, or discuss content strategy, get in touch.

 

 

 

 

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Love Island – A Marketers Dream?



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Refresh PR proves a success for start-ups



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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

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Leicester plumber is winner of Heating Installer Awards 2017



The public vote to decide the national winner of the Heating Installer Awards 2017 has been revealed.

 

Peter Booth, of Loughborough, can officially introduce himself as the UK’s best heating installer (until next year’s awards at least). Taking place at Installer 2017, the award announcement drew in large crowds and huge support from across the industry.

 

With a total rebrand and dedicated press office, the awards have been a roaring success, exceeding all of last year’s results. The number of award entries was up 50 per cent, with more than 2,000 votes cast throughout the campaign - a 33 per cent increase year on year. Throughout the campaign we gained the support of eight sponsors and dozens of industries bodies, including CIPHE and Pimlico Plumbing’s Charlie Mullins.

 

The Heating Installer Awards reached a record number of people, through the use of our B2B PR campaign. Our 2016 winner, Dennis Hollingworth, was on the one show, and we reached over 357,000 people on Twitter alone.

 

We were inundated daily with messages of support and encouragement, both for the regional shortlist and the awards themselves. Over on Facebook, the awards reached 115K people.

 

From our presence at Installer 2017 and ongoing social media activity, we have already had hundreds installers register for the 2017/18 awards. Entries will open in the Autumn and we’re expecting to further exceed last year’s target.

 

If you want to get involved, we’re still looking for sponsors, so call us on 0161 871 1188 for more information.

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR, B2B PR agency Manchester , Heating Installer Awards, Manchester PR, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign, PR campaign essential

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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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We reveal the results of Refresh 101



Taking advantage of having so many industry experts under one roof, we decided to ask visitors to our stand one burning question – “what would you like to see rid of in the marketing industry”.

Encouraging them to write their bug bears, gripes and grumbles on one of Refresh 101’s balls, they then got to throw it into the ball pit, with the hope of it one day disappearing from the industry.

Here we share our top three findings, do you agree?

1. Communication

Apparently everyone at Prolific North Live works in the communication industry in one way or another yet communication – or lack of - was the most popular submission into Refresh 101. From too many emails and not enough face-to-face to too many conference calls or simply not listening, these were just some of the communication related comments.

For an industry that is meant to make people sit up, listen, talk and engage, it appears to be lacking the basics on a professional level.

At Refresh we have taken this insight seriously and are now making even more effort to pick up the phone or meet up for a coffee, but ultimately stop hiding behind emails – whether that’s with our clients or collaborators.

2. Bullsh*t

Following on from how we are communicating, it seems that what the industry is saying is also grinding on people.

BS Bingo was a hot topic at Refresh 101, with people ranting and raving about buzzwords and overcomplicated jargon. Every industry has its own ‘language’ but it seems marketing may have taken it too far and now, rather than making professionals sound knowledgeable, it has a negative impact.

So off the back of this, here is our pledge to you: “We (Refresh PR) promise never to tell you to deep dive into the essence of a brand, describe a consumer as low hanging fruit or use the latest buzz word to try and impress. We will always keep our language simple.”

3. Briefs and Budgets

Visitors at Prolific North Live also got passionate about briefs and budgets at Refresh 101, or more importantly the lack of!

But, as an industry it seems like something we have come to accept – often doing ourselves a dis-service. Reluctant to challenge a brief, or request more information, as agencies we spend our time trying to interpret what our clients (or potential clients) could mean, rather than brainstorming creative approaches that deliver on the business needs.

Once you’ve uncovered what needs to be achieved, the budget comes into play and more often than not, the two do not align.

Yes budgets are tight and as marketeers we are more conscious than ever before not go into pitches with all singing, all dancing campaigns – we have to be smart with how we spend the money. But in the same breath, we cannot continue to undervalue the creative.

Our value is in our creative thinking and expertise, and to continually give that away for free is damaging our business and the industry.

This is a topic that our MD, Laura and head of consumer, Caroline spoke about at the Prolific North Live and something that everyone agreed needs to be tackled by the industry as a whole.

So do you agree or is there something else you’d like to put into Refresh 101 – let us know on Twitter @RefreshPR #Refresh101

Tagged with: Networking Event, PR, PR agencies Manchester, Prolific North Live

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Fool Me Once, Shame On You…



Or not as the case may be if you work in the wonderful world of PR and marketing. This weekend sees the start of April and a major date in the PR calendar – April Fool’s Day! A day where our creative juices can run wild and all those ideas that have been laughed out of brainstorms can finally see the light of day, and hopefully some media coverage.

 

 

Here is a round-up of some of my favourite ever April Fool’s PR stunts:

 

1. Park Inn’s E-scapes – poking fun at our addiction to social media, and the need to show off about our latest holidays with endless selfies and hot-dog legs, Park Inn created E-scapes. E-scapes was ‘launched’ as a service that takes over your social media channels to allude to the fact that you’ve treated yourself to that well-deserved break, without you having to leave the country. All of the smugness, much less cost – a great prank based around real consumer habits.

 

2. Domino’s Edible Box – an added bonus to your take-away! Not only do you get the delicious pizza, but the box is also fully edible. Actually quite upset this isn’t real, because with pizza surely it’s the more the merrier! A simple execution using a photoshopped image, but in reality, this is all an April Fool’s stunt needs to be – it shouldn’t take big budgets!

 

3. Car Bubble Wrap Service – knowing that many of their customers worry about damage to their car on a visit, Longleat Safari Park introduced a car bubble wrap service, for the bargain price of £10. Putting the service to good use, the safari park covered a car in protective bubble wrap for a perfect photo opportunity. This image got picked up by several national newspapers – giving them major exposure.

 

4. Police Cat – if YouTube has taught us anything it is that people love to watch cat videos. Thames Valley Police capitalised on this for a feline-friendly April Fool’s prank, by introducing Police Cats. Justifying the decision to introduce this new animal force, they explained cats have “curiosity which is second to none in the animal kingdom”. Accompanied by a cute video and its own hashtag, this was a purrfect prank (sorry)!

 

5. Tesco’s Bouncing Aisle – who hasn’t been in the situation when the particular bottle of wine or box of chocolates you want is on the top shelf and you’ve struggled to reach it? Just short of 5ft4 it is a situation I have found myself in many a time, but Tesco came to the rescue – nearly. The supermarket brand created bouncing aisles, with Lucy Mecklenburgh being the face of the new prank. I think we’d all agree it would make the big shop more fun if this were true. 

 

Here at Refresh we will all be keeping a close eye on our favourite brands to see if they manage to fool anyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: PR, PR agencies Manchester, Public Relations

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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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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.   

 

 

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

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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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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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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 Bur