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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Tech Companies Thriving in Manchester



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Avoiding boom turning to bust

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Promote, engage, attract

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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What does Gen Z mean for the future of HR?



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

Lakeside Hote and Spa

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Bee in the City



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Bee in the City

 

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

 Bee in the City

Here is our local pretty pick Piccadilly bee!

 

Bee in the City

 

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

 

 

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

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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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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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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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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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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 

 

 

 

Tagged with: B2B PR agency Manchester , Construction, Creative Agency, PR agencies Manchester, PR Agency Manchester, PR campaign essential, Twitter

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How will businesses respond to the recent Facebook changes?



On Thursday it was revealed that Facebook will be changing its algorithms once again, so users will begin to see more posts on their news feed from family and friends, rather than posts from brands and publishers. The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, explained he’s bringing in the change to make sure “the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” So what does this mean for PR professionals who use Facebook as a key mechanism when working with clients?

If used correctly, social media can be an extremely influential PR tool, and Facebook has been growing in popularity for businesses who want to capture consumer interest during ‘down time’, i.e. the hours we’re not in work and are instead, switching off and pursuing our personal interests.

It’s been acknowledged by Mark Zuckerberg that “the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down," meaning there will be even less opportunity to consume content from businesses and publishers. As such, businesses that once used Facebook as their sole tool to engage with the public will now have to begin using a variety of other channels to connect with their target audience. A ‘one size fits all’ mentality is not the correct approach to take;  channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and more will have to be utilised better in order to gain similar levels of traction once offered by Facebook. That said, not all consumers use every channel available, so it’s important to analyse where your specific target audience consumes its content.

Only time will tell whether this is a huge gamble by Facebook. By making this decision, it will have dramatically decreased its support from publishers and business, which may leave investors to question their involvement with the organisation.

Or, will it prove to be a smart move? When the changes come into place, companies may reveal that it hasn’t affected them as much as expected, or find it’s forced them to seek alternative methods of promotion which yield better results.

Ultimately, it’s essential for businesses to keep up to date on how changes like this could affect how they reach their customers and therefore, the nature of their entire company.

If you need help or guidance with your social media and online PR support, find out what we can do for you here: http://www.refreshpr.co.uk/page/88/Social-Media.htm. Alternatively, contact us on 0161 871 1188.

 

Tagged with: Facebook, PR, PR campaign essential, Public Relations, Social Media

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Strong start to 2018 as Refresh PR welcomes four new clients



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

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Stupidest monkey in the industry



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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Refresh Reflects: Top Five PR campaigns of 2017



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

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

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Social media – the dos and don’ts



Social Media is constantly developing and expanding, and it can be a tricky one to get right. The temptation to use it as a platform to promote your products and service can often lead to a lacklustre feed with minimal engagement. Here, we’re going to look at the golden rules of social media and how you can use it to maximise your business.

Sharing is caring

Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook et al are designed to share information. Whether it is quick snippets limited to 280 characters (we’re still not onboard with the character increase), or thought leadership articles hosted on LinkedIn, there are no limits to the content that can be shared to your following. It is important however that each piece of content shared is valuable to your audience. Throwing out product plug after product plug, however interesting you find it, will turn your followers off and create a stagnant account. Share industry news, relevant national news items, social trends and information your following will find valuable.

Engage

Twitter describes itself as ‘sparking a global conversation’, with conversation being the most important word here. There is no point in executing a social media campaign if you aren’t going to engage. Reply to tweets, express your opinion, ask open ended questions, even set up a poll; it is paramount you use social media to engage with your potential customers. Creating a relationship with potential customers is the first step to generating a sale, and this first connection can be made without leaving the comfort of your office.

Hashtags

You can’t expect people to stumble across your profile without promoting yourself. Whilst links directing people from your website will work at engaging current customers, using hashtags could generate new business. Whether it’s #Lipstick, #PlasticPlumbing or #StudentAccommodation, anyone using these search terms will be presented with your content, helping you widen your audience and build your following.

Tone of voice

From our experience, people think the social media platform dictates the tone of voice, meaning LinkedIn is full of formal jargon whilst a Twitter feed is littered with colloquialisms and GIFs. This leads to a confused company ethos and a disjointed tone of voice. The best way to determine how and what you write is by looking at your audience and adjusting accordingly. If you’re targeting potential investors, then Kim K memes are probably not best placed, across the board. Likewise, if you’re looking to engage with football fans or families, then a more colloquial term is more appropriate.

Images

A picture’s worth a thousand words has never been truer than on social media. Timelines are a very busy place and you need to use any tool possible to grab a user’s attention. Images achieve a higher engagement rate than plain text on social media and so are a vital tool to adopt. Whether it’s a photo to support and article, an infographic or a video, where appropriate use an image to see your content interactions increase. Moreover, Facebook rewards this content and so you will see your posts appearing above others, further increasing engagement.

Social media can be tricky to navigate, and with rules and trends changing so quickly it can be difficult to keep up. Investing a couple of hours a week in your social media offering will see you reap the benefits. If time isn’t an option, hiring an agency to provide expert guidance on your social media output will see you hit your key business objectives.

For more information on how Refresh PR can help your social media efforts, call: 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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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. 

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User generated content: the end of journalism?



Over the last two weeks, news sites across the world have been filled with imagery and videos from those caught up in one of the worst storms on record. While Hurricane Irma has ripped apart several Caribbean islands and is now taking over the Florida coastline, those of us on the other side of the world have felt closer to the eye of the storm than any other before it, thanks to the real-life recordings taken from the scene. The people capturing the material aren’t journalists; they’re residents, families, or those locked up with friends. This type of footage is called ‘user generated content’ (UGC), and while it now forms part of most newsreels we watch during hourly bulletins, once upon a time it was the dread of journalists across the globe.

With the birth of smartphones came the ability for mere mortals to capture their own side of every tale, and it started to unsettle journalists who had spent their lives learning the trade, and earning their position as the story teller. Suddenly, we began to question whether newspapers told the whole story, as more and more the general public were sharing footage that gave a different angle.

Having worked as a journalist, I understand the fear that UGC makes people question how hard it really is to become qualified for the role. Local newspapers are closing every week (the first newspaper I worked at, incidentally, closed down two weeks ago very suddenly – though this was down to ****-poor management, not UGC), but all things considered, if it wasn’t for UGC, we wouldn’t have anywhere near as close an understanding of the devastation Irma has caused in the US and Caribbean. The majority of journalists working for corporations with hefty life insurance policies aren’t venturing overseas through fear of injury or death, so it’s over to those living in the situation to tell us how it really is.

We rely on UGC now as standard practice to bring news and campaigns to life – our Window with a View/Home with a View competition with MyGlazing.com relies inherently on the public submitting images and is crucial to its success – however, one thing troubles me: our capacity, as media consumers, to understand the difference between fake and real news. There’s a propensity amongst us to assume everything we see is true – but even with UGC that’s not the case. There are a multitude of videos and images, reportedly of the devastation Hurricane Irma has caused, doing the rounds, with many being completely false. The lengths people go to now to have their material featured online/in the news is becoming more and more absurd, and with the ability to ‘go viral’ (often for all the wrong reasons), are we taking UGC too much at face value rather than questioning its authenticity?

There is a place for UGC, I have no doubt about it, and I am a firm believer that using it gives us a better idea of what’s going on in the world; it takes us nearer to the action, making us feel closer to its subjects, encouraging us to put ourselves in other’s shoes, because someone just like us is narrating. But journalists and those working in PR still have a huge responsibility to ensure the material that does make it into the mainstream media is accurate, factual and a fair representation. If we can work together in such a way, our news shows will be some of the strongest in the world.

 

 

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Public Relations – Where Are The Ethics?



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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RIP PR?



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

Social Media

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

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

Social influencers

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

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

PR & SEO

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

Measurement

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

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

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

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

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

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Trumping your own social media



As politicians go, the President of the United States (known on Twitter as @POTUS) is probably up there as the most 
famous in the entire world.

Multi-billionaire Donald Trump joined this elusive list when he became the 45th US President back in January 2017. 
However, while he stands out from previous presidents for various reasons (sexual assault allegations, business tycoon, 
unfortunate hair), it is his Twitter account and the ongoing posting of erratic – and often threatening – material that is 
stealing the limelight.

Take 10 minutes to look through Donald’s Twitter feed, and you’ll soon find examples of how not to approach Twitter. 
Yes it’s hard getting your message across in 140 characters, but there’s being direct, and there’s misjudged content – and 
continually falling into the latter’s trap culminates in constant backlash from the general public. And of course, this is on
a global scale, with a large part of said globe absolutely terrified at Trump being in such a position of power – so the wrath 
is pretty severe. 

Here are five times Trump trumped his own social media efforts, and basically showed us he shouldn’t be let loose with a 
Twitter account:

-          Flooding in Texas: the severe flooding across Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey has the world sat open 
mouthed, as highways disappear, roofs become congested with people trying to avoid the water, while sharks and 
alligators begin swimming in land. Messages of support and love have swamped social media, however one particular 
personality was absent for a little too long. President Trump failed to acknowledge what was happening in Texas, or 
address its residents to inform them of aid missions, until many hours after the storm hit. Now, he’s playing catch up, 
scrambling a series of manic messages that tell us he’s finally paying an interest. What the President should’ve learned 
(but probably hasn’t):  when natural disasters hit, be visible; be seen, be heard, be there.

-          Banning transpeople from the military: this summer, Trump hit the headlines again by announcing – via Twitter – 
that he was banning transpeople from joining or being part of the US military. Before you ask, no, the military had not 
okayed this; in fact, they had no idea it was even being considered until the tweet from @POTUS. In retaliation, the 
military released a statement explaining they don’t take orders from tweets, and won’t be enforcing this bizarre and 
fascist suggestion. What the President should’ve learned (but again, probably hasn’t):  being publically fascist will never 
end well. But hate crime aside, if you’re going to make a decision about a major national organisation and broadcast it 
on Twitter, let them know beforehand.

-          Horrendous grammar and spelling: I’m not saying you can forgive rude, racist and irresponsible posts if everything 
is spelt right, but it helps. The President’s tweets are continually filled with spelling and grammar errors, and frankly, it’s 
unacceptable from the world’s most powerful man. One such error was tweeting the letters ‘covfefe’ in place of another 
word – but we have absolutely no idea what that other word should’ve been. Remember when Ed Balls tweeted us all 
saying exactly that: ‘Ed Balls’? Remember how we laughed? The President must’ve thought we were laughing WITH Ed 
Balls, because he recently tweeted simply saying ‘We’. Any idea? No? Me neither. What the President should’ve learned 
(but probably hasn’t – do you sense a theme?):  hire a copy checker (and take them EVERYWHERE with you), or get a 
phone that underlines your errors.

-          Threats against North Korea: social media is not a playground, and shouldn’t be treated that way. However, 
Trump is insistent on airing his dirty laundry with North Korea, and playing its enemies off against each other, on Twitter, 
practically every day. We’re not talking about a bit of insult throwing here – we’re talking nuclear war threats. What the 
President should’ve learned (but probably hasn’t): it’s not okay for the world to see potential global destruction played on 
their Twitter feed. Instead, tell us when you’re meeting together with the leaders of North Korea and China in person to 
resolve the issues and create a harmonious world. Social media, while open and honest, should also remain as positive as 
possible.

-          Tagging strangers in posts: If there’s anything that Trump likes more than his own self-promotion, it’s telling 
the world how amazing his family is. However, when he recently tweeted to share how fantastic his daughter Ivanka is, 
describing her as a ‘woman with real character and class’, he clearly didn’t check he’d used the right tags. Rather than 
include his daughter in the post, he instead got a little-known woman from Brighton with 8k followers caught up in his 
storm. While I bet it’s lovely to receive such praise, it was yet another step in the ‘How not to do social media’ manual 
by Donald J. Trump. What the President should’ve learned (but probably hasn’t):  if you’re dragging other people into 
your social media content, tag the right person. While it’s an easy mistake to make, and didn’t actually cause anyone 
any harm, it just looks stupid. And you, Mr President, don’t need any help with that at the moment.

If you’re scared of emulating Donald Trump on your social media channels, and want the help of a PR agency to ensure 
your social presence remains professional, on brand and is always spelt correctly, give Refresh PR a call. We’ve masses of 
social media experience, particularly in using it as a channel to support wider PR campaigns. And we promise we won’t tag 
the wrong person in your posts – all Trump-esque mistakes are avoided as standard. 



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



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

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

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

1.    Be honest

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

2.    Be direct

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

3.    Pick a spokesperson

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

4.    Give solutions

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

5.    Make change happen

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

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When personalisation goes wrong...



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to react in a crisis



Last week saw not one, but two PR disasters that would have been easily alleviated by a considered PR strategy.

 

Firstly, Hope & Glory festival has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. What promised to be the best bands, combined with a decadent Victoriana carnival atmosphere, wicked fun and a heavy dose of outrageous sideshows, turned out to be a disaster.

 

It all started with a tweet from the Happy Mondays’ Rowetta, urging fans not to attend the second day of the festival, as it had been cancelled. This, accompanied with a conflicting statement in the Liverpool Echo advising that the festival was still going ahead, left attendees confused. When the event organisers did tweet, simply stating ‘no festival today’, it was clear it was time to go home.

 

No official statement was given by the festival organisers for more than 24 hours, and when it was released, it provided no answers, only finger pointing, aggravating the situation further.

 

Only a few days later, there was mass confusion surrounding Botswana's Isaac Makwala, who was ruled out of the 200m heats and 400m final at the World Championships in London, despite insisting he was fit.

 

Organisers, the IAAF, declared Makwala had norovirus and he was banned from the race, and the entire stadium. The BBC waited hours for an official statement, without avail, allowing rumours and allegations to circulate.

 

In situations like this, it is of paramount importance that communication to the public and the media are handled by experienced PR professionals. Undoubtedly, PR agencies across Manchester, and in fact the globe, have been discussing how they would have handled the situations, but being the nice and helpful people that we are, we will share our thoughts on how to correctly manage and execute crisis comms. Hope & Glory, IAAF, are you listening?...

 

1.      As soon as an issue arises, take control of the message and make sure it’s clear across all platforms. For Hope & Glory, the first communication should have come from the show’s organisers, not Rowetta. With Twitter allowing attendees to get their side of the story out instantly, it’s important you provide a clear, concise statement that informs the public of the situation. The IAAF failed to inform Makwala of whether he would be able to run, with the public speculating reasons why on Twitter. It is always beneficial for a brand’s public perception to address a problem at the outset, rather than letting the public make their own truth

2.      If you’re going to engage on Twitter, make sure your messaging is correct, and the tone appropriate. Hope & Glory’s attempts at engaging with its visitors were shambolic, aggressive, and defensive, alienating themselves further. To make matters worse, the bio of the account was changed to ‘TWITTER - The place where the truth doesn't matter, bullying is de rigeur and decent people get destroyed’. Apparently, the organiser of Hope & Glory, Lee O’Hanlon, didn’t check social media for the 48 hours surrounding the festival, leaving it to a junior team member, meaning he had no sight of his customers’ feedback, both big PR no-nos.

3.      When a company publicly announces that a formal statement will be released at noon, the company needs to make sure it releases it at noon. Having your audience waiting a further fifteen minutes (on top of the original 24-hour delay) will only aggravate the situation further

4.      Do not pass the blame. Your statement shouldn’t pass the blame onto other parties, rather acknowledge the issue and provide a concise response. If you have previously publicly announced you are in control of an event, denying any responsibility when a problem arises will further anger any stakeholders and will damage your public perception even more

5.      Don’t cry over stolen milk. In the official statement from Hope & Glory, the fact that the organisers’ milk and food were stolen was laboured more than the actual issue, that thousands of people were out of pocket. Trying to garner sympathy from the public because someone stole your pint of milk means nothing when they’ve lost hundreds of pounds. It’s imperative that you understand your stakeholders, and the wider issues

6.      Hire a PR agency experienced in crisis comms. It is worth every penny when serious situations arise. An agency will handle social media, manage the media, produce a holding statement and craft a full statement to be released to the public, meaning you can respond with a controlled strategy that is consistent throughout

 

It’s safe to say that Hope & Glory will go down in history for all the wrong reasons with Makwala’s career almost put on hold due a communication breakdown. Already dire situations were handled appallingly, magnifying the damage already caused. The fact that Makwala was eventually allowed to compete, albeit on his own, highlights the incorrect steps the IAAF took in communicating to the athletes, the media and the public and the following response from the public shows how important having a crisis comms strategy is.

 

If you think your company would benefit from crisis comms, now or in the future, contact us for more information.

 

 

Tagged with: crisis management PR, Manchester PR Agency, PR campaign essential, PR companies in Manchester, Public Relations North West

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Love Island – A Marketers Dream?



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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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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Want to know how to run a memorable PR event? We may have just the answer



Refresh PR’s head of B2B, Erin Heywood, is presenting part of a seminar focusing on the importance of engagement with customers in the construction industry at an event in London, this November.


Facing a variety of challenges such as the impact of Brexit, localised competition, price rises in the supply chain and effective communication with their own customers, construction businesses can benefit hugely from PR campaigns that champion the hidden gems of the industry.


Refresh PR’s Heating Installer Awards and Window with a View campaigns are examples of this, and as such, Erin will be explaining to a crowd at The Building Centre, on 8th November, exactly how award schemes and events are a great way for businesses of all sizes to extend their reach and bring in new opportunities (as well as achieve much earned credibility for their hard work).


To sign up for the two hour event, click here: https://www.cim.co.uk/event/84861/ 


Alternatively, get in touch with Erin for more details on erin@refreshpr.co.uk

 

 

 

Tagged with: PR campaign essential, PR event