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Refresh PR constructs a campaign worthy of a national award shortlist



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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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#Royalbaby: Jumping on the brand wagon



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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IS WI-FI ON THE MENU?



“How will you cope?”

That was the main question I was asked when I announced to the rest of the Refresh PR team that I wouldn’t be taking my mobile phone on holiday. In fact, that was the question most of my friends asked me too.

Despite the fact that I am always found within millimetres of my iPhone when I’m at home, for the past five years I have left my phone turned off and in the UK when travelling abroad.

I do this for a number of reasons:

1.       Surprisingly, it is nice to have a break from: texting, whatsapping, imessaging, tweeting, facebooking and instagramming – after all I do this all day every day, so why would I want to do it on holiday?

2.       I find that I actually enjoy myself more by not having my phone glued to my hand and I’m not worried about losing it, damaging it or having it stolen

3.       As an aside, I think  people will like me more for it, as it saves me from boring my contacts to death with holiday photos and updates

4.       Crucially, it means that I don’t run up extremely high phone bills and roaming charges too

However, this year for the first time, I realised how much we really have come to depend on the smartphone.

To begin, it didn’t occur to me to take a watch on holiday in order to be able to tell the time as I always rely on my laptop or mobile to do that for me. As a result, I spent most of the week living life in the dark ages, trying to use the position of the sun as some kind of guide.

I also realised how much I rely on social media and apps to provide me with the latest news. It wasn’t until Monday lunchtime that I found out that Andy Murray had become the first British man to win Wimbledon in over 77 years. How did I find out? By reading the front page of The Sun of course!

Now, as you can imagine the friends that I went on holiday with most definitely did not leave their phones at home and were glued to them throughout the week. Rachel phoned home on a number of occasions in order to speak to her dog! Meanwhile Natalie and Nikki were busy uploading photos to Facebook and Twitter.

In fact, such was their need to go on Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp, we could only eat at restaurants that had free Wi-Fi! Their desperate need to connect to the internet meant that they asked for the Wi-Fi code before even looking at the menu.

All I can say is that I am quite relieved that Kate Middleton didn’t go into labour during the past seven days, as I would have been a bit disappointed if I had missed that.

Tagged with: Andy Murray, Facebook, Holiday, Instagram, iPhone, Kate Middleton, Leisure, Manchester, PR, PR Agency Manchester, Public Relations, Refresh PR, Smartphone, Social Media, The Sun, Twitter, Whatsapp, Wimbledon

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Refresh PR Scoops National Industry Award



Celebrating Refresh PR's national award win

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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Instagram's New Work-Around Makes It More Twitter-Friendly



Remember when Instagram used to let its users easily find their Twitter friends and mention their handles in their photos?

 

That was until Twitter began cracking down on which third-party apps and clients it would allow to use its application programming interface (API). Of course it wasn’t long before photo-sharing giant Instagram, owned by Facebook (Twitter’s social media rival) was left out in the cold.

 

These changes meant that new Instagram users could no longer add all their Twitter followers with one button. It also made sharing a photo to Twitter and "@mentioning" someone whose Twitter username was different from their Instagram username cumbersome.

 

However on October 19, Instagram announced that it had made changes that ‘will make sharing to Twitter more seamless’ on its blog.

 

But how will this work? Well:

If the @mentioned user has connected Instagram to Twitter:

 

  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.
  • The user’s Twitter username will appear in the tweet.

If the @mentioned user has not connected Instagram to Twitter:

 

  • The user’s Instagram username will appear in the photo caption.
  • The @ sign will be removed from the username when shared to Twitter.

What does this mean for those of us who work in PR? Well, for one, it shows that Instagram isn't content being an insular, photo-network smartphone app—it wants its users to integrate with Twitter as much as possible. This is also good news for brands and users that want to spread their Instagram photos far and wide.

Moving forward, it's safe to assume that Facebook's integration with Instagram will be more seamless, considering Facebook is its owner.

 

However, there will probably be a few more scuffles between Instagram and Twitter, as the photo network tries to further tap into Twitter's user-base.

 

 

Tagged with: , API, Facebook, Instagram, PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West, Refresh PR, Social Media, Twitter

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Why are there so many empty seats at The Olympics?



Since the Opening Ceremony on Friday night, there’s not really much else to talk about apart from The Olympics. The BBC coverage starts before I wake up and finishes after I go to bed, so if that’s all the BBC is reporting on, then obviously that’s all that’s going on in the world.

I love the Olympics. Even though I don’t live in London or have tickets to any events, it’s great to get into the spirit of the games and I watch as many events as I can. It’s pretty ironic how the biggest sporting event in the world turns everyone bar the athletes into couch potatoes for a fortnight. My boyfriend and I spent a good half day watching the men’s cycling road race on his 21st birthday, rather than maybe going out and doing some cycling of our own.

But of course, with every Olympic Games, there are always problems which grab headlines, and London’s already had its fair share. Firstly, G4S failed to provide enough security staff for the games and had to be bailed out by British troops to make up for the thousands of security guards that were needed. Massive fail.

Then, there was the threat of border staff strikes the day before the Olympic Ceremony, which was condemned by David Cameron. Apart from evoking a ‘tut tut’ from US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the threat didn’t seem to amount to anything.

To many people’s surprise (especially mine), the Opening Ceremony itself seemed to go swimmingly – although I think the whole world was extremely disappointed that The Queen didn’t actually jump out of the helicopter. To be honest, I didn’t really have great expectations for the Opening Ceremony or for the London Olympics in general; we British have a unique ability to muck things up at the last possible minute. Needless to say, I’m impressed so far.

Although, there’s one thing that’s really getting on my nerves: the empty seats. Even though I don’t have any tickets, doesn’t mean I didn’t apply for any; I did. I just didn’t get any. Back in March, when the tickets first went on sale, there was a fiasco about there being only a limited amount of tickets available to the public, with a staggering amount being given to sponsors, Olympic Committee members and corporate members. Now, the Olympics are here, they’re not even turning up; ridiculous!

The Guardian reported that on Sunday morning there were an estimated 2,000 empty seats at the basketball match between Nigeria and Tunisia. Out of those 2,000 empty seats, 70% were allocated to sponsors and Olympic officials. Furthermore, over 300 seats at the morning's gymnastics were unfilled and around 2,500 were empty during the heats at the Aquatics Centre.

The empty seats are not only an annoyance for the millions of Brits who are sat at home watching the games on their TVs, when they could actually be experiencing the action for themselves; it's also a massive embarrassment for the UK. As the Games are broadcasted all over the world, so are the empty seats, much to Lord Coe's dismay.

Why are there so many empty seats? My best bet would've been that the thousands of sponsors and members of the press were ridiculously hung-over from the Opening Ceremony...maybe not. The BBC has reported that the sponsors have confirmed that the empty seats are not their responsibility (surpirse, surprise). Companies such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola put out statements yesterday saying that they're filling their places with competition winners, partners, customers and employees.

What's the solution?

Well, Lord Coe is going to tell off the naughty "Olympic Family" members who haven't turned up when they said they would. In the meantime, soldiers and local London students have been ushered in to fill the seats before a real solution is found. In my opinion, the best thing to do is to give the tickets to real sports fans who actually want to go to the events. If you want true British Olympics spirit Lord Coe, you know what you've got to do.

If you want to get people talking about you, contact our Manchester PR Agency on 0161 212 1695.

Tagged with: Empty Seats, Lord Coe, Opening Ceremony, Public Relations, Refresh PR, The Olympics

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20 Days at Refresh PR



What a lively atmosphere it’s been both inside and outside Refresh’s doors so far in June! Manchester Day, the Parklife festival and Jubilee celebrations seem to have rubbed off in the office. We’ve had lots of great coverage for our clients, a new office and a new addition to the team.

The first day of the month was spent updating our social media sites with new exposure for the clients. One of the pieces was my first piece magazine coverage - ‘the first of many’ so I was told. Obviously, I celebrated this gracefully by getting copies for all of my family and friends.

Moving offices meant a new project, finding stylish office décor to make the new room more comfortable. Surfing the net and shopping was another part of PR I’d not considered. It’s dawning on me that a career in Public Relations is extremely multi-faceted, to say the least.

In a morning I can be finding funky furniture for break out areas and in the afternoon I might be working on trade PR. Experience like this really gives an opportunity to develop knowledge of weaknesses and strengths, likes and dislikes, which you just don’t get sat in a lecture hall!

Whatever will be next at Refresh HQ?

 

Tagged with: Manchester, Public Relations, Refresh PR

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10 days at Refresh PR - My Work Placement



 

After meeting with the team I was excited to see how life working in Manchester city centre would be. By the tenth day I was pretty astonished by the amount of work I had been involved in. It’s been a real learning curve in understanding the effort that goes into running a PR agency and developing a career in this field. The rest of the team were very welcoming and it’s been great getting hands on experience in a fast-paced environment, rather than being sent to make coffee all day!

It’s been all systems go since entering the building here at Refresh PR. Our clients received a lot of coverage in May so one of my first tasks was to create coverage boards for their offices. This seemed fairly laid back and I wondered what all the talk of PR not being for the faint hearted was about - I was then warned ‘wait until you come back tomorrow.’ I also began updating the social media sites and it showed me the importance of social networking. Just a day or two later someone had commented on how impressive the coverage we had received was, and how they had seen it on our Facebook page.

Early on in the placement I was speaking with well-known tabloid newspapers, magazines and websites. By doing this, hopefully, we will have some great coverage for one of our clients, fingers crossed. This has taught me the importance of excellent communications between the PR team, the media and prospective clients. This process, and what the Refresh team do, demonstrates that building and maintaining good relationships in PR is highly important; this was then emphasised in some meetings I went to.

On my first Friday afternoon I shadowed Anna at a business meeting where we discussed an exciting festival event for one of our clients. There were fun and innovative ideas proposed which gave me insight to the work that goes into festivals and product promotion behind the scenes. The following Friday I was taken along to an interview and photo-shoot for one of our clients.

All of this in just ten days- I think I’m getting to grips with why PR isn’t for the faint hearted! With the team expanding and more work on the horizon it’s going to be interesting to see what more I learn over the rest of this placement.

 

 

 

Tagged with: Manchester, PR, Refresh PR, Work placement

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Otone Audio Press Trip



Anna Wharton:

 

Last week I went to London and Bournemouth on a 2 day press trip with our client Otone Audio. We visitedOtone Audio some of the UK’s top tech and gaming magazines to show them Otone Audio’s fantastic new range of desktop speaker systems.

 

 

The systems are easy to get excited about - they are stylish and sleek in design and for their price bracket, they are a market leader for sound quality and price too. With such good products to show off, we were feeling very excited about the press trip!

 

There seemed to be plenty of interest in Otone Audio – I managed to secure appointments with some very influential journalists at some of the UK’s top tech and gaming magazines after briefing them on Otone Audio. This includes Stuff Mag, T3 Mag, What Hi-Fi Mag, XBox 360 Mag and also Mixmag.

 

Gareth Thomas, product manager at Otone Audio, joined me on the press trip. Gareth has worked in the home audio industry for seven years, so he has bags of experience and only works with quality. He has spent the last couple of months working closely with Otone Audio’s development team to make sure the performance of these systems would knock the socks off the journalists we were visiting!

 What HiFi

The first stop was Haymarket Publishing in Teddington. We met two of the UK’s top techy titles – Stuff mag and What Hi Fi mag. Stuff wanted to review Afieno, a 2.0 system, and What Hi-Fi want to cover the impressive Stilo 5.1 surround sound system. They were clearly impressed. This month both of these systems will be put through intense sound quality tests in Haymarket’s specialist, hi-tech audio testing room which cost a whopping £1m to design!

 

Our next stop was Bournemouth to visit two top gaming titles at Imagine Publishing – Xbox 360 Mag and 360 Mag. Here we set up Stilo 5.1 surround sound in the special games testing room - a glass box in the office with a big leather sofa facing a huge wide screen TV. We hooked up the games console to Stilo 5.1, put Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on and turned the lights down and cranked the volume right up, all fully immersing ourselves in a virtual war zone! Judging by the crowd of journalists that gathered outside the meeting room to see what was going on, I think Otone Audio made quite an impression!

Mixmag

 

Next we headed to Mixmag, which was a very creative feeling office in Angel. House music was pumping, and there were piles of magazines and CDs all around. The walls were a colourful collage of posters and images of international DJs. We gave their online editor an Otone Audio demo and presentation in the corner of their office, and he was pretty blown away with the sound quality. He quickly requested a sample of Stilo 2.1 Pro to review, and spoke excitedly about the style and functionality of this system. I am pretty sure he will be writing some very nice things about Otone Audio in his review!

 

All in all it was a very positive press trip, and as we hoped, Otone Audio’s systems got a truly fantastic response. We can’t wait to see the reviews go live in the magazines come February!

 

 

 

 

Tagged with: Mixmag, Otone Audio, Refresh PR, Speakers, Stuff Mag, What Hi-Fi

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Restore Opens Its Doors For Acorn Treatment & Housing



Early on Friday morning Laura and I were in Stockport, tackling the cobbles of the Stockport The Beautiful Cupcakes at RestoreMarket streets in our heels and heading for the grand opening of a brand new shop ‘Restore.’  Restore is a furniture restoration shop and it does just what it says, transforming old and unwanted wooden furniture into stunning modern-day pieces suitable for all rooms of the home.  We arrived to find an already bustling shop, and we completely fell in love with it, not to mention the fabulous cupcakes that they provided for guests that tasted just as good as they looked.

The furniture was shabby chic, vintage and beautifully classic, the accessories and knick-knacks were stylish and pretty, and the atmosphere was a vibrant and happy one.  We absolutely loThe furniture at Restore is fabulousved the furniture, and it was hard to believe that it wasn’t brand new.  The pieces have been magnificently restored by some very talented hands.  I should warn you now, I challenge anybody to walk around the shop and not purchase something!

Another very special feature of the shop is that Restore donates all profits made to Refresh PR’s client, Acorn Treatment and Housing.  Acorn Treatment is a registered charity and is an organisation that has treated hundreds of drug and alcohol users and assisted them in achieving abstinence.  Its family programme also helps relatives cope with the damage that has been caused by addiction.  It is a truly inspiring and wonderful charity that has transformed the lives of hundreds of people.

The location of the shop is fantastic, sitting directly opposite St. Marys Church, I’m sure you can imagine the view from the enormous windows is a very special one.  Throughout the morning we had been expecting rain after seeing a slightly disheartening weather forecast, but the sun shone brightly, and as the Mayor arrived to cut the ribbon and declare the shop open, it was draped in a blanket of sunshine.

I’m sure that you can tell how much the Refresh PR team loves the store, and the charity that it is helping.  We want to raise as much awareness as possible, so if you have any old wooden furniture that isn’t wanted any more then give Restore a call on 0161 480 1904.  They will come and pick it up from you and take it back to the shop to be transformed. 

The fabulous furniture in RestoreI would recommend to anybody that they should go and take a look around Restore; it’s the perfect place to find that special Christmas gift, or that one off beautiful piece of furniture to complete any room.

Don’t just take our word for it; get down to 1 Market Place, Stockport today and find yourself discovering the wonders of Restore. Treat yourself to a very special gift whilst helping a very worthy cause. 

The news of Restore opening made it on to the airwaves last week too, with Pure 107.8FM featuring it on 'Stockport Focus.' 

To find out more about Acorn Treatment and Housing visit http://acorntreatment.org/

Restore, 1 Market Place, Stockport, SK1 1EW

Tagged with: Acorn Treatment & Housing, Refresh PR, Restore, Stockport

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Girls On Film...Again



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

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

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

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

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

 

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