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Whether it’s the sheer amount of exercise classes readily available to consumers or the pressures from social media to look ‘fit’, working out has never been so fashionable.

The last few years have seen countless fitness startups decide to set up shop in the capital, some have been a hitt with customers (see what we did there…) whilst others haven’t been so successful. No matter their success, the stand out contender in the market and the business they could all stand to learn a thing or two from is global phenomenon, F45.

In a matter of years, F45 has gone from an unknown Australian fitness startup to a worldwide powerhouse. We’ve looked at some of the strategies that turned an idea into one of the most recognisable global fitness brands on the market.

Franchise

When CEO Rob Deutsch decided to franchise the F45 business over five years ago, even the biggest supporters of F45 struggled to have believed the sheer growth and popularity it would generate around the globe.

In six years, over a whopping 1750 franchises have been sold across 45+ countries including studios in Afghanistan, South Korea and Russia.

Since 2017, 40 studios have opened in the UK which is just the start according to Deutsch. Whilst targeting North America has proven to be really fruitful and a major success story for the brand, with more than 500 studios expected to open in the coming year according to Forbes, which will surpass the number of studios in Australia in the process.

F45 are breaking new ground in their pursuit of world domination, with the franchise business looking to be the first to open locations inside American universities where the university is the franchisee. As an example, they’ve opened at the University of Texas, and have already got 12 operating campuses. Watch this space, as F45 could be coming to a university near you!

Thanks to tools such as social media and of course the power of recommendations, Deutsch realised that creating a franchise model, it would allow the brand to diversify across the world.

It offers a great deal for both parties, it allows the franchisees to run a business which can generate a turnover, whilst for F45 they receive a fixed monthly fee from every franchise and in the process the brand benefits from free brand awareness.

Technology

Deciding to make technology a major part of the F45 layout proved to be a masterstroke.

The half a million members which F45 currently boasts book themselves into classes via their app, there’s also tech embedded into the heart rate monitors, so consumers can check out real-time on the workout screens in the room, which helps to encourage users and keep them motivated.

As soon as the session finishes, users receive automated feedback, which shows all their stats from the session they have just completed. Results include their average heart rate, calories burnt and F45 ‘points’ achieved, 45 is the optimal workout result of course…

All this data allows users to easily track their workouts, see where they are making improvements and monitor their fitness progress.

Finally, F45 has managed to build into the app a dedicated section which talks through appropriate nutrition to fuel an F45 workout, it helps to create shopping lists, menus and food plans and helps to track your nutrition.

Community

Whilst every franchise will be slightly different in one way or another, F45 has guidelines in how studios should operate. For example, trainers should ask users their names before the session begins to help instil a friendly and inviting atmosphere within the studio.

The classes are attended by a mixture of people of all ages, genders and fitness levels, which helps to dispel any awkwardness from attendees.

There are Facebook and Instagram accounts for most studios, which continuously produce stories, case studies and posts featuring users from the classes and their fitness journeys.

People like to be noticed and with the dominant effect; social media plays in today’s world, making a brand featuring and tagging individuals progress and stories online; is something which F45 users seem to like.

Eight-week transformation challenge

The eight-week transformation challenge has been a great success story for F45, it offers consumers something which offers tangible results which they can buy into.

As part of taking on the challenge, you receive daily meal plans, a comprehensive daily tracking system and a global community on hand to help you to achieve your goals.

There’s also the shout out you receive on Instagram for being the challenge winner where they feature your before and after shots! Make sure to check out the hashtags #8weekchallenge and #f45training.

 

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Here they are. The Challenge winners!!! Our jaws dropped seeing these chiseled physiques stand in front of us after just 8 weeks of training! Isn’t it unreal how our bodies can transform with such impactful results when we give them the exercise we need? And not just our physical appearance changes, but our mindset and energy does too! Our challenge winner @hanwildnz knows that feeling- “It’s hard to believe how low in energy I was before this. The improvements in my mood, energy and body made it easy to get out of bed for that early morning alarm. I’d miss the endorphin kick after a rest day. I’m really glad I did the challenge and looking forward to continue working out at F45” We are always so proud of our Fulham athletes, and can’t wait to kick start our next challenge in a few weeks! #f45 #f45training #8weekchallenge #f458weekchallengewinner #fitnesstransformation

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In conclusion, with further expansion expected in Europe and Canada in the coming year, the F45 juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down.

Whilst the latest innovative gym startups are beginning to catch up with F45 in regard to placing technology at the heart of everything they do, F45 is still in a league of its own when it comes to building an empire.

Whereas most gym chains have to focus their attention and marketing resource in one concentrated area at a time due to either funds or logistics. The franchise model offers an alternative which requires a lot less maintenance, allowing F45 to spread and conquer the market at greater speed.

If you need help promoting your fitness brand, get in touch with our award-winning team today.

Learning from F45

Whilst the healthtech market may still be a relatively new industry, that hasn’t stopped it from thriving. ABHI, the UK’s leading industry association for health technology recently reported that the industry has a combined turnover of £24bn.

Whilst a Deloitte study suggested that by 2018, the global market for digital health would be worth £43bn, almost double from 2014.

At the moment there is a great deal of interest in the healthtech market, with lots of startups taking their offering to market.

We’ve looked at some of the hottest and most innovative healthtech startups currently in the UK.

hometouch

You’d use compare sites to find a discounted holiday, cheaper tariffs for your electricity or water and now you can do the same for finding live-in carers. hometouch have handpicked the finest carers from across the country, who are on hand to help your loved one continue to live in their own home with dignity and most importantly safely.

hometouch was created when founder Dr Jamie Wilson, witnessed first-hand the floors in the carer system whilst his patients struggled to find reliable dementia care at home. A combination of families being let down and hardworking carers being underpaid and undervalued didn’t make for a great situation.

Currently, there are over 500 vetted live-in carers on the hometouch database offering round the clock expert care, allowing you to pick a carer who has expertise in working with specific conditions or can speak different languages.

Thriva

Whether it’s advances towards a cure for cancer or the tell-tell signs of dementia to look out, stories about our health can sometimes feel non-stop. Aside from hiring a full-time doctor to be by your side 24/7 which would provide to be rather pricey, Thriva is the next best thing.

From a simple blood test, Thriva allows users to understand what’s really going on in their  body.

Want to find out why you aren’t sleeping properly? Or why you always feel tired? Simply take the test, post it to a UKAS accredited lab and get the results back online within 48 hours. Thriva allows you to track your progress and see how your reports change over time.

Walk With Path

A symptom from illnesses such as Parkinson’s or someone who has suffered a stroke can a side effect of suffering from the freezing of the gait. This can cause an individual to feel as if they are frozen to the ground.

Path Finder offers a solution to this, through visual cues and lasers which shine on the floor in front of the patient, provides a great aid which gives the individual something to work toward.

Open Bionics

Open Bionics is the startup taking disability and turning it into a superpower, creating an affordable, assistive device that enhances the human body. With an estimated five million upper limb amputees around the world, Open Bionics offers a solution for children as young as 9.

The Bristol-based startup have created fun themed bionic arm covers ranging from Iron Man, Star Wars to Frozen.  Co-founders Joel and Samantha were recently named as 2018’s Hottest Startup Founders in Europe, at The Europa Awards.

Oxford Heartbeat

The London based business creates software to make minimally invasive surgeries more efficient and effective. It’s through this software that allows planning for surgery simpler, faster and more accurate.

Through harnessing the power of big data, predictive computations and Al, Oxford Heartbeat has created software that converts 2D medical scans into 3D images.

This can allow surgeons to be able to test various medical devices for each patient, before having to physically pick the best tools or method for the surgery.

 

If you’d like to find out more about our technology or healthcare PR services, please speak to a member of our team today.

Healthtech startups to check out

Now that summer is nearly over, it’s time to think about Christmas and what type of PR strategy you need to put in place. Yes, Christmas feels a long way ahead but 48% of UK shoppers have already started buying Christmas presents in July. And another majority will start buying theirs between October and November. But why should you launch a Christmas PR campaign?

When executed successfully, PR can offer a creative, results-driven approach that will help tell your brand’s story and generate engaging media placements that talk directly to your target audience. We look at some of the methods and strategies our award-winning teams deploy to gain cut-through and deliver results for our clients during this festive time of the year.

Influencers

In today’s age we are bombarded by choice. So, it’s no surprise that influencers hold a lot of power in validating our decisions. This Christmas again, influencer marketing is going to help you take your campaign to the next level. Why? Because influencers are real people who we trust and respect, a vital tool in marketing a product given that their opinions can, and do, impact the behaviour of their amassed following.

In December, we were briefed to generate widespread press coverage for The British Library to showcase their membership scheme as a must-have Christmas gift for the season. To achieve this, one of the key activities was to work with a range of digital influencers, based in London. Partnering with key influencers including Liberty London Girl, Not such a Model Mum and Boo & Maddie was important to produce impactful content for British Library Membership and supported the campaign to position a membership as the Christmas gift for the imagination.

The British Library said:

The PHA Group supported us with our British Library Membership Christmas campaign. They were a delight to work with – super organised and results driven!  We gained some great coverage in a short period of time.

Senior Marketing Manager at The British Library

Events

Events, pop-up shops and press conference are in the heart of any PR strategy, especially for Christmas when people are looking for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Organising an event to launch a new product or range can be daunting. PR agencies can effectively promote your event encouraging media to cover or attend it through excellent relationships and contacts, as well as creating a buzz of excitement by generating awareness and increase the number of attendees. When opening a pop-up store, you can also maximise your brand awareness. You’ll face your customers and therefore will be able to test your products or services directly in front of your key customers.

Disney wanted to launch a new video game called Epic Mickey 2. Celebrating the forgotten characters of Disney, this game had the potential to appeal to both older and younger generations. To capture the imagination of our audience, we decided to bring the Disney magic to life through a once in a lifetime event. Taking ownership of a coveted space at Westfield, Stratford, we planned an event designed to cut through the noise of our competition. We brought an official Disney illustrator to draw the iconic characters and a virtual graffiti wall to complete the two-day event which was hosted by TV presenters Dick and Dom, ensuring entertainment for adults and children alike. With over 2,000 attendees, many of which were young families, the pop-up event was a huge success.

Digital

Whatever your industry, segment and audience, a big portion of your customers and leads have a digital footprint. Whether it’s to re-enforce your image, create a stunt or promote a new product, social media should always be part of your strategy. From animated GIFs to cinemagraphs and motion graphics, we provide a complete digital solution to create impactful campaigns to engage with your audience. Our dedicated in-house specialists work with you to develop your strategy, and then manage every aspect of all your channels, from weekly content plans and content creation, to daily posting and scheduling through to news agenda or event reaction.

We worked with LaplandUK to position them as the only immersive, theatrical Christmas experience for children to uphold the real and traditional values of Christmas. Our goal was to secure high-profile celebrity visits to create a buzz around the venue on social media as well as raising their profile within key national press and media and consumers to gain top coverage across a variety of channels. Our campaign was based on bringing the magic of LaplandUK to life by enhancing people’s understanding of traditional values of Christmas, the innocence of the season and its ethos. We approached A-list celebrities who have children between the ages of 2-12 and arranged for them to book a trip with their family to LaplandUK in exchange for a quote or social media post. We secured visits from the Beckhams, David Furnish, Emma Bunton, Simon Peg, Emilia Fox and Katie Piper to name a few. The campaign was extremely successful with the experience selling out within two-and-a-half-weeks of being open.

Gift guides & placement

Champagne Pommery

Gift guides are a life saver for many people around Christmas, and all magazines are creating some to help people find the best present for their loved ones. So, it’s no surprise that a gift guide is one of the most powerful tools you can have during the holidays. It allows you to showcase your products, inspire shoppers, and stay top of mind throughout the season. Often brands who have enjoyed placement in a gift guide can see a huge return in terms of an increase in website traffic and sales of the product mentioned.

We worked with Champagne Pommery to position them as one of the leading and most innovative champagne brands in the world during the festive season. To do so we placed Pommery Brut Royal Champagne within relevant Christmas gift guides including Marie Claire, Red, Woman & Home, Mail online. As well as Gift Guides, we also did some featured placement for the Champagne brands which generated opportunities for key spokespeople to write feature articles for relevant media titles, for example, we placed a feature article on ‘6 Champagne tricks to make your New Year’s Eve party extra special’ with Red online.

A PR agency can help you engage with the right audience helping you to create and implement a communications strategy for your business and brand ahead of Christmas. Get in touch now to see how we can help you.

How to “sleigh” your Christmas PR campaign?

What do you love most about the sport and fitness industry?

I was sports mad from a young age and I always wanted to work in the sport industry to some capacity. My passion for sport means that I also had a good understanding of how to stay fit, so the two industries go hand in hand.

All the clients I work with are in some way trying to encourage people to get active and that is what is most rewarding about the job I am in.

 2019 has been a breakout year for wearable technology, home workout sessions, niche gym chains, and wellness festivals. What do you expect to see boom in 2020?

Wearable tech and apps really have transformed the fitness space in recent years. We’re only at the start when it comes to technology influencing the way we keep fit and what I expect we will see in 2020 is advancing technology, an increase in data-driven groups and individual workouts and further customization of workouts brought about by having access to a larger and more varied data set. We are already seeing data on heart rate monitoring and sleep patterns being used to help us meet our fitness goals and as we move into 2020 and beyond, I predict we will come to rely more heavily on apps, sports tech and wearables to inform us in the short, and the long term, and to make exercise more personal.

You’ve been involved in working on some great accounts at The PHA Group, are there any highlights?

I think it would have to be going to Buckingham Palace to watch the first-ever football match take place on their grounds. Two of the oldest amateur league teams in the UK took part in an exhibition match to celebrate to mark the Football Association’s 150th anniversary.

I arranged for a client to be one of the shirt sponsors for the game which resulted in blanket global brand awareness for the brand. One of my oldest friends also scored the first goal in the game which made it even better!

What sets the sport and fitness department at The PHA Group apart from other agencies? 

 We have such a diverse range of clients and have built up an incredible knowledge of different sectors in the sport and fitness industry.

We are experts within the gym sector having worked with PureGym and Xercise4ess and have an incredibly diverse range of clients in the mass event industry such as Royal Parks Half Marathon, Spartan Race and Threshold Sports.

 PHA are known as the go-to agency for Football Clubs and currently work with West Ham United and Crystal Palace and previously Manchester City. We have also built up a strong rapport within the rugby sector having worked with Harlequins, Barbarians and OPRO.

We have become experts across the whole fitness market, MMA, football and rugby sectors.

 Finally, you were instrumental in showcasing Xercise4Less as the leading low-cost gym chain in the national media, if you could give one free piece of advice to a startup gym what would it be?

The market is incredibly crowded at the moment and you absolutely need one USP that differentiates yourself from the competition. I am seeing a lot of people open sites and they are not offering anything new. I was really impressed with the new concept “Rowbots” in London where they say it is the complete workout for body and mind. They are combining rowing, floor workouts with mindfulness so that you are getting the ultimate workout.

If you would like to find out how PR can connect you with the right audience for your sport or fitness offering then please get in touch with us today.

Meet our people; Tom Inskip

Sustainability is everywhere, from beauty to homeware and now making a real impact to the fashion industry, but what about childrenswear? A few years ago, it was very difficult to find a brand that would be good for the environment, sustainable and still look, well, fashionable. Today more and more brands are emerging around the world combining pure material, clever design as well as long lasting clothes.

Children are the biggest clothes wasters of all time; they grow so fast and usually wear a piece of clothing for a few months before having to switch to a bigger size. We’re looking at clever companies creating innovative clothes for your little ones to help tackle the impact on the environment and sustainability issues.

Petit pli

 

 

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– Cleaner Future 🌎 🌊 – ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ We want LittleHumans to grow up in a cleaner world. However, their speedy growth creates a lot of waste. ⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣ By engineering garments which are made from ♻️ plastic bottles & grow to span 7 sizes, Petit Pli designs out waste & carbon dioxide emissions in the garment industry.⁣⁣⁣⁣ .⁣ .⁣⁣⁣⁣ .⁣⁣⁣⁣ #petitpli #clothes #that #grow #cleaner #future #skyoceanrescue #letschangeclothes #plastic #pollution #design #engineering #recycling #wearables #fashtech #future

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Petit Pli is a wearable technology company based in London aiming to dress the future generation. The company has been founded in 2017, by trained aeronautical engineer Ryan Mario Yasin and is inspired by Ryan’s background to stop wasting children clothes.

The concept of Petit Pli is built upon using materials sustainably. The company’s designs significantly reduce waste, and CO2 emissions at the point of production, distribution and after purchase. Their garments grow up to seven sizes – so instead of buying seven pieces of clothing, you’ll only buy one! As well as reducing waste, Petit Pli suits are made from recycled fabrics & have a mono-fibre construction – allowing them to be recycled easily at the end of their use.

Muddy Puddle

 

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🎉🤸 Yippee! Our new EcoSplash collection has arrived! These brilliant jackets and all-in-ones are perfect to prepare your brave adventurers for the chilly days ahead (we know it’s hard to believe, but they’ll come around eventually!) We love our home planet and want to protect it so we’ve made our EcoSplash range using recycled fabric ♻️⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ 🌍 These lovely jackets and splashsuits are crafted from cutting edge recycled fabric. They are not only environmentally friendly but also 100% waterproof, lightweight but toasty when needed, equipped with soft fleece lining and cosy Sherpa hoods.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ♻️ Our EcoSplash collection is now available on our website, we hope you’ll love it as much as we do!⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #muddypuddles #muddypuddlesuk #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashion #recycle #plasticfreejuly⁠ #ecosplash #ecofriendly #beautyinnature #developinglife #sustainability #documentyourdays #explorerkids #familytravelmoment #freshairandfreedom #gooutside #gooutsideandplay #kidsoftheoutdoors #letthembelittle #letthembewild #lovetheoutdoors #naturechild #naturewalk #outdoorfun #outsideeveryday⁣ #summer #letthekids #childhoodunplugged #candidchildhood #clickinmoms⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀

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Looking at the weather this week, this collection of outwear would be really handy for your little explorers. Launched this summer, this new collection of lightweight jackets is all made from cutting edge recycled fabric. Not only are they good for the environment, they are also 100% waterproof and come in two different print. The collection includes jackets, fleeces and trousers and are all great for cold and rainy days.

It’s not too expensive neither to buy this fun outdoor jacket, and you can wash it anytime, as we know the explorers like to get muddy when it rains!

The Bright Company

 

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Anyone else ready for the sun to return?? Lots of these summery styles going out this week so looks like you are all hoping for a return! ☀️ 🤞🏽🤞🏽 . Gorgeous pic of @finlay_fox and her crew living their best lives in Antigua! #thebrightcompany

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Have you ever wished your child’s clothes were made in your size too? Well, with The Bright Company, your dream has been fulfilled. The company describe themselves as the “Design-led, organic and ethical sleepwear and loungewear for modern families”. Yes, they design sleepwear for both adults and children so no need to be jealous anymore.

And even better news, all their products use super-soft, GOTS certified organic cotton jersey fabric as well as meeting the strict OEKO-TEX Standard 100, ensuring no harmful substances or dyes are used at any stage of production. All the products are made within the EU for even more ethicality, so you can sleep tight and night!

Picalilly

 

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As an organic and sustainable kidswear brand it’s important to stay close to our core values. We’re not about fast fashion or indeed mass production. Piccalilly is all about colourful clothes made for kids without compromising the environment. . . There‘s no escaping the fact that the clothing industry is one of the largest polluters on the planet. We must ensure that this impact is minimal. . . 💚All our clothes are made using chemical free organic cotton. 💚We manufacture to strict GOTS standards and we’re certified through the Soil Association here in the UK. 💚Much of our printing is digital and our dyeing is processed through treatment plants ensuring chemicals are not released into local waters. 💚Our packaging is biodegradable and our mailbags are paper. 💚Our clothes are made well from durable organic cotton materials making them long lasting. 💚Our clothes are always created to have longer lasting fits for maximum wear. . . Once your child finally outgrows your Piccalilly clothes please do your bit by reusing or recycling to prolong its life. So many resources have gone into making each item give someone else the chance to give it a loving home 💚 . . A massive shoutout to @strongandfort for this beautiful photo! Clothes from @fallowfieldkids . . #reducereuserecycle #sustainablefashion #colourfulkids #kidsofinstagram #organickidsclothes #unisexkidsclothes #piccaliscious #piccalilly

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Who said sustainable had to be boring? Picalilly is a British baby and kidswear brand designing organic clothes from newborn up to 10 years. They’re the leading UK company to develop muslin swaddling blankets and manufacture all their organic clothing to the highest ethical standards.

As an example, Picalilly sources their chemical free organic cotton from a project called Chetna Organic. It’s a fair-trade cotton programme with a mission to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers by making their farm systems more sustainable and profitable. In 2008 Chetna became the first cotton farmers organisation in India to receive Fairtrade Certification. All their cotton is grown by small marginal farmers without the use of child labour, chemicals and GMOs.

If you are launching a new product or would like to raise awareness of your sustainability work for your brand or business, get in touch with our Consumer PR team today to find out how we can help.

 

 

Sustainable fashion brands for children

Meet our people beth Stone healthcare

Tell us about your experience working in the healthcare sector?

When I first started working in communications, I had no intention of working in healthcare. As a junior account executive my first client was a hot sauce brand, and at the time I thought I would gladly spend the rest of my career debating the relative merits of a habanero or a jalapeno. But in the wise words of Ronan Keating, life is a rollercoaster – six months later I’d been pulled over to healthcare to support on a new campaign for Sudocrem.

I never looked back. Healthcare may be one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, whether you’re working with prescription pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter consumer brands, but that challenge is exactly what makes it one of the most creative fields for marketing and PR.

Since that first campaign for Sudocrem – which went on to snatch Gold at the OTC Marketing Awards – I’ve gone on to work for consumer health brands across infant health, maternity, gastroenterology, dietetics and nutrition, and immunology (off the top of my head).

One particular highlight of my career to date was working on the licence switch of Viagra Connect last year (from prescription-only to being available over the pharmacy counter). It was, and remains to be at the time of writing, the most high-profile pharmaceutical licence switch to date – but we can expect to see more prescription-only pharmaceuticals, including Cialis and Levitra, following in its footsteps.

What are the most common hurdles brands, products and businesses face in the health industry?

Working with healthcare’s strict and detailed regulatory codes can look (and sometimes feel) confining compared to consumer brands. But the reality is that health and wellbeing are among the most emotive subjects in the world, so clever research and a little creativity can go a long way to move hearts and minds.

Healthcare brands are rarely ever designing communication campaigns with just consumers in mind, either. More often they’re talking to healthcare professionals, charities and special interest groups, and sometimes commissioners or national decision makers as well as patients and their loved ones.

Unsurprisingly many healthcare brands and businesses find developing a communications strategy that can speak to all these diverse audiences, across all the diverse channels we have these days, to be incredibly challenging. No more so than when they’re already struggling to translate a complex disease, condition or treatment into a clear story for media.

What do you like most about supporting businesses with their PR requirements?

No two brands or businesses are the same, so a cookie cutter approach is never going to fix everyone’s problems. I love solving puzzles and problems, so working to find the exact balance of activities that will meet a business’ unique requirements is interesting and exciting work for me to be doing.

The health sector is tough is terms of competition, how can PR help a business become a thought leader and improve their brand awareness?

If you want to be a thought-leader, you can’t always play it safe. After all, if you’re saying the same thing as all your competitors, then you may as well be saying nothing at all. But you don’t need to take huge risks to stand out – considered messaging, an understanding of your audience and careful risk mitigation can give your brand the chance to shine without any of the downsides.

What sets the consumer PR services at PHA apart from other agencies?

Our team combines people from diverse PR, comms and marketing backgrounds with those who have worked for many years as a journalist. This unique blend of skills and perspectives means we’re able to seamlessly blend journalistic values and an ingrained understanding of the news agenda with a strategic approach to communicating brand messages.

It’s what makes us so great at spotting breaking news and turning it to our clients’ advantage, translating breaking news about a Tiger Woods golfing win into a Daily Telegraph feature about orthopaedic surgery, extensively featuring a client.

Meet our people – Beth Stone

According to Our World In Data, the world population has risen from 6 billion in 1999 to just under 8 billion in 2019. The continuous population growth puts a considerable strain on how we travel daily, larger economies mean more vehicles on the road, more trains, planes, boats and vehicles. More importantly, we all get so frustrated at more traffic jams.

We’ve taken a look at seven businesses within the transport tech industry that are making commuting and travel that little bit easier for consumers.

Virtuo

Virtuo, is a mobile-only car rental service with 2,000 vehicles across Europe and the UK. British drivers can rent a Virtuo car from 12 locations in London, one in Manchester and one in Edinburgh, with further expansions planned in 2019. The service is also available in cities across Spain, France and Belgium.

The Virtuo app allows users to seamlessly register, book and unlock one of Virtuo’s brand new premium Mercedes A-Class or GLA vehicles. The service uses technology to take all the pain-points out of traditional car rental, allowing renters to use their phone to unlock the car, file a damage report, and track real-time fuel and mileage information, among a whole host of other features.

The app also scans the user’s driver’s license to carry out a DVLA check to ensure they can drive the vehicles.

Virtuo launched in London in the summer of 2018, and its recent launches in Manchester and Edinburgh followed a successful €20 Million Series B fundraise led by Balderton Capital earlier this year. Since launching, Virtuo’s 100,000 UK users have driven over one million miles in the UK.

Carwow

Meet the UK-based startup that gives car buyers and car dealers the opportunity to connect in a smart and efficient way. Carwow is dedicated to bringing you the best offers from local and nation-wide dealers, with variables such as prices, location and dealer rating.

On average carwow is saving consumers almost £4,000 per vehicle compared to the recommended retail price of a car.  With £2 billion worth of cars bought through the platform and a 9.4/10 Trustpilot rating, you’d be foolish to not check out the site next time you’re looking for an upgrade!

Pod Point

There’s no hiding from it, cars are playing an increasingly important role in global warming. Petrol and diesel-fueled cars produce dangerous greenhouse gases, to help save the environment, alternative methods are going to have to be pursued.

Pod Point has been the UK’s leading provider of electric vehicle charging for the past decade, with electric producing zero emissions and portraying a green image, it should be considered a major option for the future of travel.

Currently, charging points are at locations such as Sainsbury’s and David Lloyd’s nationwide. Pod Point’s core values are that they believe travel shouldn’t damage the earth, so they’re actively helping people adopt clean transport in their everyday lives.

Parkopedia

Founded in 2007, with the aim of answering any parking query at any time in the world. Parkopedia allows drivers to find the closest parking to their destination, whilst also telling them how much it will cost, and whether the space is currently available. Which means no more driving around aimlessly looking for a parking space.

The app which not only updates with real-time parking availability, it also allows consumers to reserve parking spots online. With over 70 million parking spaces across 89 countries, you can see that this transport tech business really does deserve its encyclopedia namesake!

Zeelo

There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in a traffic jam, the stress can become unbearable. This is what led to two friends, Sam and Barney to do something about it. They decided to build an algorithm that could understand when large groups of people wanted to travel. They created Zeelo a data-driven transportation service which offers convenient coach pickups for consumers and offer direct routes to your destination.  Watch this space, as we predict 2020 will be a big year for Zeelo!

DriverNet

Founded in 2016 by Anthony Chisnall, who had previously spent two decades working in logistics for small fleet operators and large international hauliers. DriverNet is fundamentally a smart sat-nav created specifically for delivery drivers. Some of the features include real-time tracking and alerts for clients via email or text, and an operational dashboard which includes integrated customer relationship management channels.

Faxi

Combining friends and taxi, The UK’s number one carpooling scheme, ‘Faxi’ is certainly something to check out.  Users can find and connect with colleagues who share the same journey to work and who commute at similar times. The built-in app capability means that in a matter of minutes you can create your own carpooling community. The data suggests that nearly 50% of people would car share and yet millions of people travel every day with an empty seat next to them.

Faxi’s aims are to reduce congestion, pollution and save people money and time while providing a safe and efficient journey.

Are you interested in learning more about what PR could do for your business? Do you have a product ready to launch in the UK? Speak to one of our award-winning teams today to find out more.

Seven transport tech businesses to check out

Well known high street and luxury brands are beginning to positively change their stance on sustainable fashion but there are several brands in which sustainability has always been at the core of their business.

By purchasing from sustainable brands, you will be reducing your carbon footprint compared to unsustainable brands. Some use only recycled materials so there is a closed supply chain and no new resources are being used up. Others use organic materials such as organic cotton which require less water, energy and don’t use chemicals in production. On top of this, many up and coming sustainable fashion companies run community and environmental projects to give back to the areas where they sustainably source their materials from.

If everyone makes a conscious effort to shift towards only buying sustainable garments and accessories, eventually those companies without sustainable fashion goals will fall behind and will be forced to adapt. Below are a number of brands worth looking at for sustainable alternatives to your typical high street and luxury brands which are not quite there – just yet.

Komodo

Komodo is a British clothing brand who have been creating eco fashion for over 30 years. Their products are organic, incorporate fair trade and are high quality in order to reduce throwaways. On top of this, Komodo have supported numerous environmental and social projects in the UK and in their manufacturing countries. From sheltering London’s homeless, to building schools high in the Himalayas, and reforestation programs on the side of volcanos.

 

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Perfect day for these super slouchy GOTS certified organic cotton dungarees. 🍉✌🏼🍉 . . . . #organiccotton #white #whitedenim #sunnyday #tropical #garden #summerinthecity #londonsun #sunnytuesday #slouchy #gots #gotscertified #organicdenim #pockets #photoshoot #urbanphotography #hiddengem

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Ksenia Schnaider

This Ukrainian brand was founded in 2011 and has become an advocate for sustainable fashion in Eastern Europe. After years of research and development, Ksenia Schnaider released its demi-denim collection, all from reworked denim. This is now the brand’s signature look. Ksenia Schnaider has become popular among A-list celebrities including the likes of Bella Hadid and Dua Lipa and is now stocked in over 70 stores worldwide! In the UK, the label can be found in Selfridges and Koibird.

 

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Urban Cowgirl 🐎 Jeans are available to preorder on kseniaschnaider.com

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MATT & NAT

Standing for mat(t)erial and nature, MATT & NAT is a vegan accessory brand built on the principle of respecting life and nature. The company is committed to using no animal-based products and has experimented over the years with cork, rubber, cardboard and nylons. Since 2007, they have only used linings that are made from 100% plastic bottles in all their bags.

 

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COLOURFUL COMPANIONS || SVG ON SALE | Calling all passengers ! Pack along your favourite accessories in all of the seasons best colours. Bet you can’t pick just one. (Oh and they’re all 30% off!) Products Shown: SOLAR in FRAPPE, TECKEL in BERRY, TROTTER in CACTUS, VOYAGE in FRAPPE, OZMA in WHISPER, WILL in BERRY, and LU in CACTUS. . . . #mattandnat #materialsandnature #livebeautifully #recycled #vegan #crueltyfree #ss19 #ss19collection #spring #summer #newcollection #summerstyle #svg #carryall #accessories #sale #summersale

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Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman is an American label founded in 2000. It currently does not have any UK stores but is stocked in a few department stores including Selfridges and Harrods. They also ship to the UK. Mara Hoffman aims to educate society on sustainable fashion and encourage people to re-evaluate the relationship they have with clothing. The brand uses responsibly sourced organic, recycled and regenerated materials whenever possible and manufacture in a way that minimises negative impacts and ensures all people involved are treated fairly. Mara Hoffman has also teamed up with various organisations which support the communities they manufacture in, and educate society on sustainable fashion. The label is known for its on-trend designs and bold colours.

 

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Lua making shapes. 🥕

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People Tree

Established in 1991, People Tree is a colourful brand with patterns inspired by the V&A archives. Collections feature organic cotton, TENCEL™ Lyocell and responsible wool. These materials are then transformed into garments using traditional artisan skills such as hand weavinghand knittinghand embroidery and hand block printing. People Tree also creates manufacturing jobs in rural locations where employment is scarce. Their website includes details on how to care for their garments in order to make them last, again incorporating sustainability.

 

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Did you know, GOTS certified Organic Cotton protects the farmers, their communities and the environment, by ensuring all standards are met from harvest to manufacturing 🌱 #organic #fairtrade

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If you are launching a new product or would like to raise awareness of your sustainability work for your brand or business, get in touch with our Consumer PR team today to find out how we can convey your key messages to the UK media.

Up and Coming Sustainable Fashion Brands

From cholesterol and blood pressure to DNA and STIs there is now a home testing kit available for a multitude of medical queries. HOME testing is more popular than ever, and pharmacies now sell an array of diagnostic medical devices that could help you to take your wellbeing into your own hands.

Whether it’s long waiting times at your GP surgery, or a set of embarrassing symptoms that you’re too shy to get checked out, there are plenty of reasons why people might choose to cut out middleman (or woman) and check themselves at home.

We check out the businesses leading the way in the medical arena and providing consumers with easy, accessible medically approved testing kits.

23 and me

The home-based saliva collection kit that promises to find out your ancestry, health and DNA make up without all the needles and blood usually required by your doctor’s service. 23 and Me offer several services that customers can partake from the comfort of their home. They pride themselves on a simple three step service. Simply choose the kit for you which typically arrives within 3-5 days. Follow the instructions and register for you kit to be collected and mailed back to their specialist lab. Finally discover within 3-5 weeks your bespoke dedicated online report and find out what your DNA says about you.

Yorktest Laboratories

With over 35 years of diagnostic testing Yorktest Laboratories pride themselves as the leading provider of food and drink specific IgG antibody testing programmes. In the UK alone according to the Food Standards Agency an estimated two million people live with a diagnosed food allergy so identifying individuals needs have never been so important. Yorktest Laboratories test over 208 foods and provide customers with actional information to help optimize their diet and wellbeing. Check out their tests today whether its IBS, for your children or you want to reach your perfect weight they have a kit for everyone.

Cerascreen

Cerascreen is the home testing kit provider who offers health diagnosis, advice and care from a single source. Through their simple blood return test draws a result by utilizing the data form a supplementary questionnaire couple with the experience gleaned from thoughts of tests conducted over the last 10 years. Their professionals also provide each customer with clear results that have important information and personalised recommendations to improve health. Their popular vitamin, hormone, mineral and food tolerance tests allow you to find out your health status from the comfort of your own home.

ThyroScreen

Manufactured by Personal Diagnostics Ltd the self-testing kit helps to detect underactive thyroid activity. ThyroScreen only takes 10 minutes to complete and contains the equipment to collect a small drop of blood from the individual’s finger, of which the test is performed. The kit tests the amount of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) also known as thyrotropin, in the blood. The home testing kit doesn’t measure the exact level of TSH, only whether it is ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ prompting the individual to seek further medical advice.

SELFCheck

SELFCheck is a growing range of self-test medical test kits from 1st Health Products Ltd. Providing customers with validated medical tests that are easy to use and accessible is their number one priority. SELFCheck have several home testing kits but their Prostate Health Test is one available for men who want to check their PSA levels. Prostate cancer remains the number one cause of cancer in men and, given that the UK has an ageing population, this is unlikely to change. Men are advised to carry out PSA examinations and screening annually from the age of 50-60 onwards and, where there is family history of prostate disease, it may be wise to undertake screening sooner. The easy to use at home test detects raised levels of a protein Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) associated with abnormalities associated with the prostate gland.

LetsGetChecked

Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is straightforward and confidential, but many people put off going to the clinic to get things checked because of embarrassment.

LetsGetChecked provide convenient, confidential and accurate health testing for women and men with online results available within a matter of days. With a wide range of tests on offer, LetsGetChecked allows you to activate your test and collect your sample on the morning, return the same day with your prepaid shipping label and within 2-5 days receive your confidential results. An easy way to manage your health, their team of nurses are available 24/7 to provide you with the best medical advice to suit your needs.

If you’d like to find out more about our Healthcare PR services, please speak to a member of our team today.

The best home health testing kits

With August upon us, you may (already) be thinking about and budgeting for your 2020 PR plans. While the UK and Europe’s future political relations remain up in the air for now, your public relations don’t have to be the same, and if you’re a company operating in both the UK and EU, it’s important to think about how you’ll reach your various audiences through PR. As you plan for the year ahead, here’s my advice on how you should procure a European PR agency.

Have a clear brief

If you’re planning to bring on PR agencies for your European PR, it’s absolutely vital that you have a clear brief that summarises your goals, which territories you need covered and priorities, what activities you expect the agency to do day-to-day, your budget per month and your timelines for the pitch process and starting a contract. Creating a request for proposal (or RFP) is a great place to start with this, and reaching out to agencies with this RFP will prevent you having to answer the same questions over and over, ensuring the agencies can give you a relevant proposal that fits your needs. It’s also important to be clear on what your company can offer to press in each region. For example, if you want to do PR in Spain, do you have a senior spokesperson based in country? Or one who can speak Spanish fluently and is comfortable doing interviews with the press? These details will help agencies show you what will be realistically achievable.

Consider your budgets and scope

Before beginning a European PR campaign, it’s important to consider what budget you have, how you will split this across each territory and whether each country’s PR team will be required to do the same brief of work. For example, if you know that the UK, France and Germany are your most important markets, they should have the biggest chunks of the budget (and in turn different KPIs or a broader scope of work).

If your budgets are low, you may also be better off starting with two to three of your most important countries to begin with, rather than spreading the budget thin across six or seven regions. This will ensure you can achieve better results in the most important areas, rather than a few ‘okay’ pieces of coverage in many countries.

Coordinate or delegate

European PR can differ company to company, with some in-house PR managers choosing to oversee and manage their agencies across Europe themselves, while others will want one of the PR agencies to act as the hub agency that manages everyone and reports back to the client on behalf of the group. Think about which approach will work best for you and your company.

Hiring a coordination agency has many advantages, as it ensures you have an advocate on your team who can guarantee that every team is meeting their KPIs, keeping track of deadlines, and maintaining consistency across Europe. If you’re going down this route, be sure to ask your prospective agencies about how they would manage the coordination process should you work together to understand their usual approach and whether it’s right for you.

Global agency or partners

Finally, it’s important to decide if you want to work with an agency that has its own offices in multiple countries, or whether you’ll work with an independent agency that has strong agency partners in key territories. Some companies choose to appoint agencies with owned offices in different countries across Europe, as it means they only have to hire one, and these agencies are often large, household names.

That will work well for some, but it’s important to remember that each country’s office may have different strengths, so you should investigate this during any procurement process. Many companies choose to instead appoint independent agencies with great partner relationships, as these provide a boutique offering and generally will keep the pan-European PR costs down compared to larger agencies’ fees.

Ultimately the most important part of the tender process for your European PR is being transparent and clear about your expectations and goals for each country.

If you’re looking to appoint an agency for your European PR campaigns, do get in touch with The PHA Group to see how we can support your objectives and goals and to tell you more about our international partnership network.

How to choose a European PR agency