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How robo-advice is revolutionising wealth management

How robo-advice is revolutionising wealth management

The UK Robo-Advice and Digital Wealth Summit returns to London for a second year on Thursday 20th September. Here, we take a look at the fintech pioneers leading the way in this fascinating sector.

Robo-advice and digital wealth management are one of the fastest-growing and most talked-about areas of the financial services’ digital transformation. The concept was originally conceived as a way of extending financial advice to the mass market, but today the technology has, and will only continue to be, extended to insurance, pensions and many other areas of finance, benefiting both consumers and businesses.

As we welcome the second year of the UK Robo-Advice and Digital Wealth Summit, we take a look at some of the keynote speakers and how their respective businesses are pioneering the digitalisation of wealth management and making it easier for consumers and businesses alike to make the most of their money without the hassle.

PensionBee

Speaker: Romi Savova, Chief Executive

PensionBee is “the first and only technology operating in the UK that can identify, transfer and combine pensions for users”.

Essentially, it’s an online pension manager helping those who often move jobs to amalgamate and track their pensions in a single online platform. To use it, users need simply list their employment history and the platform combines their pensions into a single plan.

According to PensionBee, the average person has 11-12 jobs in their lifetime and people are understandably losing track of existing pension pots largely due to a lack of support from government in the transfer process (a total of over £500m in forgotten pensions, to be precise).

Smart Pension

Speaker: Darren Philp, Head of Policy

Smart Pension enables savers to track how much they have invested into their retirement pots and plan for their retirements accordingly. By empowering users with a greater awareness of their assets, across multiple pension pots, the company is bringing much-needed transparency to a previously outdated process.

Earlier this month the company announced former Virgin Group chief executive Stephen Murphy to as the new chairman of its board.

Smart Pension launched an app for iOS and Android earlier this year, allowing users to track their pension balance in real-time, and even increase their contribution levels to certain funds when they can afford to do so. It’s also empowering its users even further through the launch of its Amazon Alexa Skill, allowing savers to stay up-to-date with their savings using simple voice commands.

AtomInvest

Speaker: Hemal Mehta, Founder and Chief Executive

AtomInvest’s mission is to democratise access to alternative investment funds across private equity, venture capital and hedge funds – to ultimately make alternative investments easily accessible to the wider market.

“Alternative investments are great manufacturers of returns in up markets and down markets…however the privilege of investing into these funds was reserved for big institutions such as pension funds, endowments and insurance companies”, founder and CEO Hemal Mehta tells HedgeWeek.

Hemal has subsequently launched a digital platform for high net worth investors and smaller institutions to back alternative investments. It must be noted that minimum investments start from $100,000.

AtomInvest claims to be the lowest cost provider in the market due to charging investors a flat fee for the service and infrastructure of 1% of the money they are putting in.

WealthSimple

Speaker: Tomasz Krzywicki, General Counsel (Europe & US)

When it comes to automated investment, WealthSimple is one of the biggest names in the game. CEO of WealthSimple Michael Katchen says it’s designed to “simplify investing so you can get on with your life”.

Its technology helps investors earn the best possible returns on their money through automatic rebalancing, dividend reinvesting and other methods.

What is particularly attractive about WealthSimple is its management fees, fixed at just 0.5% on accounts up to $100,000, and only 0.4% on accounts over $100,000. Traditional mutual funds have been known to charge as much as double this, leaving us to question why anyone wouldn’t be interested in setting an investment amount and leaving it to look after itself.

Wealth Wizards

Speaker: Andrew Firth, Chief Executive

Wealth Wizards is a robo-adviser majority owned by LV. In March this year it launched an AI service, Truro, which will learn and replicate the advice advisers give their clients after examining the business’ previous work.

Speaking to Financial Reporter, CEO Andrew Frith has reiterated that “robo-advice isn’t here to put financial advisers out of a job…instead it’s a tool which is complementary to financial advisers’ services”, and this is exactly what their new AI tool is doing.

Andrew has built Wealth Wizards on the premise that robo-advice is, generally, more robust and consistent than human judgement alone, while at the same time helping to bridge the gap when it comes to financial advice for the amateur or intermediate investor.

Moneyfarm

Founder: Giovanni Dapra, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Moneyfarm promises to create an investment portfolio, adjust it automatically and provide advice to users of the platform for a fraction of the cost of traditional investment platforms.

It only launched in the UK a couple of years ago, but has already made a name for itself as one of the go-to options for first-time investors looking for support as they enter the stocks & shares market with little or no experience, without needing to worry about the fees of traditional investment platforms.

The platform has announced it has over £400 million in assets under management. In May it raised £40m to fund product development, and earlier this year reported a revenue of £1million for the first time.

Our top fitness campaigns of 2018 so far

We’re emerging from the height of tone-up season as days get shorter and we place our swimsuits back into the draw. It’s the time where we want to reinvent ourselves and get fit for the new year after our party season. It seems like everywhere consumers turn in January the peek of the fitness calendar there’s a workout recommendation or cleanse plan begging for a click-through. We take a look at the fitness campaigns that have got us moving all year round.

 Reebok: #BeMoreHuman

Over the years Reebok has hit us with countless memorable campaigns and their most recent, Be More Human campaign is one we love.

The campaign celebrates ‘women who are transforming themselves and the world around them’ and sees models, athletes and artists including the likes of Ariana Grande, Katrin Davidsdottier, Gigi Hadid, Gal Gadot and Nathalie Emmanuel star in their own inspiring video.

Along with the inspiring campaign videos, Reebok has released 10 limited edition t-shirts, each with an inspirational message from one of the women featured in the campaign printed on them.

Consumers are encouraged to get behind the campaign and purchase a t-shirt as 100% of donations go to the Women’s Strength Coalition and The Movemeant Foundation.

A worthy cause and t-shirts are still available to purchase until 31st December 2018.

USN: “The Face of USN”

Leading sports nutrition brand USN launched a nationwide competition to find the male and female face of the brand in an exciting campaign “The Face of USN”.

Entrants were required to submit a short application form online and in 200 words, describe why they think they deserved to be the next face of USN.

The winners, who were announced in January 2018, had fantastic back stories where they had overcome serious adversity and in addition to USN products, won a 12-month ambassador contract with the brand.

The campaign ran for three months and allowed USN to achieve media cut through during the highly competitive New Year period.

Coca-Cola: #PassTheHappiness

Coca-Cola, in partnership with ASDA and social impact company One World Play Project, teamed up with Jason Derulo for their global FIFA World Cup initiative #PassTheHappiness, which launched back in May 2018.

The campaign invited consumers to help #PassTheHappiness and bring unpoppable footballs to communities in need, by purchasing participating coke products from ASDA stores and selecting a charity to donate Futbols to.

The One World Futbol, created by One World Play Project, never needs a pump and never goes flat and can be played with even in the harshest environments.

Coca-Cola, ASDA and One World Play Project pledged to donate 15,000 Futbols to young people in disadvantaged countries and news on whether they achieved their target will be announced soon!

London Marathon: #SpiritofLondon

Each year we look forward to seeing the latest campaign from the most iconic marathon in the world, the Virgin Money London Marathon, and each year we are not disappointed.

Anyone who tuned into the marathon last year will remember the emotional and inspiring finish of David Wyeth, who was helped down the mall to the finish line by fellow runner, Matt Rees. This moment encapsulated the spirit of London and thus came about, the 2018 #SpiritofLondon campaign and the new Spirit of London Award.

The campaign celebrated the unique spirit of the marathon by showcasing the astonishing stories of its winners, runners, volunteers, supporters and spectators.

In the lead up to the 2018 marathon, commemorative coins were presented to those who won a Spirit of London Award, the first being awarded to David and Matt, who started the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon together and finished just minutes apart.

 

Spirit Of London

The 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon will celebrate its unique spirit, showcasing the extraordinary stories of its runners, champions, volunteers, supporters and spectators through the #SpiritOfLondon campaign!

Posted by London Marathon on Friday, January 26, 2018

 

 

Lucozade Sport: #MadetoMove

Back in September 2016, Lucozade Sport launched their Made to Move campaign to get one million people moving by 2020.

As part of the campaign, Lucozade Sport hosted the largest-ever live-streamed workout in partnership with Pure Gym and in 2017, Lucozade Sport launched their Made to Move fitness app.

The campaign has continued to build momentum since its inception and for 2018, Lucozade Sport and #MadeToMove ambassador and Unified World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Anthony Joshua, have partnered with Our Parks whose mission is to get 100,000 park goers exercising weekly by 2019.

To do this, Lucozade are supporting Our Parks to launch free fitness classes in 30 new locations as well as online workouts being available for people who sign up. Anthony Joshua kicked off the partnership by hosting a park workout with more than 400 people!

 

 

Do you need a communications strategy that achieves real impact and cut-through? Speak to our sport & fitness team today to find out how we can support you.

Burberry: Making Instagram into instant buys

The most anticipated show of London Fashion Week is of course Burberry and the way they continue to reshape how their consumers can shop their latest looks.

The show, held on 17 September 17:00 BST, is Creative Director Riccardo Tisci’s debut since taking over from Christopher Kane and he is certainly making an entrance with a new logo and monogram, as well as a change of direction for the designs as he incorporates street wear into the heritage brand.

Burberry

The brand is known for its’ traditional designs yet innovative technology, as the brand were the early adopters of the ‘See Now, Buy Now’ concept back in 2016. Consumers are no longer expected to wait months until they are able to purchase the looks they see on the catwalk; looking back, it was an outdated tradition of Fashion Week that brands had been too scared to challenge. Burberry were the first to reshape this format and have ultimately forced other brands to speed up their production process and allow consumers to buy the looks fresh from the runway items.

This year sees even more innovation as consumers will be able to buy the collection half an hour after the show using Instagram and WeChat through a series of 24-hour product releases, something that has never been done before. Previously London Fashion Week was an invitation only event but brands such as Burberry are including their wider consumers by live-streaming the catwalk and allowing the collections to be readily available. The collection is also going to be sold at their flagship store on Regent Street just half an hour after the show ends, another huge shake-up in the usual fashion week formula.

Tisci is really capitalising on the power of social media by making his collections exclusive to WeChat and Instagram. The first item to be released from the collection was The Thomas Burberry Monogram T-shirt, priced at £290, it was available to purchase for 24 hours only as a little teaser. It may just be a t-shirt to some, but it is a staple of the changing face of the iconic brand and has already been snapped on Instagram by Lily James & Rihanna, once again reinforcing the influential power of social media.

Burberry

Burberry are always at the forefront in business innovation and have become the-go-to brand for inspiring so many shifts in the industry. They have seen the opportunities that social media creates and how consumers crave instant reaction and exclusivity and turned it into profit. If you too would like to learn from the best and are looking for a new direction for your business or social media strategy, contact us today.

Home connected series – Smart bedroom gadgets

bedroom gadgets

A few years ago, the idea of a smart home was unheard of, but in the last two years, we have witnessed the ownership of smart devices double. If you’re sat there thinking there’s nothing wrong with my house as it is, why do I need it to be smarter, the answer is two-fold. Firstly, it’s convenient. Nearly every device made nowadays has an ability to connect to the internet, from your watch to your coffee machine or your fridge to your phone, so imagine if you could control it all from one device or even through a voice-controlled assistant?

Secondly, a smart home can learn with you, and slowly become automated, removing the need for mundane tasks and making your life easier. Simple changes, such as the kettle switching on as you pull up to your house, or your fridge automatically ordering milk when you’re low will free up your time.

We’re kicking off our connected series with the smart bedroom, picking out our favourite gadgets that will take your bedroom from the stone age to the new age:

Barisieur

If like me, you’re not a morning person, the Barisieur is set to become your new best friend. The alarm clock eases you into your day by having a cup of tea or coffee ready and waiting for you when you wake up. The sleek design brings back memories of record plays and happiness as it sets you up for the day.

Eve

Rather than be limited to restrictive architecture or thin walls, you can make your bedroom the centre of hygge by using Eve, the nomadic heating and luminous sphere. Designed to restore balance to any room, the portable light and heater can be used throughout the year and will be available this month.

Mui

Unlike many smart gadgets that come covered in bells and whistles, mui is a much subtler device. The block, while coming across as a simple piece of wood, allows you to control your homes’ temperature, read your text messages and check the weather without it become the focal point of the room.

Sense-U Movement Monitor

This portable and easy to use clip can be attached to any baby’s swaddle or onesie and provide instant reassurance to new parents. The sensor, which can be linked to your phone, will notify you when your baby is sleeping on his or her stomach as well as when they are overheating, giving you peace of mind in the evenings.

 

Do you have a gadget which you would like to launch in the UK market? Why not speak to one of our award-winning team today about what PR could do for you and your business.

Sleep easy with these top apps

Since the dawn of time some people have been able to drift off in a matter of minutes and get to sleep without a hitch, whereas some of us ‘night owls’ find ourselves wide awake at 2am.  We’ve looked at some of the hottest apps around that have made relaxing and drifting off an easier task .

Sleep Cycle

Using cutting-edge software which measures your sleep patterns, Sleep Cycle analyses your sleep and wakes you in your lightest sleeping phase, meaning that you wake up feeling far more refreshed. Their community blog invites top sleep experts to provide their tips and tricks creating a community for sleep-deprived. Whether it’s an insight on ‘How women sleep’ or ‘The evolution of the mattress’ the Sleep Cycle team have made sure to use relevant statistics and taken the time to produce a trustworthy insight. Since its release, the app has been popular all around the globe with one reviewer going as far to state ‘The result is so gentle and lovely it feels like being woken up by a mermaid stroking your hair or a unicorn nuzzling your toes’ we’re guessing it’s a success!

Pillow

Pillow delivers a comprehensive report on everything to do with how you sleep. It doesn’t only track your sleep and wakes you in your lightest stage of sleep, but it also offers the ability to work on 15-minute power naps and 45-minute recovery naps. With a 4.5 star rating and 6,000 reviews on iTunes. The Pillow app’s word of mouth marketing strategy has worked really well. The app has even featured as ‘App of the Week’

Pzizz

The world’s most advanced sleep and power nap system helps you to quickly quieten your mind, fall asleep fast and wake up feeling refreshed. As part of their strategy, Pzizz have spent time developing their website and have created a feature which continually updates with users’ testimonials. Alongside this, they also have the backing of some of the biggest celebrities around who use the app including J.K. Rowling. Pzizz has also been selected to be one of 70 apps to feature on the NHS apps library to celebrate the NHS turning 70 this year.

Headspace

The popular meditation app which creates sessions for you depending on what your goals might be. Headspace produce and promote a variety of content to their large social media following helping to drive users to their website. The content includes GIFS, interesting insights and replica blogs which are based off the audio sessions on the app.

Do you have an app which you would like to launch in the UK market? Why not speak to one of our award-winning team today about what PR could do for you and your business.

What are stable-coins?

Are they actually stable and why should we care?

Regardless of interest, or lack of, in cryptocurrencies, the one thing pretty much everyone knows is that they’re volatile. Prone to monumental crashes and swift, significant upswings, Bitcoin has been known to go up or down by 20 per cent in a single day.

Given this wild unpredictability, widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies is looking unlikely to happen any time soon. Imagine paying £5 for your hot chocolate on your morning commute only to find out if you’d bought it in the afternoon it would have been £4. Consumers and businesses simply wouldn’t have it.

However, there may be a solution. Stable-coins, as the name would suggest, are more stable versions of cryptocurrencies. Pegged to another stable asset, such as gold or a fiat currency like sterling, they make the most of the decentralised benefits of cryptocurrencies and have lower volatility. If they become adopted by the mainstream, we could pay for things using digital currencies on a practical day to day basis. Digital currencies that are easily trackable on a public ledger, meaning the risk of fraud and identity theft is significantly reduced.

That’s the theory at least. There are however many conflicting views as to whether stable-coins will actually calm volatility in the space or whether this can only be done with a significant increase in liquidity over a long period of time. There also hasn’t, as of yet, been a clear universal “winner”; a stable-coin that has distinguished itself above the rest, though there are a number of projects trying to do exactly that.
The waters start to become murky though as there are three different types of stable-coin emerging, dependent on what asset the digital currency is tethered to.

Fiat-collateralised stable-coins are, naturally, backed by fiat currencies, the most famous at the moment being Tether. Its makers claim that for every digital coin, they have the equivalent US dollar held in reserve. Debatable but that’s a different discussion. This type of stable-coin is centralised to a large degree, and as such many traditionalists in the space are reluctant to back them due to the lack of decentralisation – a core part of the original crypto ethos. On the other hand, there are those who believe this “middle-path” is the only way banks will adopt digital currencies moving forward.

Crypto-collateralised stable-coins are backed by a pool of crypto. Users of this type stake an amount of crypto and then borrow stable-coins against that collateral at a fixed rate. One of the most popular coins of this kind is called DAI, controlled by the decentralised organisation Maker. The main challenge to crypto-collateralised stable-coins is that they can still be vulnerable to significant price spikes and drops in the market. However, they do hold true to the decentralised architecture that is so central to digital currency’s core, making them highly resilient and difficult to commit fraud with.

The third and final type is algorithmically controlled stable-coins. This is a relatively new model, that uses complex algorithms to adjust supply based on demand to maintain a consistent price point. The key difference between this stable-coin and the other two is it’s not trying to be a new version of the fiat reserve system; no collateral is put up at all. The big issue, however, is that the entire system is based on trust; though, with the likes of Basis, trust is placed in software controlled by algorithms on the network, not humans. And only time will tell whether placing trust in an algorithmic system is a good idea.

Ultimately, the idea behind stable-coins, whether fiat, crypto or algorithmic, is sound. Volatility in the market is a huge barrier to mass adoption and until this is overcome, we won’t be buying our morning coffee with cryptocurrency. If we want the benefits digital currency could bring – trackable money, reduced identity fraud and theft – then we need to work on creating a truly stable cryptocurrency that mitigates all the current risks associated with cryptos.

Are you looking for a specialist blockchain PR team to help your brand or business gain real media cut-through? Speak to our team today to find out how we can support you.

5 festive ideas to upgrade your campaign

Idea 1: Add some Christmas flair to your brand

Starbucks Christmas cups

Starbucks red cup

Every coffee lover is waiting for this moment. The time where Starbucks switches their white paper cup to the warming festive red cups. This my friend has been the start of the festive season for 21 years now. Not only do they change the colour of the cups, the American coffee giant also brings new flavours to its menu from gingerbread latte, eggnog latte to peppermint mocha. Every year, the design of the cup changes, last year, Starbucks created its first-ever colour-in Christmas cup, encouraging customers to add their own splash of sparkle and style to their drink. Starbucks isn’t the only coffee chain to launch festive takeaways, but it was the first. There’s even a countdown website to let people know when the Christmas cup will make its return. Having a seasonal product always creates enthusiasm and Starbucks are mastering it.

Idea 2: Make your shop/pop-up festive

Christmas light

Over the years we’ve seen more and more pop-up bars and restaurants opening during the Christmas period. From cosy chalets to ice rink rooftop bars, London is full of options to celebrate the festive season around Eggnog and melted cheese. Last year, we liked the igloos popping up around London. Especially Jimmy’s Lodge in Southbank. You could choose between a private snow globe (it’s an igloo yes!) chalet-style Refuge Restaurant perched on the edge of the Thames, serving melted cheese and warming treats. Add in some warm food, spicy cocktails and fairy lights and you’ll have a successful festive pop-up restaurant!

Idea 3: CSR campaign – Bringing a festive feeling to the community

Pret a Manger – Christmas sandwich campaign

Pret Christmas sandwich

Nothing screams Christmas like Pret’s turkey sandwich. But this isn’t the only reason why we like Pret so much. In fact, 50p from every sandwich and baguette sold from Pret’s Christmas range is donated to the Pret Foundation Trust to support its charity partners, including The Clock Tower Sanctuary, Imagine If Trust or the 240Project. Pret focuses their efforts ontheir shop windows, packaging, team members and social media channels to tell their stories and interact with customers.

A Christmas CSR activity is a great way to engage a new audience with your brand as well as with your regular customer. Consumer in the UK have a greater tendency to buy products that have a positive social or environmental impact and Pret is a great example of what can be done.

Idea 4: Partner with influencers to run a Christmas prize draw

Instagram

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

One of the easiest ways to expose your brand to potential customers during the festive season is to get it into the hands of the influencers they love to follow. Sending products to an influencer, even for a giveaway, does not guarantee coverage. However, if an influencer agrees to work with you, it’s a great way to build excitement around your brand, especially during Christmas where customers are on the hunt for good deals, latest trends, treats for their loved ones or even for their selves.  Building relationships with the right influencers is crucial to your success. Ensure you’ve researched their engagement, demographic and target audience before approaching, you both have reputations to protect.

And when it comes to deciding what to give away, we suggest a few guidelines:

  • Offer something of real value. You want to make it worth the audience’s time to enter.
  • Make sure it’s something you can afford to give away.
  • Remember that influencers ultimately know their audience better than you do, so be receptive to feedback regarding what they think you should be giving away.

As for the process of entering the giveaway, don’t make it too complicated for people to participate but do require them to do something low-effort that somehow benefits your marketing goals.

Idea 5: Create a gift guide

Gift guide

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

Gift guides are a fantastic tool that lots of retailers and content creators utilise around Christmas to both promote their products and give their customers/readers some great gift inspiration for the festive period. With half of consumers saying they still rely on in-store inspiration, retailers should consider ways to blend digital and in-store experiences to guide shoppers.

With so many gift guides out there this time of year, it can be hard to make yours stand out from the crowd. Here are a few ideas to create a cracking gift guide:

  • Why not try a video gift guide to showcase your best-sellers and showcase them in action? Video has proven to be effective in gaining traffic, views, and engagement, so a video gift guide could be just the thing to get people interested in your products.
  • Make sure you have products for everyone and have a clear categorisation, so people can navigate easily through the guide.
  • Make sure your gift guide looks great on different channels or platforms especially if you are using a mix between print and digital.

We love Time Out’s gift guide, with gifts for foodies, techies, and music lovers, you’ll find something for everyone. The guide works well in both printed and digital and is packed with brilliant and fun ideas to satisfy even the trickiest of friends and family members.

Do you need help launching your Christmas campaign? Speak to a member of our award-winning team today to see how we can help.

If Public Relations were Cricket

Ah, cricket. Is there a greater pleasure in those searing July and August months than settling down with five or six bottles of bubbly to not really pay attention to the sporting action before you?

Those long summer days might now be drawing to a close, but the sun never sets on the sumptuous scene that is the media landscape. Cricket is an answer to so many questions: What should I play this weekend? What should I watch this weekend? What did Jesus die for on the cross?

And now, it’s the answer to one further question. How exactly does PR work?

Read on, delicious investigator.

Gritty opening batsman – Corporate PR Team: Alastair Cook without the jawline. It’s not always glamorous, it often makes for attritional viewing, but sometimes you need somebody who will dig in, see off the new ball and deliver results. Always means a bit more when they make a big score because they’re generally doing it in the toughest conditions against the scariest new ball journalists.

Fluent Number Three – Journalist: The best journalists are like James Vince. Width and terrible story ideas are punished to the boundary with disdain. But keep pitching it just right (normally down the phone and in that fourth stump channel), and they will always have a nibble.

Middle order biffer – Marketing Executive: Look, we can pontificate all we want, but our middle order and balance sheet both need a bit of tap. Not much subtlety to this employee’s game, it’s stand and deliver cricket. Clear that front leg and demolish another monthly income target over cow corner please.

Bowling all-rounder – Creative Team: They give us that crucial balance in the middle order, and a bowling option too. We live in the age of social media supremacy, and while our creatives can be mercurial, when they do fire and go viral it’s spectacular. Must be managed carefully so they’re winning matches rather than taking pedalo rides.

Chirpy Wicket Keeper – Consumer & Tech departments: Always on the phones and chattering away, they’re good at reading the situation, knowing when to pitch and nattering down the phone until the journalist caves. Gift of the gab and quick hands on the keyboard. Tend to grab any opportunity that comes their way. Don’t knick it, journos.

Mystery spinner – Graduate Trainee: What to make of them? Are they the real deal with those mystery variations? Or are they just sending down pies with a funny action? We know that journalists are going to try and launch them into the stands. Will they keep pitching (it up)? Can they hold their own and demand the batsman’s respect? They’re on the PHA Graduate Scheme so I suspect they will.

Opening bowler – Sport Team: Metronomic, consistent delivery. We know what we’re going to get from them, and that’s why they take the new cherry. Captain has no problem throwing them the new clients as they know full well that coverage and wickets surely follow. Not to be messed with though and tend to have a vicious short ball which they aren’t afraid to use when things don’t go their way.

Scorer – CEO: Their playing days are over. Now our CEO is content to sit there, totting up the scores, feeling increasingly smug as the numbers get larger and larger.

Umpires – HR: Obviously. Get plenty of grief from the players, but important presence to ensure that the office isn’t brought into disrepute.

 

If you’re looking to become man of the match speak to a member of our award-winning public relations team today.

How to “sleigh” your Christmas PR campaign?

Now that summer is 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, 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.

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.

The realities: Those who augmented it, and those who virtually suck at it

Companies who nailed, and failed, AR and VR

For the few months Pokemon Go! had everyone glued to their phones trying to ‘catch em all’, AR permeated every single conversation. Snapchat, another example of AR being used in the everyday consciousness, has now led people to avoid sending selfies without a pair of bunny ears on their head. VR on other hand, has also shone a light on the companies that are ready and maybe not so much this year.

However, for the small number of companies who nailed AR & VR, bringing a new experience to their customers and completely overhauling the way we consume products for the better, there are some companies who royally failed, alienating potential customers and just looking plain stupid.

NAILED

IKEA

For some, the Saturday afternoon trip to IKEA fills them with absolute, undeniable dread. Aimlessly following the yellow brick road filling the trolley with an eclectic mix of household items constantly reassuring yourself that it is the right dimensions and it is the right colour palette.

However, IKEA have solved every shopper’s wish with the assistance of AR. Their app, IKEA Place, allows shoppers to virtually place furniture inside their home. IKEA Place scales the product in real world settings and boasts a 98% accuracy to avoid any flat packing blunders. Retailers are following suit, with predictions that AR will represent at least 25% of online retailing by 2035 globally.

Limbix

Built on two decades of research, Limbix uses VR to help patients with mental illness and for people to overcome anxieties, the fear of flying, public speaking or driving, the list goes on.

Exposure therapy is a common and effective treatment for phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder and by using VR, therapists can transport patients back to an uncomfortable reality in a safe, secure environment, providing emotional guidance every step of the way. Therapists have praised Limbix for how they’ve helped their patients face their anxieties in a controlled way.

FAILED

Facebook

Facebook is no stranger when it comes to missing the mark, and one of their most recent ventures, Facebook Spaces, is another one to add to the black book. In September 2017, Puerto Rico was hit by the worst hurricane on record that tore through family homes and ripped livelihoods apart.

Facebook then decided that it was a smart idea to use this as a backdrop for their launch of their new platform aimed at bringing people together through Virtual Reality. Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s Social VR Chief, Rachel Franklin, put on their finest Oculus Rift goggles and discussed how amazing it was to ‘feel right there’ amongst the devastation.

Zuckerberg had used this opportunity to share how Facebook was supporting the Red Cross in response to one of the worst hurricanes in history, yet this was utterly irrelevant to people across the world who saw it as an exploitation of a country’s devastation for the benefit of the corporation’s revenues.

Google Glass

Google Glass was set to disrupt the eye industry, with grand hopes of redefining what it means to be ‘geek chic.’ Instead, the smart glasses fell completely flat, leaving consumers questioning why anyone would “want that thing on their face.”

Glass was released with intention of developing the glasses in line with customer feedback with a long-term mission of creating an ubiquitous computer. However, with a meagre two-hour battery life, Glass offered no clear benefit or function that ensured the product stood apart from the standard mobile phone, apart from the fact that you might walk into a lamppost whilst checking when your next train departs.

It’s clear that Google Glass wasn’t ready for the mass consumer market and this is reflective of the smart glass market. This month, however, it was announced that Glass is working with Stanford School of Medicine on a project called Superpower glass, using the smart glasses to help children with autism read facial expressions. Maybe we will witness a Google Glass comeback with true focus and purpose.

Nailing the user experience can be difficult when adopting any new technologies and many are guilty of relying on the technology to drive such experience. Instead, the focus must be on how the technology can add a new function and benefit to enhance user experience to build a stronger relationship with consumers.

Once that’s been nailed, augmented and virtual reality can catapult your brand awareness to a new reality, whether it’s using VR to launch a new product like Jaguar, or using AR to help redefine the shopping experience as IKEA have done.

If you’d like to incorporate AR or VR into your communications strategy speak to a member of our team today.