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The importance of mental health and general well-being continues to gain momentum in both personal and professional spheres. Many consumers are considering more ethically sourced products and are turning to meditation, mindfulness and healthy food and drink alternatives to ensure they stay happy and content in their daily lives.

We explore the brands that are helping consumers to integrate a moment of mindfulness into daily life.

Calm 

As Google Play Editor’s Choice 2018 and Apple’s App of the Year 2017, Calm has become the must-have app when considering mindfulness and meditation. With 50 million downloads and 700,000 5-star reviews, Calm provides a platform to help users sleep better and reduce stress and anxiety with the help of guided meditations, soothing music, and bedtime stories.

Their successful debut into TV advertising in 2018 presented inner monologues from people who have used the app in their hectic lives. The adverts present a supportive and sincere message, providing viewers with a reason to download the app and learn more about its benefits.

This Works: sleep plus+ pillow spray

This Works provides skincare, a body and bath range and sleep sprays, created by the former Beauty Director of Vogue UK, Kathy Phillips, who is an expert in all thing’s beauty and fitness.

This year, the sleep and skincare brand went beyond the usual marketing campaign and used voice to promote their brand and products. This Works partnered with Send Me A Sample, prompting consumers with voice devices to request a sample of This Work’s famous pillow spray via Google’s Home Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.

The Original Oatley 

The Original Oatley milk is a popular dairy-free, vegan-friendly milk substitute. The environmentally conscious company has been consistently untraditional in its marketing and advertising tactics and, undoubtedly, it’s working.

Their famous campaign ‘It’s like milk, but made for humans’, has been considered by some to be controversial, however, Oatley maintains they are promoting their dairy-free option by encouraging consumers to think differently.

The brand has also taken an out of the box approach via ‘unadvertising’. Disrupting advertising norms, Oatley displayed a range of billboard ads stating copy such as ‘We spent an insane amount of money on this fancy billboard. Hope someone interested in oats sees it.’ The humour and honesty within Oatley’s marketing undeniably allows the brand to stand out from their competitors.

NEOM: Oil Diffuser

After a successful yet hectic career in journalism, Nicola Elliott decided to launch a product for others with busy lifestyles to encourage well-being, reduce stress, boost energy and lift moods.

In their most recent campaign NEOM has requested their users to send in stories explaining when and why they reach for their ‘NEOM hero’ to get them through the day. Successful entries will become part of NEOM’s upcoming, special campaign and demonstrates how NEOM consistently puts their users’ experience at the forefront of the brand’s ethos. A nice way to incorporate user generated content, as well, providing authenticity and trust.

English Tea Shop 

English Tea Shop is an organic tea company with ethics at the heart of the organisation. When purchasing their products, you become part of their ‘shared value’ policy where they pay Sri Lankan farmers, who produce their tea, above Fairtrade minimum price.

Since its launch in 2010 the company has rapidly entered 50 markets worldwide and most recently, they have revitalised their brand identity and packaging, ensuring this reflects their commitment to celebrating communities from ‘farm to cup’. Selling over 350 million tea bags a year and with plans to double turnover in the UK in five years, the tea-selling business sees no sign of waning.

Do you have a wellness or ethically conscious product or service that you’d like to gain more exposure and business? Speak to our team today  to find out how we could help you achieve your goals.

Top health and wellness products to boost happiness

Christmas. The time of giving and gratuity. The time for love and joy. But how much joy do unnecessary material gifts really bring?

The average UK family will spend between £1,000 – £2,700 over the Christmas period, with most presents ending up in the back of a cupboard. However, we know that there has been a fundamental shift in consumer values towards experiences over things, so why not gift experiences like travel, leisure or food?

We’ve picked some great brands that bring long-term happiness as opposed to fleeting gratification:

 

National Trust Gift Membership

As an independent charity and membership organisation for environmental and heritage conservation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the National Trust dedicates it’s time to preserving special places forever.

The charity’s focus on safeguarding the nation’s nature and wildlife provoked their multi-award-winning campaign 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ that encourages children and families to go outside and learn within nature.

Running since 2012, previous years’ campaigns have seen huge success including a partnership with Game of Thrones star and musician Raleigh Ritchie, who created a spoken word video piece championing a stick’s endless possibilities for imaginative outdoor play. Following this, downloads of the 50 Things app quadrupled, and views of the hub page increased by 52%. 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ has become the National Trust’s most successful behaviour change initiative to date.

 

Lonely Planet Subscription

Lonely Planet is a leading travel media company and the world’s number one travel guidebook brand, but what makes the publication so special is its humble beginnings, where co-founders ‎Tony and Maureen Wheeler‎ documented their own adventures in Asia.

Now, 40 years later and with 200 writers’ part of their roster, Lonely Planet stays true to its original purpose; providing trustful and high-quality content from personal experiences. In association with their flagship campaign, Best in Travel, Lonely Planet teamed with relevant and exciting brands including, GoPro, G Adventures and TourRadar – I think you’ll agree the perfect partners who put the traveller first.

 

Tinggly Gift Box

Tinggly’s tagline ‘give stories, not stuff’ perfectly represents the brand’s ethos to change the culture of gifting and to encourage people to discover the world together.

Launching in 2015 and with over 1.6m people signing up to the Tinggly community, the team not only inspire discovery but are also committed to creating a cleaner and more sustainable future. Growing at a rate of at least 100% every year, in 2018 it doubled its turnover from €250k to €500k and the team expect to replicate that performance in 2019 and pass the €1 million mark.

 

Vivat Bacchus

The Vivat Bacchus restaurants were established in Farringdon and London Bridge. South African in origin, they are known for the range and quality of wines, memorably stocked cheese rooms and a menu using daily sourced quality seasonal ingredients.

Hosting a Wine Club where you can meet fellow wine lovers at events, Vivat Bacchus provides you with the opportunity to sample around 300 wines a year, take part in a monthly wine, cheese and general knowledge quiz, blind wine tasting championships and cheese and wine pairings.

 

English Tea Shop

English Tea Shop is an organic tea company with ethics at heart. When purchasing their products, you become part of their ‘shared value’ policy where they pay Sri Lankan farmers, who produce their tea, above Fairtrade minimum price.

Since its launch in 2010 the company has rapidly entered 50 markets worldwide and most recently, they have revitalised their brand identity and packaging, ensuring this reflects their commitment to celebrating communities from ‘farm to cup’. Selling over 350 million tea bags a year and with plans to double turnover in the UK in five years, the tea-selling business sees no sign of waning.

 

Southbank Centre Shop Membership

Southbank Centre Shops provide consumers with an array of inspiring products including music-led gifts, textiles, prints, homeware and jewellery, plus an extensive range of books for both adults and children.

What makes the shops special is that every purchase made helps to support the Southbank Centre. When buying a membership, you also gain exclusive access to world-class art and culture programme and site throughout the year, priority booking for blockbuster gigs, concerts, events and festivals, free entry to all exhibitions in the Hayward Gallery and an exclusive member’s area with stunning river views.

 

Interested in hearing about how we can help you promote and increase bookings for your product? Have a quick chat with our award-winning team to find out how we can support you.

Buy time rather than things this Christmas

With 2020 right around the corner, the stage is set for global industry leaders to gather at Fintech Connect and explore the top agenda items for the road ahead. The pace of game-changing innovation is faster than ever before, and this year’s event will see businesses racing to lay the foundation for more seamless digital experiences across the next decade.

A new dawn for cross-border payments

Wholesale cross-border payments between financial institutions and beyond is set for unprecedented change. It’s clear to see that as more of the biggest players invest in this sector, the way we transact payments is being reconceptualised to become more transparent, seamless but most importantly instant.

To fully realise the rapid growth of the sector, industry silos must be overcome to re-examine the challenges of multiple currency systems and regulatory jurisdictions. At Fintech Connect industry experts will address the changing dynamic of the cross-border lifecycle and discuss the latest approach towards more effective compliance.

Making regulation work for innovation

This year’s Fintech Connect will see multiple discussions around how to accommodate and adapt to changing regulations and compliance whilst achieving a frictionless customer experience. For customers and firms to be protected from fraud and money laundering, innovation and regulation must be intimately tied, balanced and agile to extract real business value.

Data quality is the priority

Those attending this year’s event will place added emphasis on richer, cleaner and more structured data to remedy many of the pain points created by missing or incomplete data. With processes like straight-through-processing (STP) being more widely adopted in the payments space, the quality of data analytics to validate information ahead of time is crucial. We can anticipate a key talking point will be around the right function to ensure data hygiene and guarantee compliance across the board.

RegTech set to soar

Compliance, security, and risk management are undergoing transformation and the tremendous uptake of RegTech solutions is a key indicator of its importance in the sector. Globally financial institutions are seeking out RegTech providers to modernise their compliance function to ensure the complexities of regulatory requirements don’t compromise innovation.

Taking up the mantle of being the leading compliance solutions to meet the necessary steps above, these are the RegTech companies we’re keeping an eye out for looking forward.

RiskSave Compliance

Mature plug and play solution provider, RiskSave Compliance, is transforming how advisory firms, wealth managers and investment banks fulfil their compliance obligations. By taking charge of regulatory processes and reporting, RiskSave Compliance provides a customised service to support business activity to ensure firms remain compliant as market conditions change. RiskSave is also a frontrunner in tackling the challenge fund managers face in producing a Key Investor Document ‘KID.’ RiskSave is uniquely positioned to undertake a prescriptive quantitative analysis of deal documentation to the end buyer on an ongoing basis to reduce regulatory risks.

W2 Global Data

Founded in 2011, W2 Global Data provides a wide range of Platform as a Service (PaaS) tools to ensure organisations can access a myriad of data sources to conduct regulatory Anti-Money Laundering (AML) standards, Know Your Customer (KYC), and Fraud prevention due diligence. Its mission is to completely transform how financial services and payment companies verify identity and counter online fraud. With greater access to thousands of commercial and international government data sources, W2 provides an enhanced investigative service in real-time making meeting regulatory requirements quick and simple.

HelloSoda

A Manchester-based big data company, HelloSoda provides an advanced analytics software solution to global clients across six continents. The company has shown impressive growth with a client roster boasting the likes of Visa Europe. It is on a mission to provide thorough analysis of customers’ digital footprint to combat fraud and showcase how data is being used to determine their likelihood for loan and mortgage approvals.

Datactics

Belfast software company, Datactics supports banks in measuring and improving data quality. Using its RegMetrics solution, banks can carry out internal and external reporting with richer data and actionable insights deriving greater business value. Datactics brings order and control for firms required to meet the stringent financial regulations of MiFID II and FSCS, for example. The solutions Datactics have developed offer continuous data quality measurement for any department or enterprise level, with a host of targeted data mapping and matching exercises available.

If you’re a technology company interested in how we can help raise your profile, please get in touch today.

Spotlight on Fintech Connect: key themes and exciting start-ups to watch

There are now just two days to go until the PHA/5W Winter Exchange scheme takes place, and with my flight over to NYC with three fellow PHA-ers just around the corner, anticipation, excitement, and a slight fear of the infamous NYC cold is setting in!

After hearing all the fabulous stories from the Spring Exchange group -from PR lessons to all the tasty morsels they ate (trying not to salivate right now!), I feel extremely lucky to be spending a week in the Big Apple and working in 5W – one of the 10 largest independently owned PR firms in the US.

London and New York are two of the most important epicentres of the global public relations industry. Similar in many respects from a cultural and lifestyle point of view but also different in others. Given that I can’t base my interpretation of NYC life on each episode of Sex & The City, I am thrilled to soak it all in, learn from PR professionals, share knowledge, swap ideas on campaigns and build new relationships. It also massively helps that I love all things Christmassy and I won’t even begin to talk about my ever-growing shopping and sightseeing list!

I’ve worked at The PHA Group for a year and a half now in the Strategic Communications team and this has enabled me to be exposed to various sectors from corporate business to PropTech, ESG and legal cannabis.

As a Senior Account Manager, my job is to create and drive the strategic plan for clients including media relations and content development, while generating creative campaigns and identifying new trends that affect clients’ industries and markets.  Spending a week with our 5W colleagues will be a great insight into how they approach clients, build successful PR programmes and navigate a challenging media landscape.

With my personal interest and experience in public affairs, I am intrigued as to how US clients operate in driving opinion and feeding into the media news cycle within a politically charged environment and the upcoming presidential elections.

One area I am keen on immersing myself into is with the dedicated CBD team at 5W. At PHA, we have worked with leading cannabis businesses to position them as thought leaders and experts and forge greater understanding of medical cannabis/CBD in the media. With the explosion of CBD in the US market and the range of innovative companies driving trends, consumer behavior and investment, I am looking forward to learning different campaign tactics and ideas while establishing market links. In turn, I’m hopeful that I can add some valuable insight into the British market from a media, political and cultural perspective.

Our agency is defined by our culture. In this highly entrepreneurial environment, employees are encouraged to pursue their individual passions and are empowered to do things differently. This means, our team members create new service offerings, seek out new clients they’re passionate about, and run initiatives that are focused on making our workplace fun and inclusive. It is also about building endless opportunities – advancing the business but also enriching development opportunities for everyone who works here.  The 5W Exchange is one of these unique offerings that not only strengthens our global outlook but also ensures that we can offer our clients a truly global media platform.

In the fast-paced city that never sleeps there’s always an event to experience, a sight to see, and a memory to make. I’m grateful to be chosen for the Winter Exchange and hope to come back with some lifelong memories and friends. In the words of Carrie Bradshaw (Sex & The City), ‘Anything is possible. This is New York.’

The Big Apple vs The Big Smoke – a tale of PR in two cities

We’re in the ninth year of the UK population embracing what has become one of the biggest dates in the retail diary – Black Friday. It’s predicted that tomorrow, consumers will spend a record £2.53 billion. A 3.4 % spike on last years spending, according to data from Centre for Retail Research for VoucherCodes.

But how do you know if you’re getting the best deal and not being sucked into all the hype? We check out the price trackers you can use this weekend to help make those all-important spending decisions.

Idealo:

Idealo is a German based start-up, founded in Berlin 17 years ago. Their mission is to help users make better buying decisions. Today, they are Europe’s leading price comparison platform and one of the largest websites in the German e-commerce market with 330 million offers across their platform.

Idealo is a comparison platform that can notify you when a product has reached your target price. A useful tool, especially when you’re inundated with Black Friday offers and you want to know which retailers are offering the highest value for money. The tool provides a graph of the price fluctuation and how it has changed over the year, so you’re sure you’re not overspending. If you like the look of it, they also compare flights!

CamelCamelCamel:

CamelCamelCamel is an Amazon price tracker that provides price drop alerts and price history charts for products sold by Amazon. You can either use the website which gives you a good overview of what products are on amazon and you can also download their plug-ins which means that every time you look at a product on Amazon, you can check the price history as well as the third-party price to compare. You don’t need to create an account to use it, making it easy and hassle free.

Which?:

Which? Is the largest independent consumer body in the UK with 1.3m members. Their commitment is to provide unbiased advice. From choosing a TV, phone, car, or holiday, to getting a mortgage or writing a will, they’ll help you make the best decision.

Last year during Black Friday, they carried out an investigation into product prices and found that you might get a better bargain if you wait until after the Black Friday sales. In fact, they found that 87% were the same price or cheaper than their Black Friday price at other times of year. So, this year, they are giving you some really interesting tips on how to find a bargain including buying lesser known brands, or doing some research before your purchase an item.

Trusted review:

Sometimes it’s not just about the price. Trusted review allows you to get reviews on thousands of products and gives you the best deals around. Their Black Friday section is a long list filtered by retailers and category so whether you’re looking for a TV, a video game or a game for Christmas, the website will help you find the best deal you can get around. Their blog section is also useful, giving you tips and tricks on Black Friday.

If you’re interested in raising your profile in the media, get in touch to find out how our team can support you in achieving your business goals.

Black Friday – How to spot the best deal

Last month when I found out I was one of the lucky four to be selected for the next PHA/5W exchange scheme, I was overwhelmed with excitement. Having only graduated from University last year, I’m ultimately still in the baby steps of my PR career, and I never would have guessed an opportunity like this would be up for grabs – Christmas in New York? What more could a girl ask for!

So early in your professional life, it’s rare to have the chance to understand and experience first-hand how an agency in New York City operates and to spend time learning directly from PR professionals in another country; to not only help you develop your personal career, but also allow you to be part of a bigger picture in building an invaluable international partnership. And of course, with the added bonus of being able to spend a week exploring ‘the city that never sleeps’ with your colleagues.

Now, with just days to go until we jet off to the Big Apple, I can’t wait to experience first-hand how the New Yorkers do it. I’m hoping to absorb as much of 5W as possible by learning directly from their consumer team, as well as seeing how they work as an agency. We all know creativity is key in PR and I’m certain spending time with the employees of 5W will inspire me to think outside the box even more when I return to PHA.

I’m intrigued to see what the differences are between PHA and 5W and how PR’s work across the pond… How are they managing their relationships with journalists? How do they work with influencers? What kind of press events are they planning? How do their relationships with clients differ to ours? Is getting in the New York Times really the holy grail of coverage? What’s the New York equivalent of Stylist magazine? I have LOTS to find out!

Don’t worry, I intend to throw myself in to the city as much as possible outside of work too. Having only been to New York once as a teen, I can’t wait to explore the city at as an adult, and at the most magical time of the year! I’ve watched the entire series of Gossip Girl along with every rom-com under the sun multiple times, so I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to see and do – from Brooklyn Bridge to Grand Central Station.

I’ve been told that New York really comes to life at Christmas and that it truly is a magical experience, from ice skating in Central Park to the buzz of Times Square. So, bring on touring the extravagant festive window displays, as many rooftop bars as possible in the space of a week and obviously a boomerang for Instagram of the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree!

Frankie goes to… New York!

When it comes to making a purchasing decision who would you be more likely to trust? A brand or a fellow customer review and experience?

We are more likely to take recommendations from friends and family members than brands when it comes to making buying decisions – and that is the logic behind running user generated content campaigns (UGC) on social media.

UGC content is any form of content or asset that is created by another customer for a product or service. Example formats could be reviews, pictures of people’s experiences and purchases and testimonials. UGC isn’t paid for content and shouldn’t be confused with influencer marketing, it is authentic earned media that makes the user the brand advertiser as well as the customer.

UGC content is particularly impactful on Instagram where brands can easily repost and regram content from other users’ account through posts or stories.

But why should brands be adopting this form of content creation?

Building brand trust

Do you think people will buy your product or service and become loyal customers if they don’t trust your brand? The answer is no. A study by Havas Group reported that users wouldn’t mind if 74% of the brands they use no longer existed and only cared for those they trusted. Proving building brand trust is vital.

Growing closer relationships with your customers by encouraging UGC over creating dozens of adverts is an excellent strategy.

Starbucks made customer pictures go viral. Their #WhiteCupContest become an international challenge with thousands of customers worldwide posting pictures of their latest designs on their latest order. The brand received almost 4,000 entries and the campaign generated an enormous amount of social media activity. The brand doesn’t stop there. Buzzfeed have reported a theory they think Starbucks staff are told to misspell customers names, so they are encouraged to post the ‘fails’ on social media. Clever ideas, we recommend checking out #starbucksnamefail on Instagram for the latest mistakes!

 

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This is greatness!! ☕️💜

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Relatable content

UGC content such as customer reviews, testimonials and experiences elevate a business’s existing resources. Building a community of shoppers and clients who provide social proof for the brand’s products or services and for the company as a whole. Such communities break down barriers between individuals and other shoppers which in turn leads to conversions and increased trust in your brand.

This type of content can also be extremely valuable to use as part of a wider advertising strategy. Providing immediate visible proof by including authentic customer reviews and photos on product pages and in social ads, allows you to establish a relatable brand image, and brings more customers to your site and channels.

By creating an engaging campaign hashtag, #FuelledByCanagan for our client Canagan, our social team have grown a large organic following of existing customers across the Canagan Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels, who frequently promote the brand on their own feeds.

This has provided invaluable user generated content, as well as allowing Canagan to build a solid community of fans who can rely on the social channels to provide information, deal with queries and share uplifting, captivating content.

 

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Finished yet another bag of @canaganpetfood dental 🦷 keeping my teeth shiny and extra strong #canaganpetfood #canagandogfood #canagandental #frenchiesofinstagram #blueandtanfrenchies #frenchbulldogpuppies #fuelledbycanagan

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Creating a community

Earning a loyal following is one of the most important aspects of running a business. Your biggest fans and most dedicated customers are one of the most valuable assets you can have. Posing questions and open challenges to your customers and brand fans gives them recognition for their loyalty and makes them feel engaged.

Customer content for UGC campaigns also provides inspiration for how your customers use your product or service. IKEA did a great job when they ran an Instagram campaign asking their customers to submit photos of their favourite IKEA purchases. The campaign gave IKEA information directly from customers about which products they like the most and how they use them, while also providing the company with user-generated content that could be repurposed across their channels and marketing materials.

Your customer and followers can use designated hashtags giving them a sense of membership. It also provides valuable information that can be used to inform your advertisement and product line. If you know a particular style, colour or location is proving popular for a product or service you offer you can use that to improve your output.

Our social team are working with Nomo, a vegan chocolate brand to help build their community using UGC content. The strategy includes getting people creating recipes and sharing them on Instagram as well as sharing images of their products. UGC content also help the team creating blog and website content easily. Over the year, our team has seen more than 700 UGC-type posts shared on Instagram and helped them build the Nomo community.

 

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NOMO doughnut, anyone? 😱⠀ ⠀ Discover these and more with a new selection of vegan recipes on our website 🍩⠀ ⠀ 🍽 @RebakerMae⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #NOMO #NOMOChoc #NOMOChocolate #FreeFromGluten #DairyFreeLiving #GlutenFreeFoods #EggFree #FoodAllergy #VeganFoodLover #VeganComfortFood #Doughnut #Doughnuts #DoughnutTime #VeganRecipe #VeganRecipes #VeganWebsite

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Cost-effective

Now not everything should come down to the cost of something, as many businesses would argue spending money on their most loyal customers is well worth the investment. However, as we have previously mentioned, UGC content is extremely cost effective for any business. Your customers become your brand ambassadors. In addition, the organic earned content your customer generates enables you to increase your engagement, expand your community and not cost you the earth.

User Generated Content is a fast track to building a community around your brand.

It puts your customers front and center, which makes them feel valued, makes your brand attractive and approachable, and create a strong two-way relationship with your customers. Speak to our team today to find out how we can action a UGC strategy for you.

The importance of User Generated Content

There are few things that get me more in the festive spirit than watching Home Alone 2 and listening to The Pogues’s ‘Fairytale of New York’, my favourite Christmas film and song. So when it was announced that The PHA Group would give me the chance to create my own Christmas memories in New York, I was ecstatic. Although hopefully my adventures there will be happier than those of Macaulay Culkin and Shane MacGowan!

Thrilled by the idea of actually experiencing New York at Christmas for myself rather than through the screen or the radio, I’ve even signed up to the idea of ice skating at the Rockefeller despite possessing all the technical ability of Bambi. But other than ice skating, or following in Macaulay Culkin’s footsteps and exploring Central Park or going to Broadway as Shane MacGowan promised in his song, I’m also excited to experience what New York has to offer in the world of PR.

Having only ever worked in a London-based PR agency, getting a flavour for how Americans do public relations in the Big Apple is an appetising thought. I’m eager to learn how a US agency manages clients, communicates with the press, drafts content, generates creative campaign ideas and integrates social media. Rated ‘Agency of the Year’ by the American Business Awards three years in a row, 5W will be a great place to gain these important insights to bring back to the UK. My predecessors have already brought back ‘Perfect 10’ which has been successful in generating creative ideas for clients and encouraging integration across The PHA Group’s different departments. I’ll be keen to trade more innovative ideas and achieve similar results for both agencies.

Then there’s the partnership between The PHA Group and 5W, which continues to go from strength to strength. Learning how the two are different, how they co-operate and how the partnership works in practice will be an interesting and useful exercise. In particular, for consulting new and existing clients across a range of sectors and sizes who may have an interest in securing US coverage, for example, established brands on the international stage like recruitment firm REED, or Takumi, a start-up influencer marketing platform growing its presence in America.

And finally, there’s the US media. Is it more challenging to secure national coverage in America? Is print media facing a similar plight across the pond? Does the USA’s vast size translate into more regional publications? What are the US broadcasters like and do they operate differently? What is the best way to approach US journalists? So many questions. The answers await…

…and the waiting is almost over. Next week, myself and three colleagues will be arriving in New York like Harry and Marv in Home Alone 2. “The land of opportunity” Harry tells Marv. It certainly feels like that for me too – and what an opportunity it is!

Fairytale of New York: Christmas at 5W

“Here we are Marv. New York City, the land of opportunity.” And what an opportunity it is! Next week, myself and three fellow PHA-ers will be in the Big Apple to experience life, work and of course pizza and possibly a cheesecake or two in the city that never sleeps (did I mention that it’s at the most wonderful time of the year as well?!)

Whilst it might not be the inaugural PHA x 5W Exchange scheme, it is the first time that someone who doesn’t do PR has made the plane.

Now for those of you who think PHA have made an admin error and another Tom should have been selected (We have a lot of Tom’s at PHA, it’s very easy to lose track) Iet me put your mind at ease, I do indeed work at The PHA Group. I’m part of a four-man strong Marketing team whose objective is to generate new inbound opportunities for all our great PR teams.

So whilst some of my colleagues might be excited about how the New York media works and how best to approach journalists, my focus will be on what I can learn from the 5W Business Development team.

Whether that’s discussing the overall content strategy, how they target events for new business or even how much importance is placed on website data. I intend to soak it all up like a sponge.

I’m hoping to gain a better understanding of how the marketing team operates within a larger PR agency than PHA, how do they service all the departments and regularly deliver new business leads to all the teams.

Finally, I really hope this exchange leads to developing friendships with the people I’m heading Stateside with.

On a personal note, I’ve never been to NYC before at Christmas time, so I’ll be ticking off a very long list of tourist attractions during my visit. Visiting the Observatory tower, trying some eggnog and there might even be time for a New York Knicks game. Alley-Oop!

Being somewhat of a ‘foodie’ myself too, visiting New York and experiencing all their culinary treats, is something I’m greatly looking forward to.

I’ve heard a lot about New York bagels and how they’re the ‘best in the business’, well it’s time to test them against a little place I like to call Bruno’s, which currently has the crown of finest bagels in Soho, London.

If you know, you know.

See you in a few days’ time NYC.

Here we are Marv. New York City, the land of opportunity

A person working out in a home gym

Do you struggle for spare time during the week? Do you regularly have to cancel an exercise class or skip the gym because of other commitments?

Most people would agree that the week sometimes just doesn’t seem long enough, so staying in shape and being committed to a frequent exercise plan during the week can prove to be tough.

In recent years more and more people have decided to ditch their gym membership and focus on creating their own gym bubble at home. Whether it’s a shed, a spare room, a cleared space in the living room or even a basement that you can use, the benefits of creating a home gym are easy to see.

Wave goodbye to queuing for a machine, and say hello to becoming more flexible with your workouts.

We’ve taken a look at the gym outlet stores you should be checking out when it comes to creating your home gym.

Powerhouse Fitness

With almost 40 years of experience in the industry and 11 stores nationwide, Powerhouse Fitness are Europe’s leading specialist retailer for home fitness equipment with over 80,000 items in stock and ready to ship.

But we’re most impressed with their extensive range of static exercise bikes which includes an Air Bike which is the latest toy for performing high-intensity internal training (HIIT) or even lighter cardiovascular workout. So, if you’re looking to become a cardio king or queen then Powerhouse Fitness should be your first port of call.

Also, as luck would have it, Powerhouse Fitness are having a Black Friday discount day coming up at the end of November, where products will be discounted up to 50%.

Mirafit

For Mirafit, fitness is more than just working out. It’s about building both physical and mental strength. It’s about building the foundations so that you can have the freedom to do the things you want to do, both in and outside of the gym.

Established in 2014, Mirafit was created from a fundamental belief that we all deserve the right to a healthy heart, a strong physique and a clear mind, but to obtain that level of fitness, you need the correct equipment.

Mirafit produce a plethora of strength and conditioning equipment but we’re going to focus on their Olympic bars and plates.

Let’s face it, you can’t create an ultimate home gym that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud of if it doesn’t include an Olympic bar.

Fitness Superstore

With over 25 years of experience in the industry and over 200,000 products on their stocklist, Fitness Superstore is another go-to provider for kitting out your gym. Why not pop into one of their 11 showrooms in the UK to have a browse.  Be warned though, if you’re into your crossfit, you might come out with more items than you bargained for.

From soft foam plyometric box sets, to hammers and tyres, your garage will be looking like an F45 set in no time.

Origin Fitness

Providing free weights, functional training equipment and strength machines such as power racks and benches is Origin Fitness. Examples of clients Origin Fitness have worked with include Scottish Rugby, David Lloyd Clubs and Xercise4Less.

With a clientele list like that, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’re buying from a top-quality equipment provider. With Origin Fitness there’s plenty of toys and gadgets to choose from, but the range of push and pull sleds caught our eye, so if you’ve got the space available to you, why not give it a go?

Are you looking to raise your profile in the market? Our team of specialists is here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can help you gain cut-through for you and your business.

Four retailers helping to create your ultimate home gym