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Today is International Stop Food Waste Day, which is all about educating and igniting change in consumers and businesses, in order to tackle the global food waste epidemic that we’re currently facing. According to WRAP, the government’s waste reduction body, 1.9 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry every year in the UK, a massive 1.1 million of which is avoidable. Furthermore, 250,000 tonnes of the food that goes to waste each year is still edible.

The need to stop food waste is clearly dire, and thanks to a WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, large food businesses including many major retailers are pledging to halve the UK’s food waste bill by 2030. Additionally, more and more brands are popping up that aim to address the issue in innovative ways. Here we list our five favourite companies that are doing just that.

FareShare

On a mission to make sure good food doesn’t go to waste, FareShare take tens of thousands of tonnes of surplus food from the food industry and redistribute it across 1,500 towns and cities across the UK. In 2013 ASDA teamed up with FareShare to introduce an operational process to divert surplus products at depot level to people in need, and last year alone the charity redistributed enough food for 36.7 million meals.

Too Good To Go

When a group of tech-savvy entrepreneurs around Europe were confronted with the shocking reality of how much food gets wasted every day, they decided to join forces and created Too Good To Go in June 2016. It’s an app that allows everyone to do their bit to reduce food waste – vendors and restaurants who have perfectly good leftover food at the end of the day can sell it to other users, who pay by the app and collect it. So far, the business has created an impressive community of 576,000 ‘Waste Warriors’, who together have saved over 523,000 meals from being sent to landfill.

Rubies in the Rubble

Innovative condiments brand Rubies in the Rubble make all their products from ingredients that would otherwise go to waste, not because they are unfit for consumption, but simply because they are the wrong shape, size or colour. Founder Jenny Costa found it unacceptable that so many people are starving in developing countries, while in wealthy countries we throw away delicious, in-date food just because it doesn’t meet retailers’ aesthetic requirements. Out of this came an idea: create chutneys, jams, and preserves from all the excess produce. The business is now an award-winning brand, stocked in supermarkets and delis across the UK.

Food Cycle

Food Cycle is a community-focused charity that supports people who are hungry and lonely by serving tasty lunches and dinners every single day in towns and cities across the country. It targets vulnerable communities by reducing food waste, reducing food poverty and training volunteers. Everything the volunteers collect is surplus food that would otherwise have gone to waste. So far, they have saved 270 tonnes of surplus food, which they have used to serve over 250,000 meals to people in need.

FoodCloud

Social enterprise FoodCloud is a retailer app that currently helps over 7,500 charitable groups get surplus food in the UK and Ireland. Supermarkets and food stores with leftovers scan descriptions of their excess food into the app, letting local charities who are registered on the app know it’s available for collection. The company has so far helped to ensure 45 million meals have gone to people and not to waste, which equates to over 20,000 tonnes of food and over 65,000 tonnes of CO² in carbon savings.

If you’re a charity or organisation who wants to spread the word about the work you do, take a look at our third sector PR services. With extensive experience in creating stand-out campaigns that drive awareness and boost donations, we know how to take your cause to the next level. Get in touch today.

Stop Food Waste Day 2019: Businesses fighting for the cause

Name: Mike Cheng

Job title: Senior Account Manager, B2B Technology

Meet our people, Mike Cheng Senior Account Manager Technology

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I joined PHA from a specialist STEM communications agency, where I delivered strategic campaigns for a range of clients in areas including cybersecurity, emerging tech and scientific research, as well as large enterprises and some of the most exciting start-ups and spin-outs in the UK and Europe.

How did you move into the tech sector?

I’ve always had an interest in all types of technology, and I have always enjoyed writing, so tech PR was quite a natural fit. After I graduated from University, I did some travelling and moved to London, and found a role at a B2B tech PR agency and haven’t looked back since.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

I’m really enjoying working with the team and adding value from the experience I bring. I particularly like the number of different teams at PHA – its a great to work with people with different backgrounds, it helps when we’re coming up with new ideas.

How do you measure your PR impact for clients?

PR measurement is a notoriously tricky subject and there’s no single metric you can measure success. However, I do believe that for comms to truly be successful, we need our objectives to be closely aligned with the client’s business objectives so that we can deliver an outcome – whether that’s increased awareness, sales, behaviour change, share of voice etc. This means really drilling down into a brief and identifying the client’s challenges and responding with creative communications campaigns across multiple channels that deliver the desired outcome.

By closely aligning comms and business strategies, measurement becomes more meaningful, and we can move towards being judged by the outcome of our work.

Finally, what has been your most memorable campaigns you’ve worked on?

Quite a few – one of the ones that stands out was working with (ISC)2, a cybersecurity trade association, to raise awareness of cyber security as a societal issue. We worked with them to create a campaign around its Global Information Security Workforce Study (a bi-annual report); through working closely with the client to craft the report and the story, we secured blanket national, broadcast and trade coverage that propelled cybersecurity up the national agenda. Stats that we pulled out from the data are repeatedly quoted in cybersecurity articles to this day – the report was even quoted in George Osborne’s 2015 Autumn Statement to justify increased spend in cybersecurity.

Another was working with a startup called the Solar Cloth Company – in a nutshell, we ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise £750k in a month. Through PR we raised over £1million – and won a CIPR Award for best STEM campaign in 2015.

If you’re a technology company and would like to talk about what PR could do for your business, why not get in touch with us to find out more.

Meet our people; Mike Cheng

Gone are the days when vegan snacking equated to carrot sticks dipped in houmous, or a lonely piece of fruit. These days supermarket aisles are bursting with plant-based foods, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a café or restaurant without vegan options on the menu. With the market for meat-free set to reach £1.1bn by 2023 (according to Mintel), it’s no wonder businesses are jumping on the trend left right and centre. Snacking options are vast and full of innovation, ranging from coconut jerky and hazelnut butter cups, to quinoa crisps and roasted corn snacks.

We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 snack brands that we think are particularly impressive (not to mention delicious!), and stand out amongst the huge range of vegan products out there.

Primal Pantry

Founded in 2013 by nutritionist and paleo fan Suzie Walker, who still runs the business today, snack bar company Primal Pantry is on a mission to get people making better snacking choices. Its commitment is to produce products from high-quality, whole food ingredients, free from additives or unrecognisable ingredients. In this vein, the company has just launched their new range of snack-sized fruit and seed bars in four delightful flavours: Lemon & Poppyseed, Cocoa, Coconut and Orange & Ginger.

LOVE CORN

Crunchy corn brand, LOVE CORN, has created a range of gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free and high-fibre corn snacks. Roasted corn has apparently always been very popular in the Mediterranean & South America, but wasn’t as well known here in the UK, and as a result, the first premium roasted corn brand was born. Founded by Jamie McCloskey in 2016, the company has grown from a penniless start up into a thriving business, with products stocked across several major retailers. The three flavours available are Sea Slat, Smoked BBQ, and Habanero Chilli.

Squirrel Sisters

Sisters Gracie and Sophie Tyrrell set up Squirrel Sisters in November 2015, which started off as a blog the year before. The blog’s fast success led them to venture into the snack bar business, and today their products hold a remarkable collection of awards. Scrumptious and guilt-free, Squirrel Sisters only uses whole dates to bind and sweeten its products – they contain absolutely no syrups, pastes or sugar alternatives, and as such the company is certified by international certification authority Sugarwise.

Mighty Bee

Jerky might be one of the last foods that comes to mind when thinking about veganism, but with the rise in demand for protein-rich snacks, vegan jerky is turning out to be a hot trend in 2019. Mighty Bee have managed to bring together this unlikely pair, with their new range of certified-organic, preservative-free coconut jerky, which comes in three flavours: Spicy BBQ, Teriyaki, and Chocolate Hazelnut. The range is made from Thai coconuts, which they dehydrate and marinate to give them a chewy, meaty texture. Impressively, this NPD has come very soon after the company’s last innovation, Bananitos, which launched last year and is a unique solar-dried chocolate-coated banana bar.

Eat Real

Snack company Eat Real is based on three simple concepts: taste, nutrition and real ingredients. Its crisp-like snacks are free from artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives, but certainly do not compromise on taste. The range is so vast that it seems the only thing they don’t create crisps from is potatoes. From Quinoa Chips to Veggie Bites, and Snap Pea Crunch to Cheezie Straws, Eat Real have found innovative ways to produce crisp-like textures and flavours from all sorts of surprising ingredients.

Pulsin

Set up by three university friends in 2007, Pulsin has gone from strength to strength and is now an award-winning snack brand, with a variety of ranges including protein bars, raw chocolate brownies, protein powders and organic snack bars. The bars are dairy-free, gluten-free, and contain non-GMO ingredients. The latest addition to Pulsin’s range is the Fruit & Nut bars, which contain 30% less sugar and twice the fibre of other similar bars in their category. Health is at the heart of the Pulsin brand, which is why these new bars have been cold-pressed to preserve nutritional value.

LoveRaw

Rimi Thapar, creator of organic snack brand LoveRaw, is one of the few people to ever turn down an offer from the Dragons. She appeared on Dragon’s Den in 2017 looking for a £50,000 investment, but when Debra Meaden asked for a 30% stake in the business, Rimi decided to go it alone. Through her dedication and with a vision to spread her love of organic, healthy food, LoveRaw grew into a thriving success, branching out into plant-based milks and recently vegan butter cups. Creamy and indulgent yet virtually guilt-free, these come in Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter, and Hazelnut Butter flavours.

Ape Snacks & Emily Crisps

Coconut snack brand Ape Snacks was the brainchild of 19-year-old university drop-out, Zack Nathan, who was disappointed that all ‘natural’ snacks seemed to be either dull, bland and tasteless or else packed with sugar. He was determined to create something both healthy and delicious to shake up the UK’s snacking aisles, and in 2016 launched Ape Snacks’ Lightly Salted Curls and Natural Bites. The latest addition to the product range is the Coconut Puffs, which come in Lightly Salted, Thai Chilli, and Cheese flavours. Last week the company acquired fruit and vegetable crisp brand Emily Crisps. Founded in 2013 by Emily Wong and her partner Ale Ascani, the business initially grew through a crowdfunding initiative. Today it is stocked in several major retailers and boasts a full range of flavours including Sweet Potato, French Beans & Edamame, Crunchy Red Apple, Fig Banana, and Pineapple. As well as being vegan, all products are gluten-free, kosher-certified, and free from all additives and preservatives.

Tom Oliver Nutrition

Primarily a premium food supplement brand, Tom Oliver Nutrition launched its first chocolate protein bar range last May, which comes in six varieties: Coconut, Coffee, Caramel, Mint, Raspberry, and Orange. Founder Tom Oliver saw an opportunity to venture into the snack bar category when he noticed that most plant-based bars are often high in fruit sugars and low in protein content. By comparison, his product range promises to bring fresh, innovative, natural raw materials together to benefit overall health, and each bar contains 14g of protein.

If you’re launching a new product or want to grow your brand’s share of voice, our consumer PR team can help take your business to the next level. With extensive experience in FMCG and food and drink industries we know how to get your brand recognised. Get in touch here.

These vegan brands are making snacking irresistible

Social media is a brilliant platform for strengthening your reputation both online and offline. More diverse, immersive and accessible than traditional marketing, it provides a level of authenticity which is often hard to capture. Each channel occupies a niche and offers a varied strategy for developing your online reputation, brand values and identity.

A key point to remember is that you need to be interactive. It’s called social for a reason; make sure you’re asking questions, interacting with people and encouraging a discussion. Ideally, you want to get people talking to you, with you and about you. Positioning yourself as a thought leader is invaluable in building confidence in your personal brand, and social media is one of the easiest ways in which to do this. Here we highlight the best social media platforms for businesses and how to use them effectively.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps the most obvious platform for building your reputation as a thought leader in your industry. After all, it was designed to build and expand your professional network and unite those with common interests. Joining and prompting relevant discussion on LinkedIn can be as simple as writing a post, but it certainly shouldn’t stop there.

Join groups that are relevant to your industry, share articles on matters of importance to you, make real connections online and voice what makes you matter as an individual or a business. Jump on top of trending issues and maximise your exposure by using trending hashtags. Social media is all about storytelling, so tell yours.

LinkedIn also offers the ability to publish built-in blogs, which the algorithm will support so they generate further reach. Write one, publish it, and encourage people to ask you questions and discuss your ideas. As with everything on social media, the more people interact with your posts, the more often they’ll see your content, so you really want to push for that initial engagement that keeps people coming back for more.

Instagram

Instagram a great platform for the professional, as it allows you to showcase the aspects of your life that may feel ill-suited elsewhere. Instagram allows you to curate a broader understanding of, and personality around, your brand. This authentic and intimate insight is increasingly invaluable in the world of modern marketing.

When using Instagram, remember to use the whole toolbox. Use Instagram stories and their ever-evolving features, add videos and boomerangs and try to be playful with their built-in emojis and gifs. In the same vein, remember that branded or explicitly commercial content won’t sit well on this channel. Instagram is first and foremost about beautiful pictures, so your priority should be to show off your creative side and make the post look aesthetically pleasing.

Twitter

Twitter is often the first stop for people joining the world of social media. As a news-driven platform, it offers the perfect opportunity for comment and discussion, both as a brand and an individual. When using Twitter, it’s important to remember it functions based on ‘look at that’, rather than ‘look at me’. Using Twitter to stay on top of industry agendas is a great way to prove your relevance.

Make sure you’re following and interacting with existing influential leaders in your industry and try to get your content in front of them. A key influencer retweeting your message can lead to a hugely expanded reach, and consequently more engagements and followers.

Facebook

Facebook may not seem like the most immediately relevant channel for businesses, but it holds value in its SEO potential, and in allowing you to have a seamless visual identity and tone of voice across the web. Having these multiple touch points is helpful in keeping your messaging clear and consistent.

One stand-out benefit of using Facebook is its sophisticated and intricate options for paid promotion. This is something worth investing in if you want to promote a product, cause or event, and may yield better results than other platforms.

In terms of content, Facebook can be used to support content pushed out across other channels, and focus on longer form opinion pieces, such as blogs or videos. Whereas other platforms encourage short and concise statuses, Facebook allows you to share more than 60,000 characters within a post, making it great for telling a story or engaging in meaningful content sharing.

Final thoughts…

Social media today hosts a plethora of tools to help you tell your story. It’s a hugely varied space that is highly flexible to the individual or brand, and since it’s now so pervasive, it’s easier than ever to get your message where you want and to whom you want.

Do remember that social media is not a one-way street. The quickest way to put people off is by being too ‘me me me’; using your own content is fantastic and certainly recommended, but don’t be afraid to share others’ work. You can still demonstrate your value and knowledge by directing your followers to authoritative and illuminating content from across the web. This is also often a good way to continue to expand your network – just make sure you always credit appropriately.

It can be daunting to start a brand-new social media strategy and post relevant, creative content on a regular basis. If you feel you need a helping hand, have a look at our social media services here. Our community managers look after every aspect of your social media channels and online communities. Whether you’re after a bespoke social campaign, paid media support, influencer engagement, or a full audit of your existing social landscape and that of your competitors, we’ve got you covered.

How to use social media to build your reputation

After months of back and forth with your CEO and persuading them it’s time to bring your outdated website into the 21st century, the project has finally been signed off. You’re eager to get going, so you spend some time clarifying what you want and then send out your brief to a list of potential web development teams. You get a stack of proposals back but are left scratching your head how to decide who would be the best fit for your project.

Below is a list of what to look out for when choosing a reliable, high-end web development team and be confident that they will create you a website to be proud of.

A stickler for detail

During the research, design and build stages the devil is in the detail. As such, a team with great communication is necessary. Find someone who asks questions and strives to understand your vision and what you are trying to achieve as the better their understanding is, the smoother the project will be.

For our most recent build, our client Morgan Dairy required some complicated functionality, namely a delivery postcode checker and a product ordering form. We had to ensure that each of these were working exactly as expected which we achieved by sending prototypes for them to test and confirm it was what they envisioned.

Astute

Before choosing a development team, try to establish how astute they are. Do they show an ability to accurately assess situations and projects? Are they saying no to everything you are suggesting? Or maybe they say yes to everything? The truth is, it’s not possible to create an all singing all dancing website, within record speed timing and at an insanely low price. Anyone who says it is, likely doesn’t understand the project or is just trying to get their hands on your hard-earned money. As such, it’s always worth using your own common sense to think whether they will be able to deliver on exactly what they’ve promised. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

One such client that we were keen to help was Helen and Douglas charity whom we created two bespoke stages for their project timeline. The first being a website with events booking, custom campaign pages, a blog and more. The second being the website with donation functionality. This helped to ensure that realistic expectations were set at the start of the project and that a polished, quality product was delivered.

An eye for design

A crucial element when deciding between web development teams is to ensure they have a keen eye for design. The best way to ensure this is to go through their previous design work with a fine-toothed comb. If they can demonstrate skill and provide insight into the type of work you can expect from them, you’re off to a good start.

One such project where we were keen to ensure that the latest in design patterns were utilized was with our client Patientory. We implemented a clean, modern design with appropriately placed user interactions for an added element of fun ensuring to stay on brand and engage the potential clients.

Coding skills

As a client, these ones can be slightly harder to foresee but you can generally get an idea by looking at the existing portfolio. Alternatively, you could ask them about the technology stack they’ll be using and why they use it. You could even get in touch with some of their previous clients to help form your opinion on this.  Generally, if their portfolio examples websites work as you would expect them to, you should be in good hands

Willingness to learn

Does the web development team show a willingness to learn and try new things? Are they suggesting adding exciting features to your site, or maybe that it would be a great time to implement new cutting-edge technology? If so, it’s likely you have a team of passionate web developers on your hands who will strive to create you a website to be proud of.

If you would like to talk to our Studio team about website design or build, then please get in touch with a member of our award-winning team today. We’d love to start bringing your idea to life.

Website development – what to look out for

The trend towards organic, vegan and sustainable products is showing no signs of slowing, and the fight for businesses to stand out is fiercer than ever. As part of Natural & Organic Products Europe, which attracts over 10,000 attendees annually, this year’s Natural Food Show will host over 700 brands and suppliers, hundreds of new product launches from across the globe, and top industry figures will be giving inspiring keynotes and seminars.

We’ve highlighted some of the top food and drink trends soaring through 2019, and the brands we think are set to wow retailers at the food show with their new product development.

Raw

Raw or cold-processed ingredients (never heated above 42°C) generally means less energy is used during their preparation, and that instead of more traditional methods are used, for example, sun-drying. The theory behind the trend is that consuming uncooked foods boosts energy, aids in weight loss and prevents disease.

Raw Press (stand Q30)

Leading health and wellbeing brand of organic, raw cold-pressed juices, Raw Press, is launching its innovative healthy snack alternative, Pronuts. It is a raw, vegan, gluten-free protein snack bar that comes in a doughnut form, with a base of oats, cashews, dates and vegan hemp protein powder. Raw Press will also showcase a bean-to-bar chocolate icing in three flavours: Matcha, Chocolate and Rose.

The Raw Chocolate Company (stand S31)

The Raw Chocolate Company was set up in 2006 with a mission to make chocolate better. The company is promoting its organic, vegan chocolate bars, now in fully compostable and recyclable packaging. They’re also showcasing three new exciting additions to the range: Koffee Kapow, Mint Mania and Silky Coconut.

Cannabis-infused

Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is having a huge impact in the wellness industry, dominating headlines and product launches. From skin care products to bottled drinks, chocolates to supplement sprays, this hemp-derivative is becoming more and more popular, with experts and celebrities alike advocating its health benefits.

Almighty Foods (stand P9)

Almighty Foods will be showcasing their hand-crafted chocolate bars and nut butter that are traditionally stone-milled in Scotland and made with lab-tested, raw CBD extract. All their products are vegan and certified organic, and they pride themselves on their fully compostable plant-based packaging.

Minor Figures (stand R40)

Minor Figures is a UK based independent coffee company, focused on creating innovative products, from nitro cold brew coffee to oat m*lk and chai tea. Most recently, the company launched a CBD oil designed to restore and replenish the body following over-consumption of coffee. The entire Minor Figures range is dairy-free, vegan-friendly and contains no added sugar.

MatchaNOW (stand W3)

Beverage company MatchaNow has launched a new ready-to-drink tea combining matcha with CBD. Their innovative twist-and-shake cap stores the matcha and CBD oil to preserve their purity and potency until a simple twist releases both into the drink. Since launching in the UK in 2017 with its Original and Lightly Sweet flavours, MatchaNow’s range also includes Peppermint, Ginger & Turmeric, and now CBD. Their next move will be towards environmentally friendly packaging, by looking into compostable bottle materials.

Fermented

Fermented drinks have been around for centuries, but the health-drink trend has only just started causing a stir in the UK. The probiotics and organic acids they contain have been said to have a positive effect on gut health, improving digestion, the immune system, and neurological health. Nowadays the market is booming with bacteria-packed drinks like kombucha, kefir, and kvass.

Captain Kombucha (stand R26)

Drinks brand Captain Kombucha will showcase its Oh My Gutness drink at the food show. This sparkling fruit drink fermented with water kefir grains is full of gut-friendly bacteria, antioxidants and enzymes, and is low in calories and dairy-free. It is available in six different flavours: Original, California Raspberry, Pineapple, Ginger & Lemon, Coconut, and Cayenne Pepper.

Bio-tiful Dairy (stand P6)

Kefir is a 2000-year-old cultured milk drink, made from milk and authentic live cultures. Bio-tiful Dairy is on a mission to bring gut health to the UK, and their range of kefir smoothies, milk, and yoghurts all contain billions of gut-friendly bacteria, vitamins and minerals. Their newest range, Kefir-Quark, is the world’s first combination of kefir and quark cultures and is available in Original and Cranberry flavours.

Karma Kombucha (by Biogroupe) (stand R20)

Organic, fair trade, fermented tea brand, Karma Kombucha is introducing Ginger Beer by Karma, an alcohol-free soft drink, with no added sweeteners and a genuine ginger taste, thanks to its natural fermentation. Also on show will be Biogroupe’s Karma Kefruit, which is packed with good bacteria and yeast, and produced by fermenting water and fruit with kefir grains.

Sustainable

The anti-plastic efforts of 2018 are only growing this year, with more and more businesses making commitments to reduce their plastic production, including supermarkets trialling plastic-free zones. Many brands are opting for paper packaging, recycled materials, or bioplastics.

Lovechock (stand M20)

Ethical chocolate brand Lovechock has been boasting plastic-free packaging since 2011, and what’s more, the company has recently pledged to reduce its packaging material by 20% in order to further shrink its environmental impact. The chocolatier produces raw cocoa that is processed as little as possible and has just launched its innovative CBD-infused ‘mini-tablet’, which contains 75% cacao and is sweetened with Arenga-palm sugar to give it a rich taste of toffee.

Conscious Chocolate (stand Z14)

Raw chocolate pioneer, Conscious Chocolate, has recently re-branded and will be showing off its new eco-packaging, which has a recyclable outer, printed with vegetable inks and a water varnish, plus an inner wrapper that is plant-based, as well as a home compostable film. The new packaging is intended to display the evocative nature of the wild, ethical, premium ingredients. All bars are vegan, organic, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and refined sugar-free.

Tony’s Chocolonely (stand U10)

Tony’s Chocolonely has been fighting against slavery in the chocolate industry, aiming to show the world that chocolate can be made differently in the way we treat cocoa farmers. But while this is its primary focus, the Dutch company also places importance on climate change and the environment. As well as taking part in initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, Tony’s Chocolonely try to use locally produced raw materials in their packaging and use recycled materials where possible.

Cocofina (stand P7)

Award-winning British organic food producer Cocofina specialises in authentic coconut products, all free of plastic packaging. The products are innovative, vegan-friendly and certified organic by the Soil Association UK. Their stand at the food show will be displaying their newly certified Coconut Water, Organic Vegan Low GI Chocolate Spread and our Organic Coconut Water with High Strength Turmeric.

Do you have a food or drink product you want to launch or simply gain more exposure? Our award-winning consumer PR team are here to help. Whether it’s working with influencers, creating engaging social media campaigns or supporting your product or service launch, we’ve got you covered. Contact us today to find out more.

Leading the charge at The Natural Food Show 2019

April Fool’s Day is an exciting time for marketers. Many brands cleverly tweak their tone of voice online to great effect. Acting in a slightly goofier fashion can reveal the human side of a brand, making them more relatable and personable. This day can inspire all, including those who do not have the budget for traditional stunts – simple yet effective visuals can spark the imagination of your customer base and make them remember you.

Below are PHA Social’s favourite April Fool’s day gags from 2019, as well as our 3 top tips on how to make your audience giggle next year!

  1. Being directly funny isn’t the only option

A lot of brands seemed to default to the traditional gag of releasing fake products, however, this doesn’t have to be the only way to cut through the April Fool’s noise. This day is about being light-hearted – what would you like your customers to know about your brand that you may have difficulty saying normally?

Whilst we might have expected The Muppets to tell a joke, we felt their simple acknowledgement of the day was light-hearted and warm – it reminded us of how the Muppets make us feel.  Could you use April Fool’s for a similar effect with your workplace or employees, reminding customers of the friendly faces behind the brand?

  1. Respond to ongoing conversation surrounding your brand

Some conversations/feelings around your brand will not be appropriate to respond to when they appear casually throughout the year. However, April Fool’s day is an opportunity to engage in this conversation, due to the relaxed environment social media supports. Duolingo is iconic for its repetitive notifications. Their video announcing Duolingo Push was able to merge all the conversations surrounding this feature into a light-hearted piece that shows they not only listen to their audience, but they also acknowledge a comical part of their business.

Introducing Duolingo Push

The moment you've all been d̶r̶e̶a̶d̶i̶n̶g̶ waiting for…Introducing Duolingo Push! We're taking notifications out of your phone and into the real world. That's right: Duo the Owl will literally show up to remind you to practice so you never miss a day of language learning again.Try it today: https://push.duolingo.com

Posted by Duolingo on Monday, April 1, 2019

On the flip side, some online pranks will spark new conversation surrounding your brand, revealing gaps in your product catalogue. Love Hearts Sour Hearts feels like a perfect anti-product to us, which many could relate too!

  1. Do not admit you know it’s April Fool’s Day

For many, April 1st is a normal day, and so there are plenty of genuine articles and content posted online. The art of this holiday is to blend your jokes so that they appear (largely) natural and authentic. If you have someone in your comments saying, ‘this has to be an April fool’s, surely!’, then you have succeeded in creating a mystery – and your engagement will grow from this confusion. Caffé Nero was able to successfully maintain their sophisticated style whilst establishing this illusion by utilising Instagram stories. They ‘announced’ that ‘due to a manufacturing issue’, their chocolate cups had to be recalled.

#AprilFools

Due to a manufacturing issue we have had to recall our chocolate cups. Sorry for any inconvenience caused. #AprilFools

Posted by Caffè Nero on Friday, March 29, 2019

April Fool’s day should not be seen as a difficult part of your marketing calendar. Listen to your audience, be bold, try something different and monitor the results so learnings can be applied to the next campaign. Just remember that important, genuine posts should be avoided on this day or you could encounter the same response that Theresa May’s announcement of a higher living wage had on Monday.

If you would you like to capitalise on national days such as April Fool’s Day in the future, get in touch with PHA Social to discuss how we can help people discover your brand in a fun and creative way.

How to maximise your April Fools’ online content

What goes best with a cup of coffee? A top up. Whether it’s sitting in a cafe for hours gossiping with your friends or desperately trying to stay awake sipping from your takeaway mug, coffee is a key component of many people’s daily routines.

The iconic London Coffee Festival is taking a step up this year, with mindful coffee tasting, latte art showdowns, a barista competition and unique multi-sensory experiences. Taking place as always at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, the event will exhibit over 250 coffee roasters and brands and is expecting over 30,000 visitors across the four days.

This year, we’re most excited for the line-up at The Lab, which provides live demonstrations, workshops, talks and tastings, all hosted by experts in the industry. Representatives from Percol Coffee, A Plastic Planet, and The Fairtrade Foundation will be discussing the future of ethical and sustainable coffee. Kate McCutchen from Square UK will be talking about how to grow your business from the ground up. MUMAC Academy will be speaking with Assembly coffee and Caravan Coffee Roasters about coffee and education. With this and much more on offer, 2019’s London Coffee Festival is one not to miss.

To help you get in the mood for coffee (who needs a reason?) we’ve compiled a list of our favourite coffee brands in London.

Workshop

Workshop place a huge importance on being able to work closely with the right coffee farmers, producers, exporters and co-operatives to produce the best coffee. Those at Workshop firmly believe that if they understand every aspect that goes into making a brilliant cup of coffee, they can successfully make one.

They work closely with the same farmers year on year, and developing new relationships all the time, predominantly focusing on travel and purchasing in Africa and Central and South America.

Workshop pride themselves on having a genuine and sincere commitment to developing on-going relationships with producers, that facilitate their objectives of better financial reward for their handiwork, and our desire to serve for the best coffee possible.

Dark Arts

Launched in 2014, after a meeting between Bradley Morrison (MD) and Colin Mitchell (director) at a motorcycle festival in 2013.

Bradley Morrison had been working as a barista but wasn’t at all keen on the coffee they were serving and thought he could do a better job. He approached the owner with the proposition that if he started a roastery, would they change their supplier? So, Dark Arts began.

The roastery’s quirky décor is a mix of Americana and artefacts from motorcycle culture and retro horror films. Whilst having fun is high on their agenda, they are ultimately driven by their passion to produce quality products.

All Press

It seems all good coffee is built on good relationships. All Press put their success down to every person in the coffee making journey, from the people they choose to partner with, to their first café customer, to their staff around the world.

All Press recognise that the best tasting coffee is not all science, nor is it all craft. It’s the combination of both.

Climpson & Sons

Pioneers in the evolving London speciality coffee scene. They work to source, roast and craft some of the finest coffees from Ethiopia to Guatemala and more, right in the heart of East London.

They place a huge emphasis on their ethos towards sustainability and ethical sources and consequently ensure that their coffee has both character and a transparent story.

Ozone

Another company who really thrive off the friendships they get to build between a huge range of interesting and talented people; from coffee lovers through to coffee farmers. They love that they have an ability to connect these people.

Having started in a small New Zealand surf town, with just three passionate coffee roasters, they have invested in their product, people and community and have consequently grown around the globe continuing to do what they love.

Square Mile

Founded by 2 people with a wealth of experience and passion in the coffee industry, from barista work, machinery support and coffee training to import, cupping and roasting.

With the ultimate goal to make London famous for good coffee, they source, buy, import, roast and deliver the best coffee they can find.

 

At The PHA Group we love coffee, so were thrilled when leading household appliance brand SharkNinja came to us with a challenge to launch a PR campaign for their new Ninja Coffee Bar. Read about the influencer partnerships we secured and the outstanding results of the campaign here.

Are you in need of a communications strategy to help gain exposure for your brand or business? Our expert teams are on hand to help you do just that. Speak to us today to find out how you can gain cut-through in online and national media.

London Coffee Festival

Whether it’s gas or electricity, energy is something every one of us uses daily. But both the sources of energy, and it’s delivery, are under increasing pressure. Innovation and development in energy production, storage, management and infrastructure is vital to continuing to power our world. This week’s Future of Utilities Summit is set to unearth some fascinating discussions and innovations on just this topic.

From domestic solar panels to a smart thermostat that can detect an open window in the house, we look at some of the products and businesses that are providing us with opportunities to be greener and smarter about energy usage.

Tonik Energy

Different to most energy companies, Tonik actively state not to buy electricity from them! Tonik is empowering consumers to take control of their energy use – particularly when it comes to the storage of renewable energy, by providing at-home battery storage packs. Tonik’s solar panels help to reduce your reliance on the national grid energy, help free people from fluctuating wholesale energy prices and as an added bonus, any excess energy produced by customers’ solar panels can be sold back to the grid.

Tado

Creating innovative hardware and apps, Tado is here to help us optimise our energy usage. Research suggests that smarter technologies – like Tado’s smart thermostat -allow more efficient control of when we use energy and can reduce energy usage 31% of that energy.

Some of the built-in capabilities of the smart thermostat include Geofencing which means you’ll never heat an empty house again. Using your current location, Tado can also pre-warm your house for you. There’s also a great feature which detects an open window in your house and turns off the heating, meaning you won’t be spending money on wasted heating.

Octopus Energy

Octopus Energy launched in 2016 and in just under three years it has cemented its position as a top independent supplier– and is the only Which? recommended energy supplier – for two years in a row.

Backed by Octopus Ventures, Octopus Energy uses its proprietary technology platforms to deliver agile, green, and fairly priced energy products. It offers100% renewable energy and has been a champion of transparent, fair energy pricing. The company’s innovations range from the world’s first time-of-use tariff, allowing customers to tap into real-time wholesale energy pricing, to an integration with Amazon’s Alexa that enables customers to ‘ask’ when energy is cheapest and greenest, enabling much more efficient energy use at home.

Octopus Energy’s tech-first and customer-centric ethos means it’s constantly developing and innovating affordable, green energy solutions – and we are excited for what this year will hold for its ever-growing customer base.

 Catapult

Set up as an independent, not-for-profit centre of excellence to help speed up the transformation of the UK’s energy system. Whilst working alongside innovators from businesses of all sizes to grow, trial and scale their ideas. Catapult also collaborate with academics and governments to overcome some of the barriers that currently face the energy market. This development work has proved to be key in helping to unleash new products and services that will catapult the UK towards its clean growth ambitions of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

Open Energi

OpenEnergi is creating advanced technologies to help deliver an affordable, zero carbon energy future for the UK, whilst trying to radically reduce energy costs for businesses. Its services range from offering specialist consultancy which helps businesses to access and value project opportunities to offering unparalleled insight into assest performance.. Since its inception in 2011, Open Energi has connected over 3,500 assets at more than 400 sites, working with a variety of leading businesses including Oxford Brookes University and Sainsbury’s.

 

Why not give us a call today and speak to a member of our award-winning communications teams to find out how we could help you tell the world about your business and vision. We specialise in helping entrepreneurial businesses tell their story.

Energy Innovation at Future of Utilities Summit 2019

Over 800 million people lack access to clean water, and 2.3 billion people do not have access to a decent toilet. It goes to show that there are still huge strides to be taken in the fight against the global water crisis.

Many businesses are doing their bit to provide clean drinking water to developing countries, and since today is World Water Day, we’ve taken a look at our three favourite challenger brands who are making significant progress towards the vision of a world with access to safe and clean water for everyone.

One

Every purchase of One Water, Juiced Water, Flavoured Water or One Gin, funds life-changing water projects for some of the world’s poorest communities. With projects ranging from water and sanitation programmes to community training and school feeding programmes, One are truly making a difference to this incredibly important cause.

Launched on World Water Day 2017, the alcohol branch of the business, One Gin, was born out of the desire to create exceptional spirits that make a real impact on the world. It went on to become an IWSC Gold award winning brand, and today they donate 10% of their profits to the One Foundation.

So far, the company have raised £19.3m for global clean water and sanitation projects, giving clean, safe water to 3.5 million people in the world’s poorest communities. And they show no signs of slowing down, with a mission to raise £20m by 2020.

Life Water

Life Water sells locally sourced water in the UK’s first zero-plastic cans, which are 100% recyclable, made from recycled aluminium and are BPA free. Every Life Water drink purchased funds clean water projects across the globe, through their partner charity drop4drop. Projects range from building hand pumps in Malawi to implementing an extensive restoration scheme in Mozambique, where they are fixing broken bore-wells and empowering communities to manage and maintain their projects locally and effectively.

Founded in 2005, Life Water’s mission is to make a difference wherever they can, by raising the bar of what consumers should expect from their everyday products.

Jerry Bottle

Social enterprise Jerry Bottle trades reusable water bottles for their sister organisation Waterfall Charity. Campaigning for a reusable and sustainable economy, they give 100% of their profits to fund water projects in India and Tanzania. The business model is based on encouraging people to swap out single use plastic bottles and instead purchase their stylish stainless-steel alternatives. What’s more, at the bottom of every bottle is the coordinates of the water project you have funded by buying that product. A pretty great perk if we do say so ourselves!

The money raised from water bottles funds clean water projects, including building hand pumps in West Bengal to provide clean water for hospitals on Pemba Island in Zanzibar.

 

It’s so important for brands like these to shout about the great work they’re doing, particularly when it ties into awareness days for third sector organisations. At The PHA Group we work with a host of charities and third sector companies. Our award-winning team has extensive experience in fundraising campaigns, crisis management, influencer engagement and more. Speak to our team today to find out how we could help you achieve your goals long term.

Take a look at some of our credentials here.

World Water Day