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What #PressforProgress means: Jenny Campbell

What #PressforProgress means: Jenny Campbell

By Jenny Campbell 

When the Equal Franchise Act was passed in 1928 giving all women over the age of 21 the right to vote, many expected a mass upheaval of society and women’s position both within the home and workplace to follow suit.

However, fast forward 90 years and despite significant progress being made towards pursuing gender parity, there are still great disparities present within society. Whilst there is a growing body of women promoting change, there are still many stuck in the shadows of their male counterparts.

PR for Jenny Campbell

This gender bias is something I have become all too familiar with throughout my career, experiencing first-hand the double standards women are subjected to within the workplace. During my banking career, I was initially given a ‘Band B’ ranking as opposed to a higher tiered ‘Band A’, based on the assumption that at some point I would take a break from my career to have children. My male counterpart, who I knew I was doing a better job than, received a ‘Band A’, so I challenged this and after eighteen months of fighting it, I received the ‘Band A’ that I deserved.

Shaping a corporate career as a woman is no easy feat and I have spent a large proportion of my working life challenging similar bias that could potentially hold me back. However, perceptions are gradually being corrected and the past year alone has acted as a platform for women calling out for this position to change with campaigns such as #TimesUp and #MeToo coming to the forefront of society.

The career opportunities for women have increased considerably, especially with the rise of the female entrepreneur. However, despite 1 in 10 women wanting to start their own business, just 9% of funding into UK start-ups goes into businesses run by women.

The entrepreneur, regardless of their gender, is a crucial driver of the nation’s economic growth and by disregarding women’s capacity as business owners and employers society is overlooking a great resource of untapped potential.

It is not a question of drive and ambition among female businesswomen, but that of opportunity, specifically linked to access to funding channels in order to embark on an entrepreneurial path.

A recent report found that a quarter of all female small-business owners experienced difficulties when trying to access funding, with women in business receiving just 7% of venture capital investment. This comes in comparison to the male entrepreneur, receiving 86% of venture capital funding.

This stark contrast speaks to wider gender issues of male investors in the venture capital world simply ‘lending to their own’. It is these disproportionate barriers that continue to challenge women’s position and capabilities within the workplace; for example, female entrepreneurs still have a 15%-20% lower loan approval rate than their male counterparts.

Despite vast efforts for gender parity to transcend industries and sectors, there is still a distance to go within the business landscape. However, this is not a battle that should be shied away from. Female entrepreneurs have been found to bring 20% more revenue with 50% less money invested, and Deloitte has suggested that targeted help for early-stage female entrepreneurs could provide a £100bn boost to the UK economy over the next 10 years alone.

Indicators such as these evidence a crucial need to champion an overall change in how we view women in the workplace, with concerted efforts to remove the gender bias women face. Employers often expect women to act in a certain way and repeatedly underestimate individual’s capabilities due to their gender. Women need to take a greater stand within the workplace to ensure that these expectations don’t pigeonhole their careers and instead fight for the position they deserve.

Regardless of the industry or sector women always face challenges, however, it is important not to be put off by the hurdles in your way and instead to take each challenge as a new opportunity to help break through the stereotypical moulds in society and to forge the career you want.

Ultimately the decision whether to support an enterprise should be taken irrespective of gender and based on business merit alone. Whilst there is a revolution building around British entrepreneurship there is still a great deal of progress to be made in transforming the culture and mindset surrounding a women’s place, and this change in my view cannot come quick enough!

Is Twitter news?

As is fitting with the nature of the platform, there are two potentially extreme opinions which should be taken when determining if twitter is news.

The first is that it is nothing more than an endless abyss of arguments, abuse and throwaway opinions that collate to paint an entertaining if not slightly terrifying picture of humanity.

The second and far more controversial opinion is that Twitter is now the biggest and best outlet for news in the world – a news outlet fit for the 21st century.

On the day of the presidential election, Twitter star and still president Donald Trump was elected. It was the largest source of breaking news worldwide, with 40 million election-related tweets sent before 10 pm.

From that perspective, Twitter, is the best place to go for news companies who are seeking readers. For breaking news, it’s even better, and will usually have a plethora of first-hand witness accounts and theories for you to decipher through once an incident breaks, long before any news network gets hold of the story.

In fact, the obvious likelihood from this is rather than being the ones delivering the news, it’s now the case that Twitter is delivering it to the news companies. The Oxford Circus terrorist attack Daily Mail Oxford Circuswas a perfect example of this.

In hindsight, we now know that a fight breaking out on a tube platform rippled through crowds in one of the most congested and visited parts of London causing widespread panic. Many were following the feed on Twitter as more and more people contributed their 280 character accounts of what they had seen. The Daily Mail was also doing the same, reaching the below conclusion.

They had come across the below tweet about a lorry that had crashed and a combination of tweets that claimed to have heard gunshots. The problem with the tweet was it had been sent 10 days before the incident, the problem with the gunshots were there weren’t any.

Twitter was now supplying the Daily Mail’s journalists their stories and consequently the nation’s largest paper headlines. It is usurping the newspapers most powerful instrument, it was dictating the news cycle. This isn’t the only time where the “news” generated on Twitter fooled everyone.

Ben Rothenberg’s excellent article on Slate exposed the perils of “Twitter news” in dramatic fashion. After tennis legends Billie Jean Kingand Martin Navratilova condemned comments made by Margaret Court that Tennis is “full of lesbians” and that transgender people were the “children of the devil,” a young Macedonian tennis player cut through the controversy and announced on twitter he would refuse to play at Margaret Court Arena should the opportunity arise.

Darko Grncarov, the Macedonian star labelled her views “totally unacceptable and disgusting.” The court named in her honour, became the centre of a heated online debate calling for it to be renamed. Grncarov’s own story now became one of extreme interest. Not only was he prepared to hinder his career to do what he thought was right, he then got an opportunity to announce on BBC Radio that he had just woken up from a six-month coma and was now, miraculously, going to take the ATP tour by storm.


Serena Williams followed him on Twitter, telling him it would be an “honour” for her daughter and her to meet him. Navratilova retweeted his story. James Blake wanted to commentate on his future matches. Adidas tweeted him “Welcome to the family Darko” after he tweeted the company offered him sponsorship.

Grnacarov amassed a huge following through the social network. Macedonia, a country so desperate for a sports star had one it could now adorn with national pride. He was now their biggest star, and nobody had even seen him play. More than 200 Grncarov Twitter accounts appeared devoted to him. Fuelling the fire of his fame, they tweeted about his crush on Nicole Scherzinger and his net worth of $1.5million. The official Twitter accounts of the ATP tour and ITF Tennis joined the fun, pestering Ellen DeGeneres to have him on her show. Rothenberg believes the tweets, which occasionally turned vicious in defence of their star, may have been from Twitter’s now infamous troll factories. The synchronised nature of the behaviour and the curious language raised eyebrows. News being generated by the site was causing a racquet in the tennis world.

As you have guessed, Grncarov isn’t a tennis player. He is a real person, he has played tennis (albeit poorly, as one of his Twitter videos demonstrated) and he did speak out in defence of transgender people. The problem is, that it was all just the first part of a well-organised ploy to use Twitter to catapult a young Macedonian into the world of fame. Twitter was generating news, but it was fake. Macedonia’s rising sun quickly became a false dawn.

It’s the effect the social network is having on the industry. Where a journalist would once knock on doors or wait outside houses, for better or worse, they can now open Twitter and peruse first-hand accounts of events, with nothing to corroborate the information, other than an anonymous name. Journalists don’t need to even leave their office anymore to report events with reasonable accuracy. Multiple accounts with familiar stories tend to form an impression of legitimacy, although we know they can be coordinated and organised. Some people just know how to use Twitter better than others.

The difference between the main stream media and Twitter aren’t vast but they are significant. It has blurred the lines between trained journalist and Joe public, and now both fall readily into each other’s traps. Twitter has levelled the playing field and it isn’t always pretty, at times it goes beyond the realms of sanity, but it is here to stay, and it may be here to dominate.

67 percent of American adults now rely on social media platforms such as Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Snapchat for news. That means a lot of people are now relying on themselves to determine the fake from the real. The Grncarovs from the Rothenbergs.

While newspapers are struggling to successfully monetize their product. Twitter posted $2.1 billion in advertising revenue in 2017.  “We are not the arbiters of truth,” said arbiter of truth Nick Pickles, the UK’s Twitter executive.

“We are not going to remove content based on the fact this is untrue. The one strength that Twitter has is it’s a hive of journalists, of citizens, of activists correcting the record, correcting information.”

Twitter is lowering expectations about its role in policing its news and by doing so, enhancing the power of those that use the platform. That’s why it is successful and that is why it is dangerous. It’s blurred the lines between journalist and citizen, and by doing so became the news outlet fit for the 21st century.

And if threatening nuclear war against North Korea doesn’t get your account suspended, let’s be honest, nothing will.

If you would like to find out how The PHA Group can help you grow your social media community and engagement speak to a member of our team today. Alternatively, check out our award-winning team Digital Studio.  


The role of media in re-building trust in the financial sector

The PHA Group Guide on Building Trust in Financial Sector

Trust. It impacts our day from start to finish and influences thousands of decisions and interactions we make in between, from the products we buy to the news that we read.

The T word is everywhere, used about people, places, relationships and of course, businesses. It can be built over time and demolished in a heartbeat, often for good.

Trust is subjective – an emotion, a sense or experience. It is easy to feel, but difficult to influence. In a world of unprecedented choice and accessibility of information, trust is a key driving factor that influences customers to commit to a brand or service and draws them back for more.

Trust, therefore, is an asset which companies must understand and manage if they are to succeed in complex global operating environments.

Recent research at Harvard Business School has revealed that when a brand has credibility, reliability and intimacy, then it can expect an increase in satisfied customers and improved retention. Hardly groundbreaking news, but it is good common sense.

Loyal brand stakeholders – who come back time and again – now have more channels of communication than ever before to tell others about their experience and choices, directly translating into brand revenue and profit.

And whilst trust between brands and their customers has long been a priority for the world’s most forward-thinking companies, it has never been more important than it is today. In particular, for the financial services sector.

As a major influencing factor of brand and product choice, ‘trust’ drained away from the financial services sector on a global scale during the financial crash of 2008. Financial institutions which for generations were viewed as secure pillars of the economy and local communities have seen levels of trust amongst customers plummet to unprecedented lows. Research in 2014 from PWC revealed that fewer than one in three UK consumers now trust their bank, with even lower ratings for other types of financial services such as insurance providers and advisors.

Long established companies across the financial services – for years immune to forces of competition and innovation – are now being forced to adapt to a new, post-Lehman landscape. This is a world where, with information disclosure driven by ever-lower barriers to access, consumers now expect full transparency and accountability from the brands and services they use daily.

Financial brands are fast understanding that people don’t just buy products anymore, they buy into the companies that make those products, the values they represent and what they stand for. In the era of Apple and Facebook, a brand’s social purpose and status has become of huge importance to the consumer.

The consumer increasingly yields the power, and through social networks, they will either proudly advocate and defend their brand choices or quickly share a negative experience.

Whilst historically behind in embracing social media, we are now seeing companies across the financial services catching up to those in other major industries. Faced with increased market competition, traditional financial institutions are now seeking to rebuild trust by using social media to increase transparency and improve customer engagement through storytelling.

The leading edge financial brands – in terms of marketing and product innovation – are the ones that understand the peer networks their consumers operate in. The smart players are the ones that are moving from big, functional claims about product quality and instead are inviting customers to make personal, intuitive decisions.

Put simply, social media – as a tool to demonstrate transparency, commercial ethics and engagement – can allow financial brands to attract new customers through increased trust.

The most effective brands in the sector will combine social strategies with pro-active engagement with the written press, through fast and responsive communication and accountable leadership.

By communicating frequently and honestly with stakeholders through compelling storytelling and content, financial brands can form mutually beneficial relationships with consumers that will result in their loyalty and advocacy.

And in a sector that promotes many of the same products and services, strong brand identity and differentiation is paramount. This only increases the need for pro-active engagement through digital channels.

Facebook, for example, is now being used widely across the financial sector for community outreach, for communicating the corporate culture of a financial institution and to market promotions and deals.

Twitter is now used as a social news feed by every major financial institution, either to respond directly to customer issues or to demonstrate thought leadership and brand personality.

Acting as a hub for video marketing, YouTube is being smartly used for content generation, from how-to tutorials, leadership interviews and promotional commercials. Likewise, image-based networks such as Pinterest and Instagram are also now being used effectively by many financial brands to attract specific demographics with eye-catching visual content.

So the challenge has been laid down to the financial services sector to re-emerge and adapt to a more transparent marketplace where apathetic consumers are harder to win. The brands that listen, lead and engage through social channels that will come out on top.

That is the value of trust.