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info@thephagroup.com

Numerous academic studies have proven the mental benefits of sticking to a routine. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, can anchor you and allows you to build time for the important things, like catching up with friends – albeit it virtually – and spending quality time with the family.

We are now a few weeks into the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK and it’s fair to say that it has taken quite a bit of adjustment.

One of the main weapons we have to fight the virus’ spread is social distancing – an intrinsically unnatural practice for humans, but an essential one for the time being. But as a result, everyday life as we know it has been put on pause.

These limitations, along with negative news and changing economic stressors, can make it quite difficult to get a bearing in the world and you might feel a little out of routine – which can of course harm your mental health.

With the benefits of a routine in mind during this turbulent time, here’s some virtual classes you can try out during this lockdown, some of whom we’re lucky enough to count as clients:

((B)) @ HOME by ((BOUNCE))

Not everyone is a fan of exercising, but, like it or not, it boosts your mood. And in these times, we must keep moving even though we are stuck inside. So, if you are looking for an endorphin inducing, sweat producing, all-round body workout, then look no further than ((B)) @ HOME, the virtual mini-trampoline fitness class by ((BOUNCE)).

Competitively priced at £4.95 per session, the 45-minute dance-choreographed classes can be completed indoors and burn a massive 500+ calories. Plus, the added g-force and gravity from the trampoline makes the sessions three times more effective than traditional floor-based workouts and the pad absorbs 87% of the impact making it a comfortable workout for all ages and abilities. Trampolining is even the physical rehab routine of choice for NASA!

Virgin Experience Days (at home!)

With all this spare time, maybe you’d like to dedicate a portion of the week to develop a new skill. Virgin Experience Days, the leading UK provider of gift experiences, has just launched a whole host of virtual experiences, stretching from an at-home four-week photography class to a virtual home declutter with celebrity home stylist, Dilly Carter.

Maybe you’re like me and have got absolutely hooked by Masterchef during this lockdown. If so, then I’d recommend trying the online cookery course with Ann’s Smart School of Cookery. Being able to go at your own pace is a massive plus and with the course coming with a one-year subscription to a huge variety of online tutorials with various recipes, you’ll be able to show off to my friends and family long after the lockdown has ended.

VR Immersive Education

People up and down the country are trying to use this additional time to learn a new skill or language and boost their ‘brainpower’. As a result, we’ve seen a massive spike in demand for virtual education. One of the leading voices in this sector is VR Immersive Education – a virtual/augmented reality software company dedicated to transforming how training and educational content is delivered.

You could try out the Apollo 11 HD VR experience – yes, you read that right!  Using a mix of original archive audio and video together with accurate recreations of the spacecraft and locations, VR Immersive Education delivers an unforgettable learning experience that truly brings history into your house.

LIVR

Finally, after a long day, you might want to wind down with a bit of culture and theatre. This is an area of life that has been distinctly lacking since the lockdown started, but thanks to LIVR, you can enjoy the wonders of Shakespeare and co. in your living room.

LIVR, the world’s first virtual reality content platform dedicated to theatre, brings you the best the stage has to offer. You download the app, subscribe for £5.99 a month, at which point you’ll be sent a free VR headset, and then you’re free to browse the content library at your leisure.

There is so much opportunity for brands to become leaders in this period of uncertainty, providing vital occupation, entertainment and light relief for everyone in lockdown. We’re seeing it every day and the media are hungry to hear more.

 

Does your brand need help with a PR strategy that can help you lead this conversation in the media? Why not get in touch to find out how our award-winning team can help you.

Filling the Virtual Days

Tell us about your experience to date and your backgroundd

I was a journalist for 25 years before moving into PR and worked at a senior level on national newspapers.

I began as a news reporter on the Daily Mail in 1991, having spent a couple of years on regional newspapers, and did a wide variety of editing roles at the Mail, including Executive News Editor, Foreign Editor, Sports Editor (my favourite job in journalism!) and Editor of the Scottish Daily Mail. I was also Editor of Metro, which is owned by the Daily Mail but is a newspaper with a very different journalistic approach.

In 2008, I moved to the Telegraph and was Deputy Editor of the Sunday Telegraph for four years before becoming Business Editor of the Telegraph. In 2014, I joined The PHA Group.

What was it about The PHA Group that enticed you over other agencies?

I knew the chairman, Phil Hall, whom I’d come across during my time at the Mail and the Telegraph so was aware of The PHA Group and always liked the way Phil operated. Being a former editor himself, he understood how to work with journalists, whether he was trying to place a story on behalf of a client or to protect a client’s reputation by softening a story that he knew was going to be published.

When I decided to move into PR myself, I was attracted by the variety of agency’s work; I liked the wide mix of clients, which I knew would make the work interesting. I also loved the positive culture: collaborative and collegiate with no office politics.

What do you find most compelling about the clients you work with?

I am lucky to have worked with a range of clients across very diverse sectors, whether it’s super yacht charter, the art market or sport, and the great thing about agency life is that you are always learning new things. But, whatever the sector, what I always find compelling is a founder or leader who can create and grow a successful business, build and inspire a team, or lead innovation.

I am also impressed by the tenacity and commitment of the best leaders. For example, one of my clients is Crystal Palace and the chairman Steve Parish, who has been at the helm for ten years and saved the Club from the brink of liquidation, is involved in every aspect of the Club; his attention to detail is remarkable and he works 24/7 in an unforgiving role.

If you had to choose two of your favourite projects you’ve worked on during your time at The PHA Group, which ones would they be?

I love Test cricket so working with Surrey County Cricket Club on a campaign to celebrate the 100th Test match at The Oval in 2017 was a real treat. The campaign celebrated the rich sporting history of the Oval – we secured a wonderful feature in The Sunday Times magazine, full of archive photos and personal memories – but also encapsulated the Club’s future ambitions and strong business success story.

Another memorable project was writing a research report for SSAFA, the armed forces charity, about the plight of younger veterans. It is such an important subject because too many men and women who served their country in recent conflicts have struggled to adjust to civilian life, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Our report shone a spotlight on this and one of our recommendations, a mentoring scheme available to all service leaders when they are discharged, was adopted by the MoD, with SSAFA being asked to lead a pilot scheme. It’s satisfying when PR can also achieve real change.

How do you measure your PR impact for clients?

Measurement is becoming increasingly sophisticated and we want to ensure we are market leaders in our approach. The key is to work collaboratively with each client because one size does not fit all. Also, we offer a variety of KPIs for each client. Some want to prioritize measuring the media coverage we secure in an agreed list of media outlets which reach their target audiences. For others, we use Google analytics to analyze the impact of specific pieces of coverage in driving traffic and customer referrals.

In some cases, clients want to extend their network of influence with journalists or relevant public bodies, or to raise their share of voice online. We offer a mix of approaches that correspond to the key objectives we set at the outset of a campaign.

How does working at The PHA Group differ to other agencies?

I can’t directly compare The PHA Group to other agencies because it’s the only agency where I’ve worked! But I can confidently say that I wouldn’t have stayed here for the past five years if it hadn’t been such a terrific place to work.

We have a very entrepreneurial culture; we’re constantly looking to grow the business and find new opportunities and that ethos permeates the whole agency from top to bottom. We have a very positive, can-do culture, which I like; we are down-to-earth and results-driven. There’s a good work-life balance; we work hard and do what it takes to get the job done, but there’s not the same presenteeism culture that I sometimes encountered in journalism.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

When I am working with a client in a high-profile situation, perhaps under close media scrutiny and personal pressure, and I feel I can use my experience to advise them and help them navigate it then that can be very satisfying.

Having been a journalist for so many years, I can often anticipate the way a story will be reported and play out in the media. Being in the eye of a media storm is never easy and it is satisfying when you feel that strategic counsel borne of personal experience has made a difference.

The other rewarding aspect of the job is developing younger members of the team. I have been lucky enough to work with some wonderful colleagues over the last five years and seeing them grow in the job and become highly accomplished professionals has been a great pleasure.

If you would like to find out more about what Tim and his team do at The PHA Group then find out more information here or contact our team for a chat today.

Meet our people; Tim Jotischky

March is a fantastic month for women. With International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th and the whole month celebrating Women’s History, we wanted to place a spotlight on all the inspiring, talented and accomplished women that we have in our senior leadership team at The PHA Group.

For our fifth female spotlight we spoke to Hayley Bromfield, Head of Marketing. Find out more about her journey below.

Mimi Brown

Mimi Brown, Head of Entrepreneurs and Business

What brought you to the PR world?

After completing an Ancient History degree at Durham University, I began searching for a job and landed in a boutique B2B tech PR agency in London. I had zero experience of the PR industry, but the founder was always keen to nurture young entrants to the sector, and the agency was small and provided invaluable exposure.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?

I once got transferred onto a client that had got into a real rut, and for the first time I was in a solo account leadership position and, to be honest, things weren’t going great – with the team and client. Six months later we’d won back trust, had some real fun with the account and the team had really rallied. Collective effort but was hugely satisfying.

For any person you interview, what do you look for?

This industry is full of people with fantastic and varied skillsets but ultimately, it’s about relationships; with media, with clients, with prospects and with colleagues – that’s what leads to success.

I love quirky personalities and certainly don’t look for a certain type of person, but if someone demonstrates an agility in their personality, shows they can adapt around other people without compromising their sense of self – then this is the biggest factor.

An open personality and being straight-talking is essential. We deal with a variety of people every day, from ambitious CEOs to inspired investors and corporate marketers so any façade will be seen straight-through.

If you could go back and give your 20-year-old self any advice, what would it be?

Have a bit more confidence in my abilities and experience – and asking for feedback earlier from everyone I worked with.

FEMALE SPOTLIGHT: Mimi Brown

March is a fantastic month for women. With International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th and the whole month celebrating Women’s History, we wanted to place a spotlight on all the inspiring, talented and accomplished women that we have in our senior leadership team at The PHA Group.

For our fourth female spotlight we spoke to Hayley Bromfield, Head of Marketing. Find out more about her journey below.

Hayley Bromfield, Head of Marketing

What brought you to the marketing world?

There are three reasons: people, creativity, and technology. When I say people, I mean customer relationships and behavioural psychology. The goal of marketing is to change consumer behaviour and essentially to drive action, whether that’s to build awareness, encourage engagement, or result in someone making a purchase. This process has always fascinated me and the development of technology and various marketing tools has allowed the monitoring of this behaviour to expand tenfold.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?

Building a great team! The people you work with and the culture you instil is so important and a team that can support, build and learn from each other is the secret to success.

For any person you interview, what do you look for?

I always look for people who are naturally curious and want to learn more. Be it a new skill to develop their own career, or finding a new insight or outcome for a campaign. I think tenacity goes along way, you will experience a lot of trial and error in marketing and you need to be able to analyse, learn from your actions and keep on going to get the best results.

If you could go back and give your 20-year-old self any advice, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to get things wrong. Learn from your mistakes and don’t sweat the small stuff.

FEMALE SPOTLIGHT: Hayley Bromfield

The UK’s devotion to health and fitness is illustrated by the fact that one in seven people are now gym members; that amounts to over 9.7 million people in the UK.

With the industry worth more than £5 billion, the biggest area of growth has come from the many low-cost gyms that are springing up all over the country. Now more than 500 across the UK and holding a strong 35% share, gym facilities have become more accessible and affordable by the removal of contracts, low or zero sign-up fees and, often open 24 hours a day.

So, what better time to muscle in and start your own business? We’ve picked seven gym franchise models that are growing at a great rate.

HITIO

HITIO Gym offers a unique experience through the combination of a traditional gym alongside the best martial arts philosophy. HITIO brings world-class combat sport programming into a state-of-the-art gym environment.

HITIO Gym also provides facilities for the whole family by offering classes for anyone from the age of five. Parents are encouraged to train at the same facility and at the same time as their children – either individually or together.

Check out one of their Discovery Days, designed to provide everything you need to know about opening a HITIO Gym. You’ll have the opportunity to meet the UK team, HITIO industry partners and take a tour of one of their operating sites.

9Round

9Round fitness is a specialised gym, fitness center and health club dedicated to circuit training with an emphasis on kickboxing fitness training. Promoting the brand as unique and fun, their fitness programme incorporates a functional, interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens developed by a World Champion Kickboxer.

9Round’s offers two ownership franchise models; the semi-absentee owner where you can become a 9Round owner while maintaining your current job or occupation, and the owner-operator model where you own and operate your own club.

The website provides lots of helpful information on the general size, training and onboarding and business model. One you need to check out.

Gold’s Gym

Gold’s Gym provides the latest cardio and strength training equipment along with a dynamic group exercise programme that also includes yoga classes.

From humble beginnings back in 1965 as a small gym in Venice, California; Gold’s Gym has grown into a global franchise with 700+ locations and serving three million people each day across six continents.

Gold Gym’s provide comprehensive franchise support including site selection, design, construction, training, grand opening, marketing, and ongoing operations. Always striving for continuous improvement to help their franchisees and members reach full potential, Gold Gym creates a passionate health community and support network.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness claims to provide a business model that blends perfectly, providing a great work/life balance for any individual.

Opening its first club 16 years ago in Minnesota, USA, Anytime Fitness has now become one of the world’s largest health chains with over 4,500 clubs open in 33 countries.

With over four million members (a new member joining every three minutes, apparently) and 155 clubs open in the UK already, Anytime Fitness are showing steady growth, aiming to have 250 clubs open by 2020. Those numbers look pretty good to us!

truGym

truGym UK is a fitness centre designed to transform strength with affordability whilst still providing a premium quality experience and high-class security. Their facilities allow members to enjoy the benefit of unlimited gym access, free group classes alongside sauna and relaxation rooms.

With already over 20 sites in the UK, truGym projects a franchise’s turnover will range from £600,000 to £950,000 and an expected net profit from 25% to 35% depending on club size and location.

Bodystreet

Lack of time is a recurring excuse for many individuals trying to create a healthy lifestyle and fitness plan. Bodystreet prides themselves on offering an opportunity for those with little or no time. The franchise offers a once-a-week 20-minute workout programme to help burn fat, build muscle, tone and shape.

Bodystreet is already providing over 160,000 training sessions per month across 300 locations. Priding themselves on requiring a significantly lower investment sum than other franchise systems Bodystreet offers full support during the set-up, as well as on-going support after start-up.

((BOUNCE))

((BOUNCE)) is mini trampoline fitness business founded in 2014 by Kimberlee Perry. Together with Chris Perry, the duo turned the business into a franchise, opening studios up and down the UK and across the world.

Routines are performed to upbeat music in a welcoming and motivating environment. The brand encourages a social space where consumers can make friends and even bring children along while working out.

((BOUNCE)) improves weight loss up to three times faster than floor-based exercise due to the addition of gravity and g-force. It builds core strength quickly, is a cellular workout and detoxifies the body efficiently thanks to the lymphatic system being pumped as you jump. There is an array of scientific research on the health benefits of trampolining, most impressively, losing 700 calories per session and having fun… that’s what trampolines were made for!

Interested in hearing how we can help promote your franchise business? With years of experience working with brands including RED Driving School, ((BOUNCE)) and Fantastic Services we’re perfectly placed to help you out. Speak to a member of our award-winning team today to find out more.

Seven fitness franchises you will want to invest in

Tell us about your experience to date and your background

After completing an Ancient History degree at Durham University, I began searching for a job and landed in a boutique B2B tech PR agency in London. I had zero experience of the PR industry, but the founder was always keen to nurture young entrants to the sector, and the agency was small and provided invaluable exposure. In three years, I got stuck in to the running of the business and was given the chance to work with senior stakeholders, developing my global PR knowledge.

I then went on to take another B2B PR role, this time within an integrated communications agency. The company was a full services marketing agency which really expanded my knowledge of the broader communications sector and it’s potential, outside the press landscape. This environment, and on-the-job training, added a breadth to my experience that meant a multi-channel approach to business challenges became second nature.

I joined The PHA Group two years ago in the Entrepreneurs and Business department. The role interested me as it allowed me to hone back in on a specialism while not restricting client work to one sector. I was also eager to become part of a team that is passionate and willing to continuously develop, grow and expand knowledge.

The Entrepreneurs and Business team has grown from three to 11 people in the space of three and a half years and we’ve just had our most successful year to date.

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

Many of our clients are at a “pivot point”; entering new markets, re-branding, scaling or launching something new, which makes each project a unique challenge and one where the team has a huge impact. Regardless of scale or size (we work with start-ups and individuals through to large corporates), each client is open to development and new ways of thinking – they’re united by ambition and give us huge autonomy to shape their public impact through communications.

The Entrepreneur and Business department is not sector specific, enabling us to work with a diverse range of industries from energy to 5G to fitness. No two clients or projects are ever the same!

You’ve worked with many companies and business leaders – what has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on during your time at The PHA Group?

One of my favourite clients has been Octopus Energy, an electricity and gas supplier that specialises in sustainable energy. The team has worked with them for over three years, supporting the company’s growth from 200,000 customers to over 1.4 million customers today. Everyone within the business operates in an agile, transparent way – and at every level the business is committed to doing things better – from green energy through to flexible working.

We have supported the company and it’s CEO across a broad range of projects including lobbying for legislative change (and helping usher in the UK energy price cap), multiple supplier acquisitions, a nationwide community tree-planting initiative and the launch of multiple ground-breaking tariffs that pave the way for a greener, sustainable future in the UK. Being part of the future of smart energy in the UK, and saving consumers millions on their bills, is a privilege.

How can PR help raise your personal profile benefiting both you and a business?

It is often perceived that becoming a spokesperson for your business is a vanity exercise, but this just isn’t the case. Businesses are often missing a trick by not sharing their achievements and ambitions through a personal lens. Brands that have causes and successes to shout about can often benefit from having an individual to bring this to life and media briefing opportunities, when carefully managed, bring a personality and authenticity to corporate communications.

We support the entrepreneurs, business leaders and founders we work with in order to represent their businesses and brands in the public eye. Individuals have the power to elevate their businesses through the media, content and social platforms, ensuring the right people hear about them at the right time.

What sets the personal and corporate PR services at The PHA Group apart from other agencies?

The PHA Group has an unparalleled understanding and hands-on experience of the media landscape. Surrounded by driven and dedicated individuals, the company employs people from all kinds of backgrounds including ex-editors, reporters, broadcasters and designers, providing the team with a huge breadth of experience that most other agencies would have to turn to external training for.

The culture encourages transparency and collaboration within your own and other teams which means you can walk across the office and ask anyone for advice. Everyone’s commitment and enthusiasm to help allows both you and the client to gain experience from their dedicated team and from the whole business. Its entrepreneurial spirit is woven through all teams and departments – with incentives for business development at all levels of experience.

What is it you love most about working at The PHA Group?

The PHA Group is consistently supportive of your personal development, allowing you to create and mould your role into what works for you. The company will always support specific training for individuals in our team and encourages new ideas and improvement. The entrepreneurial culture means that people are continuously driven to succeed and are always rewarded and recognised for this internally.

What sets The PHA Group apart from other agencies is its encouragement and trust in all members of the team, from the most junior right through to senior stakeholders. You are encouraged to work autonomously and everyone in the team forms a relationship with the client. Individuals are recognised and commended when achieving a success while challenges are worked through collaboratively as a team.

If you would like to find out how PR can connect you with the right audience then please get in touch with us today.

Meet our people; Mimi Brown

Social enterprises are businesses that are changing the world for the better. Like traditional businesses they aim to make a profit but it’s what they do with their profits that sets them apart – reinvesting or donating them to create positive social change.

According to Social Enterprise UK, the sector is worth £60bn a year to the UK economy. Researchers found that there were about 100,000 social enterprises in the UK in 2018, the report says.

To celebrate #socialenterpriseday, we’re looking at businesses that aim to make a positive impact on people and the environment.

Migrateful

 

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“Hello I am Negla from Sudan. My grandmother taught me to cook when I got married age 19 – she explained to me it’s very important to be able to cook for your husband. But even then I didn’t take much interest in cooking becuase my auntie and sisters always did the cooking at home for all of us. Then 10 years ago me and my husband and children were forced to leave Sudan because of the war and we arrived to the UK as refugees. We didn’t have my sisters around anymore so I had to start cooking for my family. It was the first time I had properly cooked for my husband and children. They liked my cooking a lot. I started to try lots of different dishes and then I realised I was an amazing cook.” / / Tickets now available for Negla’s Sudanese cookery class on 4th December @coexistcommunitykitchenbristol in Bristol! Event page in our bio / / Sudanese cuisine consists of a generous share of stews and gravies—often eaten by hand—fresh and cooked salads, dips, lime, peanut, rice dishes, sweet and savory pastries, unique breads, and decadent desserts. In line with other Muslim-majority countries, lamb and chicken are the preferred meats. Thanks so much to Coexist Community Kitchen for hosting us! They will have just opened their new kitchen on the 28th November so this is the first time we will be running a Migrateful cookery class in their space, we can’t wait! And thanks @georgethompson.uk for this great picture of Negla 💕

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Migrateful is a cookery and language initiative where asylum seekers, refugees and migrants struggling to access employment in the UK due to legal and linguistic barriers, teach their traditional cuisines to the public. Attending the weekly workshops and teaching their cuisines in the evenings helps to bring chefs out of social isolation. They get to improve their English through regular conversations with English speakers. Migrateful provides English language teaching, training, a support network and work experience to help migrants feel more included.

From Lebanese, Syrian to Ecuadorean cuisine, Migrateful proposes a vast option of course that can be booked just for yourself or as a team building night.

Hubbub

 

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Can you use #football to help stop cigarette litter? Find out in this week’s video (link in bio – @hellohubbub) #ballotbin #ronaldo #messi

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Hubbub is a charity that creates environmental campaigns with a difference. They design playful campaigns that inspire people to make healthier, greener lifestyle choices, which help save money and bring people together. All their campaigns are based on research and insights from across the UK and the world, everything they do is being measured to know what delivers a tangible, positive impact.

For example, Hubbub have launched the ballot bin a few years ago, a customisable bespoke ashtray that tackles cigarette butt litter. Fed up with seeing cigarette butts on the floor, Hubbub came up with an ashtray that asked questions such as “Who’s the best footballer in the world? Ronaldo or Messi” or asking smokers to vote between Trump and Brexit. The user ‘votes’ by choosing one of two slots to dispose of their cigarette butt. Each slot has a window to display the used butts, allowing a public opinion poll to be generated as the old butts pile up on either side.

Chatterbox

Founder and multi-award-winning entrepreneur Mursal is a former refugee to the UK from Afghanistan. After seeing her accomplished family struggle to regain employment after forcible displacement, Mursal set out to solve the problem of refugee integration and decided to start Chatterbox.

Chatterbox delivers award-winning tailored language learning services for professionals, taught by expert refugee coaches. Chatterbox learners are matched with a language coach who shares their professional background and interests to unlock their global potential.

The tutors at the start-up firm are all refugees and their work help them to integrate and adapt to their new surroundings. The start-up won the Varkey Foundation’s educational technology award, which recognises innovations destined to have an impact on education in low-income and emerging economies.

Greater Change

Greater Change aims to provide financial support to those who are homeless due to long-term structural failings. Greater Change have acknowledged the fact that people don’t carry cash with them anymore so decided to create an app to donate money to homeless people. The money is then held and accessed securely. It is clear exactly how donations will be spent and homeless will have to agree with their support worker on how they’ll spend it.

Support workers refer only those who are committed to making long-term change. They also provide emotional support during this transition and donations will help people get their ID and ultimately find a job.

Aduna

 

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Did you know that we’re a social business? 🤔 This means that every time you buy an Aduna product, you’re helping to create sustainable incomes for the small-scale producers we work with in rural Africa 🌍 🙌 #feelgood #dogood #funfactfriday #feelgoodfriday

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Aduna is a social business, which mission is to create sustainable incomes for rural African households. Aduna sources their ingredients from small-scale producers in Africa, creating life-changing income streams. More than 70% of Africa’s population live in rural areas and the majority depend on farming to create income to support themselves and their families.

Through their baobab supply chain, Aduna are working with over 1,100 women in Upper East Ghana who are benefiting from life-changing sustainable income flows where once there were none. Together, these women have over 6,700 dependents – family members who rely on them for care – so the total number of people that are positively impacted is almost 8,000. Aduna’s products include protein bars, a selection of teas including baobab, hibiscus or green tea.

If you’d like to raise the profile of your social enterprise, get in touch with our team of experts today.

#socialenterpriseday

Sustainability has been the word on everyone’s lips in 2019, the issue brought to our attention by wildfires across the world, ‘Fridays for Future’ and ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protests. For businesses, particularly in the energy and property sectors, environmental impact now needs to be a core consideration for every future product, development and investment they undertake.

The good news is that the sector is a hotbed for initiative and innovation. Ahead of EMEX London, we’re looking at companies transforming the built environment sector with low-impact energy, housing, and property solutions.

Arcadis

Based in the Netherlands, Arcadis is a global consultancy offering its services to transform the design, engineering and management of properties and urban spaces. Arcadis was founded in 1888 and after acquiring British quantity surveying firm AYH, has evolved from a land reclamation company to a global consultancy that is active in over 70 countries. Arcadis offers services from architectural design through to property management that help professionals in the built environment be more sustainable. More recently, Arcadis has been looking at how we can create liveable cities – that is, urban environments that deliver on nine key criteria people need to thrive in them. With a special focus on case studies for affordability, healthiness and resilience, it is leading developers into the future.

The London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP)

The London Climate Change Partnership (LCCP) aims to make London the most climate-resilient global city, by helping the capital’s people, infrastructure and systems adapt to a changing climate. Under its mission, the LCCP brings together public, private and community sector organisations to share information, raise awareness and find solutions for London to cope with extreme weather and prepare for climate change in the future. Last year, this included organising a partnership with Public Health England and the NHS Sustainable Development Unit, to establish how the NHS Long-Term Plan commitments can be linked with climate change, as excess heat has become an increasing issue in the capital.

Ecopilot

Ecopilot is an automation and smart analysis tool that regulates the indoor climate in office buildings to improve the working environment and employee productivity. It does this by coordinating ventilation, heating and cooling systems in large buildings, ensuring that they do not work against each other as is too often the case when programmed manually. As a result, building managers will find it easier to comply with the EU’s requirements on greenhouse gas emissions. This is a huge motivator: properties currently account for 40% of Europe’s CO2 emissions. Like Greta Thunberg, Ecopilot originally hails from Sweden, where it is used by 60% of real estate owners, like office building managers, retail space suppliers and private landlords.

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES)

IES’s building analytics team, which is one of the biggest in the world, simulates and analyses property data to equip developers and property managers with the information needed to make smarter, more sustainable decisions. The company was founded in 1994 by Dr Don Mclean, who had the idea for IES when he began his PhD work in detailed computer simulation of renewable energy devices. The tools needed to make buildings more energy efficient and cut their CO2 emissions at the time were complex and only available to academics, but Dr Mclean set out to deliver a positive impact on mainstream commercial design with solutions he built himself. The principle of open data for public benefit is a core principle of IES to this day.

If you would like to learn more about what PR could do for your business, speak to a member of our award-winning team today.

Britain and the built environment

Saracens rugby club have been judged to have pushed the envelope too far. The Premiership champions have been docked an unprecedented 35 points and fined a record £5.3m for breaching the league’s stringent salary cap rules. The points deduction is the biggest penalty that the Premiership has within its rules. Within an hour of the ruling being made public yesterday, Saracens released a statement stating that they would launch an appeal and, in their eyes, had done nothing wrong.

Saracens have been the leading club for half a decade; they have been the Premiership champions in four of the last five seasons. Although the club have appealed; this ruling casts a long shadow over all their achievements and in turn points the finger at the business dealings of those rugby world cup heroes like the Vunipola brothers and the England captain Owen Farrell who were at the forefront of leading England to the final in Tokyo.

There has always been a large discrepancy in pay between rugby and their football counterparts and Saracens has been a club that has enjoyed the fruits of being nearer London and able to attract star players, bigger attendances and to encourage players entrepreneurial spirit in their business investments. But now those business investments are under scrutiny and the club’s reputation and accomplishments have been tarnished by this penalty that firmly says that they have gone too far.

As one North-West London club begins their appeal, another one in South-West London is due to hear the result of theirs on November 20th. Chelsea Football Club have been sanctioned by FIFA for breaking rules to sign youth players and slapped with a two-window transfer ban. The club denies any wrongdoing but again the curtain has been pulled back on what measures sporting clubs are doing in order to gain that extra edge on the pitch and seemingly on the balance sheet.

As sports teams and their businesses grow and the off-pitch story becomes as important to what happens on matchday, the sporting business need to have appropriate safeguarding and be prepared for the subsequent media backlash from any story.

Another ongoing saga across the back pages involves Derby County who are facing a protracted arbitration with their former captain Richard Keogh after his contract was terminated for gross misconduct following a car crash on a night out with two team-mates. Even though Keogh wasn’t driving the car and has not been charged with any crime, Derby have decided that his off-field behaviour warranted a pay-cut and his contract terminated. The fall out from this story stings for football fans as Keogh has been a long-time servant at the club.

The off-pitch business dealings for any club whether that be in football, rugby, cricket or any other sport have never been more heavily scrutinised in the media spotlight. Making sure the business has planned for any eventuality or crisis can pay dividend in the long-term. Often after a crisis, rebuilding a reputation through the media is the only way to communicate the club’s values and ensure brand and commercial partnerships continue to grow and flourish.

If you have a sports business and would like to discuss how PR could be of assistance to you, then please get in touch and speak to a member of our award-winning team.

Off the pitch – looking to gain that extra yard

2019 has been a monumental year in terms of news prompted by the global climate emergency. From Extinction Rebellion protests shutting down cities around the world, to Greta Thunberg crossing the Atlantic Ocean via boat from the UK to New York, it’s clear that issues around climate change are now fully in the public conscience.

That in turn puts sustainability firmly on the business agenda. Consumer habits are changing, and people are voting with their wallets – choosing to support products and services that have a positive impact on the world. For many businesses this means improving their operational and employee models and reviewing sustainability targets. For others – it means prioritising positive impact and action now.

Many disruptors and new market entrants have had the advantage of building their business around sustainability from day one, but a surprising breadth of businesses are making change happen…. Enter the B Corp.

Certified B Corporations (B Corps for short) are businesses who consider their social and environmental impact as much as their financial returns.

Businesses such as Innocent Drinks and Patagonia Works have seen the value in this certification. With Jamie Oliver recently announcing that he was creating a B Corp and a rise in the number of UK businesses applying for the certification, it’s a good time to look into what these new socially and environmentally conscious business are trying to achieve and how they can communicate their goals, successes and operational-overhauls.

What is a B Corp?

B Corps are businesses that take a keen interest in social and environmental performance as part of the core day to day running of a business. Sustainability is rooted firmly in these business’ ethos and operations. The B Corps concept was established in 2007 in the US by an independent business that was offering certifications to businesses that wanted to do more than run a company purely focussed on profit.

B Corps want to provoke a cultural shift within the business community to show the power that businesses have in enacting positive change on society and the world. These businesses come from all different industries and have different ways that they want to improve the environment and society, from tech based business Winnow which helps reduce food waste for chefs, to The PHA Groups own client Ethique, which wants to rid the world of plastic waste through its own beauty products.

The non-profit company B Lab, which awards the certification, wants to show that businesses do have the power to affect real change and how this can be achieved- through reducing inequality, improving the environment and nurturing strong communities.

For a business to become a certified B Corp, it must complete an assessment which evaluates the company’s entire social and environmental performance. This assessment investigates every process within a business, from the supply chain creation of a product to the employee benefits and environmental programs a business has within a head office. The process is rigorous, but businesses are seeing the positive effects maintaining and creating different community and environmental initiatives can have on workers and also on a business’s ethos.

Why is it growing?

There are currently over 3,000 B Corps across 64 countries and within 150 different industries. Within the UK, there are now 217 certified B Corps including The Cheeky Panda and Able & Co.

Research last year found that B Corp certified businesses were growing 28 times faster than the average business, while 48% of B Corps found that this certificate is seen to be an attractive proposition for prospective employees.

With 75% of British consumers adopting ethical shopping habits, this conscious consumer factor is also a key reason why businesses are changing their ways of working to achieve the B Corp status.

This certification is also a perfect opportunity to communicate a business’s message to the press, through awards, thought leadership articles and case studies. New Belgium Brewing in the US has been a certified B Corp since 2013 and has continually pushed to improve its environmental and social impact. Since then, the company has been awarded and recognised as Wall Street Journal’s best small businesses and is consistently part of the “Best for the world honouree list” which awards the top B Corps all around the world. Awards are just one tactic that B Corps can use to raise awareness of the need for sustainability action – and how they have chosen to approach it.

The certificate also allows businesses to collaborate more closely, with regular events for B Corps to speak to each other and share knowledge – all with a shared goal. All these reasons have meant that more businesses are looking to change the way they conduct themselves so that they can become a B Corp.

As previously mentioned, Jamie Oliver recently announced that his next venture would be around creating a B Corp. PR stunt or not, it has shone a light on B Corps to businesses that may have not realised this was a possibility and could help to see a further increase in applications to become a B Corp in the following year.

As consumers continue to ask for more from a business and as businesses try to differentiate themselves to competitors, the B Corp certificate gives businesses an advantage to communicate with consumers around the measures and initiatives they invest in to remain at the forefront of social and environmental change. In changing end to end processes to achieve B Corp certification, businesses are understanding the importance that they have in creating an improved social and environmental world. As the public conscience around the climate emergency increases, businesses must change and they need to communicate that clearly, loudly and effectively to consumers.

B Corps are re-shaping the priorities of businesses