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My time at PHA: Annie Quinn

My time at PHA: Annie Quinn

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of work experience and fun. I’ve learned so much at PHA, not just about PR but also about the ins and outs of an office – it’s my first time in this kind of business environment.

When I arrived, I didn’t quite know what to expect, what I’d be doing or how the Personal PR Team worked. In just a fortnight I’ve picked up so much, from what ‘personal PR’ means to how social media accounts are run, to the best ways of getting a journalist’s attention (3kg of sweets, anyone?).

Here are five lessons I learnt:

Time management and prioritisation

Being totally honest with myself, I knew time management was something I had to work on. I put my hand up to take on work from day one – and the team took note. I soon found myself with an exciting (but large) list of things to do and I decided that I would start setting myself time restraints for certain tasks to ensure that my days were as productive as possible. This method worked well for me and allowed me to structure my day as efficiently as possible. I now feel like I have a way to help me sort tasks and get things done – skills that will come in handy when I go off to university in a few months.

The UK Media

I learnt the importance of reacting to the news quickly.  PHA’s morning scan was a big eye-opener for me. Scanning through national newspapers allowed me to see just how many opportunities there are, and how many papers there are.

I’ve never been an avid reader of the news, so this was an important lesson for me and a habit I’m not going to drop any time soon. Time to invest in newspaper subscriptions.

Teamwork

I loved getting involved at PHA – and not just because they share a similar passion for Love Island. The team layout was very open, and I was encouraged to ask questions and chat with the team, this made me feel more at ease and more relaxed.

I received a lot of support from the other members of the team and always felt included, they were great. Having a supportive team really benefitted my experience – as I was asking questions and constantly learning.

No two days are the same

I loved the diversity and variety at PHA – I had never experienced such a wide range of things to do. From scouring the business section of the Sunday papers (all in the name of personal PR) to researching dolls house toilet paper (don’t ask) in the same day – it was fantastic.

Phones are for making calls! Who knew?

Finally, this is a big one, the phone calls. When I first arrived, I couldn’t believe how many calls were being made in the office – to journalists, clients and suppliers. My mobile is 90% used for Instagram and WhatsApp, not calling. I quickly learnt that phone calls in the context of work aren’t actually scary at all – they can be really exhilarating especially when it goes well, and you see the results.

I learnt a lot during my work experience including things that aren’t PR related that I will be able to use in my future career. It was an amazing two weeks with a friendly, helpful and humorous team who allowed me to get the most out of my work experience.

If you’re looking to make your next career move in PR speak to a member of our recruitment team today. We’d love to hear from you and take you through any vacancies we have available.

5 start-ups to entertain children during summer holidays

The summer holidays are around the corner and while they are full of fond childhood memories, it can be hard to keep your children entertained and productive over six weeks. Don’t panic, we’ve got this year’s school summer holidays sorted.

From fun activities to unicorn baking or nanny services, here are our top 5 start-ups that will save your holidays and get your kids creative juices flowing.

toucanBox is an award-winning subscription service delivering activity kits to kids age 3–8. Each box is built by educational experts to help develop key skills through hands-on play. All the materials, instructions and inspiration are included to make getting creative easy, stress-free and really good fun. It also helps families to bond as toucanBox encouraged them to participate in arts and crafts with their children.

Mud & Bloom is a subscription service delivering monthly gardening and nature craft box to kids age 3-8. Each box includes everything you need for two seasonal activities: one gardening and one nature craft – along with instructions, quizzes and games aimed at teaching children about the seasons, plants, insects, birds, soil and rainfall. In this digital age, it’s sometimes hard to get children out of the house to play, Mud&Bloom are a great help and are making gardening entertaining.

Multi award-winning baking boxes and baking kits that encourage children to learn through play, creativity and food! BKD creates exciting themed activity boxes every month that will adapt depending on your kid’s needs. You can also buy some fun baking kits (our favourite is by far the Unicorn one), As well as workshops and bespoke kids baking parties, perfect for birthdays and playdates!

The digital world can be daunting for parents with more and more children accessing the internet at an increasingly younger age, and spending money without knowing it. Azoomee is an entertainment app designed for children to watch TV shows, play games and listen to audiobooks with internet safety being a key priority.

With tutorials, audiobooks, an art studio and a parent-approved messaging service, much of the content on the app actively encourages kids to get ‘off the screen’ and learn art, science, natural history, spelling and magic.

Launched by Rachel Carrell in 2016, Koru Kids provides parents with an efficient, affordable option for childcare. Carrell worked out that most families with children spend as much money on childcare as they do on their mortgage and set out to address this costly problem.

The service works by matching two families to one nanny, so each family pays less, while the nanny gets paid more. Better still, children get more individual attention than at nursery but are still socialised and make new friends. It’s a win-win!

Carrell believes flexible, convenient and reasonable childcare options are fundamental to equality and participation in the workforce. We couldn’t agree more.

 

Our award-winning team are enthusiastic about entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on any industry. If you’re interested in raising your profile in the media, get in touch now to find out more.

Musk out of his depth in Thai cave PR fiasco

When controversial entrepreneur Elon Musk waded into the Thai cave rescue drama, some praised his good intentions – but far more branded him a shallow attention seeker.

The world exhaled a collective sigh of relief that all twelve Thai boys and their football coach had been rescued from the cave. But there was also an arched eyebrow pointing in the direction of the Tesla mogul.

Responding to the unfolding story, Musk commissioned a child-size submarine from his company SpaceX and live-Tweeted his support.

Unfortunately, the submarine was not fit for purpose and impractical for the rescue mission.

Although his intentions behind the mini-submarine were undoubtedly good, the misjudgement showed that there was a lack of proper research and knowledge of the situation.

Some sceptics branded his actions “unhelpful” and “self-aggrandizing” as it moved the spotlight away from the international rescue team of divers, including the Thai hero who lost his life.

After Musk left the submarine behind, one person Tweeted “this is the narcissistic billionaire equivalent of dumping a fridge in a public park.”

In short, it was seen by many as a callous PR stunt capitalising on a perilous situation in which a number children could die.

Not all the reaction to Musk’s offer of assistance were negative.

A spokesperson for the Thai Prime Minister diplomatically said he was “highly appreciative” and “very touched that Mr Musk had personally travelled to Chiang Rai Province to offer assistance, especially with his ingenious solutions.”

The president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, is an example of how to get involved in a disaster in a less contentious way.

He personally invited all the boys and their coach to the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday.

It was a feel-good gesture that showed FIFA was engaging with the situation without attempting to get directly involved in the disaster relief effort.

Sadly the boys were not fit enough to attend, but the gesture was still appreciated.

It is common for businesses or powerful individuals to offer to help when disaster strikes because they have the means to support.

But however well-intended the gesture, there is always a risk it will be viewed as having an ulterior motive. It’s essential to carefully consider how the action will be perceived.

After the Boxing Day tsunami, Coca-Cola converted its soft drink production in Sri Lanka to provide bottled water and then used its delivery trucks to distribute the bottles to victims.

Here, Coca-Cola used the operation chain and resources that it already had in that part of the world and turned its attention to the disaster at hand. A simple but incredibly important and effective gesture.

No one can say for sure that there were bad intentions behind Musk’s gesture of support, but the execution and delivery came across as crass. It was exacerbated by Musk’s stream-of-consciousness style delivery on Twitter.

The public and media response can turn on you if there is a hint of suspicion that your support is self-promoting – as Musk has found to his cost.

If you would like to know how PR could benefit your online reputation then please contact us today and speak to a member of our award-winning team.

Startups 100 ones to watch

Have you checked out Startups top 100 businesses to watch in 2018? The annual list gives you insight into the best entrepreneurs and businesses in the UK right now. The final 100 innovative and dynamic start-ups are bursting with brilliant ideas, smart operational models and revolutionary technology.

It was tough to narrow it down, but we’ve picked our top five “ones to watch.”

  1. Koru Kids 

Launched by Rachel Carrell in 2016, Koru Kids provides parents with an efficient, affordable option for childcare. Carrell worked out that most families with children spend as much money on childcare as they do on their mortgage and set out to address this costly problem.

The service works by matching two families to one nanny, so each family pays less, while the nanny gets paid more. Better still, children get more individual attention than at nursery but are still socialised and make new friends. It’s a win-win!

Carrell believes flexible, convenient and reasonable childcare options are fundamental to equality and participation in the workforce. We couldn’t agree more.

  1. Pension Bee 

 The UK’s pension system is complex and confusing at the best of times…Just last week a friend showed me a letter about the windfall of £6 she’s set to receive from an ancient pension. So, what are we to do with these dormant pensions?

That’s where PensionBee comes in.

Co-founder Romi Savova joined forces with Jonathan Lister to launch PensionBee in 2014 after she endured a lengthy struggle to switch pension providers. It applies the well-established technology of mobile banking to the last digital-holdout in the personal finance realm – pensions – to make preparing for your future as easy (and as transparent) as managing your money with a current account.

PensionBee combines all your existing pensions into one simple online pension you can manage anywhere, anytime. It is committed to fairer fees, good-value plans and, best of all, a straightforward dashboard. Sign us up!

  1. Pip & Nut 

Despite all the nutritional benefits, health food is often dismissed as bland (probably the fault of kale smoothies) so that’s why we love Pip & Nut, a range of nut butters infused with the belief that health food should never be boring.

Pip Murray, marathon runner and lover of the great outdoors, was looking for tasty food packed with nutrients and energy to fuel her adventures. So, in 2013 she created these nutritious and delicious nut butters and started selling them at Maltby St Market in London.

In 2015, Pip & Nut moved onto the shelves of Selfridges and is now stocked in more than 5,000 shops across the country, including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and ASDA… as well as on the morning toast of many at PHA!

  1. Syft

The best things come in small, purple icons… right? That’s certainly the case for Syft, a company that is shaking up the flexible staffing industry in a big way.

Hospitality and warehousing businesses can list the understaffed shifts available, and the online platform sifts through its database to match fully trained and vetted workers to the role.

Staff are paid above minimum wage and are even eligible for a range of perks and benefits, as well as being motivated to work hard due to the app’s candidate rating system.

By cutting out the middleman, Syft is more cost-effective and efficient than traditional flexible staffing agencies – their record time for filling a shift is 2 seconds!

Co-founded by Jack Beaman and Novo Abakar – two entrepreneurs with fascinating careers – Syft is already a trusted provider of staff to the Gordon Ramsay restaurants, Hilton hotels, Victoria Warehouse and others.

  1. Divido 

Christer Holloman co-founded Divido in 2015 with two of his friends, Anders Hallsten and Fredrik Borquist, after he discovered his local furniture supplier was unable to offer him a finance plan with monthly instalments.

Divido is now linked up with over 750 retailers and it allows you to pay for big-ticket items over several months rather than in a lump sum. It gives smaller stores a chance to compete against large chains that offer a range of payment methods. As a result, sales are booming for its participating retailers.

Divido’s revolutionary concept is exciting enough, but factor in an impressive list of backers, including those who invested in Skype and Transferwise, and it has earned a well-deserved spot on our “ones to watch” list. While the purchase price may be divided thanks to Divido, public opinion at PHA definitely isn’t!

From childcare challengers to fantastic finance solutions, our award-winning team are enthusiastic about entrepreneurs who are ready to make their mark on any industry. If you’re interested in raising your profile in the media, get in touch to find out more.

Can we cut Slack some Slack? Well so far… yes, actually

At exactly 2.33 pm today, Slack went down – yes, you heard. Down. Out. Disconnected.

With over eight million active daily users all over the world, Slack is of course the workplace collaboration and messaging platform that drives faster (and often 24 hours!) working practices for many businesses in the UK.

So far, Slack has handled the outage well. It’s responding to users complaining and asking questions on Twitter with, quite frankly, lightning speed – albeit using cut and paste holding messages. It’s also posting links to its website where users can find additional information on how the company is trying to resolve the issue.

With a connectivity error such as this, the best way to react is to work out what updates users will need, get that information to them in the easiest, fastest way possible: in this case, that’s through another social network. Responding to queries as you would in any normal situation – personally – and with assurances of action, even if the solution isn’t readily available is also a way to quell any immediate panic.

If there are any wider ramifications of the glitch – data leaks, lost work or a prolonged disconnect for remote working teams, then we’d expect a senior figure to step in and become a figurehead to share information and tackle any backlash.

Just yesterday we were fascinated to read about the founder Stuart Butterfield’s particularly un-techy upbringing on the BBC. He’s a savvy founder, with a good media profile and experience of tough times. He’s also a friendly face through which Slack can communicate directly with users should any crisis unfold.

When a key business tool such as Slack cuts out, it raises a broader question about flexible working and our dependence on technology to enable this. With the freedom to work wherever and whenever you want, often comes a lack of “home” comforts; wi-fi, desk space, drawers, post-its…. a nearby kettle, and most importantly, the ability to grab someone in-person for a chat or ask a question over your desk.

The future of work, digital security and how we communicate are all fodder for questions that could easily be directed towards Slack in the coming days.

But as for how this one pans out – we’ll check back tomorrow.

A corporate takeover with a latte generosity: our thoughts on Pret a Manger’s sale

Coffee is one of the fastest growing consumer commodities and what greater confirmation of its value than Pret a Manger announcing its sale for £1.5billion – a return of more than 400% since Bridgepoint first acquired the group a decade ago for £350 million.  JAB – the investment arm of Germany’s Reimann family – will buy a majority stake in the much-loved high street coffee and sandwich chain.

Corporate takeovers require scrupulous management of internal and external communications as they naturally have the power to cause uncertainty amongst both staff and the markets.

Pret has worked tirelessly to build a reputation as a business with a heart and it added a classic extra shot of generosity to the announcement: every single one of the company’s 12,000 employees will be receiving a £1,000 bonus upon the deal’s completion later this year.

Given the scale of the company takeover, fear of the unknown for 12,000 staff would not be unexpected. That’s why Pret’s employee bonus is such a positive gesture – not only does it publicly highlight the company’s giving nature, it also sets out to reassure internal team members.

Looking back, this move fits in with the ‘kind’ ethos of Pret’s marketing and communications in-store and beyond. Over the years, the company has introduced initiatives such as giving customers free coffee “just because”, offering a 50p discount to encourage sustainable and reusable cups, and maintaining the Pret Foundation to redistribute leftover food to homeless people.

While we don’t recommend every company includes an employee pay-out to potentially smooth over fears of uncertainty (but wouldn’t that be interesting!), we think there’s a lot to be said for the way Pret CEO Clive Schlee has talked about the value and appreciation the company places in its staff. This has shone through in the official communications and has earned positive media coverage in its own right – aside from the ownership takeover details.

A company is nothing without its people, and this is rarely communicated externally, let alone given a monetary value.

In fact, CEO and partner of JAB, Oliver Goudet, commented on Clive and Pret’s positive management style when talking about the sale, highlighting its investment in innovation, commitment to customer service and ability to capitalise on evolving consumer tastes and lifestyle preferences.

Given the effective management of this takeover announcement in the press, we’ll be looking forward to the next chapter in Pret’s story.

 

 

Eurovision 2018: 5 European tech pioneers to watch

This weekend, millions of us across Europe will descend on our TV screens to endure a few hours of cheesy, slightly tone-deaf live performances, made more bearable by the deprecating but comforting tones of Graham Norton.

Europe might not sing particularly well, but it does produce some brilliant business and tech talent. Below are five of the leading tech pioneers and businesses we’re keeping our eye on this year and beyond.

 Anton Chirkunov, founder and CEO, Wheely

Anton founded Wheely in 2010 with a mission to build the number one premium ride-hailing service in Russia. Today, it’s the superior alternative to Uber Exec/Lux, designed for consumers who are looking for a premium, elegant experience that makes them feel good. It’s a way of extending the enjoyment of your evening out or adding a touch of comfort to your trip into central London.

You can hop in in real-time or schedule a ride, and there are no surcharges at any time, as well as a flat rate to Heathrow & Gatwick.

Already operational in London, with over 50m annual bookings, Anton’s ambition is to further disrupt the exec and VIP-class private hire market as the first app in the UK to exclusively offer premium ride-hailing services.

Guaranteeing users a 2016 E-Class Mercedes at the very minimum, Wheely is sure to sweep London of its feet this year.

 Rav Bumbra, CEO & Founder, Structur3d People

After over 20 years’ working in the tech industry, Rav was inspired to start her own company with one simple objective; to empower people to achieve their potential while helping businesses achieve their diversity objectives. Rav wants to see more gender-balanced workforce to encourage greater innovation, creativity and growth.

A prominent thought leader, Rav is a force for change in technology recruitment and has made it her mission through her business, Structur3dPeople to create innovative ways for businesses to attract diverse tech talent and address the UK’s skills shortage.

Through an impressive global mentoring programme, Rav is enabling women to build confidence and develop new skills with the aim of going on to work in technology, progress into leadership or start their own business.

Over 250 women have so far taken part in the company’s #GettingMoreWomenIntoTech campaign, which identifies female role models in the tech industry, while Rav is also committed to providing children with the technical and entrepreneurial skills they need to build a career in the industry, through #GettingMoreKidsIntoTech.

Gustaf Öqvist Seimyr, co-founder, Lexplore

Swedish company Lexplore was founded in 2015, designed to ensure no child with dyslexia is left behind in education. It was built on the premise that the majority of schools were lacking an objective method of obtaining an overview of every student’s reading ability, with many reading difficulties not picked up before it is too late.

Co-founded by Gustaf Öqvist Seimyr, the business came out of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (which also presents the Nobel Prize in Medicine). Its AI that is now used to screen for reading difficulties was created after the business applied machine learning technologies to previous studies on children’s eye movement.

Lexplore has secured £6m investment to date and has been successfully implemented in primary schools across Sweden and the US. While children read on a screen, a tracker records their eye movements, with each recording uploaded to a Microsoft Cloud service. Here, an algorithm detects which children have proficient reading difficulties, and where each pupil sits on the scale.

Since 2007, Gustaf has led on the research and investigation into functional eye movement and eye tracking technology. Certainly an entrepreneur and business to keep an eye on this year and beyond.

 Rodolphe Ardant, founder and CEO, Spendesk

This will come as music to the ears of those who are tired of team / corporate expenses, and the whole reimbursement and “do you have the receipt for that?” process. Spendesk has created a way to manage team expenses without lending out a company card or retrospectively filling out expense reports and meeting agendas. Simply, it combines prepaid cards with an expense report solution.

Paris-based entrepreneur Rodolphe Ardant launched the start-up in 2016 with the mission of revolutionising company expense procedures – from purchase requests to payments, to receipt processing. It’s been a success, raising a whopping $9.9 million (€8 million) in January this year

Picture this as an employee. When your company signs up, you receive a personal card. Your employer can top up its global Spendesk account and then define different sets of policies to limit the expenses you can rack up. All expenses are centralised in a modern interface, and as the employee, you can track your expenses and upload receipts. Spendesk will then help you match invoices with expenses (essentially scanning them) and you can export these to a format suitable for your accounts team to process.

Sounds like a good idea to us.

 Tristan Leteurtre, CEO and co-founder, Mooncard

Another Paris-based fintech start-up that has caught our eye. Founded by an entrepreneur with a proven track record in building software companies from scratch, with expertise in telecoms & fintech. Tristan describes Mooncard as ‘Corporate cards, reinvented’ – quite simply, it aims to reinvent the banking and payment experience for SMEs.

Founded in 2016, Mooncard’s automated solution is well on its way to becoming Europe’s favoured payment tool for employees, CEOs, CFOs and entrepreneurs.

It’s currently only available in French, but rumour has it the solution is due to land in England in the not too distant future.

If you like the sound of our choices and want to talk about taking your PR outreach to the next level, contact us today.

The Business Show – Ones to Watch

Next week marks the start of The Business Show – the UK’s largest business exhibition – taking place at the ExCel Centre on 16th and 17th May for a jam-packed agenda of innovative and thought-provoking keynote talks and workshops.

Here are our top speakers to check out at this year’s event.

Emma-Jane Packe, Managing Director of The Supper Club

Misleading as the name may be, The Supper Club is not a fine-dining experience. But it does represent the cream of the crop in enterprise and business.

If you’re an entrepreneur with revenues between £1 million and £500 million, chances are you and E-J are well acquainted. She has an eye for entrepreneurialism innovation, growth, and wealth creation. Through The Supper Club, E-J supports business owners and their teams and loves meeting some of the country’s most inspiring minds.

E-J will share insights gathered from 2,500 events to discuss what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in 2018, what helps SMEs to scale rapidly and why it is sometimes important for entrepreneurs to get out of their own way.

Hear her Secrets to Scale for a 21st Century Entrepreneur on Thursday 17th May at 2 pm in Keynote Theatre 1.

 Ben Jefferies, CEO & Founder of Influencer

 At 22, Ben has packed in more accomplishments in his career than most can hope for in a lifetime. At 15, he set up a clothing company which paved the way for the launch of Influencer – a web platform that allows brands to collaborate with social media content creators and is now one of the UK’s largest influencer marketing companies.

It’s no surprise to see Ben will be addressing the audience on “How to smash Influencer Marketing in 2018”, sharing his words of wisdom on how to make a ground-breaking campaign. We’re sure the Keynote Theatre will be filled, with attendees looking for guidance on how to use influencer marketing successfully in their business from one of the best.

Catch Ben’s keynote, How to smash Influencer Marketing in 2018, on Wednesday 16th May at 11.45am in Keynote Theatre 2.

Avin Rabheru, Founder of Housekeep

Who knew the house cleaning business needed a shakeup? Avin Rabheru recognised the gap in the market and set up leading house cleaning agency, Housekeep from scratch.

Avin is an avid early-stage investor and has been involved in start-ups such as Streetcar/Zipcar, Kabbee and Crowdcube to name a few. This gives him the chance to back the start-up community, providing young businesses with the financial injection they need to get their idea off the ground.

Avin’s keynote is not one to be missed if you’re a budding entrepreneur. This is a rare opportunity to hear from one of the UK’s top entrepreneurs and angel investors.

Catch Avin at his keynote, From Startup to Market Leader in a £4bn Market, on Thursday 17th May at 4.15pm in Keynote Theatre 2.

 Christian Samuel, Founder of University Cribs

Christian caught the enterprise bug early on. He got his first taste for business success aged 12, buying and selling antique pots, which nearly made him £3,000 for his efforts.

After being told he’d never succeed by teachers and adults around him, he now runs proptech business University Cribs. Founded in 2016, when Christian was just 23, the business connects students to accommodation providers across the UK. In 2017, he was crowned Welsh Young Entrepreneur of the Year, putting his name firmly on our list of ones to watch at this year’s Business Show.

Christian will share his experience on how, even as a school dropout, you can build a successful business with the right attitude. We expect University Cribs to go global in the coming years and are excited to watch this growth.

Hear Christian’s session The Journey of a 16-year-old Dropout, on Wednesday 16th May at 2 pm in Keynote Theatre 1.

Dominic McGregor, COO & Co-founder of The Social Chain Group

The running trend of young successful entrepreneurs continues, and at the tender age of 21, Dominic and his business partner Steven Barlett dropped out of university and set out to change the way brands engage with social media. And so, The Social Chain was born.

Their business model is based on the ability to leverage hundreds of social communities to control what gets talked about online through carefully created content. The pair claim to be able to make anything the top trending topic on Twitter in 30 minutes or less – a bold statement in a highly competitive market.

The Social Chain now operates out of four metropolitan hubs – London, Manchester, New York and Berlin – proving that these two really are wired in to what makes brands, millennials and influencers tick.

Dominic is set to a challenge the glamourised perception of being a young entrepreneur in his talk, The Darkside of Growing a Business in 2018, on Wednesday 16th May at 3.30pm in Keynote Theatre 1.

Is your company looking to reach a wider audience? Do you have a clear PR strategy? Whether you’re attending The Business Show or not, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us today.

People power

Why personal brand equity counts

 Some of the world’s most iconic businesses are known not just for their products or services, but for the brand’s personality and principles. That personality often stems from driven leaders and founders and carries real financial weight.

In the words of Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Ultimately, we do business with people we like and respect and that’s where personal PR has a power to deliver business results beyond fame for fame’s sake. Take Steve Jobs, whose vision intrinsically linked to Apple’s success: when Jobs stepped down as Apple CEO roughly $10bn of the company value was wiped from the company’s stock.

Someone’s personal reputation can affect their business’ investment prospects, talent acquisition, product sales, customer loyalty and more.

Why personal versus brand PR?

 It’s sometimes easier for stakeholders to visualise what a business stands for when there is a human embodiment of its principles, rather than a faceless corporate standpoint. A successful personal PR strategy will leverage this and help dovetail a business’ aims into the current media agenda.

Take James Reed as an example – whose beekeeping hobby helped us have a down to earth conversation with media about workplace positivity and Reed.co.uk, and Angela Middleton – whose fitness regime helped her channel more energy into her apprenticeship business MiddletonMurray – and provided a platform to talk about motivation and careers more broadly.

After drawing on business leaders’ unique perspectives, the focus turns on crafting these into positive media messages and ultimately leveraging a personal brand to grow their businesses.

But what’s the right channel?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to personal PR but the strategy must be targeted to deliver the best value for your business, whether that’s through a presence on national broadcast shows or in influential trade media that reach a niche customer target.

Every publicity opportunity should have a rationale; if you share views through blogging on LinkedIn, are you engaging with the right LinkedIn groups? If you want to establish your expertise as a mainstream media commentator, are your customers or target audience consuming information from that media outlet? If you’re speaking at an event, are your buyers there?

Today’s media landscape is characterised by multiple channels, ‘fake news’, self-publishing as the norm and an increasingly blurred line between editorial and native advertising. So it’s more important than ever before to truly understand what media your key stakeholders rely on for information – and essentially, which forms of content they trust.

Using a charismatic individual as a platform for building brand awareness can help lift a brand from this noise and boost a whole organisation or movement’s credibility, in two key ways;

Trust & authenticity

Sharing personal views with people establishes an authentic ‘voice’ that is increasingly elusive now that every brand can communicate directly with consumers online. It goes without saying that people are easier to relate and engage with than a corporation.

Personality as a platform

When you combine strong personal views with a well-managed media strategy, personality can start to transcend the usual circles of business talk and influence wider society. Any person is essentially a platform for marketing a business; it starts with word of mouth and can then extend out to blogging, online, print and broadcast media.

Every public figure started somewhere – and that ‘somewhere’ is defined by a passion and focus to change a market, industry, people or perspective for the better.

We work with businesses who are ready to make their mark on the media landscape, and behind businesses are real people full of unique stories and experiences. The bravery to stand up, stand out and make a mark is at the core of propelling someone’s personal, professional, public profile and can have a tangible impact on a business’ bottom line.

Personal PR is far from just a vanity project.

If you’re looking for a PR agency to support you or your business please get in touch with our award-winning team today.

Putting The PR in GDPR

With less than a month until the new European legislation, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), comes into force in the UK we look at what this really means for the PR industry, whilst putting some of those rumours and myths to bed.

Find out the basics

You can’t prepare for what you don’t know. So, the first crucial step is to make yourself aware of the key facts surrounding the GDPR. If you haven’t received training at your organisation it is probably worthwhile embarking on some personal research on the dos and don’ts when it comes to data protection. Sites such as the ICO are really detailed and can help you answer some of those burning questions.

Our Legal and Finance Director, Marina Hall says “Don’t panic, GDPR is a good thing and allows you to organise your data and the information you store. The legislation is enforcing best practice and requiring all businesses to have the same standards when it comes to processing and storing personal information.”

What data is included?

The GDPR may sound as exciting as watching paint dry but it’s important to know the details, especially as it will affect every business in the UK. You will need to know what qualifies as ”personal data”as you’ll probably find that you process it a lot more than you realise. The main areas could be:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Mobile number
  • Bank account details
  • Addresses
  • Driver/passport number

The legislation covers indirect identification of personal data, as well as direct. This means marketers will need to think about pseudonymisation, a data management procedure by which personally identifiable information fields within a data record are replaced by one or more artificial identifiers. When these elements are brought together, such as a postcode used with a surname, this could lead to someone being identified.

Do I have to get permission from every journalist?

No; if you are using aggregator sites such as Gorkana, Agility or Response Source you’re covered. These sites require the journalists or organisation to opt-in to have their details shared, meaning you have permission as a subscriber to the site to access that data. In addition, business emails that are published in the public domain such as John.Smith@parliament.co.uk are exempt from GDPR and you are able to make an approach.

Freelancers can be a murkier ground. There is a grey area within the new legislation around “legitimate interest”. If, for example, you were representing an environmental charity and you wanted to contact a freelance environmental journalist, you can argue legitimate interest as the journalist would more than likely want to hear about your story. However, if you included the same freelance journalist in a big promotional email about something totally irrelevant to them it would be deemed misuse of their data and could lead to other problems.

How does this affect my client work?

Our top tips for most PR professionals would be to focus on the following.

  1. Make sure you know where to find your new updated contracts and how to explain them if your client comes back with any questions.
  2. Ensure you are vetting any third-party suppliers you might be using, such as photographers, copywriters or website developers. It might be worthwhile having a supplier agreement in place.
  3. Password protect your spreadsheets. If you have media lists, client to do lists or simply a data capture from an event, make sure they are securely stored away and password protected. If you’re unsure how to lock your work down seek help from your IT team who will be able to advise you.
  4. Don’t pass on details you don’t have permission to share. If you haven’t got permission, make sure you don’t share data with any third parties. If you do, this could it could lead to larger issues. If you’re unsure, check with the Data Protection Officer within your organisation for the correct process.
  5. The right to be forgottenthe new GDPR rules provide “data subjects” (individuals) with the right to request that their information be erased completely. This is not optional.
  6. Finally, know who your Data Protection Officer is. Most organisations will have an appointed person or team. Make sure you keep them in the loop if you’re unclear about the process or just want to clarify what you’re doing is the correct way.

Finally, we’d just like to add we are not qualified to provide legal advice, so if you have some bigger questions please do contact your legal counsel.

We hope you enjoyed our top tips; if you’re looking for a PR agency to support you or your business please get in touch with our award-winning team today.