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How PR has played a major role in the growth of fitness brands

How PR has played a major role in the growth of fitness brands

Never underestimate the importance and power of PR. For brands to maintain a positive public image they need PR to help them maintain awareness, which in turn helps facilitate sales and growth.

Indeed, a PR strategy can be critical to the success of a small business, especially when they are just starting out. The fitness industry is overcrowded but consumers will always be drawn to fitness brands if they can see that the product or service is having a positive impact on people’s lives.

Here we look at three success stories of fitness brands who have used PR to maximise their exposure.

  1. Joe Wicks- The power of social media

From starting out in his flat in West London, in the space of just five years, Joe Wicks aka “The Body Coach” has been transformed into one of the most recognisable names in the world of fitness.

He has been called the man with the million-dollar muscles and Joe is now at the helm of his fat loss business empire that employs 50 people and made £12million last year.

In 2014, he started uploading motivational content about fitness and nutrition and he has since gone on to release multiple number one selling cookbooks, bestselling fitness DVD’s and has amassed some 2.3 million followers on his Instagram channel.

He has transformed the lives of thousands across the world through his “Lean in 15” videos but Joe’s business empire has grown off the back of his social media success. It’s allowed Joe to build up a strong community of loyal followers who’ve made his content viral and built The Body Coach brand into what we know it today.

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There’s a wicked #CyberMonday offer on Amazon today 🙌🏻 You can get all of my Lean In 15 books for £13.50. Win 📕📘📗 #leanin15 #thebodycoach #amazon

A post shared by Joe Wicks (@thebodycoach) on

  1. LDN Muscle- Sharing success stories

After starting out on the Exton’s family kitchen table in 2012, LDN Muscle has gone from strength to strength in the last six years, to the point where they are now turning over £1.5million annually. The business, which was set up by twins Tom and James Exton and brothers Max and Lloyd Bridger, started out as a blog, but downloadable fitness guides soon followed helping to transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe.

Their success was born through the individuals who successfully transformed their lives through the downloadable e-guides and the consistent national coverage on the likes of the Mail Online, Mirror Online, Sun Online, which highlighted the success stories of their customers, ultimately helping to position them as the market leaders in their sector.

LDN Muscle have expanded into apparel, education through the launch of the LDNM PT Academy, they have a trusted supplements range as well as a number one selling fitness app.

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That feeling when you use the Cutting Guide to get in peak condition for Ibiza! ✅📈🏆🕺🏻😃 Great job @lewiswhite90 – enjoy the break big man!🍹 . “I had a couple of holidays lined up this summer and wanted to feel my best whilst abroad! I’ve gained a good amount of knowledge with regards to my training and nutrition since I started following you guys, and find that the guides are a great way of maintaining structure to smash set goals. My favourite thing about the guides are that they focus on specific targets and hold a massive amount of flexibility and variety. They allow you to get results whilst leading a normal lifestyle.” . Link to the Cutting Guide in our bio now, & if you have any questions pop them below or slide into our DMs 🏂👋🏼 . #LDNMuscle #LDNMTransformation #LDNM #CuttingGuide #Shredded #Transformation #Fitness #Fitfam #Gainz #90daysssgraduate #slimmingworld #weightlossjourney #weightwatchers #weightlifting #progress #muscles #gymshark #healthy #healthylifestyle #healthyfood

A post shared by LDNM (@ldn_muscle) on

  1. MuscleFood- Cross promotional activity

In 2017, MuscleFood surpassed £100m in sales – which is highly impressive for a brand which only launched in 2013. PR has played an important part in that growth with consistent national media coverage ensuring that the brand stays at the front of consumer minds. However, what MuscleFood have done well is promote their services with other brands operating in the fitness sector.

This tactic not only enables both brands to gain access to the database and social media channels of the other but, in doing so, it also allows both businesses to gain a greater level of exposure amongst a new audience.

MuscleFood has carried out cross-promotional activity with brands in the running events sector and protein market, as well as with gyms and online personal trainers. MuscleFood always offer strong promotional discounts and competition prizes when it does this type of activity. MuscleFood has, through cross-promotional activity such as this, been able to gain a very strong presence on social media, including 280K followers on Instagram.

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Honest Opinions – Is waiting 2 days too long for your Musclefood order?? Currently, if you place an order on Monday before 11am – you'll receive your MF order on Wednesday? Is this too long? Would you prefer/ use MF more if you could say Place an order 6pm on the Monday for it to arrive Tuesday morning on ALL LINES? And more importantly still have the SAME high quality of food and shelf life you are already used to? Let us know?

A post shared by MuscleFood.com (@musclefooduk) on

Ultimately, to help your business grow you need to tell a story and a well thought out public relations strategy is the best way to do that. Good PR helps construct and create a brand identity which people trust. When PR is executed properly, success will soon follow. Contact our team today to find out how we can support you.

How to become a ‘thought leader’

Thought leadership is a term that you hear a lot in the world of personal PR – but what role does this play in establishing someone as a media authority? And what does ‘thought leadership’ actually mean?

To dispel all the myths, thought leadership is not brainwashing with 1984-style connotations. It’s the opposite. Thought leadership is a phrase to describe someone sharing their opinion via long-form written articles in the media. There are, unfortunately, no prizes awarded to the ‘best thoughts’ – but there is a position of press authority and public trust to be won.

At PHA, we are fortunate enough to work with business people at the top of their game, and we work to position them at the forefront of the issues that matter to them, and that are making headlines.

At The PHA Group, our clients (and their expertise) run across a  full range of sectors, from energy suppliers to energy bars, law firms to luggage delivery specialists. It follows that a lawyer doesn’t necessarily want to speak to the same audience as a logistics expert, so we make sure each client’s voice, knowledge and unique take on things is heard, read and seen by the right people. Increasingly, that means thought leadership is changing.

Thought leadership was traditionally long-form articles but there are a host of ways we can position your opinion, with authority, in the press:

Have an opinion:

There are some amazing opportunities to get an opinion out there across print and online media – from long-form bylines that give you the freedom to discuss your thoughts in detail, to short and snappy letters to editors that we can turn around within hours. The key thing to remember is that you need to offer something interesting and authentic – grounded in your experience – and it must be relevant.

When an opinion piece works, it really works. One of our legal clients was the talk of an industry event this year when she appeared in City AM and then on Sky and TalkRadio to discuss GDPR before the legislation was enforced.

Hot off the press:

Reacting to the news agenda is another fantastic way to build your personal profile and establish yourself as an authority in the media. It all hinges on how quickly you can respond to something – breaking stories must be responded to within the hour. If these quick timeframes are honoured, it can lead to your comment being covered widely across all mediums – broadcast, print, online – and effectively ‘hijacking’ the news to support a personal or business agenda. We’ve had fantastic success reacting to breaking stories in this way, and the rapid response time pays off.

There are also things you can prepare for; spring and autumn budgets, competitor company results and so on, and we make sure we’re always looking out for relevant topics for our clients.

Be social:

Thought leadership isn’t the exclusive reserve of the so-called traditional media, and increasingly, experts take to digital platforms to share their insight. A huge benefit of LinkedIn and Twitter is that you can put paid spend behind posts to target the most relevant audiences and measure the impact and reach of your content.

James Reed, Chairman of Reed.co.uk, the UK’s leading job site, has a weekly Monday Message on his LinkedIn page that attracts thousands of engagements every week. It gives James the opportunity to comment on stories that he finds interesting; from lessons learned from Gareth Southgate’s management style to how to recover from the back-to-work blues. The blogs provide an unedited look into what interests James. Jobseekers take note!

As well as social being a platform to share unique content, it’s also a platform we use to amplify great coverage – ensuring that there’s a ‘second wave’ of attention paid to the headlines and opinions that contain core messages of the businesses and people we represent.

Events and awards:

Events and awards are excellent ways of bolstering your credentials, and shortlistings and wins also provide us with a great news story to issue to the media. One of our wonderful clients was awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise earlier this year, which serves as an undeniable proof-point when talking to journalists about the business’ astonishing growth. The content of the entry has been invaluable for drafting content – and vice versa, the opinion articles we placed, and PR successes formed part of the business’ entry, bringing the cycle of establishing a personal profile full-circle.

Thought leadership isn’t something that you can tick off a to-do list, it’s an ongoing activity that takes many forms across multiple channels. In supporting a client’s personal profile, we can authentically raise awareness of the company or organisation they represent.

If you’d like to speak to us about personal PR, please contact us today to find out more.

Making it count: Jeans for Genes

Over the past four years we have worked with Jeans for Genes and each time the brief is clear: to raise awareness and drive sign-ups for their annual fundraiser.

Jeans for Genes is a national children’s charity, which raises money for the care of children and families who are affected by genetic disorders. The charity also aims to raise awareness and understanding of genetics and what it means to live with a genetic disorder.

The brief in 2018 was no different. The campaign itself was simple: asking people to wear jeans in return for a donation to support children living with genetic disorders.

Each year we create a fresh and strategic campaign that focuses on educating the public on the health implications of genetic disorders. Our team with significant planning, support and drive delivered excellent results with a reach of over 1 billion impressions, 307 pieces of coverage and 15 broadcast interviews.

So how do we go about driving impact year after year? Learn more about our strategies below:

Case studies

Part of our strategy was to include real people in the campaign. We set out to educate people about the impact a genetic disorder can have on a family and the amazing stories of those who live a fulfilling life. We worked closely with over 30 families who were affected by genetic disorders and secured opportunities for them to share their experiences. We placed a series of emotive case studies generating 123 pieces of coverage across the national and regional print and broadcast media.

Western Mail

Educational coverage

We set out to educate the public the effects genetic disorders have on those who live with it each day. Deploying a multi-pronged educational strategy, we secured 20 pieces of coverage including publications such as the Western Mail.

 

Fashion and lifestyle coverage

Montana

A large part of the Jeans for Genes campaign is the sale of their fashion t-shirt. Each year there is a high demand for the uniquely designed garment, and this year was no different. Our team secured 97 pieces of coverage dedicated to promoting the t-shirt. Jeans for Genes have never sold out but this year due to the increase in engagement was delighted to sell out twice!

Jeans for Genes Ambassador Montana modelling this year’s design.

Celebrity influencers and endorsement

Celebrities and influencers as we know can be a very effective way of increasing engagement, building awareness and reaching your target audience. Our expert-led team has significant experience in building partnerships with brands and businesses to ensure results.

As part of the Jeans for Genes campaign, we worked with bloggers; A Model Recommends, Em Sheldon, Carl Thompson, Alice Thorpe and Chloe Pierre to name a few. As well as celebrities Becky Vardy, Danielle Lloyd, Dennis Wise, Ella Wills, Kieran Nicholls, Nicola McLean, Samira Mighty, Vicky Pattison and Love Island’s Eyal.

It was a real focus of our team to ensure we made the right partnerships to ensure the success of the campaign.

Gifting

To help keep our campaign and messaging at the forefront of journalists minds who may not have been able to attend our events we gifted three Sugar Tits doughnuts to make a real statement, and to promote the Jeans for Gene’s campaigns. Our focus was to target ‘What’s on’ guides to help reach a wider audience of potential fundraisers.

Hosting a celebrity event

Celebrity event

The final element was to host an ‘Afternoon Tee’ party that would allow us to garner the charities celebrity supporters and ensure widespread coverage of the awareness day, unique t-shirt and drive home the message that wearing jeans saves lives. Hosted by Love Island’s Montana Brown and attended by journalists from Reveal, New Magazine, Metro.co.uk. TV Life, Star Magazine and S Magazine the event was a top hit!

If you’d like to speak to a member of our team and find out how we can support your organisation, please get in touch today. Or if you’d like to support this year’s Jeans for Gene’s campaigns it’s not too late, visit their donation page here.

How influencer marketing can attract new business

Influencer marketing has become a powerful communications tool. In recent years brands and businesses in the fitness industry have seen a spike in new customers due to the incorporation of influencer marketing as part of their strategy.

We look at the best strategies businesses in the fitness industry can implement to drive new business opportunities for their brand and increase their overall engagement.

Recommendations

According to a study conducted by Nielson, ‘84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of marketing’. How many of us have bought something because our friend says they love it? We know we have, and it is no different when it comes from influencers on our network. Product promotions, trials and testimonials are some of the most effective pieces of content for brands and businesses.

Whether your business is a chain of gyms, bespoke fitness apparel or a specific nutritional guide, incorporating influencers in your new business strategy can help drive engagement. Consumers love to read and relate to success stories. When the brand Multipower launched their ‘Muscles in HD’ campaign, it showed how recommendations from influencers can boost business.

The campaign itself was aimed at an image conscious Instagram audience, sharing before and after selfie shots to highlight progress. Multipower decided not to pay the influencers for their time, but instead gave them the product to try for a month and incorporate into their gym routines. Capturing the influencers transformation to convey the HD sculpting effect of the product.

Jack Wellon

The Multipower website recorded its best ever month of traffic with a 58% year on year increase, and their social channels received 800 new followers up 102%. It’s worth mentioning the brand also recorded a sales increase of the new powder range.

Spark comments and conversations

Providing your customers the opportunity to engage in conservation with a relevant ambassador or influencer is an effective method to drive traffic to your site, and increase discussion about your brand.

Live chats, Q&A sessions or pop up events to meet influencers drive a real buzz and can attract plenty of press coverage. In a similar vein, Tough Mudder decided to use Facebook Live and host a preview for potential participants with legendary Tough Mudder coach and influencer Coach T. Mud leading participants through a training course. It meant that people could see exactly what they were signing up for, the video has amassed over 53,000 views.

Ensure longevity

A one-off social media post or a sponsored advert won’t have long term impact. You may see an initial spike on the day of the post, but planning consistent messaging building ongoing relationships are vital to the success of your influencer campaign.

Be sure that the influencer you decide to make the face of your campaign is consistently promoting your brand throughout the whole process, set up an ongoing relationship, this will provide authenticity and consistency for your target audience. A brand who decided to follow this approach when launching their fitness campaign was London based boutique brand 1Rebel. Utilising some of London’s largest fitness influencers over a sustained three-month promotion, one of the key influencers used during the campaign was nutritionist Jessica Ball, who posted about the brand four times a week for four weeks providing some excellent engagement for the brand.

Engage with your existing members

It’s worth remembering that securing new business for your gym is nothing without keeping your existing members happy too. UN1T, a boutique gym based in Fulham and London Bridge have recently hired fitness influencers Zanna Van Dijk and Twice the Health (Emily and Hannah) to be coaches and lead several classes a week. This move works for two reasons, as they actively encourage new sign-ups on their Instagram stories whenever they lead a class, but it also inspires existing members to return and exercise at UN1T.

If you would like to talk to someone about incorporating an influencer communications strategy into your next campaign, why not speak to a member of our award-winning team today.

Your crisis and reputation ‘insurance policy’

A public relations (PR) crisis can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of a business. There are many scenarios that can occur, whether you’re a large corporation, individual or multi-national organisation. We specialise in mitigating risk for you and your business and providing an on-demand crisis and reputation support solution that’s discrete, effective and professional. Our insurance policy means that you and your business are prepared for any eventuality and can continue business as usual.

How can we assist you?

  • Advice on how to mitigate negative publicity
  • Preparing, drafting and issuing press releases and handling media enquiries 24/7 on the client’s behalf
  • Guidance documents on how to protect you and your company
  • Expert media training for both broadcast and newspaper interviews to prepare your key spokespeople for interaction with the media

Not sure a public relations insurance policy is for you? Here are just some examples where our team of experts can support you.

Poorly planned marketing

Marketing and PR are essential requirements to help grow your business. Sometimes your marketing efforts can backfire – even if you had the best intentions and never anticipated it becoming an issue. Whether it is a mis-use of terminology, a Freudian slip over social media or simply an image that has been taken out of context.

For example, high-street fashion store H&M came under fire in January, when the company released an advert featuring a young black boy wearing a hoodie that featured the phrase, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” The media covered the issue extensively and quickly found that this wasn’t H&M’s first incident. The PR and media backlash were extensive and detrimental to the brand’s reputation.

In many cases their business reputation did bounce back after an initial plunge in sales and reputation. However, it can take expensive compensation packages and extensive resource to resolve the situation.

Product recalls

Our top tips during a product recall are simple.

  • Take responsibility: When sending your statement be transparent about what happened
  • Act immediately: Don’t waste time, the situation could potentially escalate so act quickly
  • Be candid and compassionate: Say sorry to your customers, own up to your mistakes
  • Cooperate: Work with the people effected and your communications team
  • Use every means possible to communicate information: Think about this as a marketing campaign, you need to get in touch with every possible customer so use all your channels available to you

Product recalls can be a large drain of resource for your in-house communications teams. Ensuring your crisis and reputation policy and plan is being executed in conjunction with the situation can be a concern as well. Working with a specialist team who can act immediately and action that process for you is imperative to reduce reputational impact, avoid injuries or accidents with customers and ensure you have reached your core demographic and their network instantaneously.

Fashion store Primark had to recall three types of their men’s flip-flops containing dangerous levels of a cancer-causing chemical last year. Primark came across really prepared and were quick to make their announcement. The interesting thing about the incident is that neither the information on the corporate website or the media statement says what the issue was. A better approach would have been to be open and clear about what the chemical is and what the risks are to customers. Being transparent and demonstrating action is a key part of responding to a product recall and shows that an organisation is taking the situation seriously.

High-risk territories

Does your brand operate in high-risk territories? When a brand or business must travel to various parts of the world there is always an extensive risk assessment put in place to ensure the safety of employees and guests and what to do if there were an incident. But in those plans have you thought about your media relationships? How would you communicate your side of the story, and how can you showcase to the public and those affected what you are doing to rectify the situation? That’s where a clear crisis communications strategy comes into its own and experts on hand to deal with your situation 24/7.

Injuries and accidents

One possible issue that could develop and become a major PR crisis is if your products cause injury or illness to your customers or an employee, or if a contractor has a detrimental accident on your watch.

For example, in these types of scenarios reactions to issues can range from customers complaining to friends and family about your business, taking to social media and forums to raise their concerns to severe reactions, such as seeking legal action to reimburse medical costs or to receive compensation for their discomfort.

In these cases, it is imperative to demonstrate steps are being taken to resolve the situation, prevent any future problems, and of course negate some reputation damage.

Personal information

The introduction of the GDPR legislation in May 2018 has made some businesses across the UK nervous of the impact on their business if there were a breach. Not just monetary issues can occur, but the risk and damage a data breach can cause to the reputation of a business.

That was the case for BT who were fined £77,000 by the ICO. Between December 2015 and November 2016 BT sent 4.9 million emails about its fundraising platform My Donate, Giving Tuesday and Stand up to Cancer.  The ICO said that these communications were marketing, rather than messaging, and BT did not have consent to send them.

Handling customer feedback and inquiries and monitoring the ‘noise’ of the incident on social and in the media can be difficult. Our specialist crisis social team can work alongside your in-house teams to rectify the situation, whilst our PR specialists help you deal with media inquiries and publishing statements to those effected.

All smart businesses plan, and crisis management is no different; prevention is better than cure. We deploy a suite of services to manage and maintain your crisis and reputation. Contact us today to find out how we can work with you and your business.

Make your product this year’s must have

The market is particularly saturated with both well established and newly emerging brands and products, especially during the festive period. To get your product and voice standing out amongst the rest it is imperative you have set in place a strong integrated communications strategy that speaks directly to your target audience.

The following tips and advice provide an overview of the ways in which you can raise your brand’s profile within the media and amongst consumers.

Tip 1 – Product placement and journalist reviews

One of the most effective ways of elevating a brand or product in the media during this busy time of year is through successful product placement and journalist reviews.

Being named in a “Ten best of” or “Five hot new products” style feature can give your brand huge credibility and exposure and can have a big impact on sales.

JML: “Everyday Easier”: cutting through the noise to make JML the number one household brand

Product placement was vital, and we achieved regular, targeted placement across the media spectrum, with several pieces featuring in specific seasonal gift guides. To further support the launches, we negotiated media partnerships to secure competitions and reader offers for the products. With a total reach of 726,824,645, our work ensured JML took prime-position as the number one household brand in the UK.

Tip 2 – Social media

Another fundamental part of making your product a must have is through engaging social media content.

A great way to engage followers is to establish regular content creation, for example ‘Christmas inspiration’ or ‘fun fact Friday’. Using new digital tools such as IGTV or Instagram stories will get your product noticed, especially if you use it in an unusual way. Make sure you use your community to promote your products and give positive reviews.

Creating a three-month calendar will also help ensure all social channels are kept up-to-date and in line with the PR plan. It is vital that the tone of voice across all platforms is in-sync, our social media team can help you ensure your content is always going out at the same time of the day as well as consistent.

Tip 3 – Celebrity or influencer endorsement

Celebrities and now influencers are an extremely powerful commodity when it comes to selling products.

When looking to work with a celebrity it is important to first think about the difference between a celebrity ambassadorial role and celebrity endorsement. A celebrity ambassador will become the face of the brand and will usually be contracted to doing several interviews, photoshoots and events. This is normally the costliest option, but it does offer a brand a lot more scope than targeted celebrity endorsement.

Example: Lapland

We approached A-list celebrities who have children between the ages of 2-12 and arranged for them to book a trip with their family to LaplandUK in exchange for a quote or social media post. We secured visits from the Beckhams, David Furnish, Emma Bunton, Simon Peg, Emilia Fox and Katie Piper to name a few. The campaign was extremely successful with the experience selling out within two-and-a-half-weeks of being open.

Tip 4 – Celebrity and influencer gifting

Targeted celebrity and influencer gifting can be a much cheaper, way of generating celebrity endorsement.

To get an influencer to talk about or endorse a product, it must be either beneficial for them or something they believe in. Therefore, brands must think about the right influencer for their product.

Examples: The British Library

We were tasked with generating widespread press coverage for The British Library to showcase their membership scheme as the Christmas gift for the imagination. To promote the new membership, we worked with a range of high-profile digital influencers, based in London, providing them with complimentary memberships in exchange for reviews across their online channels.

We partnered with a number of influencers such as Liberty London Girl, Not such a Model Mum and Boo & Maddie to produce impactful online content for The British Library Membership.

Tip 5 – Press Event

Press events allow you to interact with journalists, develop relationships and ultimately create brand ambassadors who could become hugely valuable. Press launch events for a product, allow brand representatives to discuss the idea, the ingredients and components and also gives journalists the opportunity to try the product out first hand.

There are four main components to planning an event: planning, timing, theme and follow up. For more information about how to run the perfect PR event get in touch here.

Example: positioning JD Women as a leading athleisure brand.

To educate the press on JD Women’s unique offering we created themed press events, a first for the brand. The events focused on their fitness and fashion offerings and created excitement amongst our media targets, resulting in key relationships being built between the fashion press and JD Women. Strong journalist relationships were built with over 230 attendees across two seasonal press days, resulting in a real understanding of the brand amongst the fitness and fashion media.

A PR agency can help you engage with the right audience helping you to create and implement a communications strategy for your business and brand ahead of Christmas. Get in touch now to see how we can help you.

Moving the dial and creating awareness: Vardags, the ‘Diva of Divorce’

Vardags is the UK’s leading law firm for high net worth individuals, families and companies. The firm was founded by Ayesha Vardag, the ‘Diva of Divorce’, and is renowned as the home of life-changing, law-changing divorce and family litigation for high and ultra-high net worth cases.

The challenge

The PHA Group accepted the task of creating a PR campaign that would raise awareness of the current fault-based divorce system that Vardags believes to be outdated and destructive.

PHA developed the Campaign for Family Law Reform and launched it at a stand-out fringe event ‘Sex, Lies and Irreconcilable Differences: Time for No-Fault Divorce?’ at the Conservative Party Conference.

Our strategy

The idea of the event was simple: to create a panel discussion about no-fault divorce and get people talking about an issue that historically has not been discussed. The goal was to encourage attendance to the event and engage with the topic – and we were competing against Jacob Rees-Mogg (in the room next door) for attendees. After a long vetting process, PHA selected a lively, high profile, entertaining panel who wouldn’t be afraid to pull punches.

Radio presenter Nick Ferrari agreed to chair the panel, and the decision was made to enlist TV personality and columnist Katie Hopkins, who’d had first-hand experience of the backlash of a fault-based divorce system.

Beyond this, we wanted to create a powerful visual that highlighted the serious matter. And so, Katie Hopkins entered the Party Conference in her very own wedding dress, handing out invites, and making headlines.

 Results

Ultimately, our campaign moved the dial on awareness of no-fault divorce in the UK.

  • The launch of the campaign not only had the room filled to 280 (max capacity), but the event itself generated ten articles in the national media and trended on Twitter.
  • The image of Katie in her first wedding dress was the picture of the day in The Daily Telegraph and was supported by a PHA-drafted tweet for Katie which created a Twitter ‘moment’.

The coverage wasn’t just limited to the day of the event – we wanted to ensure this campaign reached as many people as possible.

  • Meticulous planning meant an exclusive interview with Ayesha in The Times which went live two weeks before the conference, as well as a BBC Breakfast interview the day before. We also secured an Independent interview with Ayesha on the day of the event, outlining the objectives of the campaign.
  • After the conference, BBCR2 Jeremy Vine no-fault divorce interview aired, allowing for both sides of the debate to be argued on primetime broadcast channel.
  • This was followed by a first-person piece from Katie Hopkins on the Mail Online – further pushing the topic into the public domain.

The event was highly successful and was widely praised as the best event of the conference season, winning ‘Conference Fringe Event of the Year’ at the prestigious Public Affairs Awards 2017.

Are you a lawyer or work for a firm looking to make waves in the media landscape and drive real impact and cut-through? Speak to our team today to find out how we can work with you in partnership to deliver your communications strategy

What are stable-coins?

Are they actually stable and why should we care?

Regardless of interest, or lack of, in cryptocurrencies, the one thing pretty much everyone knows is that they’re volatile. Prone to monumental crashes and swift, significant upswings, Bitcoin has been known to go up or down by 20 per cent in a single day.

Given this wild unpredictability, widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies is looking unlikely to happen any time soon. Imagine paying £5 for your hot chocolate on your morning commute only to find out if you’d bought it in the afternoon it would have been £4. Consumers and businesses simply wouldn’t have it.

However, there may be a solution. Stable-coins, as the name would suggest, are more stable versions of cryptocurrencies. Pegged to another stable asset, such as gold or a fiat currency like sterling, they make the most of the decentralised benefits of cryptocurrencies and have lower volatility. If they become adopted by the mainstream, we could pay for things using digital currencies on a practical day to day basis. Digital currencies that are easily trackable on a public ledger, meaning the risk of fraud and identity theft is significantly reduced.

That’s the theory at least. There are however many conflicting views as to whether stable-coins will actually calm volatility in the space or whether this can only be done with a significant increase in liquidity over a long period of time. There also hasn’t, as of yet, been a clear universal “winner”; a stable-coin that has distinguished itself above the rest, though there are a number of projects trying to do exactly that.
The waters start to become murky though as there are three different types of stable-coin emerging, dependent on what asset the digital currency is tethered to.

Fiat-collateralised stable-coins are, naturally, backed by fiat currencies, the most famous at the moment being Tether. Its makers claim that for every digital coin, they have the equivalent US dollar held in reserve. Debatable but that’s a different discussion. This type of stable-coin is centralised to a large degree, and as such many traditionalists in the space are reluctant to back them due to the lack of decentralisation – a core part of the original crypto ethos. On the other hand, there are those who believe this “middle-path” is the only way banks will adopt digital currencies moving forward.

Crypto-collateralised stable-coins are backed by a pool of crypto. Users of this type stake an amount of crypto and then borrow stable-coins against that collateral at a fixed rate. One of the most popular coins of this kind is called DAI, controlled by the decentralised organisation Maker. The main challenge to crypto-collateralised stable-coins is that they can still be vulnerable to significant price spikes and drops in the market. However, they do hold true to the decentralised architecture that is so central to digital currency’s core, making them highly resilient and difficult to commit fraud with.

The third and final type is algorithmically controlled stable-coins. This is a relatively new model, that uses complex algorithms to adjust supply based on demand to maintain a consistent price point. The key difference between this stable-coin and the other two is it’s not trying to be a new version of the fiat reserve system; no collateral is put up at all. The big issue, however, is that the entire system is based on trust; though, with the likes of Basis, trust is placed in software controlled by algorithms on the network, not humans. And only time will tell whether placing trust in an algorithmic system is a good idea.

Ultimately, the idea behind stable-coins, whether fiat, crypto or algorithmic, is sound. Volatility in the market is a huge barrier to mass adoption and until this is overcome, we won’t be buying our morning coffee with cryptocurrency. If we want the benefits digital currency could bring – trackable money, reduced identity fraud and theft – then we need to work on creating a truly stable cryptocurrency that mitigates all the current risks associated with cryptos.

Are you looking for a specialist blockchain PR team to help your brand or business gain real media cut-through? Speak to our team today to find out how we can support you.

Five steps to improving your Legal Tech balance

legal tech apps

It’s little surprise the UK’s legal sector hasn’t rushed into meeting the latest technology drive. Much like the deregulation of the financial services known as the Big Bang in the 1980’s, the rules around the ownership and running of law firms was relaxed in 2011. While the UK’s financial services responded quickly to become the world’s dominant financial centre, the UK’s legal sector has instead reacted to these reforms with a firm yet mild disinterest.

The first belated reaction came in 2015, when Gateley became the first UK law firm to go public originally raising £30 million. Even by the sloth-like standards of the law, this was slow… but not unsuccessful. In the two years since that offering, Gateley’s share price has doubled. This may have been what inspired Gordon Dadd and Keystone Law, who both floated on the markets late in 2017.

Despite now being one of the most liberalised and profitable industries in the country (generating around £30billion a year). The sector has a natural resistance to change. Partner models promote short-termism, litigation wreaks havoc on client’s budgets and the billable hour persists as an awkward deterrent to efficiency.

Yet a combination of austerity, diminishing budgets, increased competitiveness and growing caseloads has shifted the battleground. Stimulated by a £1.2bn government programme aimed at industry-wide modernisation but that in practice is designed to save costs, law firms are searching more and more for technology partners to improve practice. Not least in the running of the courts, where the UK’s are understood to produce a tower of paper the size of The Shard every 4 days. Modernisation is badly needed.

Yet as the power of the lawyer lies in the uncertainty of the law, the type of modernisation law firms are seeking is a specific kind. It’s technology that strengthens the lawyer’s hand by taking care of mundane tasks. It needs to remove mistakes but not the terrified associates who make them.

In other words, the more boring side of the technology revolution. There will be no Netflix saga on the artificial intelligence upgrades that happen inside law firms. But maybe… just maybe, there might be a few more lawyers finishing work before midnight. And deep down isn’t that something we all want?

So, we’re after evolution, not revolution in this gig. We’re after five steps firms can take to improve their legal tech balance.

Step 1 – Clocktimizer

I couldn’t work out what I liked more. This gentlemen’s name or his job title. But Mart van de Kerkhof, Head of ‘Know-how’ at Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy says Clocktimizer is definitely worth exploring for any law firm that really wants to understand what’s going on in its business. Which I estimate is just about everyone who works in a law firm except HR.

Clocktimizer says its algorithms study time card narratives to then provide actionable data on budgeting, pricing, management and firm-wide profitability. It’s taken a task that normally takes around six months and has finished it in seconds. I don’t ‘know-how’ they do it.

Step 2 – Thought River

Imagine if you could assess this article without reading it. Wouldn’t that be great? Well, ThoughtRiver have applied that blue sky thinking to contracts. Their contract intelligence software uses machine learning to scan contracts and other legal documents and presents the information in an online dashboard, allowing users to visualise risk.

And while I for one welcome our new overlord GDPR, I don’t have to read contracts for a living. Using AI technology to assess contracts for issues and provide actionable insight may become a nothing less than a necessity going forward.

Step 3 – Legal Monitor

One day the robots will replace us. Or to be more specific, find the people who will replace us. Legal Monitor combines search and analytic technologies with a huge database of legal expertise. It contains 190,000+ lawyers across the world’s largest 400+ law firms. Meaning it’s the perfect solution for sourcing the best legal candidates, following the industry’s hiring trends and conducting your own legal market research.

Step 4 – LawBotics

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This Norwegian start-up was founded by a business lawyer who felt the law was too inaccessible and found the sharing of legal knowledge to be inadequate. Good intention.

But they have built a tool named Lexolve that allows colleagues to share knowledge and details of legal documents, streamlining the process of drawing up legal contracts and other documents. Potentially saving a significant amount of time and resources while protecting client budgets!

Step 5 – The Link App

When dealing with a lawyer time is always money. So, while these previous additions have been focused on increasing efficiency, so also is this one! This app is created by lawyers, for lawyers. It works like a portal, keeping clients ‘in the loop’ on the app without the need for back and forth communication or long phone calls, allowing solicitors to increase their productivity across the working day. Simply log into the app on your phone, you spend all day on anyway, and check if everything is in place. Putting clients first like this will only be good news for law firms.

These ideas focus on law as a service industry and set out to improve efficiency and protect client budgets. That’s why they will likely be successful in restoring the legal tech balance in a law firm.

Are you a looking to build your exposure, or perhaps reach a new audience? Speak to our team today to find out how we can help you achieve your goals.

How to get Christmas Coverage

Why Christmas Coverage is Made in Summer

Christmas campaign GIF

With the typical British Summer barely arriving on our doorsteps, Christmas is probably the last thing on your mind. However for savvy brands, now is the time to look ahead.

It goes without saying that Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for consumer brands and that a high presence in the media is crucial. Especially if you want your product to be top of your target market’s Christmas wish list.

And how do you guarantee that your product is the go-to gift over the festive period? How do you stand out from your competition?

Getting placed in a coveted Christmas Gift Guide is a start!

These ‘Christmas Gift Guide’ features celebrating the best of the ‘must have’ gifts for the gifting season dominate the media over November and December. As such, they are the Holy Grail of coverage.

Whilst this may all seem extremely premature, now is the time to start planning your Christmas strategy or you run the risk of missing that all important slot!

Why do I need to start thinking about this now? Christmas is months away!

Magazines, especially those with larger audiences, work three to six months in advance of the issue’s publication date, so editors are actively searching for products to feature in their Christmas issues from July through September. National and online titles have a much shorter lead-in time, however, it is still a good idea to start pitching your brand/product now so they become familiar with what you are offering.

Is being featured in a Christmas Gift Guide all its cracked up to be?

Christmas gift guides – whether print or online – are eagerly anticipated by consumers, looking for gifts to buy friends and family, and often brands who have enjoyed placement in a gift guide can see a huge return in terms of an increase in website traffic and sales of the product in question. The benefits of appearing in a Christmas gift guide are widespread awareness and the chance to have your product under the eyes of consumers at the time of the year when they are most happy to spend money. Additionally, inclusion in a gift guide can also increase your brand’s credibility with other press outlets, leading to additional media interest and requests.

How do I get my brand into a Christmas gift guide?

The process for your brand appearing in a Christmas gift guide really begins a number of months before the big day. The first stage is research: 

  • Which publications run Christmas gift guides?
  • Who is the journalist responsible for putting them together?
  • Which titles are right for your brand?

These are all questions which you need to consider, prior to introducing your brand, product or service to journalists.

The next stage is the pitch:

  • A carefully crafted email which explains your brand, product or service to a journalist and details why they and their readers are likely to be interested.

The third stage is the follow-up: 

  • Journalists and bloggers receive hundreds of emails a day, so being persistent really is key when it comes to receiving a positive response. This is where working with a PR agency can really help as they will have a little black book of good contacts who listen to what they have to say which will allow you to side-step the process.

What is your top tip for standing out from the crowd in the busy Christmas period?

  • Be creative – Don’t be afraid to send journalists/bloggers a sample of your brand/product presented in a creative way. This will allow them to experience your brand/product first-hand and understand why it is likely to be of interest to their readers/followers.
  • Start early! – There is a lot of competition amongst companies and brands to feature in Christmas gift guides, so start your outreach early and be proactive and persistent to give yourself the best chance of being featured.