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Between the 2008 financial crash and Brexit, the UK suffered a housing crisis with no visible end. The cost of living has soared with rents now taking over half of the average monthly wage and people – not just millennials – have been priced out of the housing market. As a result, Generation Rent has taken centre stage in our cities.

For the SME market, however, this represents opportunity to solve problems. The UK’s entrepreneurs have had to pick up the slack and find innovative ways to offer prospective renters and buyers a viable living solution. One such disruptor company presenting answers to this very difficult set of questions is Vivahouse, with whom The PHA Group are fortunate enough to work with.

A London start-up that creates pre-fabricated flatpacks to build popup homes in unused commercial spaces, Vivahouse is a world first. Its thinking is very much outside of the box – in every sense. The company, founded by two exceptional female entrepreneurs, has managed to table possible solutions to two of the UK’s biggest issues – the insatiable amount of empty commercial space and the lack of high-quality housing – with one ground-breaking solution. PHA was tasked to help them get the word out – and that’s exactly what we did.

VivaHouse team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview

Vivahouse briefed PHA to help launch their innovative concept in the run-up to their first site launch.

Over the course of four months, PHA generated PR for Vivahouse’s concept alongside its pop-up event space in Whiteleys shopping centre, London. We wanted to challenge the property industry with a new disruptor rental brand, help Vivahouse secure investment and to position its founders as experts.

Whitley's shopping center

Strategy and Implementation

The four-strong account team took a phased approach to this campaign. After advising on the pop-up space and video to demonstrate the build process of the Vivahouse rooms, our PR strategy for the launch was to entice a selection of key journalists to visit the pop-up event to see the rooms in action. Alongside this, we pitched out thought leadership pieces for the founders, profile interviews and achieved top tier coverage of the launch in key London papers, national newspapers and leading property trades.

Results and Evaluation

From December to March, PHA achieved impactful coverage in the Financial Times including FT Wealth magazine, Metro, Evening Standard, Architecture Today, Telegraph, Property Week, Dezeen, CityAM, CEO Today and Property Reporter, with the Metro, Telegraph and Architecture Today all visiting the pop-up site.

Vivahouse saw an increase in traction and inbound enquiries following press coverage achieved, with the Metro article achieving an ROI of over 70 new signups for future tenants, an inbound for a new site and website traffic spiking with 834 unique visitors on day of publication alone. With the spectacular coverage then achieved in the FT, the company also saw a number of inbound leads from promising investors.

PHA has helped transform the public perception of Vivahouse into an established voice and innovator in the property sector, positioned the founders as thought leaders on fixing the broken rental model and Vivahouse as the future of living in our cities.

If you would like to find out what PR could deliver for your business why not get in touch with our award-winning team today.

Launching innovation into the property sector

 In January many of us make new year’s resolutions, a new goal or target to achieve going into the new calendar year. Whether it’s to kick a habit, learn a new skill or set a challenge, or even learn a new language. For most of us, we all land on the same goal after a festive period of indulgence – to lose weight and get back into our fitness regimes.

January has become a notorious time of the year for both gym and exercise classes to see record numbers and attendance figures skyrocket.

Unfortunately, though this impact doesn’t last for long, for most resolutions are broken before February and many people quitting those memberships in March and April.

So, what can fitness brands do to make sure they maximise their brand awareness for this competitive period and keep new customers and retained engaged all year round?

Building up to JanuaryTom Inskip,quote

Breaking into the fitness market at any time of the year can be a daunting prospect but trying to crack it in the build-up to the January rush is a real challenge. Tom Inskip, Associate Director says ‘The fitness market remains an incredibly crowded environment, so it is of absolute importance that you have one USP that differentiates yourself from the competition.

The latest craze and one which certainly differentiates itself from the competition is Rowbots. The class combines the rower with explosive floor-work and mental conditioning leaving you with the complete workout for both body and mind.

But for Rowbots to be a success come January, planning and preparation is required. You can’t expect an offering to be at maximum capacity at the turn of the year, if consumers don’t know what it is you have to offer and in turn how to access it.

Rowbots, which is still relatively new to the market,  have begun offering new members enticing deals such as unlimited classes for a week for just £25. It’s much more than just discounted workouts, it’s a strategy. By offering incentives and promotions will ultimately increase their brand awareness and boost signups for the new year when the ‘get fit’ rush hits in January.

Hiring a PR agency

We might be biased, but we’re also honest too. Working with a PR agency will give your business the best opportunity to maximise the moment.

The fitness industry is a saturated market, with hundreds of different offerings available to consumers. Using a PR agency allows you to extend your communications resources, have access to unrivalled contacts books and include other creative minds in your strategy. Most agencies are in touch with health and fitness journalists on a regular basis so know exactly who to put you in touch with and how to deliver the results you want for your business.

For example when we worked with Xercise4less, the leading low cost gym chain brand in the UK, our dedicated team spread the news of Xercise4less’s January 5 day free gym pass offer. Aware of time constraints the team gained coverage ahead of the Christmas and New Year slot. Key pieces featured in the likes of Men’s Health, Daily Express Cosmopolitan. There was also a prime time mention on This Morning where money saving expert Martin Lewis promoted the 5-day free gym pass.

Great content is key

Plateauing results can be a popular reason as to why people cancel their gym memberships. This typically happens when people start repeating the same workout without increasing intensity and frequency. Without correct knowledge or expertise of gym equipment, gym-goers are likely to stick to what they know.

In recent years fitness businesses like LDN Muscle and Maximuscle have blown the market wide open and helped to empower consumers to take control of their workouts by providing online libraries full of exercises, tips and useful advice.

maximuscle infographic

LDN Muscle infographic

Gym brands should note the power testimonials, transformation stories, and training guides and how they play a valuable role in keeping consumers engaged and enthused.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility has become one of the standard business practices of our time. Consumers now demand that companies start playing an active role in addressing social, cultural and environmental issues. Telling the story of how your fitness brand is helping the community or environment provides a great opportunity to enhance your profile in the media spotlight whilst also promoting a positive message to your customers.

For example, Europe’s leading health, sports and leisure group, David Lloyd Clubs has recently launched its charity initiative, ‘DL Giving’ which focuses on volunteering and fundraising in local areas. They have reduced their CO2 emissions and is the only company in its sector to have held the Carbon Trust Double Standard award.

Would you like to discuss creative ideas for your business and plan your next campaign? Speak to a member of our team today, to find out how we could help deliver your best sales figures yet.

 Four key ways fitness brands can capitalise on the New Year boom

Align your PR strategy with your business objectives

Always align your PR strategy with short and long-term business objectives, so you are sending out the right messages to the right people at the right time.

As part of this, develop a media relations approach with specific areas of focus that contribute to you achieving these business objectives. For example, you’re an EdTech company and you’ve been featured in a tech round-up on Forbes – great for broader brand awareness – but your focus right now is to sell your tech to schools. So really, the place to be is in the education trade press which is read by schools and educational institutions.

It’s great to have a one, two- or five-year business plan, but when it comes to communications don’t try to run before you can walk, and focus on the business’ priorities rather than something you hope to achieve in a number of years.

Build relationships with journalists

One of the most overlooked elements of a successful communications plan. If you’re a new tech start-up, coverage isn’t something that happens overnight. The saturated tech news agenda might seem flooded with new entrants and exciting stories, but in reality, good quality press coverage is a result of disciplined relationship building and respect for the way journalists like to work. This requires a 3-6-month commitment to the PR process, not expecting coverage in week one.

Start-ups should focus on building relationships with journalists early on. One approach is to identify a ‘top 5’ and do all you can to educate each of them on who you are and why they should write about you. Keep it punchy – if they scroll your email it is probably too long – and don’t skip on details like investment, YoY growth, company milestones, etc. Invite them to lunch and take the time to understand what they’re looking for in a start-up story, rather than assuming all tech journalists are the same.

Think of pitching as ‘How do I not get deleted?’Ben Cossor, Senior Account Director - The PHA Group

The best tech journalists receive hundreds of emails each day from – or on behalf of – businesses like yours. Consider the question ‘how do I cut through and not get deleted?’ when pitching to them for the first time. Something that’s often overlooked is the importance of high-quality image and video, which can often be the difference between a journalist choosing one story over another. Think about your email subject line, or if you’re calling them, what’s the first thing that’s going to come out of your mouth. First impressions are everything and if you make a hash of the first pitch, it could be hard to come back from that.

If you have taken the time to build a relationship with a journalist, the next time you have news to share with them, you’ll be one of a small number that stands out in their crowded inbox.

Are you story-led or people-led (or both)?

An article about a tech start-up usually focuses on either the product or service itself (a launch or news story), or the founder(s) at the heart of the company (an interview). What would your story be? Ideally, it’s both and you have a compelling narrative to really interest a journalist.

Decide what your strongest selling point is and focus on that in your PR strategy and the way you sell your business to busy tech writers.

Quality over quantity on social media

Start-ups can ensure a slick presence on social media by focusing on establishing a really good quality presence on fewer channels, rather than trying to maintain engagement across every single one when you most likely don’t have the time and resource to do it properly.

It’s better to have no presence at all on one or two channels than an inconsistent one across five, which comes across as amateurish. The same goes for how you manage these channels – focus on creating high quality, engaging content which gives the best possible impression of your business, rather than saturating your followers’ news feeds with too many posts for the sake of trying to generate engagement.

Are you interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your offering? Speak to a member of our award-winning technology team today.

Five PR tips for technology start-ups

As a response to the supply and demand issue in housing leaving a majority of the nation’s millennials unable to buy a home, both established industry players and PropTech start-ups have stepped up to offer the house hunter and tenant a better way to deal with the perils of the lingering UK Housing Crisis.

In the world of property PR, this is as an opportunity.

Whether it is Brexit, Trump or a snap general election in the spotlight, your company’s voice should be one of the first heard in the market. A quick-fire reaction to the news agenda is the epitome of great coverage in the property sphere and is something the property press particularly favour. After all, the property landscape is something that will endure the test of time and will forever be a discussion needed to be had.

To elevate a company’s profile, whether it is a tech realtor like Square Feet, a flatmate matchmaking site like Ideal Flatmate or rental search service like MoveBubble, the end goal is to have your brand seen as an authority on the topic. Why? Well, if your CEO is seen as a thought leader in your target media, your potential demographic will grow to trust your brand. Association is a powerful thing in business.

This doesn’t mean relentlessly forcing your product offering or new start-up into the inboxes of randomly selected journalists claiming that your company can solve the housing crisis – that will get no meaningful coverage for your brand. It means you have to construct a reactive comment that reflects the issue at hand, show you understand the implication it will have on the sector and offer any predictions you may have for the future. Whilst doing so, try your absolute hardest to not turn it into a sales pitch.

There are three long term goals that property companies search for when they look to potentially source PR; to receive investment, boost user numbers in current or new territories, and to see more deals through the door. It is crucial that before you set out to pitch your brand that you clearly identify what you want to see happen to your company following the PR campaign:

  • If it is to receive investment: Target outlets that are watched, read or listened to by key investors and decision-makers in the property avenue. Fine-tune your messaging in each pitch to show why your company is worth their money.
  • If it is to boost user numbers and get more people to your site or app: Make sure you target media with a high consumer outreach in circulation and by rule of thumb, always aim to get a link back to your site to boost both your SEO on Google whilst simultaneously increasing the number of users landing on your homepage.
  • If it is to get more deals through the door: Say for example you work in real estate as an investor or lender, you need to target trade publications, associations and you shouldn’t underestimate the power of specialist publications with lower readerships, in both the UK and abroad. You will find these magazines go by the quality over quantity rule. It is often that these pieces of coverage are the ones that result in the direct closing of deals – because your voice was the one behind the article outlining how Brexit will stagger global real estate investor attention on the UK, not the voice reading it.

Let the overcrowded market know you fully understand and acknowledge a geopolitical shift’s impact on your industry, and let your potential customers and investors know that the company you run is part of a change that needs to happen.

Don’t be afraid to be a thought leader. Compile your opinions into a compelling argument and the media will listen.

If you would like to learn how Property PR could help benefit your business or brand then please get in touch.

Opening the door on property PR: How to engage with the media

For a number of years, The PHA Group worked with multi-millionaire drinks and property tycoon, Howard Raymond. So, when Raymond decided to invest in Epicuro to tackle the freshwater storage, we agreed to help this honourable cause with our PR services.

Read on to find out how our team of experts supported Epicuro to help them secure investments.

The brief:

With the freshwater shortage currently registering as the world’s number one humanitarian crisis, Howard donated £600,000 worth of seed investment to a London-based tech and innovation hub called Epicuro. A collective of engineers and scientists, Epicuro have spent years researching and developing a device that can separate salt from oceanic water. With the Environment Agency recently warning that even the UK could face a water shortage in 25 years’ time, a solution is desperately needed. This is where Epicuro’s device can make all the difference. The Epicuro Desalinator is a battery-less technology that can yield 40 litres of clean water a day using a free power source that’s abundant in the developing world: the sun. Our goal was to help Epicuro find investors willing to see the potential of the Epicuro Desalinator.

Our strategy

To use Epicuro’s never seen before technology we needed to hijack the news agenda by showing journalists what the company does and why people should invest in it. We created a clear and concise video highlighting the Epicuro Desalinator assets and how it works.

Our method

With World Water Day 2019 on 22nd March as the calendar hook, the PHA team first cultivated a relationship with an esteemed videographer and seasoned BBC alumna from Violet Productions. To optimise media interest and create content for their website, we introduced the client to the videographer, and, over a period of weeks, helped to story-board and plot all the creatives – which resulted in a polished explanation video, press pack interviews with the inventors and b-roll footage as well. Once the videography had been satisfactorily refined, edited and approved, we then packaged a media kit and commenced our outreach with the mainstream media.

The results

Our efforts resulted in first-class national and regional coverage. We secured hits on BBC News and The Daily Express amongst many others. But the most high-impact and credible hit we secured was undoubtedly in The Guardian newspaper.

The Guardian’s reporting on the environment is second to none, it’s the only national newspaper to have its own separate environment pod and tapping into its core readership was always top of our wish-list. From the very beginning, coverage in The Guardian was what the client ultimately hoped for and we were delighted to secure a fantastic show on Guardian.com with the headline: “Is there a beautiful, briny solution to the world’s clean water crisis?” Esteemed science and environment reporter, Fiona Harvey, conducted the interview, which offered co-inventor David Binns the perfect platform to spotlight his world-first technology and promote “early-stage innovation company Epicuro”.

This example shows the importance of creating videos and press packs to help journalists and readers better understand what a complicated project can be about. It also shows that researching important dates related to the business is crucial if you want to get journalists talking about your product or brand. Journalists will be more willing to write about a subject if there’s a solid news peg, as they will have it in their agenda and will plan to discuss the subject ahead.

Are you seeking investment for your sustainable business? Do you also need the help of experienced professionals with strong personal relationships, who can help you reach out to the right audience? We offer all of this and more. Contact us today to find out more.

The Epicuro Desalinator

Over the past five 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 2019 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. As we reach the end of this year’s Jeans for Genes week, we have so far secured 350 pieces of coverage across print, online and broadcast media and hundreds of social media posts from celebrities and influencers encouraging people to support the campaign.

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

Case studies

A key part of our strategy was to include real people in the campaign. We set out to educate 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.

Yahoo jeans for genes

Educational coverage

We set out to educate the public on what a genetic disorder is and to encourage individuals to learn more about genetics. Deploying a multi-pronged educational strategy utilising Gene Therapy expert Professor Bobby Gaspar, we secured 22 pieces of coverage including publications such as the Manchester Evening News and Yorkshire Post.

 

Fashion and lifestyle coverage

An important element of the fundraising 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, with the t-shirt designed in partnership with Warner Bros and featuring Batman and Batgirl. Our team secured 227 pieces of coverage dedicated to promoting the t-shirt.

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.

As part of the Jeans for Genes campaign, we worked with; Alice in the looking glass, Christopher Taylor, David Seaman, Emma Barton, Faye Tozer, Nadiya Jamir Hussain, Adam Pearson, Charlotte Hole and many more.

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

Alice in the glass Jeans for genes Charlotte Hole instagram jeans for genesFrankie Seaman Jeans for GenesDr Ranj instagram jeans for genes

Gifting

To help keep our campaign and messaging at the forefront of journalists minds we activated a series of desk drops with branded Biscuiteer biscuits to a selection of fashion, health and lifestyle media.

Hosting a celebrity event

Jeans 4 Genes - The PHA GroupJeans 4 Genes - Made in Chelsea VanessaJeans 4 Genes

Jeans for Genes Day ambassador and singer-songwriter, Vanessa White hosted an intimate breakfast event at the Covent Garden Hotel to launch the 2019 Jeans for Genes Day campaign and its new charity T-shirt, on sale now.

The breakfast event at the Covent Garden Hotel was also attended by Made In Chelsea star, Francesca Newman-Young, and Jeans for Genes ambassador and emmy winner, Nikki Lily.

Vanessa debuted the limited edition ‘Batman and Batgirl’ design at the event, created by Kingston School of Art Graphic Design student, Chayanis Jumrus. This year’s T-shirt motif was selected by a distinguished fashion panel, including Coleen Rooney, Louise Thompson, the London Evening Standard’s Head of Fashion, Maurice Mullen and Fashion Director-at-large at Glamour UK, Alexandra Fullerton.

Vanessa greeted guests with a short introduction to her involvement with Jeans for Genes, upcoming projects, and why she has chosen to support the 2019 Jeans for Genes campaign.

Jeans for Genes Day has such a positive impact on the lives of children and families living with genetic disorders, which is why I am proud to be able to support the campaign. It is estimated that one in 25 children is affected by a genetic disorder, which means 30,000 babies and children are diagnosed in the UK every year. Whereas some disorders are apparent at birth, others are diagnosed at different stages throughout childhood. Vanessa White

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.

Making it count: Jeans for Genes

With the Ashes wrapped up for another two years, and the little urn unfortunately on its way back to Australia, it’s time to switch our attention to the next sporting fixture in the calendar, and it’s not a small one either.

The 2019 Rugby World Cup gets underway this week in Japan, and the English will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of their cricketing counterparts who etched themselves into sporting folklore just a few months ago after claiming a first World Cup victory.

But whilst Eddie and the boys are busy taking on the likes of Argentina and France in the group stages. We’re going to go on a whistle-stop tour of what you and your business can be doing over the next month to make sure you capitalise on the Rugby World Cup.

Social media content creation

Whether it’s a feel-good status in preparation to one of England’s games, or a bespoke animation, make sure your social followers know you’ll be cheering them on.

Sporting events offer businesses a unique opportunity to show off their personality whilst creating content that they wouldn’t usually be able to get involved with.

It’s vital for brands to engage with audiences during major sporting events on social media – not least because it presents an opportunity to engage with an online community that they might not necessarily reach with their wider strategy. It’s important not to shoehorn your brand into conversation, but to immerse in conversation from a natural and sincere angle.

Joe Toal, Social Media Manager at The PHA Group

Social media has clearly evolved since the 2015 World Cup, community managers now have multiple tools up their sleeves such as creating polls, live streaming or even Instagram stories.

The main points to remember here is to make sure you continue to engage your audience, use hashtags and emojis to keep your posts creative.

CSR

Corporate social responsibility has become one of the standard business practices of our time. Consumers now demand that companies start playing an active role in addressing social, cultural and environmental issues. Global sporting events give businesses a great opportunity to do some good in the world whilst also enhancing their profile in the media spotlight.

For example, during the fifth and final test of the recent Ashes series, lyricist and big-time cricket fan, Sir Tim Rice, decided to donate £15,000 for every hundred scored and every five-wicket haul taken and £5,000 for every fifty and three-wicket haul achieved by England to cricketing charity, Chance to Shine.

Could your businesses offer an hour of charity work for every point that Owen Farrell scores during the World Cup? Or a donation for every try that Jonny May finishes?

Spontaneous moments

Any sporting event inevitably offers drama, excitement and unpredictability if it didn’t, we probably wouldn’t watch it. So, during this World Cup, we’re bound to see a few surprises, scares and maybe even an England win! So, use these moments to direct traffic to your site where possible. If you run an e-commerce site, why not offer a 10% discount code such as ENG10 if they progress through the semi-finals to the final?

Email marketing

Implementing an email marketing strategy around an event can run the risk of losing a potentially willing customer, who unsubscribes from your content as they aren’t interested in the event in question.

So why not start small? An idea from email marketing specialists Kickdynamic, is creating live countdown timers for a specific game.

This allows your business to mention that you’ll be supporting [insert your favourite team here] during the World Cup, whilst continuing with your normal communication. Like previously mentioned, events allow an opportunity for businesses to get creative and jump on the news agenda, but it’s key to remember where the line is.

If you’re interested in learning more about how your business can hijack the news agenda most often, get in touch with us today

Are you ready to capitalise on the Rugby World Cup?

The word “sustainability” is everywhere. It was a major topic at the recent G7 meeting in Biarritz, David Attenborough made a famous intervention at Glastonbury this year about cutting plastic, and more and more brands are making a statement about becoming greener. We see new sustainable brands emerging every week from beauty to fashion and food, so how can a brand stand out?

One important thing to remember is that it’s not because it’s sustainable that people will buy your product. People will buy your product because it is useful to them and sustainability is a nice addition. Consumers are also very interested in a brand’s story, they need to understand why you’ve come up with the product idea, and what it means to you. The notion of authenticity is vital when talking about sustainability. And this is how a PR agency can help you, it’ll give you the power to tell your brand’s story to the world.

PR firms are sometimes seen as the advocate of the devil helping brands make false claims and glossing up reputations. But PR could also be an agent for change. Show the world the great brands that are around and trying to make a difference in our world. Hopefully, PR companies can have the power to generate positive future change and accelerate progress.

As we become more aware of the impact our lifestyles and practices have on the environment, it is up to every area of a business to become more carbon-neutral and finding sustainable solutions. Brands now need to align themselves with the environmentally-conscious mindset of modern-day consumers and show that they have a genuine interest in our plant. This is where we can help.

New hijacking:

The world of PR is all about finding the perfect time to send your press release to journalists. It might seem simple, but it’s not. It’s about seeing the perfect opportunity to link a client story when a hot news story has just come out. Once you’ve spotted your opportunity, then all journalists will happily talk about your side of a story and link it to the brand or agenda that was mentioned. This is a chance for a company to comment on the news or join the discussion and make sure that your brand’s name is mentioned in national media.

As an example, we worked with online affordable renewable energy, Octopus Energy, to support their media relations and creative campaigns. We established the CEO as a go-to industry commentator on all things energy and sustainability-related by hijacking the news. This resulted in 140 pieces of coverage, 48 national articles and 5 broadcast appearances.

Awareness days:

If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll be aware of all those awareness days going on daily. This can help PR and brands build together their content calendar in advance. If you’re a sustainable brand you might want to participate in Zero Waste Week (September) and show how you can join the debate. It’s always a good idea to coincide product launches with relevant news-worthy occasions, which gives a journalist two topics in one.

As an example, we worked with a collective of engineers and scientists, called Epicuro, that have spent years researching and developing a device that can separate salt from oceanic water. They invented the Epicuro Desalinator, a battery-less technology that can yield 40 litres of clean water a day using a free power source that’s abundant in the developing the world: the sun. With World Water Day 2019 around the corner, we helped them create different assets and videos and started our outreach with the mainstream media on that day.

Finding the right journalist:

Good news is, editors and journalists are happy to engage with the topic of sustainability because for them it’s something that’s new and interesting and an ever-evolving discussion, but you must have your own view and unique point on it. They’re understanding that as an editor they must engage in sustainability because it’s the future; it’s not a trend that’s going to go away. So, finding the right journalist who is happy to cover a sustainable and ethical story is crucial. At The PHA Group, we have great relationships with journalists across print, broadcast, online and influencers. We’ll always push the story to the right journalist, knowing what will pique their interest.

Thought leadership:

Thought leadership is great for showing that your leadership team or even you care about your work or business and show your commitment by explaining your goal to a wide audience. It’s a great opportunity to show that you’re an expert in your field and why you want to pioneer a sustainable message for your business and show the media that you have a genuine interest in the environment.

There’s so much to educate yourself on in order to be able to talk authentically about a sustainable project. Make sure you are media trained to ensure you know how to talk about your brand in a confident manner and that you’re ready for any questions propositioned by a journalist. If you’re watching Dragon’s Den, for example, you’ll see that investors are asking a lot of questions regarding business models and how sustainable their business really is, there’s no room for errors. Our team of experts can help you get ready for any questions and show you how to speak in front of the camera or whilst being recorded. We have former journalists running workshops with brands to help them with any issue they might face.

Use the right influencers:

Finding the right influencers to represent your business or brand is key. We know that influencer marketing can be extremely effective to a business, but we also know that you can’t just go to any influencers, you need to do a lot of research before you approach them to understand who their audience is and what type of content they produce. It’s just about finding the right individuals that will support and engage with your ethics. Remember it is all about authenticity!

We have a wide network of influencers we work with on a regular basis, where we incorporate a stringent vetting process. We recently worked with PHA client Ethique, the world’s first zero-waste beauty brand, to launch in the UK. One of our tactics was to engage with relevant influencers in the beauty, vegan and sustainable space to tap into their online communities. This, in turn, helped raise brand awareness and generate interest in the product range. More than 16 influencers endorsed the brand on their social media channels, raving about the company’s eco-credentials and zero-waste promise, with a combined reach of 1.5 million.

Create your own event

If you live and breathe sustainability and your goal is to help others to become more sustainable, then why not organise your own event? This could include a fun event where you can invite journalists to come and participate in something like making a sustainable dinner for example or learning how to knit. But you could also organise a summit if you’re a bigger brand, like Lush for example which ran a Lush summit two years in a row. The purpose was to give people the chance to learn more and join in on topics spanning human rights, animal rights, and the environment. This summit gives Lush the chance to show their audience how engaged they are as a brand and also to educate people on what other brands should be doing.

If you’re a sustainable brand in need of PR, please get in touch today to see how our team of experts can help you achieve your goals.

How can PR help your sustainable business?

Your privacy and reputation have never been more prized assets. We live in an age where the internet and social media has made finding out information about individuals and businesses easier than it has ever been before. Anyone, including journalists and newspaper editors, can discover background information through a quick online search or look across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. When the press run a story about someone their digital footprint can remain online for everyone to see. We all have the right to a private life but during times of legal action, disputes and open court reporting, it has never been easier for the press to build a story so quickly, no matter if it is entirely accurate or not.

Over the summer, I was asked to provide an initial consultation for a prospective client to see if we could help supplement the instructed legal team and provide adequate communications support with several upcoming court dates. The other side had already engaged with the press ahead of time and the narrative had already been set in a couple of publications with their side of the story. After we came away from the initial meeting, within 48 hours our client already had a handful of journalists from leading national newspapers requesting comments out of the blue. We came on board straight away to help right the conversation and highlight the truth that was to be conveyed in court. The client couldn’t believe how quickly these journalists jumped on the story after one piece online had been published, but now all it takes is one tweet, one story and the ball can start rolling, and roll quickly.

It is no longer just the UK where the media can get their teeth into a story. The global media interest in a case can be ferocious as businesses and individuals are increasingly operating and travelling across the globe. As they do so, the demand for international commercial courts to serve them has also grown. The supply of court services has risen to meet this. More and more we see disputes being taken to the courts in London, under English law, as the English common law system has been exported to many countries. Even with the UK exiting the EU, the English court system has never been busier hearing cases with an international element.

Increasingly we are asked to provide discreet, strategic and practical advice to our private clients and business owners who today face ever-more complex digital, media and regulatory challenges. Our team puts together bespoke support for challenging disputes and our international network of media contacts stretches to multi-jurisdictional environments, so our client’s messages and stories are portrayed accurately whether it be in the USA, Italy, France or right here in the UK.

The long process of building a legal argument can all be misrepresented by reporting in the public eye that frames the case in a certain light that may hinder the overall strategy and objectives. It is paramount to set the tone and make sure the correct messaging is portrayed to the media as it will undoubtedly remain on the internet for years. The old adage that today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper no longer holds true in 2019.

Privacy and Reputation: Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper

Why personal PR matters in the professional services sector

Warren Buffet’s famous saying, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it”, has been rolled out almost ad nauseum over the past decade by public relations firms. It may be tired but it’s true – it’s essential to have an effective communications strategy.

At a corporate level, professional service firms tend to heed this advice, having learnt the hard way that technical expertise isn’t the only ingredient to ensure survival in a cut-throat world. From the implosion of accounting giant Arthur Anderson’s financial reputation as a result of its negligent auditing of U.S. energy firm Enron, to the public shaming of law firms’ perceived lack of action on sexual harassment post #MeToo, it’s become all too clear that agile messaging must be a key component of their business strategy.

However, individual high-flying accountants and lawyers have so far been less willing to embrace PR for themselves. Undoubtedly, perceptions of cost and time efficiency play a role in this reticence. A partner at a Big Four accounting firm may well ask themselves why they personally need PR when surely all that matters is their client-handling and financial skills?

The reality is far more nuanced than they perhaps realise. Certainly, knowledge is crucial for professional service career advancement – but so is the ability to demonstrate that knowledge. The Big Four partner seeking to move up to global sector leader or transition to a senior job in-house will have their print and online presence closely scrutinised. Have they been commenting on major recent financial stories? Have they been attending industry events? Is their social media presence current and prominent? Concerns you wouldn’t typically expect professional service high-fliers to be evaluated on, but, as they climb up the ladder and become ever more public facing, their profile must meet the expectations of the job. If not, they won’t get the role – no matter how technically competent they are.

PR-ing the professional

As with public relations more broadly, the activity required to raise the profile of a professional service leader will depend on their sector, risk appetite and current media standing. There is one constant, though: thought leadership – a programme of activities designed to build the personal profile of the professional in a specific field.

There’s two sides to thought leadership. The proactive: landing new opportunities, such as comments in relevant trade media which will be read by peers and seniors (Accountancy World et al. for accountants; the Lawyer and the like for lawyers). The key is highlighting the professional’s expertise and becoming a go-to for their specialism in what is a broad and crowded sector – be it Islamic accounting or Monegasque law.

From here, press activity can move to more ambitious plains: pieces in national papers, speaking slots at major trade events and even airtime on national radio and television. Since you’re dealing with the public at this stage, technical details matter less than the broad message – what’s the big idea the professional is pushing? Media training can help enormously here since a smooth television or radio interview may catch the attention of producers elsewhere and potentially create a virtuous circle of media invitations.

The reactive angle is more defensive. It could range from responding to inbound requests for expert commentary on wider industry news, to offering counsel on sensitive issues that impact their professional standing (such as the collapse of a former employer).

The result

The right personal PR over a sustained period can support a professional’s career at the highest level. It can help them stand out from a crowded field, give them an extra string to their bow (how much more valuable is a managing partner who can confidently do a TV interview and perfectly represent the values of the firm than one who can’t?) and build them a powerful personal brand which could be particularly useful if they ever decide to set up their own company.

With over a decade of experience raising the personal profile of some of business’s biggest names – from James Reed of Reed Recruitment to Duncan Bannatyne – we’ve got an award-winning team which can help you navigate a rapidly evolving professional world.

The professional capital of personal PR