There is no doubt that women’s sport is having something of a ‘moment’ right now. Barely a day goes by without a major development being announced, be that about a new sponsorship relationship, new broadcast deal, new media launch or other significant investment of some type. It’s truly fantastic to see so much progress being made in such a short space of time, and long may it continue. The positive impact the increased visibility of women’s sport will have, particularly on young girls being inspired to get active and discover their own passions, is a major achievement and one that should be celebrated.
The growing interest and investment in women’s sport also presents a major opportunity for brands, and it is one that we have been able to capitalise on for a number of our clients. OPRO, the maker of the world’s most technically advanced mouthguards, is the official mouthguard partner of a number of professional sporting organisations including England Rugby, the UFC and Great Britain Hockey. They also have several athletes signed as brand ambassadors, including Taekwondo World Champion Bianca Walkden, England rugby player Vicky Fleetwood and GBR Hockey player, Shona McCallin.
Brands investing in women’s sport is a story in itself at the moment, and we have been able to leverage that to help secure coverage in business and trade media for OPRO, but it’s in the sports pages where the increased opportunities are most demonstrable. The number of journalists writing about women’s sport and the pages and sections dedicated to covering it have increased significantly in recent months. Most notably, the launch of the Telegraph women’s sport coverage has taken the space and prominence given to female athletes and their achievements in a national newspaper to a whole new level, but the space being made for women’s sporting achievements at most of the national press has increased. We were able to capitalise on this for OPRO during the recent women’s Six Nations tournament, placing interviews with Vicky Fleetwood in both the Independent and Mail Online.
There is also an opportunity for brands to use their relationships in women’s sport to encourage participation at the grassroots level, and in turn to secure media coverage for those initiatives. In January, in partnership with OPRO, Bianca Walkden hosted some taekwondo classes for school children as part of her mission to encourage thousands of girls to give martial arts a go. We invited BBC North West, ITV Granada and the Liverpool Echo down to take a look which resulted in the below coverage.
As female sporting success is increasingly celebrated and the profiles of our top female athletes grow, there are also more opportunities for coverage away from the sports pages, in profile slots, set piece interviews and Q&As. Again, we have had success for OPRO here, lining up interviews for their female athletes in the likes of the FT and the Sunday Times.
For brands involved in women’s sport – or for those about to step in to a women’s sport sponsorship partnership for the first time – the opportunities have never been greater. If you would like to find out how our award-winning sports team can help you make the most of these relationships, you can contact a member of the team here.
We all know the health benefits that come with exercising and being active, it helps to strengthen the heart, it reduces blood sugar levels and helps to control weight – the positives are endless. But what about those who don’t want to exercise and have little interest in sport?
Earlier this year Nuffield Trust published a report on obesity in the UK, the results didn’t make for pretty reading. In 2017 the UK adult population was made up of 65% who were classed as either overweight or obese. The percentage of people specifically obese in 2017 was 29%, 11% more than in 1997 and 5% more than in 2007. This trend suggests that by 2027 we could be looking at well over 30% of the UK adult population classified as obese.
Even more worrying is that this trend has started to reflect in adolescents in the UK.
A Sport England survey released at the end of 2018, found that 1 in 3 children (32.9%) do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day, and girls fare particularly poorly. Whilst research conducted by the Women in Sport found that only 8% of girls aged 13-15 were achieving their daily exercise recommendations.
What can be done about this alarming problem? How do we engage with younger generations and inspire them to want to participate in sport and stay active?
We’ve looked at the organisations that are helping and supporting girls to take part in sport.
The facts don’t lie, 1.5 million more men play sport than women each week and only 8% of girls are meeting recommended exercise guidelines. Meet the organisation determined to change that. Women in Sport exists so that every women and girl in the UK can experience the lifelong rewards of sport. Their vision is that they want to help create a society where women and men have equal opportunities. Whether it’s campaigning for more women in the boardroom or equal pay, the organisation is continually looking to drive change for the better through commissioned research and creating insights which focus on women and girl’s participation in sport.
Leading the way in coaching excellence. UK Coaching have been around for more than 30 years equipping coaches in the UK with the required skills and knowledge they need to make a positive difference.
In the expert opinion section of their website, several researchers have articulated about the drop off rate among females from when they transition from primary school to secondary school.
As this has been identified as a key area of improvement, UK Coaching have created an excellent hub of resources from podcasts to guides all available to coaches and teachers to help them inspire children and stay in sport for longer.
Focusing more on giving all children the opportunity to play and learn through cricket. Chance to Shine are actively encouraging children to play cricket through visits to schools and working with 39 County Cricket Boards across England and Wales.
The charity believes that cricket can help to develop children’s personal, social and physical skills. The promising news is that since the charity’s inception in 2005, of the 4 million children reached, 46% are girls with this figure still rising. Inspiring and giving children more playing opportunities are at the forefront of how they measure impact.
Established in 1995, the national children’s charity is passionate about improving children’s lives and creating a future where every child enjoys the life-changing benefits that come from play and sport.
Last year, the Youth Sport Trust launched its new five-year strategy that focuses on the development of children’s sport, the key objective at the heart of the strategy is to tackle the disturbing decline in young people’s wellbeing. Youth Sport Trust are ready to support schools, teachers, parents and coaches to help young people discover the joy of movement and nurture happy active lifestyles.
If you’re interested in finding out more about what our team could achieve for you and how we could raise your profile, please reach out and speak to one of our experts today.
After months of back and forth with your CEO and persuading them it’s time to bring your outdated website into the 21st century, the project has finally been signed off. You’re eager to get going, so you spend some time clarifying what you want and then send out your brief to a list of potential web development teams. You get a stack of proposals back but are left scratching your head how to decide who would be the best fit for your project.
Below is a list of what to look out for when choosing a reliable, high-end web development team and be confident that they will create you a website to be proud of.
A stickler for detail
During the research, design and build stages the devil is in the detail. As such, a team with great communication is necessary. Find someone who asks questions and strives to understand your vision and what you are trying to achieve as the better their understanding is, the smoother the project will be.
For our most recent build, our client Morgan Dairy required some complicated functionality, namely a delivery postcode checker and a product ordering form. We had to ensure that each of these were working exactly as expected which we achieved by sending prototypes for them to test and confirm it was what they envisioned.
Before choosing a development team, try to establish how astute they are. Do they show an ability to accurately assess situations and projects? Are they saying no to everything you are suggesting? Or maybe they say yes to everything? The truth is, it’s not possible to create an all singing all dancing website, within record speed timing and at an insanely low price. Anyone who says it is, likely doesn’t understand the project or is just trying to get their hands on your hard-earned money. As such, it’s always worth using your own common sense to think whether they will be able to deliver on exactly what they’ve promised. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
One such client that we were keen to help was Helen and Douglas charity whom we created two bespoke stages for their project timeline. The first being a website with events booking, custom campaign pages, a blog and more. The second being the website with donation functionality. This helped to ensure that realistic expectations were set at the start of the project and that a polished, quality product was delivered.
An eye for design
A crucial element when deciding between web development teams is to ensure they have a keen eye for design. The best way to ensure this is to go through their previous design work with a fine-toothed comb. If they can demonstrate skill and provide insight into the type of work you can expect from them, you’re off to a good start.
One such project where we were keen to ensure that the latest in design patterns were utilized was with our client Patientory. We implemented a clean, modern design with appropriately placed user interactions for an added element of fun ensuring to stay on brand and engage the potential clients.
As a client, these ones can be slightly harder to foresee but you can generally get an idea by looking at the existing portfolio. Alternatively, you could ask them about the technology stack they’ll be using and why they use it. You could even get in touch with some of their previous clients to help form your opinion on this. Generally, if their portfolio examples websites work as you would expect them to, you should be in good hands
Willingness to learn
Does the web development team show a willingness to learn and try new things? Are they suggesting adding exciting features to your site, or maybe that it would be a great time to implement new cutting-edge technology? If so, it’s likely you have a team of passionate web developers on your hands who will strive to create you a website to be proud of.
The online media landscape has seen an incredible evolution across the past decade. The 24-hour news cycle means there is a constant churn of news, opinions and hot takes. On top of this, social media provides everyone with a platform to share their thoughts. There is an increased need for businesses to adapt to this always-on, commentary-heavy environment and understand the right and most appropriate time for official reaction.
Trade associations sit in a unique position when it comes to presenting a unified opinion in the media, as they must represent and accommodate a host of differing views and voices. Trying to gauge when there is a story that requires – or could benefit from – a response is a communications challenge that needs constant analysis, teamwork and understanding.
If a membership association puts out a response which is poorly timed or unnecessary, it can lead to unhappy members, public dissatisfaction and discredited authority. Knowing when to react is vital, while knowing when to remain silent can be just as important to the success of any trade association’s media strategy.
Have clear goals
Associations must have a clear response strategy to protect against knee-jerk, damaging reactions to crises or the press. Associations should only respond if there’s a clear understanding of each of the following criteria: What is the most important message to convey? What are you adding to the story? Will it add value to members and/ or the public? How are members and stakeholders affected by this issue?
If trade associations are unable to fully answer any of these questions, there is a real risk of commenting for a comment’s sake and opening the door to widespread criticism.
There are hourly examples of associations adding excellent value to public debate through their media interactions, from the Wine and Spirits Association commenting on the rise of flavoured gin sales, to ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) adding valuable guidance on new alcohol consumption laws in Tenerife.
The juggling act of keeping members and stakeholders happy (and represented) but also keeping public opinion on your side is difficult. However, in having clear goals and criteria for responses, you offset any potential future issues in deciding whether you should react to certain stories.
Be wary of overreaction
It’s all too easy to be swept up by the news agenda if it affects your sector. A poorly informed columnist taking a pop at an industry issue or a competitor making bold and unsubstantiated claims are unfortunately commonplace – and it’s essential to understand that there are differing opinions everywhere. However, there can be internal pressure from members and management to issue a response, or media directly requesting an association’s input. It can be very difficult to know the parameters of a well-thought-out comment.
This is not to say associations should remain silent on most issues. Over the course of the past two years many trade groups have successfully voiced opinions against certain Brexit measures. Industries spanning the gamut of sectors are anticipating various changes; comments and media appearances to back up the concerns of their membership is not seen as an overreaction, but instead a necessary step.
The importance of steering clear of overreaction isn’t exclusive to associations – any individual or business needs to be wary of how a response can inform public and stakeholder perception. In cases that seem contentious and controversial within your association, or where there is no clear need to comment, it may be better to remain outwardly silent and instead focus on internal communications.
Don’t become the story
The worst-case scenario is when a trade association’s poorly placed comments turn into a negative story.
Dairy UK’s response to a vegan cheesemonger, La Fauxmangerie, in Brixton is a clear example of when an association has not properly assessed the situation and potential reactions. Despite the shop’s repeated references to its produce being totally animal and animal-derivative free, the dairy trade body stated the so-called ‘cheesemonger’ was misleading customers. It claimed it would be planning legal action.
Dairy UK’s comment was not well-received by the press, and its mention of the law and EU regulations highlighted an overly heavy-handed response to a local enterprise. Although the association was trying to reactively voice the opinions of members who are operating in a particularly tough market, this example was not the right news to rail against, and it led to Dairy UK appearing somewhat foolish as the legal threats issue showed they weren’t on board with the joke.
Ultimately, La Fauxmangerie benefited from Dairy UK’s comments, as it received additional press, and was painted as the small, innocent, independent shop berated by an association that was venting frustrations about the vegan movement in the wrong tone – and through the wrong medium.
This is an example for other trade associations: measure the situation and the perceived threat (including whether it truly is a threat) and consider potential backlash before responding.
Trade associations receive constant internal and external pressure to push a certain point of view, but if the response comes across as petty then this can have a highly negative impact on the association. It may be perceived as silly, insensitive, or non-representative of its members opinions; there is a potential minefield of critical reactions. Risk assessments should be done to alleviate potential damage control.
As 24-hour comment culture continues to thrive, there are increasing opportunities for trade associations to comment on stories and industry matters. It is more important than ever to take time to consider responses to any reaction, and only issue measured responses. An entire industry’s reputation is at stake.
If you would like to find out what PR could deliver for your business or trade association, why not get in touch with our award-winning team today. Look at our B2B credentials here.
A flurry of recent client wins has seen the Sport & Fitness team onboard several new sports tech, fitness and lifestyle products. The team have been busy planning their approaches and drawing up their media targets.
But, with a multitude of brands and products claiming to be the most innovative, the most technologically advanced, how can you stand out in a busy market place?
Be an expert
To be able to sell a product at any level, it’s imperative that you first understand your product inside out. By having an in-depth understanding of the USPs of the product, its journey and the latest innovations you’ll put yourself in prime position to educate your target audience effectively.
With client, SIXPAD, we did just that by trying out the product first-hand. This allowed us to drill down into the science behind its EMS technology, providing us with the platform to build a complete understanding of the key messages we wanted to convey in our outreach.
The number one thing you must identify first in your outreach is your target audience. You want to leverage your product with the goal to drive sales, so you have to make sure you’re getting your product in front of the right people.
With clients such as OPRO and dryrobe who cater for such varied and sometimes niche audiences, we’ve shown an aptitude to do this time and time again, but it’s only achieved by a meticulous level of planning in the initial instance.
Once you’ve identified your media targets, it’s naïve to think the job is done. In what is a constantly changing media landscape, as a team we conduct regular audits of the media to identify new opportunities for our clients.
Finally, it’s important to look at the bigger picture when planning any product focused outreach. What events can I tap into to get the product recognised in the media? What are the key sales windows for the product?
With mouthguard provider OPRO, we always use events such as the Six Nations to get media engaging with the product.
For SIXPAD, we helped them increase store sales by 98% in December compared with November 2018. During January, SIXPAD saw three times as many online sales on Amazon against October’s numbers.
Tell a story
In an environment of ever-increasing competition, if you can tell a story through your product this will only give your campaign another dimension.
With OPRO, we’ve done this to great affect achieving widespread coverage across the national business media including BBC News and Forbes.
Treat yourself as an extension of the business and take the time to understand how you can use that business’ assets to maximise brand exposure.
New partnerships announced, both on a corporate and ambassador level are an opportunity to engage with media. By looking for the talking points within these, you will only unlock further opportunity.
With OPRO ambassador and England Rugby International, Vicky Fleetwood, we used International Women’s Day and the recent Six Nations to generate some incredible exposure for the brand across national media.
Within each piece of coverage, in order to inspire more girls into sport we communicated OPRO’s ethos to reinforce that point.
To secure this level of detail, you must be meticulous in managing each opportunity you secure. This starts right from the initial approach to media.
Think about how the product can excite them and how you can tap into the emotions of the writer and your target audience.
Never lose sight of the goal
Finally, never lose sight of the goal of the campaign. Evaluate success regularly and use it to shape your approach.
If you’re interested in finding out more about what our team could achieve for you in the press, or you’d simply like to know more about our product placement expertise please reach out today. We’re here to help you achieve your business goals.
The Ideal Home Show is the world’s longest running exhibition. Now in its 11th year, the show will be celebrating ‘The Best of British’, with experts offering insider knowledge on everything from interior design inspiration and landscape gardening, to tech trends and advice on wellbeing.
But with so many innovations in a market already so saturated, it’s getting more and more difficult for brands to prove they’re worth a second look. In the final part of this series we take a look at how you can utilise social media to engage with new audiences, without letting your focus move away from your existing customer base.
UTILISE THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Identify your platform: With so many different social media platforms it is important to identify which your target audience are using regularly. If your chosen demographic is over 40, Facebook is the place to be making an impression. If your sector is bridal or homeware, Pinterest users will be engaged with your offering. And finally, Instagram and Snapchat are great for brands targeting a younger consumer.
Create engaging content: The aim of your content is to encourage your target consumers to like, share, retweet, re-pin, register and download content on your brand. Engaging content can be in the form of:
For more information on creating engaging content take a look at our insight on getting cut through on social media here.
Be on the ball: Remaining aware and knowledgeable of emerging social apps is key when utilising social media. When you are targeting a younger demographic it is important position your brand as current and engaged with social trends.
Social Media in action: Surrey County Cricket Club
When Surrey County Cricket Club wanted to raise awareness of their home Twenty20 cricket matches with an aim to reach a wider audience to their core demographic we set to work. Our team deployed a multi-pronged approach using public relations techniques to engage female, youth and family audiences to create positive media narrative around Surrey’s annual family day match vs Essex.
We engaged with press and ‘mummy’ influencers in the local area to run ticketing competitions and giveaways in the lead up to the match. As an extent we secured extensive coverage and attracted more than 20,000 spectators – double the anticipated crowd.
AND FINALLY…DON’T ISOLATE YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMER BASE
Keep your customers: Engaging a new audience is important, however it is equally important not to alienate your existing base. Many brands successfully manage this through keeping a clear vision of who their customer is and ensuring that the activity for one customer group does not alienate another.
Customer Retention in action: Coca-Cola
This is a great example of a brand who has kept existing customers loyal but also engaged with new audiences is Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola launched ‘Diet Coke’ as a low-calorie female friendly alternative to the original Coke. Then came ‘Coke Zero’, a similar product to ‘Diet Coke’ but targeted specifically at men who wanted an alternative low-calorie option to ‘Diet Coke’. Most recently, Coca-Cola launched ‘Coke Life’, a low-calorie version of Coke sweetened with natural sources for the health-conscious market. The variety of Coca-Cola’s products, each with their own brand identity and communication strategy, allows each product to engage with new and existing audiences effectively, ensuring that the Coca-Cola group remain the market leader in carbonated soft drinks.
The tips and advice given above provide an outline of some of the key elements a successful PR strategy will incorporate to engage a new audience, and for more tips check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the series. If you would like to speak to experts regarding a campaign you are looking to launch or ways in which you can engage with a new audience, please get in touch with our Consumer PR team.
The Ideal Home Show is well and truly underway with 600 exhibitors all fighting to stand out from the rest. It’s not easy to gain trust, cut-through, and exposure to a new audience, and that’s where PR can help. In the second part of our three-part series, we explore how you can utilise celebrities and surveys to reach your ideal audience.
APPOINT A CELEBRITY AMBASSADOR
Where to start: Carefully research which celebrities influence your target demographic the most. When it works, having a celebrity photographed with one of your products or services can be the best form of exposure and in many cases can be much more cost effective than an expensive advertising campaign.
Choosing an ambassador: Social Media is a powerful tool to identify the most influential celebrities for your audience. These are a few key things to consider:
For more information and advice on celebrity endorsement take a look at our insight here.
Celebrity Brand Ambassadors in action: JML ‘Everyday Easier’
JML came to us with a clear goal in mind: to become the ‘go-to’ brand for household products to make “everyday easy”’. With a wide variety of products under their roof, they wanted to synergise their PR efforts with their in-house marketing for individual product launches.
We planned and implemented a series of events to launch the Nutri Blitzer, Lotus Wok and Simply Straight Brush to a UK market. These events were a perfect opportunity to educate the media on the functionality and superiority of the products and build relationships with key journalists and influencers. We worked with celebrities such as James Cracknell, who was the face of Nutri Blitzer and Ching-He Huang, who was the face of Lotus Wok to support the launches and provide commentary to the media.
We generated 165 pieces of coverage across the 3 product launches. The events attracted 150 journalists in total and the subsequent coverage saw the products featured in publications such as Metro, Daily Express, OK, Style at Home, New!, Best and many more. With a total reach of over 700 million, our work ensured JML took prime-position as the number one household brand in the UK.
Asking the right question: Surveys and statistics are a great way of generating widespread coverage and brand awareness in different segments of the media. Not only can you tap into a wider audience, but you can also present yourself as a credible thought-leader.
Creating your survey: Think about the topics your desired audience would be interested in and appoint a reputable survey company to target your new demographic. To make headlines with a survey story take a look our top tips here.
Survey Stories in action: Purplebricks survey story
Purplebricks, the Hybrid estate agent, were looking to raise awareness of their new London Lettings service. The brand wanted to attract a younger London-based consumer looking to rent as their ideal demographic for this service.
We created a ‘Top Celebrity Housemate’ survey where we asked men and women between the ages of 20-35 which celebrities would be their ideal housemates. This survey gained Purplebricks coverage in sections of newspapers that they were not accustomed to gaining coverage in. They were also featured on celebrity sites like Reveal.co.uk that had the young demographic they were looking to target which then created conversation amongst that audience about Purplebricks.
The tips and advice given above provide an outline of some of the key elements a successful PR strategy will incorporate to engage a new audience… but stay tuned for Part 3. If you would like to speak to experts regarding a campaign you are looking to launch or ways in which you can engage with a new audience, please get in touch with our Consumer PR team.
Now in its eleventh year, the Ideal Home Show will be celebrating ‘The Best of British’ in 2019, taking place this week at Olympia London. The event will showcase 600 exhibitors, and their experts will offer insider knowledge on everything from interior design inspiration and landscape gardening, to tech trends and advice on wellbeing.
But with so many innovations in a market already so saturated, it’s getting more and more difficult for brands to prove they’re worth a second look. Whether you’re an established business or a smaller start up, the following consumer PR tips and advice provide an overview of how you can communicate to new audiences, whilst ensuring you don’t alienate your existing customer base.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Defining your target audience: Creating a core customer profile is invaluable in order to establish what grabs your audience’s attention. It is important to fully understand your target demographic so the more detailed this profile the better. Try to identify age, gender, habits, hobbies, influencers and motivations.
Market Research: The next step is to investigate the consumer habits of your target audience by asking a few key questions:
An effective way of gaining this invaluable market research is through focus groups. Not only can you garner insight into your chosen audience, but you can also gain advice and feedback on your brand.
Once you have collated this research, make sure to keep this as your bible and refer to it throughout the branding, marketing and communication of your product.
Effective Research in action: OPRO
An example of a campaign where The PHA Group engaged a new audience successfully, by utilising research into their target audience, was with OPRO. OPRO recruited PHA Social to overhaul their social media strategy; make in-roads in the North American market by targeting US-based audiences and improving online sales of products.
Our findings from our in-house social listening platform, suggested mouthguards are used beyond combat sports such as rugby and MMA and more for everyday activities such as cycling and sleep-grinding. So, we used this research to launch a wider social media strategy that attempted to engage with both a traditional audience of athletes, sporting clubs and organisations, schools and students, as well as a new audience of cycling enthusiasts, sleep grinders and those interested in preserving oral health.
We launched with Mouthguard Day, a national day owned by OPRO that delivered significant spikes in user engagements, user-generated content and ambassador interactions. We oversaw huge spikes in performance across the individual channels, including a 6,000% increase in audience reach on Facebook which amassed over 100 individual mentions on the day from ambassadors and partners on Twitter. In total, we reached a combined total of 4.4m accounts across the social media channels, generating 5.2m impressions in total.
INTERACT WITH INFLUENCERS
Identify your influencers: Journalists and bloggers are hugely influential in the consumer market and placing your product or service on their pages or site can be a great way of targeting a new audience. Research the relevant publications and sites that your target audience interact with to identify who you should be communicating with.
Get some face time: It is important you target the main influencers of your audience and there is no better way to do that than through hosting face-to-face activities such as:
Activities of this kind will allow you to communicate your brand message succinctly, whilst helping you to build a valuable relationship.
Interacting with Influencers in action: Ninja Coffee Bar
Leading household appliance brand SharkNinja wanted to work with relevant digital influencers to support our UK launch PR campaign for the new Ninja Coffee Bar. Importantly, their core customer is women aged 30-50 and therefore our campaign would need to be relevant for this audience to ensure that it reached the right people.
To amplify the launch of the Ninja Coffee Bar in the UK and reach the target customer demographic for the product, The PHA Group decided to recruit high profile parenting vloggers to record themselves making their ‘dream cup of coffee’ using the Ninja Coffee Bar. The video content would be captured and then posted to coincide with International Coffee Day on 1st October.
We secured partnerships with influential ‘mummy’ vloggers – Mrs Meldrum and Lived with Love – who both produced video content using the Ninja Coffee Bar to create their ‘dream cup of coffee’. These videos saw over 10,000 YouTube views after being posted on International Coffee Day. The content was then also cross promoted via each influencers blog and social media channels as well as all of Ninja’s relevant online channels. Each video provided in-depth information about the new product showcasing its innovative technology and range of features. We also worked with a variety of other influencers including Launeden, Rosie Fortescue, Certified Nosh, Liberty London Girl and Sweet Monday to deliver over 35 further pieces of influencer content for the campaign, reaching an audience of over 1.2 million.
The tips and advice given above provide an outline of some of the key elements a successful PR strategy will incorporate to engage a new audience… but stay tuned for more in the next few days. If you would like to speak to experts regarding a campaign you are looking to launch or ways in which you can engage with a new audience, please get in touch with our Consumer PR team.
The future is here. Ten years ago, if you had the bravery to claim that “cash will soon be worthless”, you’d have been laughed out of the room, whereas now it seems to be a very real possibility. But, before you dust off that anarcho-economics book that you bought to impress your friends in university – we aren’t witnessing the end of money, simply the decline of physical cash.
We’ve seen nothing short of a collapse in the usage of physical cash in the last decade – so much so, that the recent Access to Cash Review asserted that the entire cash system was at significant risk of “falling apart”. In 2007, roughly sixty-one percent of all payments were made using cash, but by 2017, this number had plunged to just thirty-four percent. Debit cards overtook cash as the utilised method of payment for the first time in June 2018, and forecasts suggest that cash could be used in as few as one in ten transactions fifteen years from now.
If you’re like me, then you’ve clearly focused on the big questions – for example, will Scrooge McDuck have to fill his vault with AMEX black cards? But if you aren’t, then you wouldn’t be alone in wondering what effect a move towards being cashless might have on society.
Why businesses and consumers are choosing to go cashless
Fun fact, the UK’s first credit card – the Barclaycard – was launched in 1966, and by 1972, all the UK’s major retail banks had followed suit. So, considering that cashless methods of payment aren’t a new phenomenon, why are we only just waking up to their benefits?
The development of technology plays into this greatly. The development and subsequent uptake of contactless technology has made it incredibly efficient to use cards for payments. Furthermore, with the vast majority of us now carrying a contactless-enabled device linked to our bank account – smartphones, smartwatches, wearable technology – we now don’t even need our cards to pay!
It’s the same story for vendors too – with the improvement in broadband infrastructure now meaning that it’s viable to process cashless transactions on a large scale.
The argument for going cashless
Going cashless could lead to a reduction in certain forms of crime. Cash plays a huge role in the facilitation of crime, due to the associated difficulty of tracing its origins. Cashless transactions are easily tracked, and this makes it much more difficult to both launder money, or avoid tax. In Sweden, where eighty-one percent of transactions are made digitally, VAT receipts have increased by thirty percent. Through going cashless, businesses and consumers drastically reduce their chances of being mugged or burgled.
Cashless money is also easier to store. It’s incredibly easy to shut down a digital wallet if stolen, and access to your money is unaffected by your physical location. Electronic money is also near impossible to lose or damage and isn’t plagued by the hygiene issues suffered by paper money. Commercial organisations also save, as they are no longer required to pay for the protection or transport of physical cash.
Finally, digital money is much easier to carry around – whether you have £1 or £1 million in your account, it takes up no more space in your pocket than the size of the card itself – something which isn’t true when carrying physical money.
Cons of dropping cash
The Access to Cash Review revealed that seventeen percent of people believed that they would struggle to cope without cash – when extrapolated to the nation, this leaves eight million people in difficulty.
Making up this seventeen percent are a number of vulnerable groups; elderly people – who may not have the technological know-how to adapt to cashless transactions, those struggling with debt – for who cash is much easier to manage, those in rural communities – for whom poor broadband and mobile connectivity makes cashless transactions highly inefficient, and the homeless – for whom opening a bank account would be impossible, as they lack fixed premises.
Cashless transactions are also reliant upon digital infrastructure. If for whatever reason this infrastructure fails – as happened last year to both the Visa and Mastercard networks – users will be left without access to their money, something which is very unlikely to happen with physical cash.
What we need to see for a truly cashless society
Whilst the affluent and technologically enabled may already be living a cashless society, any move away from the usage of cash would isolate and marginalise vulnerable members of our society. This is as unfortunately, we still haven’t solved the issue of providing access.
We need to rethink what is truly a ‘necessity’ society. Access to basic financial products should be considered as a right, rather than a privilege. While we may need legislative action to truly change this, there are a number of exciting companies out there extending the benefits of cashless finance to those who need it most.
Leaders in the space
Pockit – Pockit was founded with the aim of bringing financial products to the UK’s unbanked population. A Pockit account offers all the services of a traditional current account, without any of the issues related to inaccessibility. Anyone can open a Pockit account within 2 minutes, and they receive a contactless card and access to the Pockit app.
PiPiT – PiPiT allows expats to pay for bills and services in their home country from their host country. Not only does this provide a cheaper option – cash transfer fees can be up to 12% in some cases – it also provides a peace of mind that the money remitted will arrive where intended.
Monese – Britain’s first mobile bank, Monese allows users to open an account in under three minutes, without needing a UK address – enabling immigrants and expats, who may find it difficult otherwise to open a bank account, to access banking services
WorldRemit – WorldRemit was founded due to a dissatisfaction with the pre-existing money transfer services. WorldRemit’s mobile app allows users to send money to a mobile money account, bank account, cash collection point, or enjoy mobile airtime anywhere in the world.
Curve – Curve lets you connect all of your bank cards into a single Curve card (and adjoining app) – turning your mobile phone into a complete financial control centre. Curve also allows its users to make purchases and withdraw money whilst abroad with 0% foreign exchange fees.
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.
Every year at MIPIM there is a start-up claiming to be the next best thing for the property industry, and when you are looking to break into this industry, it can be daunting trying to cut through the noise and be heard. From residential property management platforms through to apps empowering the renter, the spectrum of offerings out there is growing daily.
For many starting out in the proptech space, it can be difficult knowing which tactics to use, and this is a speciality we have developed over the years, starting out with the launch of Purplebricks all the way through to today.
One of our key case studies in this space is Movebubble, the London property rental app putting renters needs first, who we have worked closely with since they launched 3 years ago. The property space is full of rental platforms, but none put the renter first, and we worked with the Movebubble team to devise a PR strategy which would raise awareness of the platform’s key offerings and empower generation rent.
To kick off our work with the rental app, and to promote their launch, we secured an exclusive with TechCrunch- the leading tech publication which was read by their key target audiences – around their recent investment. This one piece in TechCrunch alone generated significant buzz and interest, and following its success, we were able to seed the story to other publications.
A great way of raising awareness of a brand and standing out is through a creative campaign. A key element Movebubble wanted to highlight about their platform was their ease of use for renters, who they knew were already batting a mirage of obstacles. We worked with them to provide a virtual estate agent service for renters which allowed them to view the flat from the comfort of their home. The service consisted of an assistant visiting several flats and showing every inch of the property across an hour. If a viewer liked the property, they could put an offer in straight away. This offering went down fantastically with the press, with an exclusive trial covered by the London Evening Standard, followed by mentions in Time Out and the Sunday Times, to name a few.
When launching a new company, it is important to build trust and credibility around it in the media, and the best way of achieving this is through interviews with the company founder and case studies (where available). Utilising Movebubble’s CEO Aidan Rushby experience as an estate agent, we were able to position him as a voice of the renter and an expert in the proptech space through a number of high-profile interviews.
Are you interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your business or platform? Speak to a member of our award-winning technology team today.