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info@thephagroup.com

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

PockitPockit 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.

MoneseBritain’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

WorldRemitWorldRemit 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.

An analysis of the UK’s shift to a cashless society

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.

Launch

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.

City AM coverage for MovebubbleMovebubble coverage achieved by The PHA Group

 

Creative Features

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.

Virtual flat viewings coverage for Movebubble achieved by The PHA GroupMovebubble coverage achieved by The PHA Group

Movebubble coverage achieved by The PHA Group

Interviews

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.

Movebubble coverage achieved by The PHA Group

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.

How to launch your proptech company

Helping to promote Tovertafel as a business

Over the past decade, the notion that health and technology doesn’t mix has been widely challenged. Healthtech is now a booming industry, set to continue its rapid expansion due to our ageing population. In fact, research by Deloitte has shown the UK market for digital health is expected to grow to almost £3bn this year alone.

With healthtech on the rise, a key aim for us at PHA has been helping our clients get in front of the right audience – be it care homes, hospitals, or everyday consumers.

One of our key clients in the healthtech space is Shift8*, the company bringing the Tovertafel™, or ‘The Magic Table™’ as it is commonly known, to the UK and Ireland. Tovertafel™ is a series of award-winning games from the Netherlands, aimed at those living with mid-to-late stage dementia. Working in tandem with Tovertafel™’s business goals, we devised a PR strategy which would ensure the product was at the forefront of healthtech debates, and ultimately, in front of the right audience.

Personal story

Working with the co-founder, John Ramsay, who had left his career at a corporate law firm to pursue this social enterprise, we were able to share his story across the mainstream press, using his personal story as a way to hook in key audiences and raise awareness of the amazing work they are doing.

healthtech - How to promote your tech gadget

Hijacking the news

Using key awareness dates, such as World Alzheimer’s Day in September, we hijacked the news agenda, raising awareness of the Tovertafel™ technology and putting its impact at the forefront of media conversations.

Hijacking the news Using key awareness dates, such as World Alzheimer’s Day in September, we hijacked the news agenda, raising awareness of the Tovertafel™ technology and putting its impact at the forefront of media conversations. Hijacking the news Using key awareness dates, such as World Alzheimer’s Day in September, we hijacked the news agenda, raising awareness of the Tovertafel™ technology and putting its impact at the forefront of media conversations.

The impact of visuals

As Tovertafel™ is an extremely visual product, we wanted to showcase this through the coverage we secured. We worked with the team to secure a bank of photography to ensure our coverage was bringing this to life.

Promoting your healthtech product Promoting your healthtech product

Media engagement

Inviting key journalists along to see the technology in action was also a key strand of activity, particularly as it is such a visual product, and one which sparks an emotional reaction for both the users and those who witness it in action.

Promoting your healthtech product Promoting your healthtech product

In almost a year, we’ve secured 65 pieces of coverage in the national, regional and trade press. Top national coverage included filming opportunities with BBC News, Sky News and London Live, as well as articles featured in The Daily Mail, The Spectator, HuffPost and GQ. A few pieces of top trade coverage included Saga, Care and Nursing Essentials and Retirement Matters.

 

Interested in hearing about how we might be able to help you promote your healthtech product or service? Speak to a member of our award-winning technology team today.

Promoting your healthtech product

In today’s society, sport has arguably become more important to national pride and goodwill than anything else.

The feeling of euphoria across England while the football team excelled during this summer’s World Cup in Russia was reminiscent of London in 2012 during the Olympic Games. An atmosphere not matched by any political vote, business success or new reality show heartthrob…

With as much influence as our sporting prowess processes, it is unsurprising that the pressures on the athletes are increasing, striving for that extra half a per cent, which often is the difference between wholescale success and failure.

This increased focus in the past decade has coincided with the dramatic surge in technology innovation and investment. Over 1,000 apps are launched every day across the world, with even more gadgets and the next “must have” items flying off the shelves.

We at The PHA Group see first-hand the sheer amount of incredible tech developments and their new applications being produced by businesses across the globe. From PropTech to MedTech, a new dawn is upon us, FitTech.

It’s natural that the worlds of sport & fitness and technology have crossed paths to create the landscape we see today where innovation dramatically influences the way we watch, play, train and enjoy sport, with developments such as goal-line technology creating both front and back-page news.

From wearable tracking devices (leading brands include Garmin and Fitbit), personal-trainer-in-your-pocket apps (LDN Muscle & Madbarz are two of our favourites) to revolutionary injury prevention and curing accessories (Normatec & HyperIce’s Vyper 2 are both well worth checking out for those aches and pains), these gadgets and many others can dramatically affect the way we live our sport and fitness lives.

Each creation has the ability to give someone that little extra they need to achieve a new goal – whether it’s starting to exercise once a week, completing your eighth Ironman Triathlon or winning that first Olympic Gold; the insight and expertise provided by combining the great minds of fitness pioneers with technology developers can, has and will continue to transform the fitness landscape for the better.

With so many new tools and devices across each discipline, it is important that your brand receives the right media awareness and visibility it deserves. We are experts in putting your product or service in front of the right audience through a consistent and quality media campaign to help achieve your aims of helping athletes achieve theirs.

The race is on and FitTech is already strides ahead of the competition

How can you stand out as a challenger brand as UK fintech investment hits $16 billion?

Global fintech investment hit $57.9 billion in the first half of 2018, according to KPMG (up 34% on the $38.1 billion in the whole of 2017). The UK has driven this growth, attracting $16.1 billion in investment, making up more than half of the European total and more than 20 per cent of global funding.

This rapidly growing industry, which has sky-rocketed since the 2007 financial crisis, is now, unsurprisingly, saturated by start-ups all competing for the media spotlight.

To stand out, your company needs a comprehensive communications strategy to cut through the noise and navigate the media landscape, which itself is evolving all the time.

So, how can you get your fintech company noticed and sustain ongoing awareness in the mainstream media?

Know your target audience

Depending on whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, you’ll have a specific audience you’re trying to reach and influence. Financial technology companies, by their very nature, often tick both boxes – they want to onboard corporate partners (to buy or implement the technology) while at the same time appeal to consumers to grow their userbase.

Your target audience, and the stage your business is at should be the first thing which determines your PR strategy. If you need to sign up corporate partners – be it a bank or a retailer for example – before consumers are able to use your service themselves, then you need to generate awareness of your brand in the business and industry media to reach decision-makers at these corporates. Getting consumer press coverage too soon could backfire if your product isn’t ready for use, and could be hard to recover from.

Put simply, consider which audience you need to appeal to first, before choosing your target media.

Nail your brand positioning

To cut through the noise and have true media impact, you want to avoid being seen as “just another fintech start-up”. How do you avoid this? By being crystal clear with a) a clear brand message for each market you operate in, b) clearly defined USPs and c) a value proposition that appeals to key stakeholders.

Too many start-ups rush to market and try to emulate the tech unicorns in terms of PR and brand awareness, but slow and steady will always win the race when it comes to taking time to fine-tune your brand position and key messages. Even your tone of voice needs to be nailed down before you break into the media – this needs to remain consistent over time, and shouldn’t change, so getting it right the first time is key. PR agencies can help with this process, even before a media relations strategy begins, with the creation of messaging houses and tone of voice documents common practice at the start of any campaign.

Become an expert commentator

To be considered a market leader, you need credibility and authority. A great way of building both is to become an expert commentator in the media. Breaking news emerges from the financial technology sector on a daily basis, and every respected top-tier media outlet wants to lead the national coverage of each issue. One way they achieve this is to extend their coverage of these stories by featuring informed opinions from industry experts, whether that’s a CEO or CTO interview on Sky News, or a written commentary piece in City AM.

You can get ahead of the competition by securing commentary opportunities for your in-house experts – the key: a well-informed, educated and interesting opinion that ensures your brand owns the conversation. You won’t get coverage unless you can add something new to the debate, so consider your stance and how it will positively impact your reputation among stakeholders. If you can provide the opinion, your PR agency can secure you top-tier media coverage while at the same time developing your media relations for future commentary opportunities.

Educate your audience

As above, content is key here. Your fintech company might be challenging a traditional industry (most of the best ones are), such as banking, payments, or mortgages. In which case, one of your most challenging tasks might be to win over potential corporate partners (e.g. a bank or a mortgage broker).

Avoiding the hard sell, a more tactical approach would be to begin to educate this specific audience about, for example, how their industry is changing for the better, or how they can embrace technology to make themselves more efficient and win new customers.

This can be achieved through educational thought leadership, again by-lined to your CEO or another in-house expert. By securing press coverage for your thought leadership across a range of vertical media, you can educate your audience over time while building brand (and individual) credibility.

Above all, make sure you have a story to tell

You’ve identified your target audience(s), you’ve nailed your brand positioning, you’ve educated your audience and you’re now an expert media commentator. You’re now in a position to tell your own story, and the best way of doing this is via interviews in the business, tech and finance press to establish a base in the mainstream media. A credible success story about an entrepreneur that has overcome the odds, or a start-up that was born out of a sudden lightbulb moment or epiphany, are typical examples of stories that do well.

But, just as there are thousands of start-ups, journalists receive hundreds of pitches each day from companies vying for attention. Crucially, you need a stand-out story in order for a journalist to write about you. You need to be clear on the problem you’re solving, a timeline for how you got where you are, some interesting anecdotes and clear growth potential (and don’t hold back on the nitty-gritty details like financials and investment).

Do your research – read up on the journalist you’d like to speak to, to better understand the type of businesses they are interested in judging by what they’ve written about before. There’s nothing that turns off a journalist more than an ill-informed pitch about something irrelevant.

The great thing about an interesting interview is they appeal to a range of readers – from consumers who may be potential customers, to corporate partners and future investors. If you are fortunate to have the opportunity to speak to a well-respected fintech journalist, be sure to make the most of it!

How to promote your fintech company

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.

What are stable-coins?

A holistic strategy is essential to getting your blockchain company noticed.

Global investment into blockchain or bitcoin-focused start-ups in 2017 amounted to just over one billion US dollars – a record year for the emerging industry. According to the latest predictions, the amount of money that will be raised by blockchain companies in 2018 is set to be even higher.

It’s unsurprising then that a new industry growing so quickly is saturated by start-ups all vying for the media spotlight.

A comprehensive communications strategy is essential to navigating the challenging and ever-changing media landscape. So, how can you ensure your blockchain company gets noticed above the rest in the media?

Blockchain in the press

Before we delve into strategy, it’s important to understand the lay of the land when it comes to blockchain coverage in the media.

Firstly, and most importantly, there is still a huge educational process that needs to take place. The majority of mainstream journalists and audiences still don’t get blockchain or cryptocurrencies. They need simple explanations and to see in the first line of an article why this tech will be relevant to their daily lives or industry.

Don’t get us wrong, there are a growing number of journalists who do understand and are really interested in blockchain. But they write in-depth features for the likes of Coindesk, CoinTelegraph and Forbes – not BBC or The Guardian. It may sound obvious, but the national media only cover stories that are of national importance, and unfortunately not all new start-ups meet these criteria. Harsh, but a necessary truth to acknowledge.

What’s paramount across both media camps – those who do get blockchain and those who don’t – is credibility. Now, this doesn’t mean just having a fancy website and whitepaper. This goes from the founders of the business all the way to the product offering or service. Everyone and everything associated with the brand must portray a credible, united front. Journalists are sceptical by nature, we don’t want to give them anything potentially damaging to run with and damage your brand before it’s even had chance to get off the ground.

Brand positioning

What we at PHA love about blockchain is that it is genuinely sector agnostic, disruptive, and one day soon will be universal. This means the majority of blockchain start-ups tend to straddle two sectors – blockchain technology and the industry they are trying to disrupt such as recruitment, charity, enterprise, property, sport or finance to name a few.

To have the most media impact, it’s important to position your brand as more than just another blockchain start-up. A clearly defined message for the vertical you operate in, and the key stakeholders you’re trying to target, is essential, as they need to understand your value proposition without being confused by technical blockchain jargon. Before even picking up the phone to a journalist, you need to have a clear view of what value your blockchain business will bring to that sector.

Expert spokespeople

With blockchain only now really beginning to step out of cryptocurrency’s shadow in the mainstream media, publications are desperately looking for commentary from people who genuinely have experience with the technology. This presents an incredible opportunity for founders of blockchain start-ups to become the go-to expert for TV interviews, extended thought leadership articles, keynote or panel speaking slots at events, and national commentary on the technology.

It’s essential for founders and key spokespeople to make their names known, both in the blockchain technology press and the trade media of the sector the business operates in. Sharing knowledge and adding genuine value to the wider conversations, as well as highlighting the benefits of the company service or offering, increases credibility and trust in the business. This is essential, as only producing articles about why your business is the best will cause journalist fatigue, a fall in media coverage, and will create the impression that you’re not interested in supporting the wider industry.

ICO/ TGE investment

Five or so years ago, announcing you were doing an ICO would have been a genuine news story. However, in 2017 there were 435 successful ICOs, raising an average of $12.7 million according to Business Insider UK. Doing an ICO or TGE these days is no longer a novelty, as almost every single blockchain start-up is doing one.

To stand the best chance of your ICO or TGE being covered by blockchain and mainstream journalists, you must be able to explain why yours is unique compared to every single other one out there that week. The story must stand out from the crowd and having a clear plan of what the tokens raised will go towards significantly helps in this regard.

While the ICO or TGE is live, ensuring your company name is kept in the right media outlets is incredibly important for ensuring a steady stream of investors. Thought leadership articles, media interviews and reactive commentary on any breaking news stories that are relevant to your business will help to further establish your credibility as a business worth investing in. Closely managed social media channels are also essential before, during and after the ICO/ TGE – again, they bring much needed credibility to a process many journalists still do not fully understand.

Social media

Possibly the biggest differentiator between a successful PR strategy for any other business and that of a blockchain start-up is the approach to social media. While Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the three go-to channels, with Instagram added for more consumer-focused brands, Telegram and Slack are the most important platforms for targeting the blockchain community.

As with any form of social media though, the key to success is moderation. With Telegram, a welcome message highlighting the key information pinned to the top of the group is best for giving clarity to new members. On Slack, this can be achieved with a welcome chatbot that directs new members to the channels that might be relevant to them for more information.

The key with Telegram and Slack is that they give potential new customers, investors and users the chance to engage directly with the founders and developers of the business and ask detailed, technical questions that would be too heavy to include in a website Q&A. It’s for this reason that the best Telegram and Slack accounts are internally managed by the founders or senior developers. We offer council on all social media platforms, including full community management for the traditional four channels, and are happy to be on hand to provide advice on any particularly difficult questions that get thrown your way on Slack or Telegram.

A note on Reddit – authenticity is vital. Redditers are infamous for calling out brands who have tried to blatantly advertise on the platform and have even been known to trace IP addresses back to agencies calling PRs out for posting on behalf of clients. If you are going to use Reddit, be transparent about who you are, what role you have in the team, and don’t just talk about your offering – add to the wider conversation or you will be ousted from the community.

To conclude

Competition for the media spotlight has never been fiercer for blockchain start-ups. There are a number of rules that apply to the blockchain industry that simply aren’t a factor for other start-ups; ignoring Telegram or Slack for example would be to your peril. However, the opportunity for founders to take their companies mainstream and become the go-to expert for their sector should not be downplayed. With a clear, concise and holistic comms strategy, your blockchain start-up can grab the media spotlight.

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

Blockchain PR strategy

London Tech Week returns on 11th – 17th June, as 55,000 attendees, from 90+ countries are expected to descend upon our nation’s capital to mix, learn and mingle with like-minded tech aficionados.

We’ll be joining in with the festivities again this year and hosting three, free breakfast seminars, to give you some PR tools and tips to promote your tech offerings in the UK media.

1) Tech PR Crash Course – How to get your start-up in the press

When: 09:30 am, Monday 11th June

Where: Jigsaw 24, 8 Golden Square, Soho, W1F 9HY

According to the latest Tech Nation report, the digital tech sector is expanding 2.6 times faster than the rest of the UK economy and makes up nearly £184 billion of our overall GDP. Further, British digital tech companies raised £4.5 billion in VC investment last year, almost double the previous year.

Great news for the industry of course – but for start-ups and scaleups looking to launch and grow, this means competition is stiffer than ever.

Journalists receive hundreds of pitches every day, but will only use a handful – so how do you make your story stand out from the crowd and get those all-important column inches dedicated to you instead of someone else?

In this seminar, we will explore:

  • What PR is (and isn’t)
  • What makes a story that journalists want to write about
  • How to make the most of the assets you already have
  • How to create a PR strategy to generate coverage

To register for a place, please click here.

 

2) Blockchain PR 101 – How to create media buzz about your blockchain offering

When: 9.30 am, Tuesday 12th June

Where: Jigsaw 24, 8 Golden Square, Soho, W1F 9HY

One of the most hyped yet misunderstood technologies of the 21st century, blockchain technology has been lauded, slandered, and often seen as simply the underpinning of cryptocurrencies.

However, over the last five years, VCs have invested more than $1 billion into blockchain companies, and the global blockchain market is expected to be worth $20 billion by 2024.

As blockchain’s potential to bring efficiencies to almost every single industry is starting to be widely grasped, the number of start-ups and scale-ups continues to grow exponentially. But with ICOs and TGEs, never mind blockchain technology itself, to explain to a sceptical UK media, making your blockchain company standout as a viable business is a herculean challenge.

In this talk we will discuss:

  • How PR can build a credible blockchain brand
  • How to get coverage of your ICO/ TGE
  • How to demystify blockchain in your chosen sector
  • Real life examples – both good and bad

To register for a place, please click here.

 

3) PR for Tech Entrepreneurs – How to raise your personal profile in the media

When: 9:30 am, Wednesday 13th June

Where: Jigsaw 24, 8 Golden Square, Soho, W1F 9HY

Behind every successful tech business is a great entrepreneur with a story to tell. People buy people and identifying your story and crafting a personal narrative is key to humanising your brand.

The press are on the lookout for something their readers can relate to and be inspired by. PR is about telling these stories and for us, there is no better tale than an entrepreneur’s journey to creating their own business.

Perhaps you have overcome adversity to get where you are, or a sudden lightbulb moment sparked an idea that’s changing people’s lives? Whoever you are and wherever you come from, come and join us for an interactive panel discussion with three successful tech entrepreneurs, to hear how PR can make a difference to you and your business.

Speakers 

– Douglas Lloyd, CEO of Azoomee

– Nakul Sharma, CEO of Hostmaker

– Samuel Leach, founder of Samuel & Co Trading

The panel discussion will explore:

  • The role of PR in building a personal brand
  • Some real-life examples
  • How to craft a personal narrative and communicate your story
  • How to approach a wider PR strategy

 

To register for a place, please click here.

Join The PHA Group at London Tech Week 2018

When it’s done well, social media can be a very powerful and cost-effective way of growing and communicating directly with a customer base.

From start-ups to enterprises, pretty much everyone has a social media channel nowadays but some seem to ‘get it’ more than others.  Here are five examples of those doing it well and what SMEs can learn from them.

FIFA 2018 (Amazon)

In September a guy called Connor Mac returned from work devastated to find his pre-ordered FIFA 18 copy ruined after his dog Sam chewed it as it came through the letterbox. He promptly uploaded a picture of his damaged disc alongside a guilty-looking pup appealing to Amazon to “help a guy out”.

Amazon reacted quickly and a new copy was with him in two working days. It’s likely that their social and PR teams were closely aligned and decided to release the story to the media which generated lots of positive coverage, proving Amazon as the ‘customer obsessed’ company they really are.

A picture of FIFA 18 game disk which a dog has chewed

What can SME’s learn?

Using examples of happy customers gives you another way to talk about your product and humanise your brand, and your social channels can be a great source to help identify those customers.

FaceTec (ZoOM Login)

Cyber-security start-up FaceTec, created the below video this month to raise awareness of the dangers of iPhone X users falling asleep, near to someone they don’t trust.

In it, they place paper cut-outs, pizza toppings and bottle tops over a sleeping subject’s eye-lids to successfully fool his iPhone X’s facial recognition into unlocking his phone.

FaceTec’s own ZoOm Login software provides ultra-secure face authentication by verifying 3D liveness via AI, effectively rendering it fool-proof. Shot on a shoestring budget, the video was picked up by news outlets and within a week had 15,000+ views.

What can SME’s learn?  

Reacting to what others in your industry are doing gives you an opportunity to raise your company’s profile. There’s often a small window of opportunity while the news is still topical so the speed of delivery is important. The launch of Apple’s iPhone X allowed FaceTec join the broader conversation around facial recognition, a topic they can credibly own, and add value to.

Like My Addiction? (Addict Aide)

Last year a chic 25 year-old Parisian woman going under the name Louise Delage created a profile on Instagram. Her photos depicted a glamorous lifestyle full of parties, boats and dinners and she quickly amassed over 50,000 likes, 12,000 followers and hundreds of positive comments.

However, it was later revealed to be a clever social stunt by Addict Aide. Looking back over Louise’s seemingly real photos they pointed out that she was holding a drink in every single one of them – their message was simple “it’s easy to miss the addiction of someone close”.

A picture of an influencer with a glass of white wine

What can SME’s learn?

If your business has a clear message, running a social experiment on your social channels can be an effective way of reinforcing that message. If you can do it in a clever, creative way like this, then it’s more likely to get picked up by the media, or even win an award (as is the case with this example).

Misleading energy prices (Octopus Energy)

Octopus Energy wanted to raise the awareness of misleading pricing tiers within the energy sector. Other energy providers often lure consumers in with cheap prices and then subtly increase these once their contract is up.

The PHA Group team set up a pop-up bar in Soho and distributed fliers advertising £3 drinks but didn’t tell customers that this automatically increased to £4.50 after the first drink. We filmed their reactions, which led to some great content that we used on Octopus’ social channels.

What can SME’s learn?

It can be hard for some SME’s to create shareable content, particularly if their business isn’t relevant to a large audience, however with a bit of creative thinking it’s possible. Octopus’ message was “It’s not acceptable in a bar, what makes energy any different?”

Unsafety Check (Black Lives Matter)

Black Lives Matter is an international activist movement that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people.

They created an app and website that spins off Facebook’s ‘Safety Check’ feature by inviting black people to mark themselves ‘Unsafe’ as a sign of solidarity against racism in America. I think this is a great use of a social, shareable, simple, call to action which made real impact.

Being black in america sign an unsafety check

What can SME’s learn?  

Reacting to the news agenda on social media allows you to increase your brand’s visibility. Obviously this subject matter is particularly sensitive, so extra care should always be taken when reacting to political topics like this. As a rule, brands should only offer an opinion that is in line with their values and only join conversations that are relevant to them.

Black Lives Matter said the timing was significant because it coincided with Martin Luther King Day and Trump’s inauguration when “many minorities (think) that their safety will become even more compromised under newly elected officials.”

A compelling social media campaign has the power to engage, inspire, and boost brand awareness, especially when closely aligned with a powerful PR campaign.  78% of businesses now have dedicated teams for their social media showing that increasingly, brands are acknowledging the power of social media to attract customers. If you’ve seen any great social; media campaigns then let us know in the comments below.

Social media done well – and what SMEs can learn from it

The financial pressure on charities in 2017 is immense. Not only are they still fighting to keep costs down and make donations stretch further, they’ve also lost more than £3.8bn in grants from government over the past decade and are increasingly facing reputational issues. Only earlier this week, 11 charities were fined between £6,000 and £18,000 for data breaches. The result – more than 23,000 have been forced to shut their doors altogether since 2008.

That doesn’t paint the best picture for the future, but before you start burying goodwill altogether, wait. There is hope, because the charities that are embracing technology and digitalisation are winning the battle.

Charity and Technology The PHA Group

Firstly, it’s about being sustainable and cutting the cost of administration down as much as possible – more specifically, by removing manual processes to release more funds.

For example, charities that are reducing the paper drain of postal applications, cash donations, record-keeping and door-to-door leafleting (which are time-consuming, resource-intensive and simply take up a lot of office space) by replacing them with online or cloud-based tools are making significant cost savings, not to mention running more efficiently.

HomePage-Ebook-DL

However, where technology in the charity world gets really exciting – and could potentially be a game-changer – is where they’ve made it easier and quicker for people to pledge their support, donate and get involved in activities.

A great example of this is a project Visa Europe launched in partnership with the Charities Aid Foundation and Save the Children in 2015 to test contactless collections tins – both in the street and in Costas around London. It revealed that as many as 30 per cent of people were likely to donate this way if given the option. Clearly, others are keen to follow suit as last November, the Royal British Legion launched a similar campaign for the Poppy Appeal.

Save The children Charity The PHA Group Collection Tin

Image courtesy of loragii, flickr.com

Others are using the omnipotent power of social media – think about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, or the Cancer Research (hijacked) #NoMakeUpSelfie campaigns, for example. Not only did they spark worldwide conversations around the causes, they also raised a whopping $115 million and £8million (the latter in just a week) respectively. WWF in Denmark meanwhile partnered with Snapchat to launch a campaign presenting users with images of endangered species that would disappear within a matter of seconds to raise awareness of their cause.

Technology is also enabling new immersive experiences, moving away from the traditional sympathy-seeking models to deliver messages in an active, engaging way that is cutting through the noise. Thought-provoking games like My Life as a Refugee by UNHCR lets players contemplate the same life-changing decisions refugees make in a true-to-life quest to reach a new land.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution decided to go down the route of VR and 360 degree photos to provide supporters with a first-hand view of the conditions their crews face. These are both brilliant ways of calling would-be supporters to action.

Royal National Lifeboats Charity Technology The PHA Group

Perhaps the most clever application of technology in the charity world, however, is where organisations capitalise on what willing volunteers are already doing, fitting seamlessly into their lives. Apps leading the way include BeWorthwhile, a platform that connects volunteers’ strongest skills with the charities that need them (boosting morale for the former and saving costs for the latter), and Charity Miles, which helps users earn money for a worthy cause of their choosing simply for staying active – they’ve donated $2 million to date.

Be WorthWhile App Technology Charity The PHA Group

The secret is to tap into the lifestyle of the modern donor, shaping campaigns and fundraising efforts around their interests and habits. As technology continues to permeate every area of our lives, it only makes sense that the charities that follow suit will be the ones reaping the rewards. The future is bright – we just need to make the move from candle to light bulb.

How can technology enable charities to fill the increasing shortfall in funding?