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What #PressforProgress means: Jenny Campbell

What #PressforProgress means: Jenny Campbell

By Jenny Campbell 

When the Equal Franchise Act was passed in 1928 giving all women over the age of 21 the right to vote, many expected a mass upheaval of society and women’s position both within the home and workplace to follow suit.

However, fast forward 90 years and despite significant progress being made towards pursuing gender parity, there are still great disparities present within society. Whilst there is a growing body of women promoting change, there are still many stuck in the shadows of their male counterparts.

PR for Jenny Campbell

This gender bias is something I have become all too familiar with throughout my career, experiencing first-hand the double standards women are subjected to within the workplace. During my banking career, I was initially given a ‘Band B’ ranking as opposed to a higher tiered ‘Band A’, based on the assumption that at some point I would take a break from my career to have children. My male counterpart, who I knew I was doing a better job than, received a ‘Band A’, so I challenged this and after eighteen months of fighting it, I received the ‘Band A’ that I deserved.

Shaping a corporate career as a woman is no easy feat and I have spent a large proportion of my working life challenging similar bias that could potentially hold me back. However, perceptions are gradually being corrected and the past year alone has acted as a platform for women calling out for this position to change with campaigns such as #TimesUp and #MeToo coming to the forefront of society.

The career opportunities for women have increased considerably, especially with the rise of the female entrepreneur. However, despite 1 in 10 women wanting to start their own business, just 9% of funding into UK start-ups goes into businesses run by women.

The entrepreneur, regardless of their gender, is a crucial driver of the nation’s economic growth and by disregarding women’s capacity as business owners and employers society is overlooking a great resource of untapped potential.

It is not a question of drive and ambition among female businesswomen, but that of opportunity, specifically linked to access to funding channels in order to embark on an entrepreneurial path.

A recent report found that a quarter of all female small-business owners experienced difficulties when trying to access funding, with women in business receiving just 7% of venture capital investment. This comes in comparison to the male entrepreneur, receiving 86% of venture capital funding.

This stark contrast speaks to wider gender issues of male investors in the venture capital world simply ‘lending to their own’. It is these disproportionate barriers that continue to challenge women’s position and capabilities within the workplace; for example, female entrepreneurs still have a 15%-20% lower loan approval rate than their male counterparts.

Despite vast efforts for gender parity to transcend industries and sectors, there is still a distance to go within the business landscape. However, this is not a battle that should be shied away from. Female entrepreneurs have been found to bring 20% more revenue with 50% less money invested, and Deloitte has suggested that targeted help for early-stage female entrepreneurs could provide a £100bn boost to the UK economy over the next 10 years alone.

Indicators such as these evidence a crucial need to champion an overall change in how we view women in the workplace, with concerted efforts to remove the gender bias women face. Employers often expect women to act in a certain way and repeatedly underestimate individual’s capabilities due to their gender. Women need to take a greater stand within the workplace to ensure that these expectations don’t pigeonhole their careers and instead fight for the position they deserve.

Regardless of the industry or sector women always face challenges, however, it is important not to be put off by the hurdles in your way and instead to take each challenge as a new opportunity to help break through the stereotypical moulds in society and to forge the career you want.

Ultimately the decision whether to support an enterprise should be taken irrespective of gender and based on business merit alone. Whilst there is a revolution building around British entrepreneurship there is still a great deal of progress to be made in transforming the culture and mindset surrounding a women’s place, and this change in my view cannot come quick enough!

Technology’s Smarter working initiative shortlisted for PR campaign of the year

The PHA Group’s Technology & Innovation team is delighted to have its work recognised in this year’s B2B Marketing Awards – shortlisted for ‘PR Campaign of the Year’.

The Smarter Working Initiative (SWI), which the T&I team first developed in 2016 with long-standing client Powwownow, has been listed alongside eight other PR campaigns, with the winner due to be announced at a gala dinner on 23rd November.

The T&I team worked closely with Powowwnow to develop the inaugural campaign designed to have significant longevity. The brief was to challenge existing perceptions of flexible working and promote the benefits of embracing a working culture that aligns with employees’ personal lives.

As a business with a core ethos of efficiency, productivity, and collaboration, Powwownow’s objective in 2016 was to increase awareness of the benefits of smarter working among UK business leaders and employers. Aware that only 6% of UK businesses proactively offered flexible working to their employees, the team set out to fundamentally change how employers think about smarter working practices.

The SWI was foremost an awareness day: Monday 25th July 2016 – the first day of the school summer holidays. A supporting integrated PR strategy, combining cut-through thought leadership content, data stories, news agenda hijacking and relevant and insightful broadcast interviews for members of the senior management team, helped position Powwownow as a leading authority on smarter working across a range of business sectors.

In the build-up to and following Monday 25th July, the team achieved over 30 pieces of media coverage, reaching a significant business audience across the UK and Europe. MD Jason Downes and FD Andrew Johnson appeared on BBC News ‘Business Live’, Sky News, London Live, talkRadio and Share Radio discussing topics including business efficiency and the rise of technology to facilitate flexible working.

Powwownow FD Andrew Johnson on Sky News

 

The team’s efforts saw Powwownow more than double their initial target of business sign-ups by securing over 120 businesses, including leading UK employers such as Purplebricks.com, RED Driving School and Orebar Brown. Over 100,000 UK employees worked flexibly on the day thanks to the initiative.

The SWI received prominent coverage across online and traditional media. Online, we reached business leaders through thought leadership pieces for MD Jason Downes, CTO Chris Martin and FD Andrew Johnson in a variety of publications including Virgin.com and Real Business. Targeting employees, the team also secured press on consumer-led websites such as Metro and Marie Claire, using unique data stories supported by thought leadership. The initiative was also covered nationally in The Telegraph and The Sun, with a prominent photo story in the latter reporting the social media campaign which ran over the course of a week.

Not only did the SWI reach a far wider audience than originally anticipated, it established positive brand awareness and positively changed assumptions about flexible working. After the initiative, 78 percent of business owners who did not previously offer flexible working to their employees said they would do so in 2017 and beyond – a tangible change in attitudes towards smarter working.

Most importantly, Powwownow were delighted with the campaign and last month the Tech & Innovation team oversaw the SWI 2017, which saw over 200,000 employees from over 200 businesses work flexibly on Monday 24th July, resulting in MD Jason Downes appearing on BBC News.

Powwownow MD Jason Downes on BBC News

The PHA Group Win Best PR Campaign at B2B Awards

PHA-Award-2015-B2B

Following the nomination in August, we’re incredibly proud and excited to announce The PHA Group have won Best Public Relations Campaign at the B2B Marketing Awards.

The awards were hosted at The Honourable Artillery Club in Central London and are known for recognising organisations of all sizes – from Google and Barclays to Worldpay and now QinetiQ with The PHA Group.

The award feels particularly poignant. Not least because both The PHA Group and the B2B Marketing Awards are celebrating their 10th Anniversaries this year, but also because just a quick glance at the nominees for each category conveys how fierce the competition is.

When it comes to public relationship campaigns, at The PHA Group we’re known for a journalistic ethos that brings stories to life. And that’s precisely what we achieved with our work for QinetQ and the 5% Club.

Founded in 2013 by Defence technology company QinetiQ, The 5% Club is an initiative aiming to redress the problem of youth unemployment and the skills gap. As an industry-led campaign involving several listed and privately owned companies, it calls on all businesses in the UK to sign up and pledge that within five years, their workforces will comprise 5% apprentices, graduates and sponsored students.

Why? Because there is a burning need for young people to develop relevant skills and confidence in the work place. Moreover, those who are best placed to make a difference are not governments or charities, but businesses.

This is the 5% Club message.

It is time to invest in the next generation.

It is time for the business world and its captains to step up to the plate in creating demand for apprentices and graduates if Britain was to be competitive with the rest of the world.

Out of dozens of agencies, QinetiQ chose The PHA Group to launch this campaign, which has grown from the original eight signatories from the Confederation of British Business, to having over 125 members. These include Vision Express, Airbus Group, Croudace Home Group, Ofcom, the National Nuclear Laboratory, and the Ministry of Defence. There are lawyers, marketers, engineers, surveyors and recruitment specialists involved. It has featured in national newspapers, has spokespersons interviewed on national broadcast platforms such as Sky and BBC’s impressive Today Programme. In total, there have been countless pieces of coverage for the 5% Club.

Such results were the effort of The PHA Group’s long-term media plan, which in truth could only be realized with the commitment and dedicated of the founding membes of The 5% Club and those companies which have joined over the past two years.

From delivering an impactful launch through broadcast, online and print media, and though various social media channels, to continuing the momentum through thought-leadership in key titles and profile raising coverage for the campaign.

The PHA Group are immensely proud of what The 5% Club has achieved for young people in Britain and in our role in helping its message reach the UK.

B2B Awards

Best Public Relations Campaign  ‘The Five Per Cent Club: Investing In a Generation’ for QinetiQ by The PHA Group