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MAKING CONNECTIONS AT LEEDS BUSINESS LUNCH

Leeds Business Lunch

We have worked with the Yorkshire Mafia for years and really enjoy the events that the group host. Leeds Business Lunch, which took place on 23 October, was no exception.

It should have come as no surprise that Bibis was full to capacity. There were even queues out of the door. As we all enjoyed a welcome drink it was our first opportunity to chat to some familiar faces. At the same time we made new connections.

Within minutes I was introduced to someone I hadn’t previously met. We got chatting and found that we had some things in common, including those that we were associated with.

Looking around it was clear that everyone was doing the same. Before long it was time to take to our seats. What the YM does that sets it a part from others is push boundaries. Every event is bigger and better than the one before.

Three keynote speakers

This year’s Leeds Business Lunch followed that same trajectory with not one or two but three headline speakers. First up was Eve Roodhouse, Chief Officer Economic and Development from Leeds Council followed by Sinead Rocks, Managing Director for National and Regions at Channel 4 and finally, Richard Flint, Former CEO of Sky Betting and Gaming.

Each of them shared their insights into business and their thoughts on why the Leeds City Region has so much to offer.

Although they were all excellent, the one speaker that stood out for me was Sinead Rocks. Not only was she perfect for the event and definitely on topic, given Channel 4’s move to Leeds, but also incredibly funny.

The lunch was delicious but almost became a forgotten relative as people chatted and shared advice. The atmosphere was positive and there wasn’t a single mention of the ‘b’ word – well, not on our table anyway.

Leeds Drinks Evening

When Leeds Business Lunch came to a close, guests carried on with their conversations before heading across to Champhraya for the Leeds Drinks Evening.

Two events for the price of one, not bad!

Again, within minutes we were talking to new connections and meeting up with clients that we hadn’t had the opportunity to catch up during the lunch. The drinks were flowing, and the discussions continued before taxi’s were called.

Knowing how much hard work goes on behind the scenes at the Yorkshire Mafia, Janie and Ed did an amazing job. Not only were both events incredibly well attended, they also gave people the chance to meet with others from the business community.

The power of contacts

The power of contacts cannot be underestimated, and we are very fortunate that we have the opportunity to attend these functions and to put the theory that ‘we are stronger together’ into practice.

This morning, slightly jaded, we came into the office to receive an email which thanked us for our support and said: “You are an integral part of our team”. There is no better commendation than for a client to confirm this.

So, thanks to the Yorkshire Mafia, not only for being an amazing client but also for hosting the best events and inviting us along to experience them with you.

Now, where’s that coffee!

HOW TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES

As we get ready for shorter daylight hours in the run up to the winter months, it’s no wonder so many of us feel down as the weather turns colder. I certainly feel a difference in my energy levels as the evenings get darker and my summer holiday feels like a distant memory. There are a few things I’ve found help keep on top of any negative feelings.

Get Outside

Try to get outside while it’s bright. This is particularly hard if you work the 9-5 but I’ve found a 20-minute lunch time stroll clears my head and gives my eyes a much-needed break from the screen. With the amount of rain we get in the UK, I make it a priority to get some fresh air on crisp, sunny autumn days.

Book a holiday

I’m a big fan of a winter city break. I find the winter season a little less busy in European cities and it’s easier to pack in the sightseeing when it’s not boiling hot. Planning a trip for the summer ahead is another way to get out of the seasonal slump. It’s always nice to have something to look forward to.

Enjoy the run up to winter

Take time to enjoy the things you wouldn’t do over the summer months. As we tend to spend more time indoors over this period, I like to schedule in some self-care. Set aside an hour for a hot bath with a few candles. This really helps me to unwind and warms me up on a chilly day.

Food

I love hearty, warming food and there is nothing better than a bit of overindulgence in the run up to the festive season! Although, it’s worth remembering that too much can leave you feeling sluggish and is hard to shake off when the summer months arrive again.

While I don’t feel like eating salad as the seasons draw in, I always try to eat enough fruit and veg to keep my energy levels up.

Move your body

Making time to work out is tough at any time of the year but even harder over the colder months, especially when all we want to do is curl up on the couch in front of a good box set. I’ve found exercise is so important for my overall well being and something that helps keep my mental health in check.

Create a Focus

In the Open office there is an extra buzz in the air as we prepare for Halloween and Christmas campaigns. Focusing on these exciting celebrations gives us reason to celebrate the changing seasons rather than resent them.

I’ve struggled with the winter blues in the past, but these tried and tested methods work well if you can’t jet off somewhere warm this winter.

HORTOR CHOOSES OPEN COMMS AS PREFERRED PR PARTNER

Hortor and Open Communications

Hortor, the global strategic resourcing consultancy with UK offices in Leeds and London, has chosen Open Communications, the straight-talking PR agency, to manage the brands content strategy across traditional and social media channels.

Having worked on an initial project to update the company website and provide recommendations regarding social media and content marketing, Hortor has agreed a year-round programme of activity that will be delivered by the agency.

Reporting consistent growth since its launch in 2014 and with ambitious targets for the next twelve months and beyond, Open Comms will focus on raising the profile of Hortor, its specialist divisions and the world-class clients that it works with.

Joint CEO of Hortor, Andy Roe, comments: “In the first instance Open Communications were recommended to us by a business associate that has worked with the agency for years. We needed support with the copy writing on our website and a few other projects and so felt it was the right time to engage a team that could give us some specialist support.

“Open quickly became an extension of our team and we are very much looking forward to working with them as we roll-out our year-round programme of activity.”

Director at Open Communications, Lindsey Davies, comments: “Hortor are a great fit for us. As well as being ambitious, the business has a great culture and is not afraid of doing things differently. We are looking forward to taking insight from the team and using this to create compelling content that we can share.

“As experts within their industry, we want to make sure that we reiterate the knowledge from the team and position them as the growing and global organisation that they are.”

Hortor has made a number of appointments in recent months with colleagues joining both the Leeds and London offices. Further plans to expand internationally to support its global network are also underway, with no fewer than four launches scheduled in the next year.

Open Communications is celebrating ten years in business throughout 2019 with plans to move to a new office in Wakefield city centre. The agency is preferred PR partner for a range of brands including Opus Trust Communications, Ring, The Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Martin Walsh Architecture and Bellingham IT.

For further details about Hortor and its approach to strategic global resourcing please visit www.hortor.co.uk and for information about the services we provide for clients please visit, http://www.opencomms.co.uk/what-we-do.

Ends

 

TEN REASONS TO INVEST IN PR FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Businesses don’t have the budgets, resource or understanding to warrant an investment in PR. It’s too complicated and difficult to measure. Anyone can cobble together a press release or upload a blog. There are bigger priorities and better ways to spend money.

Really?

Here are ten simple reasons why you really should consider PR and what impact it could have on your organisation.

1. Reputation

Despite many changes to the industry over the years, PR remains the specialism that is used to manage the reputation of a business. Some people feel that this sounds too flaky. Consider driving a car without insurance or riding a motorbike without a helmet. The risks are too high. As your reputation is arguably your biggest asset, it should be a priority.

2. Profile

Just because you know about your business it doesn’t mean others do too. Furthermore, if you are considering infiltrating new markets then you will be starting from scratch. You may have the products, service and reputation however you are still new to this audience. Using PR to build your profile in the right places can be very effective.

3. Employer brand

We hear a lot about skills gaps and a lack of talent. If you want to attract the best people to your business, then you need to share details about what it is like to work for you. Using PR to update a company blog and social media tools, such as LinkedIn and twitter, is a good place to start. Adding personality to your content will allow you to attract the people that are a better fit for your business.

4. Website visitors

Over the years the remit of what constitutes PR has broadened. Content marketing has become a big business. If you want to get the most from your website you should be writing regular articles, blog posts and news items. Content should also include relevant inbound and outbound links to attract prospects. Paying thousands for a website doesn’t mean it will work for you.

5. New business

PR will help you to attract new business. No, the phone won’t start ringing off the hook as soon as you implement some of the tactics, but you will notice a change. People will become more receptive and they will talk about you more. There is no greater marketing platform than word of mouth, so make sure you are doing what you can to encourage the right message is shared. This is one of the reasons why story telling is so important.

6. Crisis

No one wants a crisis to happen, but the simple fact is, they do. If you are unprepared then expect the worst. Trying to fumble through a media storm while the phones are ringing relentlessly, and journalists are on deadline chasing for statements, is nothing short of a nightmare. Don’t leave this to chance, it could lead to lasting and irreparable damage. Having the processes and procedures in place will make all the difference.

7. Competition

So, despite points one to six you still think PR is a waste of time and money. That’s absolutely fine. Leave it to your competitors to share their story, raise their profile, manage their communications and reap the rewards and benefits as a result.

8. Cost effective

PR isn’t cheap but when compared to other specialisms within the marketing mix it is cost effective. Given the importance of the tactics that fall under a PR remit, it is a constant frustration that it is the forgotten relative, but that’s the way it is. Some of the largest brands in the world have relied heavily on PR and it has delivered for them time and time again. Think Virgin and Innocent Drinks. They used PR to establish and build brands that made them millions.

9. Flexibility  

With PR you don’t have to sign up to everything in one go. It’s not a single product off a shelf. You could start with a basic press office and then evolve the plans as you go. In fact, this is the best approach. Not only does this mean you can carefully measure the return on your investment, you can also better understand exactly what is happening and why.

10. Return on investment

There is no point in denying it, measuring the absolute impact of PR can be a challenge because the reasons for purchase will differ for every consumer. What we can be certain of is that having a PR programme in place will allow you to manage your message, engage in the right places, target the correct audiences and take some control of the conversation. Millions of businesses across the world haven’t got it wrong, they invest because they see the value.

Back to where we started

And so, we are back to where we started. The first step is to think very carefully about your business and what you want to achieve now and in years to come. PR may not be a priority but consider what it could do for your organisation.

Nothing will change if you continue the way you are going, and perhaps that should be one of the biggest concerns that you have.

For more information about how we work with our clients at Open Communications please visit the What We Do pages here.