Tag: pr

We’re still specialists without specialising

We are very fortunate to work with a real variety of organisations. As an agency we made a decision before launching that we would never work with two businesses in a competing sector, the reasons to us were obvious; the client paying you the highest fee would get the best opportunities and irrelevant of confidentiality agreements, sometimes ‘just knowing’ too much is uncomfortable.

This has brought about its problems of course, not least being asked to work for two of the UK’s largest brands in their respective categories only to have to turn around and decline the opportunities as we were already working with competing brands. Still, great problem to have!

Building on this, in recent years we have had a number of approaches from prospective clients asking if we ‘specialise’ in a given sector. We have been privileged to work with a wide range of businesses and each time we take on an account we research their sector to provide us with the greatest understanding possible.

Take the Coalfields Regeneration Trust as an example, or Nigel Tooby photography, I hadn’t worked with a charity that focuses on coalfields communities before and despite coincidentally living in a former mining village, wasn’t aware of the work the organisation was involved with. Similarly I am not a contemporary art enthusiast so had no background about Nigel or his exhibitions.

We still work with both clients and secure results every month for them. The fact that we didn’t specialise in their particular market hasn’t in anyway had a negative effect on our activity, in fact the truth is that we are specialists in them – not their sectors per se.

And that is what I think is important.

Of course you need to have some understanding of the markets that you are working in but what is absolutely essential when you support a brand as a communications expert is to know them inside and out.

Sharing their messaging and values is what we are tasked to do in order to support and build their reputation and that is why we always reiterate that we work as an extension of our clients teams, without this approach it would be impossible.

Like most agencies we surround ourselves with market news that is relevant to our clients, subscribing to RSS feeds, google alerts, trade magazines and media monitoring tools to ensure we are up to date with any changes in policy or breaking announcements.

Some agencies argue that to be sector specific means that you can draft copy which is more technical, using terminology that is relevant to the industry but as communications experts it is our job to learn that. It is no different to adapting to a house style or pitching to a new publication – you do your research and get on with it.

Having worked in the PR sector for years, there is no doubt that we use previous experiences to our advantage but my argument is always the same – we specialise in PR and we specialise in our clients, which therefore makes us specialists, whatever sector you work in.

So the next time someone asks me if we specialise, I will be giving them a very simple answer, yes!

A new genre of photography, Nigel Tooby pushes the boundaries once more

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I have had the pleasure of working with contemporary artistic photographer, Nigel Tooby, before when he launched an exhibition, Eye Spy, in support of homeless charity, Simon on the Streets. His works and installations for the exhibition were creative, engaging, uncomfortable and moving.

Fast forward to January and I find myself once again working alongside Nigel to share the story behind his most recent exhibition, ‘Of our times: the price of money’, which takes place from 17 January to 1March at the Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber.

Creating a series of images taken from a photobook, which resulted in him receiving a Contemporary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society, Nigel uses his own unique and controversial style to share the story of a businessman in pursuit of money, power and fame.

Taking some influence from his own autobiographical experiences as a top executive, the series of works, which are to be shown in sequence, take a step-by-step exploration of the uncomfortable and increasingly challenging world of a high flying business man. This person is expected to be permanently available, while being surrounded by colleagues who will do whatever it takes to reach the top.

What I found most compelling and worrying about this exhibition is that I could relate to the images. It actually made me question the priorities I place on work and what impact this could be having on my relationships and my home life. Finding a balance is often difficult but the question does remain do we live to work or work to live?

Whilst talking me through each image in turn, Nigel was approached by two visitors who had come to the preview. The overwhelmingly positive responses that he received for the thought and honesty that had gone into his works were nothing short of remarkable. There was no holding back as the audience gushed their applause for ‘one of the most thought provoking exhibitions of recent times’.

It’s sometimes difficult to be balanced when you are working so closely with a client and in particular when you know how much time, effort and energy has gone into a project. I know what this exhibition means to Nigel and his family and to hear people go out of their way to endorse his works was fantastic.

What I most like about Nigel’s work is that you don’t have to be a serious art lover or culture vulture to enjoy the stories that he tells through his photography. His subjects are hard hitting and gritty, leaving you in no doubt of the message that he is giving. The works invariably lead to discussion as the audience provides their take on the subject, encouraging each individual to think more deeply about what each piece means to them.

What Nigel has done is to create a new genre of photography, bringing together a collection of images which when pieced together become the sum of a story. Although each image can be viewed independently it would be like taking the page from a book and reading it in isolation – it may be good but not as impressive as the whole story, which takes the audience on a progressive journey.

The show has already attracted the attention of leading photographer, Professor Paul Hill MBE, and Nigel is hoping that further interest will be received as the story of the exhibition is shared both online and in print.

That leaves me to wish Nigel every success. His passion for photography and the art he loves is the only thing that leaves no room for debate. I really enjoyed learning more about each piece and know that this is just the start for someone with such an amazing talent.

Nigel, thank you for sharing it with us and for letting us become a part of your incredible story.

For more information about ‘Of our time: the price of money’ please visit www.nigeltooby.co.uk

Food for thought – are retailers missing the point?

Barely a day goes by without another news item or broadcast bulletin referring to a supermarket chain either announcing profit warnings, staff redundancies or commonly another price war. I’ve thought about this a lot recently and I can’t help but think that these retailers are missing the point.

Let me explain. I have been a fan of the discounters for some time – in fact years, as I used to manage the PR for Netto. It’s fair to say that the brand didn’t have the best reputation for quality but consumers at the time were misguided; the produce was fresh but we were less accepting of foreign imports.

Then we hit hard times when the recession took hold in 2008 and suddenly the car parks of discounters looked like a high end car showroom. People began to realise that actually you could rely on these stores for your weekly shop and save money.

I am a huge fan of the #Lidlsurprises campaign and can’t fault the PR team for the creative yet simple way that they have shared their message with the masses. The press event which invited journalists and celebrities to a champagne reception with all the glamour you would expect only to then reveal it was all produce from Lidl was inspired. Follow this up with the same concept for a Christmas advert, keeping the messaging simple… well, what can I say, a great example of PR done well.

Anyway, I digress, but the point is that these campaigns make sense to me. They are consistent, engaging, surprising and real. It’s not about money it’s about adding value, giving the consumer something they didn’t expect – like lobster at Christmas and a selection of high quality wines to match seasonal produce.

What I don’t understand is the ongoing bickering that comes with price wars. There is no doubt that consumers are price conscious but I can’t help thinking that retailers need to take a step back. Consumers want good value, not cheap produce. They want variety and provenance – a balance between every day and speciality.

What we get is bread for pennies and milk which costs less than water! Not only is this unnecessary but it’s become a playground fight, only the retailers seem not to have noticed that they have made the consumer a disinterested bystander.

PR is all about reputation, which should be built around values. All I can see from retailers at the moment is ever decreasing costs and a battle, which to all intense and purpose communicates that they are in fact not focusing on the consumer at all but instead on their competitors.

It’s like being back at school; he said this, so I did that…

What the retailers should be doing, in my humble opinion, is looking at how they can add value. Many of them have magazines now, which are great. They are helpful, interesting, well written and appealing to the demographic but what more could they do?

ASDA launched Mums Eye View, a YouTube channel which invites vloggers to share their thoughts on products stocked in the store. Great idea; captivating and interesting content that consumers can access and better still engage with and share.

So how come so few people know about it? Rather than attracting ASDA customers, the vloggers seem to be sharing their message with their own audience, which in most instances doesn’t fit the demographic profile of an ASDA shopper.

The retailer could have done more with this platform to integrate digital with ‘real life’ further extending the engagement. Having a shopper booth at larger outlets which asks customers to give two minute reviews of their favourite ‘must have’ items would be one suggestion but instead the platform seems to be a huddle of vloggers raising their profile and doing what they do best – talking to their audience.

And so, I come back round to taking a step back.

The marketing strategy of retailers needs to start with their values and evolve to the customer journey, making sure that every shopper has an experience online and in store that they can share positively with their friends and family.

Convenience is going to continue to drive the market, as people have less time and no longer commit to a weekly shop, but retailers need to think about brand loyalty. How will they get consumers through the door and most importantly encourage them to become regular visitors without relying entirely on price.

The other point to consider, which should be fundamental to any business with a conscience, is the suppliers. Retailers may feel that driving prices down has a positive impact on consumers but what about the suppliers, the reduction needs to come from somewhere and it certainly isn’t the stores.

These leading supermarkets need to stop and think. The impression they are giving is not positive. I don’t want a local farmer to go out of business because despite supplying the leading retailers the margins have been squeezed so tight he can’t make ends meet.

Provenance is still a trend and is something that consumers have come to expect but I find it interesting that ‘Farmer Smith’ from ‘a farm somewhere near you’ isn’t quoted on pack saying ‘I won’t have a holiday this year because once again you have demanded I lower my margin to meet with your demands, allowing you to offer my produce at 10p less than your competitor’.

Things need to change and until one of the leading supermarket chains stands back and becomes a value based brand with a real conscience the playground scrapping is simply going to continue.

OPEN CLEAN UP WITH ASTONISH(ING) WIN

11.10.14 Astonish 2

Ok, we know the headline is a little cheesy but you can’t blame us with such exciting news to share. Believe me, corks would be popping if we were your typical champagne quaffing agency… but then we’d get nothing done, so we’ll keep it to a blog and a few cheeky team drinks.

So, back to business, we are really excited to announce that here at Open Communications we have added a further client to our extensive portfolio following our appointment as preferred lead PR and marketing communications agency for Astonish, the UK top ten cleaning brand.

We will be working with another local team, Statement, to devise and implement an annual communications and social media plan for the business focusing on engagement, reach and penetration into households throughout the country. Creative is well underway for a series of campaigns that will uplift activity throughout the next twelve months with the objective to raise the profile of the brand and reinforce its strong heritage and cruelty free credentials, along with its value for money and quality proposition.

We are always keen to share our news – it would be strange for a PR agency not to – and more so the feedback from our clients.

Head of Marketing for Astonish Cleaning Products, Katy Clark said: “We have big plans for Astonish over the next twelve months and beyond; as a result we wanted to work with agencies that would share our passion for our product range. We have some great news and exciting plans to share and we know that Open Comms and Statement will assist us in doing just that.”

Astonish is a successful, ambitious and growing brand. As a British manufacturer with a rich heritage we are very excited to be working with the team to meet with their objectives. Astonish is a great addition to our growing portfolio of clients that require a full PR programme of activity to cover consumer, trade, corporate and social media support. It’s great to see that once again our straight talking, realistic approach to the brief meant that we could hit the ground running and get to work.

Plans are underway for the launch of the first creative campaign for the brand, which will focus on its success to date and will rely on social media, managed content, corporate, consumer and trade PR activity. Watch this space, there is lots of exciting news to share from Astonish and we hope to do a sparkling job for them! Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Celebrating success before it all kicked off!

As a non-executive board director for the Theatre Royal in Wakefield, I was really privileged to support the organisation when they were shortlisted in the community category of the Yorkshire Business Excellence Awards.

The celebration took place in Leeds on 30 October with a range of companies large and small coming together to share their achievements and successes. What was most impressive – and I am biased – was that guests were serenaded by the Theatre’s Performance Academy as they entered the champagne reception.

It was a glitzy affair with initial pre-dinner address from Work and Pensions Secretary, Ian Duncan Smith followed by a delicious four course meal. It was then time to announce the winners and you could feel the tension as heart rates hit new heights.

It was the fourth announcement of the evening and we were all sat wide eyed waiting for the final decision to be shared… and the winner is *insert drum roll*, ‘the Theatre Royal Wakefield’. Acknowledged in particular for striving to operate a best in class destination that gives access to the arts and entertainment despite significant cuts, it was unanimous.

I genuinely believe that the Theatre Royal has a great deal to offer the local community and that people should take the time to visit and to experience the amazing programme of performances that take place in this historic gem of a building.

The venue is celebrating an amazing 120 years and I often wonder what stories it would tell if only it were possible to do so but at least one thing is for sure, the Yorkshire Post Business Excellence Award would be one of them! Please click here for more details of the winners from the night and video coverage supplied by the Yorkshire Post.

Moving on to the next day (no rest for the wicked!), it was a crisp Friday morning and by contrast you couldn’t get much different. Wrapped up warm I headed up to Scotland with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust for a weekend of football.

As previously shared, we have supported Game On, an initiative which brings young people together from some of the most disadvantaged coalfield communities throughout the country to play football. The programme goes beyond the simple principles of sport and engages young people to learn about interaction with third party organisations and peers, as well as teamwork and social skills.

Having cheered on all of the teams during the Inter-regional Finals in Derby as they fought hard for their places in the Home International Tournament, it was time for Wigan A and B to do their country proud.

Thankfully the weather was mild and there were even a few breaks in the clouds as the sun attempted to shine. The winning players from Scotland, Wales and England all took to the pitch and after an official opening to a marching band of pipers, it was kick off.

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There is no doubt that each team gave it their all, with some amazing tackles, defending and goals and then it was down to just two; England and Wales. The match was like-for-like and finished with a goalless draw so it was penalties and sudden death.

I’m not a huge fan of football but I have to admit that after watching the lads put their all into the games I was routing for them to win – it even got so bad that I did some cheering and even added my very own unique take on a team talk *cringe*.

Over the course of just 2 days we had got to know the team a little better and there were some real characters in the group who certainly helped to raise a few smiles with their quips and ‘humour’.

11.04.14 Game On National Home Final

No sooner had the whistle blown than it was over – Wales had won the Tournament on penalties. Needless to say there were some glum faces from the England lads but they did us proud and that’s all that anyone can ask for.

What was most impressive was their manners, general attitude to the game and most importantly their passion for the sport and the wider team. You would never guess that these young lads were from coalfield communities and I’m not absolutely sure that they would feel it necessary to tell you but what they probably don’t realise is that if nothing else their determination and sheer grit could be considered a lasting legacy from times gone by.

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And so I’m on to another week and although there won’t be any glitz and glamour or pitch side banter and penalty shoot outs this week, there are certainly proposals to be planned, news to be drafted, events to be arranged and announcements to be managed that will keep me busy – after all, there’s never a dull moment when you work in PR.

Why the most ridiculous concept has become the most compelling viewing

I am a self-confessed lover of all things documentary; anything that focuses on real life and gives me an insight into the way that others live gets a thumb’s up from me. Some people say it’s because I’m nosy but if I’m honest I think it’s because I’ve always had an genuine interest in behaviour and social psychology.

During my PR degree (back in the day) one of the modules we were taught was Social Psychology and my dissertation focused on the power of positive persuasion through communications techniques when encouraging an individual to donate to charity.

Now, this is all well and good, and I expect many of you are wondering what I’m going on about but the thing is that the way people choose to communicate fascinates me, the way that individuals interact, engage and share messages in so many different ways.

All this said, I never for one second thought that a television concept which revolves entirely around people watching people watching TV (did you get that?) would catch on, never mind be of any interest to me what-so-ever.

And this my friends is where I was wrong, very wrong.

Gogglebox, for those of you who haven’t seen it, is a programme which features every Friday night at 9pm on Channel 4. It shows the reactions of families in houses up and down the country to news, films, soaps and general TV viewing and it is brilliant.

Image source: Channel4

The idea is that you watch how each of these families reacts in their own environment. Obviously the production team have chosen very different and interesting characters to make it all the more compelling with ‘the couple’ who own a bed and breakfast and spend much of their time drinking to a tea swilling vicar, her husband and dog or the friends who eat a takeaway fit for a small street between them, right through to the loveable Leon and his wife June.

When I first came across the programme I expected to dismiss it as rubbish but beyond the laughs and giggles that are to be expected as a result of a programme like this, there is a very thought provoking analysis that each of these households, despite in some instances being just a few miles apart, interact very differently.

The way that each family engages and even addresses each other, to what they eat and wear, along with the comments they make about the programmes, which can be anything from politics to prison break, result in varying degrees of discussion.

What I find really insightful is that in most instances the families are communicating the same feelings on a given topic – some through debate, others a single gesture such as a nod or grunt and others with borderline argument, despite them actually agreeing with each other.

I wouldn’t like to think that the producers introduced more elaborate people to the show, making it more of a Big Brother spin-off, as I feel the characters that currently feature provide a really good balance. Adding any more extremes would make it less credible and I like the fact that ‘normal’ people are giving their opinions about everyday topics; it simply makes it all the more inviting.

It’s almost a modern version of Points of View but filmed in ‘real time’ as it happens, and then aired at a later date.

Well done to Channel4 for such a compelling show with so many layers of intrigue and entertainment value, other stations really should be considering how they compete with a programme that is so widely liked by such a diverse demographic.

I’m already excited by the prospect of what will feature in Friday’s show and for any PR people out there, when your coverage features and is discussed you know you’ve made it. Never mind Have I Got News For You, the challenge is now Gogglebox!

 

Back of the net or getting wet, either way it was Game On

It was wet, windy, cold and I’d spent half an hour curling my hair for it to last a matter of minutes before resembling a collective of rats tails, falling unattractively around my face, which was also streaked with the remnants of my carefully applied make-up.

But still, I was watching football (a game that in the most part I detest) with more than 50 children from youth teams throughout the country who participate in Game On, a programme organised by our client The Coalfields Regeneration Trust and delivered by The Football League Trust.

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Game On aims to take children from some of the most deprived areas of the UK and encourage them to take part in free football training sessions, which take place on two evenings each week. Not only does this programme have a direct impact on anti-social behaviour by providing young people with something to do, but it also teaches those involved about health and wellbeing, participation, commitment, social interaction and engagement.

Knowing that in situations like this the best approach is to roll your sleeves up – metaphorically, it was freezing! – and get on with it, that is exactly what I did.

I was surprised to find that I soon got into the game and was cheering along with the best, especially when one particular player who happened to be a girl made an amazing tackle, which left the side lines squinting never mind the opponent rolling around on the floor!

More than 3 hours later and we were into the final rounds, there were cheers and jeers, banter and back chat but the attitude of all involved really was to be commended. Each team took to the game with the passion you would expect but also with a sportsmanship that belied their teenage years.

The final was a close call with Wigan A and B teams literally taking the title from under the nose of Doncaster when they were chosen on goal difference as the contenders for the next round of the championship, which takes place in Scotland on 1 November.

Next came the bit I had been looking forward to most (until the drenching earlier in the day, which had now resulted in me looking less like a drowned rat and more like I had been dragged through a hedge backwards) we were going to watch the Derby versus Millwall match.

But that wasn’t all, the Wigan winners would get the chance to have a special trophy presented on the pitch! As we walked out of the tunnel I caught my breath – it’s no secret that I am no real football fan – but this was amazing.

Stood in front of an audience of more than 27,000 people the Wigan teams were presented with their trophy and as if that wasn’t enough they were then asked to look up – a huge screen projected their smiling faces to the whole crowd.

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I have to admit that I had a lump in my throat whilst I watched them all waving and jumping to be seen. It really was spectacular.

The game ended 0 – 0  but that didn’t really matter. The atmosphere was great and Rammy, Derby County FC’s mascot, made an appearance and danced around the pitch. The team at Derby were fantastic and whether they realise it or not I am sure that they have created memories that the Game On finalists will never forget.

As for me, I’m pleased to be warmed up but the event was certainly worth braving the weather for. Thanks to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Derby County Football Club, The Football League Trust and all of the clubs who took the time to compete in the Game On finals. For those who didn’t win, there’s always next year!

A different kind of creative

Working in the creative industry can be confusing; there are so many different specialisms and disciplines that there is no single sentence that can describe what encompasses being a creative, it is as vast as the minds of those involved within it.

Just recently I have had the absolute pleasure of working with a creative contemporary photographer, Nigel Tooby. What I get most satisfaction from at Open Communications is the range of clients that we have. Their businesses, brands, objectives and markets are so contrasting that it makes every day a ‘school day’ – you learn something new.

Working with Nigel and his wife Elaine was no different.

Our first meeting was back in August when we hosted an Open Strategy Session with the team. Not only did we all find the session enlightening, it was engaging and a real sharing of insights, beliefs and values. Nigel approaches his specialism, photography, very differently from how I would PR and that made for some great conversations and debate.

Fast forward a month and I took a call to ask if we would support the team with a project and exhibition they are working on, Eye Spy. Needless to say, having seen some of the works I couldn’t wait to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in.

All in the aid of Simon on the Streets, Nigel was originally tasked with creating a series of images for a charity calendar for the organisation, thanks to a referral from Red Media, the local design, print and marketing agency.

Rather than stick to the traditional, which isn’t really Nigel’s way, he chose to take the project one-step further and to recommend that the images were not only taken through the eyes of the homeless but also that they become an artistic installation, using materials from the streets to give the subject deeper context.

I was lucky enough to get a preview of the final pieces and a complete contradiction in terms is the best way I can find to describe them; they make for the most uncomfortable viewing but in the most positive and thought provoking way.

And so, here’s where we came in, it was our job to take Nigel’s creative talents and showcase them within the media. The first challenge was that the subject is interesting but also uncomfortable and the second is that some of the images were definitely unsuitable for print, simply due to the brutal truth behind them.

So, we got to work. A press call, invitations, press releases, media relations… and repeat… PR can be a little bit like a recipe for Yorkshire puddings sometimes, if you get it wrong it will all go flat but if you get it right… well, next time you have a Sunday lunch and you bite into your fluffy, light Yorkshire puddings that’s how PR feels when you get it right!

Thankfully we did. Working closely with Nigel and Elaine we were able to secure coverage in Yorkshire Post, Yorkshire Evening Post, Wakefield Express, Wetherby News, Harrogate Advertiser, Ripon Today, North Yorkshire News, BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Look North.

Not only is the work deserving of the coverage it achieved but I am so pleased to see that Nigel’s creative talent is being recognised. I have never met a photographer with such a vision for story-telling.

I have learnt a great deal in the short time I have worked with the team at Mogul Image and I expect that they don’t even realise it, knowing how unassuming and modest they are. Nigel has taught me to see behind an image and to look deeper as there are always things that you miss first time around.

As I said at the start of this blog, the way he approaches his art is very different to how I handle PR for our clients at Open Communications despite us working in the same creative industry. We are all about facts and figures, stories and angles, headlines and news, whereas Nigel deals with perspective, depth, contrast, controversy and creating debate.

The results for us both are similar; we raise the profile of a subject to encourage people to talk about it. The ultimate goal is word of mouth but our skills couldn’t be more dissimilar.

I will be attending the launch event of the Eye Spy exhibition this evening, which takes place at the Workhouse Modern in Harrogate from 6.30pm. I would encourage anyone who isn’t your typical lover of all things photography or arty to come along.

I will certainly be raising a glass to an exhibition well done and hope that people will take the time not only to better understand the plight of the homeless in our region but also to get their hands in their pocket and support Simon on the Streets, which is a very worthy and deserving cause.

Here is a small and very select sample of the images that will be on show at the exhibition, which will run until Monday 6 October. Please do remember that some of these images feature on crates and paving slabs… I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t want to spoil it but it is certainly worth going to see.

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Why guidelines can be a lifeline

It never fails to amuse me when people say that they have all of their marketing under control and whip out a document with ‘BRAND GUIDELINES’ proudly displayed across the front. What people don’t seem to appreciate is that even though having brand guidelines is a good starting point, it does not always take into account the bigger picture.

As an example, if someone picks up your brand guidelines document it is likely to explain how your logo or strap line should be displayed. It is not however as likely to go into the detail about the tone of voice you should use when communicating about your brand or the factors you should take into account when using social media.

You see, brand guidelines are one thing but communications guidelines are quite another. The two do and should work hand-in-hand but very rarely are they proudly displayed together.

I recently hosted a strategy session with a local artistic contemporary photographer – Nigel Tooby – who is building his brand. In addition to understanding the importance and significance of how he projects his image, he was also more than aware of the need to develop his communications strategy.

I was pleased that as a creative, Nigel had taken the time to consider how he communicates effectively with his audiences. Many companies and even big businesses and corporations focus on their branding but not on their marketing communications.

A communications strategy should support the business objectives, making it a fundamental part of a company’s growth potential. Taking the time to consider the personality of your business, the tone of voice you use, a positioning statement and longer term aspirations and goals can be the difference between success and so, so.

I’m not sure whether this business has gone through a communications strategy session or if they have specific guidelines for their engagement but Yorkshire Tea do a great job of reinforcing their personality in all that they do. As well as being consistent across mediums, they are also friendly and funny (which is not easy!).

There are lots of other brands who get it right but many that seem to neglect their marketing communications in favour of ‘bigger things’ that command significantly higher budgets. I find it endlessly infuriating that the foundations of a company are discarded due to cost – we can all put our prices up but as specialists we also deliver a professional service and this should be recognised.

My advice would be to start with the basics. Get your positioning and messaging right and then everything else will follow – don’t skip to the branding because you think it’s more exciting; all that happens is that your audience will see a disconnect between the image your project and the personality you portray and that certainly won’t give you the return on investment you’re looking for.

COALFIELDS CALLS UPON OPEN FOR PR SUPPORT

07.09.14 Coalfields Regeneration Trust

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust, the organisation dedicated to providing support, guidance and funding for people living within former mining towns and villages, has appointed Open Communications as its preferred PR and marketing communications agency covering England.

Working closely with the team from England at the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Open Communications is tasked with raising the profile of the organisation both within the communities and to a national audience, securing coverage in relevant regional, national and trade media and supporting with social media activity and marketing communications.

Following a trial period of three months, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust has already experienced the results that Open Communications can achieve when working as an extension of its team. Achieving an audience reach of more than 8 million with a recent story, the agency now looks forward to building on successes to date and its productive relationship with the charity.

Head of Social Investment at Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Andy Lock said: “We had been in need of effective PR support for some time and approached Open for an informal discussion as we had heard good things about them. It was clear from this meeting that their philosophy and no nonsense approach to PR matched our aspirations and objectives.

He adds: “Open has very quickly established itself as an extended part of the operation, getting to know us and what makes us tick and translating this into impactful PR which is delivering great results. Their insightful input has challenged our preconceptions about `what works’. We are always impressed with their hard working ethic and commitment to go the extra mile to get the job done.”

Director of Open Communications, Lindsey Davies said: “We always work with our clients as opposed to for them, this means that we can add extra value to the service we offer. The Coalfields Regeneration Trust is a fantastic organisation and we are very much looking forward to developing our relationship further as we continue to support them with PR, social media and marketing communications.”

Open Communications, the straight talking PR and marketing communications agency, was launched by Lindsey Davies and Emma Lupton in 2008. The business, which is RAR approved and was named as one of the Top Agencies outside of London, has since grown and is commissioned by a range of brands from family run businesses to multi-national household names.

Based at Nostell Priory Estate Yard, the agency now manages the PR and social media activity for companies including POM-BEAR, the teddy shaped snack brand; Paragon, the print and document management service provider; Xamax, the branded clothing specialist and HARIBO, the UK’s leading gums and jellies brand.