Category Archives: Corporate

Rugby… The next step

So following on from the success of the RBS 6 Nations all eyes will be gearing up for the 2015 Rugby World Cup which will be upon us in no time at all.

Plans are already moving into place for businesses and corporates to leverage the opportunities out of the World Cup which will be hosted in the UK. Recent research (YouGov) showed that hospitality options during the World Cup are regarded by 80 % of senior business decision makers as an extremely positive new business and deal-making opportunity for their business and clients.

And proof is in the pudding, as the RFU say hospitality tickets are flying off the shelves in record breaking sales. To make sure they have supply for is demand, the RFU have created the biggest hospitality programme ever seen at any UK sporting event in the UK.

Sponsors will be gearing up their plans for activation around the major event too and with the RFU claiming this will be the biggest event in history, then we can hopefully expect great things and creative outputs from partners. This combination of increased hospitality and sponsor opportunities shows how the sports market is really utilising their assets to create sporting events with business drive at the forefront.

All positive, even if England still have much work to do over the lead-up months…



Stop Horsing Around…

It will have been hard to miss hearing and reading about the recent horse meat scandal which is causing havoc within the food industry in the UK and across Europe. I wrote a blog for Hatch Communications website looking at which brands have failed to impress by ‘horsing’ around with their comms during the last few weeks since the story broke, and which ones have turned it to their advantage…

#Fail… Too Late Tesco

Philip Clarke, chief executive of the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, publicly commented for the first time today since the food crisis erupted six weeks ago. He stated that horsemeat contamination was “wider than anyone imagined” and had been a “significant breach in trust” to their customers, which had been caused by “sloppy” suppliers “cutting corners for their own gain”.

From this he has vowed to make sure meat is supplied closer to home, but many, including British farmers say this is ‘too little too late’! Pressure has been placed on British farmers for years to cut down on cost, resulting in many going out of business and giant supermarkets sourcing meat from across Europe. We will have to see how this plays out, as the National Farmers Union president, Peter Kendall said that while supermarkets already bragged about sourcing certain meats, fresh fruit and dairy products in the UK, they need to extend this activity to cheaper and processed foods.

The message is clear – ALL supermarkets need to start sourcing high-quality traceable products from farmers in the UK.

#Fail… Burger King Twitter gets McHacked

Two weeks after traces of horse meat were found in the ‘beef’ burgers from a European Burger King supplier, the chain’s Twitter account was hacked and the hackers a whopper of an announcement that the company had been bought out by McDonald’s, changing all the settings to resemble the golden arches branding.

Luckily the chain realised what had happened a few hours later, but this still wasn’t quick enough to stop the social storm that had already resulted.

However, social karma came back to bite McDonald’s too as they tried to prove where their meat is sourced by using the trends #meetthefarmers and #McDstories, but all the received was a backlash of harsh comments and critics panning the taste of their food.

#Winner… Horse Power in Mini Cooper

Mini Cooper was one of the brands to creatively capitalizes on the horsemeat fiasco by creating a tongue in cheek advert. The ad features a picture of the beefed-up new Mini John Cooper Works Roadster, with a headline that reads, “Beef. With a lot of horses hidden in it.”… we loved this one! Brands who act quickly can make something amusing and light hearted out of a serious issue.

#Winner…Business Boosted for British Butchers

The real winners to have come out of the scandal is local butchers and farmers who have reported a boom in sales over the past few weeks. Not only are they seeing more customers through the door, many are hoping that consumers will turn to their local butchers for good as they seek someone they can trust.

Tips for managing your online footprint

How the world views you is through their own eyes but also through the eyes of Google… Everything you put online or have an association with will in some form or another affect the way people form opinions.

I know… you are thinking this shouldn’t be the case! Why should what you do online, reject or favour your own reputation and how others view you…

Well, take a look at the stats:

Social media is HUGE! It is a growing trend and something we all (from a very young age) need to consider our online footprint. It has been suggested by many professionals, that young people will need to change their name before having the chance to enter the professional work place due to their ignorance whilst experimenting online. For example, many young people are uploading drunken videos, photos, writing obscene comments on blogs, websites or chat sites. What they now need to realise, is it’s there forever. It may be lost out of sight for a while, but until someone wants to find something on you, it may become visual again!

From the current view on online footprints I have put together some advice to guide young professionals, especially university students to generate a positive online profile:

Online footprints…

1. Remember to set your Facebook privacy settings – Employers search Facebook to see what you are like outside the working environment and you should keep your private life as personal as possible.

2. Think who your actual friends are whilst on Facebook – Remember that if you add any random person into your Facebook profile as your friend, then this opens your settings to them, and also to their connections (depending on your FB settings).

3. Consider what you upload – When you upload anything to an online or social network site, you should remember that it will be there forever. Even if you remove your upload it can be copied or stored by someone else. Your name will be assigned to these uploads and therefore any future employer will be able to see it.

4. If you wouldn’t mind your mother seeing it – then it’s fine to do! Check everything you do online by asking yourself this questions – “Would I mind if my mother saw this?”… This will help filter out things which may not be beneficial to you in future years.

Personal profile online…

1. University students have the upper-hand, so use it! When you finish university and start looking for your career starting point, young graduates will have an advantage and a skill which employers are looking for. You understand social media! This is an important tool and skill to utilize in any interview, as many businesses are run by the generations which find it a lot harder to understand the changes made in social media.

2. Use university to gather those skills – Whilst you have more free time during studying, it is wise to build up your skills of using online mediums and tools. These will be most likely used in any future career role, and greatly appreciated by your future peers. (Believe me… it’s harder to gather these skills whilst working, as time is rather limited!)

3. Build up your profile – Build yourself a blog or a website and use it to show what skills you have gathered from university. Everyone is graduating with a degree these days, so the challenge is to show that you are different from the masses. Therefore, building an online profile is a crucial way of showing that you are unique, hard working and you understand the current environment. A blog can also be used for building your portfolio, which is a great way to showcase the projects and work you are involved in at university.

I hope these pointers help to understand the dangers and the positives that the current environment has brought. Good luck with developing your own online profile and watch your online footprint!

Please do get in touch if you need any advice or help – or comment if you have any more pointers which will help!

Watching every online move!

It’s interesting to think that somehow, someone, somewhere can damage a company’s brand reputation through a home-made movie or an angry tweet… well this is true and exactly what can happen through the use of social media.

A great example of this is Dave Carroll’s United Breaks Guitars video which has now been watched 9.23 million times. His video was a backlash against United Airlines who damaged his expensive guitar whilst he was on one of their flights. Dave complained and got no where with the airline who appeared not to care, so from his frustration he created a video to convey his anger and concerns.

Less than a few months after the video had been created, the airline had a massive public relations crisis on their hands, as not only did Dave’s video highlight the bad response of the airline in a creative and funny way, but more people then came forward to vent their frustrations online too. This caused the whole idea to snowball out of control.

I think the obvious change in the media environment is the blurred boundaries between ‘news’ and ‘social media’. The significance between a front-page news story damaging a company’s brand and one persons voice are no longer different – all it takes is one Tweet, one video one Facebook post to catch the attention of others and it can cause a PR disaster!

On the other hand, social media can be beneficial or disastrous for employees or job-seekers. As much as we are watching what companies do, they are also watching us! Our online footprint can be tracked and followed so being careful about what we write and how we write it is crucial. There have been many examples which show individuals slagging their bosses off on Facebook and getting caught out, but then there is many examples of individuals gaining jobs through their online work.

Social media tools are very accessible and therefore not easily monitored. This can create problems for both companies and the general public alike because anyone from anywhere can mimic a company by calling themselves by that company name. A great example of this is the fake Birmingham National Express Twitter account called Travel_WM which has been set up by someone other than the valid company itself. They are damaging the reputation of the company through tweets as shown below. The account looks valid as they have even used company logos and added company details into the description boxes, therefore people believe it’s real – and why shouldn’t they! However, the tweets that are being displayed on the account are not beneficial for the Birmingham travel company.

This range of examples show the changing environment we all now sit within, whether we are a company a consumer or both we are all effected by the social media and we should all learn to acknowledge it and embrace it where possible. If working for a company, traditional or not, we need to understand how social media can effect the reputation, brand and workings. There is a lot of trial and error happening, but we are fast learners and keeping on top of the new social media trends will allow PR professionals to help their clients and themselves out in situation which will occur.