Author Archive


Christmas ads: Tear-jerkers win again!

5 months ago
lina by lina

Christmas ads – it’s all we’re talking about! It’s the one time of the year where I actually look forward to ads. Is it me or does there seem to be a common pattern amongst brands? It seems many have turned to animated joyful comical ads, and steered away from the usual cryfest.

I recently read an article in Marketing Week that said; following a chaotic year of controversial political surprises such as Brexit and Donald Trump presidency, John Lewis wanted to do something lighter according to their customer director, Craig Inglis.

He said he hoped ‘the advert would make people smile, reminding everyone what if feels to give the perfect gift for Christmas’. Sentimental as the previous efforts were, they packed an emotional punch, simply lacking in this ad.

I believe a good Christmas advert should make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and move you as much as the most heart-rending film. These are the ads we remember and look forward to watching over the festive period. Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot, John Lewis’ Buster the Boxer and Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift ad just didn’t do it for me.

Here are the ads that won me over this year:

  • Alzheimer’s Research UK ‘Forgotten Santa’ – the first TV campaign launched by the charity and it works wonderfully. This powerful ad raises awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and the charity, and sends out an important message – that anyone can get Alzheimer’s at any given time. What I found interesting was that although the hashtags, #santaforgot and #ibelieve have been used on Twitter, the company has not put any paid spend on this platform.

     

  • Lidl’s Homecoming – a tale about a family coming together to give their beloved dad and grandfather a Christmas to remember. It’s heart-warming and relatable.

     

  • Marks and Spencer’s Christmas with Love from Mrs Claus – a beautiful story of a glamourous Mrs Claus helping out a little boy called Jake who wants the perfect gift for his big sister. The campaign also involves Mrs Claus taking over M&S’ social media accounts, and the hashtag #lovemrsclaus which generates its own emoji! Although many brands include a charity element, M&S has decided not to work with a specific charity but instead an army of Mrs Claus will be giving random acts of kindness to 15,000 customers in the run-up to Christmas. For each act, M&S will donate £5 to the recipient’s charity of choice.

     

  • Heathrow Airport: Coming Home for Christmas – an unlikely contender but this one made me teary. The ad follows Mr and Mrs Bear, two elderly teddy bears landing at the airport. It captures the moment loved ones are reunited with their families, and spreading the message that coming home is the best Christmas gift of all.

What’s your favourite Christmas ad this year and why?


My mentoring journey so far…

9 months ago
lina by lina

 

Martin Luther King once said, “Life’s most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?” Especially in our industry, our focus should always be putting others first whether it’s our clients, the team or supporting young people in the city.

Around eight months ago, I joined the Birmingham Professional Services mentoring scheme, not only to be mentored by a professional but to also support a young person through monthly mentoring sessions. Needless to say, it’s been very rewarding so far. Read my Q&A that was featured on BPS here:

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What made you want to be a mentor/mentee?

I have always been interested in the idea of being a mentor/mentee and when I heard about the BPS mentoring scheme, I was keen to get involved.

I was drawn to being a mentor as I liked the idea of supporting a young individual – whether it was through career goals, personal development or simply being a friend. Being a mentor to a young person in the city was a way that I could show my support to the next generation of young talent and even learn a thing or two from them.

I wanted to be a mentee to develop my own career and have someone to talk to outside of work, who could offer me advice and support based on their own experiences and challenges that they have faced.

Have you been in a mentoring relationship before?

No, but it’s something I have always been interested in. BPS provides a great platform for young professionals in the city to connect with like-minded individuals, giving them the chance to increase their skills and inspire others in the workforce and across Birmingham.

How has your mentor helped/supported/inspired you?

My mentor is really supportive and has given me some great advice on personal development so far. She’s definitely an inspiration to me and has made me think more about what I want to achieve over the next five to 10 years, and what steps I need to take to get there.

How have you found being a mentor?

At first, I wasn’t really sure what I could offer to a young person at my age but having my own mentor gave me a little more perspective. I approached my first session with my mentee as if I was meeting a new friend for a coffee. We got along really well and I felt like I had known her for ages.

Being a mentor is being that person that they can talk to about work ups and downs, life in general but also having a laugh, which really helps when you’re having a tough day! I was able to offer general career advice as well as advice around key areas/skills that my mentee wanted to focus on.

It has given me a sense of fulfilment and highlighted just how important it is to actually take time out from sitting at my desk. I found that it has not only helped me support a young person in setting their own objectives moving forward, but it has also made me believe in myself more and my ability as a working professional.

What would you say to anyone still deciding whether to sign up as a mentor/mentee?

I would say don’t be afraid to try both! I think some people shy away from it as they may see it as a huge commitment to add to their workload but it’s definitely worthwhile.

Being a mentor will increase your confidence, help your own career development and improve skills such as management and leadership. In turn, you will gain recognition for your skills and experience.

Being a mentee means that you can gain practical advice and support from someone in the city who is passionate about their career and wants to help you find your own path and support you on your journey. It’s also a great opportunity to develop your communication skills, establish a sense of direction and meet new people in the city.

 

There are some really exciting opportunities in Birmingham and I am really enjoying being both a mentor and a mentee. I am definitely glad I signed up!

Find out more about the BPS mentoring scheme here – http://bpsbirmingham.co.uk/future/mentoring/


Event season is upon us – top tips to stay one step ahead

11 months ago
lina by lina

Rewired is in full swing this month with several client events taking place, including supporting and managing three Business in the Community Gala Dinners. We all know planning one event can prove challenging, let alone organising several events all in one month.

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Here are my five top tips to keep front of mind whilst managing any event.
Plan, plan and plan some more
Months ahead of the event, pull together a timing plan of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done by and whose responsibility it is to complete the activity. Sit down with your client and team and talk it through to make sure everyone is clear on what they are doing. This will ensure you keep to deadlines and give yourself plenty of time to complete tasks.

Regular meetings and conference calls
Set aside some time once a week to run through the latest activity and next steps with your client. It’s much easier to run through and progress activity. It also helps to build a relationship with the client! If it’s an ad-hoc project, the client is more likely to consider you next year if you’ve already built up a good relationship with them.

Logistics
A few months before the event, make sure you have thought about all the logistics such as decor, entertainment, audio visual, catering, and health and safety, just to name a few. Do your research to find the best suppliers that tie in with your client’s requirements and budget. Remember to keep a database of all the suppliers you have used – they will come in handy for future events.

Venue visits/liaison

Visit the venue several times to familiarise yourself with the space. Make a list of items you need to check before your visit and be clear on what the venue will be providing and what may incur additional costs for the client. One week before the event, call the events manager and run through the schedule for the day to ensure everything is in hand and tie up any outstanding activity.

Promotion

In order to get the right people to the event, make sure you have an extensive invite list and that invitations are sent out a month in advance – don’t forget to follow up with a call or email two weeks before. Depending on whether it’s an open event or invitation only, encourage people to spread the word across social media channels.

 

You’ve been planning for months on end and when the big day finally arrives, it’s natural to feel panicked. Arrive early, allow enough time for rehearsals, sound checks and a thorough staff brief beforehand – the rest will just fall into place.

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Top tips for graduates seeking a career in PR

12 months ago
lina by lina

 

 

With graduation only around the corner, I’m sure there are many media and communication students who have already applied for a job in PR. With hundreds of job applications sitting in an inbox, here’s how to stand out from the crowd.

What is PR?

Many people who apply for a PR job think that it’s about advertising and marketing…it’s not. It’s about managing the reputation of a business and/or an individual. We write press releases, social media content, support and manage events, pull together proposals and strategies… not advertisements. Make sure you know this before you go into an interview as you will get asked why you want a job in PR.

Dear Sir/Madam

Is your cover letter addressed to the right person? This is SO important and many people still get it wrong. Starting your cover letter with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ is lazy. Do your research and make sure that your cover letter is addressed to the relevant person. If you can’t find the information you need online, ring or email the company.

Experience

If you haven’t done so already, contact local PR agencies to see if they offer work experience or internships. By the time I had finished university, I had completed four placements at newspaper publications – this was the reason I landed my first job as a trainee reporter. Employers are interested in transferable skills, not to mention, it looks great on your CV!

Make the most of your placement

During your placement, don’t be afraid to ask questions, show initiative and be helpful. Whether that means doing thorough research before drafting a press release, participating in brainstorms or making rounds of tea, you’ll make a lasting impression, and who knows, you might even get offered a job afterwards.

Create a portfolio of your work

During your placement, save examples of any press releases you’ve drafted, or client coverage that you’ve helped to achieve. For future interviews, your portfolio will provide the agency with proof that you can carry out the responsibilities of the job in question. If you haven’t undertaken a placement, take cut-outs from newspapers or magazines that you think will be relevant to the agency’s clients.

Research

In preparation for your interview, make sure you know who the agency’s clients are and any recent projects that they’ve worked on. Take the time to really research the company and their morals and values. Also, be aware of the latest industry news and PR campaigns/stunts. You’ll go into the interview feeling a lot more confident.

Show your personality

Personality and having the right skills go hand-in-hand. As well as employers looking to see whether you have the writing skills, key traits such as being passionate about having a career in PR, being a team player, having confidence and excellent communication skills, are just some of the key attributes employers look for in junior account executives. These traits will also reflect in your work and client results, so make sure your personality comes across during your interview.

Creativity

PR is a very creative industry and we are always trying to come up with new ideas for clients. Can you give an example of when you had to be creative? Employers will ask so make sure you have some examples up your sleeves.

Polish your online presence

Social media plays a massive role in agencies and their clients. So whether it’s LinkedIn, Twitter or your own blog, make sure you have an online presence. If you do get a job in PR, you’ll be expected to know the basics. Don’t forget to follow PR Week and PR Moment for the latest industry insights.

Choose people first

From experience, I’ve learnt that it’s the people who surround you at work that make the difference to your career. There are many other factors to consider when taking a job but make sure the team and culture matches you and your ambitions for the future.

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PR predictions for 2016

1 year ago
lina by lina

As 2016 kicks off in full swing, here are our top PR predictions for the year, and yes it includes press releases surviving another year!

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Less is more

These days, journalists have less time to talk. Therefore, it’s going to be vital that we make our ‘sell-in’ over the phone or via email stand out from hundreds of calls/emails they receive on a daily basis. How? Sell in images and videos and aim to make an impact with a strong headline. Otherwise, it will just go in to their ‘maybe’ or ‘not of interest’ folder sat with around a thousand other emails… Harsh I know!

 

Video sharing

Facebook video has now overtaken YouTube in unique visitors. BBC News and The Guardian have already signed up to have full articles published directly on Facebook, which is transforming the way we read news articles. So as Facebook continues to develop its video sharing platform, and more so with live video streams, it’s important we encourage clients to increase their video content.

 

Measure your results

Clients want to see measurable results across all platforms. After all, all the work we put in to delivering social media campaigns and competitions, it’s worth tracking our results to emphasise levels of engagement, views and the impact it has had – more importantly find out perhaps what has and hasn’t worked.

 

 PR stunts will get bigger

After the polar bear let loose on the Thames stunt, PR stunts can only get bigger. In order to achieve great results at a national level, campaigns have to be original and creative. After all, look how much publicity stunts are shared and talked about. Here are some of our favourite stunts from last year.

 

Press releases will survive

After reading a couple of articles which have said that press releases will not survive, I have to admit I still think press releases will be around for a while. Preparing and selling in news stories is a vital part of our job. Yes, these days it may be more likely to support a follow-up after securing an exclusive, but local journalists use our stories and need them for background information.

 

With all the above in mind, here’s to a successful 2016!


The value of online coverage

1 year ago
lina by lina

There seems to be a fascination that print coverage is more of a ‘win’ than online coverage. While print publications still play a key role of any PR strategy, online content has grown rapidly over the past few years and is proving much more valuable to clients.

Are clients still obsessed by print?  This was the title of an article I read on PR Moment recently. Here are just a few reasons why clients shouldn’t underestimate the value of online coverage to their business.

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SHAREABLE – Online content provides a great place to share your news, whether it’s through your website or social media channels. Good news travels fast so if a piece is covered online; it will be quickly spread across social networks, which will lead to re-tweets and shares. The majority of the population now get their news from social media so if a publication shares your news online, it’s much easier for someone to access it and share it seamlessly.

POTENTIAL REACH – A large majority of online outlets have higher circulations than traditional print publications so you know your news will be shared far and wide. It also allows you to reach a new audience, i.e. bloggers who now have more credibility and influence compared to a few years ago.

DRIVE TRAFFIC – It is much easier for someone to be directed to your website using an article they came across online. With the help of Google Analytics, content can also be measured much more effectively. It’s much easier to track results, detailing things such as which release drove the most people to your website and how long they spent on your website. All this information can provide an insight into what is and isn’t working for media outreach.

CREATIVITY – Nowadays people prefer content that lives out of the screen whether that’s through a gallery of images or a video they can access online. It speaks for itself and is a lot more effective in telling your story.

CONTENT HAS A LONGER LIFE – Your article will almost always be searchable online and can be shared often and widely. Publications usually share links to their posts via social media ensuring your coverage reaches a broader audience.


Supporting Business in the Community across the region

2 years ago
lina by lina

One of the key highlights about working in PR is the end result. Whether it’s a successful pitch for new business, spotting national coverage for a client or supporting a prestigious awards ceremony, it’s a worthwhile feeling for the team and our clients.

Recently, we were asked to support with Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Gala Dinner 2015, both in the West Midlands and the North West.

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Supported by HRH Prince of Wales (President of BITC), the awards are the UK’s longest-running and most respected awards scheme, which bring together businesses and individuals to recognise those that are making a positive difference to society. Therefore when we were asked to support with this year’s event, we were delighted!

The awards have been running for 30 years and the team were tasked with various responsibilities in the lead up and during the event.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve helped to host the Midlands dinner at Aston Villa Football Club and the North West dinner at the Imperial War Museum, where well-known figures and businesses from across the region gathered to celebrate.

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After weeks of preparation, the team were pleased to see the events finally take shape. It was wonderful to work with the BITC team, and be part of an event which truly showcased the generosity of our community, and the hard work of companies and individuals across the West Midlands and the North West.

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Congratulations to everyone!

Find out more about Business in the Community and all of the 2015 awards winners here.


Happy 10th birthday YouTube!

2 years ago
lina by lina

Ten years ago, co-founder of YouTube Jawed Karim stood outside of San Diego Zoo and filmed an 18-second clip entitled ‘Me at the Zoo’. It now boasts more than 14 million views but who ever thought the first video uploaded to YouTube would completely revolutionise online video?

This year marks YouTube’s 10th anniversary. Over a decade, the platform has made stars of the likes of Justin Bieber and vlogger Zoella who first came to public attention through videos posted online.

As the third most-visited website in the world (after Google and Facebook), more than 300 hours of content is uploaded every minute, and while YouTube has changed how we share and consume news, it has also changed how businesses promote their brand globally.

 

Here’s a few of our favourite videos:

 

1. Evian’s Live Young – Rollerskating Babies – Over 74 million views

What I love about this advert is its creativity and the message to help spread the word that adults can feel young at heart. Technology certainly helped to create this video but YouTube created a platform to highlight Evian on a global scale. Evian’s You Tube page is now its main channel for promotion.

 

2. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches – Over 65 million views

Dove’s campaign aims to highlight that beauty is a woman’s most important asset. The video shows an artist drawing women based on their own perception and then drawing women based on a stranger’s perception. The video showcases real women, and not the unrealistic ideal of advertising and fashion but the life changing message that Dove tries to promote. A brand which definitely gets a thumbs up from me!

 

3. Samsung ‘Hearing Hands’ – More than 9 million views

Leo Burnett Instanbul created an ad promoting Samsung’s call centre in Turkey for the hearing impaired entitled ‘Hearing Hands’. An orchestrated stunt to give a hearing-impaired man named Muharrem one day with no barriers, whilst depicting the heart-warming message that a world without barriers is our dream. A powerful video, which took a month of preparation and it certainly paid off!

 

4. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like – More than 50 million views

Not only did this video promote the brand, it appealed to its demographic – a young male audience, many who went straight out to purchase the shower gel! It’s a quirky and fun video which engages people from start to finish.

 

5. 10 hours of walking in NYC as a woman – More than 40 million views

It only took 24 hours for this video to reach 10 million views. Rob Bliss, who runs a viral video marketing agency, created and directed the video in association with Hollaback, a New York-based group dedicated to ending street harassment. The video shows a young woman walking the streets of New York. She received 100 instances of verbal street harassment. An influential video which highlights an issue in today’s society.

 

Here’s to another 10 years of great video content. Share your favourite videos with us! 


An eventful week to say the least!

2 years ago
lina by lina

It’s been a busy week at Rewired as we have worked with our clients to help launch some of the most exciting projects and talked about places in the city!

This week, Millennium Point announced the winner of its Young Innovator Prize – an initiative which has secured 18-year-old Malik Sheryar Karamat from St Alban’s Academy a three-year sponsored undergraduate degree at Birmingham City University. A great programme which has shown its support to young people in the city! Congratulations once again to the winner!

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The team also helped to launch Gas Street Social, a brand new addition to Birmingham’s social scene which welcomed journalists, bloggers and VIPs to the new bar and restaurant in The Mailbox. It’s a great social hub, which serves up seasonal European food alongside a variety of signature handcrafted cocktails.

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Let’s not forget the much-anticipated Everyman Cinema in The Mailbox, which opened its doors to the city’s VIPs yesterday. Featuring three luxurious screens, an assortment of food options, including its signature ‘Spielburger’ dishes along with a wide range of films, it’s definitely the most comfortable cinema experience, and it was a privilege for the team to be part of the launch!

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Needless to say, it’s been a busy month or two with planning and preparing, but the end result has been very rewarding for both our clients and Rewired. We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who showed their support. With the next raft of events in the planning stages – we’ll see you next time!


More businesses should put Instagram at the top of their to do list

2 years ago
lina by lina

One of the top PR trends for 2015 as pointed out by PR Moment recently was that this year will be a significant milestone in communications as mobile phones dominate as our go-to source.

It’s no secret that more businesses are turning to social media platforms to generate content, but when Instagram was born four years ago, who ever thought that sharing images would become such a global sensation?

2014 was the year that Instagram overtook Twitter. It now has more than 300 million users and a study last year revealed that Instagram content generates 58 times more engagement than Facebook.

So, here are our top tips if you’re a newbie to Instagram or just looking to increase brand awareness to your existing account:

More businesses should put Instagram at the top of their to do list

Post twice a day: Posting once a week comes across as inactive and posting too often will fill your followers’ feeds, which will most likely result in less follows. Post twice a day everyday to show you’re active.

Engage with followers: One of the ways to get your company’s voice heard is to engage with your audience. Whether it’s replying to a comment on your image or a follower’s image, it’s essential to keep on top of this – especially if someone asks a question about an upcoming event or a general question about your business.

Take advantage of video: Thanks to Hyperlapse – the new video content tool on Instagram, you can now share short videos with your audience. It’s a great way of giving your audience a ‘behind the scenes’ look.

Get carried away with hashtags and follow the themes: It’s ok to post a handful of hashtags on your post, as long as they’re relevant. It allows for your pictures to be added to searchable lists that have the same hashtag, which means your pictures reach a wider audience. Be sure to also take part in themes such as ThrowbackThursday (tbt) as it shows personality. Handy hint: Between 5 and 10 hashtags per image is acceptable.

Make it a little personal: For business purposes, your Instagram account should be kept professional. However now and then, it’s ok to share your day-to-day experience on Instagram as it helps you create that emotional connection with your audience.

Showcase your brand in a creative way: Whether it’s posting a new product or general company image, make it a little quirky and colourful for your followers. It’s much more engaging and appealing. The filters also make it a little creative too.

Follow back: It’s simple but not done often enough…be sure to follow back!