News & Updates

During the Coronavirus lock down we have seen many brands pivot and switch-up their brand investment to deliver campaigns with a sense of social purpose and delivery for the greater good. This may be a short term tactic and the commercial impact for brands who have dug deep and launched campaigns that show they care for the communities and customers they serve, may not be known yet. But in a period where talk is cheap, and authenticity and generosity is valued, there are some brands who have got it right and they might just be ahead of the curve to build long term loyalty.

The high power luxury fashion house with brands like Louis Vuitton to its name, stepped-up and diverted its perfume production to make hand sanitiser. The brand produced thousands of bottles before making the announcement public. It's focus was to help local communities across France where there was shortage of anti-viral products. This was an excellent example of timing and rather than being seen as profiteering from the pandemic, LVMH gained lots of media profile, positive column inches in print and broadcast media, as well as a a gold star for doing good.

2) Pret a Manger
The chain took rapid and decisive action to offer NHS workers free drinks and 50% off its product range. It was also supported by a blog from the CEO expressing thanks which gained positive attention across social media and built viral conversation. This is a solid example of marketing innovation at play where digital tactics and product innovation blend and ensure that the brand continues to deliver against its wider brand promise of supporting local communities. What they say, they believe.

3) Admiral Insurance
Not known for being the most disruptive or progressive industry, but Admiral led the charge by offering its car insurance customers a £25 automatic refund with less claims being made, fewer cars on the road and less accidents during lock down. This has led to other insurances companies now being put under pressure to follow the Admiral lead.

4) Our supermarket retailers
All of our supermarket brands need to be commended for their swift action during Covid-19. Yes supplies of essentials were affected but let's be honest no CEO or Ops Director could predict the stupidity of a few. However they have all made great gains by protecting staff, improving sick pay conditions and offering employee rewards. The respect and tireless support they have shown their own staff is a solid example of where the internal culture can impact on the external brand perception. The supermarkets have seen demand peak and they have experienced some of their highest sales.

5) Deliveroo
Its brand partnership with BP and Marks & Spencers was another example of a brand using marketing innovation to deliver a compelling and accessible service of basic essentials. Deliveroo founder Will Shu said: "At Deliveroo, we want to do everything possible to help people get the food they want and need during this worrying period. We hope we can play a role in supporting people who have to isolate to get the food they need, whether that's household items or restaurant food." The result- Deliveroo is the only brand that has continued to operate during the Coronavirus and in Hong Kong its lunch orders were up 100%.

In all of these examples, there is a common thread at the heart of each strategy. They have stayed to true to their brand values and understand the value and the role they play in their customers lives. They also demonstrate the role that marketing innovation can play in helping companies navigate difficult waters and stay relevant.

A few weeks ago we looked at KOLs- Key Opinion Leaders- and reviewed their impact on marketing and communications.
Today we're looking at what benefits they can bring to your strategy.

Targeted and Intuitive
Through social media and digital channels, brands have access to deeper and richer audience profiles and demographics than ever before- even with GDPR coming into force. By identifying the right KOL, a brand can have access to thousands of potential consumers, existing and new, enabling brand managers to target their campaign messages appropriately and deliver more intuitive marketing strategies which directly inform and engage.

Reduced Wastage
I’m a firm believer that marketing must impact on the bottom line. Working within clearly defined parameters of the KOL’s audience and its interests, along with adopting a targeted approach, enables brand managers to scale budgets and deliver relevant content to that audience at the right time. No wastage, efficient use of marketing collateral and better conversions.

They add colour
Through their own inimitable style many KOLs can add to and complement your brand personality. They provide a human face to your values and audiences relate more easily than with a CEO. The audiences connect more quickly, and by association they see your brand in a new, invigorated and different light.

If executed properly a KOL strategy can spread like wild fire and significantly boost sales in the short and long term. Many KOLs create their own ‘branded’ content with unique posts, images and hashtags which delivers immediate engagement in the short ter. Yet through shares, comments and RTs, medium to long term brand exposure is made possible. The speed at which brand messages can be communicated can be achieved in less than <1second- much more effective than waiting for a TV commercial to have its air time agreed and approved.

The benefits of a KOL Strategy do look promising, but is it another buzz word? Or is it a fresh and unique approach to engaging with our ever-diverse audiences? Do let us know.
Every industry has its jargon terms and the PR world doesn't shy away from them, so here is our jargon buster of some of the most popular terms, so your eyes don't glaze over in the next comms briefing. You're armed and ready!

'Sell-in': a posh term for us picking up the phone, chasing down the editors- often resorting to harmless tactical online stalking- and making sure they read the press release and understand just how important your new widget is to the success of mankind.

'Talk-up': Used to be known as "word of mouth". Getting customers to simply talk about your brand, product or service- whether it's online or in the news. Creating and building conversations so people engage and connect with your brand.

'Delivering ROI': We all know this means Return on Investment, but in marketing terms it's a call to action for sales teams to feedback on the success of a campaign. Even if it elicited no response, just tell us. We're made of sturdy stuff. We simply need to know so we can review, update and shape a new plan of action for the next campaign and bring leads into the business.

'Influencer': Used to be known as a 'customer'. But we've helped them climb the PR social ladder and renamed them to become your holy grail. They're either current or potential customers and its our job to get them talking about you, your products and the service. If they like it, they will tell others and this influence, is the new 'word of mouth'.

'Content': This is a new all-encompassing term for everything we have been creating since the marketing dawn. It's a brochure, press release, infographic, blog, vlog, podcast, whitepaper, presentation.... basically anything we create is now content.

"Polishing it in Glitter": When you can rely on the creative eyes and mind of your marketing team to turn a negative into a positive, a duckling into a swan, a silk purse from a sow's ear... you get the drift...

'Rifle shot': Rather than throwing the mud at the wall and seeing where it sticks, you carefully place the mud on the wall and onto the target. A rifle shot strategy clearly defines who you're targeting, what their watching, surfing, reading or listening to, so your marketing team can deliver the right piece of content to your customers, at the right time.

"Intuitive": We know and understand your audience. This allows us to write and carefully craft and design the right marketing materials, social posts, adverts and press releases with the right messages. So your audiences, sorry influencers, connect with your company, and ultimately buy from you.


Over the last few weeks one term which keeps popping-up at meetings and in forums is the term KOL- a Key Opinion Leader.

Working in B2B PR, my career has been built around influencing the right people with the right message, whether it be users of a product or the media. So, I felt confident that I was already implementing a KOL strategy, engaging with key influencers and helping communicate client’s messages.

However, with further reading and a subsequent internet trawl, I realised that by comparison a KOL, is someone who has built an established social following and is an authority figure on a subject. Their audiences are more defined and loyal then traditional “influencers”. They also do what they say in their bios- they change, shape and inform opinion. They get people to adopt new habits, trial new experiences and change how, what and where we purchase.

I do think KOLs bring with them a host of benefits to improve growth, build brand visibility and could deliver good ROI on marketing. Particularly when you consider all the exciting marketing automation tools we now have at our finger tips to link into KOL social media profiles.

The Love Islanders are great examples of what a 2018 KOL is and does. Before they went on the Island, many had already created and established a loyal following and audience reaching thousands through their own powerful social media pages based on their interests from fitness to fashion.

Influencer strategies are nothing new. Over the years, we have all invested in influencer strategies and we have seen heavy investment in product placement strategies and celebrity endorsements.

However, I do think that in 2018, perhaps its time we evolved the trusted influencer strategy in B2B world and today accept that even B2B brands need KOLs.

In today’s transient and fast paced world, with so much choice and proliferation of products, KOLs offer a more authentic, immediate, cost effective and highly targeted approach to the traditional ‘spray and pray’ approach.


The New Yorker and The New York Times were rightly awarded the Pulitzer Prize for sensitive reporting of the #MeToo movement. It’s balanced views and opinions sparked debate and conversation around topics that society and business would have traditionally shied away from. It took difficult topics from the margins into the mainstream and this is what good quality journalism is all about.

The campaign's high profile media attention across social, broadcast and print, galvanised audiences online and promoted the need for positive social change and action. But it's success has brought about a wave of copycat marketing strategies and campaigns by brands looking to hi-jack the debate and media share around diversity and inclusivity as part of the communications plan and marketing strategy.

I have always struggled with the promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects and initiatives as part of the “marketing plan” or communications strategy. It’s not that I don’t believe in CSR, equality or diversity, it’s just I have always found it contrived and somewhat disingenuous when you see the CEO handing over food at a local food bank as he poses for the PR money shot, whilst simultaneously pulling the keys for his brand-new Lexus.

Diversity comes in many shapes and forms. It means different things to different people.

Changing your marketing strategy and communications plans to incorporate diversity is not an overnight fix to inspire a dwindling brand reputation and declining profits. In practice it needs to be consciously accepted and subconsciously implemented. This takes time.

There are not many brands which strike the balance right. However, I always think coffee shops are a great example of encouraging diversity, acceptance, culture, sharing and sustainability. Of course, some of the more global brands do tip the scales in favour of greedy profits. But overall, independent coffee shops are a great environment and example of where diversity and inclusivity come to life whilst you sip your morning Latte.

Step inside a coffee shop today and you will see how people can come and go as they please. They are never pressured to choose from the vast menu choices. Their personal preferences are accommodated and never judged. Local community groups can meet and spend as much time as they like- sharing, caring and sipping. Business men and women host formal meetings, whilst the art student hastily sketches the scene in the background. Pictures adorn the walls and do provide subtle hints at inclusivity and diversity, but because the images are in the right setting and are brand relevant - it fits right.

Start with your values- are they still current and relevant to your organisation today? Do you believe in them? Are they in a language you understand? Think about how you can bring this to life and how you can make sure that these values translate into your everyday working practices. Bring everyone together from different functions of the business and work together to get the right blend and balance.

Diversity, equality and sustainability should all be championed and celebrated. But it needs to be intrinsic to what you do. It needs to be incorporated into everyday processes and remain true to who you are and the industries you serve.
Every marketing person or communications professional will know that what you read says a lot about you. In PR you have to love the media. You need to consume it and take your cues from it. In Marketing you need to read to broaden your mind and develop your creativity.

When I first started in London my Account Director used to tell me "no matter what you read or watch, you always need to think how you can get your client featured". At the time I thought how on earth can this be possible? I do the PR for a network monitoring company... its wires, technology, boring stuff that only nerds are interested in... no national journalist is going to be interested in this. Three weeks later, a major security crisis hits one of the top banking institutions and guess what- I'm hosting a briefing with The Times.

It helps every marketeer understand how to write, formulate thoughts and be inspired to deliver good creative ideas. So here are my go-to marketing reads, probably not of all time, but it's a good starting point.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
A magical myriad of thoughts, wonder and journey. It is so captivating and visually inspiring that it will leave you with ideas popping so you're never late for the next agency brainstorm. An ideal book if you need to hone your creative skills.

Wally Ollins: The Brand Handbook
The Godfather of Brand. This is my bible and one I recommend to any of my clients or those marketeers who needs to understand the power of brand. It arms you with practical advice on how you can develop a brand which resonates and have relevance.

A 24/7 world where you need to keep up to date with all news, globally, regionally, locally and nationally. No other news service covers the vast depth of stories from around the world or delivers so much local coverage. It shows you how to write for news, help you understand what it means to create news worthy content, and can be used as a good spell checker!

Forbes Magazine
Offers such a broad range of topics from VR to skin care . It offers business related content blended with personality led features. I've lost count of the amount of times I've used this site to get stats and facts on trends. Good quality writing which strikes the right the balance between its printed, more formal voice and it's short form, pacey online tone. Plus its Quote of the Day will always give you a pep-up.

The Great BIG Art Book
Take your cues from some of the world's most influential creators. Purveyors of fine art to ecclecctic modernism. It's an ideal book to help you understand how colours are mixed and complemented, and you develop an eye for detail.
Is this the most uninspiring blog post? Probably- but hey we have a new website. You can now read up the latest news, see how we roll, what we can deliver and contact us with just the click of a button. We will share with you recent projects,and inspired moments. I'm not going to write every week- who has the time to read my ramblings but please check-in every now and then. Hopefully you will find something of interest to support your marketing.