Tips for managing stress and imposter syndrome

By Adrian Ma

When it comes to mental health, PR doesn't get a good rep. In various reports it ranks in the top 10 most stressful careers out there.

Throughout my career, I've seen the casualties first hand. It's not pretty. I wanted to do something to safeguard the team's mental health, and here at Fanclub, we've been working with our in-house coach Tash (pictured).

Here she is to tell us a bit about her role, and what she does for us.

What’s your role here?

My role at Fanclub is about helping people to be the best version of themselves. I work with to them remove any interference that may be stopping them from achieving their full potential: from dealing with high pressure situations; to finessing client relationships and more smoothly negotiating team personalities.  Essentially it's about bolstering people's emotional understanding and awareness so they can feel increasingly strong, confident and comfortable within themselves to make the right decisions and excel at a higher level.   

What qualifies you for this? 

I worked in PR for over twelve years at companies including Hill & Knowlton and Freuds' before becoming a professional coach, so I understand the many trials and tribulations of the industry and the issues that affect people within it.  I have also put in the hours and gained an advanced practitioner qualification in Life Coaching and NLP with the Phil Parker Institute as well as doing additional courses to improve my knowledge with the Co-Active coaching school.

How do you do what you do? 

I always start of from the basic assumption that I'm OK and that the people I'm working with are OK too.  It's my view that labelling people is inherently counterproductive and that if employees are stuck or always butting heads with the same problem, then something about the way they are dealing with it needs to change, and I help facilitate that change.  As the saying goes: the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So I get people to look at their issues in an entirely new way, to gain new ideas about how to work with and overcome them.

In your career, and in your practice, do you come across common issues in people who work in PR?

Absolutely, managing tricky client relationships, dealing with high stress situations and imposter syndrome are all very common. 

What advice would you give them for dealing with it? 

In terms of managing tricky client relationships it's key to put yourselves in their shoes.  We get too caught up in "me, myself and I" and can feel we are being attacked and disrespected by people.  But in most cases it's just not the case and many clients are just acting into the "script" of how they feel they should behave. What's key is to start giving people the tools to move away from reaction and into understanding.

With managing high stress situations it's about clearly identifying your triggers so you can become hyper aware of looking out for them and understand it's a pattern that can be hacked, not a helpless loop.

And with managing imposter syndrome it's about communication, communication, communication.  It's my belief that this so called epidemic of our age is caused by the strange social syndrome of feeling that talking about our insecurities is a weakness.  The sooner you have a group of employees together saying 'me too' the sooner you have a more relaxed, happy workforce that feels understood and part of a group, not like imposters. In fact, group coaching is the latest tool that I'm working on building out for my business clients.


The women who inspire Fanclub

Today is International Women’s Day: a day to celebrate women, a day to highlight the gender inequalities that many women still face, and a day to work together to overcome them.

From mothers to daughters, writers to entrepreneurs, there are a wealth of inspiring women who surround us every single day, and we hope to continue to learn more about their spirit and ambition. To celebrate International Women’s day today, we asked the team to tell us about women who personally inspire them.  The result is a list of truly wonderful women who have inspired us to be passionate and tenacious in being our best selves and striving to help others around us.

 

Liz Travis, aka my mum. She continues to inspire me each and every day with her eternal patience (with me, anyway!); selflessness, generosity and love- and for putting her children before her every step of the way. She not only conquers adversity with steely determination and an unflappable sense of being, but does so whilst being one of the most glamorous and stylish women I have the pleasure of knowing. 

- Georgie

 

Marta Krupinska, Co-Founder of Azimo, is one of the most impressive and passionate entrepreneurs who inspires me.  Ambitious, honest and a champion for diversity, she’s a great role model for anyone who wants to help change or make the world a better place. Also, the boxer Nicola Adams, who proved that determination, hard work and sacrifices can lead to achieving global recognition and success (and she’s been turned into a Barbie doll!)

Jonny

 

Jenni Cochrane, Director of Culture and Partnerships at AEI Media. Jenni has been someone I’ve admired since the day I met her (when I interviewed her for a piece on women in the music industry). She has such an amazing presence that’s captivating and stays with you. She’s smart and strong, she’s a mother, a director at a really cool business and she’s a woman that’s worked and thrived in a male-dominated world for years, Jenni is inspiring on so many levels.  

Also, my mum, Dr Ruth Padday. I’m especially proud of her for receiving an honours for all the charity work she’s done from setting up a young people’s clinic and working as a doctor at festivals to providing aid to rural villages in Nepal and working for the JST which takes disabled people sailing on tall ships. She’s currently deep in the ocean sailing and no doubt helping others as she usually does.

Joey

 

Besides my mum and my three sisters, I’m inspired by American director, writer, producer, and distributor, Ava DuVernay. She began in journalism, shifted to PR, and then went on to create award winning films and documentaries. She followed her ambition (even funding her first film) and is relentless to tell the stories that deserve to be told. Her ambition and perseverance (and not to mention her talent!) are truly inspiring.

Megan

 

Obviously, the most inspiring person in the world is my mother - a single parent to two young children who never let her own problems get in the way of the happiness of me and my sister. She juggled a million different strands of life, whilst teaching me and my sister the value of hard-work, manners, self-expression, travel, happiness and of course, LOVE.

Matt

 

Aside from my utterly selfless and compassionate mum and sister, who have both shown me marked support and taught me to be uncompromising with who I am and what I deserve, I’m always in awe of those who have shown dedication to supporting others with resources to support mental health. Jane Lawson founded CSTUK-  a complimentary and volunteer-led organisation founded to support victims of the Grenfell disaster with community based support therapies, and counselling. The organisation offers invaluable support to victims of disasters- from children to those in the emergency services. Also, author and food writer Ruby Tandoh, who has inspired a refreshing dialogue that advocates the nourishing power of food for physical and mental wellbeing. Ruby celebrates how food has unique potential to sustain healthy relationships with ourselves and others- speaking to a broad spectrum of issues affecting everyone from migrant communities to those struggling with their mental health.

Emily

 

I’m going to cheat, and name a few women. I’m lucky to have some incredible women in my home, family and work life. I’m inspired by mum, for her capacity to put other people’s happiness before her own, and her unlimited kindness. I’m inspired by my wife, Amy, for her compassion, style, creativity and I’m envious of her ability to multitask. I’m also inspired by my two daughters for their curiosity and endless energy (which keeps me entertained). At work, I'm lucky to work with super talented men and women who push me to be the best version of myself, every day.

Adrian


What you need to think about when launching a product

It’s crazy to think that 75% of European online shoppers drop off a website when they see a dollar sign. However, unless you look at your site analytics, you’d never know.

 

Last week Ben Hofman, founder of Atlantic Access popped in to the Fanclub HQ to talk to us about why he’s helping the most exciting tech brands focus on growing their brand, without relying on retailers and distributors. And how spotting that 75% drop off rate on previous client’s website was part of the reason he set up his business.

 

Discussing how to launch a product, and what it takes to do it successfully, here’s what Ben had to say:

 

In a sentence, what does Atlantic Access do?

We help start-ups launch in Europe the same way they would in the US.

 

What common mistakes do brands and businesses make when launching in the UK?

The biggest mistake is choosing a launch strategy based on what has been available in the past. Digital marketing and online have changed the world in the past 10 years of how to launch a brand. Brick and mortar retailers are no longer necessarily the best choice but for some reason many brands still see it as the only option in the UK to ‘launch'

 

Can you share an example of a product that got it right and launched successfully?

There are two types of brands. The big ones that have $m to pour into marketing and the smaller start-ups. Big brands like Fitbit and Ring have gone big on advertising and built awareness with TV adverts and such. Most brands don't have this luxury so have to be smarter, Tile are a great example of a brand that focused very heavily on digital first, growing their brand with direct to customer sales and Amazon. When it came to launching into brick and mortar they had sufficient awareness in the market to be a success. That said, they still had plenty of marketing funds available after successful online campaigns.

 

How important is prelaunch marketing to a launch?

Pre-launch marketing certainly helps to build the brand. Crowdfunding campaign are certainly ways to raise lots of awareness but must be backed-up by good planning and PR.

 

What must-do advice would you give to a businesses launching a new product in 2018?

If you have been successful in another territory first before moving to the EU, ask yourself why you were so successful and how you can match that here. The Distribution model of selling straight to big retailers before doing brand development may not be the right one. Focus on growing your brand first and your sales will come with it.

 

And finally, what are you looking forward to seeing at CES this year? 

I am looking forward to the re-emergence of useful connected products. The past two years there has been a flood of people making ‘connected’ products just because they can. No-one needs a connected umbrella!! Hopefully they will be replaced by useful products this year.

 

Ben Hofman is the Founder of Atlantic Access


We chat WeChat

By Matthew Taylor

As of July 2017, Chinese super-app WeChat had 900 million daily active users, with 50% of those using the app for more than 90 minutes daily. This is more than Facebook, which last year reported its average daily user time was 55 minutes.

Lauded for its stickiness, WeChat has moulded a unique, addictive platform that has combined lifestyle, commerce, communication and service into one completely immersive, disruptive life hack. Since its launch in 2011, the all-conquering platform has transformed the fabric of China’s digital landscape.

Recently we had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Edward Lindeman, Chinese Specialist and Business Development Manager at Digital Retex, WeChat’s trusted European delivery partner. In his two years living in China prior to joining Digital Retex, Edward experienced first-hand the immense power and utility of WeChat and the way that it’s changing daily life. But also, he saw the vast potential for businesses to build real, tangible consumer relationships in-app.

Speaking on WeChat's mammoth adoption, to what the future holds for the app and consumers, here’s what Edward had to say:

Why should we care about what WeChat is?

There are a few simple reasons why Europe needs to sit up and take notice. First and foremost, WeChat is setting the benchmark for integrating mobile services into social media, something that is being targeted more and more by western mobile services and social media platforms. We know that social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are paying close attention to WeChat, wanting to copy some of the incredible online-to-offline functionality inside the app. And with WeChat’s incredible user engagement rates, it’s a great example to follow in an increasingly competitive digital and mobile space.

Ultimately, if you want to predict what the future of social media and digital commerce will look like in the west, WeChat is a great place to start.

How are businesses leveraging WeChat to build consumer relationships?

Businesses traditionally use WeChat as a platform to share engaging content, in a similar way to how a company would do with social platforms in the West. This content can come in the form of articles, photos and videos that directly inform the user about a brand, and its latest offerings. WeChat is also widely used by brands as a customer service platform that allows followers to interact with a brand and ask it questions, as and when problems arise. In doing so, a brand can either respond in real time using trained staff or, as is being used more and more frequently, by using BOTS that recognise specific terms and questions. Naturally, with pro-active, intuitive and adaptive services, brands are integrating themselves closer within the lives of consumers through WeChat.

If, for example, I were a Chinese tourist following a luxury brand on WeChat, I could message the company’s page and ask where the nearest store to me is in any city around the world. To this, I can expect to get a response within a few minutes. In a wider context, we’re starting to see Facebook and Twitter pages also harness this functionality. Moving forward, I expect to see more sophisticated AI playing a key role in helping brands to build better, more tangible consumer relationships via their social channels. 

What insights can we draw upon for how WeChat works in China, for potential shifts in consumer behaviour on mobile?

One thing we know for sure is that people are spending more and more time on their phones in all parts of the world. Though our standard smartphone screen features tens of different apps like Uber, Deliveroo, Paypal, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Instagram, Google maps and many more, WeChat is showing us that it's possible to integrate these apps into one place. If a social media platform is able to replicate this effectively, then it has the very real potential to change social media from being a platform for communication and content consumption, to a place where people can also access an almost infinite range of online and offline services as well.

And more specifically, how will WeChat develop over the coming years? Are there any trends in terms of western businesses migrating to the app?

It’s hard to say exactly where WeChat will head in the coming years. It’s been one of the world’s biggest innovators in the social media space and the consumer internet in general; predicting what they’ll do next is the million-dollar question! 

I will say, though, that I think there will be a couple of main focuses that will mirror wider consumer and technological trends. Firstly, on the branding side, WeChat will likely focus on providing brands with better tools to create even richer content experiences through tools such as AI and virtual reality. Ultimately with WeChat, better consumer experiences mean higher consumer adoption and usage – this will therefore always be at the strategic focus of everything WeChat does. At the same time, I’d be surprised if Tencent doesn’t try to grow WeChat’s share of the super competitive Chinese e-commerce market that is controlled by its rival partner JD.com, and its rival arch, Alibaba.

On the user side, you can already book taxis, pay utility bills, pay for things in-store and arrange doctor’s appointments through the WeChat digital wallet. Essentially, any service that can be handled through a digital product has already been integrated into WeChat. And whilst I expect there will still be continued on this side with the arrival of new services, I see Tencent turning their focus more towards improving the WeChat user experience overseas, where it has the challenge of re-creating and scaling the experience of the app in China. Because of this, it will be crucial for western companies that serve Chinese tourists, expats and student in the UK and Europe to pay attention to what WeChat is doing in order to continue adapting their services in line with the wants and needs of this key consumer group. 

Can you give a specific example of how exactly it is that WeChat works?

Sure. A day for a Chinese WeChat user could look a little something like this…

Morning

Wake up and check messages from friends and loved ones on WeChat.

Read news stories from official media channels on WeChat.

Hire a bike using WeChat’s mini-app to ride to work.

On your way, you stop for a drink in Starbucks and pay using the WeChat wallet.

After enjoying the drink you order, you recommend Starbucks’ new style of Frappuccino to a friend via WeChat and earn loyalty bonus points as a result.

Once at work, you sign into WeChat desktop to start communicating with colleagues about daily tasks.

Lunch

Order and pay for lunch through WeChat’s Deliveroo equivalent.

Once finished, you leave a review of the food via WeChat.

Afternoon

As your Mum is coming over this evening to visit, you order a cleaner to clean your flat through WeChat.

You instantly pay the cleaner through WeChat’s digital wallet.

After checking your exes’ photos on WeChat moments, you decide that it’s time you went on holiday with your new partner.

You message your boyfriend and remind him that it’s time to book your summer vacation by sending through some options on WeChat.

You book the holiday using the WeChat wallet.

You decide that you need some new clothes for the trip so you buy a few items on Uniqlo’s mini-app built into WeChat.

You hear that you need to get a vaccination for the trip so you immediately book an appointment at the hospital using its mini-app.

Evening

You book a taxi to meet your boyfriend for dinner using WeChat.

You receive messages from your Mum saying that she’s at your apartment, asking why you aren’t here too.

You message your apartment concierge to let your mum into your flat.

Is there anything you could point us towards that really shows WeChat’s impact in China?

Whenever I’m talking to new people about WeChat, I always show them this video. It gives a great overview of the kind of behaviours that take place within WeChat, but also, it really brings to life the scale and impact of WeChat within Chinese life.

Edward Lindeman is Business Development Manager at Digital Retex.

 


More than a pout: The power of the selfie

By Megan Linehan

Entering the grand open space of the Saatchi Gallery and turning left into the first exhibition room, you are met with an unusual sight- a Rembrandt self-portrait on a T.V. screen.

The first room of the From Selfie to Self-Expression reframes the masters for the modern era, placing portraits into a screen, next to a Huawei phone (the smartphone manufacturer who teamed up with the Saatchi Gallery for this exhibition) which encourages viewers to ‘like’ the picture a la Instagram. The growth of technology has changed the way we view images, and ultimately how we as a society behave, perfectly exemplified by the exhibit.

Suddenly with technology, the power of image is not the reserve of talented painters, of photographers who can afford film, or advertisers who can pay for a billboard. Nowadays, everyone has the power to express themselves, and share it with millions online. The exhibit explores this, not only reframing the masters, but also by placing them next to selfies created by Kris Jenner (the matriarch of the infamous Kardashian clan) and various memes that undoubtedly you have seen shared across the internet (including a man who looks remarkably like Jesus).

We are in an era of democratised expression and art, where technology has opened the floodgates of pouts and poses.  And its effects are not only seen in the exhibit content itself, but also in its attendants.

In one large room, a cacophony of voices bounce off the walls, as a projection of thousands of videos (or vlogs, if you’re down with the kids) are played on loop against the walls. While this is an impressive sight- it is not the only interesting thing in the room. I helped at least three different groups of people take pictures of their silhouettes against the walls, witnessed someone film a vlog against the wall with a selfie stick, and joined in the creation of excited Snapchats.

Technology has given us the chance to express ourselves and share our world view. While selfies are often blamed for society’s down fall, they can be a tool for sharing a moment that might have been lost - even if it is only because your eyeliner looks really good that day.

An image tells a thousand words and a selfie can be shared by millions, the selfie is everywhere. The selfie is a mode of communication that should not be ignored- it’s a medium used by all, from world renowned artists to your mother accidently opening the front facing camera. A selfie can be a joke between friends or a piece of art; it’s a bodily movement that has been elevated to be a key part of this era’s cultural zeitgeist. Such a statement is validated with this exhibit. With this exhibit, the selfie has been permanently placed as a part of our culture that isn’t something to look down on; it’s an art form for all.


Spooky campaigns: Witch were killer

By Emily Barnes

Spooky puns are devilishly difficult.

Ah, Halloween.  Often seen as another of the seasonal bandwagons for marketers and PRs to hop on and enjoy some easy hits from a campaign tenuously linked to their client. But what is Halloween if it’s not fun? By nature, it’s the season of high jinks; to be silly and creative, which is in itself, a place where great campaigns are born.

We’re going to run through a few of our favourite spooky PR and marketing stunts and campaigns, which include some examples which demonstrate that clients with a serious brand message can still cleverly use the silliness of Halloween to keep their brand front-of-mind.

1. Tesco’s ‘Spookermarket’

Delivering on the supermarket’s recent promise to inject humour into it’s marketing, Tesco’s seasonal video content for Halloween last year garnered a social media buzz and an impressive 2.4m views to date as well as praise in trade and consumer press alike.

Delivered with BBH London, the campaign saw hidden cameras capture unsuspecting Tesco shoppers being scared by various terrifying props and actors, including severed hands in freezers and heads amongst toilet rolls. The video also prompted viewers to watch four additional videos which included a pumpkin carving tutorial and tutorial for creating a (fake) severed head in a jar. Delightfully gross.

According to Campaign, the launch day saw 805 conversation hits, of which 97% were positive; proving that even the simplest execution of the beloved hidden camera prank can create a very shareable piece of content with wide appeal, going a long way to show brand personality.

2. DigitasLBi’s ‘Internet of Pumpkins’

To demonstrate the very scary data security risks when connecting to public Wi-Fi, DigitasLBi created a pumpkin which acted as a free Wi-Fi hotspot using modified Wi-Fi penetration testing equipment, which is commonly used by criminals. Oooh er.

Users who connected to the network received a ‘trick-or-treat’ message, and whilst some received a sweet treat, others received a trick in the form of a digital crack on their screen, representing the risk of damage from hackers. Each was followed with some friendly advice on how to use Wi-Fi safely and without gruesome consequences.

This is a nice way to instigate discussion on key messages and brand awareness, by utilising a fun surprise-and-delight-tactic to deliver a serious key message.

3. Volvo’s LifePaint Spooky Safety Initiative

(Main picture)

Volvo used its spray-on glow-in-dark substance for cyclist safety, LifePaint, to launch an initiative to keep trick-or-treating kids in London safe in the dark.

Launched with Grey London, ‘Be Scary, Be Safe’ encouraged parents to pick up a can of the reflective spray from their local dealership and download a set of free skeleton stencils online, spray it on to their spooky sprog and feel safe in the knowledge that their child was visible in the dark of the night.

This is an innovative approach to a season saturated with pranks and scare tactics, which reinforces brand purpose and values by providing something genuinely useful for parents and fun for kids. Win win.

4. REI’s Zombie Survival Kit

zombie
Click to learn how to survive the zombie apocalypse

 

Outdoor clothing manufacturer, REI recognised the power of the shareable viral image with its 2013 campaign which saw the company put together an infographic detailing the 13 essentials for surviving a Zombie outbreak, all of which could be bought directly from their online store.

Even better, employees in one of their stores also held a class on how to battle the enemy should a zombie attack happen, also covering basic survival skills to avoid death by the undead.

This was a great way to achieve a relatively quick-win by playing on the novelty of horror whilst shoehorning in product links seamlessly. The in-store event added the bizarre to what is seen by some as the mundane, which gave it broader appeal and buzz.

So, brands or companies with an array of brand purpose can look to Halloween to successfully embrace a season of otherworldly imagination as a vehicle to create awareness in a particularly engaging and memorable way.


3 PR lessons from Bjork

By Adrian Ma

Bjork currently has an exhibition on at Somerset House: Bjork Digital. We popped by to see what this is all about, and have distilled what we learned from her into three lessons for you.

1.      There’s always a new way to engage with your audience. As an artist Bjork pushes boundaries. Her use of VR technology takes this to another level altogether. Bjork Digital is less of an exhibition, more of a show, where she controls the sensory experience through technology, in a way that no one has before. Don’t stop innovating with your audience experience.

2.      There are rewards in dividing opinion, if you’re being true to your brand. Not everyone liked all of the content. In one VR experience, you find yourself in her mouth, which distorts and contorts as she sings her song. It feels claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Yet, it’s talked about a lot.

bjork-mouth

3.      You can even innovate with the format of the press conference. Bjork appeared at the press conference of Bjork Digital as an avatar, beamed in from Iceland. This may be a good tip for Philip Green if he wants to avoid the difficult questions at his next AGM. At least he could claim that the connection is dropping out at that crucial moment when he’s cornered about BHS.

Bjork, as an avatar at the press conference of Bjork Digital
Bjork, as an avatar at the press conference of Bjork Digital

Bjork Digital runs until 23rd October. For tickets and info click here.


How to help clients be ‘brave’

By Sarah Boulton

The Oxford definition of brave is: “to be ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage”.

Sounds pretty intimidating, and sometimes brave PR and marketing ideas can feel a little that way to a client. Clients often have ambitions to be brave, but as the definition alludes to, being brave ultimately means taking some form of risk, which presents challenges for internal buy-in. Therefore, when taking a brave idea to a client in 2016 the process needs to be handled delicately and not bull-dozed through.

From creating the Game of Thrones’ Iron Throne out of adult toys, to making the world’s largest emoji crop circle, we like to help our clients be brave, and we believe that there are some simple steps to ensure that the process of getting brave ideas considered and signed off is pain-free for the client, and for the agency.

Ultimately building an authentic relationship with a client is key to getting a creatively bold idea to the point where it will see the light of day, so here are our top tips to get to that point:

Get the basics right

Sounds obvious and a bit old school, but nailing all the basics of client management helps to build trust. Show your client that your account team is a professional and well-oiled machine: get reports over on time, make sure meeting rooms are set-up for catch-ups etc. Although it is a simple argument, it will be the make or break of a relationship, and when it comes to putting forward bold ideas trust in the team will ultimately give the client confidence to take the leap into the unknown with you.

Not all briefs need to be brave

A scattergun approach to brave ideas is never recommended. Work together as an agency and client to spot the right opportunity that is beneficial for the client and for the audience. Don’t take a risk just for the sake of it. A brave idea comes with an element of risk and therefore needs to be considered carefully and done at the right time for the right campaign.

Foster a ‘brave’ team

With a high-risk idea there are bound to be many bumps in the road and having a robust, authentic team and relationship with the client means that you are more likely to get through them. Once this ‘brave’ team is assembled it needs to be managed lightly and every single person in that team needs to be capable of having a client-facing conversation, with everyone client-side, including other channel owners. Everyone should be visible on the account and everyone should inspire confidence in the client.

Avoid the BS

Finally, one of the biggest moments in the life of a creatively brave idea is the client presentation. My main tip here would be to avoid at all costs a ‘ta da’ approach. The trick is to position the idea so it doesn’t look as though you have had an insane rush of blood to the head and got a bit over-excited, but to make it look like it is a reasonable decision. No client likes a hard sell, be honest, tell them about the ideas strengths but look the risks in the eye. Brave work is inherently risky so don’t pretend there isn’t any, just show that you have thought them through.

No chill

Last but not least, don’t relax. Once the presentation is done run with it and keep the momentum. The hard work starts from here on in, and remember that brave ideas require brave people. Be brave.

We’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastically brave clients that have allowed us to bring our bold and creative ideas to life, drop us an email if you’d like to hear more: Hello@fanclubpr.com.

 


Five 2016 sporting campaigns at the top of their game

By Joey Green

June and July saw Euro 2016 and Wimbledon hitting our screens, which was an emotional roller-coaster to say the least.

We saw England’s embarrassing exit from the Euros 2016 AKA Brexit 2.0, Murray’s Wimbledon win, Iceland’s terrifying Viking clap (it’s why we lost, right? Riiight?) and the infamous scratch and sniff incident from Germany boss Joachim Low, bleeugh.

However, we also got to see brands utilising the events of the year so far, to engage consumers. With big sporting events like these, it’s inevitable that many brands want to jump on the bandwagon. As Rio 2016 approaches, let’s see who cut through with the most inspiring and creative campaigns?

Carlsberg

We’re a big fan of Christ Kamara in this office so when Carlsberg packed him off on the tube, dressed as an older gentleman to reward unsuspecting tube travellers who offered up their seat with tickets, we loved it. Part of the ‘If Carlsberg did substitutions’ campaign, it’s funny, it’s heart-warming, it tackles an on-going discussion about offering seats and it got a tonne of coverage. Kudos to Carlsberg.

Evian 

In order to engage Wimbledon fans and those that like to shake their bootay, Evian launched their ‘Wimbledon Wiggle’ (a move inspired by tennis players) campaign where they asked consumers to send in moves, which were posted on the Evian Facebook page. Here at Fanclub, we love a campaign which utilises user-generated content and the likes of Jonathan Ross, Mollie King and Holly Willoughby all got involved with the wiggle.

Copa 90

Bringing together football and current technology trends, Copa 90 created a chatbot specifically for Euro 2016 to keep fans in the know throughout. Content included everything from guides to articles. Although not in-your-face creative, we like the use of new technology trends to reach an engaged audience and actually provide value, the innovative idea received a lot of pick-up in the tech press.

Orange

Continuing with the innovation theme (oh, we do love to see how people use data), we want to give a nod to Orange who analysed each day’s tweets during Euro 2016 to see which nation’s hashtag was used the most and lit up the Eiffel tower in that team’s colours. Again, use of data, a landmark, and some great colours, made a lovely GIF.

Morrisons

After Andy Murray took home the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, Morrisons rebranded its Wimbledon store to Murriwins, complete with sign. Although the store did it before after Murray’s 2013 win, you have to give some credit for recycling a great, quick-fire idea (and hopefully the sign).

With Wimbledon and Euro 2016 out the way, we’re looking forward to seeing what Rio 2016 will bring.


How brands cut-through the news during the political pantomime

By Sarah Boulton

The political pantomime of the last few weeks has had us all glued to the TV and pouring over the press, eager to hear more, with twists, turns and theories to rival Game of Thrones.

There isn’t a day that goes by without a development of some sort. A perfect environment for PR and marketing departments to hijack the news, here are a few of our favourite brand campaigns that took advantage of the headlines:

  1. Ryanair – The Irish budget airline Ryanair chose to address the issues full on, on its website, where it advertised cheaper flights in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum as the pound plummeted. The airline’s website read: “Bye Bye Europe! Visit Europe for a plan…and for advice on how to play to soccer,”
  1. Saatchi London – The advertising agency opened a pop-up ‘Brexit Tattoos’ shop on Berwick St, ahead of the vote. It was free to get a tattoo with the aim of highlighting the permanence of your vote. ‘It’s your choice but it’s permanent’ was the shop’s motto – Nice!
  1. Pornhub – This is one of our personal favourites, which hasn’t been directly claimed from the company but smells suspiciously of a PR stunt. Following Boris Johnson ruling himself out of the leadership of the Conservative Party and therefore the race to become Britain's next Prime Minister, the 52-year-old may found himself a new profession pretty quickly - as a porn star. An “angry voter” uploaded a clip of one of Johnson’s Vote Leave speeches under a title found as 'DUMB BRITISH BLONDE F*CKS 15 MILLION PEOPLE AT ONCE'.

When hijacking news like this where there are some very passionate opinions involved, therefore there are some key guidelines to follow to ensure that you get the reaction you are looking for. Here are our top tips:

  1. Nail the Tone of Voice – This is the most important point. When doing PR around a serious and heated topic the TOV is crucial in nailing the story. It has to be witty, tongue in cheek and in its essence light-hearted. If it makes people laugh during a challenging time, then your story is bound to be a hit.
  2. Know your audience – Will they “get it”? If your audience is used to serious communication from your brand, then think carefully about how they would react to something sarcastic or ironic.
  3. Be speedy – Timing is everything in PR, having a perfect reactive idea to a news situation is great, but if you don’t get the story out quickly then it loses all relevance and interest. You can even plan in advance for big events such as the EU referendum and have something set up for both eventualities.
  4. Be brave – Sometimes it can feel scary to get involved in something that is so heavily debated, but as long as you have taken all the above points into consideration you will have nothing to fear! Trust your PR agency, they know what they are doing

Do get in touch at hello@fanclubpr.com if you would like to hear some examples of how we hijack the news for our clients. We have a hilarious example from the General Election!