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.


6 myths about influencer marketing

By Emily Barnes & Megan Linehan

“Reach is everything - it means you’re getting your message out to the most people”

Incorrect. It’s imperative to look more closely at who the audience are. There’s no value in getting your content into the feeds of people who aren’t actively engaging with it or aren’t invested in it. If the person seeing the content isn’t a potential customer, it’s fruitless. Worse still, they could even be a bot or fake follower.

This is why engagement rates are key; there’s been much discussion recently about how engagement rates are significantly higher for smaller influencers. There is absolutely a saturation point of engagement, which can mean that mega influencers are left with a dead audience.

When scoping out potential influencers, make sure you look at their most recent videos for accurate engagement rates- that way you know that they’re performing consistently and are frequently posting.

“It’s great to work with as many influencers as possible, to talk to lots of different audiences”

Whilst micro-influencers certainly can provide value through their highly engaged audiences and advocacy around niche topics and interests,  it’s also generally true that in order for a brand message, recollection or call to action to convert, the audience needs to see it multiple times. It’s marketing 101.  So, think about investing in multiple pieces of content over a longer period, with the same influencer.

Ambassadorship with influencers is a key focus in 2018, not only because of the value in repeat consideration, but because the content is organic and a natural-fit on the influencer’s channel- which works toward great sentiment.

“It’s impossible to really demonstrate ROI in influencer marketing”

Nuh uh. Whilst ROI and metrics for success are hotly contested and changing (pretty much) all the time, and it can be difficult to measure consideration and path to purchase outside of views and likes, there are plenty of marketing metrics which work to demonstrate effective consideration and brand sentiment, directly as a result of content.

Affiliate marketing and tracking links are a great way to measure this audience journey. If you’re promoting something like a service, resource, or high consideration purchase, you can get creative with incentives to click. A competition, discount code or limited edition purchase work well in these instances.

“Just put #ad at the end of the post”

No! No! When working with an influencer, be sure that the partnership/sponsorship is labelled loud and clear for the consumer to see, else it can be deemed misleading and lazy. Many platforms have clear guidelines for influencers to clearly label their content, and the ASA has outlined rulings on explicit labelling of sponsored content. No excuses!

“One post is all we need”

Cross-platform promotion means you’ll hit your chosen influencer’s audience across several channels and mediums, as well as developing a natural story around the partnership. A singular post can get lost in an abyss of newsfeeds, missing the mark with impact and looking awkward and unnatural. A carefully considered content package is important in understanding investment in a partnership and expectations of performance.

Be sure to ask about the cost of hero content with social promotion, for example, or a series of social posts with clear consideration of timings. The influencer should help guide this based on data about audience engagement with previous content and timings for this.

“They posted about the product before- they should do it again for free”

An influencer creates content for a living- it’s their livelihood and often their sole income. So, when considering asking an influencer for free content, stop and consider the size of the industry and it’s power- you’re buying into a powerful marketing tool. Where have you been for the last few years?! Whilst some influencers may be willing to post in return for a free product, holiday, or event attendance, be ready for them to ask for cash. Great, impactful content which speaks to the right audience is valuable- be ready to pay for it.


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.

 


Fanclub x Cision Webinar: Influencer Marketing

As geeks, we're always seeking out new ways to make our work more effective. Over the last few years, we've adapted how we work to leverage new, effective ways to help clients engage with the decision-making process of their customers.

Helping our clients set up and manage their influencer strategies is one way that we're trying to redefine what PR means today.

We believe that PR is the marketing discipline that is best placed to understand and deliver influencer marketing for clients, and we want to share our learnings with the industry, and help PRs adapt their skill-set to ensure that we're well-positioned to deliver this service in the future.

We'd love to share what we've learned with. On August 29th, 3pm-4pm, Emily and Adrian will be hosting a webinar with Cision about how to adapt your PR skills to power influencer marketing.

If you're interested, sign up at this link here.

We hope you'll join us.


Why coffees and good content are more important than ever in PR

There’s been a lot of talk about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in marketing press, but less so in PR press - even though there’s room for it to affect all of us in this industry. If you don’t know what the GDPR is, then you should.

 

So, what is it?

The EU’s GDPR, to help organisations understand new legal frameworks, will come into full effect in May 2018 for both B2B and B2C communications.

From a series of new rules which will govern marketing data, the most pressing one for the industry is the need for ‘explicit consent’ from the recipient of a marketing email as well as the consent to be verifiable; in other words, having records showing the origin of the data.

The fine is hefty. Seriously hefty. It’s four per cent of global revenue or €20 million, whichever is bigger. Ouch.

 

And what’s it got to do with PR?

Unfortunately, some PRs are still guilty of sending out very sales-y press releases / e-alerts / emails which could be deemed as marketing content. For example, if you send out mail-merges of hundreds of pitch emails to try and secure coverage, then you may hit a pissed-off journalist who will deem your email as unsolicited marketing content. If they’re really pissed-off, they might flag this under the new regulations. If you can’t then prove you have consent to contact this person, you’ll be in a tricky situation. If you’re asked for a copy of the data and you don’t have it, then we’re slipping further out of the grey area and more into the red.

 

Essentially, we’re not completely sure what it means for us as PRs yet, but we had better start researching and preparing ourselves for the worst.

 

What do we do to protect ourselves?

Firstly (and this should be something all PRs are doing anyway), make sure you are providing journalists with good content that is relevant to them. Every PR event with journalist speakers and every PR / journalist forum, and I mean every single one, has a takeaway of the same message: do your research and stop pitching blindly with things that are irrelevant.

 

Yes, we are time pressed, but so are journalists- probably more so. Yes, sometimes it’s not always our own personal faults, but we should be finding time to look over our media lists and making sure we are targeting the right people with the right story. It’s in our interests, our clients’ interests and the journalist’s interests. Start prepping now and take that extra time to find those people that are relevant to your sectors, clients and pitch topics. You also need to make sure your content is quality content, and not a sales pitch. If someone requests that you destroy their data and never contact them again, then you must oblige under the new regulations- that’s a contact gone for good.

 

Secondly, work on building relationships with your key contacts. If you genuinely have something to offer them then there’s no reason why the journalist wouldn’t want to meet up and build a relationship with you. So, get networking (without taking a sales pitch along with you).

 

Thirdly, and finally, start logging your consent as if you were a marketing agency. Although this is a huge grey area, there’s no harm in beginning to prepare yourself and getting one step ahead.

 

Take a read of PR Week's story too discussing GDPR, which inspired us to blog about the regulation.


Dates for your 2017 calendar

From National Pie Week to Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day, it can be hard to keep up with what’s happening and what’s important.

But, don’t fear! We’ve poured over the calendars, and found the key dates every PR person needs to know for 2017 as well as a few extras to help spark those creative ideas.

You can thank us later! (Perhaps with a puppy on National Dog Day in August).

 

January:

Blue Monday (16th)

National Hug Day (21st)

Chinese New Year (28th)

 

February:

World Cancer Day (4th)

National Pizza Day (9th)

Valentine’s Day (14th)

The Oscars (26th)

Mobile World Congress (27th – 2nd March)

Pancake Day (28th)

 

March:

St David’s Day (1st)

British Pie Week (6th – 12th)

International Women’s Day (8th)

Beauty and the Beast film release (17th)

International Day of Happiness (20th)

CeBit (20th – 24th)

Mother’s Day (26th)

 

April:

April Fools Day (1st)

Good Friday (14th)

Easter Sunday (16th)

Easter Monday (17th)

Facebook F8 (18th – 19th)

Queen Elizabeth 2nd birthday (21st)

London Marathon, St Georges Day and Shakespeare Day (23rd)

 

May:

Eurovision (13th)

 

June:

UEFA Champions League Final (3rd)
Apple WWDC 2017 Keynote Address – Info TBC (12th)

Father’s Day (18th)

Glastonbury Festival (21st – 25th)

Royal Ascot (21st – 24th)

 

July:

Tour de France (1st – 23rd)

Wimbledon (3rd -16th)

British Golfing Open (20th – 23rd)

 

August:

Edinburgh Fringe (4th – 28th)

International Friendship Day (7th)

Film release: Emojimovie (11th)

Notting Hill Carnival (also National Dog Day) (26th – 27th)

 

September:

IFA, Berlin (1st – 6th)

International Day of Peace (21st)

Jeans for Genes Day (23rd)

 

October:

LinkedIn’s Talent Connect (3rd – 5th)

National Work Life Week (3rd – 7th)

National Animal Day (4th)

World Smile Day (6th)

International Chocolate Week and International Curry Week (9th – 15th)

HR Technology Conference (10th – 13th)

International Baking Week (16th – 22nd)

World Food Day (16th)

Halloween (31st)

 

November:

World Vegan Day (1st)

Guy Fawkes (5th)

Remembrance Sunday (12th)

World Kindness Day (13th)

International Men’s Day (19th)

Universal Children’s Day (20th)

Road Safety Week (21st – 27th)

Thanksgiving (23rd)

Black Friday (24th)

Cyber Monday (27th)

St Andrews Day (30th)

 

December:

First day of advent (3rd)

Hanukkah (13th – 20th)

Film release: Star Wars (15th)

Christmas Eve (24th)

Christmas Day (25th)

Boxing Day (26th)

New Year’s Eve (31st)

 

 


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.

 


Does PR work on Reddit?

How to tackle the Wild West of a reluctant social community, by Emily Barnes

For brands, Reddit it is new and relatively unchartered territory- and for good reason.

For those who need a quick briefing, the social news networking site is a space where registered users share news, thoughts or images as either links or user-generated content, which are posted to areas of interest called “subreddits”; with topics ranging from worldnews, movies, politics and gaming (it even has a subreddit for PR pros) to more niche subreddits like the ever popular ExplainLikeImFive (does what it says on the tin). Posts can be voted up or down by other users, with the most popular content going to the front page of that subreddit and potentially of the whole site.

You might’ve seen Reddit gain traction in mainstream media; mostly thrown around in publications like The Huffington Post and Daily Mail who use the more sensational user-generated content for their own stories. The self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” is a monumental platform for discussion and content-sharing, with front-page content going way beyond Reddit’s 234 million unique users and into viral territory. Access to so many engaged users all over the world is an amazing opportunity for PRs to learn more about their clients’ demographic as well as to implement some clever campaign tactics.

But Reddit users, or ‘Redditors’, are notoriously savvy to bullshit. Reddit is fundamentally a frank and honest space that users understandably want to keep that way, and self-promotion is rejected with particular hostility. It goes without saying that employing Reddit as a brand or representative has to consider a careful, honest and informal approach.

So, how do we crack a quick-witted userbase with a reputation for pitchfork wielding scepticism of corporate activity on the site, and use Reddit productively for PR? Don’t be scared- it’s not all bad. Let’s look at how PR fits in.

  1. Research

Since Reddit is essentially people talking about pretty much every topic you can think of, it’s a great go-to for looking at sentiment on a topic, brand or person- or simply learning about them.

When looking at brand sentiment, Reddit is also a great place to check on customer service- when a redditor voiced his anger at being ignored by Samsung after his phone battery melted, a rep from HTC offered to send him a brand new HTC phone on the condition that if Samsung replaced his old one, he donate it to charity. The community loved it.

The site’s structure and function make it a fantastic way to talk reach otherwise hidden, niche audiences, which can be great for pitch research, for example. Use this scope to access focus groups that would have marketers chomping at the bit, including experts and professionals as well as consumers, to impress prospective clients and keep your finger on the pulse for current ones.

  1. Get involved in discussion, or start one

Bear in mind that Redditors are famously creative, witty and honest, use this to you advantage by hosting a discussion as part of your research, as part of a campaign or simply for brand awareness. Transamerica (whose reps also happened to be actual redditors)  launched a financial advice session for users in a personal finance subreddit, which went down particularly well.

  1. Brand image and reputation

A go-to PR channel is an AMA (ask me anything); which is essentially an online press conference for your client that shows honesty and transparency through an informal Q&A session. Ben and Jerry (of Ben and Jerry’s, of course) even developed a new ice cream flavour as a result of theirs.  As the name suggests, the consensus is that your client can be asked anything, so be prepared and don’t push back.

We’ll leave you with some friendly and cautious advice:

Think and post like a user and not like a brand

Be transparent, informal and genuine. Think like a user- from the types of questions you’re asking to the way you word your posts. Relax and strip away the buzzwords- it’s not often you feel obligated to do that in PR!

Play by the rules

Each subreddit has its own rules and guidelines for posting and commenting. Ensure you’re familiar with these, else you’ll get booted out by the mods and, if you’re really foolish, you’ll be banned.

Have a play around

As with any new platform, it’s important to explore for a while to get to grips with functionality and user culture. Non-posters are known as ‘lurkers’; get lurking, you creep. Even better, emerge from the darkness and get involved early to establish yourself on a non-business level. If you immediately jump in with your PR hat on, you’ll get thrown right back out. Take it as a warning!

And lastly, if you’ve got places to be and want a condensed version of how to use Reddit as a brand you can read its official ‘brandiquette’ guide, or, if you’re a PR or journo, the pressiquette guide is worth a read.  You’re welcome.


‘Don’t kill the new biz prospect’, And other tips from AbFab

By Georgie Travis

We had a team night out this week to see the eagerly anticipated Ab-Fab film.  As a bunch of PR professionals, dressed in knock-off Lacroix, oversized sunnies and fluffy sliders it seemed fitting to preface the showing with a steady bar crawl and slew of prosecco; off to a good start then.

Booze and pizza aside, the thinly-veiled ‘purpose’ of seeing Ab Fab was to gain a few pearls of wisdom from Eddie and co. on how to run a ‘successful’ PR business.

We braced ourselves; the characters were rumoured to be based on the antics of PR luminary Lynne Franks, who captured the zeitgeist of London in the eighties with her party planning prowess and representation of London’s elite. What we got was 90 minutes of PR mis-haps, fits of laughter and a whole long list of what NOT to do. And here they are.

  1. Don’t push a new business prospect off a balcony (especially a national treasure such as Kate Moss)
  2. Client retention is key. Don’t wind up your existing ones or attempt to hide from them by pretending to be manakins
  3. For event success, the recipe is as follows: obscure fashion designer + ridiculous, hard to pronounce name= surefire hit; the fashion masses will flock
  4. Keep budgets in check- you don’t want to be stuck without any of that ‘hand money’ for emergency situations
  5. Never underestimate the power of the PA, however flaky she may seem

 

The film was belly-laugh funny, with enough celebrity and fashion-world cameos to fill the guest list of Patsy’s next LFW pardee, and then some. The fashion didn’t disappoint either, with outfits from London’s emerging fashion darlings Shrimps, Charlotte Simone, Ashish and Anya Hindmarch taking centre stage.

Favourite cameo? It’s a toss-up between Rebel Wilson’s unexpected turn as a passive aggressive air stewardess and of course, Queen Kate, ever so elegantly tumbling off the side of a building into the Thames, only to appear days later wondering where the party was at.

Sweeties, you simply must see it!


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!