ginny paton, House pr, Lifestyle PR london, Media Brands & Entertainment PR, Uncategorized

News: House PR to be play key role in campaign for greater awareness of Sarcoma cancer

By Ginny Paton – Lifestyle PR london

 Facts and figures

  • Sarcoma is a type of cancer that affects soft tissue and bones.
  • Sarcoma makes up less than one percent of new cancer cases in the UK, ie approximately 3,800 new cases per annum.
  • Compared to more common cancers, awareness of sarcoma is poor.

 The client

  • Sarcoma UK is the only British charitable organisation that works with every type of sarcoma cancer.
  • A key aspect of the work of Sarcoma UK is to increase awareness of sarcoma cancers.

 The brief

  • House PR has been appointed by Sarcoma UK to support it in its work to promote awareness of sarcoma.

Key tasks:

a) To extract the maximum PR value from Sarcoma UK being selected by the office of the British Prime Minister as Downing Street’s Charity of the Year for 2016.

b) To help and support Sarcoma UK in its Sarcoma awareness mission during Sarcoma Awareness Week, which will run during 4-10 July.

Background of brief

Sarcoma UK was selected as Downing Street’s Charity of the Year for 2016 as a tribute to Chris Martin. Chris worked as David Cameron’s Principal Private Secretary and was struck down by sarcoma at the end of 2015. His colleagues at 10 Downing Street were instrumental in getting Sarcoma UK named as Downing Street’s Charity of the Year for 2016.

 

Sarcoma UK and House PR

Sarcoma UK selected House PR to support it in its ongoing work to raise awareness about sarcoma because of its extensive experience working with charities – Lindsey Bennister, Sarcoma UK CEO

 

House PR will be closely involved with the communications team at Sarcoma UK to raise awareness about sarcoma, with the ultimate aims of improving the rate of early diagnoses and increase donations to Sarcoma UK, a crucial aspect of the charity’s fundraising efforts for research – Ginny Paton, House PR MD article in The Drum

 

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House PR launch of Mountain Warehouse ‘Jacket In’ clothing recycling initiative By House PR

House PR – Lifestyle PR London

Clothing recycling for charity got an added boost in April as the clothing retailer Mountain Warehouse teamed up with Clothes Aid in a highly innovative ‘Jacket In’ drive to get consumers to recycle their old jackets in exchange for a discount on a new one.

According to House PR, Clothes Aid will be handling post-donation logistics and passing on any sales receipts to the major UK youth charity, the YMCA. Meanwhile until the beginning of June, customers will get the benefit of a 20% discount on a jacket from this season’s new collection.

Some 170 Mountain Warehouse outlets across England, Scotland and Wales will be participating in the campaign and organisers are hoping that consumers will be using the opportunity to update their wardrobes.

House PR have also supported and advised on a social media dimension to the Jacket In campaign with an exciting photograph contest every week. Purchasers who upload pictures of themselves wearing a jacket in an adventure outdoor setting with the hashtag #MWJacketIn stand to win a spanking new jacket.

At YMCA HQ, CEO Denise Hatton, said her organisation is “thrilled” at being a stakeholder in Mountain Warehouse’s Jacket In initiative. She said all the different parts of the YMCA organisation in the UK will benefit from any monies raised for their ongoing, year-round work with young people, which also involves essential support work.

House PR’s efforts at gaining media interest in the Jacket In campaign has focused on local press, including online, right across the UK, in Wales, Scotland and different parts of England. House PR also managed to get coverage of Mountain Warehouse’s Jacket In campaign on Bridge FM.

Ginny Paton on a Planner’s role in a PR Agency

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YMCA to benefit from nationwide Mountain Warehouse charity drive By House PR

April saw House PR – Lifestyle PR London – launch a major UK-wide charity drive by the clothing retailer Mountain Warehouse for the benefit of YMCA England and YMCA Scotland.

The Mountain Warehouse’s Jacket In campaign will allow customers to swap used jackets to any of the UK’s 174 Mountain Warehouse outlets in exchange for a 20% discount against a new jacket. All jackets collected by the shops will be passed on to Clothes Aid, who will then give the sales proceeds for the garments to the major UK youth charity, the YMCA.

House PR reported that YMCA CEO Denise Hatton said she was thrilled about YMCA Scotland and YMCA England’s involvement in Mountain Warehouse’s Jacket In initiative. She described the partnering up of different charities and the Mountain Warehouse retail chain as “innovative”, adding that any funds raised will be of great benefit to much of the YMCA work with young people across its many centres in the UK.

To add a further boost to the Mountain Warehouse’s Jacket In initiative, House PR also helped the company organise a unique competition with the hashtag #MWJacketIn. All customers who upload pics of themselves sporting an outdoor adventure jacket stand a chance of winning a brand new one.

Thanks to efforts by House PR’s Mountain Warehouse Jacket In team, the charity initiative was reported on in several local press outlets, including the Stirling Observer in Scotland, North West Evening Mail Online and the South Wales Argus. Online, it was also covered by the Coventry Telegraph and the Chester Chronicle. It also featured as news on Bridge FM.

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Ginny Paton on a Planner’s role in a PR Agency

Planners provide the rigour behind our creativity – says Ginny Paton

Planners play an important role in the modern PR agency. At my agency we use planners all the time, and they really strengthen the work that we do says Ginny Paton.

The origin of the planner was in the advertising industry, where they bridged the gap between the creatives and the business leaders who were focused on the bottom line says Ginny Paton.

Their typical duties came before a campaign began in the shape of consumer insight, research and brand positioning. They also got involved after a campaign was completed, in the shape of evaluation says Ginny Paton.

But PR agencies like mine have, over the last decade, begun to take on planners as well. It’s partly due to the fact that client needs are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and so the old reliance on our wits and a packed contact book simply won’t suffice any more. We need insight to back our ideas.

Planning teams do more though – they provide access to those all-important marketing budgets, often far meatier than PR budgets. And they also provide valuable weight when pitching to potential clients says Ginny Paton.

From what I’ve seen in pitches says Ginny Paton, clients love a good creative idea – and they love it even more when we show how we got there says Ginny Paton. The rigour of research is far more valuable than creativity which does not relate to the brand’s situation. We need to take on board insights such as how their customers feel about their brand compared to their competitors.

Planning directors really came into their own when digital took off. Digital provides data, and data enables planners to do their planning in real time. Digital skills are certainly something that a good planner needs to have, along with the ability to get deep into data to find out what it can tell us about the world says Ginny Paton.

There are other personality types that make good planners. Those with the ability to think laterally and be imaginative. Those who are able to challenge assumptions with a strong curiosity. The desired outcome is to develop a new way of looking at the world.

In my experience, there’s just one problem with using planners in PR – it isn’t advertising. It’s not as predictable, with planning cycles often closer to three weeks than three months says Ginny Paton

Despite this, it is still really important that we have these skills to hand. It feeds into a general movement for PR agencies to become more structured in their creativity.

These developments provide a useful counter-balance to that all-important gut feeling which should always play a part in PR creativity says Ginny Paton

Ginny Paton – MD House PR

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When it comes to integrated – take the lead – by Ginny Paton

PR agencies have a term – “playing nicely” – to describe the perfect way of working together with other consultancies, be they advertising, digital or any other elements of marketing.

This suggests that we’re all just too juvenile to work with other disciplines in a grown up manner, let alone to truly collaborate with them. There’s an implication that we’re all too aware of the budget that these ‘competitors’ are getting – budget that could be ours.

“But let me be clear” says Ginny Paton, “I’ve never been in a situation like that”. There have been many times when I’ve sat around the table with creative directors and digital consultants from the top ad firms, digital firms and so on, to prepare work for a mutual client. And I’ve always found it to be a rewarding, exciting experience.

It’s always a great opportunity to share ideas that cross the boundaries, finding great creatives that work for all of us. And at the same time we all get to learn from each other – and teach a little too.

And the great thing is, that in this multi-platform world, these meetings are increasingly part of the PR consultant’s job. Now more than ever, clients are choosing campaigns that will work across each and every strand of the marketing mix. And for that reason, PR agencies need to be taking a close interest in the way that their clients are approaching their wider marketing. Not only that, they should be sitting down with the other consultants in the mix.

The days of PR staying in its own little world are long gone.

So, if I was to advise PR consultants, I’d suggest they make it their mission to work closely with their clients’ other partners. That’s the only way that they will create amazing campaigns. While many PR agencies are still using the word ‘integrated’, not many seem to be getting it right.

Not every cross-disciplinary meeting goes entirely to plan, and there can be the occasional ‘lost in translation’ moment when something just doesn’t quite make sense to the other people in the room.

But all of that is overshadowed when you take part in the creation of a great new campaign, something which works across every platform. Something that you’re all proud of.

So, forget about playing nicely – that’s a given. What I want to see more PR consultants doing is leading the discussion and challenging the ad agency creatives, regardless of their huge budgets.

And that comes down to our creative expertise – that’s the power that we have around that table. Harness these skills and you’ll be leading the pack.

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PR consultants – the modern problem solvers – by Ginny Paton

Remember when the job of the PR agency was simply to come along near the end of a campaign to make some calls to the national newspapers?

Thank God those days are now largely over – agencies like House PR (Ginny Paton is MD) are far more likely to be giving insights as part of their ongoing day to day activities for their clients. This is a hugely varied role, so it leads us to the question of what the true purpose of a PR consultancy is, these days.

Well if you ask me, the PR consultant is uniquely placed to be an all-round solver of client problems. PR professionals of today can and should be the first point of contact for the CEO or the MD, providing insights on handling crises, sorting a launch across diverse media, helping with a new corporate strategy, or informing business priorities.

That’s why PR consultancies are frequently going after the same account work as management consultants – but we have one advantage. We bring our creative skills to the party.

While we come at our work from a background of understanding comms and the press, we bring our analytical skills to bear on many more strategic activities than gaining media coverage.

But a key point to bear in mind is that we can only earn that role by being channel-neutral about the advice we hand out. We could advise them to spend their money on advertising rather than PR, for instance. Or digital marketing. Or a combination of all three.

Why do I think that the PR consultant is best placed to take on this job, rather than those other advisors surrounding a brand? Because our range of awareness is very broad. PR people have to be analytical and they have to have a strong understanding of business drivers and the pitfalls that could occur to a company. But they also need to know their current affairs, and their way around a marketing strategy.

And what’s most important, they can give consideration to all of these issues in a holistic manner.

Recently, House PR has been asked by clients to suggest ad firms, to take part in internal recruitment meetings, and we have given advice to CEOs on all sorts of business plans. That’s because our clients trust us, and we know their businesses implicitly.

We at House PR take a problem-solving approach. We give the best possible answer to a question, even if the answer isn’t what you’d consider to be traditional PR.

That might seem odd, but only if your view of PR is severely outdated. If you open your mind to the capabilities of the modern PR consultancy, you’ll be impressed by how it can enhance businesses of all kinds.

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Ginny Paton – House PR Managing Director

When it come to pitching – be honest about the teamGinny Paton

I head a story recently about the comms team of a well-known brand which was set to meet with its PR firm – one which it was paying a significant fee.

At the meeting, the consultants sat around the table were all young – in their early twenties. The outraged comms director sent them all packing, with the order that the agency CEO should be on the phone ASAP to explain himself.

The agency leader was soon on the phone, who apologised profusely and explained the junior attendance on a sudden bout of sickness among the senior team.

While I sympathise with the young staffers who were treated so roughly, I can see the comms director’s point. It’s a problem that frequently causes issues between agencies and in-house teams. The top people turn up to pitch, but within just a short period of time the client only seems to be seeing the account executives.

At House PR we work hard to avoid this situation. The team that pitches is the team that that the client gets. This is so important – get it wrong and you’ve ruined your relationship with the client on Day One, and your chances of making it work in the long term are severely limited.

But that’s not to say there’s a problem with young people. You people are a hugely important element of our agency. We depend on them for so much – creativity, passion and there’s the fact that they truly get digital.

But they work best as part of a team – a team that mixes in a range of senior consultants, who can bring strategic thinking and a background of impressive campaigns to draw on. They bring with them a broad understanding of channels and techniques and how to use them to great effect.

There’s a few things that clients are looking for when they go into a pitch. On the senior side, they want knowledge – specialised knowledge which shows a sophisticated brain at work. Alongside that, they want account managers with experience of comparable accounts to their own. And they want to meet a day-to-day contact who they can trust, and who they feel can work with on a personal level.

What has become very important is the value that clients put on the specifics. They want to know how much staffing full time equivalences will be put on the account. Nail down this information and keep your promises, and you stand a good chance of the relationship working in the long run.

No one likes to be misled – and imagine how you’d feel if you hired an agency which didn’t keep its promises.

And you wouldn’t want anyone to think of your work like that, would you?

By Ginny Paton – 19/07/2015

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