entertainment pr london, House pr, Lifestyle PR london, Lifestyle public relations london, public relations london

Beano Studios marks 2016 with presence at BLE

By House PR – entertainment PR london

Beano Studios, the newly independent arm of DC Thomson & Co, marked a bumper year last month with their first stand at Europe’s premier brand licensing event, Brand Licensing Europe.

At BLE, the Beano Studios team presented a newly refreshed Beano brand; Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed, a new CGI animated TV series; and a relaunching of Jackie, the 1970s cult girls’ magazine, with a new category direction and design. All offer up many licencing possibilities, from toys and stationery to publishing and apparel, and these will be coming through in the next few months.

Aimed at the market for seven to ten-year-olds, Beano.com is the exciting platform that will host the products, a curated selection of goods featuring the refreshed and revamped Beano images, and all were on show at the Beano Studios stand at BLE. In the coming months, the Beano Studios team will be releasing more cross-category offerings to new licensees.

Allison Watkins is Beano Studios’ EVP Global Consumer Products and with 25 years’ professional experience in the field is heading the company’s brand licencing team. Her job is to secure new category licensees for the revamped brand and to be responsible for the activation of products for consumers across the globe.

With the launch of Beano Studios and the myriad of new opportunities that the company will be able to market, Allison Watkins said that 2016 was turning out to be an amazing year. The revamp of Beano; a new, refreshed Dennis & Gnasher series that will be aimed at a world audience; and lastly, the wit and comedy of Jackie magazine, will all see the company looking to partner with many new licensees across all categories. She says that she and her team are thrilled that they will be working with existing partners and new partners in the creation of a dazzling range of new goods to wow consumers, young and old.

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ginny paton, House pr, public relations london

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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ginny paton, House pr, public relations london

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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