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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

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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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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