The Future Of Co-Branding on Instagram

Up until recently, the way influencers and celebrities revealed their content on Instagram had been sponsored by a brand was by using the hashtags #ad or #sponsored within the post copy.

More often than not, the sponsored hashtags were buried within other hashtags at the bottom of the post.

This could be seen as an attempt to mislead followers into thinking the post is an organic and authentic post from the influencer which is something the Advertising Standard Authority discourage.

Aside from the legal implications of misleading followers, the content strategy from both the influencer’s point of view and Instagram as a channel, needs to remain authentic. We’ve all scrolled through Instagram and spotted a co-branded post which feels totally alien to the influencer’s personal brand. It can lead to disengagement with the influencer and the platform itself if every other post appears to be a covert advertisement.

Co-branded activity isn’t new and is something consumers are used to in all other forms of advertising (print, TV etc.) so it was only a matter of time before Instagram took on a more sophisticated way of harnessing co-branded content.

In comparison, Facebook’s existing ability to tag in brands into posts has meant when influencers and celebrities co-create content they are able to be more transparent with their partnerships:


Now, Instagram is bringing this simple element to its platform by allowing influencers to tag in sponsored brands in their posts.


This tagging feature is now being rolled out on Instagram after testing with select partners since June.

Although this is seemingly just a small tweak, it will no doubt diminish any transparency issues encouraging more collaborations and engaging co-branded content.



GCSE Results Day 2017: The Advice We Would Give Our Former Selves


It’s that time again!

GCSE day is upon us and here in the O office we’ve been reminiscing about those nervous butterflies we felt before marching up to school to open that big envelope.

We’re all unanimous in that no matter what results we got, we’re pretty happy with how life is turning out but it’s very easy to feel like that on reflection.

We asked the O team from the MD to our Social Media Manager what advice they would give their former selves if they could go back to that fateful day…

Holly Peacock-Goodwin, Digital Content Director at O PR

Even when you did better than expected, there are still lessons to learn…

“Woah! If you can pass maths with a good grade there clearly isn’t a challenge you can’t handle – but look at your best grades, it’s clear you excel at the things you’re interested in and you have never felt like crying in those lessons. This is your first career lesson. Choose projects and jobs that spark something in you/don’t make you cry and you’ll always do well”.

Ben Howson, Social Media Manager at O PR

Before receiving your results…

“There’s no need to worry if you don’t get the results you want. Richard Branson didn’t get any GCSEs and he still did pretty well. GCSEs are simply a stepping stone to the next stage and don’t define you!”

Alex Maybury, Senior Account Manager at O PR

On staying calm…

“As you pull your results out of the envelope don’t panic if you spot an F by gender, that’s not an actual grade! Take a deep breath and read your results properly before jumping the gun.”

Rebecca Connolly, PR and Social Account Executive at O PR

On revision time…

“Start revising a week before you think you should… cramming in revision last minute is stressful and not fun AT all, and giving yourself a little extra time will pay off. There’s nothing worse than panicking as you queue up wishing you’d spent those extra few days!

And when you’re waiting to go into the exam hall, don’t compare notes with your friends because inevitably you’ll always think they know more than you.”

Laura Ivory PR Account Executive at O PR

On giving yourself a break…

“Don’t stress and panic so much during you exams. When you open the envelope you’ll see you had nothing to worry about and you’d wish you’d relaxed a bit more. Plus, note to self, the stress you feel now has got nothing on your A-Levels and a University degree J … good luck!”

Sally Crossley, PR Account Manager at O PR

On thinking things through…

“Don’t worry, sit down and look at all the options available to you and choose what feels right! There are so many fantastic opportunities for you to progress to the next stage in your life.”

Kayleigh Hepburn, PR Account Manager at O PR

On the first experience of pressure…

“I remember results day being one of the first times I’d really felt pressure as a youngster, and that can be hard to deal with without experience of having conquered the feeling before. So looking back, I’d tell myself to simply relax and trust that the hard work you put in was already more than good enough, no matter the outcome.”

Kari Owers, Managing Director and Owner of O PR

On enjoying today…

“Enjoy today with your friends and families, you have worked hard and whatever the results you should take today to relax and feel proud you have got to this point.

If they aren’t the results you hope for, remember you have your whole life ahead of you with many more opportunities to keep learning and improving yourself. I’m still learning new things today – I wish I’d known that at sixteen!”

And another top tip…

“Get some work experience as early as possible, as an employer this is the thing I look for on CVs as well as your education – from skills learned by volunteering at clubs to a day or week spent at a workplace, a part-time job or work for a charity. It will really help you put your education and skills into context and drive you forward to the right education or career path for you.”


Good luck to everyone picking up their GCSE results today!

What Solar Eclipse? How Taylor Swift Won At Social Media Without Posting Anything

Forget the solar eclipse, the buzz on our social feeds has been all about Taylor Swift. But it’s not about her latest #selfie or shocking celebrity clap-back that’s made headlines.

Instead of posting a piece of new content the singer’s social presence completely wiped itself clean seemingly overnight. On August 18th (which conveniently coincided with a solar eclipse in the USA 2 days later) all of the existing messages, tweets, posts, etc from every social channel owned by the singer were wiped from existence. Even her website was replaced by a “Blank Space”.

Taylor Swift fans immediately went into meltdown trying to decipher what the meaning was. Some fans commented wondering whether it was in response to her recent court case and wanting to “Shake it Off”. More likely, it is an upcoming album launch.

Since then the first posts on the singer’s social channels after the blackout have now gone live and feature ominous teaser snake videos.

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on

Whilst not everyone here at O is a big-time a Swiftie fan it certainly got us thinking about how you would even go about deleting everything from your social platforms. This isn’t like when Ed Sheeran or Kanye West decided to delete their channels, as the accounts are still very much intact. Taylor Swift had close to 1k tweets on her Twitter channel before the social blackout. That would take a while to wash away especially without someone from her audience noticing what was happening.

Of course, it is highly plausible that members of Taylor’s team were hired to delete or archive the posts en masse however that would be a huge undertaking. If we extrapolate that it takes about 3 seconds give to delete one tweet that would be an equivalent of 50 minutes of solid deleting just on Twitter.

There are apps available that enable you users to delete activity in bulk. It is therefore quite possible that this would have been the easier way to manage this mass clear out quickly and quietly. Apps like Clear or Xpire are designed to search through your previous social activity and delete posts that may be embarrassing. This could then be extended to delete all tweets and photos so it wouldn’t be too much a stretch to see this happen.

The true nature of Taylor Swift’s sudden change will probably become apparent as more of this story develops and, while the genius of the PR buzz this has generated is undoubted, it does raise a few interesting points. So much of our lives exist on social media for the world to see, it may be worthwhile every so often to curate our own online personas. We are very careful to see how we look in real life so why would we not be as careful online? Companies now look at social profiles when hiring so maybe more of us could do with wiping our more embarrassing posts out of existence. Some of today’s politicians could definitely do with taking more care over what they have say in online.

Of course Taylor Swift could have just been hacked…it does seem unlikely though.



Micro-influencers are the latest buzzword in marketing, and their rise is all down to the higher levels of engagement they get from their followers.

We recently surveyed our UK network of hyperlocal influencers, those living in towns and cities across the UK, and found they tend to stay loyal to their local patch but also are keen to work with big brands and can be better value for money for marketers.

The survey discovered 63% of influencers said they loved working with local brands and companies, yet 100% stated they felt bigger brands should be working with regional bloggers more.

Showcasing their local influence for multi-site operators, UK regional bloggers are generally only prepared to travel between five to 10 miles of their home to eat out (46%), with 40% travelling less than five miles to go to the gym.

However when it comes to holidays, the opportunity to attract local bloggers to experience the best the UK has to offer is clear, as most UK regional bloggers are currently travelling abroad. Survey recipients said they normally travel more than four hours by aeroplane on holiday over shorter flights or driving.

So what are you waiting for? Here’s our five top tips to finding and working with hyperlocal influencers in your PR or marketing campaign.

5 top tips to working with hyperlocal influencers

  1. Know exactly what you are looking for

Micro-influencers can be harder to find, so you need a clear idea of the location, lifestyle and general outlook of the influencer you want to represent your brand.

When we came to launching DM’s LITE for Dr. Martens, we looked for hyperlocal influencers with the right ‘attitude’ and people who had a visual aesthetic on and we ended up working with DJs, stylists, BMXers and musicians to generate something unique in terms of content.

  1. Read the comments

The quickest way to check out an influencer’s engagement other than their blog traffic is to read their comments – look out for how they interact and respond to their followers, they should be swift and personal in their replies. Post likes are also a good indicator they have a highly engaged audience.

  1. Set them a challenge

The best influencers have a unique take on life, and on Instagram will have a clear aesthetic and prowess for photography. Don’t dictate how they should post your product or service, give them some freedom to put their own stamp on it to create some really unique and authentic content.

You are choosing an influencer for their personality, and their followers want to see that shine through. By all means give them your handle and hashtag, but don’t write their captions – just make sure they disclaim if it is a sponsored post, but let them do the rest.

  1. Make it personal

Of course you have a brand to promote, but how can you make it more authentic to your influencer? By grouping it with other products or experiences you know they enjoy, personalising it with their initials or making it relevant to something they have posted about recently – as a personal touch always goes a long way.

  1. Small doesn’t always mean free

Although we’d always advocate that good content creators are paid for their involvement, many hyperlocal influencers are prepared to work with a brand in return for gifting or experiences. However when they do charge, they are often less expensive so overall will be providing much better bang for your buck – when coupled with their engagement rates it’s a no brainer for a marketing campaign.


We were delighted to work with Northumbrian Water Group on its first ever Innovation Festival last week, which saw some of the world’s leading brains come together to tackle major social and environmental challenges.


Our crew headed to Newcastle Racecourse event, to look after the visiting national media and bloggers, as well as support the #NWGInnovationFestival team across social media with live feeds and regular festival updates.

Working with our partners Get Film and presenter Kim Inglis, IF TV brought the festival to life online, with Facebook live during the day and a nightly show online at 7pm rounding off each day’s progress.

IFTV daily online shows reported on everything from morning yoga in the Wellness Tent, to following the daily ‘sprints’ where businesses, universities, schools and members of the public looked at a range of issues, including flooding, the environment and social inclusion.

The big questions under consideration during the week were:

  • ‘Rain, Hail or Shine’: How can we reduce flooding? Led by headline sponsor IBM
  • ‘Keep It Flowing’: What do we know about leakage from water pipes and how can we fix it? Led by NWG
  • ‘Preparing for the Future’: How do we upgrade our infrastructure for the 21st Century effectively and affordably? Led by headline sponsor Reece Innovation
  • ‘Tomorrow’s World’: What will living and working look like in 2030? Led by headline sponsor CGI
  • ‘How Green is Your City?’: What can businesses do to improve the environment in the North East? Led by headline sponsor Ordnance Survey
  • ‘21st Century Reach’: How can we optimise a mobile workforce for a complex network business? Led by headline sponsor BT

North East young people were involved too – as future leaders and customers they attended all sprints and launched a national competition to design a teenagers bedroom of the future

To find out more about what took place at the NWG Innovation Festival go to for all the updates from the week.


O Blog (2)

What better way to kick start the summer than with an Alcohol Awareness Session for all the staff at O PR, after all a healthy body equals a healthy mind.

As part of our ongoing Better Health at Work activity, health advocates from the NHS popped into the office last week to educate the team on how to drink responsibly and dispel the myths of the often confusing area of how to determine a unit.  In our line of work, we are often either hosting or invited to social events throughout the year where drinks are flowing freely so this was a great opportunity to re-educate ourselves and more importantly get advice on the effects of drinking in moderation.

Safe to say we will be arranging an alcohol-free night out and embracing our Fresh Fridays putting our new found alcohol awareness knowledge to the test.

Newcastle isn’t short of places to enjoy a cocktail or two but if you leave your beer goggles at home you’ll see the booze-less blends and creative concoctions of alcohol-free tipples on offer…

  1. Cucumber & Rosemary Cooler, The Botanist, Newcastle

Cucumber and rosemary muddled with a touch of sugar syrup, elderflower cordial lengthened with fresh lime and apple juice. Extremely clean and refreshing.

  1. Raspberry, Grape & Elderflower Cooler, The Botanist, Newcastle

Orange and cranberry juice shaken with black grapes, elderflower cordial, a splash of sugar syrup and raspberry purée.

  1. Berry Good Times, The Botanist, Newcastle

Fresh blueberries, blackberries, mind and a touch of raspberry syrup. Shaken with apple and cranberry juice, garnished with a sprig of mind for the fresh forest berry look.

  1. Fizzy Herbed Pineapple Lemonade, Yolo Townhouse, Newcastle

Pineapple juice mixed with fresh lime juice and fresh lemon juice, infused with fresh basil and fresh mint and topped with soda water.

  1. Virgin Apple Mojito, Yolo Townhouse, Newcastle

Fresh mint and lime juice mixed with sugar syrup, apple juice and topped with ginger ale.


Social media, has become an integrated part of our every day life. A world where egos and even happiness relies on virtual likes, and let’s face it, is something we all struggle to live without.

But what was life even like before social media? It’s hard to think how it has changed our daily behaviour.

We decided to find out what members of the team here at O didn’t do before social media existed, to really see how it has affected our lives.

What did/didn’t you do before social media? Tweet us @OPRtweets and join in the conversation!


By Lauren Regan-Ingram, food and drink sector account manager

Vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian and our favourite, ‘plant-curious’ – whatever you call it, going meat free is big news. But what does that mean for the food industry in 2017?

Simon Amstell’s hilariously dark new mockumentary, Carnage: Swallowing the Past imagines a world where veganism is the norm. Meat eaters are referred to as ‘carnists’ and young people reflect on the UK’s dark history of consuming meat, eggs and dairy

And Simon should be happy, sales of vegetarian and vegan products are at all-time high.

Carnage is absurd, funny and thought-provoking – a world where men meet women in dark alleys to buy breast milk in order to get their dairy fix and where teenagers can’t imagine how their grandparents could ever have eaten ‘an innocent little baby lamb’. But, could a world without mass factory farming ever be a reality?

Over 12% of the UK population identify as either vegan or vegetarian, and 20% of 16-25 year olds self-identify this way. A recent poll shows that there are over 3 million vegetarians in the UK today and research, drawn up by Forum for the Future, shows that 40 percent of people in the UK have expressed an interest in eating less meat, without becoming vegetarian. A far-cry from the stereotypical hipsters and hippies, it looks like meat-free is about to become mainstream.


Vegan and vegetarian food producers have reported a rise in sales, however the UK is not about to turn vegetarian any time soon. The key push is for meat-reduction as the general public becomes more aware of global farming and its impact on our planet, as well the health benefits which cutting down on our meat intake can have.

Mike Botha, founder of Hooba Foods; a vegan food company based in the North East said, “We believe in less meat, not necessarily no meat at all. 7 billion people live on planet Earth. We rear 70 billion farm animals to feed us. That’s us well and truly outnumbered! Do we really need all these farm animals? The truth is that we don’t. We ‘grow’ enough food to feed 12-15 billion people. However, 1 billion people are starving each day. How is this possible?

Not only that, the NHS recommends that an adult eats no more than 70 grams of red or processed meat per day to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and even cancer. You don’t need to go completely vegan, just cutting down on your meat consumption is good for you as well as the planet.”

Supermarkets and big brands are starting to catch on to the growing base of customers who want to adopt a more plant-based diet. Sainsbury’s have recently launched a new, clearer way of labelling their vegan and veggie products and Tesco’s ‘free-from’ range hangs proudly from store ceilings, encompassing gluten and sugar-free products too.

Amstell’s vision looks unlikely, 55 billion animals are killed by the global farming industry each year, and this figure is on the rise. However, the rise in awareness of its global impact could mean that the public are starting to seriously consider what they are consuming, and how it affects their health as well as the future of the planet.




Work experience is an important part of your career development providing you with hands on industry experience and giving you the chance to test out careers. Of course, it is mutually beneficial for the company and individual. Those who have joined O for work experience have helped to keep us on our toes and have often become longer term employees!

We asked Amy Davidson to share what she has learned from her time at O HQ on during work experience:

“I think work experience is essential in assisting with the transition between education and working life so I took on work experience at O whilst studying in my final year at university. It provided the opportunity to gain invaluable skills, explore new and exciting experiences whilst helping to discover what type of work I’m are passionate about pursuing.

The O team 😊 #newcastle #northeast #thebotanist #opr #ois10 #birthday #party #team

A post shared by O (@oprpics) on

Since the start of my part time Opprenticeship at O PR I have gained an insight into the stimulating world of PR. Learning about the industry I believe I now obtain a much greater understanding of and the diverse work undertaken by O.

My written skills have developed through completing wide-ranging research and creating various written content for online and offline channels. Coupling this with having the responsibility of on-going tasks meant I have also gained the opportunity to assist on live work that is meaningful to the client.

In addition to developing my written abilities, my transferable skills have evolved through this six-month placement. Working within time slots, organisation and time management have been crucial as well as being consistently proactive with my approach to each task set by the team.

This experience has encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and push my skills to the best of my capability. I would definitely recommend that young people, students and emerging professionals get involved with industry experience. Internships and placements are a fantastic way to take your first step into the world of work!”



By @KariOwers

We’ve just returned from Pure at London’s Olympia where the talk of the town was very much our two favourite buzzwords – content and influencers!

For fashion brands and retailers alike brand awareness is vital, so using the rising army of digital influencers and being able to produce great quality editorial content were very much the biggest takeaways from the event. and are two of our favourite bloggers and they both gave some valuable tips on working with influencers.

Top tips for working with influencers:

  • Always ask before gifting an influencer – don’t just send product randomly. Good influencers can get a lot of mail – be selective and make sure they want to receive it or it could end up in a charity shop!
  • Have a contract in place for campaigns – and do feel free to negotiate on price and posts and make sure you get link backs to your website
  • Don’t DM an influencer on social – find out their email and make contact to say hi and why – it’s all about building a relationship
  • Always respect the law regarding disclosure when an influencer is producing sponsored content
  • Look for micro-influencers with a lower but really engaged following – check out their comments and see how engaged their audience is. They are often keen to work with new brands and can give you the best return and reach with your desired audience
  • Seek out the older influencer – The Grey Fox blog is aimed at men over 40 (a demographic with high disposable income) so the growing older blogger community that is well worth hunting out

Sheerluxe is a publishing platform that gave an insightful talk to brands and online retailers about the importance of producing frequent and quality content that appeals to your target audience. Founder Georgie Coleridge-Cole of had lots to say on the subject.


Content Marketing tips

  • Content doesn’t always have to be features – educational how-to content based on common search enquiries is vital for SEO
  • Inspirational content should seed an idea with the consumer – provide something lovely to influence them into that extra unplanned purchase, so it could be ways in which a product can be worn or applied or an influencer style inspiration, make it very visual
  • Lifestyle content is really important if you want to keep the consumer on your site longer and come back repeatedly, so broaden your subject matter beyond your products but always try to link it back to some suggested purchases e.g. can do an Ibiza travel feature but suggest some bikinis, shoes and sunglasses within the article
  • Content is important everywhere – even product descriptions should read beautifully and give as much added information as possible to make the customer feel well informed e.g. what size the model is wearing is often left out but so important
  • Work with influencers to create your content – see above!

But don’t forget your customers too, if you can mine your social mentions for user generated content to share then do.