O ATTRACTS SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSWOMAN MICHELE FINCH FROM RETIREMENT TO AID GROWTH PLANS

Michele

Check out our latest team announcement! Welcome to O Michele…

NEWCASTLE PR, social and content agency O has added to its growing team with the appointment of Michele Finch as business development manager.

Michele was formerly a director of TOFFS, The Old Fashioned Football Shirt Company, where she grew the business which researched, licenced, manufactured and retailed retro football shirts to become a worldwide success worn by thousands of football fans including the likes of Kayne West and The Civil Service FC,worn at the first ever football match staged at Buckingham Palace. Prior to that she worked in business development in the UK hotel industry.

After selling her business in 2015 she has been brought back from early retirement to work for former North East Woman Entrepreneur of the Year and founder of O, Kari Owers who she had previously worked with as a client.

Michele said: “I have known Kari and worked with her team over the years and have always thought they are a very special agency; their understanding of PR in a digital world makes them both creative and results-driven which is what every client wants.

“When I heard their growth plans and that they were looking for someone to join them, I didn’t need to be asked twice – retirement came far too early for me and I’m really excited about being part of such a vibrant local company that’s working with national brand names.”

O PR has a roster of impressive clients including the likes of Goldsmiths jewellers, Dr. Martens and the UK’s largest holiday park firm Parkdean Resorts, as well as recently announcing its contract win with Husqvarna, the makers of Flymo.

Managing director at O, Kari Owers said: “Our agency has recorded double digit growth for the last three years running, and we have ambitious plans ahead to continue that curve, so it was time to bring in additional expertise to aid our expansion.

“Michele has over two decades of knowledge of running a global business from the North East, and having been a client, she knows first-hand what we do to help brands grow their reputation and can translate that to others first hand. We are delighted she has joined the team, and is the fourth new face we have recruited in recent months.”

Ouseburn-based O was founded in 2005 and has won over 50 industry awards, including being named in the PR Week Best Places to Work Awards in 2016.

ARE YOU PLANT-CURIOUS? HOW GOING MEAT-FREE IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS

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.

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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.

 

 

AMY DAVIDSON: MY WORK EXPERIENCE AT O

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!”

PURE LONDON Show Report

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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.

www.LibertyLondonGirl.com and www.GreyFoxBlog.com 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 www.sheerluxe.com had lots to say on the subject.

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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. Net-a-Porter.com 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.

We’re On The Hunt For An Agency PA

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Can you juggle the diaries of two busy directors, organise an annual calendar of social and charity activities, help plan a glittering company event and still keep your cool?

This is an opportunity to join one of the UK’s “Best Places to Work (PR Week Awards) and be a multi-tasking lynchpin within a fast-growing, creative PR agency.

Ideally a Part Time position, with flexible working hours, based in central Newcastle with parking – great salary and opportunities.

Experience as a director level PA is required.

Interested? Send your CV and covering note to kari@opr.co.uk.

2017 DIGITAL TREND PREDICTIONS

oxmascard2What a year! 2016 has been a rather tempestuous one. It all started with a landslide of celebrity faces sadly passing away, then we left the EU, our Prime Minister resigned leaving us to it and then, as if we hadn’t suffered enough, Donald Trump – a guy who had more experience in reality TV and random film cameos than politics, became the President Elect for the US. Stupendous.

On the bright side, digital and social media became even more of a hot topic with incredible advancements and debates stealing the headlines. Many of the developments we predicted this time last year came true *cough cough*…

So what’s in store for 2017? More of the same or, let’s hope, positive change. Read on to see our top five digital predictions for the year ahead…

  1. LESS WORDS, MORE PICTURES

As we edge closer to mimicking the predictions of George Orwell’s 1984 – words on social media will become increasingly limited with a preference for visual communication. Whether that is using emojis in search, facial recognition instead of passwords or video chatting with a customer service team.

  1. TRUST IN SOCIAL MEDIA NEWSFEEDS WILL DECLINE

The US election came as shock to Hilary supporters and we heard the words ‘but everyone I know voted for her!’ The same happened with remain supporters here in the UK who were baffled that the country voted to leave. This haunted us until the penny dropped that for most of us, our primary news source is Facebook and Twitter. Which means, due to social media algorithms giving preference to content we have previously engaged with, the articles and opinions we are exposed to are similar to our own. In 2017 social platforms will react to this but it will take years to effectively address. It will however, shake up our acceptance of the content we see with trust in social content dropping, especially for millennials.

  1. MOBILE FIRST

For the first time in history, mobile overtook desktop in terms of web traffic. In 2017, we will remain addicted to our mobile phones and expect more from brands and services as a result. As a minimum websites need to be optimised with mobile user experience in mind with mobile payments and app integration becoming increasingly common.

  1. HYPERLOCAL INFLUENCER OUTREACH

The Zoella’s and Tanya Burr’s of the world will still be cashing in on their multi-million pound endorsements but brands will start to think more locally when it comes to blogger and influencer outreach. When it comes to driving footfall, product engagement and grass roots influence local and hyperlocal influencers hold the key to targeted engagement. This year we spoke to Campaign Magazine about our work and success with hyperlocal influencers for our clients.

  1. EXPERIENTIAL SOCIAL MEDIA EXECUTION

We’re in an information-overload, product saturation period where consumers are beginning to increasingly place more value on experiences. We’ll see more live and real time content on social media bringing consumers closer to the action as well as further digital incorporation during events such as Virtual Reality.

Any we’ve missed? We’d love to know your thoughts. Tweet us at @OPRTweets.

What marks the countdown to Christmas For You? (Clue: TV ads play a big part!)

Last Friday officially marked the start of the Christmas period in the North East as the highly anticipated Fenwick window display was revealed. Continuing 45 years of tradition, the annual display was as enchanting as ever – dedicating the 38 metre long window to Beatrix Potter in honour of the 150th anniversary.

A more recent tradition that has captured the hearts and imaginations of the nation is the Christmas adverts that hit our small screens in the lead up to the big day. High street retailers such as John Lewis, Aldi and Sainsbury’s battle it out every year to be crowned the best and with just seven weeks to go, we can’t wait to watch (and re-watch) them all.

John Lewis kick-started the trend for lavish Christmas commercials in 2007 with ‘Shadows’ and has since produced heart-warming short films including ‘Monty The Penguin’, ‘The Bear and the Hare’ and of course 2015’s ’The Man On The Moon’ which saw them team up with Age UK. All eyes are on this year’s ad which launched on Thursday (above). Have a watch and let us know what you think – did it have you reaching for the tissues again?

Attempting to pull on our heart strings last night, Aldi showcased their Christmas advert featuring an endearing character Kevin the Carrot and his festive adventure. Other retailers including House of Fraser, TK Maxx, Very and Currys PC World have all released their Christmas campaigns this week ahead of retail giant John Lewis but what marks the start of the festive period for you?

We asked the O Team what marks the start of the Christmas countdown for them and this is what they had to say:

  • Lauren – “It has to be the Fenwick Christmas window for me and as a huge fan of Beatrix Potter growing up, this year’s theme is right up my street. Besides The Snowman display from 2005, it’s definitely up there as my favourite of all time!”

 

  • Holly – “As soon as you see the Coca Cola ‘Holidays are coming’ advert you have permission to get Christmassy but for me, as soon as bonfire night is over the countdown begins!”

 

  • Rebecca Connolly – “As soon as I’ve baked my annual Christmas cake and watched my favourite Christmas film, ‘Elf’, its Christmas for me!”

 

  • Kelly – “My birthday is October 30 (the day before Halloween) so once that is done and dusted I’m ready to start thinking about Christmas. The first day I have to give in and turn on the central heating is another big thing!”

 

  • Kayleigh – “For me, radio stations playing Christmas songs marks the start of the Christmas period. You just can’t beat driving into work singing along to All I Want for Christmas is You!”

 

  • Laura – “I would say when the John Lewis advert comes on the TV, the hype around it is crazy and it gets me excited for Christmas shopping!”

 

What marks the Christmas countdown for you? Tweet us at @oprtweets.

Are you our next social media star?

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With our rapidly expanding client base we’re on the hunt for an experienced, creative, Social Media Star to work across a range of clients.

Here’s what we’re looking for….

  • At least 2 years’ experience in social or digital media
  • Experience using all social media channels
  • Experience working directly with clients
  • An excellent writer with the ability to craft content to fit the social platform
  • An understanding of social media analytics
  • An experienced content creator be it design assets or blog content
  • Some experience with paid social media advertising
  • A broad understanding of social media news and trends.
  • Above all, we’re looking for an O person – someone who isn’t afraid to get stuck in and is full of ideas and enthusiasm.

Does that sound like you? Get in touch!

Send your CV and 3 examples of your work to our Digital Content Director at holly@opr.co.uk

#OABOUTTOWN – A CITY GUIDE TO EDINBURGH

Covering all that’s happening and unique in our wonderful Great Britain; this week our #OAboutTown city guide takes us to Edinburgh…

A dose of history…

Explore the iconic Edinburgh Castle and feel like royalty on a trip to this historic fortress which can be seen around the city. Edinburgh’s Old Town – the oldest part of the city – also takes you back in time, as it has preserved much of its medieval history and is now home to various shops, bars and restaurants.


Shopaholics’ heaven…

Shopping fans – rejoice! Edinburgh is home to a bustling district of high street retailers, designers, and independent stores.

One to note is Harvey Nichols, as ladies can pull up a chair in its Champagne Nail Bar and get a fresh polish whilst looking out at views of the city – bliss!

 

 

Lunch, street food style…

Edinburgh’s street food scene isn’t one to be missed! With tastes from around the globe, broaden your taste buds and try something new!

A few of our favourites are Ting Thai Caravan – a true taste of Thailand, ideal for an express lunch, Tangs – a small Japanese eatery with mouth wateringly good sushi and Illegal Jack’s – a serious cool Tex Mex hotspot.

 

Sky high views…

Go on a rooftop tour of St Giles’ Cathedral for amazing views across the city, where you can see everything from The Old Mile to Edinburgh Castle, offering great photo opportunities! As part of the tour you’ll also learn about the fascinating history of the Cathedral and get to see its impressive 50 meter high spire.

 

Festive fun…

With Christmas on its way, Edinburgh oozes festive flair each year, with the arrival of its famous Christmas market and various outdoor ice rinks. This year, festive frolics run from 18th November 2016 until 7th January 2017 – ideal for picking up any unique Christmas gifts, or simply getting in the festive spirit.

 

 

Time to be pampered…

Take a break from exploring the city and unwind with a Champagne afternoon tea spa day at The Balmoral Hotel. Choose from a selection of treatments and make use of the spa’s luxury facilities – go on, you deserve it!

 

 

Dinner time…

Found on the city’s bustling main strip, Twenty Princes Street boasts an eclectic menu selection with options to set visiting foodies’ mouths watering.

Offering stunning views across the city in a cosmopolitan setting, the restaurant uses only the best locally sourced produce to create seasonal dishes, tempting options include Scottish Spring Lamb Rump, Korean Barbequed Spatchcock Poussin and Soy and Honey Glazed Salmon. Make sure to browse the extensive cocktail menu to pair a stylish accompanying tipple with your meal – cheers!

 

Where are your favourite places to visit in Edinburgh? Tweet us @OPRTweets

FACEBOOK ANNOUNCES LIFESTAGE – BUT HOW WILL IT RATE WITH TODAY’S SOCIALLY SPOILT TEENS?

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In a bid to recapture its younger audience, Facebook has launched a social media network for those aged 21 and under – Lifestage.

Built by a teen for teens – 19-year-old Michael Sayman, a Facebook intern who spent his early teens learning to code – Lifestage is all about video content, allowing users to shoot videos which make up their profile for friends to watch, rather than filing it with simple text, bringing Facebook’s university origin’s into 2016.

As Snapchat’s daily usage figures continue to rise with teens and young people predominantly, video content is certainly the future, and the younger generation’s preferred medium – lessons which Lifestage seems to have taken on board. But is this new platform too similar to recruit an audience of its own?

Features designed to aid teens’ safety online include a simple swipe to block, which reports users who are trying to interact with teens on the network inappropriately. Over 21s can sign up to Lifestage, but won’t have access to view any other profile than their own. Of course teens’ safety online shouldn’t be taken lightly, but will a segmented platform for teens to engage with solely teens set itself up to fail? Leaving users feeling like they’re being treated like children, and having their activity heavily policed?

We certainly give Lifestage points for its ballsy age-focussed approach, going great guns into assuming that today’s teens are interested in the same things, but whether this will pay off, is another story…

The Lifestage app is currently available on iOS in the US and it has not been confirmed whether it will roll out to Android devices or further afield.

What are your thoughts on Facebook’s latest creation? Tweet us @OPRtweets.