INNOVATION FESTIVAL ANSWERS THE BIG QUESTIONS

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.

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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 https://www.futureroom.today/

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

O PR’S GUIDE TO SUMMER MOCKTAILS

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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.

WHAT THE O TEAM DIDN’T DO BEFORE SOCIAL MEDIA

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!

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