Ready, set…bake! The Great British Bake Off’s Howard Middleton comes to Inspired Villages.

With this year’s Great British Bake Off finale drawing in a whopping 6.5 million viewers, it’s safe to say that Britain is still in the midst of a Bake-Off fever! On Tuesday 24th October, fans of the much-loved show were in for a treat when former series 4 contestant, Howard Middleton, demonstrated his best bakes for the festive season ahead at Inspired Villages, Tattenhall.

Inspired residents and locals alike were invited to Eric’s restaurant on-site to watch the Bake-Off star rustle up a delicious array of Christmas delights, including a clementine and almond cake and frangipane mince pies with a ‘cherry berry’ mincemeat. As well as receiving some top baking tips, the audience were left entertained by Howard’s hilarious anecdotes from the nation’s favourite baking TV series, including the infamous ‘custard-gate’ incident.

The Source were approached by Inspired to raise the profile of their Tattenhall scheme and create a comprehensive plan of PR, marketing and event activity to communicate the quality of lifestyle, facilities and accommodation offered at the retirement village, as well as involve the wider community. We devised the Bake-Off event to acquaint locals in the area with Inspired, create positive regional press coverage and raise Inspired’s profile as a state-of-the-art retirement village with an exciting programme of events.

The proof of the pudding was in the full house of guests, extensive regional coverage, as well as a great deal of fun and laughter had by all.

For more information on organising events and getting your business noticed, please get in touch on 01829 720 789 or email info@thesourcepartnership.com.

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Store Dubbed Mini IKEA Arrives in Chester to Record-Breaking Queues

Interiors fans, brace yourselves… Last week we helped Danish brand, Søstrene Grene, open their Chester store in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. The homewares brand is famed for its huge product range; from quirky kitchen accessories and sumptuous soft furnishings to stylish ceramics at affordable prices.

Approached by Søstrene for our extensive experience in the retail sector, knowledge of the region (and perhaps for our penchant for everything Scandi), we held an exclusive VIP launch event on Thursday, 19th October, followed by an official public opening on Friday, 20th.

Only the second store in the country, there is little or no knowledge of the brand in the UK and so we were tasked with not only increasing brand awareness regionally, but we also introduced national press to the cult-homewares business.

Our launch campaign included working closely with the Danish team to compile social media content, as well as securing press coverage in local and regional press, which resulted in Søstrene Grene featuring in a huge variety of regional publications.   We also worked with a local radio station to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to the VIP and official openings.

Over 100 people attended the VIP launch event, including regional press and bloggers, as well as a wide demographic of guests, who all enjoyed fizz and canapes from local bar and restaurant, The Botanist whilst browsing the store.

For the public launch the following day, there were hundreds of eager shoppers wanting to get in on the action, with queues through Grosvenor Shopping Centre and into the street, which hasn’t been seen in the centre for many years.

For more information on launch events or introducing brands into the UK, please get in touch on 01829 720789 or email info@thesourcepartnership.com.

Three Clients Nominated for Cheshire Business Awards 2017

It’s an exciting day in The Source offices today with not one, not even two, but THREE of our clients being nominated for the prestigious Trinity Mirror Cheshire Business Awards 2017.

We love an award entry at The Source and don’t mind us if we say we’re pretty good at it. Of course, it helps that our amazing clients have plenty to shout about! The Chester Grosvenor hotel, The Ice Cream Farm and Text Local have been nominated for the Employer of the Year award, the Innovation and Enterprise Award and the Business of the Year award (over 50 employees) respectively.

The awards recognise excellence, innovation and achievement across the Cheshire region. With a staggering 48% increase in entries this year, we’d like to congratulate our clients for getting to this stage, as it was a particularly competitive shortlisting process!

The awards ceremony will be held at Chester Cathedral on Friday 6th October. For more information, visit http://www.eventsnorthwest.co.uk/cheshire-business-awards/.

Landing a PR Internship: How to Shine and Make the Most of your Time

If you’re a student or recent graduate, the chances are you’ll have started your job hunt only to be met with a disheartening response to your applications:

“Unfortunately, your current experience does not meet the requirements for this role”.

The reality is, experience is the all-important tick-box on your CV that demonstrates the willingness to progress professionally and bridges the gap between ‘graduate’ and ‘young professional’. It can make the difference between your application being ignored or earmarked for potential.

Sound daunting? Fear not! At The Source, we go out of our way to help those looking for more work experience. Here are our top-tips on how to make the most of your first internship in PR.

 

Ask Questions

Internships are generally between one week and three months long, so it’s vital that you spend that time learning as much as possible. Don’t hesitate to ask your team questions and pick their brains on topics that interest you. There’s no such thing as a stupid question – the whole point of an internship is to expand your knowledge and skill-sets.

Show Initiative

If you studied English or a media-related degree, you’ll be able to put your creativity and flair for writing to fantastic use. PR is an industry that thrives on fresh ideas and thinking outside the box. Got an idea for a blog post, or spot something trending on Twitter? Voice it! Rather than wait for your line manager to provide you with a new task, always ask if there’s anything you can help with to make sure you’re exposing yourself to a varied workload.

Keep a log of everything you’ve achieved

Make sure that you’re keeping a note of your day-to-day tasks and everything that you’re learning. By the end of the internship period, you’ll have a backlog of work and skill-sets to show for yourself that you can add straight to your CV and wow a prospective employer with at interview.

If you’re a student or graduate keen to gain experience in PR and Marketing, why not drop us a line? We’re also recruiting for PR Assistants and PR Account Managers, so send in your CV today!

 

enquiries@thesourcepartnership.com

NEW BUSINESS, NEW EMPLOYEES & NEW LOOK FOR THE SOURCE

One of the region’s leading PR, marketing and digital agencies is celebrating after a flurry of new business wins and the appointment of five new members of staff as the team grows to cope with the demand for its PR, marketing and digital services.

The business growth has also been manifested in a new brand ‘The Source’ (previously The Source Partnership) to reflect the company’s ambition and client focus. The new brand has been extended across all communication streams including its popular social media platforms as well as a new website and company video.

Joining the team are five new account handlers including Scarlett Lawson who joins from Meri Mance PR in London, Chelsie Taylor who joins from Glyndwr University’s communication team while Sara Perrett, Jo Sherwood and Evie Shaw join after graduating and spending a year in the industry. Emily Gibbons from Loud Designs will also be working with the team from their new offices in Tattenhall.

The Source has secured a wave of new business wins as clients look for effective PR and marketing support as well as ways to raise their profile in the social media and digital marketplace. Recent account wins include local businesses such as; Chester’s Grosvenor Hotel, the impressive Bolesworth International Horse Show and the Sticky Walnut Group, where The Source helped secure a record-breaking amount of crowd-funding for their new Liverpool restaurant Wreckfish.

Further afield, The Source has started work on cover suppliers to Wimbledon, Stuart Canvas, Europac 3D, one of the UK’s leading 3D printing and design companies, as well as Freedome, which is believed to be the UK’s safest trampoline park that featured on Good Morning Britain last month.

Louis Hill, Partner at The Source, comments; “These are exciting times at The Source as we grow the team, take on new business and celebrate the successes with our new brand and website. We can see that there is a positive outlook amongst the businesses in the region as they see the benefits in effective marketing and sharing with their customers some of the excellent work that they do.

“The team gets enormous satisfaction in supporting clients in their ambitions and we look forward to continuing to build the business and to help our clients reach their potential through more effective marketing and communications.”

The Source is based in Tattenhall and offers a wide range of services including media relations, social media management and digital communications. The company, established in 2012, works across the UK and supports businesses from all sectors including property, manufacturing, retail as well as food and fashion.

HOW UNITED AIRLINES FLEW INTO A CRISIS

The horrific scenes captured on smart phones and shared across social media platforms gave a pretty candid view of the approach United Airlines take to customer service.

If anyone is looking for an example of a PR crisis then this has to be top of the tree.  It contained all the key ingredients: an awful experience, injured customers, a wide audience of viewers, video footage of the incident and a conflict with the company’s brand and values. All this plus a dreadful response from Oscar Munoz, United’s CEO and recent winner of the title ‘Communicator of the year’ in the US version of PR Week.

So, what could have been done better?  Firstly, the CEO should have quickly offered an unreserved apology for forcibly removing a passenger from his seat and publically dragging him down an overbooked aircraft aisle.

Timeliness and decisiveness are key to communications and Munoz missed his chance when the initial apology was for ‘having to re-accommodate … customers’.  Secondly, he made the mistake of assuming communications to employees won’t find their way into the mainstream media.  In a crisis, it’s best to assume that nothing is off the record and that any recorded or written communication will find its way to the media as they clamour to keep the story alive.

Thirdly, don’t publically criticise your customers however “disruptive and belligerent” they may be.  Let’s also not forget that the customer had bought his seat in good faith and only found himself in that situation because of United Airlines’ policy to overbook their flights.

So, does it really matter and will today’s news be tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappers?  In my view, unfortunately not.  Munoz missed the boat as it was not until 72 hours later that he issued a proper apology, calling the episode “truly horrific.” Future customers may be relieved that he now finally wants us to know that “we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right” and that he will “promise I’ll do better.” (hopefully there won’t be a next time..?).

Three days after the incident and the top trending topic on Twitter in the U.S. was #NewUnitedAirlinesMottos, with users suggesting slogans such as “not enough seating, prepare for a beating”, while memes and jokes are also appearing on other social media sites meaning that the issue will reach wider audiences and stay for some time yet.

Financially, United Continental (UAL) shares, have lost more than UD$250m and are now around 4% lower than they were pre-incident.  The video, which circumnavigates language and cultural boundaries, has also attracted huge audiences in China, one of United’s key emerging markets (attracting more than 100m views, and rising).

Mr Munoz is currently looking to hold onto his position, however perhaps that’s now looking increasingly unlikely, largely due to a poor PR response at the outset of his company’s crisis.

PREDICTING THE UNPREDICTABLE

2016 was perhaps the most unpredictable year for decades with the rank outsider Mr Trump winning the US elections, Britain voting to head for the European exit and Leicester City winning the UK’s Premier League at odds of more than 5000 / 1.

You could therefore argue what’s the point in making predictions for 2017, when some of the biggest events of the last year were not foreseen by anyone?  Perhaps our time should be better spent being ready to identify, embrace and accept change.

With the speed of technological evolution there’s no doubt that all businesses and sectors will face exponential change, with the potential of many being left behind if they don’t accept it.

Examples of companies that failed to predict trends and react to it include the likes of Kodak, who in 1998 had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.

We could also look at the likes of Uber, they don’t own any cars and are the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don’t own any properties.

If we look at Artificial Intelligence, IBM Watson is challenging the legal sector by offering basic legal advice within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. Some predict that as a result there will be 90% fewer lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.

It’s forecast that by the end of the year / early 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear and by around 2020, the industry will start to be completely disrupted. People won’t own cars but will use cars like driverless taxis where there’s no need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving.  There’s no doubt this will reduce accidents and also the need for insurance.

Traditional car companies are threatened by tech companies such as Tesla, Apple and Google who are essentially building a computer on wheels.  Let’s also not forget that this, alongside the growth of 3D printing and a suggestion that by 2027 10% of everything produced will be 3D printed, there will also be cost savings.

So what’s important now is for companies to identify business priorities, opportunities as well as threats to determine how they need to position and market themselves if they are to succeed.

No doubt, some will stick their heads in the sand, others will keep to what they know, while some will embrace different mediums and channels to push their boundaries and explore all opportunities available to them.

I’d hazard a guess that it’s the latter group who will make the biggest strides, engage with their customers and build a loyal following that will be useful to them now and for years to come.

Embrace the opportunities

So, if you’re looking to embrace the opportunities, where should your time be best spent?  Genuine engagement with target audiences remains key and a conscious effort to listen, engage and deliver consistently across all channels is key.

There’s no doubt that the various media mediums will continue to grow and evolve as the primary source of information, news and opinion.  The various platforms will continue to battle and evolve their offering, but their importance can’t be underestimated – as illustrated by Donald Trump using Twitter for significant policy announcements.

No one would have predicted this this time last year, so remember – be prepared for the unpredictable.

CAN YOU TRUMP THE MEDIA

Less than a week into Donald Trump’s new presidency it seems that one of his primary battles will be with the media, potentially distracting audiences away from bigger issues such as the Middle East, the future of NATO or the global economy.

It’s not the detail of who attended the inauguration that matters, more who’s telling the truth. The media in all honesty has had a negative relationship with the Trump camp since he first stood as a candidate. The intensity of their distain for him only increased with the various statements and actions that happened during the campaign as well as his tendency to be inconsistent with either policies or facts as highlighted in the inauguration figures.

When relationships get petty, it’s the service to the public and audiences that suffers the most. It could even be argued that part of the reason that President Trump was so successful was the fact that the liberal media did not take him (or his supporters) seriously, only choosing to scandalise some of his comments, or even paint them in a disingenuous light. In doing so they ignored what turned out to be a ‘silent’ majority of opinion.

So, where next? In my view, the media and politicians must co-exist in a symbiotic relationship where both need and use each other. Politicians who ignore the media do so at their peril, while equally media outlets that are starved of access will also struggle to compete with their competitors.

It’s worth looking back at when the Blair government ‘went to war’ with the BBC over the war in Iraq, culminating with Andrew Gilligan’s misleading report that the Government had ‘sexed up’ intelligence. It was poor reporting and they were held to account, however the animosity of highlighting their poor reporting was not well received and led to pettiness and squabbling for years to come.

Let’s also consider how the ‘media’ has changed significantly since 2003, with the growth of social media and ‘unregulated’ on-line channels and sources of information. Trump can now communicate directly to more than 21.5m people every time he tweets. When his message is retweeted, or reported on, the numbers can grow exponentially and dwarf even some of the most powerful outlets. This should not be underestimated by media owners.

The mainstream media is also under pressure to sensationalise stories in order to keep up with the less accountable on-line outlets. In doing so however they need to be cautious not to lose their credibility as recently highlighted when Time Magazine deliberately and incorrectly reported that the bust of Martin Luther King had been removed from the White House when Trump moved in. Fake reports like this need to be held accountable if the media is to retain its credibility.

The freedom of the press is paramount in a free society, however with this comes a very high level of responsibility. Whatever you think of Trump, to maintain credibility, openness and ultimately the support of the public it’s important to remain objective in the analysing and reporting of the facts. This is the only way the faith and belief in the media will be maintained and Donald will be Trumped.

12 THINGS YOU’LL ONLY UNDERSTAND IF YOU WORK AT THE SOURCE PARTNERSHIP

It’s safe to say, that at TSP, we’ve all gotten into our daily routines and habits (good and bad) and we’ve no doubt that they differ significantly from other offices – we’re very unique and we know it! So from the positive to the negative, we thought we’d sum up the top twelve TSP moments of the working week! (N.B: If hungry, do not read – there may be one or two mentions of food).

1) Our impressive tea selection:

A normal tea? Please 💁.

Don’t forget our beauty tea, lady grey, peppermint, chamomile, ginger, nettle, passion fruit and whatever else you could think to brew! The only issue is (and now we are being picky) the kitchen in our new office is down stairs, so the tea run is quite the job. Don’t forget the recurrent office debate: leave the teabag in or take it out… and don’t get us started on Chelsie’s ‘can you leave my teabag in for 30 seconds…’

2) The mid-morning sausage bap dilemma:

To deli or not to deli? We blame Emily for introducing the biggest dilemma of the day to the TSP office, especially when the hunger pangs get too much and we can’t help but run to the deli next door. The delicious taste however, often leaves us in limbo for the rest of the day – we’re too full for lunch, but hungry again at 4pm.

3) Insta-food:

As Lottie always says ‘If it’s not on Insta, did it even happen?’ With our guilt ridden food trips comes the inevitable Instagram snap, and with foodie clients, Sara is undoubtedly the office foodstagram expert, showcasing the delicious choices online. The inter-office support is real too. First 10 likes? TSP colleagues.

4) Friday lunches are the best!

If you can’t treat yourself on a Friday, when can you? With clients such as The Ice Cream Farm literally around the corner (Beth’s personal favourite), as well as our restaurant neighbours taunting us with Thai and Chinese aromas and the nearby supermarkets tempting us with homemade pizza, lunch is another reason why Friday is the best day of the working week.

5) And if you’re hungry mid-day…

You can always rely on Louis to have a packet of biscuits at his desk.

6) Stepping away from food, we are also subject to some more typical PR moments…

We promise, no more food references.

7) Calling IT support is always ‘interesting’:

You’ve done everything in your power, but your laptop won’t play ball (who said technology was reliable?!). The time has now come to phone IT support. How successful the call will be is a constant source of debate, especially when the first piece of advice is typically, ‘have you tried restarting it?’

8) But of course there are plenty of good moments in PR too:

Like getting a fresh blog idea which you know will be the best one yet (so meta). Of course, this is a daily occurrence for the TSP team, and once we start typing, the ideas just keep coming. Client, get ready to be blown away.

9) Or getting incredible coverage:

Again, this happens regularly (would you expect anything less?!) – but each time it feels like winning an Oscar (and actually winning *cough cough*, will they ever live that moment down?). The office is our red carpet, the coverage our trophy. If only it were acceptable to repeatedly strut up and down in a stunning, designer floor length dress. Cue the emotional speech when we announce our coverage win to the client…

10) But this couldn’t be achieved without Debbie’s organisational spreadsheets:

Move over Picasso – colour coordinated, stored under different tabs and filled to the brim with numbers, emails and deadlines, our Excel sheets resemble a work of art. We owe so much to these beautiful documents – how did we cope before Debbie joined the team?!

(Here’s to you Debbie!)

11) And of course, PR has the perk of attending events:

From frequent construction safety days (Scarlett has quite taken to adorning a hard hat as her workplace attire), to charity events, we’ve done them all and we enjoy our events as much as the guests – even if some clients do require picnic events (this does not count as another food reference!) with visits from the likes of Olaf .

When it comes to events though, there’s always one question from Laura… will there be Prosecco?

12) Of course PR (and office food) wouldn’t be anywhere near as enjoyable if it weren’t for all the TSP employees!

One thing you’d only know if you worked in the office is that we are the best colleagues and our days are made a little easier with each other’s company (and a bowl of Pad Thai: no prawn tails 😉)