Fake News – Can It Be Avoided?

In a world of “he said she said” debates across social media and “click bait” news articles, it’s difficult to know what’s real and what isn’t….

 

Although fake news is not a new concept, it’s now moving up the real new agenda with the help of social media – allowing a story to spread like wildfire within a matter of minutes.  People often say they find out the latest via their trending list on their Twitter page before they’ve even switched on the TV.  We can’t deny that it’s pretty impressive having access to world news at the touch of a button but you can also run into some Chinese whispers along the way.

 

Fake news takes many forms which is why it’s so difficult to monitor.  It ranges from pop-up websites, nation state-sponsored misinformation, social media and parody publications, such as The Daily Mash – well-established before fake news even became an issue.  But following Trump’s move into the Oval Office, the talk of fake news has been widely popular, especially as it’s so regularly used by Trump himself. The word is also set to be added to the next print edition of Collins Dictionary as it’s recently been dubbed as ‘Word of the Year’ – who’d have thought?

 

With the aim of cracking down on fake news sites, internet giants, Google have implemented a “Fact Check” feature for Google News and Google Search, enabling publishers to show a “Fact Check’ tag in their stories.  Google’s criteria separates the type of content pushed out online, distinguishing between fact and fiction, an all-important mission by todays’ standards.  If the criteria aren’t met, Google will simply take the site off Google News and or, it won’t be rewarded with a “Fact Check” tab.

 

If you’re unsure of the legitimacy of a story, the first port of call would be to go to ‘The Source’.  We handle social media on a daily basis and know what to look out for when collating news stories.  Before passing on a story, we make sure to read beyond the headlines and check that ‘The Source’ always backs the claim.

 

Get in touch with our team today to find out how we can assist you in developing your online presence (fake news free)!

 

 

The Winning Streak Continues! 🎉 Success at the Marketing Cheshire Annual Tourism Awards

The Winning Streak Continues! 🎉 Success at the Marketing Cheshire Annual Tourism Awards

If we do say so ourselves, we’re a dab hand at writing a winning award entry here at The Source and making sure our clients get the recognition they deserve for their incredible achievements and accolades. Once again, it’s paid off, with three clients receiving awards and high commendations at the Marketing Cheshire Annual Tourism Awards.

On 23rd November, we attended the ceremony at the historic Chester Racecourse along with over 300 tourism representatives. The awards celebrated a diverse variety of businesses that contribute to Cheshire’s thriving visitor economy, which was worth £3.3 billion and employed over 42,000 people in 2016.

Combermere Abbey won the coveted Boutique Accommodation of the Year award for their newly-restored North Wing, which offers luxury B&B accommodation overlooking the vast estate. The Chester Grosvenor and FREEDOME parks also received high commendations, for the Outstanding Customer Service award and Small Visitor Attraction of the Year award respectively.

 

Along with the recent successes at the Cheshire Business Awards, which saw The Ice Cream Farm scooping the Innovation and Enterprise award and The Chester Grosvenor winning the Employer of the Year award, it’s safe to say that it’s been a fantastic few weeks for our clients! We’re delighted that they’ve been recognised for their achievements are are amongst the most respected businesses in the region.

Now, onto the next award…

 

Client Awards: TIMco Wins Big at NBG Awards

One of our longest standing clients, TIMco have had an incredibly successful awards season so far scooping not one or even two, but three award wins at the NBG Awards 14th November at a Gala Dinner in the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool.

 

TIMco was awarded the titles of ‘Brand of the Year’ and ‘Supplier of the Year’ in the Painting, Decorating, Ironmongery, Hardware, Electricals & Fixings Category for the fifth consecutive year. Sales Director at TIMco, Simon Rance, was also named as runner up in the ‘Account Manager of the Year’ category for his excellent service and support of customers.

 

TIMco has also been nominated as ‘Supplier of the Year’ by Builder’s Merchant News in their Awards for Excellence. Which are due to take place on Friday 24th November.

 

There’s no doubt that awards can seriously boost a business’ reputation amongst customers and competitors, but they can also involve a difficult and arduous process of forms! If you’d like to learn more about how we can help draft and enter award entries on your behalf, send us an email: enquiries@thesourcepartnership.com.

 

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.