Is the future of PR outside London? 

London has been at the heart of the PR industry and home to the UK’s leading creative talent for decades. It is a communication hub linking agencies and businesses from all over the globe. However, with the growth of tech and top-quality talent moving outside the M25 (especially to the South West), isn’t it time we started recognising and exploiting opportunities elsewhere? Increasingly today, the key differentiator for clients is no longer location, but the talent and passion of the agency they work with – and this can be sourced nationwide. 

Quality PR is hugely reliant on the ability of the industry to harness the best talent. However, as graduates steer clear of rocketing London prices, and experienced marketing and PR professionals opt for a slower pace of life outside the capital, there is a danger of missing out on this talent. Stats show graduates are increasingly choosing to start their careers in cities such as Manchester and Bristol, with the latter being named the fourth best city for graduates. Its quick links to London and top-quality talent pouring out of the university mean agencies have a huge amount to exploit. It must be in our interest to appeal to these new entrants and facilitate jobs for experienced professionals across the UK. 

Not only this, but technology and accessibility to clients and media has moved on. While traditional press will always form a large chunk of PR, there is no longer the need to network with journalists everyday. Media relations tools have dramatically changed how we source coverage, and advances in technology mean we can check-in with clients from anywhere in the world.  As a result, businesses are far more willing to shop around outside London. For most brands, the key factor when deciding on an agency is the combination of skill set and fit – an agency should feel like an extension of the business. They want an agency that will be proud to work for their brand and if that means working with someone outside the M25, this is no longer an issue. 

Big consultancies in London are under constant pressure. This can sometimes leave smaller businesses frustrated with the lack of service by larger London agencies, who might prioritise their bigger retainers. For these smaller enterprises, regional and more focused agencies can be more suited to delivering exactly what they need and give them more bang for their buck. 

Cost also comes into play here. Budgets stretch much further outside London. Salaries are lower as well as rent, meaning fees can be too. This allows clients to source award-winning PR often at a cheaper rate, while also feeling more prioritised and serviced. 

To thrive, we must open ourselves to opportunities nationwide. The future of the UK PR industry rests on our ability to recruit the right talent and adapt to the changes currently happening. If we learn to embrace these changes, we will move in the right direction to fuelling and investing in the future of PR regardless of location.

Four purpose-driven campaigns we liked this summer

Purpose-driven campaigning isn’t anything new to the marketing world, but it is certainly growing with more and more brands hopping on the trend. According to an industry study, 74% of consumers globally expect brands to take a stand on important issues, so it is no wonder companies are adopting this strategy in high numbers. But, with so many looking to jump on the ethical campaign train, who is taking it to the next level? We have compiled a list of four purpose-driven campaigns that particularly grabbed our attention this summer. 

Cadbury’s Dairy Milk ‘donate your words’ campaign

September saw Cadbury remove the words from it’s Dairy Milk packaging in a poignant campaign to draw attention to loneliness amongst the eldery. As well as raising vital funds, Cadbury’s latest marketing stunt also encourages Brits to “donate their words” by actively reaching out to older people in their community. We really liked this socially-minded campaign – not only will Cadbury see a soar in sales as consumers look to bag themselves the special edition chocolate bar, but it really takes their brand image a step further, allowing customers (both old and young) to connect with the brand. 

Virgin Atlantic Pride flight

Next on our list is Virgin Airways’ Pride flight. Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and ten years of Virgin’s commitment to inclusivity, this June saw a flight set off from London to New York staffed entirely by LGBT+ pilots and cabin crew. We loved this campaign – it is a clear statement of the brand’s values. The pride flight was also a super effective way for Virgin to build a rapport with one of their target markets. Fun, inclusive and glamorous – it’s hard to see who wouldn’t want to travel with, or work for, a brand that stands for these values. 

Hellmann’s food waste campaign

This was a more low key campaign but we really liked the sentiment behind it. Hellmann’s chose to make a stand for sustainability and food waste this September at the British Food Awards final. Visitors were able to sample delicious recipes created from the UK’s top 10 most-wasted food items, which ranged from cheddar bites in homemade breadcrumbs to vegan mayo (made from leftover veg). We really like the route Hellmann’s marketing team took here – sustainability is a cause gaining momentum every week and what better way to encourage people to waste less than promoting a tasty solution with their Mayonnaise at the centre.

Barbie’s astronaut doll 

Back in July, the European Space Agency teamed up with Barbie to encourage more girls to become the next generation of astronauts, engineers and space scientists. The special edition Barbie doll celebrated the achievements of Samatha Cristoforetti – the only active female astronaut in Europe. An unexpected collab, we absolutely loved this campaign. Not only does it give young girls the opportunity to re-imagine their future careers through play but it really turns Barbie’s iconic brand image on its head. Clearly the brand wants to reconnect with modern day families and children, and make a positive impact whilst doing so. 

Today, an excellent product or service is no longer enough to ensure brand loyalty. Brands must adopt a higher level of consciousness about how they operate in the world, and align their values to consumers’ priorities. Summer 2019 has certainly seen some of the best creative purpose-driven PR and marketing stunts, but as we look to Christmas, it will be interesting to see how many retail giants turn to ethical marketing to drive sales and build a meaningful and iconic brand image which consumers want to engage with.