How can ethical brands get their voices heard?

By Hugo Greenhalgh on September 29, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

While Apple fans queued round the block for the unveiling of the new iPhone 6s last week, a smartphone of a very different nature was being launched. The Fairphone 2 – an “ethical smartphone” – was revealed for the first time as part of the London Design Festival on Friday.

Fairphone working in partnership with the customer-owned Phone Co-op, have designed their product with a set of core social and ecological values in mind. The Dutch social enterprise has gone to great lengths to source as many of the precious metals in the phone as possible from conflict-free mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Fairphone 2 is also ‘modular’, meaning that parts can be upgraded easily, rather than needing to replace the whole handset, in a bid for a more sustainable form of consumerism.

Meanwhile, the Phone Co-op is the only customer-owned phone network and acts with social responsibility, supporting community ventures through investment and working with other co-operatives, ethical suppliers and local businesses. It is also a Living Wage employer and a founding member of the Fair Tax campaign – a group of organisations who pay their fair share of corporation tax.

In a competitive market of tech companies and network providers, it is key for brands like Fairphone and the Phone Co-op to emphasise their ethical message. The recent Volkswagen scandal has highlighted the reputational damage that can occur when there’s a mismatch between what a brand says and how it actually behaves. It’s vital that brands are true to their core ethos and remain honest. Fairphone has done this from the outset – making its list of suppliers public and providing a full cost breakdown showing where every penny spent on a Fairphone goes.

With this in mind, we helped Fairphone and the Phone Co-op to organise their launch event, which really captured the spirit of the two brands. Journalists were invited to hear from Fairphone CEO Bas van Abel and Phone Co-op Chief Executive Vivian Woodell about the new product and the ongoing partnership between the two brands.

They also had the chance to assemble the Fairphone 2 for themselves – getting the screwdrivers out to really understand the phone’s modular components.

Here are a few steps we took to ensure the event was a success:

1)   Invitations: We encouraged the media to attend at short notice by emphasizing the exclusivity of the launch. This was the world preview of the final prototype of the Fairphone, their first opportunity to actually hold it and do a ‘first impressions’ review. We followed this up with good ol’ fashioned phone calls – targeting the key tech titles we knew would give the launch a good push. Despite the timeframe, we managed to fill the pop-up shop venue with media.

2)   Photography: We hired an experienced photographer to capture the event properly. As well as taking shots of the products, it was crucial to highlight the partnership between Fairphone and the Phone Co-op through images. We needed to get these images out as soon as the event was over, so we had to work fast to make sure the photographer captured the best shots. This even meant pausing an interview to ensure we got the snap that told the story.

3)   Social media: Whilst at the event, we used our own Twitter account @JournalistaLtd to Tweet photos and quotes from the CEOs’ speeches. Using the hashtag #Fairphone2, this helped to create a buzz around the launch and could be shared by the official accounts of the two brands.

4)   Press release: We had a press release ready for distribution as soon as the event was over. We also asked the photographer to send us a selection of his best shots, which we could include in the release. This meant the media would have everything they needed to publish the story straight away.

Overall, the Fairphone 2 launch proved to be an effective showcase for client messaging with publications ranging from national (such as The Telegraph) to technology specialists (such as The Verge and Engadget) all picking up on the ethical angle in their coverage.

Mourinho-style management can only alienate

By Hugo Greenhalgh on August 13, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

Less than a week into the new football season and Jose Mourinho is already making headlines for the wrong reasons. Never far from controversy, the Chelsea manager has given his colleague and team doctor Eva Carneiro a very public dressing down for her actions in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Swansea. He has also significantly downgraded her matchday duties, leaving her effectively demoted.

With just over 90 seconds of the match remaining, Carneiro and Chelsea physiotherapist Jon Fearn entered the pitch to tend to the injured Eden Hazard. Mourinho shouted at them as they did so and was highly critical of the pair in his post-match press conference, as it left his side with just nine players, Chelsea already having had their goalkeeper sent off.

This abrasive style of communications is textbook Mourinho. After a poor performance, he will often choose to focus on another factor – be it the refereeing, his players’ mental fragility or his own doctor. This deflects media criticism away from his own managerial shortcomings and turns the attention onto a third party. And it works. With this week’s back pages focusing firmly on the row with Carneiro, few will remember Chelsea’s abject display against Swansea. Read more …

The Rose Report and wisdom within the workforce

By Hugo Greenhalgh on July 20, 2015 | Category: Blog | No Comments

With no prior warning, the long-awaited Rose Report was eventually published last week. The review, commissioned by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and led by former Marks and Spencer chief Sir Stuart Rose, set out to look at complex management structures within the NHS. It was reported that Sir Stuart had completed the work in December last year before the election but the publication date was heavily delayed.

Amid a national conversation about Jeremy Hunt’s seven-day service proposals, what should have been a landmark report has received little coverage. Indeed, the Health Secretary only afforded the “excellent” report only a fleeting mention in his speech to the King’s Fund on Friday, as he outlined his 25-year vision for the NHS.

Much has been made of the delay to the report’s publication. Hunt faced criticism as it became clear it would embarrass the government for its record of training leaders and managers just before an election that focused squarely on the NHS. Read more …

Twitter and Brand Varoufakis: the PR strategy behind the ‘Greferendum’

By Hugo Greenhalgh on July 6, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments

Greece’s thunderous ‘No’ vote sent shockwaves across Europe – but would it have been possible without a PR strategy? Syriza’s use of social media to dominate the conversation was a simple but effective way of delivering the desired outcome in the ‘Greferendum’.

The role of Yanis Varoufakis – Greece’s greatest “fall guy” since Icarus – cannot be understated. He appeared cool and unfazed throughout the crisis, infuriating Greece’s creditors and attracting public support.  The self-confessed “accidental economist” resigned this morning, safe in the knowledge that with the ‘No’ vote delivered, his task was complete. Read more …

To get your data on telly, pitch it in pictures

By Emma Meggs on June 24, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

They say a picture tells a thousand words and for many stories a cross-platform mix of print, broadcast and online can really maximise the impact of your message.

But how do you secure the coveted television broadcast slot?

The key challenge in many instances is how to take a complex issue or report and create something visually exciting for a broadcaster. Read more …

Five steps for making your complex story fit for media consumption

By James Tout on June 18, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

How do you turn complex and data-driven reports into easily-digestible stories that the media will pick up and run with?

It’s a dilemma that faces all PR professionals. At Journalista, we specialise in taking complicated material from a wide range of sectors including healthcare, education and business, and boiling it down into something the media can work with.

Just this week we’ve worked on two major reports for clients ukactive and the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC). Read more …

Has David Cameron made a political communications whoopsy?

By Carl Packman on June 10, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

All manner of supposed confusion and miscommunication took place on Monday as it was reported that David Cameron told journalists his front bench must support him on his reforms to the EU, or face being forced to resign.

Or, as one well known political blog put it:

Back EU, or I sack you”.

Without naming names, many of those government ministers are biding their time to try and become the next leader of the Conservatives when David Cameron steps down, which he promised he would by 2017. Read more …

“Northern Powerhouse” isn’t just a Mancunian matter

By Hugo Greenhalgh on June 3, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments

“To bring different parts of our country together, my government will work to bring about a balanced economic recovery. Legislation will be introduced to provide for the devolution of powers to cities with elected metro mayors, helping to build a northern powerhouse.” – The Queen’s Speech, 27 May 2015.

The Queen’s Speech last week reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to creating a “northern powerhouse”. This term was first used by George Osborne in a speech in June 2014 and denotes the urban agglomeration of England’s Northern cities into a collective force, capable of rivaling the economic power of London. At the centre of these plans is the High Speed 3 (HS3) rail network, connecting Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Hull and Newcastle.

While HS3 is unlikely to become a reality until the 2020s, a number of policies generally indicate that Westminster views Manchester as the flag-bearer for the rest of ‘the North’. It is already poised to take control of a devolved health and social care budget worth £6bn and will be the blueprint for other cities in Osborne’s ‘metro mayors’ proposals. Today, a £1 billion programme to transform Manchester Airport was unveiled, highlighting the global outlook of England’s de facto northern ‘capital’. Read more …

‘Mad Men’ and how to change the conversation

By Carl Packman on May 26, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

I make no apologies for wanting to write about Mad Men now that it is finished on Sky Atlantic. While I must admit I dipped in and out of the programme, filling in the gaps through many conversations with friends and the odd long form article on the programme, I recognised straight away what a formidable show it was and how good it was at raising questions that we ourselves should be asking today.

Questions such as: what is the point of advertising?

The programme only actually raised this question quite rarely. The main focus was on nostalgia for the 50s, 60s and 70s in the US, plus references to defining political events such as Vietnam and the murder of JFK, not to mention the topsy-turvy world of workplace power struggles, identity crisis, and household morals. But when the question did come up, especially from the central character Don Draper, it couldn’t have been clearer:

“Advertising is based on one thing, and you know what that one thing is? Happiness. Happiness is the smell of a new car. It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK.” Read more …

Can the NHS learn the lessons from Sir Robert Francis’ inquiries?

By Hugo Greenhalgh on May 19, 2015 | Category: Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments

The latest HealthChat event welcomed Sir Robert Francis QC, a name which has “redefined the future of healthcare”, as host Roy Lilley eulogised. Throughout his career, Sir Robert has dealt with cases of mismanagement in healthcare and striven for further review and reform.

In a packed King’s Fund lecture room, Sir Robert reflected on his early career and the significance of cases such as that of gynaecologist Richard Neale, the Alder Hey organ scandal and the Bristol heart surgery inquiry. These cases gave Sir Robert his first major insights into the NHS but he also noted the difficulties he experienced in finding doctors to come forward as expert witnesses, for fear of being ostracised from the health profession.

Lilley then guided the discussion onto Sir Robert’s most famous work, his inquiry into the shocking mistreatment of patients – which led to hundreds of unnecessary deaths – at Stafford Hospital, better known by the now infamous shorthand of ‘Mid Staffs’, after the trust which governed the hospital at the time. Read more …