Client News

Trading Places: Swapping the Office for the Showroom Floor at the CV Show

Dan Stead – Digital Account Executive

This year, Acceleris attended The Commercial Vehicle Show (CV Show) at the famous NEC in Birmingham. As specialists in motor sector communications, we were there to support our exhibiting clients and to see what opportunities there were to bring their brands to new audiences.

With over 20,000 business in attendance last year, 2017 was set to be the biggest in The CV Show’s 16 year history. From trucks to tyres, telematics to trailers and tow bars to temperature controlled transportation solutions, we descended on the show to help our clients stand out from the crowd.

Our CV Show clients

Our clients exhibiting this year included Nexus Vehicle Rental, which was launching its unique HGV rental solution and Radius Payment Solutions, there to demo its brand new vehicle checker app.

Nexus – adding weight to the HGV market

Radius reveals its vehicle checker app

Part of our role on the day was using the event to create media ‘noise’ around the launches to trade media, arranging interviews and selling in the stories across client and partner social media channels.

While ultimately our clients were there to push sales, trade shows present a number of ways for businesses to promote their services to new and existing audiences. There are a variety of tactics which should be deployed by anyone attending a show.

Social networking

Growing online audiences should be an ongoing objective for every business and trade shows present the perfect arena to do this. There may be tens of thousands of potential customers at the show itself, but there may be hundreds of thousands following online.

For example, the hashtag #CVShow was used over 700 times in just 24 hours on Twitter during the last day of The CV Show alone, reaching almost 850,000 different accounts! To make the most of this ‘free’ publicity, sound social media strategies must be in place to ensure there is a constant stream of scheduled and reactive posts. This will not only grab the attention of those not attending a show but it may encourage customers on the show floor to swing by your stand in search of the latest live launches

When drafting social media posts, be mindful of which key terms people may be searching for. Similarly, to optimise your copy online for search engines (SEO), you can drop keywords into your social media posts to push people through to your own channels. Use of imagery is also imperative – Twitter spans 140 characters but a picture says a thousand words and gives people a taste of what they’re missing!

While focusing on perfecting your own posts is important, you should be following progress of trade shows throughout their duration via other accounts too. For example, on Twitter, a retweet or reply goes a long way. It’s an easy way to interact with others and presents your business as friendly and open to conversation online.   

A social nexus

Radius reels in the punters

Hit the headlines   

Building good relationships with existing customers is essential but many businesses attend trade shows to drum up new business. One useful tip is to see which representatives from your sector’s trade press may be attending and seek them out prior to a show. Journalists work to tight deadlines and have hectic schedules and it’s all too easy to be ignored. It’s always worth seeking the advice of a PR agency which can help put you pole position in the race to secure media coverage, allowing you to contribute to conversations ahead of competitors.


Nexus Vehicle Rental – HGV launch coverage

So there’s only one thing left, and that’s to share our top tips for social media use during trade shows.

Top Trade Show Tips for Shining on Social

  1. Pre-arrange your meetings – While it’s fantastic to stumble across a golden contact it’s always best to try and arrange a time and place to meet your chosen contacts before the show. Connecting through LinkedIn is a good way to introduce yourself to prospects and following key journalists on social media is advised
  2. Prepare, plan, react – Schedule social media posts throughout the duration of the show but be sure to keep an eye on live social streams before, during and after, responding to trends  and  engaging with others. Posting photos from any event is a must
  3. Tool up! – There is a plethora of free social media tools out there. Hootsuite allows posts to be scheduled from multiple social media platforms with surgical precision while Keyhole enables users to track hashtags, keywords and mentions in real-time allowing you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not
  4. Get Creative – Canva is another great tool for bringing your posts to life through use of creative imagery

At Acceleris, we are constantly on the move. In fact, we are back in Birmingham as early as next week to promote another automotive client, Trusted Dealers, and its roadshows to increase awareness of Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs).

Follow us on Twitter to keep track of what we’re up to and visit our website to see how we could help boost your business’ profile in the automotive arena.

An Evening With Leeds University’s History Makers


The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society 150th Anniversary book ‘Home from Sea’

“You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift.”
― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

It’s been a constant source of disquiet for me that our brightest, youngest, most vital minds are sold the fallacy that the world is a barren wasteland of opportunity, with a paucity of enterprise and scant pickings, even for those who achieve straight A’s.

Such is the power of stories.

As someone who has never been out of work since age eight (family business making deliveries on a butcher’s bike) and who most definitely wasn’t a straight A student, I thought it was time to get out amongst our city’s young folk and learn for myself what was happening today.

During my time at the inward investment agency for Leeds City Region, I’d been privileged to hear from some truly inspirational leaders, from the emerging fields of fintech and med tech through to chief executives, operations managers, systems designers and many doctors, scientists, security experts and entrepreneurs. All of them confirmed the need for capable millennials in all sectors.

During my five years with HSBC Bank, I’d also seen inside numerous UK businesses and whether they were based in thriving metropolises or declining mill towns, they still relied on a pipeline of talent to help them achieve their business plans. I’ve always seen a glut of opportunity and plenty of need for workers to drive our economy, but with many of our jobs only coming into existence in the last five or ten years as digital disruption takes hold and transforms what we know, what skills do graduates need to fit in? And why are some graduates still keen to qualify in history?

When a colleague passed me the invitation to the History Society Careers Networking Dinner at Leeds University, I initially thought ‘what skills would history graduates have that we’d need here at Acceleris? Quickly followed by ‘what has history got to do with Public Relations?’ The answer to me quickly became ‘everything’.

At Acceleris, we deal in stories and use the power of a good story well told, to change opinions, win funding, stop hospitals from closing, fight misinformation and stop unsustainable practices. One of our most saleable skills is our detailed knowledge of the past and our ability to analyse the media and economic landscape to spot and tap into future trends and issues.

History is in our taxonomy and how we relate topics, themes and people to each other. Recently we’ve been appointed as project archivist for one of the UK’s oldest maritime charities, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society. A role which required not only the conservation and cataloguing of images from 150 years of history, but also the authoring and preservation of a cherished story that would be told for years to come in a commemorative 106 page book produced by our Writers Inc. division.

The painstaking research and ability to deal with the minutiae of people’s personal memories, tall tales or vague reminiscences and the physical evidence had everything to do with the skills history graduates learn.

It’s the same with rapid fire news, features or copywriting, which are all based on the ability to listen and understand and to relate those pieces of information to the wider world, giving things context and meaning.

In addition to learning from a syllabus packed with relevant skills, the quality of the student-organised event I attended was also outstanding. The sit down dinner and the round-table approach, where local companies such as Deloitte, Irwin Mitchell and Teach First hosted around eight students each, showed a real razor-sharp insight into delivering the outcomes the group was looking for – so placements, internships and ultimately, employment.


The prologue to The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society 150th Anniversary book ‘Home from Sea’

These history graduates have certainly taken charge of writing their own life stories.

Stilettos, sea views and six packs – all in the name of charity

Last week we signed up as corporate members of Charity Comms a networking site for communications professionals working for some of the UK’s leading charities.

We are pleased to support the organisation which is an excellent hub for case studies and best practice with more than 4,000 members.

At Acceleris we have worked with charities large and small for a number of years to deliver creative and effective campaigns. In my time this has included organising peaceful protests in the streets of Leeds, dressing up in chicken costumes, and re-recording an Elton John classic – all for a good cause.

It’s been a busy few months for our charity team:

We organise a yearly fashion show for the Prince's Trust which is always a huge success

We organise a yearly fashion show for the Prince’s Trust which is always a huge success

We helped publicise a fundraising fashion show for the Prince’s Trust in Yorkshire and the Humber. Held at the National Railway Museum in York, the event raised in excess of £90,000 to support the charity’s work with young people.

We organised a national photography competition to find the UK’s best sea view for longstanding client the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.The competition received 456 entries and generated widespread national media coverage including several full page splashes (sorry).

Ex-Royal Marine, Rich McKeating approached us to help raise £100,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. The campaign ‘Titan Force Trip to Ripped’, will see twenty young men transformed to their ripped best in just six months, for a fundraising calendar (our offer to feature in the calendar was declined for obvious reasons).

We’ve also written our first book to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Royal Alfred Seafarers Society.

Communication is important for every business and organisation but given the high profile and emotive work of many charities, clear and effective communications are integral to their success.

We’re also keenly aware just how tight budgets can be in the sector so we’re careful to make every penny spent on comms go as far as possible (as you’d expect with our Yorkshire roots!)

I am looking forward to being a Charity Comms member and getting involved in discussions, learning from fellow communications professionals and sharing our experience.

Find out more here:

We;re currently working with former marine, Rich McKeating, on a project for Teenage Cancer Trust

We’re currently working with former marine, Rich McKeating, on a project for the Teenage Cancer Trust

Rewriting the book on agency editorial services

The Royal Alfred Seafarers' Society Anniversary Book, Home From Sea

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society Anniversary Book, Home From Sea

It’s not every day you get to shake hands with a senior member of the Royal Family, but Louise, Ellie and I got to do just that, when we met HRH The Princess Royal at a client event.

This was a very proud moment for all at Acceleris, for a number of reasons:

1)      Princess Anne is one of the busiest royals, with a wide range of public roles. She supports or is Patron of 327 organisations (only The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales represent more). In 2014, she carried out nearly 530 engagements in the UK and overseas. She had four appointments that day alone, and reportedly shakes 300 hands a week – that’s 15,600 a year!

2)      She is Patron of maritime charity The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, a long-standing Acceleris client, which this year celebrated its 150th anniversary of caring for former seafarers and their dependants. The Princess attended the anniversary event in July as the charity’s VIP guest and to present it with a new Royal Charter.

3)      She was the first to receive a copy of the Society’s 150th anniversary book Home From Sea – the first book to be produced by Acceleris!

Louise meets HRH

Acceleris’ Managing Director, Louise Vaughan, meets Princess Anne

I was also lucky enough to meet HRH!

I was also lucky enough to meet HRH!

Home From Sea charts the Royal Alfred’s history from its foundation as “a hospital for worn-out and disabled merchant seamen” in 1865, to the specialist care home and housing in Surrey that it is today. The brief was specific – to produce an engaging and informative record of the organisation that should be “picture heavy, wording light and suitable for a coffee table”.

Writers Inc., Acceleris’ editorial project division, really showed its mettle during what was a rewarding but often challenging task.

Strong client relationships really bolster successful projects. As this was to be a record of its first 150 years, the Royal Alfred understandably placed a lot of emphasis on getting this project right and set up a special ‘book committee’ of trustees and staff to work with us, each with their own valuable skill sets and insight into the Society.

Then: an early meeting with the book committee

Then: an early meeting with the book committee

Now: the book committee with the finished article!

Now: the book committee with the finished article!

After initial group meetings, the production process took 18 months. Efficient management was vital, covering:

  • Editorial services – working alongside co-author John Allan, a maritime historian, we wrote several chapters and edited and proofread the entire book.
  • Graphic design – it was a pleasure to partner with Rebus Design on the publication’s design work. They are an efficient, professional and creative team who had worked with us on Royal Alfred previously on its Annual Report and advertising.
  • Print – local suppliers Harrogate Printing did a sterling job, offering advice and support at every turn and producing a top-class product, complete with hardback, gold leaf and immaculate finishing throughout.
  • Research – in addition to our own insight and information built up over seven years of working with the charity, we delved into the charity’s archive, a veritable treasure trove of old photographs, poetry, cartoons, documents, press cuttings and personal journals and recollections from key personnel going back decades.

On 26 May, our book went to print, and on 3 July, the first copy was placed into the hands of Princess Anne.

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt MBE, Chief Executive of the Society, said: “I am immensely pleased and proud of the book, which met and surpassed our expectations. Since the launch event we have had some very good feedback from residents, relatives, staff, partner organisations and other external sources. No one could fail to like it and be impressed. We have a book of which we can be justifiably proud and a fitting tribute to the Royal Alfred.”

Hear more from Brian here:

Now we look to the future and new similar opportunities. As technology evolves and shapes the way we consume content, it is heartening to confirm that the print publication still has its place and is often the most appropriate communications tool for some organisations and their audiences. The Royal Alfred now has an attractive, visual record of its first 150 years and, with this client’s support, we look forward to building on this new specialism for the agency.

For more information on this or other projects, please contact Charley Oakes on 0845 4567251 or email 

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