Tag Archive for London

Full Steam Ahead

Alex Whitaker - Account Manager

Alex Whitaker – Account Manager

Despite the UK’s reliance on the shipping industry, with around 95 per cent of goods reaching our shores via the sea, many people sail through their lives without giving this a second thought. As with many other industries, often the only time the spotlight is shone on the shipping industry is when something goes wrong. Well, we don’t think that’s very fair.

It’s the unfortunate nature of the beast that the day-to-day crucial work of the industry is largely deemed unremarkable by the media and not ‘newsworthy’ enough to warrant covering.

So how do we redress the balance? Simply put, the industry needs to make more of its good news stories and not be afraid to shout about the fantastic work it does.

As part of our work with maritime professionals’ trade union Nautilus International, we recently worked to showcase the hard work seafarers do day in-day out to bring us food, fuel and countless other goods. We created a series of video shorts, aimed at educating the general public with a series of facts and figures that may surprise them, including:

  • The world’s merchant fleet is made up of 1.5 million seafarers aboard 90,000 vessels
  • The shipping industry contributes £327 billion to the global economy
  • In the UK alone, the maritime sector supports more than 250,000 jobs and contributes £11 billion to the economy
  • 40 per cent of Britain’s food and 25 per cent of its energy arrives via the sea

 

Not only does this provide an insight into an often overlooked industry, but it also gets people thinking about how much they unknowingly rely on shipping to go about their daily lives. Proactively working to generate interest and goodwill from the general public while business is running smoothly can lead to enormous benefits if anything were ever to go wrong.

It’s tempting to just carry on as normal, to ‘keep our heads down’ and carry on doing a great job without lauding our own achievements, but this approach won’t bring any benefits if a crisis does ever hit the company or the industry as a whole.

One example of our work showcasing clients’ hard work is a recent anniversary publication for maritime charity Seafarers UK. We pored over 100 years of fascinating archives and worked to create a publication that is not only proud of the past but looks to the future, enabling the charity to celebrate its achievements while raising awareness of its ongoing good work.

But it’s not all about flaunting our accomplishments – sometimes we need to ensure the right voice rises above the noise to make an important point heard. With Brexit looming on the horizon, this is a tumultuous time for the nation at large – and shipping is no exception. Shipping and port bosses have recently warned Theresa May that the current two-year Brexit transition period will not be enough to ensure “frictionless” trade continues in docks across the country. By crafting a communications strategy that gives key people in the industry the chance to be heard, we can ensure our key messages get across to the decision makers we need to influence.

As this week marks London International Shipping Week, there’s never been a better time to take a look at your communications strategy and see if you’re merely treading water or going full steam ahead.

Why not get in touch with us to see if we can lend a helping hand?

 

Is the North the new capital of PR?

Rebecca Jackson, Account Manager

Rebecca Jackson, Account Manager

PR tends to be considered as a London-centric industry but this discounts the wealth of opportunities outside the capital. With the Northern Powerhouse movement gathering momentum and so many agencies in the North performing so well, we take a look at how businesses in Yorkshire and beyond are stealing London’s limelight.    

A journalist by trade, I joined Acceleris from The Daily Telegraph in 2013, where I’d worked as a content editor across the title’s digital platforms as well as the paper. At such a pivotal time in how we consume our media and access our news, it was a great opportunity to explore what was then and still is now a relatively unknown future for the papers that have been institutions for decades.

A Yorkshire girl born and bred, I found London too faceless – ironic for a city with such diversity and so much culture –and it takes itself just a bit too seriously. I was quickly drawn back to Yorkshire, where I began looking at opportunities in PR.

With so many agencies in the region, it quickly disproved the London-centric image that PR only truly exists in the capital. The regional awards ceremonies show there’s a thriving scene in the North and there are digital centres and media hubs popping up across the region’s major cities.

As an agency with a wealth of public and third sector clients, I was drawn to Acceleris and its work in the charity, health and social housing sectors. With a headquarters in beautiful Harrogate, as well as an office on Oxford Street in London, I get the best of both worlds. I have the opportunity to travel to the capital to meet clients and journalists and take part in events, but am able to return to a region with spectacular scenery, a functioning housing market and a thriving cultural scene that gives London a run for its money.

There’s a real danger with both PR companies and businesses that they think London is the be-all and end-all when it comes to a career, in anything. With opportunities in the capital so competitive it’s short sighted not to look further afield and consider some of the non-London agencies.

There will often be better career and progression opportunities, as well as some of the best training and the opportunity to network with the top PR practitioners across the region. You also get to work with regional journalists and publications which are still essential ways of communicating with the local community. PR Week’s recent ‘Top 150 Agencies’ table includes 30 agencies from outside London – showing how regional agencies can hold their own against the London offices.

Working in a boutique agency has given me the opportunity to work closely with experts in their industry – something you just wouldn’t get in a big London agency.

Whilst some businesses might place emphasis on working with a big agency, the reality is that at any agency you will only get one account team and boutique agencies are often able to offer a more hands-on senior team. We work with clients regionally and nationally, and even internationally – where we have held our own against some of the biggest brands and agencies in the world, winning the European Excellence Award for Reputation and Issues Management not once, but twice in the last three years, the last time in 2015 beating off internal teams at BP, Unilever and BASF.

This message should especially be enforced with students – Leeds Beckett has one of the top PR courses in the country but we regularly lose our best talent to the capital. Even when I was at University in Liverpool and Sheffield, I was told the job opportunities are in London. This creates an ongoing loss of talent from regions and a densely populated job pool in the capital, with applications for vacancies becoming increasingly competitive.

That graduates in London struggle to break into such a fiercely competitive industry potentially alienates some of the most talented future PR people – my own personal experience of friends trying to break into the industry left many disillusioned and looking at other careers.

Regional agencies often have more to spend in terms of time and training – we regularly have work experience students in from our local schools and sixth forms and they all get stuck into real jobs, not just making tea and watering plants!

Acceleris also runs the Acceleris Academy, which includes paid internships and placements, as well as internal training for the wider team – with individual staff members often presenting on different client campaigns, sharing knowledge and best practice. Members of our team sit on the regional board of the CIPR, ensuring we keep up-to-date with the latest trends, learnings and opportunities in the industry.

London is often mooted as the place to be, especially for young creatives wanting to work in the media, but with the Northern Powerhouse really taking shape and towns across the country now boasting healthy agency scenes, there’s never been a better time to look at alternatives to the capital for your next career move.

Rebecca’s blog first appeared via PR Careers at http://prcareers.co.uk/london-vs-regions/