Tag Archive for maritime

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?

 

Celebrating a Seafaring Centenary!

Alex Whitaker – Senior Account Executive

Did you know that 95 per cent of Britain’s imports come via the sea? Or that the fishing industry contributes more than €70 billion to the European economy every year? As an island nation, our reliance on the sea cannot be underestimated, yet too often we all take for granted just how many people work in this challenging environment – and just how much they do for the rest of us.

Well, this week sees the return of Seafarers Awareness Week (24 – 30 June), the annual celebration of all things maritime and a reminder of the thousands of people toiling away to keep us stocked up on fish, fuel and all the other goods we rely on!

In its centenary year, Seafarers UK has again organised Seafarers Awareness Week, this time with a focus on promoting UK maritime employment opportunities, including shore based jobs (a quarter of a million jobs in Britain are supported by the maritime sector!)

At Acceleris, Seafarers Awareness Week is always a busy time for our specialist maritime team. This year, we’re working with the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society on their annual open day, with Nautilus International on the recent launch of a report into crew communications at sea and with the Shipwrecked Mariners Society on the launch of their annual photography competition.

Earlier this year, our editorial division, Writers Inc., produced Seafarers UK commemorative anniversary publication which involved delving through the archives, copywriting and project management.

To help celebrate the charity’s 100 years, we’ve put together a 100-strong maritime trivia list! Why not take a look below to see what you already knew… or found out something completely new!

 

  1. How much does the fishing industry contribute to the European economy each year?
    • €71.3 billion
  2. What percentage of Europeans eat fish at least once a week?
    • 70 per cent
  3. Which five species of seafood are most popular with UK consumers, amounting to 70 per cent of all sales?
    • Cod, Haddock, Salmon, Tuna and Prawns
  4. How many kilogrammes of fish do British adults eat every week?
    • 8 million
  5. How much does the shipping industry contribute to the global economy?
    • £327 billion
  6. How many jobs in the UK are supported by the maritime sector?
    • 250,000
  7. How many tonnes of fish do British vessels catch every year?
    • 700,000
  8. How many fishermen are there in the UK?
    • 12,000
  9. Approximately, how many species of fish are there in the world?
    • 27,000
  10. What proportion of Britain’s imports come in via the sea?
    • 95 per cent
  11. Women make up what percentage of worldwide seafarers?
    • 2 per cent
  12. How many bananas could the largest container ship in the world hold?
    • 745 million
  13. Since 1975, the number of British seafarers has fallen by how much?
    • 75 per cent
  14. How many seafarers are employed by the global industry?
    • 5 million
  15. Seafarers from which nation make up one third of all shipworkers?
    • The Philippines
  16. At any one moment, how many containers are at sea?
    • 20 million
  17. How much of international trade does shipping account for?
    • 90 per cent
  18. Whilst at sea, ships occasionally encounter ‘growlers’, what exactly are growlers?
    • Small icebergs (so named because of the nose made as the ship’s hull scrapes past them)
  19. The deepest part of any ocean in the world is an area of the Pacific Ocean with a depth of 36,161 ft., what name is given to this area?
    • Mariana Trench
  20. What species of fish produces the most eggs?
    • Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola)
  21. How many varieties of goldfish are there?
    • Over 100
  22. What is the fastest fish?
    • Sailfish
  23. In the movie, Finding Nemo, what kind of fish is Nemo?
    • Clownfish
  24. What is the largest species of fish?
    • Whale Shark
  25. What is the smallest species of fish?
    • Stout Infantfish
  26. How many teeth can a shark grow during its lifetime?
    • 50,000
  27. How many portions of fish and chips do UK consumers eat every year?
    • 382 million
  28. How many eggs do salmon lay a year?
    • 2000-5000
  29. What was the name of the ship captained by Captain Hook (From Peter Pan)
    • Jolly Roger
  30. Name the ship Christopher Columbus captained on his first voyage to the new world?
    • Santa Maria
  31. Who captained the RMS Titanic?
    • Edward John Smith
  32. Name the ship captained by Ernest Shackleton on his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917
    • Endurance
  33. In which war was the convoy system introduced?
    • World War One
  34. How many ballistic missiles can a Vanguard class carry?
    • 16
  35. Which naval station is responsible for arming all submarines?
    • Coulport
  36. Which Royal Naval base is said to be the largest in Western Europe?
    • Devonport
  37. What is the professional head of the Royal Navy’s’ title?
    • First Sea Lord
  38. Who was in the “Wavy Navy”?
    • Members of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
  39. How many ships are in the Royal Navy?
    • 77
  40. When was the Royal Navy founded?
    • 1546
  41. What was the name of the first submarine to surface at the North Pole in 1959?
    • Skate
  42. What is the name of the American submarine that sank itself with its own torpedo in October 1944?
    • Tang
  43. Who invented the first submarine?
    • David Bushnell
  44. What was the first submarine named?
    • Turtle
  45. What do the initials ULCC as a size of tanker stand for?
    • Ultra Large Crude Carrier
  46. What is a common use of a RORO vessel?
    • Car Carrying Ferry
  47. What is a tanker of between 120,000 and 180,000 deadweight tons size called?
    • Suezmax Size
  48. What is the overall term used to describe the different types of rope used on a vessel?
    • Cordage
  49. When facing forwards what is the left side of a ship called?
    • Port
  50. What is navigation by stars called?
    • Celestial navigation
  51. What is the name of the person in charge of mechanical issues aboard a ship?
    • Chief Engineer
  52. If you were in the toilets of a ship, where would you be?
    • Heads
  53. What is the acronym for the electronic positioning system used by seamen?
    • GPS
  54. What do commercial fisherman throw to the sea for good luck while fishing?
    • Canned Food
  55. What day is said to be bad luck for seaman to leave the harbour?
    • Friday
  56. What two words are used to define coordinates?
    • Latitude and longitude
  57. What was the name of the famous ship that sailed in 1620 to North America to establish a new colony?
    • Mayflower
  58. What was the name of the famous ship that hit an iceberg in 1912?
    • Titanic
  59. What type of fish is a skipjack?
    • Tuna
  60. Tinca Tinca is the Latin name for which fish?
    • Tench
  61. What is a young Pilchard called?
    • Sardine
  62. What colour are the spots on plaice?
    • Red/Orange
  63. Alevin and parr are stages in the development of which fish?
    • Salmon
  64. What family does the anchovy belong to?
    • Herring
  65. Where is a fish’s caudal fin?
    • Tail
  66. What are the whiskers on catfish and other bottom dwellers called?
    • Barbels
  67. How many types of catfish are there?
    • Over 2,000
  68. What fish has enough poison to kill 30 people?
    • Puffer Fish
  69. What fish can regrow body parts?
    • Starfish
  70. Which fish’s home is poisonous to other animals?
    • Clown Anemonefish
  71. Which species is often referred to as a carpet shark?
    • Tasselled Wobbegong
  72. Name a relative of the seahorse?
    • Ornate Ghost Pipefish
  73. Which fish can move overland between waters?
    • Eel
  74. What is a recently hatched fish called?
    • A fry
  75. What is the fastest fish in the ocean?
    • Sailfish
  76. Which fish migrates the furthest?
    • European Eel
  77. How far can flying fish glide in the air?
    • 20 feet or more
  78. Why are fish often covered in slime?
    • Helps them move quickly through water
  79. Are jellyfish and crayfish actually fish?
    • No
  80. How long can a goldfish live in captivity?
    • 30 years or more
  81. What kind of fish is Dory in Finding Nemo?
    • Blue Tang Fish
  82. What percentage of the world’s fish live in freshwater?
    • 40%
  83. Do fish have eyelids?
    • No
  84. Which state in America catches the most fish?
    • Alaska
  85. The red drum is what type of fish?
    • Bottom feeder
  86. Which shark is flat like a stingray?
    • Pacific Angel Shark
  87. What ocean dwelling creature doesn’t have any support for its body but its muscles?
    • Squid
  88. What ocean dwelling create squirts toxic ink?
    • Cuttlefish
  89. What type of snapper is the largest?
    • Red Snapper
  90. What fish is known as the silver king?
    • Tarpon
  91. Which body is responsible for issuing recreational fishing licences in England and Wales?
    • Environment Agency
  92. What fish is also known as the Lady of the Stream?
    • Grayling
  93. Which is the most common species of carp in British waters?
    • Mirror
  94. What is a water dwelling insect larva?
    • A Nymph
  95. How are Sewin known as in the UK?
    • Sea Trout
  96. Which fish is also known as the Doctor Fish?
    • Tench
  97. Fishing from a free-drifting boat is what type of fly-fishing method?
    • Loch Style
  98. What proportion of UK seafarers are completely without internet connection?
    • 4 per cent
  99. What proportion of UK seafarers have access to social media at sea?
    • 34 per cent
  100. What proportion of UK seafarers have access to personal emails at sea?
    • 57 per cent

David Bushnell and the world’s first submarine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skipjack or yellowfin tuna?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fastest fish on the planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Found Dory!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acceleris is a specialist in award winning communications for maritime industry. Why not take a look at some of our recent work in the sector and see if we can help get your communications afloat?

Fishing for Leadership in 2017

Ben Rowe – Account Executive

Most people would agree 2016 played host to a seismic shift in world politics. With Article 50 on the verge of being triggered, people from all walks of life are wondering what the future holds for them in post-Brexit Britain. Not least, the fishing industry.

You may think the challenges facing commercial fishing are well established. For example, fishing holds the longstanding title of ‘most dangerous occupation in the world’ with the fatal accident rate over 100 times that of the general workforce in the UK.

Additionally, fishing is an industry we are heavily reliant on and has rich historical ties with our island nation. Around 80% of us consume seafood at least once a month and the UK fishing industry remains crucially important to many coastal towns.

Criticism, however, is never far away. Organisations such as Greenpeace have run regular sensationalist campaigns condemning the effects of fishing, including excess bycatch, discards, diminishing stocks, environmental damage and animal welfare.

 

Source: BBC

 

 

External pressures are only going to add to an already turbulent discussion. Brexit negotiations throw quotas and the jurisdiction of waters up in the air, making the future for fishermen particularly hazy.

In January, Prime Minister Theresa May came under attack from UK fishermen for ‘betraying’ them when outlining the government’s plans for the negotiations with the EU after the triggering of Article 50. In a Brexit speech at Westminster, May was deemed to have failed to address the future of UK fisheries and the relationship with the rest of Europe once ties are cut on Union membership. Fears about fishing being used as a ‘bargaining chip’ in negotiations only served to raise the stakes for a proud industry which MEP Mike Hookem believes could be a ‘shot in the arm’ for the country post-Brexit.

This new political environment and subsequent change does, however, present an opportunity to those within the fishing industry. Customers will be looking for reliability, consistency and stability among the uncertainty. With strong communications there is the chance to be a leading light in what may appear an uncertain time. Building a strong media presence can position you as the voice of the industry. It is perhaps not a time to rock the boat, as being consistent and reliable can breed confidence and trust.

Currently, 66% of UK fish exports go to the EU, meaning tariff-free or low-tariff trade could be vital to Britain in the coming years. Brexit will mean the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and gains the right under international law to control who fishes within its waters.

Whilst many see the UK’s impending release from EU ties as positive for the fishing industry, there are warnings to be considered. The CFP is a taboo topic in many industry circles and whilst ‘taking back control’ of British waters is a popular mantra, those working in fisheries will have to act smartly to ensure any potential freedom is enjoyed responsibly.

 

Source: Press Association

 

 

These concerns, and more, highlight the need for communications to be carefully managed and balanced with good practice to maintain successful operations within fishing companies. If companies show good preparation in their handling of the media and act first, fast and frank in the case of an incident, it can put them on the front foot rather than relying on reactionary measures.

Acceleris has worked with the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) since 2013, landing six awards in the process, at both national and European level.

Just days after starting work with the NFFO, we established an integrated crisis communications plan when they came up against a direct attack from Greenpeace, coinciding with ground-breaking European legislation change and a protest lobby led by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. From a standing start, Acceleris achieved five of seven annual objectives in the first month, landing 88 pieces of coverage (89% positive), 135 million positive opportunities to see and laid the foundations for a much higher media profile, including coverage on Newsnight and in The Times.

We have since challenged misconceptions about the fishing industry through campaigns such as ‘Let Them Eat Hake’, the championing of Britain’s most sustainable fish, in 2014. Through a radio day, celebrity endorsements, hake tasting sessions attended by opinion formers and the use of video, the celebration of sustainability changed the conversation from concerns about overfishing, generating significant positive coverage across media platforms over a prolonged period.

We have the experience and expertise to make a difference from the get-go.

Challenges to fishing are not going to go away in a hurry. The balance between operating successfully at a financial level and maintaining responsibility is a difficult one to manage. If you need support steering through these turbulent times, we are here to help. Give us a call today on 0845 4567 251 or send an email to ellies@acceleris-mc.com.

Keeping a weather eye on the issue of ‘sea blindness’

Charley Oakes - Senior Copywriter and Editorial Project Manager

Charley Oakes – Senior Copywriter and Editorial Project Manager

If only we could bottle the passion of the UK’s leading maritime charities; we could cure a lot of the world’s ills. I would begin with ‘sea blindness’, a topic covered at Seafarers UK’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June, one of two major maritime charity events I have been privileged to attend in recent weeks, the other being The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society’s AGM in May.

‘Sea blindness’, an issue also touched upon by my colleague Ellie St George-Yorke in her recent article on the Boaty McBoatface debate, refers to ignorance of our island nation’s continuing dependence on the sea for food, commerce and security, and the vital role our seafarers play in all our lives, whether they work in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Merchant Navy or fishing fleets.

Fisherman

Source: Seafarers UK archive

Today there are organisations and charities doing tireless work to support former seafarers and their dependants, and to promote education, training and careers to attract the best talent and ensure our seafaring community continues to thrive now and in the future.

Seafarers UK, for example, is focusing its fundraising appeal for its centenary year of 2017 on ‘Supporting Seafarers: Past, Present and Future’, with three key campaigns. The Royal Alfred, meanwhile, provides tailor-made care and support to former seafarers and their dependants at its residential home in Surrey. This charity is now in its 151st year, which reflects the enduring need for its services. Indeed, an ageing population means the number of former Merchant Navy seafarers and fishermen over the age of 85 is expected to increase by more than 275% between now and 2030!

Royal Alfred resident

Royal Alfred resident

Awareness of the role of the seafarer and the sea continues to improve but there is always work to be done. The Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society runs a campaign every year that does a fantastic job of celebrating our country’s connection with the sea – its annual photography competition invites people to send in their ‘ultimate sea view’, whether images of ships, harbours, ports, wrecks, seafarers or seascapes.

 

‘Wrecked’ by David Jenner, winning image in the ‘Ships and Wrecks’ category of the 2015 Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society photography competition)

‘Wrecked’ by David Jenner, winning image in the ‘Ships and Wrecks’ category of the 2015 Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society photography competition)

 

After working with maritime charities as part of my role at Acceleris for many years, I share their passion for the work they do. I took the following message away with me from both AGMs – we must never lose sight of the nation’s dependence on or our responsibility to the maritime community.

Sea blindness is certainly not an issue at Acceleris, which has a specialist maritime communications team working with a diverse range of clients within the sector. To find out more, please visit the Acceleris website.

 

Positive Publicity or Compromised Credibility? Boaty McBoatface and Maritime PR

Ellie St George-Yorke, Account Director

Ellie St George-Yorke, Account Director

The compatibility of two largely disconnected spheres was put to the test earlier this year with the emergence of Boaty McBoatface as the people’s winner of the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) #NameOurShip campaign. The maritime community has not often found itself on the receiving end of considerable public enthusiasm. NERC’s decision to allow the public to suggest and vote for names for the new £200 million arctic research vessel represented a concerted effort to rectify this.

Yet Boaty McBoatface, a seemingly innocent suggestion, triggered a conflict between the necessity of harnessing public engagement, and the importance of maintaining national reputation and industry credibility. Boaty arguably did more to boost the prominence of the maritime sector in the popular psyche than previous campaigns, granting accessibility to a previously ill informed and often indifferent public. It is possible to state with relative confidence that the inauguration of the new research vessel would have gone relatively unmarked had it not been for this jocular suggestion.

However, the name also risked undermining the significance of seafaring activities in general and the work of the vessel itself. Historically, Britain has a proud reputation at sea, both in terms of naval operations and in advancing maritime research. RRS Boaty McBoatface hardly screams scientific innovation and research excellence. RRS Sir David Attenborough, however – the name adopted by NERC and the Government in spite of the public winner – embodies this effortlessly.

It is unsurprising, then, that the campaign was accompanied by such fierce debate between unwavering advocates of democratic decision-making, and industry professionals who no doubt found the name suggestion mildly insulting. Such a feeling is not without reason, particularly when considering the contribution, and the sacrifices, made by those who spend their working lives at sea.

Suffering from a severe bout of national sea blindness, the majority of the public possesses little understanding of the extent to which Britain is heavily reliant upon the maritime industry. The sector is a major employer, directly employing over 200,000 people last year. It also greatly facilitates economic activity, with 95% of national imports and 75% of exports being transported via sea. A 2014 Seafarers UK survey revealed that only 2% of the public were aware of this.

Source: CNN

Source: CNN

But more alarming is the fact that the maritime industry has an exceptionally high occupational mortality rate, posing a higher risk to employees than any other sector. Naming a research vessel Boaty McBoatface does not sit so well alongside this fact, undoubtedly trivialising the inherent danger. Alongside the sobering news of fatalities at sea, the issue suddenly loses all traces of hilarity.

It is understandable, therefore, that many industry professionals were reluctant to subject the naming of an important vessel to the whim of what is essentially an ill-informed public. Even James Hand, the man behind Boaty, recognised the need for a more befitting name, choosing to vote for Sir David Attenborough and offering an apology to NERC for any embarrassment caused.

The decision to opt for an alternative name has seen considerable public criticism levelled against NERC and the government for backtracking on an apparently successful campaign. Yet their handling of the situation serves as an example of astute PR management and shrewd judgement. In christening one of the remotely operated submarines Boaty McBoatface, the spirit of public enthusiasm has been kept alive. It signifies a desire for popular longevity, and a continued public connection to the industry.

Naming the main vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough, a suggestion which actually came fourth in the competition, is a further nod to public sentiment. A man whose popularity rivals that of international pop stars, Attenborough enjoys an exclusive position within the heart of the nation. His name alone perhaps possesses enough clout to ensure a firm following of the vessel’s projects and findings. In reaching this outcome, NERC has offered itself a life raft for avoiding any potential future PR crisis that would result from such an indelicate name.

Yet despite the unanticipated result of the campaign, it did succeed in fuelling public discussion around a topic that otherwise could have gone widely overlooked. There is a glaring need for the maritime industry to become more public-facing and engaging to encourage greater understanding and appreciation of the work of seafarers and the sector itself. Doing so would offer a remedy to the dreaded sea blindness; the very thing contributing to the sector’s omission from popular interest and understanding.

BMBF

Source: Daily Mail

We can already see the industry slipping once more out of mainstream media. The petition launched by the public to reverse the decision to give the boat a different name has received only a tiny proportion of signatures compared to the number of votes for Boaty itself. To prevent this level of public disengagement the industry needs to readily embrace and exploit communications channels open to them. A greater willingness to utilise all forms of media to reach a wider audience would help to sustain the visibility initially granted by the NERC campaign.

There is often a tendency in the industry to shy away from engaging with a mainstream public however it is possible for this public success to be reflected across the entire sector, where the conversation has been muted for too long. Boaty McBoatface, the accidental product of an inviting PR campaign, accorded the industry the public recognition it deserves, albeit short-lived. It may have been a controversial wave of publicity, but can we see another one on the horizon?

This blog first appeared in the Nautilius International Telegraph in July.

Keeping your reputation ship shape

Crucial in any industry – but why especially so for fishing?

The fishing industry has come in for a lot of undue criticism over the last few years, with NGOs, politicians, journalists and campaigners all lining up to take a swipe. Many of these attacks can be characterised as sweeping statements backed by precious little factual evidence. Yet, attacks like these, even when founded on incorrect allegations, can cause serious damage to a company’s, or an entire industry’s, reputation. Therefore it is crucial that reputation management is seen as a necessary element of running your business and keeping it shipshape.

Recent research from BDO LLP and the Quoted Companies Alliance has shown small and medium sized companies attach 28 per cent of their value directly to reputation. With the UK fishing industry valued at more than £860m[1], that’s clearly quite a significant amount. As the fishing industry comes in for constant and heavy scrutiny, far more so than many other industries, one misstep can have severe consequences.

So just how serious an impact can a badly managed crisis have? When thinking about reputation meltdown and its impact on business value, a recent example that comes to mind is that of Volkswagen. The company lost over a third of its value (35 per cent) in just two days following the ‘dieselgate’ crisis where the company was found to be using cheat devices during emissions tests. That’s a hit of approximately €25bn.

The emergence of a crisis is sometimes completely unavoidable. What we remain in control of, however, is the response. Thankfully this is by far the most important aspect of ensuring reputations remain untarnished. It’s not too much to say that a well-crafted response to a crisis can be the difference between a short term nuisance and a permanently damaged reputation.

Our advice would be to ensure you’re first, fast and frank in your response to the issue. By being proactive in taking control of your response to customers, employees, suppliers, wider stakeholders and the media, you can set the tone for how it’s perceived down the line. If you’re seen to be addressing the situation seriously with a joined up plan across all your communications channels you can actually improve rather than damage the perception of your business.

It sounds easy when you put it like that, but to swiftly and effectively manage a crisis you need to have a plan in place long before you can see a potential issue looming on the horizon. By having a procedure clearly laid out for dealing with any problems, you’ll ensure your response is professional and level-headed. This includes identifying all operational responsibilities to communicating your plan of action – with digital media now being at the forefront of any crisis strategy.

However, reputation management is not all about deflecting crises. Proactively promoting a consistent, positive message about a business and its operations can be a brilliant boost to a business’ reputation and pays dividends in ensuring any negative issues are placed in the context of a much wider, positive piece.

The Saucy Fish Company recently won plaudits and a prestigious award for its School of Fish campaign, which saw a team of children prepare, cook and serve Saucy Fish products to a packed central London restaurant. By planning such a creative event, along with the inevitable cuteness factor brought by kids, the company pulled off a great stunt which led to substantial positive feedback – and the approval and increased interest of potential customers.

At Acceleris, we recently ran a proactive campaign of our own to dispel some of the myths surrounding the European fishing industry, communicating a more positive, consumer-friendly face for the sector. Working with Europêche, the European trade body representing 80,000 fishermen and 45,000 vessels from nine EU countries, Acceleris developed the consumer information portal iFish, designed to address the growing consumer appetite for information on the industry. The site provides facts and figures on the industry while boosting its favourability in the eyes of the public. The associated campaign secured almost 200 pieces of press coverage across Europe, reaching an audience of 140 million people. Every piece of coverage contained a positive message about the work of the industry and the campaign beat global brands including BP, BASF and Unilever to the European Excellence Award in Communications in Stockholm last December.

Clearly, the fishing industry has made good headway in recent years on improving its reputation and it’s great to see sympathetic programmes like The Catch and Trawlermen Tales hitting the mainstream. On the back of this, it’s brilliant to see the Fishing News Awards return after an eight year break. The awards, set to be held in Aberdeen on 26 May 2016, will celebrate the best commercial fishermen from across the UK and Ireland. With a fantastic buzz already surrounding the awards, this kind of event is exactly what the industry needs to capitalise, and improve even further, on its recent reputation boost.

Of course, everyday activity is crucial too – managing reputation is a continuing job. Most businesses don’t have the resources to put on a constant stream of events of this scale – likewise, it’s not simply enough to start trying to garner good favour once a crisis is already on your plate. Regularly share good news stories and CSR initiatives so people know the good work your business does. Not only is this good practice generally, it may determine how people react if a crisis does hit your company. It will also help you to develop strong relationships within the media which are useful to promote good news, but could also become handy when you have not-so good news to share.

The UK fishing industry provides over 31,000 jobs[2], almost £1bn to the economy and food security to the nation and abroad. Yet, these positive messages are in danger of becoming drowned out by well financed and well-resourced detractors. It’s time the industry took back the narrative and restored fishermen’s position as the heroes of the seas.

[1] The value of the 756,000 tonnes of sea fish landed by UK vessels into the UK and abroad.

[2] There are 11,800 active fishermen and 19,511 fish processors in the UK as of 2014

Seafood Week Part 5: Using social media wisely to gain a competitive edge

We have the ability to reach thousands of people across the world in seconds, and we can do this for free. That’s right, social media has stood up in the face of traditional advertising, and offered an alternative which everyone, regardless of income, can access.

But stop right there if you think you can simply send a Tweet and gain a thousand followers.

There is so much content floating around the social media pond that it’s often difficult to get your voice heard, and that’s why running a competition could be the perfect way to encourage new customers to engage with your brand or product.

We work with national maritime charity the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, which last year celebrated its 175th anniversary and is always open to new and exciting ideas for raising awareness of its cause.

So, over our time with them we have developed our approach to competitions in order to shift with the times.

First we had the limerick competition, encouraging entrants to pen a poem about the ocean. Then we had the maritime art competition, encouraging entrants to create an original piece of artwork with a maritime theme. Both of these secured entries of a high quality, but as you can imagine, engagement wasn’t without its difficulties. The logistics of getting dozens of paintings to a judging location itself was enough to give anyone a headache.

So, in 2013, we suggested running a photography competition which, 10 years ago, would have had the same difficulties, but these days is easily accessible to all as most mobile phones come with a camera, meaning engagement can be instant.

We encouraged entrants to send in images of what they felt best encapsulated the UK’s reliance on and connection with the sea and, as we expected, the majority of entries came through social media. Interestingly the average age of entrants dropped considerably, which is a key priority for the charity as it aims to target a younger audience. That’s not to say that we didn’t have some excellent photography sent in via post!

Some of the many excellent entries we received for our photograph competition this year

Some of the many excellent entries we received for our photograph competition this year

But get this, with every entry came an email address or a social media account name. In the cutthroat world of advertising, this stuff is gold dust, because it opens up a line of communication with a potential customer/supporter.

So if you work with clients who operate in traditional sectors, like fishing and maritime, don’t let them to be afraid of embracing new technologies and ideas such as running competitions on new media platforms. We live in an age when out of the 64 million people in the UK, there are 38 million active social media accounts… And people are even logging in from the North Sea!

Run a simple giveaway competition, see the benefits instant engagement brings, and I guarantee you’ll be hooked!

Seafood Week Part 3: Helping maritime organisations at their best, look their best

When I started work at Acceleris nearly seven years ago (as of next month) little could I have imagined that this would be the beginning of a professional and personal interest of mine in all things maritime.

The irony of our HQ being in one of the most central and landlocked areas of the UK, has often been commented upon. But location has never been a barrier to us becoming one of the leading maritime communications and PR specialists in the country. As my colleague Ellie St George-Yorke said in her latest blog, our maritime sector work has seen us travel extensively and win our firstpan-European client.39-Two residents on the Royal Eagle (Day trip steamer) on the Thames-1934 or 1935

As the Head of Writers Inc., the agency’s dedicated editorial project division, I am very proud of the work the team has done in the maritime industry across the public, private and third sectors. Whatever the client, we help to raise awareness of this country’s connection and dependence on the sea and the extraordinary people who work in sea-related trades.

 

To mark Seafish’s National Seafood Week, I wanted to take the opportunity to showcase some of the editorial projects, online and offline, Acceleris has undertaken for maritime clients. We are open to any brief and will always advise on the best platform and content for their audience and needs; ensure value for money; and work with the best suppliers to get the job done. Our work has so far encompassed:

  • Websites and microsites
  • A commemorative book
  • Info graphics
  • Annual reports
  • Leaflets, presentation folders and other marketing collateral and stationery
  • Social media campaigns.

There are too many from the last seven years to mention here, so I’ve chosen my three favourite, but very different Acceleris editorial projects in this sector to date:ifish

  • iFish – dispelling fishing industry myths on behalf of European trade body Europêche

PROJECT TYPE: Interactive microsite including innovative Fish Facts info graphic

LAUNCHED: April 2015

PEOPLE HAVE SAID: “I’ve looked at iFish and to be quite honest, I think it’s amazing, very well constructed and just the sort of thing we’ve been waiting for, to help promote and portray a real-time picture of the industry in light of so much pressure and negative press.”-Member of the public

SEE FOR YOURSELF…

 

  • Home From Sea – 150 years of The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society 150

PROJECT TYPE: Commemorative hardback history book

PUBLISHED: July 2015

PEOPLE HAVE SAID: “I am immensely pleased and proud of the book, which met and surpassed our expectations. Since the launch event we have had some verygood 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.” – Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt MBE, Chief Executive of the Society

The first reaction of HRH The Princess Royal, on receiving the first copy of the book as the charity’s Patron, was: “Good title!”

SEE FOR YOURSELF…

 

  • shipwreckedmariners.org.uk

PROJECT TYPE: Charity website raising awareness of its work providing vital financial aid to mariners in need

LAUNCHED: June 2011shipwrecked web

PEOPLE SAID: I just wanted to thank you for all your work and the help you’ve given us to ensure we have a modern website to be proud of.” Stephen Fisher, Marketing & Communications Manager at the Society

SEE FOR YOURSELF…

 

You can see many more examples on our website www.acceleris-mc.com

If you have a need for a printed publication, website, microsite, or something completely different, please get in touch.

Seafood Week Part 2: Finding the hook

Having an exciting tale is only half the battle in getting the media to take notice of a story and tell the world about it – you also have to find the right hook to reel them in. Read our top tips below on how to ensure your stories get the exposure they deserve.

  1. Use the news – If your story is going to get any exposure you have to make sure it’s relevant. Look at the main headlines around your industry and see if the story you want to tell is part of any wider goings on. Chances are that if your story fits in well enough alongside these then you’re onto a winner.
  2. Don’t wait around and miss the boat when you spot an opportunity. The key to getting the best exposure is to be first, fast and frank – so make sure to jump on that story while it’s in full flow. As long as you make sure you’re proving your expertise in the area rather than commenting for the sake of it then you’re onto a winner. Don’t let that ship sail without you.
  3. Make the story accessible to people. Most people don’t really know their mackerel from their megrim – it’s important to remember that you are experts in your field but most people will need a bit more explanation, especially if you’re planning on targeting the mainstream press!
  4. Make your story interesting! Another key one for targeting mainstream titles – make it something ordinary people care about. A really good human interest case study can go a long way towards getting published – and doesn’t have to come at the detriment of the key messages you want to get across.

At Acceleris, we’re experts in taking your stories and applying the right techniques to ensure they get seen by the people who need to see them.

fish 5

We recently worked with the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations to develop the ‘Deck to Dinner’ event, which saw seven top British chefs come together to celebrate the diversity of British seafood. Hosted by Gregg Wallace, the event produced top notch recipes and gathered substantial coverage from across the country. You can watch the video of the event here.

We’ve also recently organised the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society’s annual photography competition, showcasing the stunning landscapes offered by the British coast. This year saw hundreds of entries flood in from across the UK. The campaign generated huge amounts of media interest and was featured in The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, Metro and The Daily Mirror. A selection of winning shots can be seen below.

fish 4

So why don’t you give us a call and we’ll get your stories in shipshape fashion.

Seafood Week Part 1: It’s Of-fish-al! National Seafood Week is here!

In factories, plants and sites across the country, there are signs proudly announcing the number of days the company has gone without accidents.

On the wall of the Acceleris office however, there is a sign saying:

 

fish 1

This is because today is Fish Pun Day! Wahoo! (actually a fishy member of the mackerel family for those who don’t know). In an office full of people who love words and language, it’s easy to get carried away with pun one-upmanship, but finally CEO and head punster, Peter, is free to say ‘oh my cod’ or ‘plain sailing from here’ or ‘right plaice, right time’. I would go on but just thinking about it is giving me a haddock…!

Fish Pun Day marks the start of National Seafood Week (9-16th October) and we, at Acceleris, are getting ‘on board’ to share some of our ‘brill’ experiences working with fishermen and seafarers.

Over the next week, members of the agency’s maritime division will be sharing their experiences of working in the maritime and fishing sectors. We will also be busy on Twitter using the hashtags #Gethooked, and #SeafoodWeek to share ideas, videos and examples of our work so raise the periscope.

fish 2

fish 3From royal visits to a retired seafarers’ care home and dunking celebrities in shark tanks to defending hardworking fishermen and championing sustainability, Acceleris’ maritime work in the last two years alone has taken the team to Munich, Dublin, Brussels, London, Vigo, and of course closer to home trips to Grimsby and Hull! Some of our award winning fishy work has also been studied by students at the University of the Arts London.

 

So get ‘on board’ and ‘set sail’ for a week of insight and top tips for communications for the maritime industry. Oh and don’t forget buoys and gills, if you can think of a batter fish pun, let minnow!