How a London Furniture business did the most ingenious PR stunt

On the 25th November 2015, the Nill’s furniture shop in Edmonton North London was vandalised by three young men.

The over night break in disrupted the Turkish owners during the opening period of the new furniture store. Dispute this unwanted event, all but one piece of furniture was recovered from the spray paint.

Since visiting the area, I discovered that this piece of vandalism was completely staged by the Turkish owners, who thought it would be the best way to get publicity for the new store about to open.

What a fantastic way to get media exposure! Especially as most of the damaged furniture was recovered, making it even more of a stunt to pull off and salvage stock.

 

 

How A London Business Made £30k

Since the Christmas break I have taken the opportunity to do some work with my friend in London for a couple of weeks.

Based in Stoke Newington, London , the family run business named Coban, has been around for 25 years. Coban first started predominantly in photography, specilasing in weddings, where both video and photography elements are championed.

Looking more into the future, Coban has decided to branch off from photography into other areas of the market.

The newly launched website.

Yalcin Coban, had a passion for homeware and wanted to bring a product to the market that was unique and solved problems that he faced in the kitchen and at home.

He launched his campaign on kickstarter which is one of the most popular websites for crowdfunding and helping an individual fund a project. He set out by attempting to generate £9500.00 and successfully achieved this by raising an astonishing £33,580!

Check out the newly designed website.
Using the perks of Kickstarter, he issued many prizes and gifts which gave the audience more of an incentive to fund him.

This goes to show the power of crowdfunding and how it can make people’s goals a reality.

Younger brother Mahmut Coban decided he wanted to branch out the business even further. He set out by introducing his own clothing brand, specialising in British made products, mostly leather accessories initially. Having an keen interest in motorbikes, he also developed a unique skill in building bikes from scratch using spare parts found on other bikes. This is another service which he offers in the store and advertised online.

Check out the website here.

Unfortunately the Kickstarter campaign failed to make the £15,000 target, because of the campaign being launched before it was ready. Considering this bad start, Life In Paradigm has done well as a brand, with its inclusion in the ASOS online marketplace.

The store in Stoke Newington has been transformed into an actual retail store rather than just a wedding studio. Selling other British made products with a aim to produce more of their own branded clothing.
 

 

 

The world of 360

Digital media has been greatly influenced by latest revelations of technology. This includes filming in 360 and the development of virtual reality handsets. The world of VR is a new development and only time will tell in terms of the pros and cons drawn upon by consumers.

Today I attended the talk about filming in 360 from two companies: Chromatrope and Rock of Eye. They discussed 10 things they had learnt from filming in 360.

There were a few interesting things that I would like to reflect on. Glen from Rock Of Eye discussed the making of the drama ‘Echo Chamber’ which captures two people’s experience of dementia – quite a clever idea in itself. One of the biggest issues from a directing point of view is that the director cannot actually be on set. This is of course quite problematic as the director usually needs to be in the thick of it – helping to smooth things along.

This film involved shooting with a Go Pro camera. I believe Glen claimed they shot with 4-6 Go Pro cameras at a time. Must have been complicated to ensure everything was functioning correctly.

One of the biggest topics up for debate was the differentiation between 360 and VR. I can see where the confuse arises but the best way to think about it is the idea of VR solely forming from gaming. An interaction with a game and psychically engaging with a device or person. 360 is where video recordings are viewed in every direction and recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras.

Relating this to my own experiences, I have noticed this has been implemented by Facebook. Where a user is able to take an image and uploaded it through a ‘360 view’ where other occupants can move the camera to embark upon their own 360 journey. Other examples would include the ‘panorama’ option on mobile cameras, where you can perform a 360 image by slowly moving the camera.

How much can we trust social media?

With the results from the US election, people from around the world have taken to social media expressing their shock in Mr Trump becoming the next president in line from Obama. There has been much debate about possible sources influencing the general public’s opinion of who to vote. Although it seemed as if everything was piled again Mrs Clinton after the news broke of her dodgy emails. Trump was always going to be at an advantage.

Latest trends in the media

 

This being said, Mark Zuckerberg the CEO of Facebook has been accused  in having an influence on the recent results of the US election – leading to the rise of Trump. Zuckerberg’s Facebook algorithms were under question with rumours hinting at news feeds being solely dominated with Republican content which is quite significant considering 62% of Americans get their news from social media. Of course Zuckerberg denied these claims despite there being claims of bias earlier in the year.

This shows how social media can affects the opinions of the general public – especially in this case.

There was also more of a problem with ‘fake news’ and these outlets being verified on Facebook. This made it quite unethical that these companies were making money from ads on Google and Facebook when in fact the news being sourced was untrue. This makes it hard for us to trust social media? That blue verified tick can be misleading. It is up to yourselves to research a story and decide your opinion on the matter.

 

PR campaigns II: The Battle of the Christmas ads

A few blog posts ago, I talked about the power of social media campaigns fuelled by public relations. In this particular example I discussed my employer John Lewis – and their successful role as a company to create engaging Christmas adverts for the general public.

With this in mind, it costs companies like John Lewis millions of pounds every year to fund such campaigns. Especially with other competitors following in the partnership’s footsteps – it is important to keep up with the demand for more successful media.

The 2016 John Lewis Christmas advert: #BusterTheDog

There have been many mixed reviews of this advert with people wanting more of a ‘tear jerker’ like the previous year, ” Man on the moon” This advert cost the company an astonishing £7 million.

From a marketing perspective it is interesting to note how impressive the John Lewis campaign is. As discussed previously, the 2014 campaign with #MontyThePenguin – was so successful that the Monty The Penguin merchandise completely sold out in John Lewis nationwide. It appears that they have decided to follow this motive and introduce Buster the boxer and other animals that featured in the ad. A great way of making even more money around the Christmas period.

This recurring theme of the dog Buster is a key theme implemented by John Lewis. Both as a marketing perspective and how the hashtag #BusterTheBoxer can thrive in social media. Showing the power of social media for public relations and organisations. Even other companies have used this advert to their own advantage – to gain attention from the public eye.

sportsdirectThe marketing department of Sports Direct have been very clever by using a play on words from the newly released John Lewis advert. ‘price Buster’ in reference to Buster the dog. This adds a sense of humour and also that marketing edge from other companies stocking trampolines and products alike.

It is quite interesting to monitor other competitors such as Aldi with the build up to the festive season. Previous years they opted to ‘take the mick’ out of the infamous John Lewis ad by defining a sheer comparison of price between the two companies. With a key aim to encourage customers to walk away from the partnership’s high price range. However, this year Aldi has decided to up their game by introducing a new advert of their own:

Social media security and privacy

Since the progression in the digital world and huge advance of web 2.0, social media has been thriving for the last 20 years. As much as this brings about many positives in society, there are many users under grave danger. Privacy and security are two large factors which ultimately have a big impact on social media and the digital world.

With the wide reach that social media has had and the amount of users that have multiplied over the years, consequently everyone is now at risk. There are many dangers such as – being under the influence of identity theft or simply being hacked. All of these things can easily happen if one’s privacy and security are not monitored properly.  An article from CNBC, reiterates this theme of checking your social media security, to ensure you are properly protected. The issue is equally monitoring all of your networks which lets face it, is pretty hard to do with the sheer amount of them all.

For instance the network known as ‘Linked in’ is a platform that was initially introduced as a replacement for the CV – an online version for people to advertise themselves. In other words it encourages the user to give as much content as possible to seek potential employment from various companies in the network. This therefore contradicts the idea of remaining ‘private’ because you must give information on Linked In to give employers more information of your education and other personal background statistics. This means that it totally depends on the context of your application. Settle with your paper based CV if you do not feel comfortable documenting your personal information via applications such as Linked In.

Controlling your security and privacy

When registering for a new account on a social media, it is vital to visit the settings as soon as you can. For example on Facebook, you are able to tick off specific boxes such as ‘who can see my stuff’ here you can select whether your posts are published to the ‘public’ or if you only want your friend to be able to view them. Otherwise everybody can see your content without being friends with you.  So as you go through the various pages you can filter out where you want your content to go and how it will be received.

Accounts such as Twitter and Instagram, give you the control to simply make your account private. This way, users must send you a request in order to view your content, you must confirm or reject the request depending on who it is from.

One crucial step is ensuring you change your passwords for different networks and making sure that it has a variety of: upper case & lower case letters,numbers,symbols and other punctuation. An example of this would be: Public_Relations*21!/?. This helps secure your account and makes it a lot more difficult for hackers to access your account and retrieve personal information that you do not want to be shared.

Privacy invasion in the media

One of the most famous examples of this is from the whistleblower Edward Snowden. He unveiled the mobile phone hacking scandal. This involved the NSA (national security agency) hacking millions of people’s mobile phones without any prior permission. Snowden himself worked within the NSA and decided that the world must have a right to know that the government is accepting such a thing. He therefore broke the news to Guardian Journalist Glenn Greenwald.

This was not the first time that mobile phones were hacked by big organisations. Rupert Murdoch’s empire once consisted of a newspaper known as ‘News Of The World’ They were eventually shut down by Murdoch as the newspaper had been found guilty of hacking the phone of the missing girl Milly Dowler after she had disappeared. This was of course  illegal because it is against the law to hack some one’s mobile phone even though it may have led to the conviction of Milly’s murderer Levi Bellfield.

A more recent example comes from media giant Yahoo, who hacked thousands of Yahoo mail accounts – also linking to the NSA. This was one of the biggest data breaches in history and had reports of also affecting Broadband customers connected to Yahoo. This has had huge a impact on Yahoo and their future prospects.

This shows the overall importance of privacy and security. As a user of the internet you do not want your information to get into the wrong hands. Make sure you are safe and that you remain to stay safe over the coming years. Having control of your social media should be the user’s priority when setting up a new account.

PR campaigns

No matter what size a company or organisation is, PR strategies are seriously important – whether it’s promoting new products or campaigns or purely to raise awareness and public interest.

The business sector is full of PR stunts – making news out of effectively nothing.

With the build up to Christmas, there is one company that always dominate the annual unveiling of Christmas adverts. This is of course John Lewis. Each year, millions of pounds are invested into creating these iconic Christmas ads, aiming to entice as many shoppers into the department store as possible. Also to show the company is keen to fully immerse itself in the Christmas spirit.

Back in 2014, PR week’s Ian Griggs discussed the campaign costing John Lewis a whopping £7 million. With the fluctuating value of the pound and recent effects of Brexit – perhaps John Lewis may cut costs in this area. However, every year there are constant competitors in rival supermarkets/department stores such as M & S, Asda, Sainsbury’s & Aldi.

This 2014 edition involving ‘ Monty The Penguin’ was extremely successful. In both viewers and fetching massive sales in the Monty The Penguin soft toy that fully sold out in stores across the UK. Who thought people would go so crazy about a stuffed soft toy?

It is quite interesting to observe the evolution of the John Lewis Christmas advert – from it’s first airing in 2007 till the present day. Why don’t you Pick your favourite? Personally I don’t think you can pick the 2014 edition. I think it is very clever the way it is ‘just a dream’ at the end of the trailer. Also a clever marketing strategy to get people so into the advert that they want to by the exact same penguin for their kids or even themselves!

There has been mass amounts of anticipation on Twitter for this years much awaited reveal, courtesy of the Dailly Mirror. This just goes to show how strong the PR team at John Lewis is. They’ve pretty much trade marked the Christmas advert in the festive season, with people already discussing what artist or music will be accompanying the trailer. Others believe there may be a tribute to the legend David Bowie who sadly passed away this year.

 

 

What effect will Brexit have on the PR industry?

With Theresa May promising to trigger article 50 by March 2017, the entire of the UK now has doubts to the effect it will have on the country. But what effect will Brexit have on the PR industry?

An interesting statistic coming from PR Week, claimed that 79% of the people in the PR industry that voted to remain believe there will be serious issues for organisations, big labels and politics in Britain. With other fears that budgets will be cut on the amount companies can spend on improving their PR and marketing. This is not great news for someone like myself that has interest in going into PR as a future prospect. Of course we don’t know what will really happen until Britain has officially exited the EU. Even months/ years afterwards it will be hard to see the full effects of the Brexit. Considering the pound has fluctuated back and fourth, there may still be hope for the PR industry.

The leave campaign

Looking at PR itself and the leave campaign. It was evident that the vast majority of people that voted to leave the EU were consumed by the advert talking about the NHS and the ‘promise’ that it would bring £350 million a week if we left Europe. This was a PR campaign in itself, proving how successful public relations is in manipulating the consumer. Obviously people that backed the leave campaign were accused of being ‘uneducated’ and not doing enough research, it reinforces the power of the media and how it can easily influence a large population.

However, Matt Watson argues that there is fine line between good PR and lying – using false information. This was the case with the NHS claim, even though the statistic was condemned amongst critics, the people of Britain still felt it was a good enough reason, showing the pivotal role that the National Health Service has in UK.