Case Studies Archive

Changing attitudes towards insect protein


Innovia Technology provides innovation consultancy for the world’s best known brands but most of its work is highly confidential.  Its brief to Holdsworth Associates was to gain profile for its expertise in food technology without mentioning a client.


Insects could provide a sustainable source of protein but there are many hurdles to overcome – including the ‘yuck’ factor. Innovia has specialist knowledge of behavioural science and food processing and its consultant Greg Dickens, was passionate about the potential of insects to fill the protein gap.  So we developed a story about how insect protein could be processed into textured protein chunks to overcome consumer resistance.


To gain a hook for the story we teamed up with Harper Adam University who had just issued an ‘Edible Bug Challenge’ at the agricultural show ‘Cereals’. Using third party comment provided endorsement for the story. We contacted trade, broadcast and regional media and sold in a story about how consumer objections could be overcome and the technical issues resolved to make insect protein a viable option – offering the enticement that Greg was prepared to eat insects on request!


Innovia media relations - Changing attitudes towards insect protein


A fun presentation communicated a more serious message and gained profile for Innovia as an innovator in food processing

Coverage included:

  • A range of food technology titles in print and online
  • Broadcast pieces on ITV Anglia and Cambridge TV
  • Regional coverage

Created opportunities for Twitter and a reason for Innovia’s business development to contact key targets.

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Design through to launch of a memorial garden

Brief and Objectives

Cheltenham Pet Crematorium (CPC) had converted a facility on an industrial estate into a crematorium. Although sympathetic inside, outside it was a warehouse with patch of grass alongside. CPC asked Holdsworth Associates to create a launch event to raise awareness of its services and communicate effectively to potential customers.

Research, planning and strategy

Pets are important family members and a cremation service provides a time for the owners to grieve and for other pets to understand the loss. CPC provides counselling and support to owners who are able to design their own service.  However if the family want to take the ashes home or to scatter in a favourite place then they need to wait for short time.

HA proposed that a memorial garden was created for owners to use for reflection and also to exercise other pets.  The garden would also provide something for a celebrity to ‘open’ and create the opportunity for a positive experience for invited guests.

Adam Henson, best-known for presenting Countryfile, and interested in dogs and gardening was invited to open the garden. It was decided to have a wildlife element as the site backed on to a nature reserve.

Being located on an industrial estate, the garden strategy would add value to the environment and create a more comforting environment for mourners.

Research revealed that the local Tewkesbury School had horticultural society. HA worked with the school to develop a project that would enable students to talk about bereavement and to use their skills to design and build the remembrance garden.

At the official opening, the pupils would be invited to bring their families and friends to see their work and meet Adam – creating a lovely photo-opportunity for regional media.

Cambridge Pet Crematorium new garden design poster
CPC Adam Henson opens memorial garden


To warm up the media, HA created an initial story about commissioning the pupils to build the garden – this created an opportunity to talk to media and invite them to the opening.

For the launch there was a strong story, photo opportunity, people to interview about how they overcame their loss.   The event attracted broadcast, online and print media.


Measurement & Evaluation

The launch of the Memorial and Wildlife Garden was a success, with coverage secured in local media and veterinary publications, including:

  • Cotswold TV
  • Cheltenham Standard
  • Vet Times
  • Vet Surgeon
  • Your Cat

Coverage was also achieved for CPC in the Daily Telegraph.

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Promoting the Cambridge Phenomenon


In their latest book about the ‘The Cambridge Phenomenon’. Charles Cotton and Kate Kirk wanted to stress the international impact of Cambridge ideas. Holdsworth Associates was asked to create a story to attract media coverage and add value to the event.


The concept of the Cambridge Phenomenon’ has been discussed at length and frequently the city is criticised for creating ideas not businesses.  This view is outdated, so HA proposed to use a photograph of the new Cambridge skyline of cranes, to create an alternative image for the city.  We also invited spokespeople who have set up successful international businesses, or been the reason for multinational companies setting up R&D facilities in the cluster, to speak to the media at the launch.

Tech companies with different types of  international impact were sourced and  interviewed to gain case-studies. They were also  invited to bring demonstrations to the launch event to create filming opportunities for broadcast media and interest for attendees and journalists.

Business, finance and technology publications were targeted, alongside local and national outlets.


We developed stories with William Tunstall-Pedoe; the man behind Amazon Echo’s ‘Alexa’ software, Sebastian Manhart of Simprints, Professor Andrea Ferrari of the Cambridge Graphene Centre and Professor Chris Lowe of the University of Cambridge.

We commissioned a photograph of the new Cambridge Skyline to demonstrate visually the ‘new Cambridge’.

Content was produced on each of these contributors, with diverse press releases. Holdsworth Associates kept in contact with these organisations as the process unfolded, providing details of the event and organisation for the demonstration desks, wireless access etc.

The Cambridge Phenomenon - Global Impact book launch
Cambridge Phenomenon Global Impact book launch and media relations



The launch of the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ gained strong coverage in the national, broadcast and online media.

Coverage included:

  • The Times
  • BBC News
  • Cambridge TV
  • Science|Business
  • Engineering & Technology magazine
  • Business Weekly

Participating companies also benefited from wider coverage and gained stories for their websites and content for Twitter and social media outreach.

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Changing behaviour with cross-channel campaign

Devise and implement a communications campaign for the NSPCC that would help change parent child-shaking behaviour, helping to prevent the serious injury or child death that can occur as a result.


  • Raise awareness of the vulnerability of babies and their need for careful treatment
  • Create recognition of the early signs that a baby is at risk
  • Encourage parents under stress to ask for help
  • Provide a pilot model for planning and implementation of a behaviour-change campaign

How we did it?

Many child protection awareness-raising campaigns rely on shock to get the message across. It was felt that in this campaign, while important to stress the severity of the problem, should engage with the target audience and empower them to take the next step.

The relative size different between an adult and a child is the major reason why babies are so vulnerable. In considering the size difference, we approached the Saints rugby team to work with us on the campaign. An image of them with a child would explain visually and with impact the campaign key message.

The Saints rugby team modelled for the poster campaign and participated in a press event to launch the campaign. A package of media-content including research, case studies and spokesperson comment was developed to ensure sustain media coverage.

In addition, a multi-agency conference was held to promote understanding of the signs and symptoms.

NSPCC child protection campaign


  • Over 200 more health professional training packs were requested – in addition to those already widely distributed
  • The posters received high levels of public engagement
  • On-target media coverage was sustained through national, regional and trade, print, broadcast and online media

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Attitudes to sperm donation: would you?

Brief and Objectives

Following frequent news reports of a national sperm shortage and the generally recognised disappointment of the National Sperm Bank, Bourn Hall Clinic wanted to find out the reasons why (or not) men would consider donating sperm, and to raise awareness of the new Bourn Hall Donor Programme.

Research, planning and strategy

Holdsworth Associates proposed a market research strategy, in order to gauge public attitudes. Understanding that sperm donation and male infertility can be a difficult topic for some to discuss, it was important to use a platform with a sense of privacy or anonymity when undertaking the research. Stakeholders to target would be men with fertility issues, but also potential donators.

Campaign tactics, creativity and innovation

An online attitudes survey was created, with contributions from Bourn Hall staff, to assess public opinion, knowledge of sperm donation and male infertility. The rationale was to use the results to identify obstacles to donation, providing insight into how to alleviate the national shortage. Extra space was included in the survey, encouraging participants to leave comments for further context.

Considering the target audience, Holdsworth Associates distributed the survey through relevant channels including Facebook, a football club chat room and a hockey club, due to the significant demographic of male users. With the survey being conducted online, it was more likely that there would be a higher level of engagement.

Implementation of Tactics

Holdsworth Associates posted the survey to social media and internet forums, securing multiple responses. The tactic to include open comment boxes in the survey was successful, with multiple responses recorded, allowing Bourn Hall to gain further useful information which may not have been originally considered.

Bourn Hall donor website - market research
Bourn Hall sperm donation advert


The survey illustrated that knowledge of the need for sperm donors was high amongst respondents. The barrier was not the lack of understanding; concerns centred on prioritisation, embarrassment, partner opinion and identification by the offspring’s mother.

With insights from the market research, Bourn Hall could raise awareness for the new Donor Programme.

Responses to the survey indicated that men would be happy to donate if it helped a friend or relative, prompting Bourn Hall to update their donation service. Where previously all donors could choose to receive free IVF treatment for themselves, this was enhanced to provide a new service to allow sperm and egg donors to ‘gift’ their free treatment to a friend or relative, thus providing additional help to people looking to undergo fertility treatment.

Holdsworth Associates implemented a media relations campaign to launch this new gift service, targeting both national and regional media

Measurement & Evaluation

This opportunity to gift IVF was the first of its kind in the UK – Holdsworth Associates secured widespread coverage for Bourn Hall across print, broadcast and online national and local media, including:

Bourn Hall informed Holdsworth Associates that as a result of the campaign, the clinic had received a boost in donors coming forward.

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Making R&D knowledge and research more easily accessible

Brief and Objectives

RADMA (the Research and Development Management Association) is a membership organisation that supports research, good practice and innovation formed by academics. Holdsworth Associates was approached to help better disseminate the research, articles and tools relevant to research and development management in organisations.

Research, planning and strategy

A community outreach website was to be created, as a portal to signpost practitioners to resources recommended by peers. Content would include research, articles and tools – the website would then be publicly launched at the R&D Management Conference 2016.

Holdsworth Associates planned for the website to be arranged around certain key themes, determined in collaboration with the RADMA trustees. It was strategized that the website would be built to allow for users to easily select a theme and/or content type – for example, an academic paper or a research tool – and for new themes to be easily added as the community expands.

Campaign tactics, creativity and innovation

It was proposed that each theme should be managed by two or three theme editors, responsible for the supply of recommended content (blogs, papers, articles etc.) for their respective theme. The inclusion of themes would generate greater attraction for targeted R&D managers, focusing on topics such as roadmapping.

The website design would complement the RADMA brand, utilising recognisable colours while still providing a stand-alone user experience.

To further enhance the community outreach and ease of access for interested parties, Holdsworth Associates would additionally create an email newsletter, a YouTube channel and a SoundCloud channel for podcasts.

R&D Today - making R&D knowledge and research more easily accessible

Implementation of Tactics

The community outreach website R&D Today was successfully designed within a time-frame and populated with content, in order to announce its launch at the R&D Management conference.

Twitter and LinkedIn accounts were created to help provide additional means of communication and outreach.

Measurement & Evaluation

Over 7,500 page views were recorded over the six months since the website went live. As a result of promotion on LinkedIn and by theme editors, readership and interest continues to grow.

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Profiling early-stage technology companies

St John’s Innovation Centre (SJIC) is an incubator for early stage companies and provides a wealth of advice and support services aimed at entrepreneurs.

Holdsworth Associates has worked with SJIC over many years to provide public relations support in order to help companies gain a profile with the media, analysts and potential investors.

We worked with SJIC on a technology showcase, where 13 start-ups demonstrated to the media alongside a pitching session to investors.


To promote SJIC’s services, and raise the profile of its tenants and other early-stage companies with the media and potential investors.


The event was called ‘Meerkats and Avatars’ – companies from across the East of England were invited to participate.

Each company was given a PR consultation meeting and a press release drafted with a strong news hook to support their business objectives. For many of the companies it was the first time they had their offering articulated in this way.

The technology showcase was aimed at invited journalists from local, national, trade and broadcast media.

Journalists had the opportunity to see demonstrations of early-stage products and meet the people involved in developing the technology.

The press releases were made available to the media who attended the event and also distributed online to journalists in our extensive database.

Cambridge technology PR event


It proved to be a lively day with an impressive array of technologies demonstrated in creative ways.

It was attended by journalists from a range of media including the BBC, The Sunday Telegraph, New Scientist and The Guardian. Coverage appeared in print, online, on the radio and on television.

There was good attendance from investors and many of the companies subsequently gained investment.

For these early-stage companies it was a unique opportunity to raise their profile with the media and investors – in most cases it was the first time their ideas had received public attention.

Audio Analytic at Meerkats and Avatars - Profiling early-stage technology companies
Audio Analytic at Meerkats and Avatars
Gmax at Meerkats and Avatars - Profiling early-stage technology companies
Gmax at Meerkats and Avatars

The companies supported by SJIC technology press days have included:

  • Audio Analytic: Sound-recognition software to aid crime detection by automatically recognising warning sounds such as car alarms, and highlighting the CCTV screen they are coming from.
  • Endomagnetics: A safe and cost-effective technique for detecting the spread of breast cancer.
  • Gmax: Real-time biometrics to improve racehorse training.
  • Intelligent Fingerprinting: Detection of illicit substances from fingerprints.
  • Ombar: Organic chocolate, made from raw cocoa beans, which is low in fat and high in antioxidants.
  • Omnisense: A flexible location system to allow tracking of people and assets in real time without the need for a fixed infrastructure.
  • Psonar: A music storage cloud which allows users to safely back up their collection, share playlists and discover new tracks legally.
  • Trillion Genomics: Their technology has applications in diagnostics, medical research, integrated disease management and drug discovery, and they specialise in screening for prostate cancer.
  • Visual Perception: A user interface to improve human-computer interactions by using patterns found in nature to create an intuitive browsing mechanism.
  • Zonerider: Free software which allows individuals to sell their Wi-Fi broadband, opening up possibilities for communities around the world to get online.

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Is the future of healthcare devices wireless?

How can we deliver digital healthcare? Holdsworth Associates was asked to capture the outputs from a brainstorming workshop that brought together the healthcare, medical device and wireless communities.

We provided a scribe for each of the four strands of the workshop and collated the main points at the end of each session for the chair. These were used as part of the plenary sessions.

Holdsworth Associates produced a report after the meeting with minimal input from the speakers which captured the innovative thinking and created a tangible outcome for the participants.

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Delivering content strategies for social media

About Bourn Hall Clinic

Bourn Hall Clinic is the world’s first IVF clinic and provides a sanctuary for people seeking support for fertility issues.

Holdsworth Associates saw an opportunity for using social media to provide friendly and informed dialogue with existing and potential patients; to provide reassurance on issues of concern to them and an update on developments at the Clinic.

Bourn Hall Clinic is professional and approachable and it was important that social media activity had the same tone of voice.

Objectives of social media

  • Maintain BHC’s position as the premier provider of IVF treatment in the East of England
  • Show that the clinic is approachable, supportive, professional, friendly and keen to communicate and engage with others through social media
  • Attract more visitors to the website and increase online presence
  • Provide a means of responding to industry
  • Responsive to the methods of communication and research used by clients/potential clients.
Social media for Bourn Hall Clinic: Ensuring a consistent social media presence

Strategy for social media

It was agreed that the social media would be driven by a blog – this would allow the client to approve materials before they became live. The blog would have a friendly and informative tone of voice. It would link to Facebook and Twitter to allow patient interaction.

Prior to the social media going live HA helped BHC to prepare through:

  • Social media training of staff to develop their skills and explaining in particular the risks and benefits.
  • Advice on development of a social media strategy and protocol, including a crisis management strategy.
  • Allocation of responsibilities for content, monitoring and response

The strategy has been well received by patients, staff and others with an interest in fertility treatment.

Ensuring a consistent social media presence
Ensuring a consistent social media presence


Improved contact

Holdsworth Associates has maintained a flow of content for the blog, with posts designed to reach different audiences and optimised for different search terms. The blog content proposed by Holdsworth Associates has been accepted by the client without any significant editing as appropriate in content, tone of voice and congruence with the client’s strong brand and ethics.

Enhanced presence

The blog creates wider online profile and greater opportunities to come up in organic search.

Accurate source of information

The Bourn Hall blog has provided a channel for disseminating factually accurate and up-to-date information about a wide range of topics that affect those who are undergoing, or considering undergoing fertility treatment.


Facebook and the blog site have remained consistently in the top 10 referral sites for visitors to the BHC website.

Rapport with patients

Facebook provides an interactive forum. We had thought that people would be reluctant to ‘like’ the site but have found that successful patients in particular are happy to ‘like’ BHC and post pictures of their babies, providing independent endorsement.

Social media for Bourn Hall Clinic: Ensuring a consistent social media presence

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Making climate change relevant to business

Management consultancy Obsidian Consulting and its client the British Antarctic Survey were to co-host a seminar on climate change.

Holdsworth Associates was asked to help give the event a strong identity and relevance to an audience of regional mid-market companies.


To attract delegates we needed to create a story ahead of the workshop.  Holdsworth Associates proposed that Obsidian used its business consultancy skills to interview a number of CEOs about their sustainability strategy and the risks they had identified within their businesses.

This activity provided an opportunity to understand how to position the workshop for maximum benefit and identified the hot-topics to address.  The findings from the survey created material for a presentation, a report and a media story.  In addition many of the senior people interviewed attended the event to see the findings of the research and share ideas with peers.

For the workshop we developed the theme of ‘Adapt and Prosper’.

This activity ensured that the event addressed the needs of the delegates and stimulated a lively debate about the business response to the opportunities and challenges presented by climate change.

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