Services Archives: Public Relations

Changing attitudes towards insect protein

Brief

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.

Strategy 

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.

Implementation 

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

Outcomes 

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

Outcomes

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

Objective

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.

Strategy

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.

Implementation 

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

 

Results 

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.

Objectives

  • 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

Results

  • 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

Outcome

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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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.

Objectives

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

Strategy

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

Results

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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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.

Strategy

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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Generating market pull for new health product

Objective

Holdsworth Associates was asked to launch a new product to the healthcare market. The food intolerance test was to be used by nutritional therapists and related healthcare professionals with their clients.

We devised and implemented a marketing communications campaign which create both a push and a pull – to create market awareness of the availability of the product, and then demand from customers.

Strategy

We used a market research exercise to inform all nutritionists of the new product, and offer them a free trial.

The research also extracted valuable information about competing products, professional organisations, and attitudes to food intolerance testing.

Results

Relationships were developed with nutritionists, which lead to excellent press coverage as well as orders for product. Contacts were made at many relevant professional organisations.

Broadcast coverage included: BBC Look East, Anglia TV, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, Q103, and BBC Radio Suffolk – who did a test live on air with a nutritionist.

We targeted professional and trade media with an announcement about the business benefits of Food Detective and a pilot consumer campaign was launched in the East of England where a number of professionals were established users.

This generated immediate interest for the product.

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Creating research to drive PR

SureFlap is a microchip operated cat flap that only permits the resident cat to enter the home, keeping intruder cats outside.

The client wanted to raise the profile of its product with the national media, so we used research to create a story.

Strategy

An analysis of customers revealed that many had purchased SureFlap as they wanted a secure cat flap that would excluded unwanted visitors. Desk research showed that although little was known about the behaviour of cats it was known that home invasions caused stressed.

HA developed a research project with an animal behaviourist from the Royal Veterinary College to provide credibility for the results and then interested Your Cat Magazine in collaborating with a series of features aimed at raising awareness that home invasion caused stress for cats and this could be prevented by using a secure cat flap such as SureFlap.

Results 

  • Over 1,000 people completed the survey.
  • Analysis by HA with the behaviourist generated sufficient material for five features in YourCat Magazine.
  • The findings were launched at the British Small Animal Veterinary Association to a room of vets (key influencers)
  • Results were published in major veterinary publications
  • Radio interviews were secured on the BBC
  • Coverage was achieved in the pet trade publications and resulted in request for several articles
  • Coverage was achieved in the Independent, Daily Telegraph, Express, Metro

Client comment

 The 300% increase in turnover we achieved last year has enabled us to grow the team significantly in the past six months. Sales continue to grow both in the UK and abroad and we now have country managers in place to target the US and Germany. With sales also picking up in Australasia, we plan to have a local presence there too within the next six months.
– Dr Nick Hill, Managing Director, SureFlap Ltd

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Personalising investments to achieve media results

Generating media interest with investment stories - CIC Congenica

When generating media interest in investment stories, adding human interest can make them relevant to key audiences.

Objective

Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC) was to announce a £1million investment in the start-up company Congenica, a spinout from  the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Congenica, has developed a  diagnostic engine for Whole Genome Analysis, which provides new insights into rare genetic disorders. Although not a treatment, it would allow patients and their families to be better informed about their conditions and pave the way for development for improved therapies.

Both CIC and Congenica required coverage of the announcement to support  their respective aims.

How we did it?

The technology being developed by Congenica was complex and the funding amount, although substantial for Cambridge, was not significant for City papers.  Our media strategy therefore focused on the human impact of the investment, and what it would mean to families to gain a diagnosis and hence a prognosis.

Holdsworth Associates sourced patient case-studies, and quotes from patient support groups and experts to build a compelling PR story.

This approach gained coverage in wide range of media and enabled journalists from different disciplines to understand the potential of the technology.

Close working with key journalists ensured that the story was covered sensitively and all key messages were communicated effectively.

Results

  • Extensive coverage on major online news sites, including Daily Mail Online, ITV News and on over 100 regional news sites
  • Interview with Al Jazeera, gained international coverage, and an interview with Dr Tom Weaver was also broadcast on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
  • BBC Look East report comprising a pre-recorded segment and a live interview with Dr Tom Weaver. The pre-record was also available to view online as part of BBC Health
  • Regional print coverage across the country, including Eastern Daily Press and front page on Business Weekly

Some of the publications in which coverage was achieved included:

  • The Journal of Precision Medicine
  • Personalised Medicine
  • Drug Discovery World
  • Drug Target Review
  • Engineering and Technology Magazine
  • Labmate UK
  • Laboratory News
  • Manufacturing Chemist
  • Financial Times
  • Fortune
  • Scrip Intelligence
  • The Guardian
  • The Herald
  • The Telegraph
  • The Times
  • Angel News
  • Belfast Telegraph
  • Bio IT World
  • BioSpace
  • Business Weekly
  • Cabume
  • Cambridge Independent
  • genomeweb
  • Labiotech
  • News Medical
  • One Nucleus
  • pharmaphorum
  • Pharmafile
  • Pharmiweb
  • Science Business
  • UK BioIndustry Association
  • Yahoo Finance
  • Muscular Dystrophy News
  • Nature
  • BBC Look East
  • BBC North West Tonight
  • BBC Radio 4
  • BBC Radio Cambs
  • Innovate UK
  • ITV News
  • Cambridge News
  • Cambridge TV
  • City AM
  • Clinical Lab Products
  • Closing Circle
  • Computer Weekly
  • Digital Health
  • Eastern Daily Press
  • Heart FM
  • Fierce Biotech IT / Fierce Diagnostics
  • Front Line Genomics
  • Metro
  • MSN UK
  • PE Hub
  • Pharmafocus
  • PharmaTimes
  • unquote
  • BioPortfolio
  • Biotech and Money
  • Digital Media Net
  • Driven by Health with Care
  • Expert Review of Precision Medicine and Drug Development
  • Innovation Nexus
  • insider media
  • Iowa Science Interface

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