News

PRCA Best Internship Programme, wish us luck!

Rostrum is thrilled to have been shortlisted for this year’s PRCA’s Best Internship Programme!

At Rostrum, we take pride in being able to offer internships to so many talented individuals, and equally love having them as part of the team. Being nominated demonstrates that our interns enjoy their experience with us and is a huge compliment to everyone in the team. Many of our interns have gone on to permanent roles at Rostrum, so it’s a great way for us to identify the next wave of talent for the agency.

One of Rostrum’s Account Managers, Gaby Bryson, started with us as an intern in 2014 and has given us a glowing recommendation for our internship programme:

“Unlike my previous work experiences and internships, I found that Rostrum invested a lot of time and effort into the development of its interns and made me feel like it was partnership. Rostrum introduced me to the industry and ways of working and in turn I was able to support the busy and growing team. With a solid introduction to the foundation of PR and the industries Rostrum specialises in, I felt very confident progressing my career in communications and enjoyed being able to join such a supportive team.”

The annual PR Internship Awards have been launched to celebrate excellence in two categories: Best Internship Programme and Best Intern. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to culminate the end of the joint PR Week/PRCA PR Internships For All initiative in London on the 6th July. Good luck to all shortlisted in both categories. We’ll be keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed until the big reveal!

Return of the Bank of Mum and Dad

We launched the 2017 edition of our Bank of Mum and Dad campaign for FTSE100 financial services company Legal & General this week, and it made a serious impact on the news cycle – even with Brexit and the General Election going on.

The story this year was that The Bank of Mum and Dad has grown from being the equivalent of a £5bn mortgage lender last year to £6.5bn this year – putting it on a par with the Yorkshire Building Society, the ninth largest mortgage lender in the UK.

National media interest was immediate and widespread as the ‘BoMaD’ campaign trended on Twitter for the second year running and dominated broadcast, online and print media.  Highlights from the launch include the front page of the FTBBC NewsSky News, the GuardianHuffington PostBloomberg, and Timeout.

Later in the week, the editorials and columnists started to delve into the issues raised by the campaign in more detail.  Deborah Ross published a great piece in The Times and Robert Shrimsley’s tongue in cheek approach to BoMaD for the FT was particularly entertaining

Rostrum also produced a series of online assets for Legal & General including an interactive map where customers can look at the role of BoMaD in their region

The buzz within the agency and the positive reaction from the client made all the hard work on BoMaD worthwhile – everyone at Rostrum is delighted with another successful BoMaD campaign launch and we’re looking forward to releasing further findings from the report later in the year.

 

 

Agency Day 2017

It’s #agencyday at Rostrum today.  Agency Day is a yearly tradition where we gather the team, talk about the year we’ve just completed and plan the year ahead.  Each member of the Agency Management Group presents on a different topic – Nick Bolshaw on the year we’ve just completed, Michael Kahn covers HR and People matters, Sophie Placido analyses our performance levels against targets and I’m covering the targets and plans for the year to come.

It’s a great opportunity to engage the Rostrum team in the development of the agency. Agency Day is about everyone at Rostrum being involved in setting the strategy, getting everyone’s ideas and commitment to our plans and to talk about what we could be doing better, or differently.

And there’s champagne and cake involved. What’s not to like?

Happy #agencyday – and thanks to all the Rostrum team, our clients and friends.

Crisis comms in today’s business world

A lot of PR people will tell you that a successful crisis comms strategy is all in the planning, but in the real world, that isn’t always true. As a marketing team, what do you do when the business suddenly finds itself in the middle of a social media firestorm? Call the PR guys.

A huge part of our role when a crisis emerges is to question and support our clients. Our slightly ‘outsider’ status means that we can approach an issue without any preconceived notions and truly see the wood from the trees – just as the media and the public will.

For this reason, a marketing department can benefit from having a trustworthy PR consultant that it can depend on and that the rest of the business respects. After all, in addition to managing incoming media enquiries, a strong PR team can help the business to address any internal concerns and deal with queries from stakeholders.

Experienced PR professionals can also work with the press, rather than against them, to turn a negative news story in to something more positive – or at least more neutral – in sentiment. They also understand how important it is to protect these relationships for the longer term, and to manage any discussions with tact and diplomacy.

By their very nature, crises tend to occur without any warning. A crisis comms plan can often help the business to structure its response, but in the real world, it’s an honest and open line of communication that will result in success. Mock crises, elaborate pre-crisis strategies and guidebooks are worthwhile exercises and certainly have their place – but hard-won experience is still the most valuable resource in situations like these.

Navigating the Brexit media landscape

Brexit. Even now the reality hasn’t truly sunk in. Perhaps this is because most of the doom and gloom predictions from experts and politicians have yet to materialise. That said, it could also be because we haven’t left the European Union or triggered the negotiations needed for us to leave.

In any case, Brexit certainly shocked many in the media. In fact, the day before the referendum, one national journalist quipped that his paper had not written any stories that considered a leave win for publication the following day.

Perhaps it is this attitude that explains why papers are still relentlessly pursuing Brexit stories today. Brexit has reignited the curiosity in many journalists; they are desperately seeking answers. Whether national or trade, online or print, they want research, facts and figures – any evidence that shows an intention to leave or remain in the UK.

For businesses, this is of course a sensitive issue. The wrong story about Brexit can damage confidence, impact share price and ultimately harm long term sales prospects. Assuaging a journalist’s desire for a Brexit angle against what’s appropriate for the business is therefore challenging.

When the government finally triggers Article 50, the new reality will undoubtedly sink in. It will also, however, accelerate the media’s appetite for Brexit scoops – except this time they will expect news that shows how it tangibly impacts business. As such, managing journalist relations will not only become more difficult, they will also become more important.

Recruiting at Rostrum

A lot of companies claim that ‘people are their biggest asset’ – but at Rostrum this is undeniable.  The quality of the people we employ is fundamental to the service we provide and the results we produce for our clients. Recruitment is therefore something that we take very seriously – which is why we’ve called in the experts to help.  Starting this month, we’ll be working with the award-winning recruitment firm Reuben Sinclair to make sure that we’re finding, meeting and hiring the best and brightest PR professionals in the UK.

As part of this agreement, we’ll have a senior member of Reuben Sinclair’s PR team focusing our recruitment needs, creating and promoting our job adverts, conducting first-stage interviews, arranging psychometric and competency testing, and setting up and maintaining a comprehensive applicant tracking system. The firm’s flexible Managed Service model means that other recruitment agencies can continue to submit CVs as well.

This agreement was a logical next step for us, as Reuben Sinclair has been helping us with our recruitment for years. During that time, the firm has developed a deep understanding of our culture and is therefore well-placed to become our retained Managed Service provider for recruitment. Working with Reuben Sinclair in this way will not only help us to secure the best candidates, but will also enable our leadership team to concentrate on the growth of the agency and, more importantly, continuously improve the service that we provide for our clients. Candidates who share our commitment to quality, creativity and achieving results should contact Alex Lewington at a.lewington@rostrum.agency with an up-to-date CV and cover letter explaining why they’d like to work for Rostrum – and Alex will take it from there!

FT airtime for Primetime

‘Newsjacking’ – enabling clients to respond to breaking developments and industry news – is part of most Rostrum PR campaigns, and it can often generate strong media coverage. Newsjacking allows clients to be responsive, involved in the industry debate and (hopefully) insightful. It works across print and online media, and with several newspapers and publications now running ‘as it happens’ coverage of breaking business developments, there are more opportunities than ever to get your point of view across. Done right, it’s a technique that can transform a client’s profile in the marketplace.

The golden rules for newsjacking success are:

  • Be quick. This really is a game of fastest finger first. You need to work with us to get a comment approved and out to the target media in your sector in minutes, not hours.
  • Be bold. Journalists want interesting material. Bland, fence-sitting quotes don’t make for good copy
  • Be brief. At the most, one or two lines of your newsjacking commentary will be used. Brevity and quotability is key

When Prudential announced its intention to exit the annuities market, we saw a perfect opportunity to position our client Kim Lerche-Thomson of Primetime Retirement, a retirement market guru and ex-Pru man himself, as an expert commentator on the implications. Kim argued that the insurer’s decision was simply a “sad day” for the UK annuity market given the Prudential’s history and market presence. A straightforward message, but one that resonated with the media, including the Financial Times and Professional Adviser.

Happy (Lunch) Hour at Rostrum!

The days can fly by at Rostrum, so we like to engage in teambuilding activities for our staff to spend time together away from their desks and boost wellbeing across the agency.

Today, we were joined by The Vitality Agency, a workplace wellbeing consultancy, who came in
during our team lunch session to set up our very own Pop Up Smoothie Bar. We were treated to
brightly-coloured glasses of the ‘Rostrum Revitaliser’, ‘Berry Lunch’ and ‘Sunshine Power’, in addition to homemade Apple Chai, Cacao and Matcha Pistachio energy balls to see our team through a busy afternoon.

Smoothies 1

Smoothies 2

Many thanks to the team at The Vitality Agency for coming in today and making us delicious
smoothies!

Christmas is coming…

It’s that time of year again: the John Lewis advert divides the nation, your morning coffee is delivered in a red cup, Mariah Carey blasts through offices across the country, and you can sense a family bust-up brewing in Albert Square. Yes…Christmas is coming!
Every year, hardworking professionals let out a collective ‘hurrah!’ as the holidays draw closer and invites for Christmas festivities flood their inboxes. For PR people, however, the work doesn’t stop at the mention of a party. The truth is that the flurry of meetings, parties and events we attend in the run-up to Christmas can be great for reinforcing relationships and helping to forge new ones, not only with clients, but with the media too.
These events actually offer a great way to meet other professionals in the PR industry, to learn more about our clients’ industries, and to spend some time with journalists over a few drinks. This last point is important, as putting a face to a name of a journalist that you often deal with over email can greatly improve your relationship and make the pitching process much easier.
Needless to say, the run-up to Christmas isn’t all about work though; no one is saying that. We are a sociable bunch at Rostrum and these events are also a great way to blow off steam and celebrate the end of another great year. But from a work perspective, there are definitely lots of other benefits too, which will carry on long after the corks have stopped popping.

Health insurers are joining the FS innovation wave

When we think of innovation in financial services, we tend to think of Shoreditch start-ups pioneering robo-advice solutions, or retail banks launching mobile apps to help customers track their finances or new mortgage lenders using algorithms to decide which customers to lend to, and at what price.

However, the health insurance market is also a player in the wave of innovation currently transforming financial services – and sometimes, new ideas can originate in unlikely places.
Here at Rostrum, we recently began working with National Friendly, a 150 year old mutual that is doing things a little differently in the private medical insurance market following its return to new business this year.

Innovation and collaboration are very much top of mind for National Friendly with the launch of their new Your Health Fund product. Responding to the pressures on the NHS caused by Britain’s ageing population and incorporating product feedback from brokers, Your Health Fund offers policyholders convenient access to quick diagnoses and high quality healthcare services for short term, curable illnesses. The product operates with National Friendly’s deposit principle, which rewards consumers whose claims totals are low by giving them access to a claim fund (like a ‘no claims bonus’) at the end of their policy term.

After securing coverage on National Friendly’s return to new business with key industry publications such as Health Insurance Daily and FT Adviser, we are now expanding the thought leadership approach with this long-running mutual as National Friendly looks to expand its product range into new sectors.

Over the coming months, we’ll continue to raise National Friendly’s profile among consumers and advisers with a series of thought leadership pieces on the growing importance of private medical insurance, the first of which was published in COVER.