Serious PR testimonials

PR BLOG

Five nominations for PRmoment Awards 
 
  • Posted 1 week ago

We’re delighted to announce some good news.  We’ve been nominated in FIVE categories in this year’s PRmoment Awards!

We’ll be facing competition as we aim to retain our Boutique Agency of the Year crown from the very best in Northern Ireland and the North of the UK.

As well as that nomination we’re thrilled to have made it to the shortlist for Social Media Campaign of the Year, Best Use of Creativity, Most Innovative Use of Digital and Social Media and Low Budget Campaign of the Year.

The awards ceremony takes place in Manchester on 26 April, so we’ll be dusting down our best suits and dresses!

Here’s a link to the list.

Back to basics: A human approach to PR 
 
  • Posted 1 week ago

 

 

The millennial era has brought with it a huge emphasis on social media, influencers, bloggers, real-time news platforms and mass media consumption on a scale that was pretty unimaginable before the emergence of mobile devices en masse.

So, what tactics are most effective when it comes to catching the attention of target audiences amidst the constant hum and bleep of iPhone notifications?

The answer is simple: Appeal to your target audience at a basic, human level.

At a very simple level, PR is the process that builds a mutually beneficial relationship between an organisation and the public. But how exactly are these relationships built?

Essentially, the power of psychology and human interaction is key; the ability to tap into how people think and why they remember what they do. Here are a few key questions worth considering:

1. Who is your audience?
2. How does your audience form their attitude?
3. How attentive is your audience to messaging?
4. What is the ability of your audience to hold onto that message?

By mastering these questions will you be able to achieve the ultimate goal – successfully influencing group behaviour.

Influencing your audience

One of the most effective ways of changing a person’s attitude is to consider PR strategy against a backdrop of social learning theory (SLT). SLT proposes that people learn from one another via observation, imitation and modelling. That is, if you can showcase your product through key influencers within your target market you are much more likely to see major uptake. This might mean building relationships with influencers and bloggers within your chosen market or optimising case studies and testimonials to target current customers’ peers successfully through tangible real-life examples.

The importance of storytelling

There are three major processes involved in memory: encoding, storage and retrieval. Studies have shown that storytelling effectively ignites these three processes through relatively little cognitive effort. That’s why today’s press releases give much more focus to storytelling elements when it comes to engaging journalists and readers and creating influential campaigns that sit comfortably within target audience’s long-term memory. Always consider the story behind your product when creating a campaign if you want to achieve maximum impact.

Back to basics

An effective PR plan should always go back to basics and appeal to human nature, no matter what channel is being optimised. While PR channels are constantly changing and evolving, the one thing that remains constant is us. Me, you, general consumers and decision makers in the corporate market – what makes us tick, the processes we employ when making buying decisions and the way our memory focuses on one thing over another. These considerations are crucial when it comes to converting media consumers into consumers of your own particular product or service.

Find out more about how SERIOUS can help you reach your target audience here

Working it is working out 
 
  • Posted 2 weeks ago

 

 

During my undergraduate degree, I threw myself into the University lifestyle, it was three years of travelling, making as many new friends as I could and collecting amazing experiences. Cliché as it sounds, it was as much an opportunity for me to grow into myself rather than a platform to start building a career.  After graduating, I secured a job, packed my bags and moved to an exciting new city and worked in finance for two years. But I always had the feeling that it wasn’t quite the right fit. So, I decided to take the plunge and left my finance job, swapping numbers for textbooks and embarked on a Masters Degree in Communications, Public Relations and Advertising.

I knew straight away that I wanted my second bite of the education apple to be different from my first. Getting experience was a high priority so I set about researching PR agencies that were open to having a full-time intern and was lucky enough to secure a position at a fantastic agency (SERIOUS, in case you couldn’t tell?)

Many of my peers agreed getting experience is desirable but some did express concerns about working along studying. “Does it not monopolise a lot of my time?”, “Would it not be more beneficial to focus on learning for the year and worry about practical experience after?”

I tell them all the same thing, go for it! It’s undoubtedly the best classroom to learn in. Here are just some benefits of taking on a placement alongside work…..

  • Develop skills specific to your industry

Sure, having the academic credentials under your belt is a fantastic way to kick start your career, but gaining practical experience is invaluable to employers. In PR being able to write creatively is key, this is something they don’t teach you in the classroom – practise, practise, practise..

  • Having the know-how can actually boost your grades

I know for sure that this helped me in my classes, understanding how the theory you are learning is applied in the workplace really helped me grasp many of the concepts, allowing for further study and delving deeper into the subject.

  • Grow your network

As they say, ‘It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know.’

PR is an incredibly sociable industry, so getting to know the ‘locals’ , especially media will put you in great stead post university. Good recommendations and word of mouth are a sure-fire way to get your name out there, and remembered. Who knows what opportunities may come your way as a result of someone advocating for you?

  • Practise your professional self

Some skills simply cannot be taught in a lecture theatre. Conducting yourself in a professional manner, be that answering phone calls or emailing clients, these are essential skills that you learn when in the workplace and are desirable to potential employers.

  • Mad (time management) skill

Balancing University work, your job, your social life, sleeping and still managing to fit in those essential Netflix binges can seem like an impossible task. But believe me, it can be done! When time is precious you learn to make the most of it, setting aside dedicated study hours increases productivity and hopefully means that when your dreaded deadline dates come around, those scheduled study hours mean no last-minute all-nighters. (Disclaimer: optimising time utilisation does not prevent against Netflix binges exceeding allocated time – because some things can never change!)

  • Finally, it’s tonnes of fun

This year I’ve made some amazing friends, met and had the opportunity to work with incredible clients and guess what? It’s fun! Working in a creative and dynamic agency means that each day presents new and enjoyable tasks and motivates me in my studies. I’ve yet to find a better motivator than the knowledge that I am studying a subject to further a career I will genuinely love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 6 Elements Of The SERIOUS Cocktail Party Effect #3 
 
  • Posted 4 weeks ago

Avoid wearing the same outfit, and never be the last to leave.

There’s nothing more infuriating and embarrassing than turning up to a party looking stunning, only to discover another person turned up in the same outfit 30 minutes before you. It’s even worse if we think they wear their outfit better than we do.

This can be the situation when blindly charging forward with a concept for your brand’s identity. To avoid this uncomfortable situation, you must have the experience, and perform the correct research, to ensure you’re not wearing the same outfit as another brand.

Once you have sufficient market knowledge to provide a clear image of the landscape, you need a creative team to start crafting your own brand in a truly unique way. A strong and unique brand is another way to keep your company at the forefront of your sector.

When we combine our market knowledge and creativity for our clients, the results always ensure our clients stand out for all the right reasons. Being creative can provide a completely fresh perspective, giving you a competitive edge over companies who just regurgitate the same tired content that worked five years ago.

Never being the last to leave the party is another important trait. It’s the difference between being a sheep or a lion in your sector. You can follow everyone else, or you can be the brand everyone else tries to follow. By the time your competitors have managed to get anywhere near you, it has already become irrelevant because you’re forging new ground with your next theme, always staying one step ahead.

Some brands find a recipe that works, then stick to it for many years, while seeing a gradual decrease in its effectiveness. They don’t act until the data leaves them with no choice, making them reactive. In some respects sticking to the tried and tested route can be less risky. However, the analytics and resources at our disposal mitigate most of the risk, allowing you to always be moving in the right direction. While your competitors grow stale, you refresh your message and engage even more potential customers.

If you want to establish your brand as a market leader, then speak to us about how we ensure you’re never caught in the same outfit as anyone else.

 

The SERIOUS Cocktail Party Effect #2: Be seen in all the right places 
 
  • Posted 1 month ago

 

 

You never want to become the one person at the party who no one can get away from. Even when you move to another area, you can’t escape the sheer volume of their voice. At the same time, sitting quietly in a corner not talking to anyone isn’t going to help you win a popularity contest either. The key is to strike the best balance between the two.

This balance isn’t just about the amount of content you create. Equally as important are the utilisation of the correct resources, and the timing of your efforts. Defining your target audience can provide invaluable insights about where your potential customers spend their time, and when they are most active.

Defining your target audience may include geographic, demographic, and psychographic data, depending on your product or service, and the reach of your marketing campaign. Defining your target audience too late can derail marketing efforts, after all, how can you build an effective marketing plan without knowing the audience to whom you’re speaking?

The plan should be built around them, so they get to know your brand and message in the shortest possible time, and ultimately, engage with you a lot sooner. Using a blanket marketing technique that tries to keep everyone happy, often leads to the alienation of large segments of your target market.

By building a clear image of your target market you define common characteristics, which allows you to craft your message in a much more specific and relevant way. You may sell a product for children, but one primarily purchased by their parents, allowing you to direct your message towards your target audience, even though they are not technically part of your target market.

Making your media allocation more efficient in this way allows you to compete more effectively. It also makes good financial sense. It allows you to maximise your spend, as you’ll get better results by being in the right place at the right time. The Internet can be a great leveler, allowing the savvy company to compete with much bigger brands in the digital universe.

If you worry about being the annoying noisy person, or shrinking violet, at the virtual cocktail party, then we can help you strike the best balance for you. Just give us a poke, we’re always happy to help.

Are you a potential SERIOUS PR player? 
 
  • Posted 1 month ago

SERIOUS, the PRCA Boutique PR agency of the year for the second year running is inviting applications for a number of positions including Senior Account Manager / (must have 5 years+ Agency experience), Senior PR Exec (must have 3 years+ Agency experience) and an exciting Intern position to run from 1 February until 30 June 18.

For more information email your cv or contact david@seriouspr.com  by Mon 22nd January.

All positions offer excellent career progression opportunities and the chance to work across a range of consumer and B2B programmes.

Great clients, great team, great prospects –  and did we mention free car parking and work from home Fridays?

Expressions of interest will be treated in the strictest confidence.

The 6 Elements Of The Cocktail Party Effect 
 
  • Posted 1 month ago

 

 

#1: Be heard by all the right people

When you’re at a noisy party you may have noticed the uncanny ability we have to zone out the background hubbub, allowing us to listen and speak to a single person. This phenomenon is known as The Cocktail Party Effect, and provides a great analogy for our approach to getting you heard.

A combination of social media resources, websites, and videos can make the marketplace feel like a constant stream of sensory overload. Being present isn’t enough, you must stand out. It’s too easy to slip into irrelevance and become part of the background noise, while a stronger presence grabs the limelight.

To be a successful brand you must first be a successful communicator with a defined voice. When you have a distinctive, consistent, and relevant voice, your brand is strong. It will cut to the heart of your message, appeal to the right people, and leave a lasting impression.

In order to help you find your voice, we develop a deep understanding of what your company stands for, and sometimes more importantly, what it doesn’t. Your voice isn’t just expressed through your copy, it’s also evident in the videos and images you use, the discussions you engage in, and any other expression you use to communicate with your target audience.

When establishing your voice, it must be done in a way that facilitates your message in a natural way. To keep your brand at the forefront, you must create clarity in all your content, and this is far easier if your tone is a natural fit for your message, otherwise shoehorning can make your content feel clunky and insincere.

Once your voice is established, it’s important to ensure it’s maintained across all channels. Incorporating your voice into every aspect of your marketing and PR requires a concerted effort to create consistency, to the point where it becomes an integral part of the company’s DNA.

This can then be incorporated into your larger marketing efforts to ensure your targeted marketing has a bigger impact. It allows us to help you tell the right stories to the right people, building trust and brand recognition. The clearly defined voice gives our experienced team an even more acute focus, making their insights and analysis more efficient.

For a thorough approach to creating a memorable presence your target market will relate to, get in touch today.

Great opp for a PR superstar 
  • Posted 5 months ago

PR / Comms’ Manager – full time (3-5 years PR agency experience essential ). 

Are you someone who could flourish in one of Northern Ireland’s most exciting PR companies?

Someone seeking an opportunity to play a key role in an agency described by senior industry peers as ‘fresh’, ‘modernistic’, ‘inspirational’ and ‘driven by the delivery of outstanding results’?

SERIOUS is a small, highly-respected specialist agency renowned as being energetic, hungry and ambitious. Based in the heart of the city we represent our clients throughout the UK and Ireland. Our client portfolio includes leading names in retail, luxury hospitality, food, professional services and construction.

Since 2014 we’ve won more UK PR awards than any small agency in Northern Ireland – including back to back PRCA DARE Small Agency of the Year titles. This year we added the Best Social and Digital campaign award.

We’ve got high standards and huge ambition but to deliver that we need the brightest and best talent around.

Thanks to a raft of new business wins we’re on the look-out for a talented mid-weight PR operator (3-5 years’ agency experience), with the drive and energy to play a key role in our development strategy. Someone ready to hit the ground running to manage a number of key client programmes.

To fit the bill, you’ll possess the ability to create and delivery compelling campaigns, write razor sharp copy underpinned by the multi-media knowhow – plus you’ll have excellent client relations’ skills.

In return we can provide you with:

– mentoring from some of the best in the business

– support from a great team

– good opportunities for career advancement

– a key role in helping us take the business to new heights

– an all-round market-leading package with a host of benefits including free city-centre car parking and flexible working.

Maybe it’s time for a step up or your chance to shine in a new working environment. Interested? Then send your cv and cover letter in the strictest confidence to david@seriouspr.com by close of play Friday 6th October 2017.

Graduate In Style 
  • Posted 7 months ago

The end of university was a blur of dissertation amendments – midnight library sessions and an attempt to make the most out of my last few student discount purchases. I was so busy during my final year that I found it difficult to make time to think about life after graduation.

I realised at a careers talk in March that I could no longer use the phrase “when I grow up I want to be…” because technically, I was grown up and should probably have a rough idea of what I wanted to be. A lecturer of mine once said: “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”. So how can you prep for the beginning of the end as best you can? It’s simple. Follow my four-step plan. Results may vary. Do not exceed the recommended dose.

1 – Start researching companies before you graduate

Long before. I’m talking four or five months. Maybe right after Christmas. If you want to contact them before you graduate you should predict a qualification for yourself and let them know this is what you plan on achieving. This will also motivate you to work harder and get this grade. This advice might be a little late coming now if you’ve already graduated, or you’re going to soon, but that’s all the more reason to get moving.

2 – Get work experience

From my experience, this is what employers want to see. If you’re in any way interested in the creative industries, make a portfolio, polish it up, and hunt for work. The more you have under your belt, the better. Regardless of what industry you’re hoping to go into, you need to have the work experience to back up your degree and put into practice what you have learnt. It’s a given that every student that graduates from university has a degree, you need to have the CV to prove that you can work and operate in the real world. All the brains in the world are useless to a company if you lack common sense and workplace etiquette. I completed a lot of work experiences during my university career and I can honestly say each one taught me a valuable lesson in corporate protocol, writing skills and building contacts.

4 – Do an internship

Which leads nicely into my next point. Your university has likely been firing emails left right and centre about internship opportunities for the last three years, and you’ve been too buried in work and re-runs of Gossip Girl to really pay them a lot of attention. You’ll worry about them when you finish your work and graduate.

By then, they’ll be gone. Apply now. They are invaluable opportunities. The wages won’t set the world on fire, but your real pay is being able to put their brand on your CV. I actually hopped from university to work experience to internship to real job one week before graduation. If you have the opportunity to leave your comfort zone for a year during university, do it. I completed one year working as a press assistant at Harrods in London and it completely changed my perspective on life, not just professionally but personally too.

Final tip is the easiest one, the one that will involve the least effort on your part. Do step 5 and pat yourself on the back.

5 – Go to Your Graduation Ceremony and take the mandatory photo.

The photo will make your mum and dad happy and it’s also an excuse to remove the awkward school picture of you on your mantelpiece wearing an oversized school blazer. Plus, the ceremony is for you. You’ve worked hard for the last three or four years, so put on your gown and enjoy it. In years to come, you might regret that you didn’t get the photo of you holding the fake scroll back when you were wrinkle free and hopeful. Most importantly, graduate, go forth and go to your first postgraduate interview with confidence

Congratulations for joining the degree club now go find a job. Do it with style, because you certainly can’t afford any new clothes until you receive your first grad job pay slip.

 

WESTERN SIGNS UP FOR ‘SERIOUS’ PARTNERSHIP 
 
  • Posted 8 months ago

SERIOUS is delighted to have been re-engaged by one of Northern Ireland’s leading specialist construction firms for an ongoing UK and Ireland-wide profile building campaign.

For SERIOUS, being appointed by Tyrone-based Western Building Systems is something of déjà vu as the Belfast-based consultancy worked successfully with them for five years prior to the economic downturn.

Western is one of the most successful construction firms of its kind. A family-owned business in existence for more than 30 years, it delivers a range of bespoke building solutions across the education, health, commercial, social housing and private residential sectors.  Western has enjoyed significant growth in the past five years and it is set to continue on this trajectory.

Western Building Systems’ Operations Director, Declan McCloskey (pictured right of his father, Martin), said his company had chosen SERIOUS due to their market-leadership in construction marketing and PR.

“It’s important we have a PR partner we can trust to be alert to opportunities to build our profile throughout the UK and Ireland and to have access to sound PR advice.

 “We have known SERIOUS for many years and we are delighted to be re-united with them after a break of some four years.  Our decision to engage SERIOUS is in line with our strategic objective to continue to grow our business across all core sectors and to position ourselves as an innovative and reliable provider of bespoke building solutions.”

SERIOUS founder and MD, David McCavery, said he and his team were thrilled to be entrusted with the responsibility of helping Western continue its strategic expansion throughout the UK and Ireland.

“Western is a truly dynamic company with significant potential to further grow its brand presence across its core sectors. We believe we are a perfect fit and our team is really excited to be working with such a stellar, owner-managed and growth-focused company.” 

SERIOUS, which celebrates its 10th anniversary later this year is a multi-award winning PR and Marketing consultancy. It has won more UK PR awards than any other small agency in NI over the past three years and was recently featured in a UK-wide top 40 PR agency league.

It has particular expertise in marketing firms in the construction, food and professional services’ sectors and its clients include Tesco, Acheson + Glover, Cleaver Fulton Rankin and Kestrel Foods.

/ends.

FREELANCE PR CONSULTANTS: HOME OR OFFICE BASED 
  • Posted 8 months ago

SERIOUS is seeking to recruit a number of specialist PR Consultants to its roster of trusted freelance associates.

We have immediate opportunities for experienced and highly competent technical copy writers and B2C and B2B PR experts.

The ideal candidates will come from an agency background and will have a sound knowledge of the UK and Irish media.

For more info on our agency log on to www.seriouspr.com.

If you would like to be considered please send your cv to growingreputations@seriouspr.com by close of play 30 June 2017.

Experienced PR professional – full time. 
  • Posted 8 months ago

Are you someone who could flourish in one of Northern Ireland’s most exciting PR companies?

Someone seeking an opportunity to play a key role in an agency described by senior industry peers as ‘fresh’, ‘modernistic’, ‘inspirational’ and ‘driven by the delivery of outstanding results’?

SERIOUS is a small, highly-respected specialist agency renowned as being energetic, hungry and ambitious.  Based in 5-star office accommodation in Belfast we represent our clients throughout the UK and Ireland.

Since 2014 we’ve won more UK PR awards than any small agency in Northern Ireland.  We’ve recently had the joiners in to extend our trophy cabinet after our success in the PRMoment Awards where we won Outstanding Boutique Agency and the PRCA DARE Awards where we retained our Small Agency of the Year title and added the Best Social and Digital campaign award.

We’ve got high standards and huge ambition but to deliver that we need the brightest and best talent around.

So, we’re on the look-out for a talented mid-weight PR operator (3-5 years’ experience), with the drive and energy to play a key role in our development strategy.

You will want to join an agency that can offer exceptional opportunities to work with great clients. You’ll want to join a team of leading specialists who are pioneering new ways to deliver PR and Brand communications.

To fit the bill, you’ll possess the ability to create and delivery compelling campaigns, write razor-sharp copy underpinned by the multi-media knowhow – plus you’ll have excellent client relations’ skills.

In return we can provide you with a great team, a key role in helping us take the business to new heights and an all-round market-leading package with the potential for profit share/flexible working.

Interested?  Then send your cv and cover letter in the strictest confidence to david@seriouspr.com by close of play 30 June 2017.

 

SERIOUS nominated in four PRCA DARE AWARDS categories 
 
  • Posted 9 months ago

Delighted to report that SERIOUS has been nominated in FOUR categories in this year’s PRCA DARE AWARDS: Media Relations, Campaign Challenges, Digital and Social Media and Small Consultancy of the Year.

Last year we flew the flag for NI and came away with the Small Consultancy of the Year gong.   Too much to hope for two in a row?

We’re really looking forward to the big night in Edinburgh on 8 June – just two nights after the CIPR Excellence Awards (UK) in London where we have been nominated in the Outstanding Small PR Consultancy.

Goes without saying – no clients = no work = no awards.  So thank you to all our loyal and supportive clients who enable us to deliver great work for them.

And, of course, a rapturous round of applause for our little team that continues to punch above its weight on a UK stage.

Why mental health is costly to employers and how to counter-act it 
  • Posted 9 months ago

 

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week we’ve been providing some simple, effective tips on Twitter to help you look after your mental health in the workplace.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly two-thirds of people in the UK will experience problems with their mental health – and the number’s rising.

Recent research by the charity Mind confirms a culture of fear and silence around mental health can be costly to employers.

  • When asked how workplace stress had affected them more than one in five (21 per cent) of those surveyed admitted that they had called in sick to avoid work

 

  • 14 per cent conceded that they had resigned and 42 per cent had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them

 

  • 30 per cent of staff disagreed with the statement ‘I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed’

 

  • 56 per cent of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance

This important insight affirms that employees need an opportunity to able to express their mental health concerns within the workplace. It also highlights that employers are eager to provide that space but ill-equipped and inexperienced in knowing how to do so.

A great starting point towards providing better mental health awareness in the workplace is to create a culture of openness. Equipping line managers and HR staff with skills on how talk with employees about their mental health is one productive way to create a more open and aware atmosphere.

With copious amounts of free resources online, creating a better environment to approach mental health in the workplace can be a cost-effective endeavour. Ultimately, both employee and employer will benefit from converting a culture of fear and silence around mental health into a culture of openness and awareness. A more productive workforce can be directly linked to a more profitable business. So it’s a win-win!

For further reading and resources on mental health in the workplace, visit Mind.org

https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/

SERIOUS takes Boutique Agency of the Year crown at Manchester awards’ ceremony 
  • Posted 11 months ago

Belfast-based PR and Marketing agency, SERIOUS, has won a top UK industry award for its ‘genuinely fresh approach’ and ‘outstanding results’.
The specialist advisory agency won the Best Boutique Agency at the UK PRMoments Awards’ glittering ceremony held in the Hilton Hotel, Manchester.
The awards are amongst the most competitive within the UK’s PR industry.
Judged by industry experts this year’s PRMoments attracted more than 800 entries from throughout Britain and Northern Ireland. Judges commended SERIOUS for its ‘genuinely fresh approach and outstanding results’.
In the past three years SERIOUS has had its work recognised in the form of a series of UK-wide and NI accolades including the UK Freshest Small Agency, the PRCA Dare Outstanding Small Consultancy for Scotland and NI and several CIPR PRide awards including runner up in the NI Outstanding PR Consultancy category.
SERIOUS founder and Managing Director, David McCavery said his agency’s success had once again set down an industry marker in the company of some of the brightest and best in Britain and Northern Ireland.
“To be nominated in the PRMoments awards was an honour in itself but to win against others much larger than ourselves provides proof positive that Northern Ireland agencies can compete with the best in Britain.
“Later this year we will celebrate our tenth anniversary. However, rather than resting on any laurels we’re determined to keep developing our agency by benchmarking ourselves against the best in the business.
“We are unapologetically small and specialist but big on ideas and client service. Our goal is to build a PR & Marketing agency with true stand-out in our market that is capable of supporting our clients in Northern Ireland, The Republic and Britain with equal ease. Currently a substantial proportion of our fees are delivered for Northern Ireland clients in Britain and we see this trend continuing.
“Furthermore, we have ambitious plans to broaden the range of support we bring to growth focussed clients so we can add even more value through every brief.”
SERIOUS is based in the heart of Belfast city. Its client portfolio comprises top consumer and corporate brands including Tesco, Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Kestrel Foods, Acheson + Glover and McAvoy Group.
/ends.

PRmoment accolade is latest building block on an exciting and SERIOUS journey 
 
  • Posted 11 months ago

The PRmoments awards (formerly known as the Golden Hedgehogs) are amongst the most competitive within the UK’s PR industry.

Judged by industry experts this year’s awards attracted more than 800 entries from throughout Britain and Northern Ireland. In the past three years SERIOUS has been truly blessed to have its work recognised in the form of a series of UK-wide and NI accolades including the UK Freshest Small Agency, the PRCA Dare Outstanding Small Consultancy for Scotland and NI and several CIPR PRide awards including runner up in the NI Outstanding PR Consultancy.

Last night in Manchester’s plush Hilton Hotel we once again set down an industry marker by winning the hotly contested Boutique Agency of the Year category – against some of the brightest and best in Britain (most of whom are much larger that ourselves).

This year we will celebrate our tenth anniversary. However, rather than resting on any laurels we’re determined to keep developing our agency by benchmarking ourselves against the best in the business.

We are committed to building a PR agency with true stand-out in our market that is capable of supporting our clients in Northern Ireland, The Republic and Britain with equal ease.

Furthermore, we have ambitious plans to broaden the range of support we bring to our growth focussed clients so we can stretch ourselves to add even more value through every brief.

Watch out for details on some new trailblazing services we’ll be launching in the coming months. And don’t be shy in giving us a call if you’d like to move your PR and Content Marketing up to a SERIOUS-ly new level.

Are you making the most of your economies of scope? 
  • Posted 11 months ago

To succeed you have to make the most of what you have got and explore different ways to create a competitive advantage.

One obvious route is to examine any potential economies of scale: how can you focus and use your expertise and specialism to do more of perhaps fewer things at a lower cost than the others.

A less obvious strategy is to explore any potential economies of scope.

What do we mean by this?

Unlike economies of scale where you look to do one thing very well in large volumes, economies of scope is about doing lots of things under one roof.

And for many small to medium businesses and organisations this could actually be the most relevant and profitable way ahead.

Whether it is better cross-selling of similar products, to a corner store offering an ATM facility, at the heart of this approach is having a relationship with a customer and asking how can you obtain more value from the relationship?

What you are doing for your customer is reducing their total cost of a product or service. They may have a host of different add-on costs: the time and money to search, locate alternatives, purchasing and receiving costs, after sales.

By offering an economy of scope you are reducing the total cost to your customer – and that is not just money but also time and reducing stress and anxiety.

Offering economies of scope can also make you more valuable to your customer and make them more likely to stay with you.

At SERIOUS for example, we work with our clients to get them the reputation they deserve and also put them in the spotlight of potential customers.

Yet we now do more than this. We now work with a growing number of clients addressing their challenge of what is called their ‘Talent Brand’ – how can you make them as attractive as possible to new recruits and retain their best staff?

We now also offer Brand Story workshops to get to the very heart of their business and its strategy, or create content marketing programmes to maximise the values of their insights, knowledge and experiences.

What economies of scope can you offer your customers? How can you provide a benefit to reduce their total cost in money, time and reduced stress and anxiety to your customers?

Andy Green, SERIOUS Director of Creativity

7 pain points SERIOUS PR can remove for NI businesses 
  • Posted 12 months ago

If you ran a shop you wouldn’t dream of not having the lights on, nor the front door closed. Yet is that a reality for many businesses when it comes to marketing themselves and selling who they are to the world at large?

There’s a legendary ad from 1958 for from McGraw-Hill Magazines. (It was later named the “Best Business-to-Business Ad of the 20th Century” by Advertising Age.)

The ad features a rather grumpy business man, hands folded in his lap, with a defiant expression which read:

“I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s products.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now what was it you wanted to sell me?”

More than 50 years on the fundamental challenge remains the same – but how you tell your story about your business, its services and what makes it special has changed.

Critically, you need to take advantage of the new opportunities presented by technology – the internet, digital communications, and greater connectivity, yet in an age of diminished trust, greater resistance to being sold to, and curiously just getting through to people can be more challenging than ever.

Here are 7 pain points a good public relations team can remove for you.

1. How to get coverage in UK media?
If your business were a shop you don’t just need to sell to the people in your high street, but beyond. For Northern Ireland businesses the need to be seen by potential customers or clients across the UK and Ireland can be critical.

A good PR agency, with good media contacts and understanding of your media sectors can make the difference between being known, or unknown to valuable prospects – across the UK and Ireland and beyond.

2. How to create your Talent Brand?
One of the biggest questions that keeps business managers awake at night is the vexed question of how can they retain their best talent, and also recruit the cream of new talent to join their business.
That managerial nightmare is now being known as your ‘Talent Brand’ – making sure your business brand works its hardest to keep the best with you, and attract the best of the new talent to you. Nowadays, PR works to manage this issue.

3. How you can listen better to your customers
Your ears are your best friend for business success – both on a personal level and for your company. Your brand reputation can be defined as ‘What people say about you when you’re not in the room’. Listening to what is being said about you, or not said can be critical to your future success.
A good PR partner should be your eyes, ears and nose to the outside world, picking up on any negative undercurrents before they become a tide of bad publicity or ill-will, as well as the positives that can be you next killer idea.

4. How you can transform your story
Think of story-telling and it conjures images of sitting on the classroom carpet listening to teacher. Yet everyone in business is a story-teller and every aspect of business is about getting a story known, understood and bought-into.

By understanding how great compelling, authentic and distinctive stories can be crafted – even from the seemingly mundane of subjects is a sign of an outstanding PR communicator. It can be the difference between realizing yourself as a great brand – or being bland.

5. How you can exploit the 1001 things you know that others don’t

You and your people are experts. Day-in, day-out you solve problems. You bring solutions, new ways of doing or thinking. Isn’t time you made your smartness work harder. We now live in an age of what is called ‘content marketing’: you knowledge, insights, anecdotes, views, perspectives are all assets that may have value to someone.

By harvesting your content through advice columns, thought leadership articles, even humorous pictures can all create ammunition for you to connect, engage and build a relationship with your key prospects.

6. How to manage your internal communications

Your people are your #1 asset. Yet how seriously are you addressing the task of ensuring they can deliver at optimum performance by being informed as much as possible.

Good PR is central to effective internal communications.

7. How to manage and survive your next crisis
Your next crisis is not a case of if, but when. The great financier Warren Buffet said “It can take 20 years to build a reputation, and 5 minutes to destroy it.” Nowadays, he would say “It can take 20 years to build a reputation, and 1 click to destroy it.”

Good PR can be as much as keeping you out of the media spotlight as being in it. Intelligent, experienced advice can counsel for the best crisis management – avoiding the problem in the first place. Capable crisis PR management can also put in place the best responses should a crisis occur, where it often is the speed of your response as much as what you actually say.
Good public relations can ensure the equivalent of your shop not only has its lights on and front door open but is connecting with all your important people.

Now what is it you are trying to sell?


Andy Green, SERIOUS Creativity Director

Is it any wonder we chose a career in storytelling? 
 
  • Posted 12 months ago

As our Facebook feeds fill up with Harry Potters, Matildas and Horrid Henries in celebration of World Book Day, we couldn’t help but reminisce about the books we loved when we were young. Some of them have stood the test of time and are probably as popular today as they once were, while others are definitely showing us to be of a certain vintage (cough, cough… not mentioning any names).

Malory Towers, Enid Blyton

Malory Towers was all about life at a girls’ boarding school. The main character, Darrell Rivers, has to get to grips with making friends, keeping teachers happy and dealing with some challenging personalities. Suppose it was a bit like the Mean Girls of its day. Although, on Wednesdays (and every other day), they wore brown.

The Worst Witch, Jill Murphy

Forget Hogwarts, going to Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches was the ultimate dream for one of our team. Like the Worst Witch, she’s late for everything, loves her cat and forever finds ways to get into trouble… sounds pretty familiar alright…

Nancy Drew Mysteries, Carolyn Keene

The Nancy Drew series, followed Nancy, an amateur sleuth as she solved cases, usually ones her father, an experienced attorney, couldn’t. The character of Nancy was the perfect role model for a young girl; she was independent, clever and feisty.

The Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister

Upon reflection, it has a slight socialist angle to it but as children we just loved hearing how the rainbow fish wasn’t scared to share all of his sparkly scales with his fishy friends. Modern day lesson – don’t be afraid to be an individual. And definitely don’t be the person who stands at the edge of the dance floor to keep your look intact. You’ll always find this team member in the middle of the floor…

Rikki-Tikki-Tayi, The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling

The story of this valiant young mongoose was a classic case of hero overcoming villain, introduced by the fearsome Mr McCombe at Newtownbreda Primary School. We have a thing for underdogs here at SERIOUS, so it’s no surprise this story has stayed with one of our team members… ever since he was in p5!

The Letter, the Witch and the Ring, John Bellairs

This had one of us hiding our lamp under the bedclothes way past bedtime. His tale charts the quest by the young Rose Rita and her aged friend, Mrs Zimmerman in the fictitious New Zebedee to discover the secret of a magic ring. It’s a page-turner from the start. There’s a huge influence from Belfast’s own CS Lewis too!

PR Execs may need more holidays… 
 
  • Posted 1 year ago

The results are out!

The annual CareerCast report has announced that public relations executive is one of the most stressful jobs in 2017.

The new report says many of us working in the media and public relations industry need to think about taking blood pressure tablets, as our stressful job roles are taking their toll.

Job stress can come in a variety of different forms; a dangerous working environment, tight deadlines, job competition and physical or mental demands.

Other ‘most’ stressful jobs include Military Personal, Firefighter and Corporate Exec, but there’s no doubt that this year has saw a shift in the amount of media related jobs that were recognised as incredibly taxing.

Working within the public eye exposes you to more job scrutiny and higher risks. Not to mention a high number of competitors and lack of job security.

Though PR execs may not be risking their lives on a daily basis, the high levels of pressure, expectations from clients and strict targets has led to it making the list of the Top 10 most stressful occupations.

Whether it’s a business, organisation or individual, public relations executives have an important responsibility to manage the public perception and reputation of their client.
Their skills are often needed at times of crisis, so there can be extreme pressure to deliver much needed results.

Dare I touch on it… clients who don’t understand how the PR industry works can add to the stress of the role.

However, there are those of us who are attracted to high stress jobs; we thrive in them and rise to the challenge, making the accomplishment of the task and success all the more sweet.

That being said, we can combat job stress with careful planning and preparation. A vital factor in keeping us on top of things (and sane!) on a daily basis…

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