Stripe Communications Blog

When Style transforms into a Story

When Style transforms into a Story

Today marks the start of London Fashion Week (LFW) which can only mean two things for the week ahead, stylish consumers will be glued to their phones and fashion brands will be working a lot of overtime.

LFW is the opportunity for journalists, consumers, buyers, celebrities and influencers to catch a glimpse of the next season’s collections six months before they hit the shelves – unless it’s Nicola Formichetti, then you can receive it within an hour from Amazon. But do not fret, if you are without an invite or ticket, this season, fashion brands and influencers alike will keep the FOMO at bay. And if you are within the 150,000 who are attending then well done, you’ve essentially made it.

Thanks to its audience of more than 500 million users, Instagram Stories has evolved to become the top choice for fashion brands to trial instant content. According to Instagram Advertiser statistics, 75% of Instagram users take action after viewing an Instagram sponsored post, and the number of brands using Instagram Stories is expected to rise to 70.7% by the end of 2017.

But how do Instagram Stories actually provide long-term value for a brand with content disappearing after 24 hours?

Fashion brands will benefit from this platform in a number of ways; whether it’s providing a countdown or showcasing their garments in action, it will create an impact. By inviting their followers to witness behind-the-scenes action of models getting fitted or practicing their walk pre show, this will provide an in for fans to what was previously an exclusive experience. This indoctrinates the viewer to become invested in the brand, becoming encouraged to view future posts and establishing longer term brand affinity.

You may have seen organic posts with ‘swipe up’ at the bottom that are reserved for users/brands with 10k+ followers. Most brands will have these verified accounts, enabling them to link out to their websites, landing pages or blog posts from within their stories – helping to provide a ROI for their short-lived stories.

A study from Rakueten Marketing has found that premium fashion marketers will pay up to £93,000 per post, showing just how powerful influencers and their stories are to an event like LFW. This year Topshop have invited actress Sophia Brown and Women in Fashion co-founder Lily More to take over their blog and to involve them both in a live streaming via Topshop.com.

For the social media spectators like myself, it’s a long term benefit to the brands to provide access into the behind the scenes of the event and are exposed to every aspect of this season’s collection, developing brand ambassadors and fans and fortunately Instagram Stories provide just that.

Fortunately London Fashion Week lasts a full 7 days, unlike Insta Stories – which can only be a good thing for fanatics like myself! So before you tap through those #LFW posts, take a second to think about the lasting power of Instagram Story.

Most exciting job on earth? Experienced community manager sought!

Most exciting job on earth? Experienced community manager sought!

We are looking for an experienced, passionate and ambitious community manager to work closely with one of our exciting clients based in London. With an international audience, the role will involve on and offline activity, content creation, influencer management, proactive and reactive social posting, tackling multiple brands and channels simultaneously and everything that comes with that responsibility.

You will be energetic, outgoing, have a love for all things entertainment and showbiz as well as the ability to work in a fast paced culture, but in an organised way. With a solid understanding of how brands use social channels, how they should operate in the social space and the ability to lead an account from planning, delivery through to reporting and analysis, you’ll deliver innovatively and effectively.

If you are curious and creative, with amazing communication skills and a major love of the Mail Online’s sidebar of shame, send your CV and links to your work to talent@stripecommunications.com.

Location: London
Closing Date: Weds 13th September

Kick-off transfer deadline day with a donation to the Homeless World Cup

Kick-off transfer deadline day with a donation to the Homeless World Cup

As the clock ticks down on what is set to be another record breaking transfer window, you’d be forgiven for getting caught up in the hullabaloo of the modern day football circus.

After all there is little escape from Sky Sports’ rolling news coverage and its perpetual scenes of reporters jostling for a glimpse of a club’s new multi-million pound signing in the latest transfer exclusive.

But over in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, an eight day football tournament with a difference is well underway and this year is set to be bigger than ever.

This year’s Homeless World Cup will see 570 homeless men and women from 54 countries across the world compete in a celebration of street football.

Connected by their love for simply playing the game, the tournament uses the power of football as a force for good to tackle homelessness. It has always amazed me how sport has a transcendental quality to transform lives for the better. The direct impact of the Homeless World Cup has on people’s lives is nothing short of remarkable.

An astonishing 94 per cent of players surveyed after the tournament last year in Glasgow said the event had a positive effect on their lives while an estimated £10m in social capital was generated from helping people off the street and into employment.

If you’re wondering how football can bring about positive change there are many benefits for a person who is homeless getting involved with the sport.

As well as developing relationships and learning to trust teammates, street football can also improve aspects of a person’s life such as regaining self-esteem, improving health and well-being and reconnecting them with friends and family.

The impact of this year’s tournament will also be far-reaching.

Not only are an estimated 3 million people set to tune in to the tournament which is being streamed live on YouTube, an innovative Fairtrade partnership between the Homeless World Cup Foundation and sports co-operative Bala Sport will ensure that an often forgotten army of men and women making footballs in Pakistan will also benefit by receiving fair rates of pay, safer working conditions and access to union representation.

This year Stripe is proud to be able to lend a hand to the Homeless World Cup Foundation supporting the charity to raise the national and international profile of this inspirational event.

So next time you refresh your Twitter feed this transfer deadline day to see if your club has bought anyone half decent, instead why not take the time to see how your nation is performing in the Homeless World Cup.

For more information or to donate and help to change the lives of homeless people around please visit www.homelessworldcup.org.

Craving experiences

Craving experiences

Last month, Madame Tussauds London launched Alien: Escape, a terrifying multi-sensory experience, developed with one of the most genius creative companies in the world – Creatures Inc. When we first began working on Alien: Escape, I didn’t know what to expect. Isn’t that the beauty of working in PR though? You start a project with no previous knowledge and by the end you’re an absolute pro – whether it’s a video game, a food product, a documentary, or an experience inspired by a popular film franchise.

Alien: Escape is a multi-sensory experience, which follows the release of the critically acclaimed blockbuster film, Alien: Covenant and challenges guests to navigate a trail of blood, gore, chaos and danger. The mission is simple: Run. Survive. Escape. It is also the most terrifying experience Madame Tussauds has ever worked on, with a recommended age of 15+. If you don’t believe us, you can see how terrifying our celebrities rated it at the launch event.

Madame Tussauds London introduces Alien Escape
Michael Fassbender Alien Covenant

But why do we need them? Are we craving new experiences more than ever before meaning that we no longer need material belongings? Not really. In my opinion, we are still very much a commodity focused society. We love our products and we definitely like to show off with them even if we don’t admit it.

And because we love our products so much, they have been made much more accessible for us. In Western societies, it seems almost unreal to own an iPhone with a model starting below the number 5. No really, who has iPhone 4 anymore? The market is overly saturated and since we all use similar brands and products, we have changed the focus and become much more ‘spiritual’. We’re frantically looking for things to do, because we have everything.

Certain brands have realised this social trend and have adapted accordingly. Snapchat and Instagram are all about experiences – capturing places, people and things we have seen. Facebook has added a permanent “Feeling (happy, excited, tired, sad etc.)” to our status updates.

Any forward thinking brand that seeks leadership in its sector has to realise the potential in triggering some sort of emotion – whether this would be comfort, loyalty, excitement or fear. Madame Tussauds London has definitely raised the bar with getting its audience to show fear with their horrific new Alien: Escape.

Turing Fest 2017 – PR vs SEO

Turing Fest 2017 – PR vs SEO

Last week, Stripe attended Scotland’s largest tech gathering, Turing Fest to further submerge ourselves into the world of digital marketing for a day, with talks from international leaders in the field.

We were glued to speakers such as Rand Fishkin, Wil Reynolds and Lisa Myers on SEO; Laura Crimmons who gave us an important lesson in connecting with people whether it be clients or colleagues; CMO of ClassPass, Joanna Lord, who talked about the different levels of growth in business and how to achieve it and Purna Virji who discussed marketing in a conversational world, taking a closer look at the use of chatbots.

As someone who comes from a very PR background, the opportunity that lies with digital is fascinating and is something that has increasingly become part of my portfolio of experience as clients look for more than just those traditional pieces of media coverage, but integrated campaigns. The key takeaway for me from Turing was the similarities and crossovers between PR and SEO and how ultimately they can organically support each other.

PRs and SEOs both aim to achieve coverage through compilation of content and media outreach with the difference being that while PRs strive for the highest reach through calculations of readership, followers and unique user figures, SEOs aim for coverage in the form of links, ideally having authoritative sites such as the BBC or The Huffington Post including a link to the client’s campaign web page in their coverage of the story for example, which in turn would help improve the search engine rankings of the brand’s website.

As a comms consultant always upskilling in more digital disciplines, it made me realise that us PRs are already pros in a lot of practices involved in SEO – more of us just need to realise the digital value to our clients of incorporating something so simple as a brand web page link into content and highlighting the importance of that link being included in coverage of the story to our media contacts and voila… we’re on our way to being SEO practitioners.

Having had my eyes opened at Turing Fest to the world of SEO, I’m looking forward to seeing how the disciplines of PR and digital marketing will continue to merge, as clients continue to operate further into the digital space with campaigns and coverage KPIs.

We’re hiring!

We’re hiring!

We have lots of new clients on board so we’re looking for some new Stripes to join our Edinburgh team.

Stripe is a leading and creative, PR, digital & communications agency. Working across a variety of clients, you’ll have a minimum of 2 years experience and thrive in a fast-paced environment. You’ll be creative and organised with a passion for consumer comms and social media, and ideally have experience across sports and third-sector in particular.

If this sounds like you, please send your CV to talent@stripecommunications.com.

The closing date is 12pm Wednesday 26th July 2017.

Virtual reality: friend or foe?

Virtual reality: friend or foe?

Limitless experiences and fantasy becoming reality are two of the most exciting prospects for us all. Imagine being able to be anywhere, with anyone, at any time – it’s a dizzying prospect.

Well, we may just be in luck. Tell our ancestors 100 years ago that come 2017 we’d be able to make video calls in real time, track friends’ whereabouts on portable screens and that flying cars are actually going to be a thing? The would say flying pigs would be more likely.

At the moment Virtual Reality (VR) is a phenomenon that seems more talk than action – merely a tease, or a medium inhabited by the hardcore gamer. Devices such as the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive provide a VR experience that is pretty much accessible by all. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has already pounced on its potential and has described it as a social technology in addition to a gaming one, which is probably a fairly good indication of its future impact.

It seems this is just the beginning of what will be an almost unbelievable human experience, and many brands and entertainment bodies are getting familiar with how it can intensify experiences in unbelievable ways.

Last year, Biffy Clyro fans could immerse themselves in the performance experience by being on stage with the band in a virtual music video, which toured festivals around the UK.


In tourism, VisitScotland recently utilised the technology by offering prospective visitors a ‘try before you buy’ approach.


Traditional media have also started to get on board – providing 360 imagery on their platforms, trying to keep up with what consumers are excited by and taking them closer to a story by giving it a completely different angle (literally).

It’s all very cool, but if you’re a fan of shows like Black Mirror, you might share my futuristic concerns; it’s not hard to see how there could be a more sinister, totally weird side to its development that could replace the beauty of real experiences. Can you really re-create or better the high of being on someone’s shoulders in a sea of people belting out your favourite band’s song, or bombing down a hill on a set of skis with the wind in your hair?! I can’t help but imagine this is the start of our devolution back to some prehistoric sea creature with no capacity for human interaction. Dramatic? Maybe.

Nevertheless, VR is just at the beginning of its journey. Experts are already exploring its scope for the treatment of conditions such as depression and phobias. It might also improve quality of life for the ill and immobile, giving them the chance to explore the world, or cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. It’ll let people play or dance on stage alongside their idols at Glastonbury, and maybe inspire the next generation to pursue a particular education, career or lifestyle after giving them an ‘almost-real’ taste of what something is like.

VR is almost its own worst enemy as the technology enabling it is evolving so quickly that people don’t even know where to begin. A bit of scepticism is healthy, but for society, the media and brands in particular, the opportunities it presents are worth exploring.

New Stripes on the Block

New Stripes on the Block

We are excited to welcome two new communications pros to Stripe Towers this week! Crissie Campbell is settling into the London team as a Director while Samantha Crawford has joined the Edinburgh office as a Senior Account Director.

Crissie brings over 10 years’ experience working at London’s top agencies with some the biggest brands in the world of entertainment, gaming and music including Facebook, Nintendo and Sky. Crissie is a creative thinker and self-confessed chatterbox – qualities that will make her right at home in the bright, bold, turbocharged world of Stripe.

Crissie said it was the company culture that attracted her to Stripe: “I loved Stripe’s bloody awesome attitude! It’s a really exciting time for the brand and the people are so nice. I’m looking forward to developing and growing the team and making Stripe famous!”

Globetrotter Samantha has eight years’ experience working for agencies across London, Sydney and Dubai. Specialising in consumer and entertainment PR, Sam has worked with multinational brands including Procter & Gamble, BBC Worldwide and PlayStation. Sam describes herself as ‘brave, honest and nurturing’ and when she’s not hard at work, you’ll find her in the yoga studio. A recently qualified yoga instructor, Sam will be bringing equal helpings of zen and PR pizazz to the team.

Sam said: ‘I really love seeing how different people work, so I’m looking forward to learning about all the different minds that fuel this joint! Stripe creates some of the best work in the industry and I’m excited to be a part of that.’

Welcome to the team ladies!

Filling our feeds with food

Filling our feeds with food

Picture this: I’m meeting some friends for brunch on a typical Sunday morning. I order an acai smoothie bowl and a matcha latte.

What happens when the waitress brings across our order? My hand reaches for my iPhone, opens Instagram and I’m being absorbed into my online journal, also known as my Instagram Story. After a quick edit and a location tag – because no one has time to be elusive these days – I admire my perfectly filtered photograph starring the components of my brunch on an oh-so-edgy tarnished wooden table. A second later it is posted for the whole world to see.

What actually is the purpose of this post? Who knows and really, who cares. But who needs to care? It’ll be gone within 24 hours anyway.

Since 2010, 208 million posts have been shared on Instagram with the ‘food’ hashtag. The majority of these are nothing more than a fairly standard plate of food which has been greatly improved by some good lighting and careful editing.

The current mentality seems to be that if it’s not posted on Instagram, it didn’t happen.

On the other hand, the app that went live in 2010, provides a platform for restaurant brands to engage and adjust to the growth of social media and its consumers. With its 600 million active users, Instagram has become a drawing board for foodies, creating a bible for potential food and drink hotspots with the addition of the location sticker. If clicked on by the consumer, this could earn more revenue for the brand and provide the user with the ability to see live events from a chosen location.

What makes Instagram unique is that it has the ability to hold more worthy photographs in comparison to an average foodie website. This is because of you, the user and consumer. People love food photography because people simply love to look at food, and if there is a personality behind the visual, it immediately becomes more relatable. Due to increased popularity of international food culture, more users are willing to try different cuisines than ever before, as they have previously ‘seen it on Instagram’ and therefore, it is familiar.

Standing on your chair to capture the aerial view of your food and drinks is something I must admit is out with my boundaries. However, if you think that your meal is worthy of an Instagram upload, then surely that’s hats off to the chef! I’m not saying that my acai smoothie bowl was remotely average, I mean, it still made it to the gram. However, I am greatly aware of the danger of total addiction to an edited and, to an extent, false view of the world, which makes reality look boring in comparison.

Equally, the popularity of Instagram has certainly had some negative impacts. It has created a competitive marketplace for restaurants, as they now have to adapt to being ‘Instagrammable’ by featuring tables, chairs, cutlery, dishes and other interior that simply are photographs waiting to happen. The pressure behind the app can also force brands into creating new recipes for the sole purpose of becoming a strong Instagram trend, which means the app is costing restaurants extra money as they are giving into the 21st century #foodporn craze.

Whether you choose to believe it or not, Instagram is addictive. The aspiration to achieve some social gratification from a post that features last night’s dinner leaves you on a cliff hanger as you wait patiently for those likes and views to rake up. But what this vulnerability can also question is: does the food we photograph actually taste as good as it looks, or is it all just an irrelevant false illusion?

The answer comes down to a matter of opinion, but one thing is for certain – Instagram is fed by our love of food.

We’re hiring! Senior Account Executive, London

We’re hiring! Senior Account Executive, London

Stripe is growing and we’re looking for a switched on, savvy Senior Account Executive to join our London offices.

Known for being a fast-paced, dynamic and fun place to work, Stripe is a leading, creative, PR, digital & communications agency. Ideal applicants will bring a can-do attitude, great media skills, creative thinking, team spirit, attention to detail, self-motivation and drive.

This role will involve leading on handling and responding to all press office enquiries across all of the Merlin London attractions.

We’d love to hear from you if you have over two years’ experience, are looking for a new challenge and would thrive in an ambitious, lively and rewarding environment.

If it sounds like you could fit the bill, then send your CV and cover letter to talent@stripecommunications.com.

Closing date is Friday 16th June 2017.