Blog : #StripeLife

STARS & STRIPES 2021: APPLY NOW!

STARS & STRIPES 2021: APPLY NOW!

Stars & Stripes is back for 2021. If you want to kickstart your career in comms we’re looking for smart candidates who have big ideas and an ambitious attitude.

We want to bring bright, new talent into the industry and our Stars & Stripes entry level programme is open to both grads and non-grads. If you’ve got a passion for communications and creativity, we’re offering three outstanding candidates permanent, paid positions – two in Stripe’s Edinburgh office and one in our London office.

We’re an integrated communications agency delivering brand, social, PR and digital – so if you’re interested in any of those areas and think you have the potential to thrive, Stars & Stripes is open to you.

If you’re successful, you’ll be working with some of the UK’s most exciting brands, take part in Stripe IQ – our immersive training and development programme – and will be mentored by some of the industry’s smartest minds.

To apply, email stars@stripecommunications.com with your CV, office preference (Edinburgh or London) and a cover letter telling us exactly why you want to work for Stripe.

You must also respond to the following challenge:

  • Tell us about yourself in 280 characters or less (emojis welcome!)
  • Write a short, snappy piece of up to 400 words describing a recent creative communications campaign that you loved and why

The closing date for applications is Friday 9 July 2021 at 5pm. The candidates with the strongest submissions will be invited to a selection day at Stripe and successful applicants will join the Stars and Stripes programme in September 2021.

UNLOCKING TEAM WELLBEING DURING COVID

UNLOCKING TEAM WELLBEING DURING COVID

The thought of exercising on a cold winter morning was a mountain I was not willing to climb at the start of 2021. Despite the best intentions for a daily dose of activity before the working day, my snooze button was beginning to see more action than my push-bike.

I was not alone in my sedentary start to the new year. According to former Olympian and leading sports scientist, Greg Whyte, the combination of Lockdown 3.0 with a further reduction in activity levels during winter, meant Britain was headed for a ‘perfect storm’ on physical health and mental wellbeing.

The new normal of working from home and its negative impact on our co-workers’ wellbeing has long been at the forefront of all our minds since the pandemic hit. We believe in taking a people-first approach – so it was important for us as an agency to be proactive and create simple initiatives to engage and help support the Stripe team during what has been a difficult time for everyone.

 

Small steps to positive change

12 months ago, we formed an all-agency wellbeing committee, putting in place an action plan focused on supporting the team’s mental, as well as physical, wellbeing.

Small and simple changes to daily working routines were soon implemented; regular screen breaks, no meetings over lunch, option to use dial in ‘walking-talking’ meetings rather than desk-based zooms, fortnightly check-ins and coaching to ask how each other was getting on, a weekly all staff meeting to share news and keep people connected, and an optional online social to bring some humor into the working week.

We also offered our teams online yoga practice and meditation every fortnight in rotation. The sessions are still ongoing and allow people to wind down and bring relaxation and movement to their week.

 

Stripe Edinburgh to London challenge

One of our biggest initiatives this year in defiance of the cold winter months and the start of Lockdown 3.0, was the launch of Stripe’s Edinburgh to London Challenge, encouraging the team to cycle, run or walk the 406 miles distance between our two offices.

The focus of the challenge was not to find out who was the strongest or fittest Stripe in the agency but supporting each other to be more active and making the challenge as accessible as possible, with a mutual goal which we could all work towards.

Using the Strava App and setting up a dedicated Stripe Club, the team was able to record their miles whilst providing kudos to their co-workers in real time. We created an all-agency Spotify playlist of tunes to help us stay motivated during a workout and relayed progress updates to the team on a weekly basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A total of 33 co-workers joined the challenge and for some, the idea of taking part in a collective exercise activity was just the spark they needed to change their routine from the couch to getting outdoors.

The team smashed their target, completing 554 miles in less than a month with prizes given out to those in each office who completed the most miles.

As an agency, we have all felt the benefits of investing in team wellbeing. Helping to keep each other motivated and engaged during this time has helped to foster a new sense of purpose and camaraderie amongst us all which will continue long after lockdown ends.

And as for my snooze button: What can I say? Balance is now my new mantra on how to be more active and lead a healthier and happier lifestyle during lockdown.

Social Media News: January 2021

Social Media News: January 2021

A new year means new news, so let’s kick off by looking at our favourite moments from the world of social from January.

 

Soon May The Wellerman come! 

Image: Polygon

In January the Sea Shanty took TikTok by storm! Started by Scot Nathan Evans, with his cheeky rendition of the Scotsman, TikTok users began to duet and remix the aged sea shanty and just like the crew of a ship would join each other in song to keep up their spirits on a long, isolated journey.

Don’t be surprised if you see one of the Stripes on your For You Page giving their best rendition. We simply can’t get enough of Sea Shanty Tok! 

 

Platform Updates of The Month! 

Instagram kicked off 2021 with a fresh start overhauling the layout for Stories on its desktop version 

We all got virtual runway ready with the new expanded Snapchat Bitmoji wardrobe. The platform was also trailing a new feature where more information on events can be activated through a sticker.

TikTok announced that all accounts of under 18 year old users will be private in an effort to protect their large community of teenagers on the platform.

 

A Fashion Icon is born! 

Image: @vulture

Cozy, casual and definitely iconic. Bernie Sanders made a fashion statement at the US Presidential Inauguration and we can’t get enough of the memes ever since. We might have also ordered our very own mittens…

 

Follow @StripeCom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Stripe. To stay on top of the latest news from the world of social subscribe to our weekly newsletter here: https://confirmsubscription.com/h/i/70D14C4CE95D6F6F

Social Media News: December 2020

Social Media News: December 2020

Welcome back everyone and a Happy New Year from the Stripes! 

While we are all excited to leave the last year behind us, we can’t resist a look back at our favourite social moments from December 2020.

 

THANK YOU NHS! 

Image: Campaign

We can all agree that there was a certain group of people, we were all really thankful for in 2020 and that was everyone working for our NHS. 

It seems we were not the only ones who wanted to share this sentiment as aside from offering free rides and discounts to NHS staff members Uber UK launched its #GratefulUK campaign on Instagram and Twitter to spread the love for the NHS and all they have done for us this year. Truly one of our favourite moments in the last year.

 

Platform Updates of The Month! 

December has been an exciting month for updates to our favourite platforms. Instagram added new creative tools to Reels and Stories, while Twitter returned retweets to the way they used to be. Facebook announced they will launch Facebook News this month and we can’t wait for the new feature.

No platform changed the world of social media in 2020 like TikTok. From the best dances to political activism you can read about it here.

 

All Hail Our Queens! 

Image: @bbcthree

Twitter was shook  when the cast of the second series of Drag Race UK was announced and to be fair so were we! Can we stan them all?  (Asking for a friend)

 

Follow @StripeCom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Stripe. To stay on top of the latest news from the world of social subscribe to our weekly newsletter here: https://confirmsubscription.com/h/i/70D14C4CE95D6F6F

 

Social Media News: November 2020

Social Media News: November 2020

Ho, ho, ho – Happy December! To kick off the final month of 2020 we are back with our top social news from November and a look at who really ‘sleighed’ the social game! 

Grab a hot chocolate, put Mariah Carey on loop and dive into our favourite social news and trends from last month.

See you on the green mate! 

Image: Madame Tussauds London/ Instagram

The day Biden officially unseated Trump at the US Presidential Election, Madame Tussauds London gave his figure a little makeover, switching the suit for golf attire. Like the figures’ real life counterpart they will both have a lot more free time for golfing now! 

 

Platform Update of the month! 

Twitter joined the Stories party this month with their very own ephemeral content feature: ‘Fleets’. If you haven’t tried it yet, here is everything you need to know. 

Image: Techcrunch

 

A royal return

Image: @Telegraph

Twitter couldn’t get enough of the 4th season of Netflix hit show The Crown. In a thread users debated storylines and tried to tell truth from fiction. After uncovering what plotlines were really true, most of them were utterly shocked about what actually took place! 

And if the Stripe team’s reviews of the show on Zoom are any indication, you should definitely give it a watch! 

 

Don’t forget to follow @StripeCom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Stripe as it happens. For the latest news subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

VOTE FOR SHAUN!

VOTE FOR SHAUN!

This month is all about elections as Stripe Group Account Director, Shaun Bell is standing as Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Scotland and we’re giving him our support.

Under his manifesto, Shaun plans to bring together the thriving community of PR professionals in Scotland, grow CIPR membership and importantly,

  • Illustrate how CIPR Scotland members and the wider PR community can get support through tough times
  • Increase visibility and understand of PR in boardrooms
  • Support PR careers and inspire the future leaders of our industry
  • Improve diversity in the Scottish communications industry

Shaun is truly passionate about life-long learning, career development and innovation so we’re not surprised he’s pledging to launch a ‘Here To Help’ initiative to support the PR community, introduce a ‘Director Skills Series’ to boost boardroom skills, and the expansion of the CIPR Scotland’s Future Leaders and Fellows Mentorship programmes.

With proposed new partnerships with the IoD, Marketing Society, PRCA, NUJ and Women in Journalism on top, we think Shaun has the interests of all comms professionals working in Scotland at heart.

So, join us and vote for Shaun – you can read his manifesto here and CIPR members can register to vote at the Scotland AGM here.

Social Media News: September

Social Media News: September

It’s that time of the month again and we’re back to recap our highlights from the world of social media in the past month! 

From our favourite campaigns, the top trends, and exciting new updates to social platforms, we’re unpacking what captured our attention here at Stripe.

Diversity performance

Credit: Instagram/ITVf


A campaign that moved us… 

After dance group, Diversity’s performance on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, the show – and in particular judge Ashley Banjo – came under fire from critics on social media and received record complaints from Ofcom. 

Rather than buckling under the pressure, ITV took the opportunity to stand by both the performance and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. They took advertising space in every national newspaper to share a simple B&W image from the performance, with some emotive copy to show their support. 

We support the campaign and the message, and applaud ITV’s efforts to support the movement in a consistent way. 

Platform updates

Top #3 Platform Updates

Back to its roots! Facebook launched its new ‘Campus’ feature, allowing students who go to the same Uni to connect.

TikTok creators will soon be able to sell merch directly on the platform with a new Teespring integration.

Snapchat launched permanent public profiles to allow users to create more of a presence on the app as well as audience analytics.

Favourite Viral MemeCredit: @tripgore

 

Favourite Viral Meme 

We just can’t get over the 2020 memes that keep on coming, we’re obsessed! Naturally, one of our favourites was the movement Twitter users tried their hand at explaining various 2020 scenarios to someone from 2019 through memes. Who would have seen a priest giving a socially distanced blessing using a water gun coming? 

Don’t forget to follow @StripeCom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Stripe as it happens.

Long time no see London: Stripe is back in Shoreditch

Long time no see London: Stripe is back in Shoreditch

After 6 months, 9 million zoom calls, a dear friend and colleague going on maternity leave with no proper send off, a much loved team member emigrating with no proper send off, work lows and work highs, a distinctly average Zoom summer party, new team members joining remotely and endless days of rummaging in a kitchen cupboard for that mid-morning break, we finally returned to the office on Monday.

We all had the same feelings you’re having reading this (if you’re still working remotely); will I be safe? Will the commute be terrible? Will the masks be annoying? Will people be responsible about social distancing and hygiene? Isn’t it easier working remotely? There are probably more to add to that list. Like most, we went back into the office in two bubbles on rotation, designed to ensure continuity of our business in the event of any lockdowns and changes to our ways of working in the future.

Before we went back and we carefully and meticulously completed our ‘safe return to work’ plan, it felt like we were writing the ‘suck the fun out of work’ plan. Those tactile moments of a shared birthday cake, the work drinks, all the stuff that helps make going to the office is fun for all swiped away with a sanitised hand.

So, in short, we didn’t know what to expect really. I personally knew I was losing love for work, working in a remote environment. It was becoming a grind and something to endure versus something to enjoy. I came to the realisation I am only as effective in my role as I want to be when I am inspired by other people to challenge my thinking and make me challenge myself and that that is not as effective when done remotely.

That first day back in the office was the most I have enjoyed a day’s work in 6 months. Most of us in PR went into it because we are people people. We enjoy company and we enjoy a work culture that is fun, collaborative and inspiring. Otherwise you could happily clock in your work hours driving an HGV up and down the M1.

I have struggled to describe articulately just how much good it did for us all. Because really, it’s everything that being together means. The chat about my lockdown DIY haircut, the dubious music choices on the office stereo, the nefarious celebrities laid bare on the Mail Online sidebar of shame that warrant our attention, the listening and helping, the ideas building and ruminating, the support and the friendly ear, the encouragement, the many many laughs, the caring, the people.

Lockdown rushed the conversation about remote working. It has thrown us forward to the extreme of remote working and made us adapt with no preparation in what most likely would have taken 5-10 years. Whilst we’re all aware we may not go back to a full 9-5 five days a week any time soon, what I have come to realise is that balance is so critical. My opinion is that creative businesses, operating in creative office/work environments with creative people in them will deliver greater end product than when those same people are forced only to converse via video conference.

This is not a ‘pro return to work rant’ I have loved being closer to my family, seeing them more, being home for every bedtime and just knowing more about their lives, that working from home has granted, but I also know that I am happy when I feel like I am doing a good job at work and I do a better job as part of a connected team working together in person.

Stripe is a people business where people matter. What going back to the office this week has made me realise is that the people in our business, that I am lucky to call friends and colleagues are what matter most to me and there is no virtual facetime substitute for the real thing.

Social Media News: August

Social Media News: August

A lot has been happening in the world of social media in August and in this week’s blog post, we’re sharing some of our highlights… 

 

From our favourite integrated campaigns to some exciting new features and updates to the most popular platforms, including Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, we’ll be unpacking what made the biggest impact in the digital space and what’s captured our attention at Stripe!  

Beluga whaleCredit: @PA

A campaign that made us smile…

This month marked a major milestone in our historic global PR & Social Media campaign for the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary project. After years of planning, logistical hurdles, weather postponements and a global pandemic to overcome, this was the day that two former captive whales, Little Grey and Little White, would finally be reunited with the sea after spending the majority of their lives in captivity. The campaign caused a massive splash, making global news around the world, including two UK national news front pages, a BBC Breakfast, and ITN News at Ten feature. This was supported by a social content strategy focused on amplifying major media milestones in the journey of Little Grey and Little White, resulting in two Twitter Moments.

 

Platform updatesTop #3 Platform Updates

Out with the old! Facebook has changed to its new-look platform, making it easier for users to navigate. 

Twitter now lets users limit replies to their tweets. This is not the only update with the platform having launched their new API for third-party suppliers. 

Copycat alert! Instagram has now launched Reels it’s very own ‘TikTok-esque’ feature.

Reese Witherspoon

Credit: @ReeseWitherspoon

 

Favourite Viral Meme

The months of 2020… as told by celeb photos. Celebs have been describing how we’ve all been feeling during each month of 2020, using pictures of themselves. This trend has been jumped on by Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling, among others. 

 

Don’t forget to follow @StripeCom on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to keep up to date with what’s happening in the world of Stripe!

HOME TO THE OCEAN – AN EPIC STORY GIVEN A GLOBAL PLATFORM

HOME TO THE OCEAN – AN EPIC STORY GIVEN A GLOBAL PLATFORM

Senior Account Director, Andrew Boocock, reflects on the epic nature of delivering a historic global PR & Social Media campaign to tell the story of the world’s first open water sanctuary for beluga whales.

Waking up at 4.45am in the Hotel Vestmannaeyjar on Friday 7th August, the calm Icelandic dawn brought a reassuring sense of inevitability.

After years of planning, logistical hurdles, weather postponements and a global pandemic to overcome, this was the day that two former captive whales, Little Grey and Little White, would finally be reunited with the sea after spending the majority of their lives in captivity.

As I reluctantly swallowed my daily shot of cod liver oil, I had to pinch myself. Not in response to this frankly disgusting breakfast I had routinely adopted, but at the sheer scale of the journey myself and the team had been on with the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary project.

We were about to help tell the story of a historic moment in marine and animal welfare which had never been done before. Gulp!

 

From Shanghai to Iceland: a global strategy to build love, excitement and sentiment

Almost three years earlier, I had relocated my family from Edinburgh to London to start a new life in the capital. The SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary project represented a massive opportunity to fulfil my ambitions for travelling the world and being part of an agency delivering campaigns with purpose. As a global communications brief, it didn’t get more epic.

This was a multi-faceted story to tell, not least in its scale and complexity. No-one had ever created a campaign strategy for a beluga whale sanctuary before.

We were starting from scratch, but at its core the team set out with a clear vision and objectives:

  • Build awareness, love and excitement for the Beluga Whale Sanctuary to take a global audience on a journey of discovery
  • Deliver engaging and educative content to grow a community of advocates and show the different stages of Little Grey and Little White’s journey to the world’s first open water sanctuary
  • Protect and manage the reputation of the associated brands and the Beluga Whale Sanctuary on a global scale during each stage of the project.

Using a multi-channel approach, our content strategy focused on amplifying major media milestones in the journey of Little Grey and Little White, whilst creating a drum beat of news and regular updates on the whale’s progress to help grow a community of fans on social using video and beautiful imagery.

From the initial project announcement in June 2018 to Little Grey and Little White’s 6,000 miles journey by land, air and sea from an aquarium in Shanghai to a remote Icelandic island called Heimaey last year, we have focused on maximising visibility and engagement at every phase of the campaign.

But amongst all the media coverage, Twitter moments and boots-on-the-ground assignments, there is one principle which has been integral to the campaign’s success: building relationships.

 

Home to the ocean

I learnt early on in my career that starting conversations, building connections and establishing relationships matters. People work with people, and over the past three years the relationships the team has cultivated and trust this has forged with the client, their stakeholders and international media contacts on an individual level is what has helped to make each moment fly.

The relationship forged with a media partner such as PA Media, for example, has been critical to the lifeblood of the story. Capturing video content and stills assets at different stages has not only helped to manage the flow of comms but also to inspire people’s love for the whales and the project.

Thanks to the beluga care experts, vets, Icelandic volunteers and none other than TV presenter and comedian, John Bishop, who is narrating an ITV documentary series on the project due to be aired this autumn, I’m pleased to say Little Grey and Little White are doing well after moving from their landside care facility to the sea sanctuary care pools.

John Bishop with Andrew Boocock, Senior Account Director, Stripe Communication, at the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale SanctuaryBefore a big story breaks, there are always anxious moments the night before. How will the media react? Will people engage as you had hoped?

When the embargo lifted on Monday 10 August, I believed we had done all we can as a team to give the story its best chance.

Two UK national news front pages, a BBC Breakfast and ITN News at Ten feature later, the press office email has not stopped. We’ve set up interviews and responded to media as far away as Los Angeles in the West, and Seoul in the East.

But it’s the small things that matter which brings me back to my point about relationships.

At the end of a long and busy week I received a WhatsApp from one of the key visionaries behind the project.

‘Have a fab weekend and thanks again for all your support with this project. The biggest piece of this is about inspiring the public by getting the message out…’

Time for another one of those pinch-myself moments.