Blog : experiential

Conquering the Regional Powerhouses

Conquering the Regional Powerhouses

When dealing with big brands, it’s easy to forget about the unique cultures and personalities of the regions and aim everything at a UK-wide audience. It’s important however for brands to tailor their campaigns and give a nod to those who identify with their regional culture just as much as they do their UK identity.

It was a visit to Liverpool last week for the personal appearance of the world’s leading make-up artist, Charlotte Tilbury at the John Lewis branch, which really highlighted just how much of a media pool there can be serving just one city and showing the worth of a brand addressing a city outside of London directly.

Stripe worked with Charlotte Tilbury’s PR agency to invite Liverpool’s media to a lunch time press session at John Lewis Liverpool, giving the local media what could be a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Charlotte Tilbury and get some of her celeb-worth tips in an intimate afternoon tea setting, surrounded by all of her sought-after products.

These lifestyle journalists and bloggers, like many of their Liverpudlians take the beauty industry seriously and so when I first met with the journalists there was lots of excitement and anticipation. This was certainly the perfect location for John Lewis to have launched their only Charlotte Tilbury counter and for Tilbury to make an appearance. We often get plenty of thanks from media after events; for the experience and goody bags etc, but never have I seen such appreciation, truly flabbergasted.

The media opportunities are vast when working with regional media, whether it be around retail or food and drink. Each region from Scotland, to the Midlands, to the far depths of the UK in Cornwall, have their own niche media pool with their mix of glossy magazines, online lifestyle publications and local city newspaper – some ‘local rags’ reaching circulations of 80,000 and more. And if you do have a national message you want to share regionally, Trinity Mirror’s shared content unit compiles content for all of their city publications from the Birmingham Mail to the Manchester Evening News, with a successful collection of online news sites reaching a multi-million size audience.

We can’t forget about the blogger and vlogger presence too. In a media world that’s shifting ever more into the digital world, we’re working more and more with regional bloggers, whether it’s inviting them to parties hosted by Sourz or getting them in to try the latest new restaurant in their city, they certainly have a presence in their home cities which can be utilised. It’s no longer about just reaching the UK-wide audience, but getting somebody who lives and breathes the region’s culture and blogs or vlogs about it to their fellow Geordies or Brummies or whoever it may be.

My piece of advice for conquering the regional media pool; get on the phone, make an appointment for a  face-to-face meeting, visit the city and get to know the region’s personality and the publication is yours to fill.

The journey of a rugby shirt fit for a giant

The journey of a rugby shirt fit for a giant

Similar to my first two months working with Stripe, the journey of the Strathmore rugby shirt has been fast-paced, dynamic and exciting.

It’s safe to say that everyone in the office was thinking two things throughout this project: 1) when will we stop hearing about this shirt? And 2) has Ben relocated to Murrayfield Stadium? The Strathmore team spent weeks planning and navigating through the various complications of this task. But the feeling of accomplishment when it all came together was exhilarating. As a recent graduate, getting so much hands on experience into something of this scale was really motivating as I take my first steps into the world of PR Comms.

As a sports fanatic, I was thrilled when I was added to the Strathmore team. Strathmore, as part of their Do More sponsorship of sport, are the official water supplier for Scottish rugby, swimming and gymnastics. And with so many big events this year like the Gymnastics World Championships and the Rugby World Cup, I can’t wait to get a taste of the action.

The idea of the shirt was born in one of our ‘Stripey Thinking’ sessions in early August where the best creative ideas are born at Stripe HQ. To wish the team good luck ahead of their Rugby World Cup journey we decided to create a massive rugby shirt which fans could sign before the Scotland v Italy summer test match. The journey began when we had to find a supplier who could create our 8m x 5.5m shirt fit for a giant. Following a week or so of planning, designing and discussion, we were finally given the green light to crack on with production and planning the in ground activity. This involved ordering staging, a marquee, branded signage and astro-turf.

The shirt was delivered to Murrayfield the day before our photo call with Scotland internationals Blair Cowan, Fraser Brown and David Denton. This was one of numerous times during this project I was lucky enough to stand inside an empty Murrayfield stadium. The buzz the players must get when the stadium is full must be out of this world! The photo call was a success and the weather was perfect. We got some great shots and video footage of the players.

It was quite surreal getting to interview David Denton and Fraser Brown in the stands, asking them about their active lifestyles and preparations ahead of their upcoming matches. I think this is why I enjoy PR, because it has a good balance between media relations, event management and journalism – plus the perks of running around Scotland’s national rugby stadium.

Match-day came around quickly and following the set-up of our fan zone, we started welcoming in the fans to sign our shirt. Over 750 signatures and 25 Sharpie pens later, the mission was complete. A big pat on the back for Team Strathmore and everyone else involved, which was made even better by Scotland triumphing against Italy 48-7 in a record-breaking win – boom!

I think the biggest learning experience since arriving at Stripe has been realising all the different components that go into making a project firstly happen, and secondly, a success. With strong teamwork and a genuine passion for the brand we managed to put the pieces of the jig-saw together and I can’t wait to Do More with this account going forward.

Stripe goes to Holi Festival of Colours

Stripe goes to Holi Festival of Colours

We’ve enjoyed a colourful 2015 so far with one of our fave Friday drinks, Sourz, what with the launch of Sourz Rainbow Ice at the beginning of the year and the Club MTV tour during the summer. But this weekend we hit the ultimate, as Stripe’s very own resident shot-girls took our PR machine to London for the Holi Festival of Colours, which Sourz was sponsoring.

Alex & Rebecca at Holi Festival

Myself and Rebecca – shot-girl-in-the-making and newbie to Stripe – headed over the border to my homeland to give journos from the likes of ZOO and Bar Mag the Sourz’ Holi Festival of Colours experience, complete with many helpings of Sourz Rainbow Ice and bags of coloured powder. We can even go as far as to say, one journalist received a marriage proposal in the Sourz tent – genuinely. She said yes too – congrats Lucia! This defo wasn’t part of our running order.

We had some great fun in the experiential tent, striking heaps of poses in the gif booth – there was just as much powder paint in the tent by the end of the day as there was in the main stage arena. With a Sourz Rainbow Ice bar, there were plenty of shots on offer to keep people refreshed. The tent was an opportunity to give fans and festival-goers a souvenir to take home – some classic snaps of the great time they had with their best mates.

We were also able to showcase a new piece of video content they’ve just released, ‘Sourz presents: World of Colour’, which sees Sourz visit 8 cities across the world in 10 days – a megahunt for colour captured in a one minute film.

The weekend was the perfect way for us to round off our summer of colour. It was great to be able to see how well two brands can fit and it gave us the opportunity to experience the famous coloured powder explosions of the global Holi Festival of Colours, giving our media friends the opportunity too.

Until next time…

Shining Gold and Silver with IRN-BRU at the Star Awards

Shining Gold and Silver with IRN-BRU at the Star Awards

Stripe scooped two golds and a silver last Thursday at the Marketing Society Scotland Awards. Held in Glasgow this year the awards celebrate the very best of marketing talent in Scotland and Stripe was proud to be rubbing shoulders with the brightest sparks in the industry.

In partnership with the Leith Agency and Blonde we won Gold in the ‘Food & Drink’ and ‘Sponsorship’ Categories for our work with IRN-BRU and their sponsorship of Glasgow 2014 – and we secured a further silver in the PR category.

All in all a great night for the agency and more reasons to pop a can of the fizzy stuff.

You can see a list of all the 2015 Star Awards winners here.