Blog : Scotland

STRIPE EXPANDS SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM WITH GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR APPOINTMENTS

STRIPE EXPANDS SENIOR LEADERSHIP TEAM WITH GROUP ACCOUNT DIRECTOR APPOINTMENTS

Stripe today announces a series of promotions that strengthen its senior leadership team in Edinburgh.

Stepping into new Group Account Director roles are Nadine Reilly, Shaun Bell, Adele Thomson and Kirsty Grierson, in recognition of their contribution and ongoing commitment to the business.

Managing Director, Morna McLelland, said: “Our new team of Group Account Directors will continue to deliver strategic, creative and exciting work while building and maintaining our strong client relationships. As part of our new Senior Leadership Team, they will be firmly focused on maintaining business growth and development of our people.”

Established by CEO Juliet Simpson in 2006, Stripe now has offices in Edinburgh and London and employees over 50 staff. The company was revealed as the seventh fastest growing consultancy in the UK in the 2019 PR Week Top 150.

The Best of Burns Night 2017

The Best of Burns Night 2017

Yesterday evening saw all the MacDonald’s and MacDougall’s, Campbell’s and Cameron’s and all those with the slightest inkling of Scottish heritage celebrate one of the foremost aspects of Scots’ culture.

Every year, parties gather from Anchorage to Adelaide, Santiago to Seoul to boldly Address the Haggis. It’s also another perfect excuse to cross arms, join hands with your fellow Scots and revel in Auld Lang Syne once more, having most likely belted out the same tune just weeks ago at Hogmanay.

Burns and Scottish culture can, and has been celebrated, in a whole host of ways. Here are some of my favourite moments from brands and organisations marking #BurnsNight2017

Up first, the UK’s leading haggis producer, Macsween of Edinburgh, created Haggis Watch for their social media channels which saw gamekeeper Archie go on the hunt for the mythical creature that is haggis. Burns is a time for celebration in Scotland and Macsween wanted to have some fun with it and show the diversity of Haggis. A great series of video content.

The quintessential Scottish brand, IRN-BRU, celebrated Scotland’s bard in their own inimitable way with a poem dedicated to our national ginger drink.

But a spotlight on us Scots doing things differently goes to Universities Scotland, who held a Burns Night with a twist. The body that represents all nineteen higher education institutions in Scotland hosted students from over 180 countries to celebrate the richness, diversity and strength of Scottish culture. Guests were invited to attend the event at Edinburgh Corn Exchange in their home countries’ national dress. The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was there to welcome guests, stating that if Robert Burns were alive today, he would celebrate the diversity and culture of Scotland. The event was used to launch Universities Scotland’s latest campaign #ScotlandWelcomestheWorld. An evening to remember and a campaign to look out for!

imgID96504101.jpg.gallery

Finally, we spotted Scottish designer, Anna McManus, re-imagining Burns as a modern Trainspotter in the mould of Begbie, choosing tracksuits, choosing Buckfast, choosing life. Timely and quite simply, fantastic!

This year, us Scots continued to mark the 25th January with a bit of humour, a whole lot of celebration and a reminder of our inclusive and diverse culture. Now for next year!

 

Full Speed Ahead For Team Stripe at Mountain Bike World Cup 2016

Full Speed Ahead For Team Stripe at Mountain Bike World Cup 2016

The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William has legendary status amongst the global mountain bike community. Every year, thousands of fans, riders and media make the pilgrimage up to the Scottish Highlands to watch the sport’s elite stars battle it out on the slopes of Aonach Mor in the hope of winning a World Cup crown.

This year, organisers Rare Management, tasked Stripe with building pre-event awareness and engagement on and offline to help drive ticket sales and excitement.

It’s the eighth consecutive year Stripe has been responsible for delivering communications activity at one of Scotland’s major annual sporting events. Our role is multi-faceted and ranges from maximising opportunities to raise the profile of the event through media relations, social media activity and stakeholder engagement to managing UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) media accreditation and photographers from across the globe in the onsite press office.

With a shift towards a more clearly defined digital strategy, we used Facebook and Twitter as our key communication channels to connect and resonate with die-hard fans, as well as engaging with families looking for something different to capture their kids’ imaginations.

Mountain Bike World Cup 2016-Steve Peat and Legends of the future

Supported by strong media moments, including a high impact press launch with Fort William legend, Steve Peat, we achieved some great media cut through for a sport that continues to struggle for column inches in the British press. The results have so far been epic, and we’re not just talking about this year’s winning riders, Rachel Atherton and Greg Minnaar, who stole the show in the women’s and men’s elite downhill events.

Mountain Bike World Cup 2016-female winners-stripe

In the month leading up to the downhill action, our social media content reached more than 450,000 people – almost 7,000 Facebook page views and 44,000 post engagements took place during the event alone, where activity peaked.

We also secured a wide variety of earned media coverage in national print, broadcast and online media titles, as well as mountain bike trade magazines.

Early indications suggest it’s been a bumper year for ticket sales.

Thanks to the glorious Highland sunshine as well as some incredible sporting moments, there’s no doubt this year’s Fort William Mountain Bike World Cup has been one of the best yet.

Mountain Bike World Cup 2016-bowl-Stripe

Creating an ‘offal’ stir: Burns Night with Macsween

Creating an ‘offal’ stir: Burns Night with Macsween

I’ve spent the last three months in a haggis whirlwind. Tasting, researching, delivering, analysing, pitching, writing, and even dreaming about the iconic food stuff made famous by the 18th century Scottish poet. This is what happens when you’re working with Macsween, pioneers of Scotland’s national dish, in the run up to one of the most important periods in their retail calendar, Burns Night on 25th January.

In the fickle and fast paced world of product communications, creating a strong seasonal story is more competitive than ever as brands vie for the same space and media attention. As communications consultants, it’s our job to get underneath the skin of the brand (or haggis in this case) to understand our clients’ objectives and how these translate into stories to reach the right target audiences at the right time. It isn’t enough any more to be the market leader and have a good quality product – to make headlines, you have to have a strong narrative to back it up and get people talking.

The brief for this project was straightforward – how were we going to make a splash around Burns Night, own and ‘premiumise’ the occasion and ultimately help sales to soar?

Our solution – launch the world’s most expensive haggis to highlight Macsween’s commitment to creating only the most delicious, hand-crafted products.

As you can probably imagine, launching a one-off gastronomic masterpiece such as this doesn’t happen overnight. It requires weeks of planning and working closely with the marketing and product development teams client-side to build something worthy of a story; no small feat. In the end, the talented and imaginative team at Macsween concocted a real culinary showstopper – a 3.7kg haggis consisting of Highland Wagyu beef, white summer truffle and edible gold leaf with a £4,000 price tag.

 

Macsween Haggis Coverage

 

Once the product was in place, it was then a matter of developing simple yet effective supporting assets to bring it to life across multiple channels. Like all seasonal stories, timing was key. With January 25th falling on a Monday this year, we needed the story to land before the weekend, targeting shoppers and putting Macsween top of mind for Burns revellers.

The luxury haggis has made headlines across the world, reaching as far as the US, demonstrating that even within the competitive and complicated landscape of brand communications, simple stories are still relevant and can sometimes create the most impact. The power of haggis should never be underestimated.

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.

A Round Up of 360D: Insights from the Digital Community

A Round Up of 360D: Insights from the Digital Community

On Thursday 3rd September, a few of the Stripes journeyed to the 36OD digital conference at the SECC in Glasgow. Hosted by some of the biggest thought leaders in the digital and tech landscape, the all-day event promised to make our heads hurt with information overload. From learning about the BBC’s commitment to facilitating a coding education for the next generation to the insights and advice from some of Scotland’s newest and most ambitious digital start-ups, the day did not disappoint.

Kicking off with a Buzz

The morning started with the Director for Brand Strategy Europe at Buzzfeed, David Pugh-Jones talking about what great content looks like and what it should achieve. Given that 75% of Buzzfeed’s content is found via social media, it’s clear that while great content is paramount for the content publishers, distribution is also at the forefront of the business success. One of the key differentiations David made was the distinction between creating content that is to be consumed versus content that they want to communicate and start a conversation with. Does this fit in to his approach of content being optimised for the share rather than the like? Well, it’s certainly demonstrating where he feels his priorities are which is in getting people talking and engaging with their content, not just resonating with it and hitting “like”.

One key aspect Buzzfeed is building upon is the move to talking about and creating content on a more serious tone e.g. breaking news. We have probably begun to see content from Buzzfeed in the wake of tragedies such as the recent Virginia journalist shootings. The question was asked, can Buzzfeed really have an authoritative voice on serious breaking news when its rise to fame is associated with posts about the 10 cutest cats? Interestingly, David claimed that it is easier for someone like Buzzfeed to go from funny to serious than it is for other well established news publications to do it the other way round.

Making it digital with the BBC

Jessica Cecil from the BBC gave an insight into the changes in digital behaviour for the next generation. The BBC is working to ensure children in the UK are receiving the support they need to take on a digital role in future employment. One way they’re hoping to achieve this is by gifting first year pupils across the country with a micro:bit – which is in short, a pocket-sized code-able computer. More children are not just playing games but they are also creating them, showcasing the intuitive learning behaviours young people are demonstrating today. The hope is to create a lasting impact on the future of digital in the UK and really ensure that we are at the forefront of the industry worldwide. With the BBC committed to helping children become efficient in coding, I would anticipate the future digital talent pool to get bigger and better – something all organisations should be excited about.

Money on the mind with Visa Europe Collab

On to the world of finance, Steve Perry, founder of Visa Europe Collab, spoke about the new international innovation hub that he is leading. Visa Europe Collab has been built in order to find the most promising ideas in financial technology and to make them a reality. Steve is passionate about working with promising start ups who offer valuable and innovative payment solutions. The way he sees it, making a payment should be as easy as breathing, so if don’t notice payment technology or a solution from Visa in the checkout process, Perry doesn’t care that you don’t notice it’s Visa that made your life easier. In his view, Visa are doing their job well if you don’t know you are using one of their solutions or technology.

But that’s not all…

The afternoon saw us treated to a pitch/advice session from some of Scotland’s emerging digital entrepreneurs, including Cally Russell, the 27 year old founder of “tinder for fashion” app Mallzee who also featured on Dragon’s Den. What all these innovators have in common, is an opportunity to disrupt the current digital landscape, dictate the direction and lead from their point of view. Whether it be changing the way people shop or utilising online returns data to provide actionable insights for businesses, the panel provided great insight into their individual journeys’ towards success.

The conference demonstrated just how ambitious Scotland is in shaping and disrupting the digital landscape. One key comment from the Jon Bradford of Techstars was his belief that it is companies and start-ups who look to “what’s next” that will flourish ahead of copying what’s trending in the digital world. With well-established digital powerhouses such as Sky Scanner and Fan Duel headquartered here in Edinburgh, and the entrepreneurial spirit coming to fruition in the form of emerging and innovative tech start-ups, Scotland’s role in defining what’s next in digital looks promising.

Flashback Friday: remembering Glasgow 2014 & IRN-BRU

Flashback Friday: remembering Glasgow 2014 & IRN-BRU

We’re feeling a little nostalgic this morning. A year ago today we met Jock, the star of the show at Glasgow 2014. We presented him with his new IRN-BRU tartan coat and introduced him to his adoring fans at the IRN-BRU Store.

What an amazing few weeks for Scotland. And amazing 12 months since then…thanks to all our hard work we have picked up a flurry of awards including two golds at the Marketing Society Star Awards and a Gold for Consumer Relations at the PRCA Dare awards.

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.

Showtime for ScottishPower Energy Networks

Showtime for ScottishPower Energy Networks

We donned our wellies and raincoats and headed to Ingliston to help launch a new school travel funding scheme between SP Energy Networks and the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET).

The scheme offered Scottish schools the chance to visit the UK’s largest agricultural event, the Royal Highland Show, to find out more about food, farming and staying safe around electricity with SP Energy Networks’ award-winning PowerWise education programme.

Through an interactive safety trail, over 300 kids learned all about electricity and got to witness an electrifying pyrotechnics display showing the devastating consequences of hitting a power line.

Sparky, the PowerWise crow, flew in to help out – and pose for this pic with Stripes Jen and Georgia.

Find out more about the PowerWise programme at www.powerwise.org.uk

Kathryn Joseph wins Scottish Album of the Year Award

Kathryn Joseph wins Scottish Album of the Year Award

The winner of the coveted Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award was unveiled last night (Wed 17 June) as Kathryn Joseph’s album ‘Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I’ve Spilled’. Presented by co-hosts Janice Forsyth and Vic Galloway, an audience of industry insiders, avid music fans and some of Scotland’s best and brightest creative talent watched as Kathryn emerged as the winner from a fiercely competitive shortlist.

Produced by The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA), and now in its fourth year, The SAY Award has grown to become the most prestigious music prize in Scotland. This year’s shortlist served to highlight the very best in Scottish music, spanning a range of genres and audiences. Each shortlisted album wins the artist behind it a £1,000 prize and a one of a kind quilt from Glasgow School of Art graduate Vanessa Hindshaw.

The winner of this year’s public vote was Paolo Nutini’s ‘Caustic Love, which won an automatic place on the shortlist after a 72 hour public vote. The remaining nine slots were awarded by The SAY Award’s panel of independent judges.

You can watch back the full ceremony at sayaward.com