Flare Awards 2017

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We were delighted to be invited to the Flare 2017 Awards Ceremony at the University of Hertfordshire having been a mentor in previous years.

In the 12 years that Flare has been running over 1,200 students and University Alumni have been given the opportunity to develop their business ideas with support from the competition’s supporters.

Congratulations to Ibrahim Fagge from Fittfind for scooping the top £8,000 prize for Best Growth Business. Fittfind is an app designed to pair those looking for fitness services with a personal trainer to suit their specific training needs. Clients make payment through the app, with payment only being received by the trainer once a client has posted a review of the service received. As a secondary business, Ibrahim has been working closely with a team of designers and will soon be launching his own line of sportswear under the Fittfind brand.

Other prizes went to Sports Science students Sam Marchant and Oliver Vagg. They have developed a low sugar, dairy and gluten free cake bar with 100% natural ingredients. Selling over 500 bars in their first month of trading they have now moved into a commercial kitchen where they produce and package their bars in-house.

Xultour is the brainchild of Alessio Regalbutto and Devansh Sharma. It provides a powerful platform that enhances e-learning, advertising and tourism using Virtual Reality. Xultour offers virtual tours, educational experiences and event footage all in one convenient mobile phone application.

The inaugural People’s Choice award went to Andrew Massingham for Create a Story, a fun learning experience for 6-11 year olds who want to write their own imaginative stories.

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Small Business Saturday Bus Tour Rolls Into Stevenage

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We are looking forward to welcoming the Small Business Saturday Bus Tour to Stevenage on Tuesday, November 14th.

The bus will be visiting 29 different towns and cities across the country and launching a brand new Small Business Saturday mentoring programme, supporting small businesses one-to-one, with advice directly from their peers.

The Small Business Saturday Bus Tour begins in Dundee on October 23rd and travels up and down the country with stops including Lisburn, Cardiff, Lowestoft and the Isle of Wight before finishing in Brighton on November 24th.

The tour will provide advice and information to all small businesses as well as some hands-on activities for the public to promote local support for the campaign.

Small Business Saturday is recruiting experienced business mentors in all locations and small businesses will be able to sign up on the campaign website from the beginning of October.

Also debuting this year is the ‘Small Business Saturday Blue Sofa’ where interviews and exclusive Q&A sessions will be live streamed via Facebook Live.

Small Business Saturday is on 2nd December 2017.

Why are businesses collaborating with influencers?

Zoella

The rise of social media has brought along a new breed of personalities, who have become known as influencers. With thousands and even millions of followers on social media, they have amassed huge audiences who hang off their every word and see them as a personality, a friend and as someone they trust. It doesn’t matter what the industry is, whether it is beauty, fitness, travel or car enthusiasts, they have become experts in what their audience is looking for. They are experts at creating original, engaging content that will generate interest.

This is why brands are jumping at the chance to work with them, especially those targeting younger audiences. They are much harder to reach with traditional print media, they are not going to buy a newspaper each morning to see an advertisement. But you will struggle to find someone under the age of 25 who doesn’t check their social media accounts every morning before they get out of bed.

A glowing example of this is Zoella. In the eight years that she has been building her beauty and lifestyle YouTube channel and blog, Zoe Sugg has gained 10 million Twitter followers and 11 million Instagram followers that show no signs of slowing down. It is therefore no surprise that brands are queuing to partner with her to promote their products. High street giant New Look, designer favourite Yves Saint Laurent and even the UK government scheme National Citizen Service have all collaborated with Zoella due to her huge following. The Body Coach founder Joe Wicks is another example, his huge social media presence has led to successful partnerships with Uncle Ben’s and Sainsbury’s. They’re not typical celebrities, they have spent time working up a relationship with their audience. Zoella’s audience trust her and her opinion. If she doesn’t like a product, then chances are her 11 million YouTube subscribers won’t either.

There is a balance when working with an influencer. You don’t want to push your brand on the consumer, seeing paid for advertisement constantly on Instagram screams, “I’m being paid to do this”. People know when they are being misled. But using influencers who share the same audience as you do is a perfect way to reach an already established, large following. The content should be relevant in order to be successful. It’s a constant struggle for brands to influence their audience.  Yes thousands of people will see a TV advertisement but how many will be influenced to go out and act in the way desired by the brand? If an influencer collaborates with you, you already have access to their audience. They are more likely to act in the way that you desire as they trust the influencer and therefore trust you. But if this is taken too far, with constant paid for advertisements, it comes across to the audience as too fake and both the influencer and the brand lose credibility.

Written by Jessica Seddon, a third-year PR student at the University of Lincoln on work experience at Magnite PR

Rising Stars of the Automotive Industry Recognised

Lisa Leah Keri

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The Autocar Great British Women in the Car Industry event recognised the sector’s top 100 most promising rising stars.

Thirteen female employees from Ford were recognised in the Autocar Top 100 rising stars of the automotive industry.

The Manufacturing category was won by Ford’s diesel manufacturing strategy manager, Leah Bruce, and there was strong representation of Ford women in the Marketing and Product Development categories,too. Congratulations also to Leah Cotton, an Apprentice Technician with Skillnet, who works for Sandicliffe Motor Group, who made the Rising Stars Top 100.

Andy Barratt, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director, said: “I’m delighted to see so many of our female employees being recognised at this special event. Women are underrepresented in the automotive sector and it’s fantastic that events like this highlight the successful women in our industry, and raise awareness of the rewarding career opportunities that exist.”

A networking lunch, supported by Ford’s 2016 Category winners; Lisa Brankin, director Ford of Britain Marketing, Julia Woodhouse, purchase director for Global Chassis, and Josephine Payne, manufacturing production area manager, provided attendees with the chance to share experiences and discuss career development.

The winners were announced at a major car industry event at Twickenham Stadium. The Awards aim to encourage more women into the automotive industry.

Paul and Natasha


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Click to win

Editorial competitions are an effective way to help raise the profile of new products in key media both in print and online.

It can help target sometimes hard to reach audiences through the media channels that they consumer and enjoy.

We recently placed a product giveaway on page three of Bella magazine with entry via its website to win one of ten Thomas Kent Dove Grey Mantel Clocks.

This simple ‘click to win’ mechanic generated a whopping 192,924 online entries for the ten clocks on offer – a new record.

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