The world’s most stylish range cooker from Dolce&Gabbana and Smeg

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Fashion powerhouse Dolce&Gabbana and luxury Italian appliance manufacturer Smeg have teamed up once again to release the third instalment of a uniquely colourful and chic partnership; ‘Divina Cucina’.

 

Fresh from the heart of Southern Italy, the new range, meaning ‘divine cuisine’, will this time feature two distinctly different sets of matching Victoria range cooker and extractor hood plus Smeg’s iconic FAB28 fridge. All three appliances have been exquisitely crafted in celebration of the rich Italian heritage shared by both brands. The complete set allows discerning homeowners to create the design-led kitchen of their dreams.

 

 

The first spectacular set is inspired by Italy’s celebrated maiolica ceramic pottery with a print in shades of ocean blue and pearl white. Each dreamy appliance has been decorated with depictions of Mount Etna, the picturesque ruins of the Greek temple of Castor and Pollux in the Valley of the Temples, plus imagery steeped in mythology.

 

The second design tells the story of ‘Divina Cucina’ through delicious illustrations of golden yellow lemons, prickly pears, bright red cherries and classic Sicilian decorations that are framed by triangular geometric shapes known as Crocchi. The delicate floral motifs are inspired by vegetation and landscapes of Southern Italy. Sicilian puppet theatre and traditional hand-painted carts have played heavily in the creation of this second print where the dominant tones are fiery red and orange.

 

 

While strengthening the longstanding partnership between Dolce&Gabbana and Smeg, the third collection further cements the close relationship between fashion, design and technology. It comes following the incredible global success of 2016’s hand-painted ‘Frigorifero d’Arte’ refrigerator collection and last year’s equally striking ‘Sicily is my Love’ small domestic appliance range featuring citrus juicers, toasters, kettles and many more.

 

The luxury ‘Divina Cucina’ collection has been meticulously crafted with family and the art of authentic Italian cooking in mind. Alongside a ‘Made in Italy’ ethos, the partnership is based upon both brands’ deep respect for family tradition and the importance of maintaining local roots. These extraordinary pieces of art have been made possible thanks to Smeg’s vast experience in design and manufacturing quality kitchen appliances plus Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s heritage and creative flair.

 

 

The first examples of this new ‘Divina Cucina’ collection will be previewed as a concept during Salone del Mobile 2018 at an exclusive event hosted by Dolce&Gabbana at Milan’s Metropol, the distinctive venue which hosts the brand’s fabulous fashion runway shows every season. Essentially, Smeg’s new design-led range cookers will be sharing an iconic space previously strutted around by the likes of Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford.

 

 

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What does Instagram Shopping mean for brands, consumers and influencers?

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Instagram has always been home to the odd nagging annoyance from not allowing links in captions to chronological news feeds, but we’ve got no complaints about it’s new ‘click and buy’ service allowing you to buy products featured in photographs… or have we? We decided to take a closer look at what Instagram Shopping means for brands, consumers and influencers.

 

The new tool is designed to increase the online sales of brands advertising on the picture-sharing platform by letting them tag products in organic posts. Users can tap on a tagged post in their feed to buy the item directly from the brand’s website in arguably the most significant update to the social network since Instagram for Business launched in 2016.

 

 

According to Instagram, over 200 million people visit a business profile everyday and two thirds are people who don’t yet follow that company. In the past month there have been over 180 million interactions between businesses and people on the platform and since launching Shopping in the US last year, half of all active daily users now follow a business selling through the site.

 

 

In Britain, the number of Instagram users now amounts to 23 million, including both individual users and businesses. Despite being just seven years old, the platform boasts over 800 million global users, including 25 million businesses and 2 million advertisers – those are some big numbers.

 

It’s not the first time ‘click and buy’ tech has been used to entice online shoppers into direct sales. In fact we worked with Ted Baker on a “fashion first” shoppable movie called Mission Impeccable two years ago. The multi-channel campaign included storefront websites such as Selfridges.com as well Ted’s own site and YouTube.

 

 

A few Instagram Shopping stipulations to be aware of; Brands can sell goods but not services, so think clothing, tech, and homewares etc. rather than hospitality and travel. Up to five items can be tagged per single-image post or 20 for a multi-image post. Brands can also access shopper insights, including a “tap to reveal” function and “shop now” click data for every post.

 

For brands, including many Little Red Rooster clients, it creates a potentially lucrative new revenue stream on a popular platform. As with all social networks, we work closely with our clients to ensure outreach carries the right message and increases engagement with relevant audiences – Instagram Shopping would be no exception.

 

Another consideration for brands is the quality of its product pictures as items for sale on Instagram will largely sell on a ‘love at first sight’ attraction. From the first day of working with a new client we stress the importance of having brilliant images available for the media – add Instagram Shopping into the mix and great brand photography becomes increasingly important.

 

Instagram says Shopping offers users an intuitive “visual storefront” to explore new products from the brands they follow. For many consumers – us included – it’s an exciting and convenient new opportunity for retail therapy on a social network we know and love, especially when it comes to discovering trends, seasonal or otherwise.

 

So brands are happy, so are consumers (even if their bank balance isn’t), but what about so called influencers? Well for a start they’re being blocked from using shopping tags for brand posts. A spokesperson for Instagram tells us the only way round this is if they have their own line of merchandise.

 

 

The clampdown on social media celebrities doesn’t end there after the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) warned they could face tougher rules on how they advertise products in Instagram posts. The regulator says online ads on any social network must be “obviously recognisable”.

 

Influencers across several platforms have already broken regulations by blurring the lines between editorial and adverts. ASA chief executive Guy Parker said: “Social influencer and native advertising might be relatively new but the advertising rules haven’t changed – people shouldn’t have to play the detective to work out if they’re being advertised to.”

 

Some Instagram celebrities have come under ASA scrutiny for posting thinly disguised ads on the network. They include former reality TV personality Stephanie Davis who shared a photo of vitamins from lifestyle company Convits along with a promotion code.

 

 

At Little Red Rooster we have a clearly defined way of working with influencers and bloggers. We’re aware this rapidly growing area is becoming saturated and if our clients decide to go down that route we advise them carefully on how to navigate the bewildering choice of personalities, fees and what results they can realistically expect.

 

It’s clear Instagram Shopping could have a considerable effect on brands, consumers and influencers with winners and losers on all sides, but we think it’s an exciting move forward by the social network with bags of potential for brands to build their audience even further.

 

If you’d like to get in touch to discuss how to promote your brand on Instagram get in touch here.

 

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LPG endermologie celebrate the brand new CELLU M6 Alliance at Harrods Wellness Clinic

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LPG endermologie, France’s best kept beauty secret, celebrated the UK launch of its brand new tenth generation technology, the CELLU M6 Alliance, with two days of exclusive appointments at the prestigious Harrods Wellness Clinic this week.

 

 

Although hugely popular in its home country of France and globally, with over 300,000 people enjoying endermologie on a daily basis, LPG has finally brought its fight for natural beauty to the UK with a vengeance.

 

The two day event gave an array of press and influencers the opportunity to enjoy endermologie’s all new non-invasive and non-aggressive three-in-one skin fitness solution. The new and improved technology improves the skin from within: smoothing uneven areas such as stubborn cellulite, fighting resistant fat and firming the skin with an entirely redesigned patented head. The CELLU M6 now combines a motorised rollerball with suction technology to provide the most bespoke sessions yet, offering each individual an entirely unique treatment.

 

 

The CELLU M6 Alliance acts as the perfect alternative to artificial cosmetic surgery. LPG’s fight for natural beauty focuses on being the best version of yourself and improving yourself from within. After all, what’s the point of eating organically and attending weekly yoga classes to then fill your body with harmful poisons?

 

Ever passionate about what they fight for, we were lucky enough to have the endermologie team fly over from France for the occasion, hosting one-on-one discussions with both press and influencers. Being amongst the first to enjoy the new treatment, attendees were able to have any questions about the CELLU M6 answered straight from the horse’s mouth from Nelson Philippe – grandson of LPG’s founder, and now Chief Executive Officer of LPG.

 

 

As a team who all receive a copy of Caroline de Maigret’s How To Be Parisian on their first day at the coop, LPG and endermologie make the perfect partner for Little Red Rooster’s first ever beauty client. Enjoyed by the beautiful French women we all aspire to be here in the UK, along with the likes of Zinedine Zidan and Cristiano Ronaldo who prove male grooming is certainly alive and kicking, we could not be more excited to introduce the clinically proven treatment to the British audience.

 

 

The hugely successful event at Harrods saw the likes of journalists from The Times, Vanity Fair and Country & Town House, to name a few. We were also lucky enough to have some well-loved names here in the UK, such as Frankie Gaff and Victoria Clay, jump at the chance to experience the new CELLU M6.

 

Whilst everyone’s feedback from their treatment mentioned their struggle to stay awake due to how relaxing and pleasurable they found the experience, all attendees were immensely impressed by the new technology and were able to see visible results after just 40 minutes in the Wellness Clinic’s beautiful treatment room. Those who were fortunate enough to have experienced endermologie’s previous technology raved about the CELLU M6’s redesigned head and its ability to specifically tailor sessions to individuals, accelerating results.

 

 

The all new and improved endermologie CELLU M6 Alliance is available at wellness centres, spas and gyms around the country, including the Harrods Wellness Clinic and the renowned KX Spa in Chelsea. A full list of stockists can be found here.

 

For more information about endermologie, please contact endermologie@littleredrooster.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

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Designed without compromise: Ruark introduces the MRx

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Here at LRR, we firmly take the view that good design is essentially timeless, and none of our clients exemplify this better than Ruark Audio. Recognised as the quintessential English purveyor of stylish sound systems, Ruark’s approach to design is to get it right in the first place – then to ever-so-slighty tweak external industrial design while making dramatic internal technological changes.

 

2018 sees the family-run British audio brand’s first completely new design in over five years, and as you would expect from the audio firm, it’s something rather special.

 

 

The MRx embodies the exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail that are hallmarks of all Ruark models and further demonstrates the brand’s ongoing process of industrial design. The juxtaposition of sleek, clean, real wood or soft grey exterior with the textured, British-sourced fabric creates a speaker that is truly exquisite. Its beauty lies in its simplicity – both in its sophisticated design, but in its ease of use, too.

 

 

The same attention to detail carries through to the technology inside, making MRx a class-leafing performer. Sonically, Ruark has worked tirelessly to create a system which will exceed expectations, producing an expansive sound that makes music all the more enjoyable. For those who like sound throughout the entire home, the MRx also benefits from multi-room capability; simply hook it up to the company’s existing R2 or R7 models and you’ve got yourself an entirely Ruark-connected home.

 

The end result? A wireless speaker system which combines Ruark’s timeless mid-century styling with its most technologically advanced sound capability to date; which will enhance both a single room and an entire family home; and whose sound quality belies its compact size and defies expectations.

 

For more info please contact ruark@littleredrooster.co.uk

 

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Why I work with certain PRs – the journalist’s view with James Day

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Journalists can hold wildly opinionated views of the PR profession. It might be a misconception about what the job entails, how much senior staff earn or a forthright opinion about a pitch subsequently shared on social media – anyone sending an April Fool’s Day press release take note. Here’s my take on PR and why I only work with certain people.

 

I’ve been part of the press for 18 years and have always held the opinion we can’t do our job without PRs and they can’t do their job without us. One of those ‘them and us’ mentalities then? Well, not quite, at least not if both sides build a relationship.

 

I’m not going to sit here and blow smoke up the backside of every PR firm I’ve worked with. There was the time an account manager flat-out lied to my then editor about a fictitious conversation we’d supposedly had concerning a celebrity story. My editor sided with them and I remain apoplectic.

 

On the flip side, your honour, I imagine there has been the odd occasion where a story didn’t turn out how a PR might have imagined, leading to some rather searching questions from a client. In cases like this our list of reasons can be long and distinguished.

 

You can’t mitigate for deceit just like you can’t for journalistic license at the hands of an over-exuberant editor or chief sub, but a bond between PR and writer built on the foundations of loyalty and trust will always stand you in good stead.

 

 

I haven’t worked with the celebrity PR firm since and I guess it’s made me much more guarded about the people I do choose to deal with. There’s a golden circle and although Little Red Rooster isn’t alone in my mosh pit, it has been a constant menace, sorry presence.

 

I’m often asked why am I so close to the agency? Many reasons, but the people certainly. Vic and Henry were among the first to seek me out as a largely unknown entity at Metro many years ago. I found it refreshing company founders had done their research and wanted to get to know me. It takes time to build a proper relationship with people and I’ll always be grateful they invested the time.

 

Loyalty plays an important part here too. At times in my career when things weren’t going as planned it was notable to see certain PRs toss you to one side. I’m not precious about it – it’s business ­– but plenty stuck by me and strengthened ties as a result. Little Red Rooster was one of those and it didn’t go unnoticed.

 

As the agency has grown it’s been interesting to watch both bosses implement their approach to PR across a much larger team. It’s one packed with individuality and personality, but with a definite dose of Vic and Henry drummed into them.

 

It takes a special sort of person to become a rooster and buy into the brand identity. I should know, I joined the company for a year. Turns out it wasn’t for me, but with journalists and PRs being the best of enemies there’s a lot both could learn by gaining some experience on the opposite side of the fence… who knew ‘ROI’ stood for something other than the Republic of Ireland?

 

 

The brands Little Red Rooster works with are another strong suit. If a journalist is arguably only as good the publications he or she writes for, a PR agency is only as good as its clients. This is a very cut and dried view and kind of contradicts some earlier opinions, but like I also said, it’s business.

 

Ever since I’ve worked with Vic and Henry there has always been an eclectic roster of interesting and desirable brands promoting products deserving of coverage. The agency has also been keen for me to see things from a different angle, such as a unique design, feature or innovation. I never thought I’d find myself including a bath – albeit a very nice one – in Metro’s must-have technology Lust List.

 

Today is no exception and I’m looking forward to pursuing fresh opportunities in my new roles as editor of Cloud magazine and technology editor at large of Enki magazine, plus the other great titles I contribute to.

 

In summation then, the PRs I have the best relationships with are the ones that treat me like a person and not a commodity. Those who have taken the time to find out what makes me tick. Clue: It’s mostly Reading Football Club or the musical collective Massive Attack (they’re not a band) – I’m not that complex.

 

I believe you should value business partnerships like friendships and I’m looking forward to what the future holds with Little Red Rooster and everyone else in the golden circle.

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Reaching the summit

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Knowledge is power, but enthusiasm pulls the switch. It’s a quote from American poet and author Ivern Ball in case you’re wondering. We love to study at Little Red Rooster, which is why every quarter we hold a PR summit empowering our employees to present to the company on a topic of their choice and teach us something new.

 

It’s a bit like going back to school minus the uniform, packed lunch and band names scrawled across the front of your bag… well except maybe in Victoria’s case (Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails for your information).

 

 

The summits started back in January 2017, but have evolved into something greater than the sum of its parts. They now help mould a programme of modules designed to aid the development of new additions to the team. More on that in a moment.

 

Every employee is encouraged (occasionally cajoled) to present publically. While some agencies shy away from teaching junior staff the skills to talk openly and confidently with clients and the media, we think it’s essential to equip them at an early age so their confidence soars over time. It’s just one example of how important we believe it is to invest in people.

 

There’s no way of hiding the fact it can be a touch intimidating at times, but choosing a subject that seriously interests you is one way of getting through the nerves and the audience (that’s us) are always on hand to encourage whoever has taken to the stage.

 

The adrenaline and elation from completing a presentation cannot be underestimated and that’s before we’ve made it to the pub and ordered the espresso martinis.

 

Picking a topic is a two-way street. Sometimes you float an idea for the rest of the team to run the rule over, other times they will spot a particular interest, talent or project a colleague has accomplished and flag the fact they could learn more from it.

 

It could be something as simple as discussing the tech sector, how to work with fashion stylists or how to harness the power of Google Analytics. These become more like workshops and are intrinsic to mastering our mission statement ‘The Way of the Rooster’.

 

Or they can be something more esoteric. For example, Victoria once gave a talk on decades since the turn of the 20th century, highlighting historical peaks in art, culture and more. Meanwhile, Henry will be giving a talk on how a love of music is central to everything we do at LRR at the next summit. Also on the agenda at that session you’ll find talks from newbies telling us a bit about themselves, how to kick-start a new client with style, good design vs. cheap design and 10 iconic examples of industrial design.

 

 

The purpose of the PR summits is to educate and empower the team to help them grow, develop and mature in every area of their careers and also expand their cultural horizons. That might sound grandiose, but it’s our equivalent to listening to a TED talk, watching a YouTube tutorial or reading an encyclopaedia entry, with the added confidence that comes from knowing they curated the content themselves.

 

The problem is this only benefits the current rooster roster, so when someone new joins the team they’ve missed out on a heap of wholesome knowledge. Not so. Just like someone joining half way through the school term would have to catch up on their work, the summit talks are stored in a growing vault of information as a lasting resource for new joiners.

 

This has helped us initiate a new inductee-training programme with carefully planned modules that new roosters can work their way through over a period of time. At present count there are 37 chunky morsels of mind matter for them to mull over.

 

As alluded to earlier, espresso martinis are never far away once the day’s proceedings have come to an end and any team building exercise isn’t really complete without bundling into a bar afterwards.

 

Seriously though, bonding over a tipple or two can be vitally important as not only can we properly congratulate those brave enough to have presented, but it’s a chance to discuss what we’ve just witnessed in a more relaxed and open manner.

 

That reminds us… must add a cocktail making masterclass to the summit agenda.

 

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The Way of the Rooster: Our blueprint for better PR

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It might sound like the title of a martial arts movie, but ‘The Way of the Rooster’ is our personal mission statement for delivering better PR. You see, we’re a small agency that needs to deliver big results. That’s what defines us and sets us apart from the competition.

 

Vic and Henry formed Little Red Rooster because they wanted to break away from the ordinary. The pair saw an opportunity to create something different, fresh and exciting. They envisioned an agency that had the unrivalled skill set of a smaller specialist agency but allied to the scope and reach of larger consumer outfits.

 

It’s about approaching everything with passion, expertise and a whole lot of personality. If that sounds like hot air, you best believe honesty, integrity and authenticity are the other cornerstones of ‘The Way of the Rooster’, which works a little something like this…

 

One-to-one relationships

Despite people’s increasingly digital interaction with the world around them, we fervently believe that a personal approach delivers the best results for our clients.

 

There’s no better way to engage with global media and important influencers than by seeing them face-to-face, which is why we go the extra mile to build lasting relationships with those that matter and meet them in person.

 

The team take time to get to know exactly who it is they’re dealing with, right down to their favourite fashion designer, restaurant dish or go-to drink, that way we can ensure a brand is relevant. By playing client Cupid we know the product and person are the perfect match.

 

Our black book of contacts is exclusive, extensive and kept firmly under lock and key. We’re careful with the data and never ever share it, no matter who or what.

 

Be the best

We love the Rolling Stones and the agency is named after the Howlin’ Wolf song of the same name, but should we ever need some boxing bout entrance music Joe Esposito’s ‘You’re the Best’ would fit the bill.

 

What better way to channel our inner champion, crane kick the competition into touch and never settle for the minimum our clients expect?

 

Any agency can get coverage by blindly pushing out a press release via a paid-for digital distribution list and see what sticks. But we aim to make sure that coverage is outstanding and comes from a list of media targets pre-agreed with the client.

 

If you think that sounds tough on the team, they thrive on it and things can get a little bit competitive as they battle it out for the best piece of coverage each month. It takes a special sort of someone to be a rooster after all.

 

Our strict KPIs extend to other areas of the business, such as events. By confirming over the required number of attendees we endeavour to make sure the Little Red Rooster mantra of “under promise and over deliver” is always met.

 

It’s all in the detail

Knowing our clients, their products and respective industries inside and out is vitally important to us. Anything else would be disrespectful and, well, we probably wouldn’t be in business for much longer.

 

That’s why we pack the coop with passionate professionals that have built up an intricate understanding of the brands they represent for another very good reason – our close relationships with the media are built on trust and it’s something we value deeply.

 

We don’t fudge the details and where possible try to answer every media enquiry immediately. On the rare occasions we’re not quite sure about something, rest assured we will get on the case straight away.

 

Make it happen

Little Red Rooster likes to empower its employees so they feel comfortable going the extra mile and getting things done. After all, you can always find a reason not to do something and that’s not how we work.

 

Speaking up when seeking a solution can be scary, but our Berkshire and London offices promote a collaborative environment and the relatively flat staff structure means nobody should feel intimidated asking.

 

There’s more than one way to crack an egg, so staff are encouraged to see things from different angles, think on their feet and sometimes attempt the unconventional.

 

By following ‘The Way of the Rooster’ we’ve become a boutique agency that smashes the big guns for impact and value, delivering devastatingly great coverage for our enviable roster of clients and their best in class products.

 

Some of those brands have been with us from the very start, which is testament to how we operate and only goes to strengthen our belief in broadening exposure through sanity – not vanity – PR.

 

We don’t write cheques our ass can’t cash, guaranteeing a measurable return on our work and their investment.

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Bang & Olufsen x Kvadrat: a marvel is unveiled

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Bang & Olufsen, the Danish connoisseur of high end home design and audio, hosted a fabulous event in sizeable fashion last week at the Kvadrat in Shoreditch, to unveil the largest ever single installation of the highly coveted BeoSound Shape, designed by the remarkable Oivind Slaatto.

 

 

Kvadrat, Bang & Olufsen’s textile partner, had its own version of the BeoSound Shape made personally for its London showroom – modern, airy and industrial – the perfect place for showing off the delicately-considered angles of the Shape’s design.

 

To celebrate this mammoth marvel, Bang & Olufsen and Little Red Rooster invited various media from the design, hospitality, tech and interior sectors, as well as B&O’s top-tier enterprise contacts, sales partners, retailers and stockists.

 

 

It was a hugely successful evening, with over 100 guests in attendance. The audience were treated to a succession of talks from both Bang & Olufsen’s global sales director and Kvadrat’s County Director.

 

We also got to hear from Oivind Slaatto, the designer of the BeoSound Shape, who talked to the audience about the various inspirations and design concepts that lead to the making of this rather unique speaker. Skiing and the light and shadow on snow, mathematics and the visible circles of acoustics all played a part in creating Slaato’s vision.

 

 

Bang & Olufsen’s Installation will be on show at Kvadrat’s Showroom until late August. If you want to check it out for yourself, head to 10 Shepherdess Walk, Hoxton, London N1 7LB.

 

For further information on Bang & Olufsen please contact bangolufsen@littleredrooster.co.uk

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New spring/summer 2018 collection from B&O, inspired by the ocean

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Today sees Bang & Olufsen’s eye-catching new Spring/Summer 2018 collection unveiled. The striking colourways are inspired by the vibrant and powerful colours of the ocean. The seasonal palette comprises Aloe, a light, natural green shade resembling a fresh ocean crest, Steel Blue, a dark turquoise shade, just like the ocean at night, and Teal, a rich, dark green shade inspired by a rising wave. Together they create a distinctly tranquil range.

 

 

The inspiration for this creative direction comes from B&O’s desire to allow consumers to explore, find space, and develop an undisturbed relationship with both music and nature. The ever-increasing pace of life in 2018 occasionally needs to be disrupted by pure serenity. We need to take time away from our busy schedules to focus on ourselves and find balance.

 

 

The H4 headphones in Aloe and Steel blue are perfect for the style-conscious explorer who travels lightly, but wants to remain on-trend. In identical shades, the A1 portable speaker designed by award-winning industrial designer Cecilie Manz may be small, but makes a big sound – a perfect combination of astounding design and high-end technology. Finally the P2 speaker boasts the innovative “tap and shake” feature, which allows you to pause and change song with ease. Alongside this, the P2 is so small it can fit in your pocket, making it perfect for music on-the-go.

 

Here at the coop, we have been lucky enough to get our hands on this incredible line up of products. A personal favourite is the P2 in the teal shade, an exquisite colour that feels truly unique for a speaker hue. We have taken some photos of our own, as the colours are simply exquisite.

 

The SS18 Collection will be available from March 15 2018 at www.beoplay.com/collection, selected Bang & Olufsen stores and selected third party retailers worldwide.

 

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Meet the Roosters: Nicole Marsden, PR Director

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Hello Nicole, let’s start with how you got into PR…

 

I studied journalism at university, got all the required NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) qualifications and then went out and got myself some real-life training at the likes of essentials magazine and local papers including the Reading Chronicle. During that time I noticed how many features and stories began life as press releases faxed through to the editorial staff (fax – yes I really am that old). This peaked my interest so I started looking into PR.

 

By the time I finished my degree I had already decided the ‘dark side’ was the way forward and a fortnight after graduation I began my first role as a PR assistant working on B2B tech accounts and FMCG clients. I’ve not looked back since.

 

What excites you most about your job?

 

We are at the coalface of the media industry, which is in a real state of flux at the moment. For someone that doesn’t like standing still, it’s incredibly exciting. I love the fact our business changes day-to-day and wish I could fast forward five years to see what PR 2.0 looks like in our increasingly digital world.

 

Predicting which social platforms and media outlets will stay and which will go is a favourite pastime of mine. Will the pay wall and subscription services approach work or implode? Will Instagram stand the test of time? That’s a different interview altogether, but it’s questions like this facing the entire media and marketing landscape at the moment and it’s exactly this type of future gazing that makes me excited to be a part of the industry.

 

Which PR sector do you specialise in?

 

I am totally against the notion that a jack-of-all-trades makes you a master of none. For that reason I refuse to tie myself down to one sector alone. I have zero interest in being a one trick pony.

 

I was equally at home launching the first digital TV for Sony, Galaxy handset for Samsung or Smarter Wi-Fi kettle as I am promoting a new sunglasses collection for Silhouette or a luxury freestanding bath tub for Victoria + Albert baths.

 

Once you understand the fundamentals of PR you can work across multiple sectors with ease and it’s this fluid approach that sets Little Red Rooster apart. After all, there aren’t many agencies that can secure a full page in the Sunday Times Style for a radiator, a Bachelor pad shoot in GQ for a bath or secure a full page for a a Smeg blender in a beauty shoot for Cosmopolitan.

 

Victoria + Albert Baths Colour Hive Event, September 2017

Describe your happy place?

 

I am happiest wherever my family are. I can’t be away from my daughter Margot for too long or my heart begins to hurt.

 

I’ve also been known to feel pretty cheerful with a glass of fizz in hand, out with my girls, listening to some old school hip hop or drum and bass. You can take the girl out of Reading….

 

Describe your work wardrobe?

 

My go to footwear is flats. A controversial fashion choice, but at 5ft 9″ I don’t need the extra height and it makes moving from appointment to appointment so much easier.

 

For meetings I opt for a smart dress or pantsuit, while on office-bound days (few and far between) it’s jeans, a Breton stripe top and adidas sneakers or leopard print flats.

 

What makes Little Red Rooster different from other PR agencies?

 

Well, the fish rots from the head down in most agencies, with senior staff sitting in their ivory towers far removed from the day-to-day running of accounts. This isn’t the case at LRR. Vic and Henry are ingrained in every part of the business and still get out and meet and greet media and influencers on a daily basis. This really does set us apart.

 

‘Ours is a broad church’ is one of our favourite sayings. LRR isn’t interested in making everyone into clones, unlike some other companies I could mention. Each and every member of the agency is unique (some more than others – Henry I’m looking at you) and as such we all bring different assets to the team. It’s something to be celebrated and part of what makes us so formidable.

 

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to work in PR?

 

Don’t! Just kidding.

 

First off, read, read and read some more. Newspapers, magazines, blogs, whatever your preference is you need to be a voracious reader, thirsty for knowledge. Getting under the skin of each media outlet to understand its agenda and political leanings, along with how each journalist thinks and writes, plus what they need from a PR, is a key part of the role.

 

Secondly, you need to be able to write. If you don’t know how, learn. Take an evening course to improve your skills. This is vital to all aspects of the job.

 

Once you’ve begun working on those two things, get yourself some real life experience via internships, work placements or use your tenacity to secure your first role as a PR assistant. There are no short cuts in this industry; you really do need to learn from the bottom up. Any agency worth its salt knows nepotism doesn’t pay when it comes to building a strong team and nothing will ever replace hard earned experience.

 

The Roosters, November 2017

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

 

I have two:

 

It’s PR, not ER. For me this phrase encapsulates many things. Firstly, what we do is important and we are incredibly privileged to work in this industry, but it’s not life and death. Keeping calm is vital in this profession as is trusting your instincts. When you are well informed and knowledgeable there will always be a way through any obstacle, to deliver the best possible outcome for your client. Panicking helps no one. All it achieves is a state of paralysis through fear, which is totally counterproductive. Calm is a super power.

 

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

 

In PR there are many things that arise throughout the day that can derail you entirely if you let it. Don’t.

 

This is where a strong b******* radar helps. Keep everything in perspective and realise many of these petty issues are fleeting so don’t give them airtime. I try to ask, ‘will this matter in a week/month/year?’ If the answer is no then accept it as best you can and move on.

 

If it truly is a big deal then give your everything to resolving the issue and once resolved, move on. Dwelling helps no one.

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Did you really just ask us what’s it like running a business with a woman?

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What’s it like to run a business with a black person? A disabled person? An old person? No one would ever ask that, would they? Yet somehow it’s perceived acceptable to ask what it’s like to run a business with a woman.

 

Today marks International Women’s Day and despite being a century on from the British suffragette movement, how much progress has really been made on parity if questions as stupid as that are still posed?

 

Victoria Ruffy and Henry Griffiths are equal partners at Little Red Rooster and have witnessed first-hand how sexism is still rife. However, they have a clear idea of how to combat it and believe PR is actually relatively progressive.

 

With a man and a woman at the helm, the firm has always waved a flag for gender equality and this puts them in an envious position compared to many other companies still dragging their heels in the Dark Ages. Here’s what they had to say:

 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

 

Victoria: It’s not women working for women’s rights; it’s men and women working together to make sure we’re equal.

 

Henry: We all have to work together for gender parity. To put this in context; ‘What’s it like to run a business with a woman?’ What a weird question. It shows just how backward we still are.

 

V: It’s utterly ridiculous and makes me feel completely patronised. What do you expect someone to say? ‘Well, she’s a bit emotional…’ or perhaps some stereotypical answers about soft and hard skills. ‘Oh, she’s really good at dealing with HR issues and I’m a man so I’m really good with the numbers’.

 

H: The first thing I think about Vic isn’t that she’s a woman. She is my business partner and a good friend who brings incredible drive and passion to the company. If anything Vic’s more of a bloke and I’m more of a woman. I’m definitely not your typical man and I don’t want to be, I don’t aspire to that macho b*******, but weirdly you are…

 

V: Quite ballsy…

 

H: And I’m definitely softer. It just goes to show how ridiculous stereotypes of women in business are.

 

V: It’s what can a person bring. Male, female, gay, straight, black, white, whatever – and any age as well. Are they the right fit for Little Red Rooster?

 

What examples of everyday sexism do you encounter?

 

V: People assume Henry is my boss and speak to him first. He’s very good at saying this is my business partner and that dispels things, but I still see it and usually get a raised eyebrow.

 

H: They assume Vic might be my assistant.

 

V: They’re even more surprised when I tell them the story of how I set up the agency seven years ago and then Henry joined as 50:50 business partner a year or so later.

 

How unusual is an equal gender split in PR? 

 

V: Women dominate it up to a certain point. Little Red Rooster is 60:40 female, which is unusual, but once you get up to board level in PR it just drops off a cliff with far more men at the helm.

 

H: Something at some point up the career ladder stops the parity that exists in PR and that’s because everyone running it is a bloke. People employ people who are like them and they can’t see past themselves as an excellent role model.

 

So sexism is still rife and it’s holding women back, but how do you combat it?

 

V: It starts at home. Henry is an active participant in home life, he’s got three children and runs a business, but there’s a strange dichotomy whereby if I have a job and I’m a mum, no matter how much I do at home I’m always the career mum, not a good mum. If you’re married, even if your husband only does a tiny amount, he’s a good dad. So this idea of behind every great man is a great woman, it’s vice versa too and gender equality has to absolutely start at home.

 

H: When you’re starting a family the assumption is the primary carer will be female. Then suddenly someone becomes the child carer and somebody becomes the breadwinner. The longer this lasts, the more entrenched these positions become. From my wife’s point of view, when we got married she was earning loads more money than me, she used to pay my rent and she had a great career. Then we had kids and all of that knowledge, all of that experience got thrown out the window. That’s where the split starts.

 

What sparked the #MeToo debate at Little Red Rooster?

 

V: When the scandal broke I was very dismissive and to me it seemed easy that if you’re uncomfortable you should just tell someone to f*** off. However, I’m in a privileged position, I run a company and would sack a client if they did… and I have. Why didn’t women in Hollywood speak up sooner? Because they are weak, they’re going up against power and scared of the consequences.

 

Then we spoke to our team. A situation had arisen where somebody connected to a client at an after work party was speaking to me quite dismissively, so I told him where to go. My team were taken aback and said if a client did something to them they wouldn’t know how to deal with it.

 

H: So they might not tell a client to stop unwanted advances because they felt it might cost them their job and that’s all about invisible power structures. People in positions of power get away with it because they’re in charge.

 

That’s no different to the Hollywood or parliamentary sex scandals…

 

V: Precisely.

 

H: And if it happens in those places it’s happening all the time in every industry.

 

How is this linked to the gender pay gap and #PressforProgress?

 

V: It’s all linked to power.

 

H: Why is it men are paid more than women? The people paying are probably men and it’s that innate, in-built thing that people align to people like them.

 

V: It comes back to girls are bossy and boys will be boys, so a woman can be less confident asking for a rise. I hate to say it, but at the start of my career I was fearful of appearing too forceful. That’s linked to when you’re growing up and always told to be quiet.

 

H: It’s about home life. I’ve got three kids, two are girls and at some point everything they wore became pink and their toys were really girly. It was forced upon them and it wasn’t their decision.

 

V: I didn’t want my daughter Grace to have a dolly because the first thing you get taught is to have a baby and look after it. As soon as you can stand you’re pushing a mini pram. I want to bring her up to say yes if she means yes and no if she means no. I want her to call it as she sees it without fear of being told to pipe down.

 

H: If there isn’t equal childcare it all falls apart. Little Red Rooster wants to accelerate gender parity. We fully support #PressforProgress and our company thinks, acts and is gender inclusive. There is no glass ceiling here. It is simply about how good you are regardless of gender, age, race and sexuality.

 

How does Little Red Rooster support home life for its staff?

 

V: If someone is right for the company we’re entirely flexible with childcare. When I was pregnant Henry said to me you never know how you’re going to feel until you’ve had the baby. That’s why there are these strict guidelines in place about an employer asking when someone is going to return to work. It can be an emotional, hormonal time.

 

H: Every baby is different and you have to adapt differently.

 

V: Now we have a few team members with kids. They get paid an extra day every month, no quibble, to pick stuff up in their own time so works around home life. There’s more we’ll do as a company as time progresses. That has all absolutely come from Henry and not me.

 

H: We’re a family first company and I know first-hand how important a proper work/life balance is. Equal leave for both parents is crucial otherwise one becomes the primary child carer and that’s where a lot of workplace equality issues stem from. If both parents contribute early on one isn’t labelled as breadwinner and the other child carer. We need to have flexible, inclusive working cultures so we don’t lose skills to the workforce that has been years in development before a couple have kids.

 

How does PR rate when it comes to gender parity?

 

V: It’s quite far ahead and a great career for women because once you’ve earned your stripes you can pick things up again part-time whenever you want and it’s still well paid.

 

H: In some industries female voices aren’t taken as seriously as male voices, but in PR they are.

 

Does this reflect on the clients you work with?

 

V: Intelligent brands have come to the fore, like B&O PLAY, that do things in a way that wasn’t happening 10 years ago. It makes products that are gender neutral. I wouldn’t be seen dead in a pair of pink headphones.

 

H: Social media has democratised an industry that was run by a hierarchy of men who were the voice of an industry. It has blown it apart and given everyone a voice and an equal footing.

 

Could the wider business world learn from the PR industry?

 

V: Yes, possibly.

 

H: How we are as a business comes from having a male boss and a female boss. At LRR we look for people with the Rooster DNA regardless of gender, age and background. We’re after a wide-ranging set of skills and life experiences. The company would be so much poorer without them.

 

V: So how do you make sure your staff can speak up in a threatening or troubling situation? How do you attract the right people to your company? How do you ensure a 50:50 split? Everybody, male and female, needs to be feminist. Feminism isn’t ‘girl power’, it’s gender parity and it will never change if it’s only women driving this. It 100 per cent has to be men and women acknowledging there is nothing fundamentally inferior about a person because they’re a woman. Just like there is nothing fundamentally inferior about a person because of their skin colour.

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Little Red Rooster investigates… when did Google get so trendy?

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With many of us ditching the weekend slog up and down the high street in place of putting finger to mouse for the convenience of an internet shopping spree, brands and PRs alike are adapting their approach to attract greater attention online.

 

With this digital-first strategy to retail therapy, the way Little Red Rooster works continues to evolve. For example, it is our duty as a PR agency to provide clients with quality online coverage from which they want to see a direct conversion rate.

 

There are a multitude of fancy formulas and algorithms out there to help us improve online traction, but at present one of our main weapons is Google Trends – a public web facility offered by the tech giant.

 

Based on Google Search, it shows how often a particular term is entered relative to the total search volume across various regions of the world. It was built to generate visual, dynamic insights that paint a portrait of the life of a keyword phrase – past, present, and potentially (as much as can be predicted) future.

 

Take the eloquent sport of curling. As the Winter Olympics has come to a close, we can look to Google Trends to see what effect the games has had on this otherwise vastly underappreciated sport.

 

With a trend report showing extreme spikes like the mountain ranges of Pyeongchang in South Korea, rather than the flat surface of an ice rink, we can see how exposure to the sport has almost tripled through Google searches since the games began.

 

A highlight feature of Google Trends is to use it to help identify seasonal peaks in any given industry. This is an invaluable tool we use when working with brands to carefully plan product releases.

 

This means we can advise our clients to stagger launches at the most effective times throughout the year in correlation to when people are searching for that particular something. It’s not an exact science, but if predictions are correct it should maximise sales.

 

That’s right, all of you sat at home searching for ‘you’ve been tangoed’ fake tan lotion to gain that summer glow, brands can see when this is and release product accordingly.

 

We don’t currently have such a client on our roster, but we can see a seasonal spike in the search for portable Bluetooth speakers in the lead-up to summer or the demand for fitness wearables to go with that shiny new gym membership in January.

 

Although we don’t encourage amateur espionage and spying on our brand competitors, the ability to monitor its popularity on Google is invaluable to keep track of competition.

 

With Google Trends, we can show our clients just how well they are doing by comparing the level of search between two brands on one handy graph. This can unlock a treasure trove of analysis, including which key launches have proved popular for you and the competition.

 

Take two of the nation’s favourite fast food establishments – McDonald’s and KFC. We reckon Ronald has been eagerly checking in on Colonel Sanders via Google Trends in light of the feathered fiasco that is #ChickenGate and gleefully rubbing his hands.

 

However, with interest for Kentucky’s finest currently trumping the Big Mac makers (in true Blue Peter-style see the ‘one we made earlier’ report below) Ronald might want to keep his Sprite Zero on ice for now. A true example of when bad publicity comes good.

It’s worth noting Trends shouldn’t be used as a standalone tool. Instead, we use it in conjunction with research on Google click habits with the aim of creating truly effective coverage that turns into direct sales for our clients.

 

A not insignificant 53% of clicks on Google are through the number one ranking link, so being included here is massively important for driving sales, especially when you note the second article only gathers 16% of the clicks – a huge difference.

 

Not only does the article you are included in make a big difference, so does the placement within it. For a product round-up, about 50% of click through goes to the first item on that list.

 

So, not only do we strive to secure coverage in the crème de la crème of roundups, we endeavor to put our clients in poll position, greeting readers as number one in the article.

 

Therefore, our coverage achieves a higher success rate with click through and ensures a top-end return on investment for the brands we work with. In short, the PR we do will help you sell your products.

 

With online shopping continuing to grow at a rate of knots it is vital we use the data readily available to make sure our clients are ahead of the curve and ready to take on the ever-changing habits of the 21st century shopper.

 

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Bang & Olufsen unveils latest exquisite television: BeoVision Eclipse Wood

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Bang & Olufsen, the Danish connoisseur of sound and design, has unveiled its latest impressive model, the BeoVision Eclipse Wood. The stunningly crafted new addition, designed by the award-winning Torsten Valeur of David Lewis Designers, brings a totally unique dimension to the television landscape which hints at Bang & Olufsen’s heritage and history of ground-breaking and exquisite design.  The striking new oak cover beautifully complements the slender display and sleek aluminium elements.

 

 

Bang & Olufsen’s latest television now offers a stunning handmade wooden oak speaker panel, creating a wonderfully harmonic design that adds warmth, decadence and a statement to any interior design. The use of a wooden oak panel holds a distinct significance for Bang & Olufsen, having been an integral part of its products since the company’s inception in 1925.

 

 

The BeoVision Eclipse merges the best of two worlds – combining Bang & Olufsen’s design, supreme acoustic abilities and class-leading sound with LG’s technological leadership on OLED technology to create a truly cinematic experience from your own front room.

 

BeoVision Eclipse Wood not only offers OLED TV technology, but also features LG Electronics’ webOS and 4K video processing capabilities. The TV’s integrated, 450 watt 3-channel SoundCentre offers stereo performance and centre channel control as well as built-in internet radio and music streaming services, becoming a music system in its own right.

 

The new model is available in two sizes, 55” and 65”, with prices starting at £8,195.

 

For more information on Bang & Olufsen, please contact the team at bangandolufsen@littleredrooster.co.uk

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Meet the Roosters: Lucy, Office Administrator/PA to Director

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Being a PA in PR takes more than just mastering spreadsheets. In the latest instalment of our ‘Meet the Rooster’ series say hello to Lucy Pritchard, our youngest member and the girl who’s job it is to know Vic and Henry better than they know themselves… not to mention the small matter of delivering events such as the Summer Showcase.

 

 

Hello Lucy, let’s start with how you got to be a PA…

 

It all started in 2015, when straight out of A levels I undertook some work experience at Little Red Rooster not knowing what it would hold or how long it would last. Following a three-week stint, I was invited to become a fully-fledged Rooster. This meant I did not take the usual route via university, and started out younger than the rest. But I was still able to gain a qualification via the PRCA-accredited Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Public Relations while being employed at the coop. It was a whirl-wind year but I gained experience in both every-day work and a thorough knowledge of PR. I thoroughly recommend this to anyone! Throughout the experience, I realised that organisation was my forte. Once I had finished the apprenticeship with the qualification under my belt (hurrah!), I began the transition to being office administrator. Now, I thrive on spreadsheets and processes, so what better way to use this than managing events for Little Red Rooster? My job has continued to evolve and now I am also PA to one of our partners, Vic; anything I can to do make her life easier, I’ll do it.

 

What excites you most about your job?

 

Being able to come into work and not knowing what the day will bring. There is always a buzz in the office and a new task to achieve. Obviously, I could have said the people, but this goes without saying!

 

What is your most memorable career moment?

 

Without a doubt it has to be our highly regarded Summer Showcase in 2016. While completing the apprenticeship I had the task of organising an event and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to ‘showcase’ my skills (if you’ll pardon the pun). With a lot of hard work, organisation, planning – and a little help from Henry – event day was upon us. I was stressed to say the least. The last three months came down to this one day. The event was a hit and (almost) everything went smoothly, all the apprehension turned into pride and to receive a toast from everyone for curating the day topped it all off. The clients were happy, the Roosters were joyous and the journalists arrived in their droves. By the end of the day, I was about ready to collapse…but not before a knees up with the team of course!

 

B&O Play at Little Red Rooster’s Summer Showcase 2016

 

Describe your happy place?

 

Coppa Club, a triple rum and coke in hand, and a plate of sticky chorizo sausages (seriously – have you tried them?!).

 

What is it like working for Vic and Henry?

 

I know them and how they work better than anyone. LRR started not long ago with just a team of four and now there are 18 of us, so they are like proud parents when we all get together! Working closely with both of them I get to see their individual drive and passion for PR, and it is great that they both still get to do all of that in their own way, alongside running the company of course.

 

What do you think makes Little Red Rooster different from other PR agencies?

 

Little Red Rooster is all about working hard and achieving great results, out of the ordinary. We have excellent attention to detail, with fun personalities that come together to create an idyllic coop. Everyone here works hard out of choice, not because they have to, gaining brilliant results, while having fun along the way.

 

The Smeg London Flagship launch event, Regent Street, St James’s

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

 

Love what you do, or just leave it!

 

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Little Red Rooster Demystifies: General Data Protection Regulation

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Have you spotted the sheer number of scary data privacy stories in the papers lately?

 

Reputable brands trusted to keep your details safe, such as the consumer credit agency Equifax and courier company FedEx, are among the latest cyber-crime victims with breaches causing personal data to seemingly float out into the ether.

 

Then take social media network Facebook falling foul of German law just this month after the courts ruled its personal data use and privacy settings are illegal. A quick Google search is guaranteed to bring up many more headlines.

 

With companies coming under fire almost every day, it’s little wonder professional services giant Ernst & Young says we’ve become more cautious of giving out personal details online than at anytime since the birth of the internet.

 

Part of the problem is that big data – the chunky morsels of information that reveal patterns and trends and are helping to drive future healthcare, the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence – is in ever increasing demand and has obvious benefits.

 

So as the age of information is in danger of developing into the age of paranoia, we’re seeing more rules and regulations aiming to not only educate us on the personal risks, but guide companies on how they can steer clear of any data privacy no-nos.

 

Particularly relevant to our industry is GDPR… no, not another public relations firm to pop up in the piranha tank, but General Data Protection Regulation.

 

As the Little Red Rooster team has discovered, understanding GDPR and what it will mean for us day-to-day can be hard to get your head around, so we’ve summarised the top lines so you don’t have to.

 

What is GDPR?

 

Put simply, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is a set of compliance regulations formed by the European Parliament in 2016 and relevant to all companies handling the data of people in the EU.

 

The express purpose is to protect an individual’s personal information and all PR agencies great and small holding data on members of the media, influencers and even clients, must familiarise themselves with the new regulations.

 

With the laws coming into effect on May 25th this year it’s high time to ask what does this mean for PR professionals?

 

Transparency

 

A key theme running through the GDPR rulebook is transparency. Organisations dealing with an individual’s data must make clear, both to the person and the regulatory body, the purpose and use of that data.

 

Specific to PR, this means ensuring a journalist or influencer agrees to you storing their details and is happy for you to contact them.

 

In turn, that contact must be a lot more carefully targeted by you, which brings us on to our next point.

 

Relevance

 

With GDPR, the way you handle information also needs to comply with the regulations, resulting in organisations becoming more responsible for how they use data.

 

More control will be given to individual journalists, bloggers and influencers who have the right to ask for their details to be amended or removed at any time.

 

This should lead to well maintained, up-to-date media lists and only sending relevant information to the right people.

 

It should also lead to inboxes no longer being bombarded with mass mailer press releases – something that won’t be a problem for us at the rooster coop because we detest them.

 

 

Looking outside of the agency

 

A further layer to ensure compliance is checking all third-party suppliers and IT providers an agency uses adheres to the same data regulations and reviews this thoroughly and often.

 

Major PR database resources like Gorkana and Fashion Monitor will no doubt be making sweeping changes to the way they operate, so it’s important to keep an eye out for any big announcements.

 

What about Brexit?

 

If the General Data Protection Regulation handles the data of everyone in the EU it’s an obvious question to ask what happens when Britain leaves the union?

 

The UK government has recognised it will still be part of the EU when GDPR comes into effect and that, no doubt to the relief of Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier, we’ve stated we’ll continue to comply with the regulations.

 

What happens if there is a change of leadership at number 10 is anyone’s guess.

 

The next steps…

 

These are just some of the changes we can expect, but official guidance for all organisations will come from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) – the UK’s independent authority for upholding information rights and data privacy.

 

Usefully for us, a number of PR industry bodies have also begun hosting useful training sessions, including webinars from the PRCA and CIPR.

 

Finally, while things are due to come into effect on that looming May date, the regulatory body recognises this will be a gradual shift and is therefore an introduction to a two-year transitional period. Collective sighs all round.

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Little Red Rooster and blogger partnerships: How we’re navigating the landscape in 2018

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Being PR professionals we are acutely aware of the ever-evolving media and blogger landscape and are catching our breath at the constant state of flux.

 

As such, the traditional methods of PR, marketing and advertising have dramatically shifted and brands are increasingly contemplating a ‘digital first’ strategy.

 

The Guardian recently reported global digital advertising spend is set to increase by 10% in 2018 to a not insignificant $224.7 billion dollars.

 

A large chunk of this online strategy involves working with “influencers” (yes, the gesturing quote marks are intentional) or in plain english good old fashioned thought leaders..

 

 

 

The latter is nothing new and brands have been working with thought leaders for years as part of successful marketing strategies and campaigns.

 

However, the influencer market is growing rapidly and fast becoming saturated with a bewildering choice of personalities, inflated fees and unreliable results.

 

We’re all too familiar with grinning B-listers pushing teeth whitening products with #ad sneakily tagged into the comments amongst a plethora of other hashtags.

 

So it’s no surprise consumers and brands struggle to separate whether an influencer has a genuine love for what they’re promoting… or they’re just being paid to.

 

New guidelines introduced in the US by The Federal Trade Commission now mean paid partnerships must be properly displayed – and not buried away in an ocean of hashtags, such as #ad or #sponsored.

 

Instagram itself has been working to better distinguish between candid, authentic images and branded content to help its users determine the difference.

 

In a recent blog post, Instagram stated: “A healthy community should be open and consistent about paid partnerships”. At Little Red Rooster, we think this is incredibly important.

 

We believe in authenticity, integrity and honesty – this has always been our ethos in terms of our relationships with traditional media and we consider these values equally as important, if not more so, when working with influencers.

 

 

Influencers now have access to a new tool that notes whether content has been paid for by a brand.

 

So, what exactly does this mean? To us, it means building genuine, long-lasting relationships with influencers in the same way we do with journalists.

 

Rather than negotiating a fee for ‘X’ amount of blog posts and ‘Z’ amount of mentions, we would much rather reach out to influencers with brands that best suit their aesthetic.

 

Securing organic social media coverage – either through a meeting, gifting products or a brand visit – is our favourite way to build viable and trustworthy relationships… just like we do with traditional media.

 

In an ideal world this sounds relatively straightforward and we’re lucky to have such an incredible brand portfolio to entice them. However, this approach is all about playing the long game rather than banking quick wins.

 

Many companies choose to pay influencers to achieve rapid results or to open up the brand to a new marketing medium and on the surface, this may seem more lucrative.

 

But before readying the chequebook, consider how the long-term results of our organic social method can outweigh a paid-for partnership – and we can prove it.

 

Our recent #H4Unfiltered campaign delivered meaningful results and returns to the client B&O Play. This was an unadulterated, organic campaign launching the Danish audio brand’s latest wireless headphones.

 

Using a carefully targeted list of influencers we provided each one with their own product and asked them to create some unique content to coincide with the launch.

 

The campaign generated 12,000 Instagram likes and reached 500,000 followers. The price of love? Nothing but the product and a nudge to show off their creativity.

 

This is where things get a tad tricky. We would love to approach gifting to influencers the same way we would journalists, but the two are very different.

 

Whilst journalists are paid to write for publications, authentic influencers rely on social media for a living and these platforms of personal endorsement reflect who they really are.

 

Therefore we wouldn’t ask bloggers to pay for the products we want them to promote, especially if they’re fans of a rival brand.

 

Instead, we prefer to provide an education on the brand and a product to try out – especially because we have 100% belief in our client’s products.

 

We see gifting as a great way of building relationships and their love for a product. This helps us curate a ‘little black book’ of influencers across each brand we work with.

 

 

Little Red Rooster’s approach taps into the socially conscious attitude of Generation X.

 

They’ve grown up in front of a smartphone screen and a forced collaboration can put them off. In fact, 17% of 18 – 24 year olds admit to discovering brands via influencers and bloggers.

 

There’s an upside to the new Instagram rules for brands too as the new tagging process allows advertisers to access useful engagement data for those posts.

 

It’s always been notoriously hard to gauge the success of working with influencers – we’ve all heard horror stories of brands paying huge sums only to find their posts are barely translating into sales.

 

The new laws not only benefit consumers, but advertisers automatically receive access to the same data as the influencer, authenticating the reach and engagement of every post.

 

There’s no doubt traditional print and online media are competing against the rise of influencers and it is clear Instagram is a powerful promotional tool brands ignore at their peril.

 

Although there are undoubted benefits to certain paid partnerships, we still strongly believe in keeping relationships as organic and real as possible. Little Red Rooster is about choosing the right partners for the right reasons and at the right time.

 

If you’re struggling to negotiate the digital landscape get in touch. We have plenty of ways to demonstrate how our work with bloggers and influencers is the way to go.

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You want a pizza me? (Our punning skills are a little crusty, sorry)

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We all know February is the month of love. It hosts the day that is celebrated by the masses, from couples, singletons, the old childhood sweethearts and anyone that loves…National Pizza day! Now, the creator of this heavenly day has unfortunately never been identified, but we thank you.

 

 

So, essentially the premise of this day is just to simply nestle in on your favourite pizza, be it the classic Neapolitan, the Chicago deep-dish or the curve ball that is the Hawaiian (thoughts?). To celebrate, we want to take you on a worldwide trip, exploring some of the different pizzas from around the world.

 

 

Neapolitan

Starting off with the mother of all pizzas, the Neapolitan. Naples, Italy is the birthplace of the pizza pie. In the 1600s it was a form of street food sold to the poor Neapolitans who spent much of their time outside their one-room homes. To honour the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito, created the “Pizza Margherita”, garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, to represent the national colours of Italy as on the Italian flag – divine.

 

 

 

 

Lahmacun

There is some speculation over whether the Lahmacun originated in Turkey or Armenia, but at the end of the day it is a delicious spin on a pizza-esque snack. To make this all you need is a classic Turkish flat bread, minced beef or lamb and an oven! The loose translation of this dish is “meat and dough”, and that’s exactly what it is.

 

New York Style

Next stop, New York, where you can take a delicious bite of a thin and crispy hand-tossed pizza. In 1905 in the city’s Little Italy, the first pizzeria opened called Lombardi’s, today it is deemed the godfather of all American pizzerias. If you’re looking to recreate that elusive crispy base at home, the Smeg’s PRTX ceramic pizza stone works wonders. All you do is place your raw dough on the stone with your desired toppings, then “whack it in” the oven Jamie Oliver style. Approximately 5 minutes later you’ll have Mary Berry saying, “there’s no soggy bottoms here”.

£50.00 – http://www.smeguk.com/product/prtx/

 

 

 

Calzone

We’re back in Naples again but in the 1800s, and this time pizza has taken a different route. The original purpose of a calzone was to serve as a “walk around pizza” and the word translates to “pant leg” or “trouser”. It is achieved by taking a full-sized pizza, folding it and baking, a very portable grab and go meal indeed.

 

Chicago Deep-dish

This pizza was inspired by the Neapolitan, but with the toppings added in reverse. Firstly, the cheese is added, then the meat, and to top it off a chunky tomato sauce. Its defining characteristic is the crust, baked in a pan so it can reach up to 3 inches high along the edges. If you’re making your own and want to avoid lobbing your pizza on the roof like Walter White, might we recommend the HBF02 hand blender from our brilliant Italian client Smeg. The appliance makes for a stress-free mission completed in seconds. As well as creating a perfect tomato base, this kitchen staple is ideal for soups, smoothies, dips, purees and desserts, too.

 

£119.95 – http://www.smeguk.com/product/hbf02rduk/

 

 

 

So, whether you’re dining out with friends, putting our DIY tips into practice or unashamedly ordering a cheeky Domino’s, we say a very Happy National Pizza Day to you!

If you are heading out we recommend you visit this website to find where your nearest pizza dive is offering deals for the special day:  https://nationalpizzaday.co.uk/

 

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London, Florence, Milan, Paris and now the world: menswear collections of AW 18/19

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Over the past few weeks, Little Red Rooster has intently observed the coverage and buzz coming out of fashion presentations across the major European cities. From the Kent & Curwen show in London to John Galliano’s inaugural menswear collection for Maison Margiela in Paris; we have rounded up the hottest trends in preparation for the end of 2018.

 

First up, The Big Smoke where Christopher Raeburn presented looks that eccentrically combined animal-emblazoned wool scarves with multi-coloured cagoules, large backpacks and pop-art themed gloves.

 

The models at Danish designer Astrid Anderson’s London presentation strutted down the runway dressed as cowboys, donning full western-style hats, whilst others rocked opulent silk jacquard dressing-gown coats that reminded us of something Rocky Balboa would wear during his entrance to the boxing ring. But the most notably was Anderson’s check patterned overcoats and tracksuits layered with a cotton hoodie and beige trainers; a statement athleisure look for AW 18/19.

 

 

On the street, striking and thought-provoking style was also on show. Our highlight must be model and menswear fashion connoisseur Richard Biedul who sported a vintage Edward Sexton two-piece suit with a wide peak lapel and brown and caramel houndstooth pleated trousers.

 

 

From London, the fashion flock travelled to Florence for the menswear mecca that is Pitti Uomo. The event is arguably the most important in the men’s fashion calendar, attracting tens of thousands of editors, journalists, street photographers and retailers. This fashion fair is where today’s taste-makers pick what you’ll be wearing (or aspiring to wear) next season. The exhibitors included our highly respected client Pantherella, which has been making luxury English socks in its Leicester-based factory for the past 80 years.

 

Whilst many may have been peacocking outside, the main hall housed a range of powerhouse fashion brands including Corneliani, Birkenstock and Brunello Cucinelli with hiking boots being an up-and-coming trend for next winter. We were besotted with the very special restaurant set up by Gucci in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura. The Florentine brand created a truly gastronomic experience with a menu that included iconic Italian dishes with conceptual twists; situated in part of the brand’s new Gucci Garden museum.

 

 

Third on our whirlwind trip of AW 18/19 menswear collections was Milan. Prada showcased a range of clothing defined by its hardy and utilitarian nature; the models were layered in nylon with utility belts and multiple cross body bags. All the pieces looked ready for a gruelling day of work outdoors. Think, The Matrix meets Mission Impossible meets The Bill!

 

 

The French capital was the last and chicest stop on our menswear tour. Paris is home to some of the world’s most enduring fashion houses, from Louis Vuitton to Dior Homme and Maison Margiela. The City of Lights reinforced that you really need a pair of cowboy boots in your life; whether chisel-toed or pointed, heels or stacked this footwear was everywhere. The likes of Dunhill, Paul Smith and Wooyoungmi showcased a western selection of boots on the runway. Oversized shearling also made an impact, with Hermes and Alexander McQueen displaying the best in a natural hue.

 

 

It doesn’t stop there; menswear presentations are still due to take place in The Big Apple early February. Raf Simons, Tom Ford, BOSS and Perry Ellis will be just some of the fashion brands showcasing their newest AW 18/19 collections in New York.

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Designer of the Year: Cecilie Manz

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While Maison & Objet is so often thought of as the hotspot for a wide variety of up-and-coming brands, it’s also a time to celebrate more established names. This year, the prestigious accolade of Designer of the Year was awarded to Danish design guru Cecilie Manz: the brains behind the beauty of our very own Bang & Olufsen.

 

 

“All briefs start with white paper”, states Manz, “and three very important words – functionality, simplicity, and quality”. It is these three properties which are evident throughout the entire back catalogue of Manz’s work – from furniture design for Fritz Hansen to bespoke, experiential products and a number of exciting collaborations.

 

“Materiality and texture are also important”, she continues, “and colour”. But colour, according to Manz, is often an afterthought by many brands. Not for her. It forms an integral part of the design, tweaking and adapting as needed throughout the entire process. Perhaps, then, this is why B&O’s wide selection of colourways are often lauded as the most stylish within the incredibly crowded audio market.

 

 

Manz’s studio remains a small team; she supervises three fellow designers and at times, an intern, from her Copenhagen base. The studio, according to Manz, is “filled with stuff” – not just any old “stuff” as you and I would call it, but objects from everyday life from which Manz finds her inspiration.

 

Manz’s portfolio is divided in two; the first covers a wide range of experiential projects from her days as a young, unknown designer. It was in 2015 she was selected to partner up with Rud Rasmussen Snedkerier for Wallpaper*’s Handmade Project of the Year, which catapulted Manz to the spotlight. While she still continues to manage her own projects, the vast majority of her work now comes from brand collaborations, which form the second half of her repertoire.

 

You may even notice a subtle link between her various projects. Take, for example, Manz’s previous work for Fritz Hansen, which featured subtle leather detailing within the upholstery of sofas and armchairs. It was around this time Manz received her first commission from B&OPLAY, and created the Beolit 12; which also features distinct leather profiling. These connections are subtle, but a clear indicator of Manz’s understated elegance.

So, how did Manz end up working for Bang & Olufsen? Originally trained in furniture design, Manz began moving into lighting, ceramics and bathroom products as her career progressed. She states that she particularly loves crafting kitchen utensils, as “these are something you use in everyday life”. While technology may not be the most obvious next step, it is Manz’s desire to craft products that users will love and, most importantly, use on a daily basis, which led her to B&O.

 

One of her most instantly recognisable designs for the brand is the portable A1 speaker, which “started out like an orange”, in Manz’s own words. An incredible amount of time, dedication and detail went into creating the final product, and it is this attention to detail which Manz claims sets her apart from other designers.

 

“Being appointed Designer of the Year…I was of course very honoured”, concludes Manz,  “and the show [Maison & Objet] is a nice opportunity to show how far I have come”. One can only assume, thanks to her distinctive Danish influence, exquisite craftsmanship and unique approach to design, that there is still plenty more to come.

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