Aspectus PR harnesses UK manufacturing renaissance to deliver successful MACH 2014 campaign

The UK manufacturing industry is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment. So it is with a degree of sadness that the Aspectus PR B2B event marketing and engineering PR team put together the final activity report for MACH […]


23 Apr
by Aspectus PR

Layout 1The UK manufacturing industry is enjoying something of a renaissance at the moment. So it is with a degree of sadness that the Aspectus PR B2B event marketing and engineering PR team put together the final activity report for MACH 2014. It’s the first year we’ve managed the PR campaign for this prestigious event on behalf of the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA), and it’s one we are proud to have been a part of.

Attended by more than 22,000 visitors, including business secretary Vince Cable, there was a real buzz around the show and, unsurprisingly, it was standing room only at many of the educational seminars that took place. The seminars covered a wide variety of topics, including the use of metal in additive manufacturing, the rise of 3D printing, and the latest developments in the aerospace supply chain.

According to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer, the majority (86%) of the UK’s manufacturing SMEs are planning to invest in capital equipment over the next twelve months. We were able to harness this theme during the PR campaign, with storylines addressing aspects such as innovation by UK manufacturers, and localisation of the supply chain.

MACH covers a huge range of technologies, including robots, lasers, grinding wheels, cutting tools and 3D printers. These are used across every industrial vertical sector imaginable – from aerospace and automotive, to shipping and energy. For us, what really stood out about this campaign was the sheer breadth of media it enabled us to reach out to, while strengthening relationships with those journalists we don’t often come into contact with.

A key challenge was to develop content that was compelling to such a wide cross-section of media relevant to MACH. Here, our unique storyline approach proved extremely effective, with coverage secured in magazines such as Manufacturing Digital, Aerospace Manufacturing, The Engineer, Commercial Vehicle Engineer, Energy Global, and Medical Plastics News.

Manufacturing and engineering is proving a strong area of growth for Aspectus and we’ve already signed our first client on the strength of our relationship with MACH. We are also in discussions with a number of exhibitors at the show about how we can use our growing sector expertise to support them.

If you are looking for a PR agency with expertise in manufacturing and engineering get in touch to find out what we can do for you.


Communications separates white boxes from white noise in SDN debate

Software-defined networking (SDN) is a revolution going on quietly behind closed doors. However, the media buzz surrounding the technology has been growing, and it proved a hot topic at last week’s Interop conference in Las Vegas, where a number of […]


09 Apr
by Aspectus PR

Software-defined networking (SDN) is a revolution going on quietly behind closed doors. However, the media buzz surrounding the technology has been growing, and it proved a hot topic at last week’s Interop conference in Las Vegas, where a number of commercial products and supporting technologies were announced.

SDN is when the software is separated from the hardware that forwards packets. Marking a fundamental change to how networks are designed and run, it seems rather fitting that in the year IBM celebrates 50 years of its landmark mainframe computer, comparisons are being drawn between the current upheaval in the networking technology sector, and that which the computing industry witnessed in the mid-1980s.

Aspectus PR had the privilege of speaking to Nick McKeown, Stanford University professor and co-founder of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), for our current PR campaign for the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

According to Nick, IBM in the mid-80s was to the computer industry what Cisco is to the networking industry today. IBM was building mainframe computers based on microprocessors it manufactured in-house, controlled and managed by an IBM developed operating system (OS), and running IBM’s proprietary applications.

This vertically-integrated and closed model of computing was turned on its head with the introduction of low-cost, off-the-shelf microprocessors by Motorola and Intel. These enabled development of much smaller and cheaper computers that lead to the commoditised PC market we know today.

Likewise, the advent of SDN is turning an industry that was vertically-integrated and closed into one that is horizontal and open. With smaller ‘white boxes’ based on off-the-shelf ‘merchant’ silicon and SDN replacing the routers and switches that have dominated carrier and enterprise networks thus far, McKeown argues that SDN is exposing the myth perpetuated by networking OEMs that it would be disastrous to split the components within routers and switches apart.

Sharing the message

The challenge however, is that major vendors don’t agree on what SDN actually is, or how it’s supposed to be implemented. With $billions in annual revenues at stake, a battle for control has ensued, most notably with Cisco announcing its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) – dubbed by one industry commentator as an ‘un-SDN answer to SDN’.

As with any battle for market share, communications will play a key role. Other major vendors of routing and switching equipment, such as HP and Juniper, are embracing SDN within their roadmaps. Juniper in particular, created an entertaining mock movie trailer introducing SDN for a presentation at last year’s Interop event aimed at dispelling some of the myths surrounding the technology.

What’s clear is that smaller brands offering white boxes now pose a serious challenge to the major vendors selling ‘closed boxes’. Merchant silicon and SDN enables carriers and enterprises to create and control networks that are cheaper, better fit for purpose, faster and more reliable. These are the messages that players such as AT&T and Google are disseminating.

In the words of the ONF’s Nick McKeown*: “This is the context in which the SDN revolution is taking place and it needs to be shared with a wider audience.”

Aspectus has done exactly this by developing compelling content from the interview with Nick to secure fantastic coverage in Information Age – a first for the IET’s Prestige Lecture Series – and with more to follow.

Editors and clients alike trust us to deliver the quality of content they demand, and we’ve done it time and time again.

If you want to be heard above the white noise, rejuvenate your communications, and develop concise, compelling and persuasive messaging, contact Aspectus PR to find out more about how we can help achieve your business aims, raise your profile and drive sales with content-led PR campaigns.

*Nick McKeown will be delivering the IET Appleton Lecture on ‘Software Defined Networks and the Maturing of the Internet’ on Wednesday 30 April 2014, at the Royal Institution, London


How to create a buzz-worthy social media campaign for B2B clients

Finance. Technology. Energy. These industries can appear complex and are not always easy to understand fully or explain to others, especially through social media. As PR practitioners, our clients count on us to make their news and accomplishments jump off […]


07 Apr
by Aspectus PR

Tips-B2B-social-media-campaignFinance. Technology. Energy. These industries can appear complex and are not always easy to understand fully or explain to others, especially through social media. As PR practitioners, our clients count on us to make their news and accomplishments jump off the page, and they increasingly expect these results via social channels. With only 140 characters to work with, the task can seem quite daunting, particularly for business-oriented clients that have strict messaging guidelines, policies and procedures.

So how do we generate creative and successful social campaigns for clients without naturally “social” personalities?

Make it interactive. When sending out a tweet or Facebook post for your client, add a picture to accompany the text. Pictures are more appealing than plain text and help to humanize the content. If you have a video related to the topic, add that too. Studies have shown that posts with visuals receive 94 percent more page visits and engagement than those without. Many businesses struggle in this area and it can be a big differentiator for the client. Infographics are another great way to share your message. Not only are they useful and simple to read but they are also very easy to share.

Appeal to your audience’s clients. Without structure or sufficient planning, it can sometimes feel like you are posting the same content over and over again. However, this can be resolved with pointed posts created with the end audience in mind. Think of key issues and topics that relate to your readership’s bottom line, as well as content of wider interest that might appeal. If you know who you are targeting, it will make it a lot easier to get the attention you want. Another great way to connect to your audience is to give options to provide feedback. It gets conversations started among visitors and can give your client valuable insights.

Find your voice. It is vital to find a “personality” that can provide a client with a unique voice. This can make them stand out from their competitors and boost their credibility in the market. Creating a more identifiable voice can also increase interest in your client and get them more exposure.

There is no such thing as a boring business. At times, it can be tough dealing with a client or subject matter that people are not naturally drawn to. By changing your strategy and generating a personality for the client, even topics like regulatory issues or product offerings can gain new life.

There is a vast potential audience out there, and it’s the job of PR professionals to engage them and get the buzz going!


Sleeping partners – why the media and PR make excellent bedfellows

PR professionals need to be close to the media. We need to nurture strong relationships through understanding their needs, thinking like them, acting like them, understanding their pressures. Well, this is certainly the case here in Asia, but it turns […]


26 Mar
by Aspectus PR

World Sleep DayPR professionals need to be close to the media. We need to nurture strong relationships through understanding their needs, thinking like them, acting like them, understanding their pressures.

Well, this is certainly the case here in Asia, but it turns out we may be even closer bedfellows than we thought.

Last week saw World Sleep Day. It is an annual event and according to the organisers – The World Sleep Day Committee of the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) – it is intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep. Such issues include: medicine, education, social aspects and driving. It aims to lessen the burden of sleep problems on society through better prevention and management of sleep.

However, it seems that many do not get enough sleep as a result of the stresses and strains of their professions, according to the Chinese Medical Doctor Association, which has just launched the 2014 China Sleep Quality Index research report.

So who are the worst sleepers in China?

With an index score of 56.5 it is the media. What causes this? Scarce people resources and budgets? Incredibly demanding deadlines? A huge geography to cover? Not enough PR agencies to lend support with timely, meaningful and relevant information?

In second place, with an index score of 58.4 it is Public Relations professionals (the report includes advertising professionals as well). What causes this? Scarce people resources and budgets? Incredibly demanding deadlines? A huge geography to cover? A busy, tired and overworked media sector?

Whatever the answers, we should use this information to bond further with our brothers and sisters in the media. Reach out to them and say ‘Its OK, I understand, I am like you, I am with you, here’s a great story for you!’

We are truly united in tiredness.

Further rankings:
3. Small business owners 59.5
4. Health care and medical workers 60.8
5. IT 61.4
6. White-collar workers 61.6
7. Blue-collar workers 61.9
8. Corporate executives 62.1
9. Finance professionals 62.2
10. Salespeople 62.3

With not a little irony, this blogger wrote this at 2:40am when unable to sleep (Sleep Quality Index score TBC).


Goodbye booth babes, hello sales! Our top tips for trade show success

Written by Amy Redhead My first experience of a B2B trade show (more years ago than I wish to admit to) was as a fresh-faced account executive when I was asked to attend a Linux expo at Earls Court. I […]


25 Mar
by Aspectus PR

Written by Amy Redhead

POWER-GEN EuropeMy first experience of a B2B trade show (more years ago than I wish to admit to) was as a fresh-faced account executive when I was asked to attend a Linux expo at Earls Court. I remember being shocked and somewhat confused by the number of ladies on the stands wearing body paint that matched the brands they were being paid to represent.

Thankfully, things have moved on and ‘booth babes’ (as they were known) are now largely a thing of the past. Our clients know better than to isolate a large proportion of their audience and I’m glad to say that at the events we promote, exhibitors recognise the importance of presenting a professional image.

I was reminded of those early trade shows as the Aspectus PR B2B event marketing team is entering one of the busiest times of the year with the IET’s Viscount Nuffield lecture this week, NEMEX, IWEX and Energy Recovery taking place at the NEC Birmingham next week, and MACH 2014 at the same venue the week after. It’s also a busy time for many of the clients we are supporting at various events over the next few months, including OTC and Trade Tech Paris.

Trade shows present a fantastic opportunity to showcase your brand and forge lasting personal relationships with peers, prospects, customers and partners, which you simply can’t get through traditional and online advertising. However, it’s surprising how many prospects we speak to who are left disappointed by their experience of events and unsure of the value they provide.

Our advice is always the same: With the correct amount of preparation and the right attitude, events can be both enjoyable and extremely rewarding from both a sales and a marketing perspective.

Here are some top tips to ensure your event experience is a big success:

  • Go with an open mind – It’s not just about hard-selling your product or service, events can also be a great opportunity to learn and build lasting relationships. Find out which stands are getting the most footfall and why, which companies in your space are innovating, and what can you learn from them.
  • Seek out the networking opportunities – The bar is a great place to chat to people, but don’t overwhelm them with business talk, instead find a conversation based on common interest. When you stop trying to get business from contacts and instead focus on building relationships people tend to be much more responsive.
  • Make the most of the PR opportunities on offer – Successful events will invest a lot in PR and are usually keen to work with exhibitors in order to promote the event in the media. Befriend the PR working for the event at the earliest possibility and find out what press opportunities they are working on that you might be able to get involved with.
  • Look interested! If you don’t, why would anyone want to stop and chat to you? Events are so much more fun and interesting when you get chatting to people. If you demonstrate the passion you have for your brand and that you’ve got the knowledge base to match, you are sure to make new contacts and sales.

If you are planning a trip to MACH 2014, Sustainability Live or POWER-GEN Europe, be sure to drop us an email or simply come by the press office to say hi, we would love to see you!


Do more faster with Spritz

How fast can you read? 200 words a minute? 250? 300 on a good day? How about if you could make that 600 or 700 – or even 1000? No, not an early April Fool’s joke, but a real possibility […]


24 Mar
by Aspectus PR

Spritz reading appHow fast can you read? 200 words a minute? 250? 300 on a good day? How about if you could make that 600 or 700 – or even 1000? No, not an early April Fool’s joke, but a real possibility according to the guys behind Spritz – a new reading initiative taking the internet by storm.

When you ‘spritz’, words are streamed onto a small area rather than all being displayed at once on a page. (Try it by clicking the button in the top right on their website.) The argument is that around 80% of traditional reading time is spent moving your eyes from word to word – so if they remove that bit for you, you can read significantly faster, and even retain more information. And of course, it forces concentration, much like watching a film with subtitles. Most excitingly for the competitive among us, you can ramp up your speed as you go. The company reckons that most users settle at around twice their ‘traditional’ reading speed.

It’s well understood that the way people access information has changed out of all recognition in the last couple of decades. But could spritzing herald a further revolution? If it were to take off widely, the potential application is clearly huge. Just imagine the implications for the legal profession, or politicians – not to mention teachers and students – of being able to process information twice as fast as now.

In PR terms, it could prompt a move back to longer-form content, after years of time constraints and the challenges of reading long articles on screen driving the opposite trend. It could also become yet another nail in the coffin of the print media. The challenge that naturally springs to mind will be whether these faster speeds can be reasonably maintained when it comes to complex texts – and whether readers will hit pause to take the time to reflect as they read, or whether they’ll come to the end of a lengthy document without really knowing what they think.

But from a PR perspective, we’d love some of our clients to be able to put it to the test when MiFID II’s Level 2 text is released, so we can be the first to the media with our comments!

So how fast did you read this 383 words?


When it comes to sector knowledge, every little helps

At Aspectus PR we often talk about the need for specialist sector knowledge within creative teams – be they in-house or agency. It was our knowledge of the energy market and our understanding of the Carbon Floor Price that enabled […]


21 Mar
by Aspectus PR

Sector-knowledge-energy-PRAt Aspectus PR we often talk about the need for specialist sector knowledge within creative teams – be they in-house or agency.

It was our knowledge of the energy market and our understanding of the Carbon Floor Price that enabled us to run an effective rapid-response campaign following the budget this week.

Alongside this sector knowledge, we also believe it’s vital to have that knowledge escalating up the team through the sign off process. After all, there would be no point in us having an account executive who is an energy market expert, if it arrives on the desk of a senior manager outside of the sector team at the final stage of sign off who couldn’t tell a pylon from a phone mast.

It was with interest then, that we saw that Tesco is pulling one of its latest ads for milk due to the picture showing the wrong type of cows (beef instead of dairy!).

In the case of sector knowledge and diligent sign off, every little certainly would have helped!


Budget 2014 sees carbon price floor frozen, but client coverage flows

One of the key assets at a PR firm’s disposal is the ability to respond to breaking news and events. In his budget speech yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the carbon price floor would be frozen at 2015/16 levels. This presented a prime opportunity for Aspectus […]


20 Mar
by Aspectus PR

Budget 2014One of the key assets at a PR firm’s disposal is the ability to respond to breaking news and events.

In his budget speech yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the carbon price floor would be frozen at 2015/16 levels. This presented a prime opportunity for Aspectus PR’s client Baringa Partners to embed itself firmly within the news agenda for the day.

Baringa is a consultancy firm with expertise – much like Aspectus – in energy and financial services. As such, any issue blending energy and the economy is firmly in their sweet spot.

By working with Baringa to supply insightful comment and doing so quicker than the competition, Aspectus was able to secure coverage and, crucially, voiceshare for Baringa in a variety of key trade publications.

Coverage included Energy Live News, RENews, New Energy World Network, Utility Week live blog and Business Green among others.

By understanding the news agenda, thinking carefully about possible outcomes ahead of time, and coordinating closely with Baringa, Aspectus was able to rapidly distribute Baringa’s informed response to the media on what has become a controversial policy.

Well-planned and coordinated campaigns are essential in PR, but so too is the ability to respond intelligently and rapidly to news as it breaks. With some great coverage achieved for Baringa, Aspectus has again proved it is more than capable of delivering on both.


Opting for omni-channel – picking the right platforms for PR

The number of social media channels and apps continues to rise exponentially. So, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in a sea of hash tags and angry birds. As we’ve always argued at Aspectus however, the key is to avoid […]


07 Mar
by Aspectus PR

Omni-channel-experienceThe number of social media channels and apps continues to rise exponentially. So, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in a sea of hash tags and angry birds.

As we’ve always argued at Aspectus however, the key is to avoid bombarding potential clients with every channel under the sun and to be more selective in terms of the social tools being harnessed.

The benefits to this approach are outlined in a new whitepaper by Webhelp, which uses the term ‘omni-channel experience’ to describe when companies manage a few carefully selected channels to enhance the audience experience while ensuring the optimal impact on the company’s bottom line.

Selected channels must be fully connected, says Webhelp, so that each conversation can be carried smoothly from platform to platform. The omni-channel solution should also be a ‘customer-centric environment’, and offer the right mix of integrated and complementary social networks and apps to suit the right audience.

Webhelp’s whitepaper also identifies ‘Generation C’ (for connected), a category of audience comprising ‘better informed, highly demanding, vigorously social and constantly connected individuals’. For this new technologically-charged cohort, the belief is that an online search can spark a web chat that leads to a social media exchange and perhaps even a phone call – the ultimate goal being of course, being to form a fully-connected business relationship.

Interestingly, Generation C isn’t specific to any age group, with over-55s (who have higher disposable income) said to be rapidly adopting this new way of life. As such, an interesting example of the omni-channel environment in action is cited in the financial services space, where Virgin Money is converting new branches into ‘stores’ and ‘lounges’ where their clientele can browse products, bank online or meet face-to-face with an advisor.

Certainly, both businesses and society are being transformed by social media, and the omni-channel environment is a concept confirming that while it is time for companies to get involved, a more strategic approach is required.

Crucially, it’s not how big your portfolio of channels is, it’s how you use it.


A Terminator, a philosopher and an education secretary submit a paper to parliament…

What do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Gove and Oxford philosopher Roger Scruton have in common? This may sound like an obscure take on a well-known prelude to a joke, but the punchline isn’t funny: they all think environmentalism has an image problem. The eagle-eyed may notice that all […]


03 Mar
by Aspectus PR

Environmentalism_Aspectus-PRWhat do Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Gove and Oxford philosopher Roger Scruton have in common? This may sound like an obscure take on a well-known prelude to a joke, but the punchline isn’t funny: they all think environmentalism has an image problem.

The eagle-eyed may notice that all three occupy a space somewhat to the right of the political centre. This is because they make up three of 14 contributors to the Conservative Environment Network’s new publication, Responsibility & Resilience: What the Environment means to Conservativeslaunched in the UK Parliament on February 26th.

The document aims to ‘completely explode the myths that the environment belongs on the left of politics or that business is not leading on this issue,’ according to Ben Goldsmith, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Conservative Environment Network.

Without entering into the politics of this, it’s interesting from a PR perspective that some on the right are so concerned that the left have monopolised the green thought leadership space, that they’ve assembled an all-star conservative cast to try and reclaim voice-share.

Language of ‘exploding myths’ may owe more to the subconscious influence of having an icon of the ‘80s action movie genre on the roster, but it also speaks to the power of these allegedly entrenched myths, and the desperation to shake them.

It’s also a great example at the highest level of how ownership of an idea can stick and keep on delivering long-term returns for those that have entrenched themselves firmly on the favourable side of the debate. For further evidence, just look at how those caught on the wrong side panic and scramble to reclaim it as their own.

Though not all arenas are as fiercely partisan as politics’ upper echelons, it’s a lesson and a reminder for all PR practitioners on the power of well-executed and sustained thought leadership on an emotive topic.

Tags: Energy & Environment,

Posted In: Blog, Energy PR

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