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Updated: Nov 16

Together with consultancies Edelman UK, PrettyGreen and Ready10, we’re excited to be amongst the first to join the OnePercent initiative as a partner agency.


Co-founded by Michael Levaggi of Snap and journalist Lela London, OnePercent is a fundraising initiative aimed at increasing diversity within the communications industry. OnePercent enables agencies and their employees to donate 1% of their earnings automatically to the Taylor Bennett Foundation, a charity that encourages people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to get started in PR.



The lack of BAME representation in PR is a real challenge. The PRCA’s PR and Communications 2020 Census shows that less than one in eight (12%) of the UK’s PR industry are from a non-white background. And at a senior level, diversity is often an even greater issue. We’re keen to address this imbalance, which is why we’ve committed to the OnePercent project.


How OnePercent works


OnePercent will support the Taylor Bennett Foundation so it can continue to provide PR training, internships and mentoring programmes to people from BAME backgrounds.


Taylor Bennett’s training programme covers the professional skills and tools participants need to build a successful career in the PR and communications industry. And the charity’s six-month mentoring programme offers people from BAME backgrounds the opportunity to work closely with an experienced PR practitioner.


As well as providing insight into different areas of the PR industry, Taylor Bennett’s programmes support candidates as they prepare for a career in PR and work towards their individual career objectives.


Future plans of the OnePercent initiative also include funding bursaries and access grants and supporting the Taylor Bennett Foundation’s Summer Stars programmes.


You can find out more about the Taylor Bennett Foundation in this four-minute video featuring graduates of the programmes.


Agencies and individuals can join OnePercent to support the Taylor Bennett Foundation with regular donations. Donations are handled by the Payroll Giving Agency, Charitable Giving, and you can join the initiative via the OnePercent website.


What we love about this way of donating is its simplicity. Once you’ve opted into OnePercent, you can keep donating on a regular basis. Charitable Giving enables employees to opt in to donate 1% of earnings automatically via PAYE. And as more agencies and individuals join the scheme, we can make a significant difference as an industry and show support and allyship in a meaningful way.


Creating a fairer PR industry for all


The PR industry doesn’t just struggle with ethnic diversity representation; there’s a social background challenge too. The PRCA’s 2020 census shows that more than one in five (21%) of UK PR professionals attended a fee-paying school; that’s three times the national average (7%). The imbalance is stark, which is why we’re also supporting Socially Mobile, a new Community Interest Company (CIC) launched by PR industry legends, Sarah and Stephen Waddington. Socially Mobile provides training to people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, as well as under-represented and under-served groups, including BAME PR professionals, women returners and people with disabilities.


By supporting OnePercent and Socially Mobile, The PR Network is happy to be part of the change that needs to happen to make our industry a more inclusive and representative place for all.


Are you interested in getting involved with the OnePercent movement? It’s quick and easy to sign up and start donating. Head over to www.onepercent.org.uk and join the initiative. You can join as an individual or as an agency, so click through to find out more.


#diversity

#D&I

#diversityandinclusion

#equality



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We're thrilled to share that we've won an ongoing partnership with Hydro Wind Energy Global comms publication PRovoke covered the story here. (HWE), a London-based renewables energy company, is one of the World Economic Forum’s Top 100 Startups, backed by techstars. HWE’s ambition is to provide clean, fresh drinking water and low cost, clean energy across the world, delivered in a sustainable way using its disruptive technologies.


Our global team delivered a project in 2020 in the UK, US, France and Germany to promote HWE’s crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for its first go-to-market product, QuenchSea. QuenchSea is the world’s first portable handheld desalination device which instantly turns seawater to freshwater, described as a “profoundly significant invention’ by the head of a leading water aid charity.

HWE intends to help solve the humanitarian crisis by donating 100m QuenchSea units by 2027, potentially giving up to one billion people access to clean drinking water. As well as the humanitarian aspect, the $60 product appeals to the adventurer market including sailors and campers. This manifold usage and applications generated huge interest and the QuenchSea campaign raised over £250,000.


Following a further successful crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs which raised almost £700,000, PRN has now been appointed to support HWE on an ongoing basis with a product, corporate and thought leadership PR programme. Our in-market teams are set to handle the Quenchsea product launch and product review programmes to drive awareness and sales. Separately, we are developing HWE’s broader corporate narrative and messaging across all the different business streams.


Lee King, CEO of HWE comments, “We’re a start up with a mission to get our products out into many markets at the same time and make a difference to people who need fresh water and low-cost energy. The PRN model allows us to run multinational campaigns cost-effectively, working with senior people who know how to reach the right contacts, coordinated by the PRN Hub in the UK.”


Our Client Services Director and head of consumer Katy Campbell says, “We were blown away by both the ambitions of Lee and his team and the potential of the HWE products to actually go some way towards solving some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian problems. Our global team is passionate about helping HWE meet its mission of becoming the world’s leading energy company.”


We're also planning thought leadership campaigns for later in the year around other complex and revolutionary HWE technologies. These include SubSea RO (large scale offshore desalination plants, which use wind and water power to desalinate the water and then kites to bring the water to shore), and OceanHydro, a hybrid energy system that harnesses offshore altitude wind using kites or vertical axis wind rotors, combined with subsea oceanic pressure, to provide reliable, low-cost clean electrical energy and grid scale energy storage.


@HydroWindEnergy

#QuenchSea


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Nicky and I are lucky enough to be asked to judge lots of awards for industry programmes run by the PRCA, PRMoment, PRovoke and PRWeek. This year we’ve judged well over 100 entries between us across a broad range of categories, covering the UK and across the world (the SABRES).


Awards season is now pretty much all year round, and there are plenty of opportunities for PR and comms folk to demonstrate their value and celebrate their successes. We’ve judged everything from the inspiring and frankly, ego-damaging (how have these people achieved so much at such a young age?!?) PRWeek’s Young Professional of the Year and its 30 under 30, to EMEA’s creme de la creme of the comms landscape in the PRovoke SABRES. Last week saw our judging panel come together to review the PRCA’s National Awards. As these are focused on work delivered in the last 12 months, it’s even more encouraging to see how our industry has adapted - and helped clients adapt - to the COVID19 pandemic.


Some might see awards judging as a chore, but I absolutely love it and always look forward to it. I love meeting the other judges and hearing their perspective, but most of all I enjoy looking through each and every submission. There’s something really inspiring in seeing your peers do incredible things. I often learn about a new sector or discipline I’m not familiar with, but it spurs us on at The PR Network to push ourselves to strive for excellence in what we do in our own agency - we learn a lot in the process.


Reviewing award entries is not something that can be left to a Friday afternoon, or done in an evening - often you need to do 3 awards at a time and take a break. You can’t just whizz through each submission; you soon find your marking goes out of kilter and you just aren’t taking it all in. I’ve learnt I can do 25 submissions in a week, tackling 5 a day and then going back at the end and reviewing everyone again. I know it feels like a mammoth job creating the entry; I can assure you reviewing is also just as big a job to do justice to every entry.


So through all of this, what have I learned?


Make it easy for judges to mark your work against the given criteria. Check the judging criteria regularly. I always print out the criteria and make a point of checking through in detail to cross-reference. Use subheads that correspond, so judges don’t have to read through multiple times to find a piece of information. Often the judges are using a form, and grading out of 10. If you can make that a much easier process, you will definitely be helping your judge.


Clear and concise format, and attractive presentation (unless there’s a pro forma). There’s a particular agency whose entry I can guess immediately without reading their name. They use a nice, clear font, colourful graphics and a well designed one page PDF with corresponding image/video. I can instantly see the budget, the strategy, the KPIs and the results. It means I can grade them more easily, which goes a long way to building judges' goodwill. There are other agencies that like to use a particular tone of voice - that for me counts less, and can be grating! I prefer simple, easy to read language that tells a story and points to the facts.


Be transparent about your budget. It’s really hard to compare oranges with apples - one campaign was powered by a £150,000 fee, while another was based on only £1,000! It’s even harder to compare if you don’t have any idea of the fee (and costs), so please make sure you include your budget so your judge can benchmark. A bigger budget doesn’t always mean success - some of my favourite winners have been in the sub £10K category. I love seeing how creative people can be without the prop of a hefty budget to play with.


Metrics win out. You can no longer submit an entry without adequate measurement. We’ve moved on from coverage and reach - if you only look at success in these terms, you will always lose out. Those submissions that use the AMEC Framework are going to get extra special brownie points and I’m always interested to see a proven correlation between the company’s financial success, audience cut through and customer behaviour. I was pleased to see that this year, the PRCA allocated more marks to Results vs. the other criteria, in order to reward entries which could demonstrate and quantify success vs. objectives.


Sometimes success is about a killer idea from a leading brand, and often we'll see one campaign clean up across the board (just look at Iceland’s Rang Tan campaign of 2018/2019). However, hopefully these observations will help others to get the recognition they deserve.


If you’re applying for an award, best of luck to you and I hope we’re lucky enough to be wowed by your work and help to celebrate your success in November!


(PS... that's not Nicky Regazzoni and I hitting the karaoke, but a nod to the headline and a gratuitous link to ABBA's recent launch)







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