Insights, updates from Bristol's leading public relations agency


Brand reputation – who is winning the PR race in 2014

The results are in and the Superbrands Council’s 2014 chart has seen quite a shake-up.  Here in Bristol we’ve been looking at who’s up, who’s down and what impact PR has had on their position.

British Airways has flown away with the headlines as it hit the dizzy heights of the number one consumer brand. It’s the first time the airline has made the grade and success has largely been attributed to two key factors – its popular ‘To Fly, To Serve’ marketing makeover and enduring goodwill from its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Stunts such as the giant ‘Welcome to our Turf’ image greeting planes at Heathrow have stayed in the public’s imagination and boosted the brand’s image.

welcome to our turf

Retail brands have continued to rank well. Boots and Amazon both entered the top 20 for the first time and thanks to successful star-studded autumn/winter and Christmas campaigns, M&S has remained a fixed favourite among UK consumers.

The technology sector has taken the biggest hit in this year’s league table with Apple falling from number two in 2013 to 14 in this year’s table. The brand has been widely reported to be losing its way following the death of Steve Jobs and a perceived lack of game-changing innovation has also had an impact on the public.

Google, Facebook and Microsoft all fell in the rankings too, reflecting a tough year for technology as a whole. Each company has faced its share of public criticism around privacy following Edward Snowden’s revelations and consumers are voicing concerns about their domination of the market.

As ever, this year’s chart offers us a fantastic insight into consumer thinking and provides brands with an opportunity to take stock. With increasing power in consumers’ hands it’s vital for all companies, big or small, to look at how their reputation is performing so they can build on success and address early warning signs. It will be interesting to see where the winners and losers of the 2014 league table go next.

#Hashtags – raising brand awareness on social media

From advertising campaigns to news coverage, hashtags are everywhere we look. With 57% of adults here in the UK actively using social media, it’s never been easier for businesses to engage with the public but competition is fierce. Tweets are 55% more likely to be retweeted when they contain a hashtag, so you need to work them to your advantage. We’ve come up with our quick Grayling guide to getting the most out of this tool:


Keep it short and sweet

The longer the hashtag, the less understandable and effective it becomes. As Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet, it also ensures you give fans the space to properly engage. If it’s vital that you use a longer hashtag, consider abbreviating the phrase to save space.

Use capital letters

As hashtags can’t contain spaces, symbols or punctuation, capital letters provide a clever way to differentiate between words. They also help to tidy up the look of the hashtag and make it professional: #thisisntunderstandable, whereas #ThisIsUnderstandable.

Look before you leap

There are numerous examples out there of brands getting it wrong by piggy-backing onto an unsuitable hashtag. Always check for any pre-existing use or meaning for your hashtag to avoid causing any confusion or offence.


Hashtags are no longer limited to Twitter, they can be used on both Facebook and Instagram. It’s also a good idea  to highlight your hashtag in press and marketing materials and on your website where you can. The more visible it is, the more it will entice the public.

If you’d like to find out more about how to maximise your brand’s presence on social media, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Grayling.

Your PR career starts here

Success aheadWould you like to join a dynamic team, established as one of the most successful PR consultancies in the South West?

We have a vacancy for an entry-level Client Executive to join our Bristol team and are looking to recruit now.

You will be working for a diverse range of clients across consumer and business-to-business environments including retail and fashion, transport and engineering.

The role will suit a recent graduate with some work experience in PR. The ideal candidate will be driven, enthusiastic and have a genuine interest in the industry, and digital and social media in particular. We’re looking for a proactive and engaging individual who has an inquisitive mind, is a confident communicator and has natural writing flair. Experience of effective time management and good organisational skills are a must.

It’s a fast-moving and entrepreneurial environment in which the right candidate will thrive and develop. So if you think you’re ready to join a vibrant PR agency with a great sense of team spirit and a wealth of high profile and interesting clients, please contact for more details.

2013, the year that was…

The year that was 2013

So the New Year is well and truly underway and the festivities of Christmas are already starting to seem like an age ago.  But with everyone looking ahead to 2014 and what the year has in store, we thought now would be a poignant time to take a moment to step back, reflect and look at the year that was 2013.

Hitting the headlines

It was a big year for news: Nigella Lawson’s court case once again highlighted the power of trial by media and the importance of keeping counsel in the face of very public adversity.  The birth of HRH Prince George of Cambridge brought the world’s media to one very important door (for weeks on end!) and the introduction of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme finally saw optimism restored to the country’s house-buyers.

Social and the news agenda

Social media continued to play its role in driving the news agenda and providing unfettered insight into what really makes us tick.  The BBC news website lists everything from the deaths of Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela to the skyscraper which melted cars and Tom Daley’s shock YouTube announcement among the stories which really got us talking.

Trend report

And what about the trends that shaped consumer behaviour?  According to research by Mintel, 2013 was the year we looked to affiliate ourselves with companies that share our cultural and political values – as shown by the backlash against Italian pasta maker Barilla’s anti-gay stance on advertising and subsequent support for Bertolli’s “Pasta and Love for all” campaign.  The research also showed that despite the continuing popularity of online networking and everything ‘i’-related, for some, the ability to connect and communicate everywhere and all the time got a bit too much – a trend which prompted Brazilian beer brand Polar to create a mobile phone ‘nullifier’ that stops any phone and internet connection within a 1.5 meter radius, giving us all a bit of peace to sit back and enjoy our pint.

Grayling Effect

As for us at Grayling, last year was a transformative year that brought the appointment of our new CEO, the launch of our new brand and the birth of the #GraylingEffect which places data-driven insight, genius ideas and strategic agility at the heart of everything we do.

Bring on 2014!

%d bloggers like this: