Brand Ambition & Keighley Labs Donate to POPI Baby Bank

Brand Ambition & Keighley Labs Donate to POPI Baby Bank

In 2020, the UK spent £3.3bn on around 330 million toys for our children. It’s a booming industry that has a profound impact on the social skills and development of all of us. So understandably, when we learnt of the one in five children that go without Christmas presents every year, and the huge numbers of parents that struggle for basic necessities we wanted to see if we could help.

Keighley Laboratories have been a fantastic client of ours since we started out. The team there are open to pretty much anything, so when we suggested crushing toys to get the message across they didn’t doubt the vision. Well…maybe they did for a second. We created the campaign: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Donate. to raise awareness, around a key time of the year, what parents (like ourselves) should look to do as we make space for additional toys around Christmas time.

In our MD, Sam Raife’s household, he recounts his own Christmas experience.

“Our son is four-year-old this year at Christmas time, the excitement around December is reaching an unbelievable crescendo. Coupled with the guilt of grandparents not being able to attend last year, due to covid, we already have a mountain of overcompensated presents ready for Christmas day. Judging by the figures from the campaign this seems pretty normal. We know that as a family, we’ve always been the benefit of privilege, and very fortunate to be in this position, so this year, we wanted to do something different. It didn’t feel right simply recycling or selling on old toys, so we decided to look into our options.”

The research from the campaign showed the team at Brand Ambition an estimated 8.5 million brand new and 13 million perfectly good, preloved toys are sent to landfills every year and so the solution appears pretty simple. If those toys were donated to local charities that needed them, then no children would go without this year. Reaching out to their client Keighley Laboratories, a metallurgy testing and heat treatment facility in the town of Keighley probably wasn’t the obvious choice.

Sam Raife, went on to say;

“We have a fantastic working relationship with Debbie and the team at Keighley Laboratories. We also know that, like us, they are a family business at heart. So when we proposed the idea of utilising their machinery to overemphasise the statistics around waste, by crushing perfectly good pre-loved and new toys, they were happy to oblige. When Debbie and I started looking for a local charity to work with, we were overjoyed that the local baby bank in Keighley was open to donations and that it looked like our donations would actually have a fantastic impact on a number of local families.”

Local Keighley baby bank and registered charity has been running for over four years providing much-needed items for babies and children up to 5. Referrals to their service come from social workers, health visitors or family key workers supporting and working with families to understand closely what they need. Their work and the generosity of supporters means they’ve so far been able to keep up with demand, but this is growing as the charity becomes bigger.

Samantha Craven, Founder and General Manager of Popi in Keighley had this to say;
‘We are extremely grateful to Brand Ambition and Keighley Laboratories for their generous donations and the opportunity to put POPI at the forefront of their campaign. As a baby bank it’s essential we provide items such as brand new mattresses with each cot we give to families. New toys will also mean local children have a wonderful Christmas who otherwise would have gone without. Supporting a local charity means so much to us, as we see, every day, the difference even small donations can have on the development and growth of the 1,573 families we’ve supported in the last four years.This money will enable us to buy approximately 10 new mattresses keeping many more babies and young children safe. Having the support of these two businesses means the world to us.’”
Toy Donations to Popi

A selection of the new toys and sleep suits that went to POPI

Debbie Mellor, Managing Director of Keighley Laboratries said of the campaign;
“If this joint campaign encourages just one person to donate to their local baby bank instead of throwing the toys away then it was worth it. We know how important our local community of Keighley is to us as a family, but also for the business that has been established for over 100 years. We hope to work closer with our local charities and we’re proud to donate too the team at Popi who have been doing such a great job in the Keighley and Bradford area to support families that need it.”
As part of the campaign Brand Ambition and Keighley Laboratories donated new toys, pre-loved items, new baby sleepsuits as well as £200 to be used against brand new mattresses or any other items the charity felt would benefit local families.
If you would like to contact POPI and provide a donation then please click here. To find your local baby bank, please contact your local authority or find details online.
Brand Ambition and All in. Leeds

Brand Ambition and All in. Leeds

On Thursday 9 September, our Managing Director Sam and I went, in person, to a real life networking event! 

After plenty of time spent networking but all via Zoom, Teams etc due to the pandemic, the we headed to The Box in Leeds City Centre to spend the evening at the All in. Leeds reboot. 

The event was a bit of a refresher and restart from the group that was originally formed as a steering group and a way of bringing the agency world in Leeds together in a bid to encourage Channel 4 to move up t’ north (said with a strong Yorkshire accent) when the broadcaster was looking for a place to locate its new HQ outside of London. 

It was a coming together of agencies unlike anything ever seen in the city, with companies putting aside ego and competition for the good of the city to show just how much support there was for the move and just the sheer range of talent available in Leeds. 

With the group’s origins being based around bringing Channel 4 to Leeds, it felt quite appropriate that the first in-person networking event took place on the week that the new HQ for the channel was officially opened. 

Since the announcement of Channel 4 coming to the city, the group has moved on to focus on a whole range of other topics and issues for the agency landscape in Leeds, and they have some pretty lofty ambitions going forward. 

After listening to a number of the people behind the group talk during the evening – whether it was James Hickman welcoming us at the start of the evening – or just general conversations throughout the night, we left in no doubt that All in. Leeds will be achieving those goals. 

For the actual night itself, the vibe was that of celebration. After 18+ months of not being able to see so many people face to face, the chance to chat, laugh and drink with like minded people from across agencies in Leeds felt like something of a gift. It was probably also helped by the free food and beer, kindly provided by the sponsors of the event. 

It was brilliant being able to catch up with former colleagues, speak to a supplier of ours in person and learn more about other agencies and what is going on across the city. Hearing some of the great work that is being done, alongside some of the opportunities available, was a real motivator for both Sam and I. 

Another highlight of the night was the shuffleboard tournament. The Box benefits from having two, full length shuffleboard tables and both were put to good use during the evening. A bottle of Moet was on offer to the winning team and despite an almost Cinderella-like run to the semi-finals, we were unfortunate to not make it to the final. 

All in all, All in. Leeds Reboot was a great night and something we were proud to be a part of. We can’t wait for the next one.

Why some of the best PR that you can do is your own.

Why some of the best PR that you can do is your own.

April is here and as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer it feels like for the first time in a long time, the world is starting to finally move forward again. 

This spring feels like a big one and not just because of the previously mentioned longer and warmer days, there is a real positivity that genuinely hasn’t been felt for close to a year. 

Like most people, I’ve been reflecting on the last 12 months. The impact that Covid has had, not just on me personally but the industry we work in and how it has changed. 

Yes, there have been some pretty major shifts in working – all of which we are VERY aware of by now so I won’t go into them in much detail here. However in some instances, certain things really haven’t changed at all. 

For me, the one thing that has stayed the same during this whole Covid-wrecked year, is that the best PR that you can do, whether it’s for you personally or your business, is your own. 

By that, I don’t mean having flashy social media accounts that boast about what you’ve been up to or the car that you’re driving etc. What I mean is, what are you like as a person? How are you to work with? What would people say about you if you’re not there? And can you deliver on what you say you’re good at?

The reason I think this is just as vitally important now, perhaps more than ever, is that one of the major shifts we’ve seen over the last year is the number of people that are setting up businesses on their own.

Whether it is due to redundancy, a change in circumstance or just wanting to go in a different direction, a quick look across LinkedIn shows just how many people are going it alone or in pairs. 

Brand Ambition was formed by Sam and Robin during this last year, and I’ve seen first-hand just how important a person’s personal brand actually is when it comes to setting up your own business a success. 

Sam is an extremely popular person in the digital marketing industry across Leeds and the rest of West Yorkshire. Robin has a great reputation across design, advertising and branding in Northern Ireland and further afield. 

We recently went out with a press release that covered the launch Brand Ambition, the first six months of the business and the success. The response has been brilliant. That doesn’t happen purely because of our USP of helping SMEs. It’s because Sam and Robin have spent time doing their own good PR by building solid reputations for years. 

A quick look across the marketing industry as a whole and you’ll see plenty of businesses and freelancers that are successful for that exact reason too. I can name a few off the top of my head without even thinking about it. I could also name a few, both people and organisations, that have got shocking reputations too. 

It’s all well and good going into an interview or a new business pitch saying that you’ll deliver X ROI or will generate Y amount of coverage or will earn Z links. What matters is how you act in between. It’s all well and good doing the work, but if you’re a bit of a dick? You’re probably not going to be at that business very long or have your retainer renewed. 

We’re entering a world where there are more choices than ever before for brands to choose from when they’re looking for marketing services. Empathy and kindness has been such a big takeaway from the last year, that I firmly believe that those businesses won’t just choose the biggest or cheapest agencies. 

More than ever, they’ll go with the ones that share their values and approaches. Alongside what you can deliver, they’ll want to know about how you act and how you are to work with. How can you demonstrate that? By doing the best bit of PR you can do – your own. 

Influencer Marketing is Dead. Long Live Influencer Marketing.

Influencer Marketing is Dead. Long Live Influencer Marketing.

The rise of influencers across the marketing and communications world has been a rapid one. In 2021, it’s safe to say that most consumer-facing brands and sectors have seen their impact.  

From Mrs Hinch and the world of cleaning, beauty and fashion, to sport and fitness and gaming  and so many more, it’s hard to think of an industry that hasn’t been touched by the rise of influencers. In a slightly meta moment, even the marketing industry has its own influencers, who advise on, well, influencers. 

It seemed for a time that there would be little to stop the popularity of influencers and their use within campaigns. However 2021 and lockdown 3.0 seemed to have other ideas. 

In early January we were back into lockdown and most of us were looking towards another extended period of time spent at home, lucky to even head to the supermarket or for a takeaway coffee, whilst we enjoy a socially distanced walk. 

(In a side note, I started working for Brand Ambition in mid-January and still haven’t seen Sam our MD or Robin our Creative Director face to face yet, let alone any of our clients).  

Whilst people around the country came to terms with the fact that holidays were a long way away, there were however some that jetted off to various parts of the world including Dubai, Spain and more all doing work as ‘influencers’. 

With a lot more time on our hands, the Instagram posts, Snapchat stories, TikToks, and pictures of (generally) pretty young-things with drinks in-hand on a rooftop bar, lounging around the pool or on the beach, the vast majority of which featured a distinct lack of masks and social distancing seemed to erk us all. 

Rewind 12 months as we wouldn’t have thought twice, but given the year we’ve all had, the apparent disregard for lockdowns and the sacrifices made, not to mention the strain on the NHS and the heroic work done by key workers, it all hit a collective nerve. Let’s be honest though, an interview like this and it’s hard not to be annoyed. 

The following days and weeks brought about arguments and opinion pieces that the age of the influencers was over and that marketing managers, agencies and brands would have to look for another way of engaging with audiences. 

However, I’d disagree with that sentiment. I’d argue that now more than ever, influencers should be a key part of appropriate marketing strategies. 

Why? Because there are plenty of good ones out there. I can’t say I’ve ever watched a series of Love Island, but it’s hard not to be impressed with what Alex George (or Dr Alex if you prefer) has done. 

Instead of jetting off around the world and basking in the post-Love Island glow, he’s been back at work with the NHS, whilst encouraging people to look after their mental health. Plenty of people, including the Government have taken notice, as evidenced with his recent appointment. 

It’s not even those that are doing fantastic work for the NHS like Dr Alex. It’s those that are staying at home, doing the right thing and listening to the directions from the government and NHS and playing their part. 

What the whole incident in January did flag, was that more than ever vanity stats and numbers such as followers, likes and comments shouldn’t be a way of choosing if an influencer is right for your brand or for the company that you’re advising on their engagement strategy. 

Questions need to be asked. Things like: “Is this person a good fit?” “Do they have the right morals?” “Would we be surprised by a post from them in a couple of weeks time?” “Are they someone that we’d be proud to have representing our brand?” “Are they generally not a bit of an arse?”

Depending on the answers to the above, then it really doesn’t matter what their social following is like. Take a hard pass and look a little harder. Do a bit more research. The person you’re looking for is out there, and the chances are, they won’t cause you a headache in six months time. 

The age of influencers is over? Not a chance. But our advice? Maybe think twice before you work with someone.