Archive for September, 2022

Media Network: Four health editors, a political veteran, an investigative superstar and the producer who clinched the Prince Andrew scoop

Posted on: September 30th, 2022 by Tomas White

Come to us with a campaign idea: “If there’s an opendoor then kick it down.”

By Jaber Mohamed, former Department of Health Chief Press Officer and Abi Smith

This week, MHP Mischief brought together some of the nation’s top health editors. We heard from Shaun Lintern of the Sunday Times, Nick McDermott of The Sun, Laura Donnelly of The Telegraph and Victoria Macdonald of Channel 4.

Here are some highlights:

Nick: “If you have a story, make sure it is relatable. Statistics and numbers don’t work because people don’t think like that, a story needs to be about people.

“If you email me, just be really clear about what the story is and please get my name right. I keep getting emails saying: ‘Hello Helen’, I don’t know who Helen is but she’s getting sent some terrible stories.

“Also, a word on campaigns. If there’s something you know can happen, if you’re at a tipping point in getting government to do something then get in touch. Newspapers want campaigns they can win, if there’s an open door then kick it down.”

Laura: “Be opportunistic about stories, often it’s all about the timing. The best organisations to deal with are the ones that know what is coming up, they are the ones I will take notice of.

“Relationships are critical. Just send me one usable story and we can take it from there. Coffees aren’t always the best way to interact because it often ends up with a circular conversation of me saying what I want and the contact not having it. It’s always best to start with a good story.

“An ideal press release would look like a news story. Also, I want a print embargo, it helps me clear time to write exclusive stories and meet people.”

Shaun: “When pitching a story think be aware who you are pitching to. In journalism our work is literally out there, everyone can see what we produce.

“I am often the contrarian, I will go in a different direction. Think about our readership, we are a subscriber-based model we want exclusive stories not an all-rounder press release.

“At the Sunday Times we want constructive news stories, not PR puff pieces. Our readers are not shy of complexity, they are not averse to subtleties.

“The best way to contact me is by email but I don’t want 1,000 words. I don’t necessarily want a finished story and definitely not a press release.”

Victoria: “Unlike the others I only do one story a day and I do have the freedom to pursue stories I’m interested in.

“When pitching to me it’s important to think about timings, a story embargoed for newspapers isn’t going to work for me because it will be nine hours old by the time we broadcast.

“Remember we are broadcast, stories that work for Channel 4 News are ones that can also work on YouTube and TikTok.

“And for television it’s about being articulate. It’s amazing how many brilliant minds are out there who can’t get their message across.”

For further insights from the MHP Mischief Health media panel contact [email protected]

Starmer is the bookies favourite, and I’ve never met a poor bookmaker

By Yasmeen Sebbana former Head of Private Office to Keir Starmer

The MHP Public Affairs team hosted a dinner with Daily Mirror Associate Editor Kevin Maguire at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool this week.

He offered the following fascinating insights

  • The chaos and radicalism of the government’s economic policy (and how poorly it has been received) has left an open goal for the Labour Party
  • But Labour leader Keir Starmer still needs to tread carefully. He and his team worry about being seen as misogynistic if he goes for Liz Truss in the same way as he went for Boris Johnson
  • One way to tackle that is to make it less about him. Starmer is happy for others like Rachel Reeves, Wes Streeting and Angela Rayner get profile if it furthers the Labour cause
  • Another win was party discipline. Everyone sang the National Anthem at the start of the conference and there was no shadow cabinet briefing against the leader
  • Starmer knows there is more work to do. He needs to do more than just respond to the chaos caused by the Tories, he must present a bold Labour vision to voters
  • That said, next week’s Conservative Party conference is a key moment for the Tories and Labour, especially if the Truss leadership continues to unravel
  • Maguire isn’t making any predictions, but he notes Labour are now the bookies’ favourite to win the next election, and he’s never met a poor bookmaker!

Wirecard’s big PR effort was to question the integrity of the Financial Times

This week MHP Mischief’s Pete Lambie hosted a Q&A with Financial Times reporter Dan McCrum, about his investigation into the €1.9bn fraud at Wirecard

Dan McCrum is the Financial Times reporter whose dogged investigation into a €1.9bn fraud at Wirecard brought down the German payments company.

Speaking at MHP Capital Markets event he explained how his reporting unearthed Wirecard’s links to organised crime, the Russian government and even a divorce lawyer making YouTube videos.

He also offered a little PR advice too.

‘After a few stories exposing corruption, had Wirecard come clean and said they were going to clean house, we would have probably declared victory,’ said McCrum.

‘But they didn’t. They said the FT is incorrect. That it had turned its pages over to rogue reporters who were running around trying to manipulate the share price.’

McCrum’s PR advice is not to do that. It forced the FT to fight.

‘That made it impossible for the FT to walk away. They called into question the FT’s reputation which is quite valuable,’ he said.

The investigation went from reporting on a shoestring to money is no object, as the FT battled to prove it was right.

And right the paper was, with McCrum and colleagues on the paper bringing down a company he admits he initially thought was just ‘a bit fraudy’.

McCrum told how he found himself the target of the UK’s biggest ever private security investigation, developed a habit of checking his garden hedge for spy cameras, and even started standing away from Tube platform edges for fear of having an accident.

There’s no news like bad news

By Pete Lambie and Hugo Harris

Never underestimate your interviewer, says the producer who clinched the Prince Andrew scoop

By Ellie McGarahan

Ex-Newsnight producer Sam McAlister – the one who clinched that Prince Andrew “interview of the century” – shares her top tips for interviewees.

  • Be prepared for the killer question – broadcast journalism is all about generating its own news stories to get the nation (and world) talking. Keep this front of mind when preparing for your interview to avoid being caught out and being made tomorrow’s headline.
  • Humility goes a long way – nobody thinks they are going to do a bad interview, and interviewees are often uncomfortable to be seen by viewers on a human level. This was the Duke of York’s fatal flaw: given countless opportunities by Maitlis to do so, he refused to go anywhere near an apology. Where necessary, take accountability and own the issue at the first opportunity.
  • Don’t get spooked by the cameras – time and time again, interviewees fall flat as soon as the cameras roll. Though easier said than done, practicing on camera beforehand will reduce the chances of any preparation instantly going out the window.
  • Never underestimate your interviewer – just because you’ve agreed to answer questions doesn’t mean you are automatically on the front foot. Prince Andrew overestimated his capabilities and gravely underestimated Maitlis’s prowess as the best of broadcasters.

McAlister also suggested that the Queen’s funeral may be the last we will see of Prince Andrew for a while. Where he was once the monarch’s favourite, King Charles plans to take a very different approach.

Political Insider: Labour Party Conference

Posted on: September 28th, 2022 by Tomas White

The slogan of this Labour Conference has been ‘Fairer, Greener Future’ and Starmer majored on that, with the key policy announcement being the pledge to set up the public-owned Great British Energy company that will run on clean UK power in Labour’s first year in government.

With a winter of discontent approaching for families and businesses, Starmer outlined his belief that green and growth are inseparable.

While some many quibble about the focus on net zero during a time of profound economic crisis, Starmer clearly believes that energy independence is the answer to the country’s current woes. Alongside the commitment to protect the environment, those around the Labour leader clearly feel there is a play to be made for those who have been left uneasy by the Truss Government’s recent announcements on fracking, for example.

By emphasising repeatedly that this energy revolution would power up all parts of the country, the Labour leader showed his party is serious about taking back those seats in the north which were lost in 2019.

With Liz Truss seemingly jettisoning levelling up in favour of trickle down, Starmer outlined a concerted effort to show that Labour is a party for the whole of the country and referenced Blair’s famous line of calling Labour the political wing of the British people. While he was giving a speech at a conference that risked being overshadowed by the fallout from the government’s fiscal event on Friday, Starmer knows that the fight is now on to be the party of economic responsibility.

The sense that “we’re all in this together” was a theme running through the speech. A commitment not to partner with the SNP after any election was forcefully delivered. By speaking directly to Scottish voters and emphasising that voting Labour – rather than SNP – was the fastest way to get rid of the Tories, it was a sign that Starmer is serious about clawing back another part of the Labour family which abandoned the party.

He also announced a target to ensure 70% of British people own their homes and that the party will help first-time buyers onto the property ladder with a new mortgage guarantee scheme. Starmer proudly announced that Labour is the party of home ownership today, firmly parking his tanks on the Tories’ lawn and reaching out directly to those voters who feel frustrated with the current system.

The policy announcements in Keir’s speech were targeted at those ‘hero voters’ who his top team know he needs to win over in order to be the next Prime Minister.

These includes those who voted Conservative under Johnson who are now disappointed at Truss’ lack of enthusiasm for levelling up, those Liberal Democrat and Green voters who prioritise the green agenda and SNP voters in Scotland who are frustrated with being taken for granted by a Westminster government.

Although the speech was given to a room full of Labour members, Starmer was speaking directly to those individuals outside of the conference hall in Liverpool that he knows will decide whether he is this country’s next Prime Minister. And following this speech, Labour will feel they are closer to this goal than ever before.

Polarisation Tracker: Wave Four

Posted on: September 28th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

Deputy CEO Nick Barron discusses some of the key highlights and results from our fourth wave of the Polarisation Tracker, including the extent of the factional divides within the Conservative Party that Truss inherits, the level of public concern about free speech, and who wants business to become more politically activist.


To read the full analysis, download the PDF HERE.


Health: Everything EU Need to Know

Posted on: September 23rd, 2022 by Tomas White

What are health policymakers Tweeting?

Politicians love Twitter. The average politician will Tweet far more than they speak in their legislature; on average, Twitter-using legislators in the UK Tweet 70 times a month. Even unelected senior officials, like Chief Execs of national health services, use Twitter to broadcast good news and achievements.

Using media monitoring software, we conducted a social listening exercise to identify what health policymakers across Europe have been tweeting about this year, and to understand the issues which are front of mind.

Germany: COVID-19

While COVID-19 was a common theme across Europe, it dominated German social conversation to the greatest extent. Conversations about booster vaccinations were particularly prominent; Health Minister Karl Lauterbach’s cautious approach to COVID-19 might be controversial with some, such as the liberal Free Democrats, but it has the noisy support of other centre-left parties.

Italy and Spain: COVID-19 recovery plans

EU-funded recovery plans such as Italy’s NPRR (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) and Spain’s ‘Plan de Recuperació’featured. Regional health ministers in Italy were particular fans.

Brussels: Refugee health

The Commission’s health leaders, Sandra Gallina and Stella Kyriakides (Director General and Commissioner for Health and Food Safety respectively) have been tweeting frequently about the health needs of refugees – prompted by the number of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. By comparison, European Parliamentarians tweeted more about cancer and the future of healthcare.

France: Healthcare professionals

Given the planned changes to general practitioner ‘zoning’ in France and the pressure healthcare professionals are under post-pandemic, it’s unsurprising that a big Twitter theme across both politicians and Director Generals of France’s health agencies is dialogue with professional associations.




  • In the run-up to the Italian general election (25 September 2022), abortion has become a contentious topic between parties. There is concern that the front runner, right-wing Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) party would make abortion policies in the Marche region – where abortion is currently accessible – “worse than Texas”. Popular influencer Chiara Ferragni posted in defence of abortion on Instagram and received support from the centre-left Democratic Party parliamentarian Alessia Morani who stated that “a lighthouse is lit on the Marche governed by Fratelli d’Italia. We have been carrying out this battle for two years amidst the indifference of most people”.
  • COVID-19 death rates remain high in Italy due to the varied reporting of deaths, as well as a very slow uptake for the fourth vaccination round that meant the recent summer wave had a large impact on those aged 60+.



  • New Health Minister and former emergency clinician François Braun has launched a “flash mission” in response to the strain that emergency care services are under. The mission includes adapted pathways and triaging processes, and was a set of recommendations Braun made before he was in Government. The results of this flash mission will be evaluated in September 2022 so that learnings can shape the 2023 Social Security budget.

  • Braun also introduced a pilot scheme for pharmacies to administer monkeypox vaccinations. To date, 220 vaccine centres in France have rolled out more than 70,000 doses of the vaccine and this was expected to have risen to over 140,000 doses by 4 September. France’s roll-out has been impressive: individuals from countries such as Belgium, Switzerland, Spain and Italy have been crossing borders to access the vaccine.

  • Public Health France, in its latest ‘Health in Action’ journal, focuses on the introduction of ‘health mediators’ to the wider health system. Instead of solely helping patients overcome barriers to accessing specific services, it is proposed that these mediators play a more holistic role in access to care, as well as health promotion and disease prevention.



  • After legalising medical cannabis in 2017, Germany has become the largest medical cannabis market in Europe. And while Europe’s medical cannabis market size is set to grow at CAGR 29.5 per cent, Germany is expected to continue to dominate the market due to rise in knee osteoarthritis and knee arthroplasty surgeries. Forbes estimates that by 2024, more than one million German patients will have access to medical cannabis.
  • Germany has published its Autumn and Winter COVID-19 plans in expectation of a resurgence. The seven-point plan involves a bolstered inoculation programme and improved testing. Given the German Health Minister’s background as a commentator on the pandemic, it’s unsurprising that he is also supportive of rolling out vaccines and treatments for the virus.
  • The German Parliament has voted to remove a ban on healthcare professionals providing information on the abortion process. Explicitly responding to the recent Supreme Court Roe v Wade decision in the United States, a German Member of the European Parliament has been pressing for the EU to do more to support women’s health globally.



  • The Council of Ministers has approved a draft law for the creation of a State Public Health Agency (Agencia Estatal de Salud Pública – AESAP).  While the Spanish Government is presenting this as a reform rooted in the COVID-19 pandemic, AESAP will also have responsibilities for non-communicable diseases through monitoring, evaluating, and supporting interventions under the Health Promotion and Prevention Strategy. This emphasises health promotion in pregnancy, parenthood and old age, aligned to the European Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Ageing.

  • As well as pushing through the establishment of this new national agency, Health Minister Carolina Daris recently praised local, municipal action, noting that 32 local authorities have adopted the national commitment to end HIV as a public health threat by 2030.



  • In May 2022, the European Commission announced the launch of the European Health Data Space (EHDS) to foster a single market for digital health services and products, offering a framework for the use of health data for research innovation, policy-making and regulatory activities across the EU. The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) and the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) have released a joint statement commending the efforts but noting a number of concerns, particularly over the facilitation of the secondary use of electronic health data.
  • Santino Severoni, director of World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Health and Migration Programme, has raised concerns that significant variation exists between the health of refugees and migrants in comparison to host country populations. The topic remains politically sensitive; the immigration developments since 2015 bring challenges for the EU to decide how to collectively respond to refugee and migrant health issues.


Election time – the next couple of months are going to be busy…

Following British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation, the Conservative Party have elected Liz Truss as leader of the party and therefore Prime Minister of the UK

Liz Truss has since appointed Thérèse Coffey as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care


Following Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s resignation in July and the dissolution of the current Italian Parliament, Italy will be electing his successor on 25 September

According  to polls, Brothers of Italy and the centre-left Democratic Party are leading


A general election will take place on 1 October in Latvia

Currently the Harmony party (Social Democratic) are in power

According to polls, New Unity (liberal conservative) are currently in the lead, followed by National Alliance (right-wing populist and national conservative)


Following three Bulgarian general elections in 2021, a fourth will take place on 2 October

Leading in the polls are the current centre-right party in power, Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB)


A presidential election will take place on 9 October in Austria

The current president, Alexander Van Den Bellen of the Green Party, is currently leading in the polls

If, similarly to the last election, no candidate wins a majority in the first round, a run-off will be held

This month’s contributors

Noah Froud
Senior Account Manager

Noah is the brains behind our newsletter, and previously worked for a Member of the European Parliament. He’s an unashamed health policy nerd and has his finger on the pulse of UK and European developments.

Charlotte Moss
Account Manager

Charlotte is well versed in European policy, having studied Governance, Economics and Development in The Hague, the heart of European justice and political capital of the Netherlands.

Neil Moscovici
Senior Account Executive

Neil holds an MA in Geopolitics and Grand Strategy, and before joining MHP worked for the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels.

Beth Harwood
Account Executive

Beth recently joined the MHP team following her master’s degree in Global Public Health.

Media Network: “Cost-of-living: The worst personal finance issue I’ve seen in 30 years of journalism.”

Posted on: September 7th, 2022 by Tomas White

“I read every press release I get sent, it’s only right PRs read the pages they’re pitching to.”

MHP Mischief’s Ellie McGarahan chats to The Mail on Sunday’s award-winning Personal Finance Editor Jeff Prestridge

With the energy and cost of living crisis looming large, what are the priorities for you and the team?

The cost-of-living crisis is the biggest personal finance issue I’ve seen in my career. With each passing day it becomes more pressing that the government needs to come up with and announce solutions now. That means tracking exactly what the new Prime Minister will offer over the winter will be a priority for us. On the business side, while we’ll obviously be the first to call out those that aren’t acting in their customers’ interests, we will also shout about the ones that are doing good.

Having spent decades at the forefront of Personal Finance journalism, what are your biggest PR pet peeves? And what are your tips for those wanting to land a story in your pages?

As a journalist, I read almost every press release I get sent. It’s therefore only right that PRs read the pages that they’re pitching to. That’s the best way to increase your chances of landing something with us.

In terms of bringing stories to us: the earlier we hear about it, the better. We get the wheels turning for our Sunday pages on a Monday morning – or sometimes even the week before – so bringing us the right story packaged in the right way as early is possible is important.


You’ve been called the consumer’s champion many times in the past. Is this how you view your role?

Not so much – I would see the work my team and I do as more educational. Many people are intimidated when it comes to finance. So, while there is certainly a campaigning element, our main aim is to make personal finance more accessible and digestible.

The Mail is gradually moving toward a seven-day operation with many editorial desks having merged – how will that impact the personal finance and business sections?

Historically, we’ve kept the personal finance, business and money sections across the Mail titles separate. This has often meant that we’ve scrapped a Sunday story and been forced to go back to the drawing board mid-week when we see a story covered by the daily.

In the next couple of months we’ll be shifting our operation to ensure there is much more collaboration across the Daily Mail, Money Mail, This Is Money and Mail on Sunday brands. My role will change accordingly, with more oversight on what gets published and when across Personal Finance and Wealth.

“Video calls allow us to include a greater spread of opinions and expertise”

MHP Mischief’s James Rollinsonspeaks to Sky News Producer and News Planner Leila Hudson about how their output is changing.  

The pandemic heralded 18 months of Zoom-dominated segments. Presumably you only want to interview people in person now?

Not necessarily. While our priority for pre-recorded interviews and news packages are in-person, on-camera interviews, many of our live interviews will feature an interview down the line via video call, as it allows us to include a greater spread of opinions and expertise in our pieces. While a story will always stand a better chance if is appealing visually, if you have a prominent spokesperson available via Zoom its always worth pitching as we are constantly on the look out for expert voices.

Are London-based stories easier for you to cover?

No, we have news and camera teams based all over the country. If a story is too London-centric we are less likely to cover it, as we want to produce content that relates to our national audience. Of course, if a great story or interviewee is based in London it won’t put us off, but PRs should always consider the should always consider national and global angle.

What else makes a great story for Sky News?

We’re really focused on covering news that is relatable. The best stories are ones our viewers can really engage with, be that shock, humour, affection or something else. This of course relates to the topics that dominate the news agenda, like the cost-of-living crisis, but also for other features on subjects not already in the public eye.

If you’re pitching a story to us, whether it’s data, an expert, inspiring business or new initiative, focusing on the human element is crucial. We will also often go out and find case studies to bring stories to life, so as long as the key news line is relevant to a broad audience, you’re halfway there.


When is it best to pitch stories?

We are a 24/7 breaking news channel, so our priority will always need to be ensuring our audience has the latest breaking news. That said, we tend to work two to three days ahead, although again this is dependent on the broader news agenda. If you have a big announcement or significant spokesperson on the horizon it’s worth flagging earlier so we can get it in the planning diary, but generally editorial decisions are taken a couple of days before and resources are then assigned.

“Influencers can be effective but it has to be the right person, authenticity is key”

MHP Mischief’s Jaber Mohammed, former advisor in the Department of Health speaks to Emily Fairbairn Senior Associate Head of Features and Books Editor at The Sun

How can companies get a health feature in The Sun?

Any health feature we publish would have to be directly relevant to consumers and can be based on something simple that makes our readers sit up and take notice. For example, news that Marmite’s high vitamin levels can lower stress sparked a feature about what other unlikely health benefits you might find in your condiments. As well as features in the main paper, every Tuesday we have a dedicated, three-page Sun Health section.

How should companies use influencers in health campaigns?

Influencers can be a really effective way to drive a health story up the news agenda, but it has to be right person. Authenticity is key, so someone with direct experience of the issue or the cause they are promoting counts for a lot. Davina McCall was the perfect person to champion issues around menopause because she was going through it.

You also don’t want your influencer to be promoting a million other things because, again, it makes them seem less authentic. Ideally the influencer should be current and newsworthy beyond the thing they are promoting.


Do PR stunts work?

They do but the best ones are those that don’t look like PR stunts. An ideal PR stunt is something really visual that would make for a great picture story. One that got a lot of coverage recently was by Peperami where a couple had a Peperami-themed wedding.

Don’t lose heart: The perfect time to pitch is coming soon

By former News of the World Political Editor Ian Kirby

Timetables for new media launches were a nightmare over recent months. Droughts, the fuel crisis, cost of living and politics grabbed space as soon as the war in Ukraine started to fade. We’ve had an extended Tory leadership race and now the last Bank Holiday has gone.

Anyone hoping for a sell-in at the start of next week should forget it, with major news titles already planning wall-to-wall coverage of the new Prime Minister.

In the run up to the party conference season, there will be a new Cabinet, emergency budget and energy plan, negotiations with Brussels and a trip to America for the new PM. But after that there is a glimmer of hope.

Christmas officially starts in most news publications in the final weekend in October. That gives three weeks between the party conferences and the tinsel to get coverage. Pagination in newspapers is up to 20 per cent higher so there’s also more space to get in print.

New analysis by Newsworks shows engagement with major news brands is also highest in the Autumn, with 26m adults reading major news brands every day.

So don’t lose heart. We’re a month away from the best time of the year to pitch a campaign.

At the Mail, we think about how it looks on the page

Francesca WashtellDeputy City Editor at The Mail on Sunday, spoke to Pete Lambie and Pauline Guenot about what she’s looking for in interviews, stories and campaigns.

What do you look for in the City & Business Sunday profile slot?  

Ideally it needs to be a big name, either a FTSE 100 or FTSE 250 CEO. We want someone with personality, who is willing to get into the detail of their industry and share their opinions. I would love to interview Jim Ratcliffe from Ineos but appreciate not every pitch will have someone of his stature.

If you are pitching a smaller company, it needs to come with a juicy story in line with a macro-trend. Whatever you do, don’t tell us the topics we can and can’t cover!

What makes a great SME Story?

The quirkier, the funnier, the punchier, the better.

Research and statistics is usually the best way in for SME coverage, but bear in mind that ‘small business says small businesses are struggling’ type stories can be a really hard story to write. If a story is research or data based, something outside of the box is more likely to land.

We don’t tend to use case studies we prefer to source them ourselves. If you have a brilliant case study-led small business story you’re best going to my colleagues at Money Mail.

The Daily Mail has recently relaunched its online version Mail+, what does this mean for you?

Currently, there are a couple of business stories that will directly go on Mail+ during the day, including the market report. With the Mail on Sunday, on Saturdays we put out a 5pm update which usually includes at least the city interview but (at the moment) we won’t publish our big scoops until Sunday.

More and more readers are engaging with it – it is a great interactive service. There is increasingly a shift to digital that we needed to respond to for our own readership of course, but we also wanted to appeal to a new audience.

It’s time to dispel myths about news and social media

By Jaber Mohamed, former senior advisor at the Department of Health.

Ofcom claims teenagers in the UK are increasingly getting their news from social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. At first glance this may seem to underscore the demise of print and broadcast news, but it is the wrong conclusion.

Social media platforms do not hire professional news reporters and social media users rarely do original journalism – they just share what they have read/seen from a traditional news source.

Traditional news organisations are also more active on social media platforms, BBC News has 22.4million followers on Instagram and Sky News has 1.8million followers on TikTok. So even if young people are getting more news from social media, it is very likely coming directly from a professional journalist.

Traditional news organisations remain very good at packaging information in a way that is accessible to their audience across a variety of platform.

This Ofcom data is not a reason to move away from traditional news media. Traditional news organisations are usually the source of the news content seen and shared on social media. It means getting your story into traditional media more important than ever.

Beyond chip and pin: the payment trends moving into the media spotlight

Posted on: September 6th, 2022 by Tomas White

The emergence of social commerce

During the pandemic and global lockdowns, our mobile devices were our strongest links to the rest of the world. Usage of social media sky-rocketed during the period and so did the emergence of social media as a platform to buy goods.

The emergence of virtual storefronts has seen companies like TikTok and Meta become early leaders in this $1.2 trillion industry opportunity through new features such as the TikTok shop and Instagram shopping. It is easy to see why this is popular among consumers with single-app shopping cutting out the need for third-party websites by integrating embedded payment methods to create a seamless customer experience.

Such a change is clearly in the media spotlight. For instance, Retail Gazette recently covered TikTok’s partnership with pandemic-hit Pasta Evangelists. Overall, social commerce was reported on by UK media over two and a half thousand times in 2021, showing the growing interest in this emerging retail payments trend.

Accelerated adoption of BNPL

As consumers look for greater flexibility across payments, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) continues to be under the media’s gaze. So far this year, mentions of BNPL in the UK media have grown 72% compared to a year ago.

From the impact of prospective regulation, to credit checking, leveraging open banking and adoption by incumbent banks, the emergence of BNPL provided a rich seam for media to mine. It will continue to be a focus– not least within the context of the cost of living crisis and rising interest rates. Journalists will be closely watching how the consumer use of the product changes in the months ahead, what impact squeezed household finances will have, and how it compares to use of traditional products such as credit cards.

But as BNPL matures and new retail use cases emerge, we also expect the conversation to shift. For instance, recently, Charged Retail reported on Westfield’s partnership with BNPL firm Clearpay as the shopping centre aims to offer customers more flexibility in-store as well as online to keep up with the demand for a blended retail experience.

The rejuvenation of the in-store experience post-pandemic

Post-pandemic, the high-street is seeing a resurgence as consumers increasingly demand access to in-store shopping. Whether this is via creative pop-ups offering exclusive events or high-street shops, shoppers are still looking to try items in-person and assess quality before purchase. This is reflected in a recovery in high-street footfall since the lockdowns.

In response to this trend, stores have had to build a seamless in-person experience in order to match the journey offered online. Artificial intelligence is playing a big role in this. In May, Mastercard hit the headlines with the launch of their biometric payment systems which enables customers to pay by smiling or waving their hand. With growing discussions around “Pay by Voice” via mobile banking apps, it is an exciting time for payment providers who are meeting the challenge of supporting a blended shopping experience. Such tangible consumer-facing innovation will get more airtime in the future.

Adapting to ESG in retail

With increasing interest in the carbon footprint of retail, eco-conscious spending has risen up the consumer’s agenda, especially among Gen-Z audiences. According to a global study by Mastercard, three in five consumers have become more conscious about how their actions can impact the environment than ever before, with Gen Z and Millennials leading this trend.

As awareness of personal carbon footprints grow, some providers have offered consumers their own carbon tracking tools. Natwest’s in-app tracking tool will also advise consumers on where their purchases are coming from whilst encouraging people to shop in a more sustainable way by sharing information on how they can reduce their carbon footprint.

Retailers are adapting to provide a more streamlined consumer experience whilst responding to changes in attitude on sustainability. How ESG concerns, retail and payment experience and consumer spending habits intersect will be a theme to watch.

Looking to the future

A number of retail megatrends are coming together to create a golden opportunity for both retailers and payment providers to showcase how they are innovating to support shoppers, and demonstrate how they are adapting to a rapidly changing set of consumer needs. Education will be central, as journalists seek to understand how new and forward-thinking technology will deliver in practice for shoppers. But it is a crowded field, and clarity of narrative, focus on customer outcomes, and creative storytelling will be vital to standing out.

Read more about how MHP has helped payment brands stand out in the media, or contact us here if you’d like to learn more about our work.