Archive for December, 2022

The Royal Mint: Launching a new UK icon

Posted on: December 21st, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

The recent introduction of the first King Charles III coin is a historic moment for The Royal Mint and UK coinage. We helped The Mint announce this high profile coin launch to UK and international media as it entered circulation.

Coinage has always held an important role in our national identity with the change in our pockets playing a key part in our everyday lives. To mark the historic transition from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III in the public’s change, The Royal Mint announced its first coin to bear The King’s portrait was entering circulation.

MHP Group worked with The Royal Mint to announce this important moment in UK coinage, supporting the organisation by creating a compelling story that built excitement around the launch whilst reflecting their heritage and values of Britain’s oldest business.

We worked with photographers and videographers to shoot b-roll footage and press imagery at a Royal Mail Post Office branch in Aldwych. This enabled us to arrange broadcast features with Sky News and BBC News to amplify the announcement across various media formats.

We distributed the announcement under embargo to ensure maximum interest in the release from media and supported the in-house team with inbound enquiries from media.

1,000+

 

 

Pieces of media coverage

5

 

Broadcast features with BBC News, BBC Radio 4, and Sky News among others

87%

 

Increase in Google searches for the new 50p coin in the 48-hour period after launch

The Results:

The launch secured over 1,000 pieces of media coverage, with articles across UK national and international media. The announcement was covered by broadcast TV including Sky News with Kay Burley, BBC Radio 4, and the BBC News channel.

The announcement to media generated significant awareness around the coin launch. There was an 87% increase in Google searches for the new 50p coin in the 48-hour period after the launch, highlighting the impact of the announcement.

Links:

MHP Group wins The Royal Mint account

Posted on: December 20th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

The Royal Mint has awarded MHP Group its PR account on a retained basis, with a brief to support its strategic comms, social media strategy and creative campaigns.

The agency has also been tasked with showcasing the mint’s expertise in precious metals, British craftsmanship and sustainability in the precious metals industry to global audiences – particularly in the US and Japan.

The mint put its PR account out to pitch earlier this year. It had worked with Hope&Glory since 2013 and, while the firm “brought fun, creativity and endless enthusiasm”, the mint’s “PR requirement has changed” according to a spokesperson. “We’ve made coins for 1,100 years, but we make so much more. The brief isn’t to generate more PR, it’s to fundamentally change what people associate with The Royal Mint.”

Gemma Sawyer, MHP’s head of studio, and James Rollinson, associate director in the agency’s brand and reputation practice, are leading on the account with a group of specialists from MHP’s creative studio and financial services team.

Sawyer said: “The Royal Mint is one of the world’s oldest brands but can provide a unique point of view on everything from sustainable precious metals to coin collecting. It’s the type of story we’re good at telling, blending our corporate and consumer comms teams with compelling creative and smart social.”

And Rachel Thomas, interim head of comms at The Royal Mint, said: “As The Royal Mint continues to transform as a business, it was important to get the right team on board to reach new audiences. We look forward to working closely with the MHP team to cement our status as the home of precious metals and continue to grow our brand story both nationally and internationally.”

She added: “The Royal Mint is a successful portfolio business and is growing in areas that complement our core skills in craftsmanship and precious metals. Over the last year, as part of our transformation, we have announced the build of a new plant to recover precious metals from electronic waste, as well as unveiling the new effigy King Charles III on the nation’s coinage. With many more exciting projects underway, we look forward to working with MHP to communicate these.”

Reflections on the Health and Care Act, 2022

Posted on: December 20th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

For most people, the way the NHS is run at an organisational or structural level is of little interest.  After all, what most people want from their health service is pretty straightforward: easy-to-access GP appointments; timely referrals; good quality care at each step of the pathway and the ability to receive urgent care should the need ever arise, to name but a few.  The how in the delivery of what the NHS does is of secondary importance.

In health policy, advocacy and reporting this is different.  How the NHS organises itself with the resources it is allocated by central government is a never-ending source of intrigue, speculation, and contention in the pursuit of ever-improving outcomes, efficiency and overall health delivery.

It is for this reason that the passage of the Health and Care Act earlier in 2022 – a parliamentary journey monitored each step of the way by MHP Health – was a major source of interest.  This was the first major piece of legislative reform undergone by the health service in a decade, and came in the context 2019’s NHS Long-term Plan setting out a strategic decade-long vision for the NHS, the massive and persistent impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing crises besetting the social care sector, not to mention the five Health Secretaries running the department since 2012.

Throughout the course of the second half of this year, we spoke with experts representing different parts of the system, all of which would be affected in different ways by the changes, to understand their perspectives and what they would be looking out for as the legislation begins to take effect.  What is actually meant by Integrated Care?  What will accountability look like between NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care?  And what does this all mean for the patient?  We were delighted to talk to the following people to find out:

Paul Howard, Chief Executive Officer, Lupus UK

 

Laura Donnelly, Health Editor, The Daily Telegraph

Shaun Lintern, Health Editor, The Sunday Times

Victoria Macdonald, Health and Social Care Editor, Channel 4 News

 

By Miles Watson, Sophie Vandenbroucke, Noah Froud, Jaber Mohamed

Related Content:

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                                              Bill Watch: a review of the Health and Care Bill’s passage through The Lords

                                                     Bill Watch: Who will be scrutinising the Health and Care Bill?

Meet the 30 to Watch Politics Winners

Posted on: December 19th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

This year, we expanded our long-running 30 to Watch Awards, to cover politics as well as journalism. After a nation-wide search, our judges chose 30 winners, including eight Gold Winners.

Meet the winners here, in our 30 to Watch guide.

MHP Group Appoints Simon Evans As Senior Director

Posted on: December 16th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

MHP Group has hired former journalist and investment banker Simon Evans as a Senior Director. Evans will work alongside MHP’s Capital Markets and Brand & Reputation teams to lead the business’ corporate strategy communications work.

Evans joins from Portland Communications, where he led the firm’s Financial Communications team. Before that, he was a Director at Kekst CNC. His arrival follows recent hires including Managing Director James McFarlane from H/Advisors Maitland and Director Peter Lineen from Newmarket Strategy.

Commenting on Evans’ appointment, Head of Brand & Reputation Rachel Bower said:

“Simon shares our view of the evolving communications landscape, which demands that businesses engage with a wider range of audiences across a breadth of complex of issues, whilst maintaining a clear and compelling corporate narrative. He will be a fantastic addition to the team.”

Head of Capital Markets, Oliver Hughes, added:

“Boardrooms are confronted by the need to demonstrate the highest standards of responsible business practice, while navigating growing investor and stakeholder activism. Simon’s breadth of experience means he is perfectly placed to advise our clients on these challenges.”

Commenting on his decision to join MHP, Simon Evans explained:

“Managing our clients’ reputations, helping them to achieve their objectives, is tougher and more complex today than it has ever been. Corporate Affairs leaders rightly want answers that run across stakeholder groups and I believe that MHP Group is well-placed to deliver such responses. I can’t wait to start working with the great teams operating across the business in 2023.”

 

The UK government’s Edinburgh Reforms – a regulatory revolution for financial services?

Posted on: December 14th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

Dubbed “the Edinburgh Reforms”, the measures aim to “seize the benefits of Brexit” by delivering what many are touting to be the biggest shake-up in the financial sector for 30 years. The reforms mark the next stage in what Rishi Sunak termed the UK’s “Big Bang 2.0” which seeks to unlock investment opportunities, turbocharge growth and deliver a “smarter” and “home grown” framework for the UK.

The Chancellor highlighted the UK government’s ambition to cultivate a financial services sector that is “open, sustainable and technologically advanced”, and these are key themes that are threaded throughout the regulatory proposals. But will they really transform the competitiveness of the UK’s financial services sector? Is now the right time to be ripping up the regulatory rulebook? And what have business leaders and industry bodies made of the announcement?

A “major step” forwards or “a race to the bottom”?

So what has been reaction to Hunt’s announcement looked like so far? Industry figures have largely welcomed the reforms and recognised the need for the UK to enhance its status as a competitive financial services hub and foster innovation to make it a welcoming prospect for overseas investors. However, others have raised concerns that the UK was at risk of forgetting the lessons of the global financial crisis by doing away with regulation which underpins the stability of the sector.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has poured cold water on the plans, arguing the government is wrong in its belief that “we don’t need the regulations that we had post the financial crisis”. And whilst the shadow City Minister Tulip Siddiq called the proposed reforms “a race to the bottom” which would “introduce more risk and potentially more financial instability”, CEO of industry body Innovate Finance claimed the measures would “maintain UK competitiveness [and] enhance the UK as a positive investment environment”. Likewise, UK Finance chief executive David Postings labelled the package as “comprehensive” and “a major step in ensuring the sector remains strong and internationally competitive”.

It’s clear that the reforms can be described as an ambitious recalibration of the UK’s financial services regulatory regime, prioritising competitiveness and growth. By casting aside a number of unfavoured EU directives, the UK government is hoping to finally unlock a new chapter for the sector.

But despite being trailed in the media in recent weeks, it would be fair to say that these measures are more than most firms were expecting to get for Christmas. Businesses will therefore need to make sure they are on the front foot, by getting ahead of any changes they might be subject to and making sure they communicate clearly and in good time with all stakeholders about what this will mean for them individually – including customers, employees and investors. And with several of the announcements announced as proposed consultations, it remains to be seen what form they will take over the coming months once parliamentarians, regulators and the industry have had their say.

We’ve broken down the proposed changes and industry reaction to Hunt’s announcement here.

Women’s Aid: “He’s Coming Home”

Posted on: December 13th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

Working with our sister agency House337, we helped Women’s Aid raise awareness of the increased frequency of domestic abuse that major sporting events can trigger in existing abusive relationships. Here’s the story behind the campaign.

From Women’s Aid’s own research, we knew that sporting occasions could see existing domestic violence increase by 38%. With this year’s FIFA World Cup held during winter, many abusers would remain at home to watch the matches rather than in other social spaces like the pub, leading to a heightened sense of fear in some homes.

Our aim was to show that Women’s Aid is always available to support those in dangerous situations, particularly during a moment that many don’t realise could be traumatic.

We took Women’s Aid’s own research, which found that when the England national team plays (win or draw), domestic violence incidents increase by an average of 26%, and distributed these key findings to media. But to re-engage the media and the public with this important issue, we needed powerful creative.

Artist, Corbin Shaw, was brought on board to create a series of eye-catching artworks featuring slogans including “He’s Coming Home” which were installed in out of home billboard spaces up and down the country in key high footfall locations. House 337 created a striking short film to coincide with the launch, which was hosted on Women’s Aid social channels.

All of these assets were distributed to media and launched to the public ahead of one of England’s World Cup group games, which coincided with the International Day for Violence Against Women.

The results

Due to the eye-catching visuals, and simple message –  ‘He’s Coming Home’, we were able to generate over 40 pieces of coverage across national, consumer and regional coverage at launch. Highlights included two pieces on Metro online, inclusion on BBC News Online and follow-up opinion pieces in The Independent and Yahoo.

Industry commentators also praised the powerful ad created with coverage featuring on many key sites including The Drum, Campaign Live and Ad Week.

More importantly, it generated waves of conversation on every social platform. Our attention-grabbing imagery was shared across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn, and on TikTok alone Women’s Aid’s post has seen 14.9 million views.

We delivered the campaign as part of our pro-bono commitment to support important causes.

Media Network: Christmas Special: How UK Journalists need you in the festive period

Posted on: December 12th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

The festive season offers both opportunities and challenges for brands, with editors on the hunt for stand out Christmas stories, but also inundated with press releases. Twixmas, the period between Christmas and New Year, can be a good time to land coverage, with skeleton staffed news desks desperate for content, but you need to plan ahead.  

The MHP Group Media Network spoke to a range of writers to find out if all they want for Christmas is good stories…

  • The Times wants lighter stories to cheer up their readers and counter some of the heavier news around the cost of living, strikes and politics. News Editor Tom Payne says: “Anything non-time-specific, which we can run at any point over Christmas/New Year is a great start. Consumer stories are always in demand, as long as they’re not blatant puff pieces, and we also keen on human interest tales involving names and pictured case studies. Bonus points for anything which comes with added digital elements (graphics/polls/interactive etc)” 
  • Nina Massey, Science Correspondent at PA Media, says the news desk is actively looking for Twixmas stories now: “There’s inevitably some Christmas-related stories, but as a news agency, it is still all about news. The news desk started compiling the list of content for between Christmas and New Year in November, and is very much still looking for timeless stories they can store away” 
  • The cost-of-living crisis is going to remain a key topic for the Daily Mirror over the festive season, according to News Editor Dominic Herbert. He says: “Cost-of-living stories can cover a wide range of issues from struggling families to small businesses. Anything that shows people are being hit in the pocket. We always need good figures (ideally with comparisons to previous years) to give it a new hook and, if possible, case studies to help humanise the story. Away from cost-of-living we are looking for light and bright consumer stories, nostalgic surveys and interview opportunities. Anything to lift people’s mood.” 
  • Eleanor Deeley at Sky News says their Christmas rotas start from Monday 19th December, so they will be using a lot of pre-planned material from that point. “Our priorities will be the cost of living, with guests lined up at foodbanks, charities and even a school which is opening up as a centre of warmth over the Christmas period. There will also be some climate-related stories focusing on natural restoration and green energy.” 
  • Richard Wheeler, Parliamentary Editor at PA Media told us he is looking for: “Anything that’ll hold and can go any day when it’s quiet – making sure it has images, video possibilities to ensure it’s a better package” 
  • Meanwhile, Natalie Crockett, Associate News Editor, The Independent is after “Polls or anything data led, particularly anything that isn’t time sensitive in the lead-up [to Christmas] so we can space stuff out and help fill any holes.” 
  • The Evening Standard has already started planning its New Year coverage, according to Anthony France. He says the next few days are crucial to pitch stories between now and 2nd January, as very little news happens over the festive period. His advice is “Think evergreen. The best stories are about festive themes that are not time sensitive. Anniversaries, stars of Christmas No1s, TV repeats, “woke” pantomime shows”. 
  • Many trade titles will be running skeleton editorial teams over the Christmas period. Grocery Gazette said although only one member of staff will be covering between Christmas and New Year’s they will still be publishing content.
  • Despite being well into December, gift guides are still going strong according to Jessica Brunt, Shopping Editor at Buzzfeed. She says budget-friendly items, unsurprisingly, are doing well, but that higher ticket items with good investment or sell-on value can still be popular too.

So there you have it. The earlier the news desk gets eyes on the story the better, and brands will stand a stronger chance of getting coverage if the pieces are timeless and provide some light relief to the heavy news agenda.

That’s the last bulletin of the year, wishing you a very merry Christmas, and happy New year from everyone in the MHP Group Media Network.

By James Rollinson, Keith GladdisIan KirbyNick Collins and Annie Knight

Leadership In a Cost-Of-Living Crisis

Posted on: December 8th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

Hear Keith Gladdis and Charlotte Grant from the MHP Group Media Training team discuss the need for CEOs to be visible at times of crisis – and how to handle challenging interviews.

The AI revolution has arrived… and it’s completely changed the game

Posted on: December 6th, 2022 by Morgan Arnold

What is ChatGPT?

Okay, let’s start with the basics – ChatGPT is a prototype chatbot model created by AI firm, OpenAI. It interacts in a conversational manner (read: very much like a human) and responds to prompts that you, the user, input. It’s currently in its very early stages and is described by OpenAI as a research project, although no-doubt the next step for the business will be to effectively monetise it.

I know what you’re thinking “AI’s something that’s been discussed loads and that is already being used by businesses, why is this different?” You’d be right to be suspicious. We’ve long been familiar with the concept of AI, whether it’s what’s portrayed in sci-fi movies, or hit the headlines like Microsoft’s ‘Tay’ bot back in 2016 which was shut down within mere hours after it turned racist and sexist. For me, the staggering difference with ChatGPT is how… human it all seems. Every task I’ve given it, no matter what level of detail provided, has been written in such a way that I genuinely wouldn’t have been able to tell you that a programme wrote it. That’s equal parts concerning and amazing.

How does it work? What can it do?

You know what? Rather than try and explain this, let’s look at some short examples.

Let’s try a basic one first (I’m MA in purple, the AI is in green).

 

Okay, pretty good. Let’s try something more complex…

 

Impressive – but how does it handle a more creative ask?

 

Alright, let’s see what AI thinks about one of PR’s most talked about topics.

 

Phew, job’s safe for a while. N.B. please don’t take communications advice from ChatGPT.

In all seriousness though, I think we can all agree that these answers are eerily good – and these are only very basic asks. Engineers and developers have been getting ChatGPT to write working code, fix bugs and literally build websites, all from a few short prompts. And don’t get me started on what happens when ChatGPT gets inception-levels deep.

So what does this mean? How will this technology impact me?

The short, cop-out answer is that nobody truly knows. In my mind, this technology has the potential to completely change entire sectors almost overnight. Education is perhaps the most obvious use-case. What happens when students can literally input an essay subject and get ChatGPT to do all the work to a more than passable standard?

Very few industries will be unimpacted by the rise of intelligent AI and I think we’re going to see upheaval like we’ve potentially never seen before as this technology continues to mature. What happens when AI can design houses from scratch better than humans and in mere seconds? What happens when AI can build a website from a few short prompts? What happens when AI can write you a personalised diet and exercise plan, giving you instructions on what food to buy and how to prepare it? (that one it can already do – I tried it)

The more you play around with ChatGPT the more you’ll find opportunities for it to shorten tasks and provide learning situations. It’s basically Jarvis from Iron Man, but accessible to everyone at any time.

Let’s remember, this is only the v1 product, the equivalent of those giant machines from the 1970s that connected to an early version of the internet. The more people use ChatGPT, the more advanced it gets. I’m writing this 6 days after its launch… just think how much progress it’ll have made in a year. The possibilities are literally endless – see for yourself, it’s free.

Communications professionals, much like those in pretty much every other sector, are going to find their roles changing as this technology becomes more advanced. Strategy, relationships and creative thinking are going to become even more important than ever before, while menial tasks can be left to the AI and just given a sense check by a human for any glaring errors.

A final thought

One last experiment with this… after finishing this article I gave ChatGPT the following basic prompt to see how its blog compared to mine. I think you’ll agree the final product, while not perfect, is scarily impressive. A true game-changer.

The AI revolution has arrived… and it’s completely changed the game.

Just a few short years ago, the concept of artificial intelligence (AI) was still largely relegated to the realm of science fiction. But today, AI has become a pervasive presence in our daily lives, transforming industries and providing us with new tools and capabilities that were previously unimaginable.

The AI revolution has arrived in full force, and it’s changing the way we live and work in ways that are both exciting and profound. Here are just a few examples of how AI is transforming our world:

  • Improved healthcare: AI is being used to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, as well as to develop new drugs and therapies. For example, AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns and trends that can help doctors make more accurate diagnoses. AI is also being used to develop personalized treatment plans for patients, based on their unique characteristics and medical histories.
  • Enhanced security: AI is being used to improve the security of our homes, businesses, and public spaces. For example, AI-powered surveillance cameras can be trained to recognize suspicious behavior and alert authorities, while AI-powered security systems can be used to detect and prevent cyber attacks.
  • Improved transportation: AI is being used to improve the efficiency and safety of our transportation systems. For example, self-driving cars and trucks are being developed and tested, with the goal of reducing accidents and improving the flow of traffic. In the future, we may see AI-powered transportation systems that can coordinate the movements of vehicles in real time, optimizing routes and reducing congestion.
  • Enhanced customer service: AI is being used to improve the customer experience in a variety of industries. For example, AI chatbots can be used to answer customer questions, provide product recommendations, and resolve issues quickly and efficiently. In the future, we may see AI-powered virtual assistants that can handle more complex tasks, such as scheduling appointments or making reservations.
  • Improved education: AI is being used to improve the way we learn and educate ourselves. For example, AI-powered tutoring systems can provide personalized instruction to students, adapting to their individual needs and learning styles. In the future, we may see AI-powered educational platforms that can provide personalized curricula and support for students of all ages.
  • Enhanced entertainment: AI is being used to enhance the entertainment industry, from video games and movies to music and art. For example, AI algorithms can be used to generate new content, such as music or visual art, or to create personalized experiences for users. In the future, we may see AI-powered virtual reality systems that can provide immersive and interactive entertainment experiences.

The AI revolution has brought with it many exciting possibilities, and it’s only just beginning. As AI technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more amazing and transformative applications in the years to come.

But with every new technology, there are also potential drawbacks and challenges to consider. For example, as AI becomes more advanced and capable, it raises concerns about job displacement and the ethical implications of AI decision-making. It’s important that we carefully consider these issues and develop responsible and thoughtful approaches to the use of AI technology.

Overall, the AI revolution has arrived, and it’s changing the way we live and work in exciting and profound ways. From improved healthcare and security to enhanced transportation and entertainment, AI is providing us with new tools and capabilities that were previously unimaginable. As AI technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more amazing and transformative applications in the years to come.