Archive for August, 2023

MHP Group appoints internal comms expert Naomi Goodman to lead new division

Posted on: August 22nd, 2023 by Morgan Arnold

This press release originally appeared in PR Week

Naomi Goodman, most recently associate director and executive vice-president of change and internal comms at strategic comms firm Hundred, joins MHP Group to oversee our new division as head of MHP change and employee engagement.

The employee engagement offering will bolster our integrated advisory capabilities by working across MHP Group’s wider client portfolio to deliver employee proposition programmes.

The new offering builds on our existing employee engagement work for brands such as cloud-based neobank Viva Wallet and professional services firm Davies Group.

Previously, Goodman was a board director at Lansons, co-leading its communications for change and transformation offer.

During her career she has delivered employee engagement programmes for companies such as Novartis, InterContinental Hotels Group and Deutsche Bank, in addition to holding senior roles at Roche and Highways England.

MHP Group chief executive Alex Bigg said: “The barriers between internal and external audiences have fallen, and effective communications strategies require an understanding of both worlds.

“Naomi will knit together our strategic and creative capabilities with our expertise in behavioural science and advocacy to help clients navigate more complex organisational challenges.”

Goodman said: “Connecting people to purpose through meaningful employee experiences is at the heart of what drives successful change, and I look forward to partnering with our clients to deliver outcomes that will build lasting reputations from the inside out.”

Why brands need to be less Drake

Posted on: August 10th, 2023 by Josie Whittle

If you’ve boarded a tube or switched on your radio recently you may have spotted a cheeky campaign from value mobile network Lebara which boldly declares “We don’t sponsor football teams… So you don’t pay more”. Other iterations link competitors’ sponsorship of big venues and enlisting Hollywood stars in ad campaigns with high bills. 

Lebara has a point – tapping into what your audience loves has the potential to be expensive business, with brands spending $35BN a year on sponsorships in Europe alone in a bid to bask in borrowed cultural capital. Against the challenging economic backdrop we all find ourselves in, such expenditure can rightly be intimidating. 

However, the value of the passion pound can’t be ignored. In fact research shows that consumers are 86% more likely to purchase from brands that align with their passions. And neglecting consumer passion in your comms strategy can have long lasting implications.

Here we can turn to Drake for a cautionary tale. 

In seminal* track ‘Passionfruit’ he laments the lack of trust in his long term relationship as a mysterious other half is passionate from miles away and passive with the things they say, triggering a melt down that leads him to call the whole thing off. 

This is analogous to the trap brands can at times fall into with customers. Whilst they may want to build trust, if they observe their audience and their passions from far away, the result will be, at best, passive. Cue relationship breakdown.

Instead, when brands align themselves with their audience’s passions, 78% of people are more likely to share and recommend them. Cue healthy long-term relationship, the holy grail of all marketeers. 

Luckily there is a solution, as making passion an official part of your comms strategy doesn’t have to require the huge investments which Lebara call out. Passion marketing done right can harness the passion of audiences to increase brand visibility, offering huge earned potential and ROI.

So if you want to avoid Drake’s fate whilst also not breaking the bank, remember these (at times seemingly counterintuitive) principles when developing your purse friendly passion play…

Follow, don’t lead – Use the cultural conversations within your identified passion area to inform your comms strategy, not the other way round. And ensure you’re set up to optimize by  proactively spotting rising topics as well as react to what’s trending to ensure peak relevance.    

Think Small – Micro-influencers, with their smaller but highly engaged followings, and passions go hand in hand, as a shared interest is most often the foundation of their following. The result is a genuine and targeted promotion to a dedicated group, at a fraction of the cost. 

Every day’s a school day – If you don’t have the budget for creating blockbuster style content, offer value to your audience instead. Create educational content that informs and educates consumers about their passion, from blog articles to how-to guides, tips and tricks, or even online courses. 

Over share  –  People love sharing what they’re passionate about, with like minded enthusiasts and beyond. Brands can play a role in addressing this innate need, whether through community facilitation via forums and social media groups, hosting events and meetups or amplifying consumers who create and share their own passion related content. 

Consistency isn’t just for the gym – Even with smaller budgets, the same rules around consistency apply. Find the audience passion you can authentically connect with and stick with it. Again and again. 

*Opinion author’s own

“Tricks of the Trade”: three tips for engaging with pharma trade media

Posted on: August 10th, 2023 by Sean Deans

Recently, we spoke with figures from leading publications in the trade media space, including Scrip, PharmaPhorum and Labiotech, to better understand the unique interests and preferences of the professional health community – here we share three key takeaways:

Step 1 – Focus on meaningful innovation and impact

When sharing news within trade circles, it is important to emphasise meaningful innovation and demonstrate a positive impact. While a new finding, study or update might be perceived as exciting internally, the differentiation and impact message is ultimately what will drive media interest and coverage. Trade publications across the health space seek stories about game-changing new products or services that offer genuine advancements that the industry and patients will benefit from.

To stand out in a crowded media landscape, consider angles that tap into broader topical areas and issues, such as health equity and patient access to healthcare. Presenting solutions that address real-world challenges can give your news an edge and capture the attention of trade media.

Key Takeaway 1: Trade media values stories that showcase meaningful innovation and solutions to broader healthcare challenges

Step 2 – Humanise the narrative by putting a face to your story

While the scope and robustness of your health story are vital, the spotlight is firmly on patient benefit. Claiming to be “patient-centric” without tangible evidence will not resonate with trade media. Instead, identify and share human interest stories within the finding, study or update, highlighting meaningful partnerships and patient involvement throughout the process.

Putting a face to your story allows trade media to bridge the gap between informed readers and wider industry audiences. Engage patients early on to provide an authentic personal angle that can cut through more broadly. Lastly, when discussing patient-focused initiatives, trade publications will be more receptive to hearing from a patient or your patient advocacy head than other leads in the team.

Key Takeaway 2: Human interest stories and genuine patient involvement create a more relatable and engaging narrative for trade media 

Step 3 – Pay attention to the basics and adapt your approach

Trade media professionals appreciate clear and concise communication. Utilise visuals, graphics, and images to support your pitches and breakdown your press releases, as they are universally well-received by journalists. Lengthy and convoluted press releases can deter coverage and harm media relations.

Always provide essential context in your releases, including disease prevalence, gaps in available care, and how your finding, service or otherwise, addresses those needs. Don’t lose sight of the broader healthcare landscape and its challenges. Additionally, remember that pitching to trade media requires a different approach than pitching to consumer media. Tailor your communications accordingly to match their objectives and interests.

Key Takeaway 3: Use visuals, keep it concise, and provide the essential context in your press releases. Adapt your approach for trade media audiences

In Conclusion: Trade publications are eager to hear from you, but…

Trade media presents a valuable platform to showcase your innovations and insights within the health sector. By focusing on meaningful innovation, humanising the narrative with patient perspectives, and providing clear and concise information, you can establish strong connections with trade media outlets.

Remember, trade publications are keen to hear from you, but make sure you assist them by aligning your stories with their interests and objectives. Building strong relationships with trade media will help drive awareness and recognition within the health community, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of your organisational endeavours.

MHP Group appoints new Health Marketing Communications Lead as part of expanded health offer

Posted on: August 8th, 2023 by MHP Group

This press release originally appeared in PR Week

Annalise Coady has been hired as Head of Health Marketing Communications, forming a new-look Health leadership team with Pete Digger, who has been appointed Head of Health Public Affairs & Policy.

Annalise joins from Real Chemistry, where she was Group President. She will work alongside Pete Digger to build a new specialist and integrated Health Marketing Communications capability, complementing our industry-leading Health Public Affairs & Policy team.

In recent years, Health has been one of our fastest-growing teams, with key clients including AstraZeneca, Takeda and Boehringer Ingelheim.

The creation of a specialist Health Marketing Communications team will accelerate this growth by building on the success of recent communications campaigns for clients including the World Bladder Cancer Patient Coalition, BeiGene, Santen, Myeloma UK and Bupa.

Discussing the move, CEO Alex Bigg explains:

“MHP Health has a strong heritage in the public affairs & policy space and an increasing range of advocacy and communications work. We’ve reached the point at which we need to build specialist marketing communications capabilities, combining our deep Health knowledge with broader strategic, digital, corporate and insight-driven creative expertise.

“Annalise and Pete are exceptional talents, with a track record of building world-class teams, and I’m excited about the partnership they will form.

Annalise Coady, Head of Health Marketing Communications, added:

“Healthcare is on the cusp of an ‘industrial revolution’ that requires innovative marketing communications approaches to connect global healthcare stakeholders and improve the experiences of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, leading to better health and commercial outcomes. I’m excited to build an integrated and creative-led global healthcare offering at MHP, firmly anchored in data, AI and behavioural science. Working with the Health Public Affairs & Policy team, we will create campaigns that deliver for our clients in this rapidly changing and complex environment”.

Pete Digger, Head of Health Public Affairs & Policy commented:

“Health budgets are under pressure and decision makers and patients are overwhelmed with competing demands on their time and attention. Our Health Policy experts have always taken an integrated approach to cutting through the noise and ensuring that life changing innovations are prioritised, and a specialised Marketing Communications team will only enhance our offer.”

Are your investments really green? The FCA takes on greenwashing

Posted on: August 3rd, 2023 by Max Kretschmer

If you were born before 2000, you might remember Sainsbury’s introducing a “traffic light” system to communicate the nutritional content of its food. This simple red, amber, green graphic changed the shopping experience. Health-conscious consumers no longer had to decode an ingredients label to work out whether the 13.7g of saturated fat in a Cornish pasty was aligned to their dietary needs.  

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has embarked on a similar project to demystify green credentials in the Financial Services sector. The idea is simple: a reliable environmental labelling system across the UK’s financial sector. The initiative aims to support the UK’s attempt to become a centre of sustainable investment by combatting ‘greenwashing’ – the practice of marketing products as ‘green’ without actually reducing their environmental impact.  

Like food shopping in the 90s, investors today cannot always be clear whether the products they are purchasing are – from an environmental point of view – “healthy”. Accusations of greenwashing have risen in recent years and asset managers are facing increasing scrutiny for misleading investors with unsubstantiated ESG claims. 

As part of the FCA’s wider ESG strategy, Sustainability Disclosure Requirements (SDRs) are designed to improve transparency, and require firms to clearly communicate the sustainability-related features of investment products. In turn, products will receive one of three labels, denoting the extent of their environmental impact. 

Truly green investment products will get a “sustainable impact label; middling products receive “sustainable focus” or “sustainable improvers; and those that do not meet the FCA’s criteria receive no label. Only labelled funds will be permitted to use words such as “sustainable”, “ESG”, “Impact”, “responsible”,green”, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) or “Paris-aligned”.  

Environmentally-conscious investors can look forward to traffic-light style clarity. A trusted FCA label would cut through opaque claims and confusing classifications, reassuring the growing numbers of investors who value products with sustainable attributes.  

However, the implementation of the FCA’s new system has faced challenges. On 20th March the regulatory body issued “Dear CEO” letters to benchmark administrators (those in charge of disclosing the ESG credentials of investment products), warning them that they had failed to meet the FCA’s methodological guidelines.  

For labels to have value, firms must adopt detail-rich, standardised methodologies. Implementing this across a varied sector, with different interpretations of what exactly constitutes ESG, is no easy feat. Despite broad support for the FCA’s proposals, many firms are simply not nimble enough to immediately meet the requirements.  

On 29th March the FCA announced it would fall short of plans to have the final rules ready by June, moving publication of the instructive policy statement into Q3. Q3 has arrived, and so has another deferral. On 17th July, the FCA issued a further update, this time pushing the policy statement into Q4.  The ‘range of comments’ from the January consultation period was given as the reason for delay. A hefty 240 responses came in, seemingly clogging up the FCA’s policy pipeline. Criticisms range from accusations that SDR’s “sustainable improvers” label isn’t stringent enough, to concerns that the regime is prohibitively rigorous, exempting the majority of UK funds.  

The FCA’s ESG Chief, Sacha Sanda, warned SDRs would flush out some two thirds of the products currently labelled as ESG friendly, if applied to the market in their current state. The disclosure and labelling system is ambitious, and its eventual implementation is not going to be smooth, but consequential policy reforms never are. After a lengthy consultation, and a protracted period of policy development, firms should not expect the FCA to pull any punches when implementation begins.  

The faster that firms can adapt, the better. A reliable ESG labelling regime would drive the UK’s Green Finance Strategy, enabling London to cement itself at the centre of sustainable investment. With sustainable funds worth $2.8 trillion and counting, it would pay for the UK to be like Sainsbury’s.  

*The FCA is a client of MHP Group

Is this the beginning of the UK’s anti-ESG backlash?

Posted on: August 2nd, 2023 by Benjamin Carr

While the British summer is living up to its expectations with more damp weather forecast, many business leaders will have begun August fearing that another set of storm clouds is gathering on the horizon.  

Rishi Sunak’s decision to boost North Sea oil and gas production this week has been criticised as a dangerous watering down of climate policies by critics. It comes amid the potential rolling back of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars in a bid to show the government is “on the side of motorists”, while London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan pushes ahead with the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone.  

The weakening of the national emissions trading scheme to make it cheaper for industry to pollute in Britain, alongside government ministers criticising “ESG investment groupthink” in the shunning of defence stocks, are further additions to the growing list of anti-green moves and rhetoric making headlines in recent days.  

The government is seemingly attempting to drive a policy wedge on climate change in the UK political debate, marking the end of a period of consensus across parties on the country’s net zero ambitions. 

Governance in the frame 

Away from climate change and looking at the governance pillar within ESG, the recent Coutts debanking saga is further evidence that a broader ESG backlash may be emerging in the UK. 

The ousting of NatWest CEO Dame Alison Rose was set in motion by concerns that businesses are yielding too much power and should not be pursuing political positions or goals. Indeed, Nigel Farage has declared war on ‘woke capitalism’ and has since launched a national campaign to mobilise those stripped of their bank accounts for political or other reasons. 

For a deeper dive into this saga and the dynamics at play, see MHP’s Deputy CEO, Nick Barron’s article: Coutts is not Britain’s Bud Light. 

US vs UK  

Comparing these recent events with the genesis of the anti-ESG movement in the US, some notable similarities exist.  

Firstly, political forces are driving camps on both sides of the Atlantic, with legislative levers being pulled to affect change. The US has seen 99 anti-ESG legislative bills filed in the first four months of 2023 compared to 39 during the whole of 2022, primarily driven by Republican lawmakers, including measures to reduce climate constraints for fossil fuel firms.  

Secondly, the financial system has been an early target of the debate. The banking sector is firmly under the spotlight in the UK. While in the US, asset managers have felt the brunt of the backlash, with some US states outlawing ESG considerations in investment strategies, and fund managers mandated to prioritise generating higher returns for investors.  

However, as the movement has matured in the US, several issues have defined activism, including LGBTQ+ rights, abortion and diversity and inclusion, highlighting a potential course the UK’s own backlash may take with a shift to more social issues.  

For now, contagion is likely within the financial services industry and beyond as brands come under a new level of scrutiny fuelled by deepening polarisation. 

Mitigating risk 

So how should firms respond? Firstly, communications should be considered against this evolving backdrop. Using less polarising language is one place to start. Terms like net zero and ESG have broad meanings, leaving space for politicisation. 

Stress-testing messaging to consider the variety of potential stakeholder responses through the lens of recent criticism is crucial. Where are the vulnerabilities? How can communications proactively address possible adverse reactions? 

Most importantly, firms should be clear about their sustainability story. Being specific about the impact the business is having on the planet and its communities, demonstrating why particular values are important and focusing on tangible achievements and progress are practical ways to mitigate risk. 

Whether or not this is the beginning of an anti-ESG backlash on the scale the US has experienced remains to be seen. But it would be prudent for firms to ensure they are prepared to operate in this shifting landscape. 

Video, influencers, and trusted health information: five key takeaways to maximise the potential of creator content in delivering health campaigns

Posted on: August 2nd, 2023 by MHP Group

For social media users, video represents a powerful medium that is ever-present across multiple different social media platforms, from YouTube and Instagram to TikTok.  Hours are spent consuming videos that can deliver impactful, well-paced and insightful content on all manner of subjects to specific audiences.  Therefore it should come as no surprise that video can be an incredibly compelling – and potentially life changing – tool for health information to be conveyed.

So how can healthcare organisations – such as industry, charities or the NHS – harness this power and get the information they want to communicate to the audiences they want to reach? And how can this be done in a compliant way whilst maintaining the creative spirit and engagement that draws audiences in? We explored those questions and more at MHP Group’s recent event, Video, influencers and trusted health information.

For our expert panel discussion we were joined by Head of Health at YouTube Dr Vishaal Vishani; ABPI compliance expert Dr Rina Newton; content creator Dr Azmain Chowdhury; and MHP Group’s Head of Digital Thea Parnell to explore the potential of working with creators to reach audiences, and delivering impactful messages.

Here are five key takeaways from that discussion:

  1. Think beyond the creative process – get strategic

It’s one thing to recognise the power of video on social media, but another entirely to make the most of it.  Before any project is undertaken, a thorough consideration of exactly what you want to achieve is needed, encompassing objectives, desired outcomes and strategic execution.  Doing so will help determine fundamental questions like: who are we trying to talk to?; what are we trying to tell them?; what platform is best suited to do all this?; and what does success look like?

  1. Know your audience and give them what they want

There are countless ways to share health information using video. But to make it engaging you need to know your audience, or ‘fish where the fish are’ and make content that they will actually like to watch.  Sometimes this might be a piece of content that can capitalise on a trending theme, at other times ‘evergreen’ topics that capture the imagination. Partnering with content creators who already hold an audience base and understand what does and doesn’t work for them is a great place to start, and by adapting your messaging to fit the environment where your audience already engages, you can increase the chance of it being viewed and absorbed.

  1. Work hard to build trust

Understandably, when it comes to health, there are going to be concerns over accuracy and misinformation. Building trust with your audience is paramount to ensuring any message you create actually lands. Content creator medics approach their video work with the same commitment to evidence-based medicine and scientific rigour that they would apply in the consultation room. And platforms are responding to this need too, with YouTube recently launching its ‘health shelves’ product, for accredited authoritative content that users know they can trust.

For organisations partnering with content creators, trust is also critical. A strong working relationship that is built on shared objectives, clear roles and responsibilities and space that allows for creativity in rigour will result in video content that feels authentic and trustworthy.

  1. Collaborate and design guardrails

Regardless of whether the healthcare organisation is a pharmaceutical company, patient advocacy group or NHS body, the sharing of healthcare information is highly regulated, and maintaining relevant compliance standards is non-negotiable. This, after all, is what builds and maintains trust amongst audiences.

To navigate the at-times complex landscape of digital content creation, the first step healthcare organisations must take is to form a cross-functional internal team who can develop a comprehensive checklist of any potential risks – compliance, reputational or otherwise, and work systematically to design steps to mitigate against these. This checklist will form the ‘guardrails’ of any project, within which creators can be given the freedom to make content they know will work for their audiences yet still meets all necessary standards.

  1. Have faith, keep the end goal in mind, and get started

As with all projects moving into new areas, a degree of trepidation is natural and to be expected.  But as our panel discussion proved, this is about the ‘art of the possible’ and there is willingness to explore just what that can look like. We should remember that compliance should not be seen as a deterrent; rather, it should serve as a guiding principle to deliver credible and accurate health information.  After all, if just one person can engage with a video that delivers a credible health message that changes the course of their life for the better, that is a worthwhile thing to strive for.

A month of Mischief, July 2023

Posted on: August 2nd, 2023 by Morgan Arnold

Hello and welcome to A Month of Mischief,  a monthly take on the hottest passions gripping the nation, along with the latest Mischief news.

Read on for what brands can learn from the flurry of activity around the Women’s World Cup, why we launched a fish & chip shop for dogs and discover Nigella Lawson’s favourite Ocado small suppliers…

The Passion Perspective

This month it’s a Women’s World Cup special. With more and more brands latching on to the passion for the Lionesses, what should brands be considering when looking to tap into the excitement around the England Women’s team and women’s sport in general?

Treat the men’s and women’s game equally

Yes, punchy, we know, but the unfortunate truth is the men’s and women’s game are still miles apart – in funding, pay, fan support, hell, even when it comes to kit and equipment.

For brands (and beyond), leveling the playing field isn’t just about equality but equity – sometimes different treatment is needed to provide meaningful equality of opportunity, so a cookie cutter approach from a men’s football strategy won’t cut it.

Failure to recognise this is in part why Orange France has got women’s football fans heated up. We won‘t ruin the twist of their latest ad in celebration of the French Women’s team ahead of the tournament, except to say it was surprising and certainly got people talking. However, relying on the men’s game to in turn promote the women’s demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the unique characteristics that has built the substantial supporter base for women’s football.

Don’t have commitment issues

Nike’s spectacular own goal of refusing to sell England goalkeeper Mary Earp’s kit embodies the danger of not fully committing to the cause. As sportswashing becomes increasingly under the spotlight, underpinning creative work with clear commitments is not just a nice to have.

Be the solution

As society strives for parity between women’s and men’s sports, brands can play an essential role in bridging the gap in fan engagement, making it a seamless and exhilarating experience for all in the same way the men’s game is. Accessibility, engaging content, and generating hype are key pillars that will drive the women’s game to new heights.

The fact that the tournament is taking place in Australia and New Zealand already provides a hurdle or a problem marketeers and comms professionals can help fix. By identifying and addressing the hurdles faced by fans, we pave the way for equal recognition and appreciation of women’s sports.

Enter stage right, our first Mischief new work example of the month, Just Eat with The Queen’s Header.

This month at Mischief

The women’s World Cup kicks off at Just Eats’ the Queen’s header

Despite all the excitement gearing up to the Women’s World Cup, there was one issue. A pub atmosphere and major sports games go hand in hand, but with the tournament being hosted on the other side of the world, few pubs would be open for matches in the early morning.

Enter The Queen’s Header. We took over an East London local for Just Eat to create the first pub to exclusively show women’s football, whilst also serving up breakfast from some of Just Eat’s restaurant partners. The screening of England’s highly anticipated first match of the tournament was hosted by sports presenter and ex-Love Islander Josh Denzel, and in-game analysis was provided by Lionesses Fran Kirby and Toni Duggan.

All proceeds from ticket sales, as well as a further £50,000 investment from Just Eat were donated to its Feed the Game fund, which aims to inspire women and girls to get into football. A flurry of Lioness interviews and listings coverage across national and consumer titles landed ahead of the launch, leading to a total ticket sell-out. launches fetch of the day

Whilst we all embraced the early summer heatwave (a now distant memory…) the warm weather also brought with it heightened hazards for dog owners throughout the country. From picnics, to BBQs, beach trips to garden parties, our research revealed almost half of dog owners worried about their pet pooch trying to grab a bite of their favourite human summertime treats whilst out and about.

So to keep them safe and satisfied, we launched’s Fetch of the Day – a pop-up food truck serving an entirely dog-friendly menu. Launched on a Sussex beach, the menu included Barking Burgers, and Seaside Salmon Cones, and the fur-friendly menu was lapped up by media, resulting in widespread coverage including The SunDaily Mirror,Daily ExpressHello and BBC Radio Sussex.

Kimchi, tequila and tinned sardines: Nigella’s favourite small suppliers

To highlight Ocado’s support for small businesses, we enlisted the help of Nigella Lawson to craft three exquisite new recipes championing her favourite small suppliers on, from trending tinned fish to fruit-filled preserves and even venison.

Ten top tier media targets from the likes of Good Housekeeping, The Times, The Telegraph and Sheerluxe joined us for an intimate shopping experience with Nigella in a pop-up artisan market, followed by lunch with the chosen small suppliers.

The makeshift shopping experience was a hit with media who left with their food and drink-laden shopping bags, ready to dish up quality feature-led coverage with further hits set to land throughout the month.

Mischief News

Introducing… Passion Powered Partnerships

This month, we were excited to announce our new partnerships division. We believe partnerships allow brands to effectively & emotionally connect with consumers via passions, supported by our recent research which uncovered that 86% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that shares their passions.

The division will offer Passion Powered Partnerships with a specialist team dedicated to delivering high impact Sponsorships, Brand Collaborations & Talent Partnerships alongside Influencer Marketing, Social & Paid Media.

Recent work in the partnerships space includes launching the second phase of the Nigella x Ocado collaboration, teaming up Just Eat with Football vs Homophobia to create the first LGBTQIA+ allyship training programme for grassroots football teams and delivering a summer of festival activity to amplify the Three x Livenation partnership. If you want to hear more about our partnerships offering, get in touch! Read more

Mischief Musings

Now is not the time for brands to go quiet. Dan Deeks-Osburn, Strategy Director at Mischief, explains why in his latest opinion piece for PR Week

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Media Network: Issue 6, 2023

Posted on: August 1st, 2023 by Morgan Arnold

Ian King looks to the US with his new Sky News show

By James Rollinson 

The recent formatting change and re-brand of Sky News’ premier business show, Business Live with Ian King, could present an opportunity to businesses looking to reach a US business audience.

In June, the show moved from its one-hour 10am slot, to two 30-minute hits, running at 11.30am and 4.30pm.

Output producer Martin Kimber told MHP that this opened up the show to a new US audience, with the 4.30pm broadcast suiting both the East and West coasts of America.

“We are always keen to speak to people who can comment on business and market news in the US, it’s a fast-growing audience segment for us,” Martin said. “The second show is also a chance for companies to respond to or address narratives or market rumours that have taken hold earlier in the session.”

One thing that hasn’t changed is the type of guests Martin is looking to book: “The ideal guest is a CEO of a FTSE 350 company or their equivalent from overseas. We are equally receptive to top analysts, fund managers, VCs and private equity folk, economists, investment bankers, accountants, lawyers – anyone with an interesting take on markets, economics, or business.”

Business Live with Ian King is broadcast to more than 120 countries around the world and remains one of the most influential business shows on TV, but whatever you do, don’t request a list of questions ahead of the interview.

Martin warned: “Ian rarely has a list of questions before interviews, it’s not conducive to a flowing discussion, so don’t bother asking.”

City A.M. is saved, but what about The Telegraph?

By Alan Tovey, Former Daily Telegraph Industry Editor 

It’s rare for a UK newspaper to be put up for sale, so the fact that both City A.M. and The Telegraph were on the block simultaneously was unusual.

The reasons behind each are different.

City A.M., a freesheet, has been loss-making with advertising increasingly shifts to digital, and the pandemic saw its target audience of London commuters increasingly work from home.

Its future looked bleak, with few likely buyers. However, a saviour emerged in the unlikely form of online health and beauty retailer THG, run by high-profile entrepreneur Matt Moulding.

As an indicator of what it means for brands, Moulding says his only rule for City A.M. is: “Where possible, be a cheerleader for both the UK and businesses alike.”

The Telegraph’s sale comes after it was taken over by Lloyds bank when the publication’s owners failed to pay down debts of £1bn secured against Telegraph Media Group (TMG).

In the frame – according to industry gossip – are rival media groups, private investors, ex-Telegraph executives and Middle East sovereign wealth funds.

Unlike City A.M. The Telegraph makes money. TMG recently posted annual profits up by a third to £39m, driven by digital subscriptions and cost controls, will no doubt help ease worries.

The survival of both titles can only be good for the wider UK media landscape, ensuring a diversity of news and opinion that would otherwise be lost.

Reuters crowned king of the business beat

By Abi Smith

When it comes to business news, Reuters is the most popular outlet in the UK according to Press Gazette.

Reuters reached 8% of the online population in May, closely followed by Forbes and the Financial Times, reaching 7% and 6% of the UK respectively.

Insider – which took pole position in the 2022 rankings – suffered a 36% year-on-year (YoY) drop for reach, bringing it down to fourth in this year’s tables.

Money Week witnessed the most significant growth – 458% YoY – thanks to an investment and push into its digital offering. Whereas the Wall Street journal took the biggest tumble, plunging 55% despite adding to its paying subscriber audience.

However reach isn’t always the best metric.

The FT remains the most-engaged with business news brand, reporting more than three times as much as audience engagement as second-placed Reuters (15 minutes v 5 minutes per reader respectively).

BBC remains news outlet of choice for Gen Z

By Abi Smith

After more than 100 years the BBC is still the most popular source of information for teenagers, according to a new Ofcom report.

Across all of its news platforms including the BBC iPlayer, radio stations, websites and TV channels, the Beeb was the most popular news source for 39% of 12 to 15-year-olds.

But the biggest single source for today’s teenagers is TikTok with 28% saying it was an important news source for them, followed by YouTube on 25% and Instagram on 25%.

The shift away from traditional news sources comes from the younger generations looking to balance out serious news stories with lighter content. They are twice as likely to want news about sports (23%) and music (15%) as they are items from a hard news agenda (8%).

BBC Newsround, an appreciation

By Greg Double Creative Director at Mischief

Some advice for creatives looking to come up with reactive, culturally astute ideas…spend some time on CBBC Newsround.

What? The news channel for kids? Well, yes.

Newsround’s stories are more ‘consumer-friendly’. The vast majority of clients don’t want to touch political scandals and economic doom but they might have a solution to ‘flying ant day’.

If kids care, their parents care. More broadly, the Newsround site is a good bellwether for what young people are interested in. Its features heavily focus on the environment, summer holidays and mental health.

You might actually learn something. A little browse taught me about daffodils’ ability to combat cow farts and why mosquitos prefer biting some people to others.

So if adult news is all a bit heavy, lighten your day with some news for kids. You might learn something.

The Guardian looks to Europe as UK sales decline

By former ITN reporter Charlotte Grant

A digital European edition of The Guardian is set to launch this autumn. The outlet will be looking for international revenue after the group reported a £5m dip in UK sales, amid ongoing print readership declines and a downturn in advertising.

The new edition follows on from the success of Guardian US. Earlier this year, Guardian Media Group chief executive Anna Bateson revealed a quarter of its reader revenue now comes from the US, its fastest-growing market.

The new edition means readers logging on in Europe will see a different version of the homepage with tailored content. Eleven new editorial roles are being created including a Scandinavia correspondent, community affairs correspondent and specialist reporters for environment, culture and sport.

Movers and Shakers

By Pauline Guenot 

After three years writing The Times’ Red Box email that shares political insight and gossip at dawn, Patrick Maguire has been promoted to senior political correspondent for The Times and Times Radio. However, Patrick will still appear in our inboxes on Fridays with his weekly column.

Having worked alongside Patrick for a year, Lara Spirit will take over next month, unpacking politics in what will be a busy season of party conferences.

Jack Barnet, economics editor at City A.M., is departing the paper after more than two “cracking” years, and is joining The Times economics team, where he will be working alongside economics editor Mehreen Khan.

Oli Gill, chief business correspondent at The Telegraph, is starting a new role at The Sunday Times, become industry and leisure correspondent, under editor Jim Armitage.

Bloomberg is ramping up its AI coverage and the technology team has appointed three journalists to begin reporting on the emergence, scope, and impact of new artificial intelligence tools. Boosting coverage of the new beat will be Seth Fiegerman, Shirin Ghaffary and Leon Yin who will start in September and are based in the US.