Archive for the ‘Brand and Reputation’ Category

Landmark AI fundraise signals confidence in UK tech market

Posted on: May 8th, 2024 by Morgan Arnold

Backed by industry giants SoftBank Group Corp., NVIDIA, and Microsoft, the round accelerates Wayve’s mission to reimagine autonomous mobility through embodied intelligence.  

As Europe’s largest AI funding deal to date, this is a landmark moment for both Wayve and the UK’s AI sector. The UK has long been home to some of the world’s most innovative companies and this announcement advances its position as a leader in these emerging industries. 

The announcement attracted significant interest and coverage across both sides of the Atlantic, with articles in leading global publications including the New York Times, Bloomberg, and the Financial Times. Testament to the significance of this moment, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak along with Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan visited Wayve’s offices to meet CEO and Co-Founder Alex Kendall. 

It’s a hugely exciting time to be working in this space, with embodied AI poised to lead the next wave of AI innovation. This disruptive approach enables machines to learn from and interact with human behaviour in real-world scenarios, offering significant functionality and safety advantages. Find out more about Wayve’s technology here.  

MHP Group represents major technology businesses and investors – including Spotify, Feedzai, Roke, BAE Systems and Breakthrough Energy – and has previously supported blockbuster fundraising rounds for leading brands including Perenna, Klarna, Marshmallow and Wayflyer. 

MHP Group hires Deputy CEO of the Government Communications Service, Lisa Hunter

Posted on: January 23rd, 2024 by Morgan Arnold

This press release originally appeared in PR Week.

MHP Group has hired Lisa Hunter as Head of Strategic Communications. Hunter will bolster the agency’s integrated advisory capabilities helping senior leaders navigate complex issues and reputation challenges.

Hunter joins from the Government Communications Service, where she served as Deputy CEO. In this role, Lisa led communications for the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen, the Covid-19 Inquiry and the government’s management of recent industrial action – attending COBR meetings and advising Ministers, Number 10 and Permanent Secretaries across Whitehall.

Hunter’s career has encompassed senior roles across the private and public sectors, including the DWP, the DCMS, the ECB and Lloyds of London.

Hunter specialises in reputation and crisis management, and has led some of the most complex government communications projects in recent government history, including promoting pensions auto-enrolment and rebuilding public confidence in Universal Credit.  Lisa also established the crisis communications operating model now followed by all government communicators.

Reporting to Rachel Bower, Head of Brand & Reputation, Lisa joins a diverse roster of senior advisers that includes Keith Gladdis, Head of Strategic Media and ex Daily Mail News Editor, and Naomi Goodman, Head of Change and Employee Communications, another recent hire.

The move marks a return to the agency for Hunter, who left MHP in 2018 to take up a role as Director of Communications for the Department for Work and Pensions.

Commenting on the hire, Rachel Bower, head of Brand and Reputation, MHP Group explained:

Lisa has worked at the highest level of government, managing some of the biggest stories in the country, delivering the kinds of complex, multistakeholder campaigns that we specialise in as a team, and which our clients are increasingly asking us for counsel on.”

Lisa Hunter, added:

“With MHP continuing to grow, I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining such a strong team with so many exciting plans for the future. With the lines between businesses, consumers, shareholders and policymakers becoming increasingly blurred, strategic communications is more important than ever to ensure messages cut through to the right audiences. I’m looking forward to working with Rachel and the team and using my experience across the public and private sectors to help MHP bolster its advisory offer.”

 

In Conversation With Andrew Ellson: “So much has changed but also so little”

Posted on: November 10th, 2023 by Morgan Arnold

Earlier this week Andrew spoke exclusively to the MHP Media Network’s James Rollinson at a brunch event at 60 Great Portland Street in Fitzrovia.

Proprietary data is in demand

Andrew spoke at length about his interest in receiving proprietary data from brands, especially when it reveals a new trend or surprising take on a pre-conceived wisdom or stereotype. A  recent example Andrew cited was about the rising popularity of ‘boring’ noughties cars such as the Ford Mondeo. He also discussed the role proprietary data can play in complementing consumer surveys, giving those stories additional context and credibility. Businesses that can properly utilise their owned data to tell stories about consumer behaviours stand a good chance of catching Andrew’s attention.

Using his inbox as a search engine

Like many journalists, Andew receives hundreds of emails a day so finds it impossible to reply to everyone. But he stressed that just because he hasn’t responded doesn’t mean the pitch hasn’t been useful. Andrew described using his inbox as a search engine, searching for relevant data, quotes or spokespeople among his emails to see if there is anything he can use to include in his piece. Andrew said pitches can come in handy weeks and months after they have been sent, so its always worth sending through even if it doesn’t lead to immediate coverage.

There is demand for lighter stories

Following extensive reporting on the Israel/Gaza war, Andrew emphasised the desire from the news desk for lighter, feel-good stories. While significant portions of the news section continue to be dedicated to reporting on the conflict, specialist reporters are keen to run stories that can provide some light relief from the heavier news. According to Andrew, many of these can come from brands, and providing they are not too self-serving they stand a good chance of making the paper.

Cost-of-living fatigue creeping in

The cost-of-living crisis has been the dominant consumer topics for more than 18 months and we are now starting to see signs of fatigue among both journalists and readers, Andrew explained. While  major stories, such as energy bills, interest rates and inflation, will continue to be reported on, he urged brands to ensure that they are not approaching every story from a cost-of-living angle, as much of The Times audience has started to switch off from it.

Filling the Christmas basket

The release of the John Lewis ad means the consumer countdown to Christmas is officially on, and things are no different in The Times’ newsroom. Andrew shared that all journalists on the news desk have been asked to submit three ideas by the end of November for articles that can pre-written and deployed at any time over the often quiet Christmas period, so the next few weeks are the perfect time to get in touch with evergreen stories.

In conversation with Claire Hubble

Posted on: June 7th, 2023 by Morgan Arnold

On the relationship between social and the newsroom:

We are increasingly the first to see new trends or content that has gone viral and Senior Editors are increasingly turning to their us for advice or research. The way consumers search for things like holiday destinations or restaurant recommendations is changing, with increasing numbers using TikTok or other social platforms rather than Google. The newsroom is increasingly aware of this and so social is having more of an impact on reporting.

On how different channels form a part of The Telegraph’s social strategy:

As a legacy brand, it’s important for The Telegraph to have a presence on all channels.

TikTok has created an entirely new way of presenting and consuming news. We saw this with the war in Ukraine, where for the first time we were seeing first-person perspectives of war, people fleeing the country and even those in the trenches. The Washington Post and New York Times are doing particularly well at presenting their news in a TikTok native manner.

Twitter has undergone significant changes over the past year, with many journalists losing their “blue tick” status that serves as verification of identity. It’s important for The Telegraph to maintain a presence on platforms like Twitter as they feel a responsibility to ensure users can access verified news sources. With the current spread of misinformation, the importance of having a Twitter presence has only been amplified for us.

Reddit has become a key part of The Telegraph’s social strategy, both for breaking news and for building trust between consumers and journalists. One of the key causes of news avoidance is distrust for journalists and publications and the industry needs to make news more accessible. Reddit’s popular “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” threads have enabled users to ask journalists questions and receive responses in real-time, which has aided in building trust across news desks. 

On the decline of digital-first news sites:

Digital-first publications like Buzzfeed and Vice relied predominantly on social traffic. News publishers have reported a significant drop in link-referral traffic in the past two years so brands like these will be disproportionately affected by it. It makes a strong case for diversifying across channels and platforms. If brands only have a presence on one or a limited number of social channels there’s a real risk. Any change in the algorithm or a shift in consumer behaviour can then have a major impact on visibility.

On how brands and PRs can engage with the social team:

The Telegraph’s social team is not directly involved in commissioning stories, but social can play a role in increasing interest. It’s worth flagging to editors if the release topic is popular on social media or if there is a relevant hashtag that the piece feeds into as it shows organic growth potential. Similarly, if the spokesperson or brand you’re pitching to has a large social following note that they are willing to engage with or reshare any content posted. Pitches that demonstrate an awareness of how the story fits into social media trends stand out and are more likely to be picked up.

On what the future looks like for social media:

2023 is going to be the most exciting year for social media to date as some of the large platforms are experiencing a decline. Twitter is witnessing a decline in interest and loyalty amongst its user base following the takeover by Elon Musk and subsequent changes to user experience. Consumers have proven they’re open to trying new apps – the rise of BeReal over 2022 was a good proof point for that, though it has struggled to carry its momentum into this year. It’s worth keeping a close eye on Barcelona and Blue Sky – two relatively new platforms that are showing potential to compete with Twitter.

MHP Group wins Team and Leader of the Year at the PR Week Corporate, City & PA Awards

Posted on: March 9th, 2023 by Alexandra Stamp

We are thrilled to share that we have won three awards in the PRWeek UK Corporate, City & Public Affairs Awards (PRCCPA) 2023, including a win in the Corporate and/or Financial Comms Professional of the Year category!

The PRCCPA’s recognise and celebrate the best campaigns, projects, agencies, in-house teams and individuals across corporate communications, financial PR and public affairs, and recognise the best achievement in some of the fastest growing and most competitive parts of our sector.

Corporate and/or Financial Comms Professional of The Year (Agency)

We are proud to share that Rachel Bower, Head of Brand and Reputation, was named Corporate Professional of the Year. Rachel joined MHP Group in 2019 to integrate two very different teams – corporate and consumer – and build a new offer that would respond to changing client needs. This year, with Rachel at the helm, the practice grew organic revenues by 20% to become the agency’s biggest team, attracting new clients including McKinsey, Spotify and autonomous tech company Wayve.

Best Integrated Agency for Corporate and Public Affairs

We were named Best Intergrated Agency for Corporate and Public Affairs, for our dedication to producing thought-provoking and detailed work for our clients. We are proud to brings diverse talent, disciplines and perspectives together to solve the biggest communication challenges. With 200 specialists in London and a network that delivers programmes in more than 50 markets globally, we are trusted by many of the world’s leading businesses.

Best use of Media Relations

For our work with workspace provider, IWG, we picked up the award for Best Use of Media Relations. IWG asked for a campaign that delivered the message that hybrid working is a ‘win-win’ for employees and employers. The Hybrid is Here campaign showed companies who embrace hybrid working reduce costs and carbon footprints while improving talent retention. We helped IWG own the narrative about hybrid working, showing in real time how business life is changing, and the impact it is having on People, Planet and Profit.

Alex Bigg, CEO of MHP Group commented “These wins are testament to the drive, ambition and hard-work of everyone at MHP Group and a sign of exciting things ahead.”

A flying start to 2023 at MHP Group

The win follows hot on the heels of our recent win at the PRCA City and Finance Awards, where we won The Best M&A or Communications in Support of a Transaction Award, and where Oliver Hughes, Head of Capital Markets, was named The Professional of the Year. It follows a period of exciting growth for MHP Group, we welcomed a host of new joiners to the team, including Tim Snowball and Mario Creatura and welcomed new clients including Jack Links and The Royal Mint.

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.”

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.”