A Month at Rule 5

Portuguese communications professional Beatriz Alves reflects on a month with the MediaCityUK agency.

With a stint as a journalist under her belt and having worked for some of Lisbon’s most exciting creative companies and global brands, Beatriz reflects on her four-weeks at Rule 5.

Imposing buildings, smiling people and an unequalled atmosphere with cameras, screens and the time passing quickly, was my first impression of MediaCityUK. Having arrived from Portugal, with a desire to learn more about the UK communication’s industry, I was excited to be joining an award winning agency with a range of exciting consumer accounts on their books.

Over the next four weeks, Rule 5 brought me into the fold and gave me a place on the team. I had hoped for the opportunity to shadow the team and learn more about their clients and how UK PR professionals work. In reality, I was rapidly integrated into the team and invited to share ideas, highlight how working practices differed from Portugal and even contribute to client projects. 

Working at Rule 5 provided me with invaluable insight into the emphasis that is placed on organisation and planning and how this can benefit campaign activity. It’s something that I have passionately been seeking to improve in my own career development. It was amazing to work as part of a credible agency with such high standards as I was able to absorb huge amounts of valuable practices from the team’s industry expertise and experience. 

It was inevitable I would make comparisons between my experience working in Portugal and what I have observed whilst in Manchester. As a Portuguese Comms professional who loves to work in my country, there were things I noticed immediately. It was great to experience a totally new culture. According to my experience, without wanting to make any sweeping generalisations, the main things that stood out to be are:

Scheduling

In the UK I experienced the famous British punctuality, everyone is always on time and meetings are conducted as long as planned. Something that stood out at Rule 5 was their diligence recording the hours they spend servicing accounts. In Portugal, it is common for meetings to start late and run long, which can be good for networking and building strong relationships with clients, but can be difficult for time management.

Planning

I noticed that in the UK, particularly at Rule 5, almost everything is planned far in advance and that is an unlikely luxury for many of the Portuguese companies. It might be impossible for Portuguese agencies to plan December’s activity during the summer, because of market pressures and the constant desire to have a first mover’s advantage.  The majority of the clients ask for an annual plan, but plans in Portugal appear to be more fluid and change in response to daily trends, at times on a daily basis.

Working Hours

This is probably the most significant difference I found. In Portugal, it is very common to find people being expected to stay at their desk well past the end of the working day. It is so common that is considered as a cultural norm. However, attitudes are changing; I’ve spoken to senior professionals from a range of industries who agree that the industry’s attitude towards working hours need to be readdressed. Some companies have already begun changing, offering greater support to help their teams work more efficiently. I feel this is already the case in the UK, and Rule 5 is a fantastic example of the importance of respecting employees free time and working hours.   

It is important to note that, both countries have common points. I recognise the same level of motivation from the team; mutual respect for colleagues; the importance of having senior team members being on hand to offer advice and guidance and the value placed on meaningful and detailed feedback being some the most similar areas.

I have been lucky that my professional journey, to date, has been in award winning companies and the quality of work and commitment of the team is very similar to that at Rule 5. It was great to see how another office works and have my first opportunity of working in the UK – hopefully it won’t be my last!

Ultimately, I would be unable to make a judgement about which country’s working practices are most effective. I’ve learned huge amounts whilst in the UK that I will be able to implement when back in Portugal. However, I believe that the UK would benefit from experiencing the way we work in Portugal and have the opportunity to pick up new skills.

Four Nominations For Rule 5 In The PRmoment Awards

2019 PR Moment Awards

Rule 5 has been nominated four times in the 2019 PRmoment Awards.

The news sees the agency shortlisted in four classes, including the coveted Boutique Agency of the Year category.

The agency’s campaign for Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester, Northern Rail Newsjack, made the Best Stunt of the Year shortlist, with the agency’s work with charity giving platform Wonderful nominated in two categories – The Corporate Purpose Award and Not For Profit Campaign of the Year, Agency.

Agency co-founder Julie Wilson said on the news: “This is a fantastic achievement for the agency and represents the breadth of our work.  The PRmoment Awards are one of the industry’s most celebrated events and we’re delighted to be nominated.”

The PRmoment Awards celebrate excellence and recognise and reward outstanding campaigns and exceptional talent in the UK PR and Communications sector.  The results will be announced on March 13th at a black tie awards dinner at the Hilton Hotel, Manchester.

 

Seizing The News Agenda: Legoland Discovery Centre

 

Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester stripped out Northern Rail from Lego built dediction of city, Mini Land.jpg

The Northern Rail crisis has dominated news headlines over recent weeks.  Yesterday we were delighted to join the conversation and demonstrate client Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester’s support for affected commuters.

In acknowledgment of the millions of people’s lives disrupted by the debacle,  the Northern Rail train at the centre of the leading family attraction’s ‘Mini Land’ feature was stripped out and the railway podium removed from the miniature Lego-built city of Manchester.

The timely act, captured in a series of compelling visuals and video content, seized the attention of the media, generating repeat features on BBC North West Tonight and Granada Reports.  Widespread regional print and online coverage was also enjoyed including the Manchester Evening News, I Love Manchester, Wigan Evening Post and About Manchester, amongst others.

Nearly three in ten (29%) of the Barton Square attraction’s customer base, live in the most affected areas of Stockport, Warrington, Liverpool, Stoke-on-Trent, Bolton and Wigan with footfall decreasing by half from some of those areas in the last eight weeks.

“The shift in visitor patterns marries with the Northern Rail change to timetables and surge of cancellations and delays.” said Jenn McDonough, General Manager Manchester Cluster, Merlin Entertainments,

“As a Northern business, we depend on visitors from neighbouring areas, and I know we’re not alone. Northern Rail’s ongoing problems are such that it’s impacting on business.”

“The suggestion from staff that the Northern train should be removed from the attraction, we feel, reflects events from the region. Mini Land is a dedication, in Lego form, of what’s great about Manchester, and the North West, today.”

Mini Land, the Lego-built miniature city of Manchester contains over 15,583 bricks, each laid by hand and glued into place by Alex Bidolak, Master Model Builder, and is included within the general admissions price.

PR Agency Of The Year Nomination For Rule 5

PN shortlisted

The agency is thrilled to have been shortlisted in the 2018 Prolific North Awards.

The nomination for PR Agency of The Year (small agency category) was announced on Thursday April 12 and sees Rule 5 feature alongside some of the North’s best creative, production, digital and media companies.

Founded in 2013, the Prolific North Awards celebrate excellence and recognise and reward outstanding campaigns and exceptional talent in the creative and media industries across the North.

The results will be announced on May 24th at an exclusive awards ceremony at the Principal Hotel, Manchester.

Recognition For Rule 5 Founders

Rule 5 Co Founders Rob Brown and Julie Wilson

Rule 5 founders, Jules and Rob, have both been named in separate lists of business influencers this week.

Julie Wilson is featured as one of Manchester’s Women of the Year in A-Magazine.  The list of 25 of the city’s most successful women also included the Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Diane Modahl and the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Angela Rayner MP.

The magazine published its selection of influential women on March 1st to mark the centenary of votes being given to some women in 1918.  Jules told the magazine: “Emmeline Pankhurst provided women with a voice and it’s a voice that continues to shout loudly.  We should never stop striving for a fairer, more balanced world, for everyone.”

Co-founder of the agency Rob Brown is featured in PR Week’s 2018 Power Book.   The guide, which lists “the most influential and respected comms professionals in the UK today”, was launched at The Ned in London.

It was described by PRWeek UK editor-in-chief Danny Rogers as “the most rigorously compiled edition since I launched it in 2007.”

ICON In The News – Final Piece Of Track Installed

Icon logus wip shot

Last week saw a significant milestone reached in the development of ICON, Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s new £16.25 million rollercoaster as the final piece of track was installed.

Under the watchful eye of the media, coordianted by Rule 5 and Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the last piece of gleaming grey steel was hoisted into place, completing the 1.14 kilometre track.

The process was conducted by a 50-strong team over a five month period and sees Blackpool Pleasure Beach another step closer to launching what will be the world’s most interactive rollercoaster.

Amanda Thompson OBE, Managing Director at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, commented; “Since construction work began in December 2016 we have seen numerous pieces of material hoisted into position in anticipation of this moment.

“The track comprises of hundreds of tonnes of world-class steel transported from Germany and manufactured using state-of-the-art engineering processes for a smoother, faster and more exhilarating ride than ever experienced before.”

Nick Thompson, Deputy Managing Director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, adds; “Today is the culmination of an intense design and engineering process to bring a ride that is the first of its kind to the UK.

“The completion of ICON’s track has been no easy feat, as it loops through and around the Pleasure Beach’s other rides 15 times. To see the track in its entirety is hugely rewarding and brings us a significant step closer to sharing this unique rollercoaster experience with the public in spring 2018.”

Activity saw yet another strong burst of media coverage for ICON, leading the lunchtime and evening news on BBC North West Tonight along with national UK print titles The Sun and MirrorOnline.  A wealth of regional, leisure and tourism titles underpinned coverage.  ICON will launch in spring 2018.

The PR campaign delivered by Rule 5 and Blackpool Plesure Beach to promote the new rollercoaster, has been nominated for Media Relations Campaign of the Year in the 2018 PRmoment Awards.  The same campaign won Best Use of Media Relations at the CIPR NorthWest Awards in 2017.

Rule 5 Appointed By Merlin Entertainments

LEGO Ninjago BannerThe agency has won a significant contract with Merlin Entertainments.

The announcement follows a four-way competitive pitch and sees Rule 5 appointed as the retained communications agency for Sea Life Manchester and Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester.

Work is already underway with the team busy developing plans to promote two new features at the popular family attractions, due to launch this spring.  The features are the result of a £400k investment and promise to deliver an incredible experience for both first-time and returning guests.

The agency will also be responsible for delivering a sustained national media relations campaign for both attractions and supporting Sea Life Manchester’s acclaimed conservation programme.

Speaking on the announcement Jenn McDonough, General Manager Manchester Cluster, Merlin Entertainments, said: “Sea Life Manchester and Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester are two of our leading attractions and have been inspiring, exciting and educating families for over seven years.

“With the forthcoming launch of two new features the time was right for us to review our marketing approach and appoint a new agency to support us in driving the business forward.  It was a competitive process that saw some great pitches but the communications plan presented by Rule 5 was head and shoulders above the rest, combining strong creative ideas with a solid and strategic approach.  We really bought into the team.”

Agency Co-Founder Julie Wilson added:  “This is a brief we were passionate about winning.  The scope of opportunity presented by the attractions, the forthcoming new features and incredible conservation work undertaken by Sea Life Manchester is great and appealed to us both personally and professionally.  It’s a privilege to be involved.”