By Emily Fishburn, Junior Account Manager

This week marks Nutrition and Hydration Week, a week that takes place annually and aims to re-energise conversation and top tips around the ways to best maintain health and wellbeing, something that can easily be neglected in our busy lives. Earlier in the week, the Whiteoaks team had a session with a registered nutritionist and health coach, Claire Sendall from Health Empowered who taught us her top tips for becoming a healthier and better-hydrated version of ourselves. In this blog, I’ll share some of the advice learnt.

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Staying hydrated

On average we should be drinking around 2 litres of water per day to stay well hydrated and support our bodies digestion, circulation and temperature control for our brain to work well. Many of us can find this a tricky target while it can be difficult to measure how much water we are actually drinking. An effective way of keeping track is by investing in a good water bottle, some even have a guide on the side of the bottle of where the level of water should be at certain hours of the day. By drinking from a reusable water bottle can also be healthier for us than reusing a single-use plastic bottle over and over while they can leech chemicals and bacteria can grow in them which could be harmful to us.

Why is nutrition important?

In a similar way to how being hydrated can impact our mood and performance, what we eat can have just as much of an impact. Eating a healthy diet contributes to preventing illness and improving quality and length of life. Understanding what we are putting in our bodies and our foods nutritional value is important to be aware of, some food restaurants now are helping us to educate us on this by labelling menus with their nutritional value. From April 2022 the UK government has ruled that large businesses will need to display calorie information on menus and food labels – another way that can support us to make healthier choices when eating out.

Having a better focus on health and wellbeing – an ongoing journey

Over the past year or so, while our busy lives have been put on hold somewhat this has given us time to focus on getting our health and wellbeing in order, and so has seen the rise in popularity of PT’s such as Courtney Black, James Smith and nutritionists such as Graeme Tomlinson, aka the fitnesschef on Instagram. Many, including myself, have looked to their social accounts for inspiration and guidance.

From apps such as MyFitnessPal, wellbeing, fitness and nutrition influencers on social media to wearable gadgets such as Apple Watch and FitBit, today we have so much information and support readily available to help us better look after our health and wellbeing – it’s just about putting in the effort to find the approach that works best for us.

Name, title and how long you’ve been at Whiteoaks
Mark Wilson, Creative Director. Since Jan 2020.

In your current role, what does a typical day look like?
Every day begins with a cup of Yorkshire tea. After that, I cover off any emails, then check the workflow for the planned work that day. This work can be anything from concept creation, to concept development, client meetings, pitches, work reviews, planning future work etc. The day often ends with another tea then home.

How did you get into creative?
I started becoming interested in design from about 15 years old. I studied graphic and product design at A-Level and then took a degree in Graphic Design. At University I became really interested in not just design but ideas and how they have the power to change people’s behaviours. It was then that I started to look into how to get into advertising. Chatting to professionals, I discovered I’d need to team up with a ‘copywriter’ to form a creative team – to have a better chance of getting into the industry. So after 4 years as a graphic designer, I went back to uni to study Creative Advertising. This was the springboard that enabled me (and my newfound copywriter) to get a placement with an advertising agency. After a couple of weeks, one of our ideas was bought by the client and we were hired. It was there I learned the art of ideas and created several ad campaigns for a wide range of clients, picking up a few awards along the way.

What did you study and how has it helped you grow your career?
As described above, I studied Graphic Design which trained me in the principles of design and creative. I went back to uni later to study Creative Advertising at Falmouth, which enabled me to get a foothold in the advertising industry. Each day I use skills learnt in both these courses.

Why creative?
I love ideas and how they can shape and change people’s behaviours. It’s what makes me tick. I’m passionate about any type of design or creative and how it can answer the brief in a new and engaging way. And there’s always a better idea out there; it’s just finding it…

What is the best part of your day?
Apart from the tea, the best part of any day is creating something new. Whether that’s a new concept, design, or new brief which triggers new ideas.

What advice would you give to people who want to get into creative as a career?
Start creating and don’t stop. Creativity is a muscle – if you don’t use it, it’ll become redundant. Create anywhere and everywhere. Creativity is also problem solving, so don’t be constrained by the stereotypical ‘painting’ or ‘drawing’. Find new ways and solutions to problems and you’ll unlock the joy of creating. For students wanting to get into design/creative – go on a course, learn the basics and keep creating. Then show your work to an industry professional. They hold the keys. They can usually spot talent and passion. Remember to show both!

What do you like most about your current role?
Working with great people – who are also striving to produce the best work in creating new and engaging ideas for our clients.

What has been your funniest / quirkiest moment in creative?
Working with a drunk actor. That’s as much as I can say.

If you didn’t work in creative, what would your ideal job be?
RAF pilot. A childhood dream until I got too tall.

By Holly Tyler, Digital Account Executive

Just like social media itself, the humble hashtag has undergone intense innovation over the last few years. Almost every major platform has an algorithm in place to organise and distribute your posts, helping you to target specific audiences, and the creation of the hashtag was essentially an easy way to help yourself and the platform achieve this task. However, it hasn’t always been plain sailing when deciphering where and how to use hashtags. Let me cast your minds back: the year is 2010, the iPod Nano is the height of sophistication, and Instagram has just arrived in the AppStore ready to consume our lives. I’m sure many of us remember our cringe-worthy use of hashtags at the end of every post in a bid to grow our audience and exposure overnight. #LikeForLike and #FollowForFollow still haunt my dreams to this day, and sadly a lot of businesses are still none the wiser when it comes to hashtag etiquette. Luckily, I’m here to help.

Let’s start with LinkedIn. In its Best Practices Guide, the channel outlines three important reasons for using hashtags on their site:

  1. To establish your credibility and expertise
  2. To reach people who value your insights
  3. To jumpstart meaningful conversations over shared interests

On a platform renown for its employment-oriented service and professional nature, LinkedIn is your chance to shine as a business and let your target audience know why you and your team should be their choice of service. Hashtags are a fantastic way to establish this connection, allowing you to specify your engagements and chime in on conversations that can further solidify your expertise. LinkedIn is also equipped with a ‘Hashtags’ feature under the ‘Community’ tab in your ‘Manage’ page, allowing you to add up to three hashtag topics that you are able to see trending posts for and respond to on behalf of your business account rather than your personal profile. If your last eBook is centred around remote working, then you would benefit from adding the #remoteworking hashtag to your tab so that you can engage with conversations that would benefit from your knowledge. Boom! Genius.

Now onto Twitter. In a recent blog titled ‘The dos and don’ts of hashtags’, the Twitter Business team addressed our aforementioned sin of over-hashtagging by stating that “one to two relevant hashtags per Tweet is the sweet spot”. Common myths which circulate telling us to cram as many hashtags into one post as possible are preventing your post from achieving its maximum exposure. This is because the content is broken down across various hashtag streams and therefore becomes less of a priority amidst the algorithm, as opposed to a post that features two prominent hashtags which creates a less-confusing request for the channel when distributing the content. Mind-blowing stuff, right? Twitter also encourages users to do their research before selecting their chosen hashtags, whereby investigating which posts are up-and-coming within your sector and using the same hashtags as them, you can reap the benefits of contributing to a ‘hot topic’. The same rule applies when creating a campaign-specific hashtag – ensure that the wording is relevant to your brand as well as your wider industry with helping from the ‘Trending’ tab.

While the algorithm may sometimes seem confusing, social media platforms are not designed to catch you out – they’re designed to help you grow and innovate, and now you have the tools to do so (you’re welcome).

By Amber Chawner, Account Executive

In the era of self-driving cars and smart home devices, it’s hard to believe that once we would have been riding around on horse and carts, or heaven forbid, be forced to use a phone that was connected to a landline. Technology is ever-evolving, which means that as a PR working in the tech sector, we need to be constantly evolving too in order to keep pace. Building strong and successful media relationships is one of the core fundamentals of a successful PR campaign, and while there are definitely some methods of doing this that have withstood the test of time, others have required a bit of adapting.

They say a magician never reveals their tricks, however, consider this your lucky day – as below I outline four tips for building media relationships that are made to last.

Don’t be late to the party: I know people say it’s okay to be “fashionably late” to a party, however, this does not apply to the world of PR. Pitching ideas to journalists that they covered several months ago is a sure way to lose brownie points with them. When deciding on new themes to pitch, make sure you have done the reading and that you are adding value to existing conversations, or moving the conversations forward. Offering the media great, future-looking content is the best way to build solid relationships with the press – which leads nicely to my next point.

Do your due diligence: Researching content is important, but it’s also important to research press targets. Having great content is only half the battle and targeting a cyber security publication with a piece around retail trends, for example, because you didn’t sanity check your pitch list, is a really easy way to burn any bridges that you may have with them. Take the extra time to do your due diligence before starting any outreach to make sure you are targeting the right publications and the right journalists.

Pitch punchy, but with personality: This is something that I truly believe helps differentiate yourself from other PRs, and helps creates a strong foundation for media relationships. Journalists receive so many emails every day that you want to make sure you are doing your part to stand out in a very crowded inbox. Making sure your pitch is short and punchy is more likely to get your email read, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be regimented. Allow some of your personality to come across in your conversations – whether that is via email, in-person or over the phone – and you will find it a lot easier to build and maintain strong media relationships.

Keep your ear to the ground, and your eye on the papers: Underpinning all of this in the recipe for media relations success, is the importance of keeping up to date with the news agenda and current affairs. Having a sound knowledge of what is going on in your sector and the rest of the world is key to delivering insightful commentary; helping to build those all-important journalist relationships.

Ensuring that you have a strong media relations strategy in place is key for the success of any PR campaign, so make sure you take the time to get it right, and you’ll see the results come pouring in.

By Hannah Buckley, Head of Content

The importance of taking care of our mental health and wellbeing has been a regular topic of conversation over the last year and this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week helps to bring that to the fore once more.

The theme of this year’s event, which began on Monday, is nature, highlighting just how big an impact the world around us can have on our mental health. In fact, according to The Mental Health Foundation, more than half of UK adults say that being close to nature has improved their mental health, while four in ten say it has made them feel less worried or anxious.

Over 3.5 million people have taken up gardening for the first time during the pandemic, and for many of us, activities like this or getting out to our local park for some exercise has been a real lifeline over the last year.

Now, as restrictions begin to lift, making time to connect with nature in some capacity should be something we still try to make time for to reap both the physical and mental benefits it can offer.

If like me, you can’t leave home without your mobile phone, then why not put it to good use? No matter how much time you have available to you, whether it’s a quick walk on your lunch break or a cup of tea in the garden of a morning, there are a wealth of apps on offer to help you get in touch with nature and protect and support your mental health.

 

Test your tree knowledge

Apps like TreeID by the Woodland Trust, which can identify trees using bark, twigs, buds, leaves, flowers and fruits, and iNaturalist, which uses artificial intelligence to ID plants and wildlife, can help you reconnect with nature and learn more about your surroundings. Paying attention to the local scenery and wildlife on your next trip to the park could make you feel calmer and more present in the moment.

Don’t forget to look up!

No telescope? No worries. A range of apps are now available to help you make more sense of the night sky and identify stars and constellations in your corner of the world. The use of augmented reality within many apps means that even if you live somewhere with a lot of light population, the app can still locate where you are and pull up what the star map should look like above you.

Try mindful walking

Like me, you might have found yourself continuously running and walking the same routes for the last year and may now function on autopilot. Mindful walking gets you to tune into your environment and the sensations of your body. By being more aware on your walk, you’ll open yourself up to the sights and sounds of nature, which may help you feel more present and less stressed. If you’re new to mindful walking, apps like Calm or podcasts can help to guide you in this practice.

Bring the outside in

Even if you can’t get outside, there are still plenty of ways to connect with nature. Bring the outside in and add plants to your workspace. If you’re not particularly green-fingered, then download an app to track when you should water them and how to make sure they thrive. Alternatively, take five and look outside your window. If you’re lucky enough to hear birdsong, you could use an app to help you identify the species of bird it’s coming from and even learn bird calls yourself.

With mental health charities advocating for spending time in nature or bringing it into your everyday life, giving one of these apps a go will not only help you reconnect with nature and change up your usual walk, but could also help support your mental wellbeing.

By Annabelle Tooby, Junior Account Executive

What’s your career background, in brief?
Having only just graduated last summer, it’s safe to say I’ve had a real assortment of jobs alongside my studies or over the summer break. From care worker to receptionist, the most interesting would probably be assisting the Grazia editorial team in Dubai and being published, which as a journalism student I was over the moon by.

What’s the most challenging job you’ve ever had?
Without a doubt, it has to be working as a care worker. It is hard to describe to someone that’s never done it before, but I’ve been locked out in the garden, spat on, had to dash after countless clients with dementia that decided to go walkabouts, the list goes on. It must be said on the flip side it was majorly rewarding to hear the stories of and look after such an amazing bunch of people – and I was never short of a brew or a biscuit.

What apps, technology items and gadgets can’t you live without?
I hate the sound of silence, so I don’t think I could live without Spotify. Whether just for background noise or blaring at full volume, I always have music or a podcast playing – especially whilst having a shower, which is a compulsory music zone in my opinion.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Probably from both my Grandma’s, who were women of many wise words, but the condensed version would be: “Always try your best, surround yourself with positive people, eat well and keep a comb, pen and packet of tissues in your handbag at all times.”

Name one thing about your job that gives you a sense of satisfaction or makes you leave the office smiling…
As a chronic list-maker, in a weird way, crossing off the to-do-list quicker than the tasks stack up gives me a sense of satisfaction. Also being able to lessen the workload and make a real difference within my team.

Do you personalise your workspace?
My workspace is probably best described as organised chaos, due to the excessive number of post-it notes and notebooks I use. I think I had a little desk plant and cute pen pot at one point, but they’re now probably buried under the cascade of memos…

What’s the first thing you do in the office in the morning?
I would make a beeline for the coffee machine, stopping only to set down my bag and check if the team would also like a caffeine fix. Followed by a quick chin wag to whoever will listen by the coffee machine before sitting down at my desk to start the working day.

What are you reading, watching or listening to at the moment?
I’ve been having a bit of a TV sabbatical, pausing only briefly to watch Line of Duty (yes I only started season one last month, get over it).

Other than that, I’m re-reading a lot of Bill Bryson at the moment and I’m on African Diary currently. Wishful thinking for a summer holiday probably, so if we have another lockdown I will continue to live vicariously through Bill on his many exciting travels.

How it started vs how it’s going
In 1970, activist John McConnell, proposed that there was to be a day to honour the Earth. Wisconsin Senator, Gaylord Nelson quickly took it upon himself to endorse this and the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. 20 million Americans joined in a grassroots demonstration around issues such as toxic drinking water, air pollution, and the effects of pesticides.

Now, more than 1 billion people in 192 countries participate in Earth Day activities each year in support of the environment, highlighting the urgent action we need to take to save our planet, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Earth Day 2021- The time is now
The theme of this year’s Earth Day is “Restore Our Earth” which is a fitting and much-needed sentiment as we look back over the last year of our world which has been devastated by the pandemic and numerous catastrophes ranging from hurricanes to bushfires. Its focus couldn’t be more timely. It has been a dark year but with vaccines being developed faster than ever imagined, and vaccination programs being successfully rolled out, cautiously speaking, this Earth Day, the future looks brighter.

However, there is an incredible amount to do and, considering that we need to significantly cut emissions by an estimated 45 per cent by 2030 to keep global warming to 1.5°C, the extent of the challenge we’re facing is clear. As Kathleen Rogers, president of EarthDay.org, poignantly explains “This Earth Day, we have an important opportunity to challenge our leaders to commit to climate action on a global scale. We are at the edge of a cliff — if we don’t act now to reduce carbon emissions, there will be no way back.”

How you can take part this Earth Day
There is an abundance of events, both online and in-person (in line with Covid restrictions), taking place this year. You can use this handy map to find out what’s happening in your area along with this toolkit to help you decide which path to take: perhaps you would like to partake in a teach-in on how to promote a cleaner future, or maybe you would like to organise a clean-up and tackle global waste. You can also tune in to Earth Day Live and listen to the event live-streamed that includes workshops, panel discussions and various guest appearances. You could also sign up to become a member and officially support Earth Day.

What else can you do?
While having an entire day dedicated to saving the planet is fantastic and does wonders in our quest, we can (and must) change aspects in our daily lives. A study revealed that most people want to make sustainable changes but aren’t sure where to start. The easy answer? Just start small. As we all know, every little helps: So, cycle to work, buy reusable bags for shopping, use a refillable water bottle, turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, pick up rubbish when out for a walk, buy local produce, switch to renewable energy and eat less meat (No meat Mondays).

Earth Day comes once a year, but these lifestyle changes are beneficial (and necessary) for the other 364 days, and the years to follow. In the words of Jane Goodall, “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make.”

We only have one (Mother) Earth. Let’s treat her right. The time is now.

What can we say about the last year? Changing our whole way of working and having to adapt to a different environment, one that many of us weren’t used to. I can safely say that it has been a challenging year and one in which I’ve learnt a lot along the way.

Especially in how we’ve had to change the way we work and communicate with each other. Even though we’re all still working in a team it can feel very isolated sometimes when your only communication is through virtual platforms. That is why staff wellbeing has become an even bigger focus for us – as I am sure it has for other businesses, too. We have the challenge of trying to replace the value of face-to-face interactions when everyone at Whiteoaks is scattered over a large area and can only meet virtually – up until recently!

In addition to constant communication, virtual socials and encouraging a work/life balance, one of the ways in which we’ve tried to do this is by engaging staff in different activities – like encouraging everyone to complete nine million steps (between us all!) in the month of February with the aim of raising £1,000 for our charity partner Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

This initiative was aimed at firstly, raising money for a good cause but also getting us all to work towards a common goal, with some added friendly competition. All of our steps were logged and counted on Stridekick where we had a leader board to see who was completing the most steps and encouraging others to get involved. I certainly felt the urge to get out some more, either taking the dog for an extra walk or even walking to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, they all counted! By the end of the month, we managed to complete the target of nine million steps and as a result, were able to donate the £1,000 to Ark and help towards their fundraising goals.

We partnered with Ark back in 2018 and their goal is to raise £5million to help fund supportive care and services, complementary therapies, and an enhanced environment in an NHS cancer treatment centre that will serve residents in the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) area. The work on the radiotherapy centre is now nearing completion and they hope to be open and supporting cancer patients in the coming months.

The step challenge was just one of the initiatives that we’ve introduced in the past year to try to encourage and motivate our staff during the lockdown period. I can’t say that all of them have been as successful as the step challenge but that has been part of the journey and one that we learned from.

The main point I have taken from the lockdown and working from home is the importance of staff wellbeing and how it needs to be a much bigger focus going forward – not just as HR manager but as a staff member, too. Staff wellbeing shouldn’t be put on the back burner when it all goes back to “normal”. Instead, we should constantly evolve and improve our approach because wellbeing isn’t just a pandemic issue.

In the U.K. alone, internet sales jumped from under 20% to more than 32% in just three months at the start of the first Covid-induced lockdown. But as we enter a new phase of post-lockdown life, following the reopening of non-essential retail outlets, gyms and hairdressers, what can brick and mortar stores do in order to offer an experience to entice shoppers back through their doors?

According to accountancy firm PwC, almost 50 stores closed every day in 2020, and while covid-19 accelerated this, the decline of the high street has been a very real problem for retailers since the growth of the internet, with many left behind during the transition to online markets. Online fashion retailers such as ASOS have come to dominate the market in recent years. The firm enjoyed double-digit sales growths for the third year running in 2018, taking in a mighty £2.42bn.

Personally, there’s still something to say about the physical shopping experience. Getting to see the product, feel the fabric, trying it on for size and then not having to deal with postal returns. Yet, while the trend of online shopping won’t show signs of slowing any time soon, so retailers need to offer value where their online counterparts can’t and put steps back in place to revitalise the high street.

Creating experiences:

Last year when we saw things re-open in the summer of 2020, popular shopping centre, Westfield launched some new concepts including the first ever Harrods Outlet, and an outdoor Bar W12 & Film Club on Westfield Square. Also located in the Stratford Westfield, Zara’s flagship store now features interactive mirrors equipped with radio-frequency identification technology which is able to detect what item of clothing a customer is holding, offer more information on the item and choices of what a complete outfit could look like. You can there and then see the full outfit, try it on and buy it. Something the online world is simply unable to offer – I know that the excitement of buying something dies down when you have to wait a few days to actually get them.

And while some retailers have inevitably had to close stores, they are using this as an opportunity to capitalise on existing investments, as showcased by John Lewis opening its ‘shops-in-shops’ inside Waitrose stores to plot John Lewis mini-shops inside the grocery store to enable cross-selling and offer a wider range of general merchandise.

Pop-ups

One way for retailers to stand out is by focusing more on pop-up stores. These ‘limited time only’ stores not only save costs for retailers, it also allows them to offer something ‘fresh’ for customers while boosting exclusivity. Knowing the store will not be there long-term could be enticing enough to create excitement for shoppers to visit before it expires. Retailers with an omni-channel experience could be clever here and only launch certain new products within a pop-up to get consumers back to visiting the brand in person, creating another touchpoint and creating a buzz online.

How tech can play a part:

Some of the world’s biggest tech giants are also looking to make the in-store experience more enjoyable. While strictly not a high street retailer, this year Google is on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to its Maps app. One of the latest features of its Live View function will mean even the trickiest-to-navigate places indoors, like shopping centres, can be seen in the palm of your hand with arrows and accompanying directions pointing you the right way. So, if you need to pick something up from your local retail outlet or shopping centre, customers can use Live View to see what floor a store is on and how to get there so you can get in and out in a snap if time is of the essence!

Ultimately, having been house-bound for much of the last 12-months, consumers will likely want to get back outside and through the doors of shops once more – retailers just need to make it worth our while.

Last week saw the return of one of the most celebrated days of the year for brands – April Fool’s Day.  A well-trodden day in the calendar, many companies use the day to launch PR stunts, share social media jokes and have a joke with customers and the media.

Tactics typically range from fake product launches to company rebrands or rumoured diversification of portfolios. And while many brands skipped the day last year due to Covid-19, this year many chose to raise their head once again above the parapet and add some humour to their communications strategies with the return of April Fools pranks.

But with internet Giant (and arguably online leader) Google taking the decision to cancel April Fools for the second year in the row, is there still a place for jokes like April Fools? Or do brands need to be more careful in how and what they communicate?

When April Fools goes wrong

Traditionally, April Fools gags could do wonders for businesses – from driving publicity to increasing advocacy and driving sales. However, on the other hand, should a prank go wrong, brands can appear insensitive, generate negative publicity, and perhaps more worryingly, find themselves the latest victim of the growing “cancel culture.”

The latest victim to a poorly April Fool’s joke is Volkswagen, with the company forced to apologise after its PR stunt backfired spectacularly, leading to mass confusion and upset. The company leaked a “fake” rebranding with global news sites, including the BBC and Sky News reporting that the company’s US operation planned to change its name to ‘Voltswagen of America’ from May. But the company admitted late on Tuesday that the name change was an April Fool’s joke and PR stunt to draw attention to the launch of its new SUV.

And Volkswagen was not alone – retail giant Home Bargains also came under fire from shoppers after an April Fool’s joke suggesting it was returning to old branding of “Home and Bargain” disappointed many customers. So, at a time when fake news poses a real risk for brands and tensions are still high from the global pandemic, is there a place for April Fools PR stunts?

Getting it right

The problem with the Volkswagen stunt was the timing and execution. Not only was the stunt launch just days after concluding a five-year-long investigation into its emissions scandal, but the story was issued two days before April 1 and then the company refused to deny it so many ran it as ‘fact.’

By mixing fact and fiction, the company caused confusion among customers and stakeholders and was embarrassingly forced to issue a follow-up announcement explaining the news was indeed a hoax. You could argue that sure, it may have achieved a volume of global national coverage not typically seen for an April Fools stunt. But at what cost? Should the attraction of widespread publicity outweigh the risk of damage to trust and credibility for the brand long-term?

Aside from Volkswagen, there are examples where brands got it right this year. For example, Pizza Hut announced a new fleet of scooters equipped with mini ice cream factories. Frankie & Benny’s announced a limited edition “Meatball Bath Bomb,” and McDonald’s announced a three fries portion to stop fry thievery.

Other companies also announced new innovations designed to tackle common problems. For example, Argos announced the launch of the “Treadmow” which combines gardening and fitness while Lego announced the launch of “SmartBricks” designed end to one of the most painful experiences– stepping on a lego brick. All light-hearted revelations that align to the organisation’s brand voice and tone.

What does the future hold for brands?

April Fool’s Day has long an established day in the calendar for comms professionals, providing an opportunity to demonstrate brand personality and have some light-hearted fun with audiences and the media. However, in an era where social media has led to the rise of fake news and disinformation and controlling your brand narrative is increasingly difficult, companies need to consider the appropriateness of any fake stories.

Any joke at the expense of the brand needs to be done right and done well. An ill-thought-out idea risks destroying trust brands have worked hard to build the remaining days of the year, so brands must think wisely before publishing anything that has the potential to damage reputation. This means before embarking on any stunt, considering who the audience is, what the brand wants to achieve, whether the approach aligns with the company’s wider values and brand voice and how the stunt could be received as part of a wider economic or cultural conversations – intended or unintended. Otherwise, they could find themselves opening the door for mockery from competitors and critics who could be poised to take advantage.

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