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Photographer was fab and the pictures are great

Thanks again – the pictures are great.

It’s been great working with you again and hope to do so in the future as we grow as a company.

Thanks again for your great response –  the photographer has been fab!

Janette Beckett- Spring Housing

Social Media Crises of 2017 – My Top Five

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As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to start my annual search for the top five biggest social media crises of the year. It’s all part of the process of getting ready for my yearly crisis communications lectures at Leicester University. It’s also great fun – and a good learning opportunity – recalling the unintentional but avoidable communication errors of some of the world’s biggest brands. Here are my top five, do you agree?

5. Dove

The brand went viral on social media in early May in its on-going attempt to try and make women more comfortable with their bodies. They decided they were going to redesign their shampoo bottles to reflect different body types, which in turn had completely the opposite effect and turned into a social disaster! To many women, this indirectly confirmed that there was a ‘best’ or ‘right’ body type after all. The question on everyone’s lips was: ‘Do you choose the bottle that matches your body type?’

4. Adidas

After this year’s Boston Marathon the company tweeted: “Congrats, you’ve survived the Boston Marathon!” which inadvertently recalls imagery of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. An understandable Twitter storm followed before Adidas deleted the tweet as soon as they realised the mistake. Some damage had already been done when they fulsomely apologised for the “insensitive subject line”.

3. PwC

As I’m sure all will recall, back in February, there was a major blunder at the Oscars where the award for Best Picture was given to the wrong film. It turned out it wasn’t the fault of one of the presenters, the error was caused by PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant Brian Cullinan and somewhat appropriately social media. He had one job and that was to make sure the right cards went into the right envelopes but he became distracted by Twitter and gave one of the presenters, Warren Beatty, the wrong envelope. Highly embarrassing for an organisation who’s reputation depends on accuracy.

2. United Airlines

This is probably the most well-known crises from this year. It all stemmed from a video of a passenger being dragged off of a plane by security, when he was chosen at random to give up the seat he’d booked and paid for. This video is terrible for the brand and how they handled it was even worse. The video ended up going viral on the internet and making it to all of the main news channels. The video was bad enough but when the United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz attempted to make the standard PR apology, instead of taking full responsibility for their terriblly heavy handed actions he bizarrely congratulated his staff for following the correct procedures and called the bloodied passenger belligerent.

1. Snapchat

This originally started back in 2015 when at an internal meeting CEO Ethan Spiegel brushed off the idea of increasing support overseas by stating: “This app is only for rich people. I don’t want to expand into poor countries like India and Spain.” The comments were a little surprising coming from the creator of an app that is mainly free. The information later arose in April of this year when a former employee told Variety magazine about Spiegel’s rather bizarre statement. This caused an uproar in India where a #BoycottSnapchat campaign started on Twitter. Additionally existing users also uninstalled the app and left a 1-star rating.

 

Apart from learning from these crises, it’s interesting to think what long-term impact they actually had on the affected companies. This is why I’ve given Snapchat the unwanted No. 1 ranking. The other four certainly caused embarrassment to the company, knocked staff morale, impacted on share prices and reduced sales for a while but it’s the Snapchat example that will have long-term affects.

 

Find out more about Word Association’s crisis communications service.

Mark Thomas

Very pleased with the quality, it looks great

‘Just to say thank you very much for all your work and patience on our history document.  We are very pleased with the quality, it looks great.’

 

Jo Watson, North Solihull Partnership, Economic Development & Regeneration

Seeing Red

Anyone can write.

It’s simple. String a few words together (after all, most of us learned this basic skill at primary school), pop in the odd over-exuberant adjective, add a liberal sprinkling of the much-cherished corporate speak (everyone respects that blue-sky thinking) – and there you have it.

So why ARE we paying that PR agency for their copywriting services? Madness…

Although few people may say these words out loud, it seems extraordinary how many seem to think it. It is only when they actually see the results of good copywriting, and what it can achieve, that they finally appreciate it as a true craft.

Don’t’ get me wrong – I’m a modest, humble soul. I don’t expect a Nobel Prize for that stop-them-in-their-tracks feature I wrote about protecting your home from the perils of condensation.

I am no brain surgeon. To my knowledge, I don’t regularly save lives (although, unbeknownst to me, how many children breathe that much easier thanks to my tirade on damp?)

But it would be nice if people generally had a smidgen more respect for the talents of a professional copywriter who has spent years learning, developing and honing their skills.

A fair share of my work involves writing. I love it – I love language, I love communicating, I love playing with words. I take joy in cutting through jargon, scouring my brain for just the right turn of phrase and tailoring copy to best connect with the target reader.

Used well, words have a wonderful ability to illuminate, persuade and inspire.

So, next time you find yourself questioning the value of a true wordsmith, ask yourself this.

Would you ask an accountant if they’d like some help totting up all those complicated figures? Or suggest to a doctor that your science GCSE might make you better placed to advise on their next medical conundrum?

I suspect not.

Seeing Red - Wyn Matthews, Editorial Manager
Wyn Matthews, Editorial Manager

Creative gingerbread house challenge helps homeless people overseas

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Our staff and clients got creative to build festive gingerbread houses which have raised much-needed funds for homeless people in some of the world’s poorest communities.

 

As specialists in the housing and charity sectors, we launched the fun fundraising campaign just before Christmas.

 

To mark Word’s 25th anniversary – and to celebrate the true spirit of the season – we challenged people to create gingerbread houses which will help pay to build a real family home in the developing world.

 

The ‘Home Sweet Home’ campaign involved sending out gingerbread house-making kits to various partners we have worked with over the years and, for each house photographed and tweeted about, £3 has been donated to homeless charity Reall.

 

Housing associations, charities and local authorities were among the 40 organisations that got on board, raising nearly £1,000 towards building a real house for a homeless family in Africa.

 

Word Chief Executive Mark Thomas said: “We’ve had some fantastic entries for this challenge and we want to thank everyone who has taken part.

 

“Some of the gingerbread houses are real works of art, revealing a lot of imagination and creativity, with people adding their own unique features – everything from dinosaurs and jelly babies to the more traditional Father Christmas and nativity figures.

 

“It’s been great fun to see what people have come up with and we are delighted to have raised a considerable sum towards a cause which is so close to our hearts.”

 

Reall (Real Equity for All), previously known as Homeless International, is a UK-based international development organisation dedicated to providing decent homes and building communities for people living in slums across the developing world.

 

Alan Machin, Head of Housing Sector Development at Reall, said: “We’ve really enjoyed seeing the amazing housebuilding creations people have built in support of this campaign – and we are very grateful for their support.

 

“Through campaigns like this, we can all help make a difference to the one billion people living in slums worldwide.”

 

To support the Home Sweet Home campaign, go to www.wordassociation.co.uk for more details or donate at www.justgiving.com/homesweethomeWAReall/

Midlands PR agency welcomes new client for the New Year

Midlands PR agency Word Association has welcomed a leading professional association as its newest client.
Starting immediately, the Word team will spearhead a PR and public affairs campaign for the Association of Translation Companies (ATC).

The ATC is the world’s longest established professional body representing the interests of Language Service Provider companies, including members from all over the world.

It is the leading voice for companies operating in the UK’s expanding language services industry, which is worth more than £1 billion and employs more than 12,000 people.

Word is meeting with ATC council members this month to share ideas and agree priorities for the campaign.
The team will lead discussions on a PR strategy, which aims to focus on the importance of the language industry to the success of the UK economy.

Mark Thomas, Chief Executive of Word, said: “We are excited to be welcoming another new client to our business this New Year.

“The language services industry is a fascinating field and one which will be very much in the spotlight over the coming year, as Britain contemplates its relationship with Europe and debates its membership of the European Union.

“So we are delighted to have won this new contract and are looking forward to working with the ATC throughout 2016.”
Word has worked with translation companies and various professional bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Housing, during the communications consultancy’s 25-year history.

Geoffrey Bowden, General Secretary of the ATC, said: “I am certain the Word Association team will bring new impetus to the Association’s public relations output.”

Festive gingerbread campaign launched to transform homeless people’s lives

Festive gingerbread campaign launched to transform homeless people’s lives

#HomeSweetHome - Help Word Association make a ReAll Difference

Word Association’s Chief Executive Mark Thomas and Reall’s Head of Communications Hannah Salmon check out some completed gingerbread houses.

We have launched a fun, festive charity campaign to help transform the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.

To mark Word Association’s 25th anniversary – and to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas – our team is challenging people to create gingerbread houses which will help pay to build a real family home in the developing world.

For the ‘Home Sweet Home’ campaign, we have sent out gingerbread house-making kits to hundreds of organisations we have worked with during our history, laying down the challenge.

Having made the house, participants need to take a photo of their completed creation and tweet it – with #HomeSweetHome – by 23rd December.

For every one, we have pledged to donate £3 to homeless charity Reall. The target is to raise a total of £4,000, which will pay to build a real house for a homeless family in Africa.

Word Chief Executive Mark Thomas said: “At Word, we have always been committed to changing lives through the power of communication.

As such, over the last quarter of a century, we have worked with countless charities and housing organisations.

So this cause – building homes to make a real difference to homeless people in some of the world’s poorest communities – is one which is very close to our hearts.

We hope as many organisations and individuals as possible join us in supporting this campaign.”

Reall (Real Equity for All), previously known as Homeless International, is a UK-based international development organisation dedicated to providing decent homes and building communities for people living in slums across the developing world.

Alan Machin, Head of Housing Sector Development at Reall, said: “We are delighted that Word has launched such a fun campaign for such a good cause, particularly at a time of the year when many people are thinking of those less fortunate than themselves.

By supporting ‘Home Sweet Home’, we can all help make a difference to the one billion people living in slums worldwide.”

To support the Home Sweet Home campaign, go to www.wordassociation.co.uk for more details or donate at www.justgiving.com/homesweethomeWAReall/

Marketing takes off for Firefly

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Firefly Aerial Innovation have commissioned Word Association to work on brand development and public relations.
Firefly Aerial Innovation, which was established in May 2015 by founders Stuart Taylor and Paul Trainor, provides innovative aerial video and photography across a range of sectors, from housing to heritage projects.

The Midlands based UAV operator was therefore looking for an equally innovative communications partner to help launch their brand, and with previous experience of working with Word Association in roles at Orbit and Walsall Housing Group, Stuart and Paul felt they were the perfect fit.

Commenting on the appointment, Paul Trainor said: “With our backgrounds in communication, property and business improvement we knew how important it was to secure the right marketing partner to help us maximise what we believe to be a very unique offering.

“Word Association’s extensive knowledge of the housing sector combined with their award-winning approach meant they were the obvious choice, and we are delighted to see the positive results already achieved.”

Mark Thomas, CEO at Word Association added: “We are very proud to be working with an enterprise which is as innovative as Firefly. We all believe that Firefly has enormous potential to dominate a relatively new and unknown marketplace and we look forward to supporting them throughout the course of their journey.”

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