Author Archives: Ethos public relations news

Christmas greetings from Ethos public relations

Season's Greetings from Ethos public relations

Well, what a year! It would have been impossible, just 12 months ago, to imagine where we would all be today and how the country would have been so savagely affected by a new virus, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and here at Ethos public relations are looking forward to 2021 with hope.

As a small, well-established business, we have been able to weather the storm of 2020. Of course, our business has been affected – whose hasn’t? – but we’re still here and planning ahead for a busy year in 2021 when things finally start to get back to normal.

Working from home we have been able to maintain our client base, as well as developing websites, online shops and social media for a number of new clients, who realised that they needed to do more to promote the work they do and to do it better.

While none of us can forget the human suffering caused by coronavirus, it’s impossible to ignore that some businesses have done very well this year and that consumer habits have changed. Whether things quickly return to how they were before, as testing improves and new vaccines are rolled out, is of course hard to say.

Many organisations have – and have had to – adapt, and opportunities arise, whether we like it or not, out of every crisis.

The next year or two will continue to require businesses to be nimble and prepared to move quickly as things change. Perhaps not the recipe for a quiet life for any of us, but it’s certainly the only way that many organisations will survive.

And that’s where PR comes in. It really couldn’t be more important to get your message out quickly to your target market and to keep your customers informed about your business and any changes. There have been quite remarkable examples this year, often of small and highly flexible businesses, which have not only survived the crisis but thrived in it too. Sadly, there have also been many that have struggled or failed.

We are optimistic about 2021 and we’re hopeful that things will improve soon, and we’ll be there to help many more businesses, charities and social enterprises to get their message out to people.

And so, it just remains, at the end of another year, to raise a glass and enjoy a palm oil free mince pie as we wish you a happy Christmas and very best wishes for 2021. Keep safe and well!

City investors urged to help tackle illegal loan sharks

One of the country’s leading credit unions is urging City investors to invest in a deferred share scheme which aims to tackle the issue of loan sharks and illegal money lending head on.

EthEx logo

London Capital Credit Union based in Archway, which exists to help its members save and to lend them money when needed at reasonable interest rates so they can steer clear of payday lenders and loan sharks, is looking to expand.

Says Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of the Credit Union: “We aim to raise £125,000 to £150,000 in additional capital through an issue of deferred shares. This will allow the continuing expansion of our lending as an alternative to loan sharks and other high cost credit providers. A social investment in deferred shares will have a significant positive impact on the communities that we serve, including those in the City’s poorest neighbourhoods.”

For some sections of the community, including the ‘working poor’, there are very few opportunities to access affordable credit. That’s where credit unions come in.

Regulated by the FCA and PRA, credit unions in the UK tend to operate in those areas of the market not well served by mainstream financial institutions. As members’ incomes are usually lower than average, a credit union’s main competitors are likely to be niche players offering high-interest loans to those with poor credit profiles.

London Capital Credit Union is a financial co-operative, owned and controlled by its members and providing financial services to communities across London. One of the country’s fastest growing credit unions, it has gone from 675 members and £493,000 on loan in 2008 to over 15,000 members and over £10.8m on loan at the end of 2018.

The Credit Union plays a significant role in alleviating poverty (as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has identified) and has an ambitious expansion programme. It is looking to extend its services to tens of thousands more people, so as to reduce financial exclusion and the level of poverty in the community.

Social and financial impact

Increased use of credit unions could have a real impact on local communities. Analysts from a well-known City institution performed an assessment of the social and financial impact of London Capital Credit Union and concluded that, on average, for every pound lent to clear existing debts, members save £1.25 each year in interest, bank charges and fees.

A single investment in deferred shares provides ongoing benefits far beyond the amount invested. With the regulatory requirement for credit unions to hold capital representing 10% of their assets, an investment of £100,000 of deferred shares would allow £1 million to be lent and leads to £1.25 million in benefits to members in a single year.

Over four years, the Credit Union’s members could save some £5 million of loan costs. This is money that is likely to stay in the community, benefitting local businesses and supporting local employment.

Martin Groombridge adds: “The concept of social enterprise and social investment is tried and tested, proven to bring real benefits to our communities. The launch of our deferred shares provides social investors with a practical way of helping more people escape from high cost debt.”

Investors looking to make a difference to the local community can find out more and apply for shares here: https://www.ethex.org.uk/LondonCapitalCreditUnion.

Internationally acclaimed Monaco Boys Choir tours Britain

The world-famous Monaco Boys Choir is touring Britain in July and will be performing at a number of venues to raise funds for charity.

Monaco Boys Choir

Monaco Boys Choir, “Les Petits Chanteurs de Monaco”, is one of the world’s leading youth choirs and is celebrated internationally for its repertoire of classical and traditional works. The choir is embarking on a three-week tour of Britain, organised by Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, and will be performing at venues across England and Scotland.

The choir was established by Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1904 and is comprised of 30 boys, aged between 9 and 18 years of age. Today, under the patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, and with the generous support of the Monaco Government, the choir performs charity concerts all around the globe.

Monaco Boys Choir gives an average of 40 concerts each year and has visited more than 40 countries. Its musical repertoire includes sacred works by the likes of Bach, Mozart, Fauré and Mendelssohn, as well as traditional folk songs and French chansons.

The choir has performed at venues such as the Kennedy Centre in Washington, the Opera of Shanghai and the Conservatoire Tchaikovsky in Moscow. It has also performed at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and at the UNESCO General Conference in Paris.

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, said: “Monaco Boys Choir is a world-famous youth choir and we are delighted that they have chosen Janet Redler Travel & Tourism to organise their tour of the UK. The choir’s performances are a wonderful showcase of Monaco’s cultural and artistic heritage, and the concerts are not to be missed!”

Janet Redler Travel & Tourism has a long history of organising group and concert travel in the UK and recently arranged a highly successful 19-day tour of the UK for almost 100 members of the Starfire Singers from California.

Performances will take place at:

  • Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London (Sunday 7 July)
  • The Swiss Church in London (Monday 8 July)
  • Church of Notre Dame de France in London (Thursday 11 July)
  • St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham (Friday 12 July)
  • All Saints Church Baschurch, Shrewsbury (Sunday 14 July)
  • Selby Abbey (Monday 15 July)
  • Paisley Methodist Church (Thursday 18 July)
  • St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral, Aberdeen (Friday 19 July)
  • All Saints Church, Maidstone (Tuesday 23 July)

To find out more and for booking details, click here.

Season’s Greetings 2018

It’s that time of year again where we look back on the previous 12 months and raise a glass to the next.

Mince pie - Ethos public relations2018 has been an important one for us as we reached our 20th anniversary. It is hard for us to believe that we have been successfully running our business for over 20 years now, starting out as we did in a small back bedroom in Manchester.

As with any business, we have had challenges and frustrations along the way, but we’re proud to be here still, offering the ethical public relations services that mean so much to us.

Of course, the nature of our work has changed dramatically over the years and much more of what we do is now online, whether creating and writing websites, managing social media accounts or designing leaflets and promotional materials.

The last 12 months have been interesting ones, as we have welcomed new clients such as Refil, a Dutch company that makes recycled plastic filament for 3D printers, and EAE Aesthetics, which offers medical and cosmetic skin treatments in the Midlands. It is also rewarding to welcome back clients such as Co-operative Futures in Gloucester, which organises the Future Co-ops conference every two years and which we are proud to support and promote.

We continue to work with a number of local Shropshire-based organisations, as well as charities and credit unions in other parts of the UK. In fact, our client base continues to demonstrate that we are willing and able to work with organisations all over the UK, and beyond, to help them communicate their business.

The next year looks set to be turbulent not only for businesses in the UK but for people too. We, like many others no doubt, long for the return of certainty and stability, so we can get on with our work – and lives – without unnecessary worry and stress. If ever there was a time for strong political leadership, now is the time, and we would urge politicians of all persuasions to put the country first, before their own interests.

Of course, if past experience is anything to go by, we will all muddle through and the rollercoaster economy we have become used to over the last decade will continue to excite us one minute and scare us the next.

Our Christmas break begins at lunchtime on Monday 24th December and our office will be closed until Wednesday 2nd January 2019, although we will of course be checking our emails, social media accounts and text messages, so do stay in touch.

It’s now time for us to enjoy our customary mince pie and glass of sherry, so it only remains to wish all our clients, suppliers, friends and future clients Season’s Greetings and a very successful 2019. 

Future Co-ops 2019 logo

Conference: Can co-operative deserts bloom?

Ethos public relations is proud to be supporting a conference in the New Year addressing the issue of co-operative deserts and how new co-ops can be helped to bloom.

Future Co-ops 2019 logo

Future Co-ops 2019, which takes place on 1st and 2nd February 2019,  will address how the co-operative sector can grow.

Not everywhere is created equal. There are some well-known pockets of success in the UK where co-ops flourish – big cities, small towns, north and south. But there are plenty of co-op deserts too.

We’re all agreed we want more co-ops, better co-ops and, sometimes, bigger co-ops. Particularly in co-op deserts. But no fairy godmother’s going to wave a magic wand, so what do we, as a diverse sector, do with what we’ve got?

Join Co-operative Futures in Birmingham on the 1st and 2nd February, where they’ll be working with Central England Co-operative’s talented Think:Digital innovation team, using their new insights and participatory problem solving techniques in a fun and effective way to explore new, practical actions that participants can all take away to help co-op deserts bloom!

According to Jo White of Co-operative Futures, the organisers of the event, co-operatives can be found right across the UK but their distribution is uneven.

“Future Co-ops 2019 will focus on why these geographic imbalances exist and how we can all help create the right environment to make new co-operatives flourish.”

Early Bird prices online available until Christmas.

Where: Hillscourt Hotel & Venue in Birmingham

Info: https://futures.coop/future-coops-2019

EAE Aesthetics logo

Branding boost for Midlands aesthetics business

We were delighted to be appointed by EAE Aesthetics in Market Harborough, a new business offering a range of aesthetic treatments, to manage the development of their branding.

EAE Aesthetics logoOur first step was to co-ordinate the creation of an eye-catching logo which reflected the clinical credentials of the new business, as well as looking clean and modern.

Once the logo had been agreed, we were able to roll out the branding across a new website, leaflets and business cards, helping to create a consistent visual identity.

The EAE Aesthetics website outlines the client’s services, as well as providing background information about the business and contact details, in a clear and appealing way.

Liz Everett, owner of EAE Aesthetics, said: “I recently launched my aesthetics business after a long career in nursing – as a registered nurse, nurse prescriber and most recently as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner. EAE Aesthetics provides anti-wrinkle treatments and dermal fillers, as well as aural microsuction for earwax removal, and we needed to come up with some branding to help promote our services.

“Ethos public relations quickly understood our brief and within a couple of weeks had developed a strong new identity for us, which will help us to communicate our business – both now and in the future, when we introduce new services.”

Shaun Fisher, Director of Ethos public relations, said: “We were pleased to be asked to work with EAE Aesthetics to create their new brand and we are happy with how things turned out. We hope the work we have done will help EAE Aesthetics to grow quickly, providing aesthetic treatments by an experienced and qualified nurse.”

If you or your business would like to know more about the branding services we offer, or our range of marketing and public relations services, please do contact us today.

Ethical public relations versus fake news

For over 20 years, Ethos public relations has described itself as an ethical PR agency. We might not have known it back then, but what we were really saying was that we were against ‘fake news’.

Ethos 20 logoIn recent years, a number of things have contributed to the term fake news being bandied about, almost every time someone disagrees with some information or an editorial stance. This is not at all useful and is only going to increase mistrust of information and expert opinion.

In the PR context, what we meant by ethical PR was not engaging in spin but focusing on the real news behind a story. For many clients, especially in the charity and social enterprise sectors, this is particularly important as they have meaningful stories to tell supporters and funders and we believe this is best done with real, honest case studies and stories that demonstrate the real impact of their work.

Back in the 1980s it wasn’t fake news that made us develop our honest approach but rather spin and ‘kiss and tell’ stories.

Unfortunately, the transformation to fake news from this was almost inevitable and was supported in part by some bad editorial decisions by the media along the way.

It’s easy to blame editors, but a free media does need to be protected, and probably almost everyone working in public relations can cite examples of where really interesting, pertinent and newsworthy press releases have gained no coverage, while less socially useful information gets on air or in print.

Journalists aren’t social workers, but they do need to take a responsibility to their community and reflect what is going on in a balanced and holistic way. We have always subscribed to – and done our best to adhere to – the NUJ principles in our dealings with the media.

In a pre-digital age it was true that air time and newspaper space was limited, but that’s hardly the case now. Real, good quality and verifiable news should be able to find an outlet on trusted media sites to balance the seemingly endless rise of so called ‘news’ sites peddling opinion as fact.

Ethos 20 logo

New dimensions to PR: celebrating our first 20 years

Ethos public relations was established in Manchester in April 1998 and is still going strong. Here, Shaun, one of our directors, looks at some of the changes we have seen in that time and considers a new opportunity for the future.

Ethos 20 logo

Over the last 20 years, there has been a transformation in the way news is communicated, not just in how people access the latest stories, but in terms of how organisations reach out to journalists.

One of our first commissions was to write an article for a trade journal. The article was printed and published and that was that. It wasn’t posted on a website; it wasn’t shared on social media; it wasn’t ‘liked’ and ‘linked to’, forever present in the online ether. No doubt the article remains in a dusty archive somewhere, but for all intents and purposes it was never seen again.

In those days, it wasn’t unusual for a PR agency to put a press release in the post to a journalist, in anticipation that it would be used days, weeks or months ahead. Nowadays, like all of us, journalists track websites and social media channels for the latest stories – which can circle the globe within minutes – while doing their best to sniff out fake news!

As a result, most of our PR work is now online – writing and managing websites; handling social media accounts for clients; producing online newsletters, adverts and marketing materials and so on. To survive the many changes in our industry over the last 20 years, we have had to be flexible and adaptable, and no doubt there are many more changes to come.

For example, these days printing now means something different to us – something almost inconceivable 20 years ago – and that’s three-dimensional printing. Our latest client in our 20th anniversary year produces recycled 3D printer filament which can be used to manufacture a wide range of household objects, practical items, ornaments and small mechanical parts.

We’ve all seen the startling headlines about body parts being produced by 3D printers, as well as cars, houses, clothes and food, and although it might be some time before 3D printing replaces more traditional production methods, one thing’s for sure, it’s here to stay and the potential is huge.

For us, it seems, printing has come full circle. As printed publications, which once provided our bread and butter, have declined and moved into the online world, a new form of printing – 3D printing – has emerged to fill the gap.

And finally, talking of new dimensions, from day one we had a unique, ethical approach to PR, something unheard of in the late Nineties’ world of spin, and this is something we have stuck to over the last 20 years – not just because it sounded good, but because it was what we believed. Ironically perhaps for a PR agency, it is this authenticity, which goes beyond words, that has been the anchor of what we have achieved.

London Capital Credit Union welcomes largest ever customer satisfaction survey

London Capital Credit Union, a not-for-profit co-operative which provides savings and low cost loans to people living, working or studying in Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney, Haringey and Islington, has welcomed a new report which found significant approval for the services offered by credit unions.

Martin Groombridge

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union

The largest ever survey of credit union customers, published by Financial Inclusion Centre, found that 81% of members across the country were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their credit union, while 84% said they would recommend a friend or family member. This compares to a recent Which? survey showing that mainstream banks’ average overall customer satisfaction score was only 68%.

These results support the feedback received from London Capital Credit Union’s own members. Results from the Credit Union’s 2017 annual survey show a very high overall level of customer satisfaction, with an average score of 9 out of a possible 10.

London Capital Credit Union is one of the fastest growing credit unions in the capital, with over 15,000 members and outstanding lending of nearly £12 million.

Financial Inclusion Centre research also demonstrated just how important the broad range of financial services being delivered by these not-for-profit financial providers are, with the majority of respondents using their credit union as an affordable and fair source of borrowing – giving them an invaluable alternative to high-cost credit such as payday loans, rent-to-own firms and door-step lenders.

Credit unions work hard to help their members understand financial issues and members are shown to score well compared to the general population on a range of financial capability measures, saying they feel they have their finances under control and are confident in dealing with money matters.

Martin Groombridge, Chief Executive of London Capital Credit Union, said: “The findings of the largest ever credit union customer satisfaction survey back up what we see at London Capital Credit Union and show that most members are extremely satisfied with the services provided.

“With the current pressures on household finances, credit unions such as ours provide an essential lifeline for many, offering affordable loans in time of need and supporting people to develop a saving habit. At London Capital Credit Union, we believe it is important to help people make the most of their finances and this survey shows the hugely positive contribution that credit unions make to our communities.”

Mick McAteer, Co-Director of Financial Inclusion Centre, added: “These results are very encouraging and go to show that credit unions are highly regarded by those that use them, with higher satisfaction rates than mainstream banks.”

A copy of the report, ‘An Insight into Credit Union Membership’, can be found here.