National Trust for Scotland appoints Muckle Media to lead on PR

National Trust for Scotland appoints Muckle Media to lead on PR

We’re delighted to announce that we have been appointed by the National Trust for Scotland to support its PR on a retained basis.

We will be supporting on a number of activations and announcements throughout 2022 and beyond for the National Trust for Scotland, including the launch of its new 10-year strategy. Muckle Media was appointed to the brief after a competitive pitch process.

Muckle Media Founder, Nathalie Agnew, said: “National Trust for Scotland has long been one of our dream accounts and winning the opportunity to work with such an esteemed charitable organisation is a huge honour for us. Heritage, the environment, and conservation are important topics of huge relevance right now, so we look forward to supporting the brand to communicate its leadership position in this space. There are lots of exciting developments at the National Trust for Scotland over the coming year and we can’t wait to work with them to make sure 2022 is its most successful year yet.”

Director of Customer & Cause for the National Trust for Scotland Mark Bishop said: “The National Trust for Scotland is at a pivotal point in our charity’s development, as we look ahead to our centenary in 2031. We look forward to working with Muckle Media to connect even more people with the work we do to protect all that makes Scotland special, the beautiful places in our care and their many stories.”

This forms part of our continued growth throughout the year with a number of new client wins and recently announced the opening of our new Aberdeen office, that complements Muckle Media’s existing offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

For more information on Muckle Media and the services it offers please get in touch hello@mucklemedia.co.uk

Muckle Media promotes two to Director after sustained growth

Muckle Media promotes two to Director after sustained growth

We are pleased to announced the promotion of current employees, Linsay Brown and Chris Batchelor, to Director, following a period of continued growth. The two will work closely with agency founder, Nathalie Agnew, across client servicing, new business and agency culture.

 

Linsay Brown joined the agency as an Account Director in 2018, leading on consumer PR accounts including Thistles shopping centre and Gordon & MacPhail. Linsay has been heavily involved in growing the team, with a focus on embedding a positive culture and supporting employee wellbeing, and delivered the successful Returners to Communications programme earlier this year.

 

After joining Muckle Media in February this year from London-based agency Pretty Green, Chris Batchelor has supported the agency’s new business with several high-profile client wins throughout the year, alongside overseeing a successful brand refresh and relaunch.

 

Commenting on the changes to the team’s structure, Muckle Media Founder Nathalie Agnew, said: “Chris and Linsay have both played a key role in Muckle Media’s success over the past twelve months, so deserve this recognition and promotion. As we work towards further exciting growth plans I look forward to working alongside Chris and Linsay in their expanded remits.”

 

Linsay Brown, commented: “Over the last few years the agency has grown rapidly and it has been fantastic to be part of the team behind this. We’ve brought on new team members, won a wealth of new business and focused our efforts on making Muckle Media one of the best communications agencies to work for and with. We have big aspirations for the agency and our team, and I look forward to working with Nathalie and Chris to bring these to fruition.”

 

Chris Batchelor added: “After moving to Edinburgh earlier in the year after nearly 10 years working at a number of agencies in London, Muckle Media couldn’t have made the switch easier. Not only do we have a talented and supportive team, but we are also delivering high quality work which is reflected in our growth. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Muckle Media as we continue to push ourselves to deliver for both existing and future clients.”

 

For enquiries please contact: hello@mucklemedia.co.uk

There is a right career path, it’s just different for everyone

There is a right career path, it’s just different for everyone

Linsay Brown, Head of Lifestyle PR at Muckle Media

In my role at Muckle Media I’ve had the privilege of meeting a number of young practitioners, students and those interested in a career in PR but unsure where to start. And I often have the same conversation with them, as they struggle to find the ‘right’ career path to start them off on the best possible trajectory.

Someone looking at where I am in my career to date might think I had it sussed and that I’d started the ‘right’ way and progressed up the career ladder at the ‘right’ time. But it wasn’t all plain sailing and in fact at one point I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do and was completely floundering. I’ve since learned that that’s completely normal but for some reason it’s something a lot of people don’t talk about.

I left high school at 16 after completing my Highers, unsure of what to do but certain that another year at high school wasn’t right for me. After going back and forth for a while I decided to try journalism, since writing had always been an interest of mine and something I’d done well with at school. I started at the Glasgow Metropolitan College (now the City of Glasgow College) having enrolled on the HNC in Practical Journalism course.

I had a fantastic time during that year and grew up very quickly, however it’s also where I was told by one particularly attuned lecturer that journalism simply wasn’t right for me. He was completely right and after chatting it through with him I realised I wasn’t going to be the right fit for the industry – but where did that leave me? It was he, Brian, who advised me to try PR as he thought it would be the perfect industry for me.

Now, I have to be honest, my understanding of PR stretched to what I’d seen on reality shows like The Hills – ultra glamorous, constant parties and meeting celebs. Not quite the reality I know now! From that conversation with Brian I started to plan (after, I’m not afraid to admit, a while floundering and being completely unsure I’d ever find the right career for me) and applied to study PR and Media at Queen Margaret University, alongside arranging a meeting with a PR practitioner at a national PR agency to learn more about what the industry was really like.

While ultimately my career path was the more traditional one, it wasn’t quite the cookie cutter path we’re sold a dream of growing up. I actually didn’t set foot inside my university during the second half of fourth year, instead I started an internship during the January of my final year and was kept on, juggling my dissertation with working part time but gaining real experience that I believed (and now know) would teach me more.

PR and the wider communications industry is a bit of a strange one. It’s not one we’re told about during our school years as a potential career path and it’s also not one everyone understands – I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked ‘but what is it you actually do?’. However, it holds incredibly rewarding roles and a fantastic community of practitioners ready to hold your hand and help you navigate your career.

It’s important that we stop focusing on what has traditionally been seen as the ‘right’ career path and instead figure out the right career path for everyone as individuals. For some people completing sixth year at high school, then going on to University and completing a degree before applying for a permanent role is the right path. For others, schemes like our Kickstarters Traineeship programme [hyperlink to info on MM website] are better. Some people learn better through learning the theory behind what we do, while others do better with gaining hands-on experience and learning on the job.

Ultimately, it comes down to you as an individual. Are you passionate about a career in PR and Communications? Do you have the drive to learn more and better yourself? Are you inquisitive and eager to find out more about the industry and clients? Are you willing to put yourself out there and tell an agency or company why you’re the right fit for the job, regardless of what it says on your CV?

It’s time we focus on the people behind the CV and that’s something I’m glad to say we do at Muckle Media. And remember, the people within the industry are just that, people, they’re willing and often eager to help those interested in finding out more about it. Don’t be afraid to approach someone and ask to go for a coffee to learn more about the realities of working in PR. That’s what I did, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t.

Video Game Collaborations – game over or communications level up?

Video Game Collaborations – game over or communications level up?

With the continued boom in the gaming industry spanning over the past decade, we’re beginning to see more brands, celebrities and influencers find new ways to collaborate with games to have their fair share of the growing market and use their mass popularity to reach an engaged audience.

Earlier this year, we saw luxury swiss watchmakers, Tag Heuer, partner with Nintendo to launch their Super Mario range of smart watches. Initially a limited-edition product, it has been rumoured to mark the beginning of a long term partnership between the two brands. The Tag Heuer Connected x Super Mario watch marked one of the only times in history that a luxury watchmaker has collaborated within the gaming realms. Albeit an unpredictable partnership, it was refreshing to see a luxury brand do something with such a mainstream brand. With the rise in smart watch users Tag Heuer found a way to remain a staple in luxury timepieces but adapt to a more modern form of watch that will appeal to the younger generation who in turn will be their new target market in a few years to come.

Straying from physical collaborations, in game partnerships have been the most prevalent crossovers we tend to experience. These are often seen as easy wins like the time you could buy Snoop Dogg’s announcer voice over as DLC in Call of Duty Ghosts. It was a harmless addition to the game which had its novelty but the idea that it was anything more than a chance to gain a bit of hype and money for the game most would consider false. Still didn’t stop many, myself included, from buying it.

However, the main game that we’ve seen to continue to invest so much of their money, time and efforts into collaborations is online game Fortnite. Love or hate the game it’s something that everyone has at least heard of. Over the years, they’ve had massive collaborations with the likes of Marvel in the leadup to Avengers Endgame. Fortnite introduced their free to play game mode allowing players to play as an Avenger against villain Thanos. This was one of the rare times that a game has opted for free access in a collaboration and with the success and spike in playership it’s something that they have continued to push.

With Covid-19 shutting down all major festivals, concerts and live shows over the last year, Fortnite innovated their collaborations as they set up in game live concerts with the likes of Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. This was a unique approach as many other companies would have put a high profile event like this behind a paywall but it seems Fortnite prefer the exposure to keep a retained playerbase.

Video game collaborations are only going to continue, with the recent decade showing a tried and tested market. It’s only right to assume that these crossovers are only going to be bigger and better as time goes on. It’s almost impossible to predict the future of collabs, and with Fortnite setting a precedent of offering free access to said partnerships it will be interesting to see if similar games follow suit.

Muckle Media launches Aberdeen office, COP26 practice and design studio

Muckle Media launches Aberdeen office, COP26 practice and design studio

Muckle Media launches Aberdeen office, COP26 practice and design studio

Thursday 14th October: Muckle Media, the creative communications agency, has opened its first office in Aberdeen. Based at neospace, the North East of Scotland office will be jointly led by newly recruited PR specialist and senior account manager, Jess Murphy and studio manager and designer, Claire Emslie.

Jess and Claire will work closely with Muckle Media’s wider Scottish management team to grow the agency’s client base in Aberdeen. Alongside launching into a new city, Muckle Media is also launching two new offerings, with the creation of a design studio led by Claire Emslie and a new practice dedicated to COP26 communications in the run up and following COP26 in Glasgow.

Jess Murphy joins the agency from her recent role as PR and communications manager at Aberdeen Inspired, the city centre business improvement district (BID), prior to this Jess worked in various PR agencies and also as a reporter at the Press & Journal.

Claire Emslie joins the agency from being a self-employed creative running her own online design business. Prior to this Claire worked as a communications coordinator for drilling and engineering contractor KCA DEUTAG.

The new Aberdeen office will complement Muckle Media’s other offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, which serve public, private and third sector brands in the UK and overseas with creative PR services.

Jess sees a great opportunity for Muckle Media in the Granite City as the North East economy bounces back, she said: “I am delighted to be joining Muckle Media during a hugely exciting period of growth. I’ve been following the company for a number of years and admired their creative campaigns, ambition and team ethos.

“As the North East continues to work through the recovery phase, promoting your business and its offering in the right way has never been more important and Muckle is well placed to deliver that. It’s a brilliant time to join the team and I’m looking forward to helping build up the Aberdeen base.”

Claire is excited by the prospects of continuing to build out Muckle Media’s capacities as a full-service communications agency with a design offering. She added:

“I am looking forward to being part of this significant growth period for Muckle Media as it expands into Aberdeen. I believe clear communications, supported by strong visual elements helps organisations stand out and reach their potential, so I’m thrilled to take on the challenge of launching a new design offering, and developing the studio to build out the capacities in this area.”

The new office has already opened and Muckle Media is actively recruiting additional communications specialist colleagues in Aberdeen and across wider Scotland. To find out more visit www.mucklemedia.co.uk. The COP26 team can be contacted at cop26@mucklemedia.co.uk

Greensheen or environmental heroism?

Greensheen or environmental heroism?

With watchdog organisations and individuals ready to call out brands for greenwashing, how certain can we be that what brands are conveying to the public is a true representation?

It is the responsibility of a communications professional and the brand to work together and make sure interaction with the public is done honestly and ethically. Before we could even fully understand what PR was, we knew it was our job to communicate the truth or in some instances, know when not to say anything at all.

It calls into question if the language we use around environmental sustainability should be more closely regulated. No governing body has the capacity or financial backing to monitor or interject the issue of greenwashing on the scale of which it is happening. A recent report by the Changing Markets Foundation found that 60% of sustainability claims by fashion giants were in fact instances of greenwashing (https://www.edie.net/news/7/Report–60–of-sustainability-claims-by-fashion-giants-are-greenwashing/).

Unfortunately, as greenwashing isn’t necessarily lying, not much can be done to stop it. Though, public exposition and mass boycott is often used to discourage others from doing it. An example Scottish climate activist, Laura young (@LessWasteLaura), offered to explain how greenwashing can work, al be it a bit extreme, is that fossil fuels are technically a natural product harvested from the very earth itself, so what’s to stop oil companies from selling their product as *Natural!?* *cue picture of an oil drum surrounded by green leaves*. Well for one, there must have been a clever individual who came up with the idea for the messaging in the first place, and two, a full comms team working hard to sell that messaging to the public.

Communications professionals have the privilege of being a barricade, a gateway that can either allow or prevent messages from going out into the world. We have the ability to prevent clients from deceiving the public through our choice of language.

The longer companies get away with greenwashing, the longer we postpone actual change being made. Organisations will continue to be destructive if they aren’t held accountable and consumers will continue to buy non-sustainable products and services if they don’t know any better.

It’s therefore our responsibility to ensure we have an in-depth understanding of our clients, who they are and what they do. Not to be mistaken for who they say they are and what they say they do.

It’s our role to unpick the language clients are feeding us and get to the bottom of the real meaning behind the words.

Natural, organic, eco-friendly, green (that’s a personal favourite).
From suggestive pictures with no meaning behind them *exhibit a – H&M ‘Conscious collection’* to companies with one sustainable product at the face of their dirty operation. This is all within the realms of communications and all completely avoidable if we choose to question the message we are portraying and ultimately stop anything misleading from leaving the drafts. For further troublesome green-sheen tactics, please refer to Green Impacts 10 signs of Greenwashing: https://www.greenimpact.com/tips/environmental-marketing-greenwashing-tips-for-staying-out-of-trouble/

If we truly want to turn things around and begin to reduce self-destruction inflicted on our planet, then it is up to us, the comms professionals to work alongside clients to eliminate forms of greenwashing. . Ultimately, making a positive impact on the environment comes down to influencing behaviour change, so there is a role for comms professionals to play here in making that happen.

Post-pandemic social media: what’s changed?

Post-pandemic social media: what’s changed?

If you, like us here at Muckle Media, have started thinking about your social media strategy for the year ahead, it’s as important as ever to keep up with the latest trends. From new features to constantly evolving algorithms, there is no doubt that social media remains one of the most valuable channels for brands to reach, convert and communicate with customers.

It’s also no surprise that this year has seen unprecedented change in our use of social media. Remember the days before TikTok? Since its release in 2018, the game-changing app has been downloaded over 2 billion times globally with more than 100 million active users. Throughout lockdown, users threw themselves into viral challenges and short-form video content.

TikTok @doggface208

Brands are also seeing the benefits of the platform. After Doggface’s skateboarding, Fleetwood Mac and cran-raspberry juice video went viral, Ocean Spray gained brand interest worldwide with users looking to recreate the video clearing shelves of their classic juice. Inspired by the video, Ocean Spray’s chief exec jumped on his own skateboard to record his version, with the company even surprising Nathan Apodaca (aka Doggface) with a shiny new truck. In cranberry red, of course.

It’s clear that during lockdown social media became more than simply an entertainment outlet. It was a way to communicate with loved ones, a vital news outlet and most importantly, built a virtual sense of community. Now as we settle back into post-pandemic life, what is next for social media? We explore our top predictions below.

Keeping it real
Gone are the days of showing your #bestlife on social media. Throughout the pandemic, household brands took the opportunity to reveal the behind-the-scenes of their business, lockdown struggles included. We were introduced to team members and given the opportunity to listen to Instagram Q&A sessions with founders as brands injected a sense of ‘human’ into their online presence.

Lockdown also saw the rise of the #filterdrop, as users took to social media to normalise real life skin, homes and mental health.

Instagram @sashapallari

Post-pandemic, it’s important that brands maintain this meaningful connection with their followers, and don’t switch straight back into previous strategies. The less polished, real-life side of social media is here to stay and we’re all for it.


Shopping
Social media has also emerged as a shopping platform, in particular Instagram Shopping as part of Facebook’s pivot toward e-commerce. Shops is now featured front and center on the app’s navigation bar and earlier this month Instagram ran their 10+ Days of Live Shopping, with brands like Peloton® and celebs such as Selena Gomez, Lil Yachty and Olivia Palermo all taking part.

Adding a customisable digital storefront to your brand has numerous advantages, including easy product discoverability, visual marketing and a shorter buyer journey.

Short-form video
The final trend that we don’t see going anywhere fast is video. Along with being a powerful content medium for storytelling, it also has the potential to build and maintain deeper relationships with your target audience.

And the best thing? These days you don’t have to be a professional to share video content on your social channels! From (relevant) TikTok dances to a behind the scenes tour of your office, video can give customers a glimpse into your brand and its personality.

Not sure where to start with video content? There are 500 million daily active users of Instagram Stories, and they are a quick and easy way to engage with your followers in short 15-second videos.

Social media has changed post-pandemic, with a number of new trends and it’s vital you keep up to ensure you are creating engaging content that resonates with your followers. To find out more about how we can help click here.

My traineeship with Muckle Media

My traineeship with Muckle Media

Written by James Maule – Trainee PR Account Executive, 2021

Today marks the last day of my six-month traineeship at Muckle Media. Back in March I joined Muckle, fresh out of university with a Sociology degree. I was new to the PR industry and ready to learn.

Prior to joining Muckle, my understanding of what PR was more around the media relations side of reputation management, but I’ve learnt it goes far beyond that. My time at Muckle has taught me that PR strategies can cover a number of channels depending on client objectives, devising plan to deliver results, whether it’s through media relations, social media campaigns or creative executions.

Through the traineeship I was able to gain insight and understand the core foundations to PR, and I absolutely loved it. Copywriting, drafting social media content, research, liaising with clients, compiling media lists, engaging with journalists and most importantly, gaining coverage. Gaining positive coverage was a priority for a lot of clients, so a good deal of time was spent selling-in to media outlets and sourcing journalists who would take interest in stories. So, a lot of variety in a typical week of my
traineeship!

I was also involved in managing our in-house social media, consistently creating content covering topics such as case studies, client news, new business, agency news and the campaigns we delivered for our clients. I was responsible for drafting copy and creating graphics and sourcing imagery, and at Muckle we always had something to say or share!

Throughout my traineeship, I have been privileged to work on some fascinating projects and amazing clients, including The Hebridean Baker and Edinburgh Napier’s graduation. Now, with my time at Muckle coming to an end, it feels that it has passed all too quickly. Muckle has helped me to thrive, both professionally and as an individual, and I will be forever appreciative of that fact.

Having spent the past six months furthering my understanding of what PR is and refining my skillsets, I am ready to start my career!

Is cancel culture a threat to free speech or a force for change?

Is cancel culture a threat to free speech or a force for change?

As digital platforms continue to grow in strength, we’re seeing more online vigilantes coming out of the woodwork to get justice on what they deem as unacceptable. In short, cancel culture is withdrawing support for a person or company based on their views and actions. It goes without saying that some cancellations can be easily justified due to the nature of it being so abhorrently wrong or even illegal in comparison to a targeted cancellation on an individual or brand for a minor mistake made years ago.

However, with cancellations on the rise it has many people questioning whether it’s mob mentality or freedom of speech for the everyday person. Does trolling years back on someone’s Twitter for a mishap really give us a clear indication of what they’re like as a person, or were they just more unfiltered, or have less of an understanding, back then?

From digital detox to teary eyed apology videos, there is a fine line where people can either make a comeback or never recover. We see celebrity cancellations spread like wildfire because as much as people like to see a star being born, they also like to see the downfall of celebrities as it cements their thoughts that they’re humans just like us.

Over the years it’s become apparent that certain celebrities can usually gain public forgiveness depending on the severity of what they have done. For example, Chrissy Teigen’s continuing slanderous tweets disgusted many but after some time off social media she gained back her followers and continued on with regular posting, but, it came at a cost as she lost key partnership deals with a number of brands.

On the extreme end, Kevin Spacey was shunned from Hollywood and cut out of the final season of House of Cards after sexual assault allegations surfaced, despite many years away from the big screen he is supposedly set to be making a return, but whether it’ll be a success remains to be seen.

Whether you agree or not with this new movement, it’s something we should all be paying close attention to as it continues to shape the landscape around us. Here are my five top tips to avoid being #cancelled;

  1. Review your social channels – make sure all your social platforms reflect the person or business you are today and align closely with your core values.
  2. Respond in a timely manner – you don’t want to respond too quickly as people may view your response as insincere. Instead, take your time to reflect on how you feel and how you would like the situation to be different.
  3. Be prepared – there’s no such thing as being over prepared in a crisis. Make sure your company has a clear channel of actions in the event something were to arise.
  4. Choose carefully – consider what you publicly pledge alliance to online. Is it something you’d like others to see?
  5. Don’t point the finger – remember the saying ‘don’t throw stones in glass houses’. Depending on the situation, it is usually best to understand both sides of arguments in heated situations

I believe people and brands can make a comeback after public backlash or being ‘culturally blocked’. It gives them a chance to show like everyone else they are real people who make real mistakes, however in this case it’s just so happened to be caught on a larger scale. It’s important we allow people and brands the opportunity to respond in a timely manner and educate viewers on how the incident occurred before making our final judgement.

To find out more on how we can help you deal with a crisis, visit here.

Training up during a lockdown

Training up during a lockdown

Written by Jenna Maclean – Trainee PR Account Executive, 2021

Over the last five months, I’ve been a trainee account executive at Muckle Media, taking my first steps into the world of PR. Before seeing the job advertisement, PR wasn’t something I’d ever considered or really knew much about, but after reading the advert I recognised lots of key skills I had that could translate to PR and thought I’d apply.

Graduating in the summer of 2020 was not the best time to be entering the job market with a global pandemic going on, so I was thrilled to get back into full-time work when Muckle offered me the position. On my very first day, we released a story on behalf of philanthropy organisation The Hunter Foundation about Scotland’s economy and contacted leading politicians, which resulted in blanket media coverage and stakeholder engagement. Over the last few months, I’ve honed my skills by working across a variety of consumer, third sector, public sector and B2B accounts, from writing press releases for hotels to drafting interviews about aquaculture and pitching celebrity chefs for TV. 

After five months of being a trainee account executive, how would I describe PR? PR stands for public relations, and so we aim to help our clients interact with the public in more than one way, managing and building reputations. Each of them will have their own target audience and so it’s up to us to help them communicate their key messages and values with their respective audience. This could be in the form of advising on and creating social media content to drive interest and footfall to a new distillery or hotel, or it could be writing a thought leadership piece around building sustainable homes. We’re also on hand to advise our clients how to manage their reputation during a crisis or unexpected developments, or to try and launch a news story that gets covered and sparks media interest.  

What’s my favourite part of PR? Aside from my reputation as the queen of proofreading (no typo gets past me), I’ve absolutely loved exploring media relations. During my time in the job, I’ve been part of many media sell-ins and thrived on placing last minute stories and pitching long-lead features. 

My traineeship with Muckle is coming to an end as I head back to university to study for a Masters in Film and TV Production. Working in PR has helped me to further develop my transferable skills and has certainly given me a much better understanding of the media landscape that I’ll be able to apply to my course. I’m excited for what the future holds but am definitely going to miss my wonderful colleagues at Muckle! 

To find out more about Muckle Media’s traineeships please visit our careers page

Muckle Media launches new design studio

Muckle Media launches new design studio

We are excited to announce the launch of our new design studio here at Muckle Media. Offering in-house design in addition to our PR services to support all our client needs.

Headed by our design manager Claire Emslie, our design studio will support the creative development of visual identities and messaging, helping our clients stand out. Alongside brand redevelopment, logo design and refinement, website development and the creation of advertising and marketing collateral.

By offering this accessible design service our aim is to support our clients grow their business. By investing in professional design it shows that your business values professionalism and sends a powerful message to potential clients or customers. You only have one chance to make a first impression and we believe using a professional designer helps make it as effective as possible.

The service is aimed at clients who are at the early stage of growth, providing access to professional design to guide them in the creation of standout identities and marketing materials. Combing this with our PR services to promote strong consistent visual and verbal messaging we believe is truly the key to success.

Our Design Manager Claire says, “I’m delighted to be leading this new service at Muckle Media, and I can’t wait to help more businesses realise the benefit of good design when promoting your business”.