PR Week – Joining Propeller Group

So now I’m in the news, rather than trying to make it.

Having been consulting for Propeller Group since April 2014 I’m joining the company as a full time employee from October 1.

This does mean I’m not taking on any further work through PhillipsPR: while I won’t be dissolving the company completely just yet, it will cease to be active.

Many thanks to all the clients who have chosen to work with me over the last few years.

Full article here.

PR Week















Adloox in MediaTel

Adloox in MediaTel


Thought-leadership piece from Anglo/ French ad verification company Adloox.  The company, which helps media agencies get better value from their clients’ digital advertising budgets, is making progress as more ad spend is invested in ‘programmatic’ real time advertising: when the advertiser buys an ad spot based on what is known about that person (independently of the website they are looking at), rather than buy an ad spot on a particular website.

The effectiveness of online advertising can be hit and miss. Sometimes ads are out of sight (viewability), sometimes they’re not clicked on by a real person (fraud) and sometimes the technology puts ads in inappropriate places and contexts (brand safety).

While other companies offer such ‘verification’ services, Adloox operates an extensive whitelist, which gives advertisers confidence that ads will only appear on websites professionally vetted by the Adloox team (rather than running a reactive ‘blacklist’). The company also offers really detailed auditing at ‘domain URL referrer level’, in other words, the media agency can see which sites were successful in a campaign, and those that were less so.

In this article in MediaTel, CEO Marco Ricci argues that while working to improve viewability is important, the bigger issue is an industry suffering from a lack of transparency – and how that makes it vulnerable to fraud.




Building reputation: VisualDNA

VisualDNA uses visual quizzes to create digital profiles of people: free personality quizzes that help people to understand themselves better, and can also be used help businesses to understand people online.

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 10.38.11

Despite having been established in 2006 VisualDNA has kept a low media profile – engaging in virtually no proactive media relations between 2009 & 2012.

The company has been growing in size rapidly since mid-2012 and now employs around 120 people, most of whom are based at its Shoreditch office.

In addition to a large tech team, the company employs psychologists and data scientists to develop the quizzes, and convert them into data for three main commercial markets – media (targeted advertising), web analytics, and financial solutions.

As a data provider, VisualDNA has two main points of difference:

  • ‘psychographic’ audience profiling – the ability to segment an online audience by personality or ‘emotive’ traits such as extraversion or neuroticism.
  • high-quality UK data: due to partnerships with UK offline data companies such as CallCredit, the depth and detail of the first-party data collected from quizzes, and its large UK cookie footprint

Initially consulted on how to manage media relations for the launch of a new consumer product, I continued to work with the company part-time to deliver a comms strategy covering media relations, digital PR and events – raising the company’s b2b profile as a data provider with a point of difference by;

  • establishing a company blog and editorial programme for it
  • creating news & writing content/ opinion pieces for media
  • hiring and managing UK & US PR agencies to support a product launch and ongoing media relations activity

Having hired UK adtech/ media PR specialists Propeller Group in May, VisualDNA achieved 22 key pieces of coverage between June & December 2013, including The TimesThe GuardianThe DrumRealBusinessMediaTelCampaign, Marketing Week (letter) (data story), M&MGlobalEliteBusinessThe MakegoodPerformanceInExchange WireFigaro DigitalDataIQ QuarterlyRetail Week,  Daily MailAdotas and Media Post.

Case Study: LoveLive Interim Investment Round

This was a short project I delivered in partnership with UK PR agency Franklin Rae. The PR objective was to build credibility for LoveLive’s business model and its potential scalability, to support conversations with prospective investors, through targeted coverage in respected titles.

LoveLive is a digital media company that sits between corporate brands and the music industry to create new music content for the web: primarily live performances.

While LoveLive can offer a fully managed service to the brands, including high production values and digital marketing, it’s their extensive licences that put it comfortably ahead of its competitors. The brands know they are buying access to high quality music content, without the headache of rights clearances. The record labels have a credible partner and access to an additional revenue stream, while LoveLive get global rights to the content that they can exploit and licence globally to other partners and platforms such as YouTube, Vevo & Spotify.

Having grown organically since its formation in 2008, the company secured an interim investment of £1.7m to support the next stage of its growth from a team of private investors. The story was not really about the sum of money: more the ability of the business to attract a strong team of executives, to ready itself for a major institutional funding round.

Despite a small window for pitching ahead of release, limited access to investors, and the moderate sum invested and not having been involved with the company prior to the announcement – the story was compelling and got covered in our primary target publication the Financial Times, influential business tech title Venture Beat and trade publications Music Week, Broadcast & Televisual.

PhillipsPR – Media Coverage – LoveLive Investment Round – Sept 2013

Blewbury’s Red Lion to become the first pub in space


“Mine’s a Stellar” Landlords Matt Wardle and Kerry Tombs with a replica Pocket Spacecraft.

A slight departure from my usual area of work – a contact had got involved with a project to crowdfund personalised missions to the moon using Kickstarter, and I offered a little PR advice during the summer to help them towards their target. will allow people to create their own customised craft – small discs (the size of beer mats) that piggyback a professional space mission via a small, low-cost CubeSat satellite, before being released in space and landing on the moon. Each will carry a range of instruments to track light, radiation, pitch, speed and so forth, all of which can be tracked through your own smartphone app.

I managed to convince the landlord of my local pub, The Red Lion in Blewbury, to back the project in a bid to become “the first pub in space”. (Press Release – Blewbury’s Red Lion to be the first pub in space)

The story was well liked by the local press, generating media coverage for the pub and the project itself. Landlord Matt Wardle was interviewed by BBC Radio Oxford, and the story also made the Oxford Mail, the Didcot Herald, Oxford Times, and the front page of the Oxfordshire Guardian (below).

oxford guardian 1

It’s a great idea, but the project was not helped by being pitched very much as a scientific experiment, with lots of different product choices, and it ran through the middle of the summer with any digital marketing support – which meant despite terrific initial media coverage (and a visit from Blewbury’s local MP, Ed Vaizey) it fell short of its £290,000 target.

Pocketspacecraft did, however, attract the necessary private funding and will go ahead as planned in 2015.

Case Study: TransferWise

TransferWise saves consumers money when transfering funds between UK and EU bank accounts. While banks and established money transfer companies will charge up to 15% of the total value of the transfer, through a poor exchange rate and/or high fees. TransferWise’s crowdsourced p2p model matches payments on both sides and charges the customer a nominal fee.

Having debuted at Seedcamp the previous year, the company was seeking to build its profile – primarily in UK tech and mainstream media. The business has a strong tech story: co-founder Taavet Hinrikus is a well-known entrepreneur and angel investor in his own right, having been Skype‘s first employee and involved with the business when first sold – to eBay.

Approach: Developed two separate narratives to support the company’s seed funding announcement  a study based on the money expat pensioners are losing – to reach mainstream consumer press & personal finance writers; and a story focussed on the new wave of startups causing disruption in the finance sector.

Results: Blanket tech media press in all top-tier tech outlets for funding announcement, plus consumer coverage in The Sun, Mirror and Telegraph. Full coverage on Storify, below:

Case Study: WhoSampled

WhoSampled is a music discovery service built on the world’s largest database of samples, covers and remixes.

The aim was to generate coverage in consumer media to drive downloads of the company’s first smartphone app on iPhone. The app scans your music collection, finds related samples, remixes and covers and, using YouTube videos, allows you to compare them side by side to the originals.

Approach: focussed primarily on visibility in tech media and securing app reviews. Created infographic on company’s unique data to drive digital traffic. Created audionalysis report based on company data with aim of targeting music writers.

Results: Coverage in tech & consumer tech outlets including The Next Web, Wired, Stuff, Gizmodo, Guardian, Independent and many more. US coverage included USA Today and Time.