A selfless selfie?

UK soap star Kym Marsh’s ‘no make-up selfie’

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or stranded on a desert island for the past fortnight, you’ll have undoubtedly caught wind of the newest social media trend to hit Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – the ‘no make-up selfie’.

Playing on the fact that most social media users are keen to post pictures of themselves at every opportunity, a young teenager from the UK posted an image of herself sans the slap and asked her Facebook friends to do the same, all in the name of charity.

While it seems noble, the biggest question raised when the idea really started to take hold was pretty obvious – how on earth was it actually helping anyone who either had cancer or had experienced it within their family?

It was a perfect demonstration of how quick we all are to participate in a bit of shameless self-promotion under the guise of charity. However, it angered many people who regularly give to charity without needing tens or hundreds of people to ‘Like’ a picture of them without make-up.

Thankfully, the PR machine at Breast Cancer Awareness UK quickly piggy-backed on the trend and issued a selfie of its employees imploring that anyone who posted a no make-up selfie also texted ‘BEAT” to 70099 in order to donate £3.

Suddenly, it all seemed a lot more credible and worthy – and celebrities hopped on the bandwagon. In fact, it was so popular that it made its way across the ocean to Australia, although we’re yet to see a charity affiliation with pictures. At the moment, Aussie women are doing their bit to ‘raise awareness’. The real question is, are they raising awareness for themselves or the cause?

The craze has been an eye-opener. Many people who normally don’t dip in their pockets to donate to charity did so on this occasion because they received gratification in return. Misanthropists around the world will be having a field day as it provides yet another example of our shallow society.

But on a serious note, is this the future of charity fundraising? Do we expect to be given something in return for our support? It’s an interesting question and one I am sure charities globally are asking themselves.

April Fools PR

Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.

These words are particularly significant today for two reasons. First, there are significantly more absurd and ridiculous “news” stories that generate attention in the media now compared to long ago, due to both the pressure to feed the 24-hr news cycle and the fight for page views. Second, today is April 1 and marketing people love this day.

But while many think about deploying an April Fools gag to generate talkability and get their brand noticed, only few actually take the liberty to. That’s because there are a few basic ingredients to crafting an April 1 stunt, but getting it wrong can be a recipe for disaster.

  • Plausible but not damaging – like most stunts, an April 1 gimmick must be founded on a good idea. It needs to be believable, otherwise no-one will bite, and something people would be genuinely interested in, yet not damaging to your brand if it were actually true.
  • Funny/ quirky – let’s face it, we all appreciate humour. A funny or clever stunt is what will create the talkability that measures success.
  • Activation – in today’s content heavy hi-tech communications world, activation needs to cut-through social, digital and traditional channels. Think about everything from leaked press releases through to digital ‘gamification’ (see Google Maps example below).

Australia gets first sunrise on April 1, so here are just some of the stunts we’ve spotted today already:

Vegemite iDrink 2.1 energy drink –


Yes, you read this right. Following on from last year’s ‘Yankymite’ rebranding gimmick, Vegemite tried to convince us on Facebook today that they’d launched a new energy drink. Yuk.

However, we give them full points for a simple idea, inclusion of a product shot and simple activation through Facebook, which now has over 2,000 likes and 3,000 shares already.

Google Maps – Pokémon Challenge – 


Only Google would team up with Pokémon to launch the Pokémon Challenge via their Android and iPhone Google Map apps. In this call-out for a fictional job, the “Pokémon Master” at Google, Google Maps is littered with Pokémon, and we’re invited to take the quest to catch ‘em all.

Nova’s Fitzy quits –

Love or hate them, they got in early and it was a corker. On Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa show yesterday, Fitzy resigned ‘live’ on air. The only thing was, it wasn’t live. Watch this video of management rushing to the studio.

Ignite PR works with Australia’s leading franchise brands to both increased brand awareness and improved franchise development. Contact us today. 


What goes into the perfect PR stunt?


Source: couriermail.com.au

How do you raise awareness and drive trial of something as simple as a new mango and lime flavoured chicken? You nick a giant mango from the tropics of Queensland and days later, once the story has borne its fruit in the media, you bring it to Federation Square for the world to see, of course.

This is exactly what Nando’s Australia did recently, resulting in mass media exposure and the heist dubbed #mangogate spreading like wildfire across social channels.

Morning shows picked up a story on the theft of Bowen’s famous Big Mango first up on Monday, with news outlets across the globe catching wind of the fruity robbery over the coming days. Needless to say #mangogate was trending on twitter. By Thursday, the mango popped up in Melbourne’s Federation Square, along with Nando’s accepting culpability for the gimmick and promo staff handing out pieces of chicken. Introduce: round two media reports.

While media exposure continues to be calculated in the wake of mango madness at Nando’s HQ, and the video revealing the heist on their official Facebook page continues to soar past 270,000 views, we can be certain of one thing. Stolen fruit really is sweetest. This was a well-executed stunt.

So what goes into a PR stunt these days? In few words: good idea, #talkability and content.

1. Good stunts start with a good, memorable idea. Mangogate was built upon a very clear, simple and brilliant connection between highlighting the mango flavour of the new product and stealing Australia’s most famous mango.

2. Everyone could #engage with the drama. The hashtag #mangogate was quirky and gave people the ability to easily talk about the top story of the day. Memes were uploaded by people to Bowen’s Big Mango Facebook page, and one guy even posted an image of the Big Mango on Gumtree for sale.

3. The stunt included content that never expired. With Nando’s filming the entire heist for the ‘big reveal’ and posting photos of the product trials in Federation Square, the creation of the #mangogate hashtag and countless user-generated posts, and hundreds of news stories now seeded across the inter-webs, this stunt won’t be quickly forgotten.

Here are some other good stunts in recent years from Australian franchises:

McDonald’s Australia “Macca’s” – for Australia Day 2013, McDonald’s name-changed thirteen stores to “Macca’s”, all with new signage. The gimmick was part of an integrated campaign supported by ABT and BTL activities.

KFC goes green and gold – what better way to engage Australia in the fight for the Ashes Urn, and leverage your sponsorship of Cricket Australia, then to give five flagship stores a green and gold face-lift and put Aussie and English burgers on the menu.

Jim’s Mowing “MoAthon” – in November 2013, 150 Jim’s Mowing franchisees took part in “MoAthon” from Hobart to Brisbane as part of the franchise’s national Push for Change campaign. The year before they mowed the world’s biggest grass moustache. We love a world record attempt!

Ignite PR works with Australia’s leading franchise brands to both increased brand awareness and improved franchise development. Contact us today. 

Small businesses giving back: why CSR isn’t just for multi-nationals

Hundreds of small businesses got behind Clean Up Australia Day last week. Image source – www.cleanup.org.au

While many small businesses view both time and money as a barrier to developing a CSR strategy, they’re merely a minor speed bump at the start of what is potentially an ongoing road of strong community engagement and brand recognition.

For years, companies have edged their way closer to customers and now – through new media – they’re closer than they ever expected to be. This means modern day consumers (and stakeholders) now have an expectation of corporate behavior and choose to engage or work with businesses that do some kind or ‘good’ work for society.

Charitable initiatives that boost a business’s profile locally and engage with the community without direct business interest can produce long term commercial gain. After all, it’s a well-known fact that consumers (read: your customers) will often choose to engage or work with a company they know have values closely aligned with their own.

For small business this could be as simple as providing help at a grass-roots level – volunteering at a local homeless shelter or aged care facility, or donating (time or money) to a cause that is close to the community’s heart such as the local school, sports club or helping a family that’s doing it tough.

To ensure a CSR strategy is successful, it should always be executed with the full support of the organisation delivering it – otherwise it will look like an ‘add on’ initiative for commercial gain. Today’s consumers aren’t stupid, and they will easily understand your intentions.

It is therefore important that CSR activity is communicated appropriately and sensitively, so as not to appear like you are ‘tooting your own horn’. Good work should be done because it will make a difference and a business should never seek thanks or expect plaudits for it.

However, that’s not to say it shouldn’t be recognised. Indeed, we work with hundreds of franchisees who get their hands dirty in their local area and we have carefully told this story to their local community without sounding ‘preachy’. We have simply narrated their contribution to the local area which has resulted in a boost of business for many.

It could be as simple as communication through social media. This small Aussie business below participated in Clean Up Australia Day yesterday and simply shared its involvement through Instagram.

So if you haven’t already incorporated CSR into your business strategy, it’s time to take action. Regardless of the size of your business you can make a real difference in your community without having to spend huge amounts of time or money in doing so. Give back this year – and it will undoubtedly give back to you, too.

Engaging future franchisees through Thought Leadership

Image source - makemorerainblog.org

Image source – makemorerainblog.org

While some franchises have long realised the benefits of thought leadership as a communications tactic, many still fail to embrace it.

Thought leadership can shape thinking around the nature of a franchise, reveal its corporate culture, and introduce new ideas to the industry that might be important to a franchise’s future. Ultimately, it can demonstrate that a franchise’s expertise is driven by a deep understanding of its own work and the sector.

It can also be used to support one of the most fundamental challenges for franchisors – attracting quality franchise recruits suitable for the next wave of growth. One of the key drivers in a person’s decision to purchase a franchise is their respect for the franchisor’s drive and passion for the business. Thought leadership provides an excellent way to help a brand engage and resonate with potential new franchisees by sharing its vision.

So how can thought leadership be deployed effectively to engage next gen franchising?

Fortunately Australia’s $128 billion franchising industry is extremely dynamic. With long-term trends forcing franchisors to plan for the future, they have the opportunity to demonstrate their appreciation of future economic challenges, rising above company-specific issues to provide industry or national leadership on broader topics and trends.

A growth strategy encouraging independent operators to join a franchise system might mean good thinking around the increasing costs and complexities associated with operating an independent business or how to embrace e-commerce in the current retail environment. If you’re targeting corporate career changers, thinking might involve insights into the reasons underpinning why a significant number of highly experienced corporate executives are turning to the franchising sector.

However, like most communication strategies thought leadership has its rules. Original, good thinking is critical. Using research will ensure it is not only original, but comprehensive and relevant to the target audience. Effective thought leadership also requires a commitment of time from the executive management team, and collaboration with a good PR team to ensure thinking not only resonates with your target audience but also has cut through in the current media landscape.

Ignite PR works with Australia’s leading franchise brands providing strategic communications advice leading to both increased brand awareness and improved franchise development. Contact us today. 

PR’s role in modern day franchising

CEO Champions: boosting visibility of senior leaders

CEO Champions: boosting visibility of senior leaders

Franchising and small business is a pretty dynamic sector of Australia’s economy, and that’s why we’re pretty excited to hear our clients speak of increases in consumer confidence. It means franchisors can start investing more in communications, to explore new ways to cut through the diverse and ever-changing media landscape.

While we’ve been exploring the following elements with our clients over the past few years, here are our thoughts on some trends we believe are shaping PR’s new role in modern day franchising in Australia.

  • Storytelling – Beyond boasting average sales growth or profit margins across the network, the prospective pool of candidates wants to know who your successful franchisees are, how long they’ve been with you, why they are successful and what skills they came with. These stories are far stronger than your product, and PR people will unearth those that are strongest separating your proposition from that of your competitors.
  • CEO Visibility – The very best franchise leaders will be those who dedicate time to helping PR succeed. This might mean making themselves available to offer industry business insights, or validating why their organisation supports its chosen causes. The leadership communicated to stakeholders through high CEO visibility, as we like to call it, also proves invaluable in attracting new franchise recruits, because passion attracts passion.
  • Visual Communication – While the press release is far from ‘dead’ in Australia, the point is brands using interesting and engaging multimedia such as videos and infographics are ahead of the rest. There’s more to media than printed news stories, and modern day PRs are multi-skilled with the ability to put together a video, from scripting to filming, editing and distribution with the same strategic thinking.
  • Thought Leadership – Leading franchisors have the unique opportunity to establish thought leadership in their respective industry. The right communications professionals have a strong understanding of what makes media tick, allowing them to create the thought leadership on your behalf.
  • Social Media – You may have a social presence, but it’s not merely enough. If your social activity doesn’t include strategies for energising and engaging your fans and followers across the key platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you’re stuck in the past.

PR communications is one of the most powerful ways to do something that is so fundamental in the franchising industry – sharing your company’s story and success with the right audience. Understanding it and utilising it to achieve your corporate goals will be a worthy investment in 2014.

Ignite PR works with Australia’s leading franchise brands providing strategic communications advice leading to both increased brand awareness and improved franchise development. Contact us today. 

You’re a winner. Congrats. Now what?

Maximising business award sucess

If you’ve just been voted the best in your industry, and you really are the best, you should know to leverage your podium position for all it’s worth.

Whether it’s operational excellence, marketing expertise or innovation, or a combination of all of these, highlighting a company’s core strengths will help improve its reputation. However, doing so with cut-through in a dynamic media world can be a challenge.

So how do you leverage an award win for maximum gain?

We’re glad you asked. PR has always been effective in building credibility for brands through – among other things – communicating key messages to target audiences. It’s no different when it comes to maximising an award win. PR people will extract the interesting information from a company’s success story and use it in a compelling way that actually generates awareness and credibility for the brand.

While you can’t straight up say you’re the ‘industry leader’ and expect people to believe you, good PR people will help you determine and develop key messages, identify your audiences, and then marry the two together through developing communication tactics that position your company in the public domain with this objective in mind.

For the past two years we’ve written successful award submissions for our franchise clients in the NAB Excellence in Franchising Awards and then gone on to leverage them to boost their company profiles and support franchise development. In fact, leveraging success at a local level and national level has been significant in helping our franchise clients attract high quality franchise candidates and grow their businesses in a competitive environment.

Here are a few of our tips on leveraging success:

1. Message (the what you’re saying bit)

Why have you been recognised? Cut to the core of why you’ve been recognised. It’s about the hard-hitting strategy underpinning success that media wants to report on, not that you provide unbeatable customer service.

2. Audience (the who you want to/should talk to bit)

You may have a larger audience than you first think. It’s not just about the people buying your products or services. It’s also about the people who work for your organisation, your suppliers, and other stakeholders who have an interest in your company.

3. Tactics (the magical part where the two link)

Media announcement – Taking your success story to mainstream media requires a different approach to industry media. The two have different interests and therefore your story needs to be told differently. PR people will help you do this.

Internal/stakeholder engagement ­– What’s going to resonate well with your stakeholders? Is it a simple story in the next newsletter or is it a short, sharp video production that visually showcases the personality behind the brand. Content is again key here.

New media opportunities – You’re the best, so position yourself as the best. Use your new credibility to seek new media opportunities for your key spokespeople to share your company’s leadership and industry insights.

If you’d like further advice on entering your company into business awards or leveraging your achievements, please get in touch with us here.

Ignite PR has successfully entered its clients into awards including FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards, BRW Fast Franchises List, Telstra Business Awards, BRW Fast Starters, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, BRW ANZ Private Business Awards and ActionCOACH My Business Awards.

Paying for brand ambassadors: worth it or not?

In our last blog post we touched upon how your employees were your best brand ambassadors. However, many brands also pay high profile celebrities to endorse their products and/or services such as Brumby’s, who has recently announced its partnership with Matthew Hayden.

While many brands have successfully leveraged a celebrity relationship to their benefit, a large number have failed to engage their core consumer with the new ‘face’ of their business.

Why so?

Brand ambassadors must be picked carefully. Just because someone is famous doesn’t mean your target consumer will instantly warm to them. What’s key here is to ensure your brand ambassador is relevant to your products and services and, in turn, your customer.

The main aim of having a celebrity brand ambassador on board is to transfer the equity of said person to your business, resulting in enhanced preference and a heightened perceived credibility for your brand. They should be instantly recognisable and aligned with your proposition.

Target has recently demonstrated a great re-positioning campaign using the services of fashion guru, Gok Wan. This has worked brilliantly for them as Gok is well-known – and, importantly, liked – by consumers from all walks of life. He is neither too ‘fashion-forward’ nor hyper-critical, meaning the average Target customer feels assured that he – and therefore Target  –  really does have their best fashion interests at heart.

Linking with a public figure who is known for their brilliant charity or community work can also be an effective way to ‘piggy-back’ your messaging. Our client, Poolwerx, recently did exactly that, joining forces with Kids Alive founder, Laurie Lawrence, to promote swimming pool safety this summer. You can see more about that here.

Of course, it can go horribly wrong. Affiliating yourself fully with a celebrity means that if they fall from a great height, so do you. Think Kate Moss and the cocaine scandal – hugely embarrassing for the likes of Chanel and Burberry.

On the flipside, some great crisis PR can rescue your brand and even turn a disaster into a success. Rimmel stuck by Moss and some have argued that it actually boosted its profile and helped Moss obtain even greater international appeal. Her rock ‘n’ roll goddess status certainly didn’t take a hit – it just added to her ‘bad girl’ persona, which Rimmel evidently thrived upon.

But in truth, does anyone really want their brand to be associated with such negative connotations, regardless of the outcome?

In summary, there is certainly a place for celebrities in marketing and PR campaigns. Just be sure to choose someone who will reflect your company’s ethos and values, and who will bring more than just their name to your brand.

Maximise award wins in the media

PR tips for award winners

Many of the key business and franchise awards are being announced and if you have been successful the win provides an excellent platform for PR exposure, especially in your local area. A lot of time and perhaps money was no doubt spent on preparing your submission so make sure you get the most out of your award win.  

Business achievements are well worth talking about and an excellent way to engage with your local customer base.

The success of a local business is generally of interest to the media but if you don’t share your news, you can’t enjoy the benefits of PR, so here are a few tips to prepare and maximise the opportunity for media interest in an award win.

Spokesperson and key messages:

Make sure you have nominated a brand spokesperson who is happy to talk to media and has a sound knowledge of the business. Whatever the criteria was for the award be willing to share detail with the media to prove why you deserved the win. Sales and growth figures aren’t always necessary but a % growth figure is always good to prove the financial success of your business, without giving away too much to competitors. Highlight any key initiatives or community programs that you participated in. Basically let the media know the five top reasons you received the award.

Preparation is the key: 

Preparing a release in anticipation of a win is sensible, as media hate old news so be ready to go with a professional release. If there were a lot of categories it is important to make clear your point of difference and have a strong lead. Once you have pitched your story the follow up is just as important, keep on top of your contact or your story might get lost in the hundreds of emails journalists receive each day. 


Low resolution, dated branding, closed eyes or wardrobe malfunctions are all common photo mistakes. Having a great photo is just as important as the story itself. Make sure you have a nice professional shot of the award acceptance or try a great shot in front of your store with clear branding.

Social Media:

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect ways to talk to both consumers and industry peers about your success. Always include a #tags with Twitter or Instagram (e.g. #ignitepr #businessawards etc…) or the best way to get your post noticed on Facebook is an excellent photo.

Give the win life:

Apart from PR you can spread the word about your win by marketing it through a range of other mediums. Many awards come with a special logo that you can use so maximise it as much as possible. For example: put a news item about the win on your website homepage; include details in your email signature and on collateral i.e. brochures, letterhead etc; put a poster or sticker of the win in your shopfront; include details about it in a customer newsletter or letter to clients.

You’ve got to be in it to win in it and talking to a PR agency about the process can alleviate a lot of the stress in preparing a submission and harnessing the right coverage afterwards. Entering awards isn’t just about winning but also about being seen amongst the best in your industry, community or category. It also provides a great opportunity for you to review your business and processes and provide you with ideas to improve it.  If you want further advice on how to maximise a recent win or you are thinking about entering any awards Ignite PR can guide you through the process.



Social Media Age


If you haven’t already noticed social media looks like it’s around to stay. Choosing to ignore it could mean you are missing out on golden opportunities to communicate with customers, gain valuable exposure for your brand and keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Whilst I am sure you don’t doubt the importance of social media it is time consuming, at times stressful and involves a whole hearted approach. So if you are considering tackling the world of social media here are a few good reasons to look at involving an agency.


Whilst it’s ok to sometimes post fun irrelevant updates too many businesses make the mistake of making these post’s the core of their content. The flip side to this is don’t want to flood your followers/friends etc. with all business and no pleasure either. It is all about balance and finding that balance is easier when you have a strategy. This involves planning content, knowing your audience and having social media guidelines for your business to follow.


These three letter acronyms are on everyone’s lips. If we had a dollar for every time we heard “I want to be the first listing on Google” we probably wouldn’t be writing this blog. Social Media Optimisation, Search Engine Optimisation and Search Engine Marketing all go hand in hand when increasing your Google ranking. Social media plays an important role in keeping up to date information about your company online and accessible to potential customers, while assisting in flushing out negative sentiment that may be online about your brand. Social media enables you to utilise links and content that works with Google’s search algorithms. Remember, if Google rankings are your goal it should always be coupled with a SEM and SEO plan.

Rules of engagement

The experts in social media will be able to give you tips and techniques on handling social media engagement, good and bad. The potential for negativity is a real risk for any brand but it is not a bad thing if it is handled well and never ignored. Proper engagement and management is just as important as being on the platform. Followers of your page never want blatant advertising, narcissistic self promotion or constant pictures of your two pugs, not matter how cute they are. Keep it real always engaging and remember who you are talking to and why.

Choose your platforms wisely

While it’s great to be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, have a blog and YouTube channel, unless you’re managing social media 24/7 – and let’s be serious who has the time- the result will be stagnant pages. Maintaining quality consistent content is imperative for social media success. An agency will be able to give you expert advice on what platforms your business should be focussing on and assisting in creating quality content for you.

Social media should be treated with as much care and scrutiny as any other form of marketing you decide to invest in. This is why you want to start it off on the right foot. Treat it like any relationship with your customers, and remember you don’t have a second chance at a first impression.

If you are looking at Social Media as part of your PR and Marketing strategy for 2012 contact Ignite PR & Marketing for more tips.

Image Source – Mashable Comics