17 things we’ve loved in 2017

Aaaaaaaaand…. that’s a wrap. Our cosy office in the heart of Frankton is all locked up and ready for some peace and quiet this silly season!

With 2018 just around the corner, we thought it was timely to summarise what we loved most about 2017.

It’s been a big year – a year of change, success, girl power and finally a win in the America’s Cup (and don’t get us started on Trump).

So here it is…

17 things we’ve loved in 2017:

1 > Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern 

For her stringent citizen test and love of pineapple lumps. Oh and girl power. The fact she loves cats. For inspiring our daughters. For showing Gareth Morgan that voters can, indeed, “be that thick”. And look what happened to him, eh? (Image: ZM Online)

Jacinda-Arden-ZM-interview

 

2 > Rebranding Southern PR 

Our clients rely on us to protect their reputations and build their brands, and 2017 was our year for the brand revamp. Practice what you preach!

So we took the leap, and what came next was truly spectacular, thanks to the creative team at Whitelaw Mitchell.

We said hello to our new bright Pantone colours (mixed with a healthy balance of black), geometric shapes, and fonts to match. We love it. Hope you do too.

3 > Launching our savvy new website

With our cool new look, the next step was a website to match. We came out of the dark ages and transitioned into the digital imperatives of a responsive and mobile-friendly website, with visitor experience top of mind.

Missed it? Here’s 6 ‘must-know’ facts about our website launch.

Southern-PR-new-launch

4 > Coffee

It simply gets our creative juices flowing. Thanks to our new KeepCups we’re saving the planet one coffee at a time.

We feel good, anyway.

5 > Kiwi golfer Michael Hendry – king of the course

Hendry was the first New Zealander in 14 years to win the Brodie Breeze trophy, and what a celebration it was!

He’s back to defend his crown for the 99th ISPS Handa New Zealand Open at Millbrook Resort and The Hills on 1 to 4 March 2018. See you there! (Image: New Zealand Open)

New-Zealand-Open-Michael-Hendry

 

6 > Planet Earth

A tribute to Sir David Attenborough.

He’s taken us closer to nature than we’ve ever been before and if the Hans Zimmer sound track isn’t enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, the penguins jumping off the cliff will tug at your heart strings…

7 > Award-winning us

Back in August, we were named top public relations agency in Australasia at the Australasian Leisure Management Communications and Marketing Awards.

It was incredibly exciting to be recognised for the work we do throughout Australasia in the tourism and leisure sectors.

Southern-PR-Sarah-Fiona-Laura

 

8 > Our family of clients making a world of difference

Our clients? They’re awesome. Do we need to say anything else? Highlights of the year, as always.

9 > Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir Rosé and peonies!

Pass the pink stuff! This heavenly pink is our favourite rosé for 2017, and spring is our favourite season for the simple fact that extravagantly beautiful peonies become a must-have in our office.

10 > Hello Christchurch

Our savvy little company branched out into Christchurch this year. Starting with a bang, we worked on the PR launch for the new Crowne Plaza Christchurch. (Image: Designworks)

Crowne-Plaza-Christchurch-grand-staircase-Designworks

 

11 > Moving Mountains

Back in March we secured a 12-page spread for our client Southern Landmarx in NZ House and Garden. Yes, 12 pages. A fantastic result off the back of a double medal trifecta award win.

12 > Brain Food

With an unstoppable energy for delivering morning to night experiences, the Yonder team is rightfully winning the hearts of locals by offering something new in Queenstown.

Our favourite on the menu – the Kimchi Bowl. (Image: Whitelaw Mitchell)

Yonder-Queenstown-Kimchi-Bowl

 

13 > Networking

There’s nothing we love more than connecting with Queenstown’s vibrant business community. We’re lucky to have so many inspiring people and entrepreneurial masterminds on our doorstep.

Every event or breakfast meeting is an opportunity to ‘wow’ people with our snazzy square business cards. Who said print was dead? Make an impact.

14 > Upskilling

Don’t get left behind. Invest in your business and your people.

We’re delighted to be working with Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) to help bring more communications-based courses to Queenstown.

Our little resort town can sometimes be ‘off the radar’ due to our ‘remote’ location, so join us for a two-day course early next year to learn how to master communication and gain skills for the digital era. View course details here.

15 > Supporting culture in Queenstown

Yes we love all our clients. But we love LUMA differently because they don’t pay us. That’s because they put all the money they DO get into this awesome event that’s growing bigger by the year. We’re OK with that. (Image: Esther Small)

Luma-2017-Light-Walk-Esther-Small

 

16 > Reputation management

Reputation is key. Knowing what to do when things go wrong (and they do) is all about having a plan. We sincerely hope you never have to use your plan. But when the s**t hits the proverbial you better have one. Talk to us.

17 > Clay Target Shooting

There’s something really, really satisfying about shooting stuff (bad day at the office, anyone?). That’s shooting clays and rabbits (clay discs of course)! We just channelled our inner sharpshooter thanks to the wonderful team at Break One Clay Target Shooting.

Amidst the stunning landscape on the private Queenstown Hill Station, Fiona revealed her ‘wild side’ and took home top score at our office Christmas party! (Image: Break One)

Southern-PR-Laura-Fiona-Amy

 

And there you have it, happy holidays and see you in 2018.

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Storytelling – dare to be yourself

We’re looking into two of our favourite W’s – the what and why – in our latest blog to inspire you to think outside the box when creating content marketing strategy for 2018.

Whatever the channel, it’s all about curating timely, well thought-out and attention-grabbing stories that tick all the boxes for the editor or online channel you’re writing for. You might be creating content to get earned media (public relations), paid media advertising (an advertorial maybe) or for your owned platforms (website, social media).

Whatever your goal, you need to know why you’re creating content.

We’ve attended a number of seminars since September including the Auckland-based Social Media Conference NZ and Destination Queenstown’s (DQ) Queenstown Week Insights Programme. Huge thanks to DQ for bringing international speakers to Queenstown for an exciting week of inspirational presentations on how businesses can ‘talk’ to the Australian market.

A key message that comes up time and time again, one that resonates strongly with us and ‘what we do’ is…

Think beyond your product and tell your story.

So we’ve compiled some top tips to help you on your way.

What’s a story?

In short, it’s a description of a connected series of events. Storytelling’s an age-old craft, enabling people and businesses to transform perceptions and share experiences.

We’re ALL human, and stories help show you’re human.

New Zealand Story’s Marketing Manager Gary O’Neil shared this in a recent presentation – ‘stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts’*.

So, let’s think how you can turn your (potentially dry) product or company fact sheet into a series of stories. Can these facts be broken down? Is there a news hook or angle about your history, a ‘day in your life’ or the one thing that makes you different to any comparative business? What’s your USP’s?

How and what 

Our question to you is how are you planning on capturing attention and what is your Kiwi story?

Are you a 25-year-old tourism business which started off as a one-man-band or the oldest winery in Central Otago with stories to tell about your land, people and wine?

In today’s fragmented media landscape, journalists are being asked to produce double the content but with less resources. As a PR agency, we’re producing increasing numbers of editorial pieces for clients (in addition to traditional media releases) so we can pitch to journalists with content they can pick up and run ‘as is’.

For this to work, you need to know who you’re writing for (what stories have they previously covered?), what’s of interest to them and their readers, and have a basic understanding of what’s ‘media-worthy’.

If your strategy is to create your own editorial content, you’ll need to ensure you’re curating and delivering high quality pieces, written in a journalistic-style and voice to suit your desired publication. Maybe think about hiring a writer for your team or outsourcing to a PR or content agency.

So what’s your angle?

An angle is the specific emphasis you choose for a story that you’ll use as your pitch to media.

We’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you ‘dig deep’ so you can ‘wow and wonder’ in interesting and emotional (adds the human element) ways in 2018.

  • When did you start? Your journey – break this down into bite-sized pieces to unearth hidden treasures around your brand
  • Who are your people? Locals or internationals? Is there a Kiwi story to be told?
  • Be human – where did you begin? What kind of business are you? What do you believe in? What’s your mission and values?
  • Can your audience relate to you? If so, in what areas? Think about brand personality and how you might inspire your community
  • How do you think, envision the future, and where do you want to be? Think about growth and aspirations — what’s in the pipeline for your company directors or front of house teams? Is this an opportunity to profile your people?
  • What trending topics can you relate to (think BuzzFeed and Twitter). Does your team have the ability and resources to be reactive?
  • Do you have an upcoming anniversary you can leverage? Do you recognise employees for their longevity?
  • Think about how you work with your community. Does your company donate time/people to community or charity projects? What emotions are behind this and why do you do it?
  • Something new to say or offer — don’t miss these opportunities.
  • What memories do you provide for your customers? Could this create a story in itself?

While brainstorming these content ideas, you should apply Lauren Quaintance’s (Storyation co-founder) ‘so what’ test.

“Great stories pass the ‘so what test,” she said at a recent presentation on storytelling.

“Journalists want quirky or unique stories that generate talkability or ‘water-cooler’ conversation. Ideas that will grab attention in the social feed.

“Ask yourself, is it surprising, different or eye-catching. Or is it a case of so what?”

It’s our business to communicate client messages accurately to their audiences through relevant channels. Do you need help telling your story? Get in touch.

*Jennifer Aaker, Social Psychologist. Professor of Marketing at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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Christchurch-based creative Amy Forsyth joins SPR

Delighted to announce that we’ve introduced yet another creative to the Southern PR team! Amy Forsyth hails from Christchurch as she joins us to expand SPR’s communication services to her beloved hometown.

After working in one of Auckland’s biggest PR agencies, she’s back and fizzing that she gets to get work within a busy agency dynamic in the Mainland (she’s not patriotic about the South Island at all…).

She’s enthusiastic about anything digital, loves to listen and be heard and naturally, loves to chat.

We’ve asked her all the hard questions here so you don’t have to…

Who are you and what’s your role at SPR?

Amy Forsyth, Account Executive and the first SPR ambassador for the Christchurch region.

What excites you about a career in PR and communications?

Keeping up to date with businesses and industries, listening to people’s stories of their objectives and issues and getting their identity to where they want to be. The level of problem solving and strategic thinking that goes into PR planning is not something that’s taught at University. It’s all about intuition, keeping up with affairs, knowing who’s who, and following the forever changing digital and communications landscape.

What’s your connection to the Garden City (aka Christchurch)?

Christchurch is my home! I’ve lived here all my life so I’m very aware of the changes and the opportunities that are in motion. After returning from work experience in Auckland, I’m also now working part-time at Crowne Plaza Christchurch as their Marketing Coordinator. Being so familiar with the city and media industry means I’m up-to-speed with the number of new businesses and inspiring individuals with fantastic new services, products or events on offer as the city springs back to life. I’m working on helping some of them get their key messages and branding across to the right audience.

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

I’m admittedly a bit of a book nerd, so I have to say it would be Roald Dahl. His imaginative stories always resonate with me, even as an adult. His own life stretched over some significant historical events and happenings, so listening to his life stories would be unreal.

How do you keep up with today’s 365/24/7 news cycle?

Every morning with breakfast I check all major news platforms, regularly watch the news, and my Sunday ritual is to have breakfast with the Sunday paper whether I’m out for brunch, or at home I enjoy taking it all in in print. I also follow local online business directories like Neat Places, POA and CHCHcentral, and of course love to keep up with all the latest society trends through publications like Cityscape, Metropol, Style Mag and naturally also via social media.

It’s all about checking into the right sources and creating routine for enabling time to keep as updated as possible.

One of your best and most valuable learning experiences to date? Any advice/learnings from internships?

My most important piece of advice thus far in my career would be understanding that when you are on your client’s time it’s as though you work for the company directly yourself. You want to listen and absorb the feeling of their identity, gather a full picture of their background operations and understand how they want others to hear them; the real essence of their business.

Want to know more? Get in touch with Amy.

 

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Crisis Communications: What to do when your business reputation is on the line

Accidents happen. Incidents happen. Sometimes to the biggest and ‘best’ businesses out there.

But it shouldn’t really matter whether you and your business are ‘big’ or ‘small’.

If you’ve spent years of your hard-earned cash and sacrificed so-called work/life balance to build your business. If your personal reputation and brand is on the line if you’re CEO or GM. If something goes wrong, then why wouldn’t you have planned for that gut-wrenching moment when someone dies, someone lies, or someone lays the blame on you?

Sadly, it seems a fair few businesses adopt the head-in-the-sand approach to crisis communications.

WHY?

Being honest enough to admit that you and your business are not perfect (that business really, truly doesn’t exist) and being prepared before the crisis happens is not that hard.

Yes it costs to call on a communication company for training and in the event of a crisis. But what’s at stake here? The most important thing in your business is your reputation; what you’ve built up over the years is something you should be prepared to protect.

SO, HAVE A CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS PLAN.

If you’re in any kind of business you’ll no doubt have operational plans, rules and regulations coming out of your ears. In, for example, aviation, adventure tourism, or events, the levels of compliance are probably driving you nuts, as you’re constantly having to refresh or re-do the mounds of *online* paperwork or show that you meet the latest standards.

But what’s the point in having all that documentation if it can all be unravelled in a matter of two or three days if you don’t respond appropriately to a crisis?

CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS 101

Southern PR’s Director Fiona Woodham shares her ‘Crisis Comms 101’ top tips to help get you started:

  • Consider all the scenarios (from death, to injury, to your workplace burning down or a staff member going rogue)
  • Think about how, when and why you will communicate clearly and effectively with media, stakeholders, staff and customers
  • Think about how you will communicate with all relevant agencies involved in your incident – these might be police, your industry representatives, Victim Support or even the likes of your local RTO or Tourism New Zealand
  • Consider what your key messages would be around any of the potential incidents that might afflict your business and how and when you would communicate those to ultimately protect your business and achieve a ‘business as usual’ status
  • Review your operational plans in the light of the above scenarios and ask yourself whether you’re comfortable with successfully delivering timely, accurate and targeted crisis communications to all the channels above while you’re in the middle of dealing with the incident itself
  • Contact your PR agency so they can review your plans and assess what levels of training might be required BEFORE you need to put them into action

Accidents happen. Incidents happen. They’re going to happen because no matter how well you think you know your business and the people that work in or on it, human nature comes to the fore. People make mistakes. Things go wrong.

“Say sorry,” says Fiona.

“The company is sorry, the staff are devastated, saying sorry isn’t an admission of guilt. It’s all about reputation and trust, not about pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes.”

Businesses that deal with incidents best, big or small, are inevitably the ones that have planned for the unthinkable and are confident that their systems, processes and training are in place.

Hear more from the Southern PR team on what it takes to prepare for a crisis in our upcoming workshop – Southern PR Presents…Crisis Management 101.

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