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Creative and intelligent campaigns
from award-winning Bristol PR Agency

Spirit clients adapt in the fight against Covid-19

Adapt, adjust, innovate and be kind are just some of the motifs of this extraordinary time.

Spirit has been helping clients communicate how they are doing exactly that. Barratt Developments’ donation of hundreds of PPE masks to NHS hospitals and social care teams in the South West was widely covered by regional media including BBC and commercial radio, demonstrating industry leadership but more importantly, boosting morale amongst the staff who made this happen.

Meanwhile, images of Bristol City Centre BID’s valiant street cleaning team disinfecting high contact areas in the city centre were widely published and shared by media outlets. The coverage brought about discussions on wider collaborations to extend this vital work to other areas of the city.

TAP for Bristol takes off

Bristol’s new ‘TAP for Bristol’ contactless donation points to support homeless people has raised £10,000 – triggering the first grant application round.

After widespread media coverage of its launch from the Guardian to ITV West Country news, and regular media updates since, donations have averaged £150 per day. Dozens of businesses and organisations contacted Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) to request a ‘TAP for Bristol’ point, which now total 20 around the city – making it the fastest growing donation system in the UK.

The scheme is the first in the UK to raise money for homelessness prevention services as well as directly supporting people who are currently homeless.

Sales at Wapping Wharf off to a flying start

It’s exciting to see the new homes going up at Wapping Wharf, one of our longest standing clients – and even better to hear that 25% have already been snapped up in the first six months.

Against a backdrop of a challenging market with much uncertainty around Brexit ahead of the launch in September 2019, it was great to hear that so many of the 163 private sale apartments had been reserved.

With a carefully crafted campaign capitalising on the community ethos of this new corner of Bristol, we’ve told the stories of the people behind this new development, from the residents to the retailers, bolstered by a new partnership with Bristol 24/7’s social purpose initiative, Better Bristol.

This approach to drive sales using media, marketing and social media has been underpinned by a broader programme of events, sponsorship of community initiatives and awards to help ensure people from Bristol and beyond truly embraced this new quarter.

And it’s worked! Around 75% of reservations at launch came from ‘local knowledge’, Bristol 24/7 was one of the top referrers to the sales website and we secured national and widespread regional coverage – watch out for Wapping Wharf on Location, Location, Location soon!


Taking a local developer international!

We had an exciting summer thanks to a ground-breaking new initiative by our long-standing developer client Urban Creation.

Our role is to manage the communications for this student/residential developer and serviced apartment operator, raising its profile and supporting its expansion, as well as helping to drive the sales and lettings for its property portfolio.

Never afraid of a challenge and always innovating, Jonathan Brecknell, owner and director, had come to us many months previously to let us know he had plans to use cutting-edge modular construction methods on a future development site. When we delved deeper we discovered there were some unique angles to this project given the nature of the site.

We set about ensuring the right collateral was gathered from the very early stages and carefully crafted the messaging to ensure it had the makings of a national story. So when it came to the moment factory-built homes were lifted by a giant crane into a tight city centre site, we had everything we needed to make the story fly!

We delivered regional, national and international coverage including Mail Online, The Sun, Metro, BBC Points West, BBC Radio Bristol, ITV West Country, France 2, French finance paper Les Echo and many other national and sector publications.

This resulted in our client attracting numerous requests to speak at major conferences and events, new enquiries regarding possible development sites and significant new traffic to their website. In Jonathan’s words, the phone has been ‘red hot’!

Making Bristol even better

Spirit began working with the Bristol City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) this year to promote its success in ensuring the city centre is a safe, attractive and welcoming place for all who work, live, study and spend time there.

In less than six months, PR activity has reached more than 320,000 readers and viewers through a range of broadcast, online and print media coverage on everything from street planters growing free fruit and vegetables to the UK’s first contactless donation system to support homelessness prevention.

Combined with our work to increase engagement on LinkedIn, the leadership team has noticed a significant increase in recognition and understanding of the BID and a growing number of businesses and organisations proactively contacting them to discuss ideas and initiatives.

The icing on the cake for SS Great Britain

From daredevil acrobatics to international cricket history, Spirit PR supported the SS Great Britain to promote their summer programme this year.

Whilst Brunel’s great ocean liner is famous for its engineering and maritime firsts, its role in international cricket – transporting the first ever All England eleven to Australia in 1861 for the inaugural tour which coined the term ‘test cricket’ – is less well known.

Working with national news, features and sports desks we were delighted to secure features in The Telegraph and the Times about the on board cricket exhibition. But the icing on the cake was a live discussion about the ship’s summer cricket exhibition on BBC’s Test Match Special, after a pitch from Spirit of a sweeter kind.

Shining a spotlight on international architects

Since we started working with BDP architects’ Bristol studio over two years ago, we’ve spearheaded a campaign-led approach to PR.

The task was to raise the profile of the studio to secure new business for the team and change perceptions about the type of work it undertakes. We developed campaigns focused on ‘owning’ key topics that are part of a wider debate in the city, such as high-density development and ‘gap homes’, securing widespread national sector specific and regional coverage.

The results speak for themselves. As an example, the BDP team recently won a new project after the client saw an article by BDP in Building Better Healthcare on ‘a new generation of emergency care facilities’. BDP experts are regularly asked to contribute to industry panels, whilst other regional offices within BDP are now adopting Bristol’s approach as its success has attracted attention within the company.

Nick Fairham, architect director and head of the Bristol studio at BDP, said: “The team at Spirit worked collaboratively to develop a clear picture of what we do, who we are and where we want to be. Their creative campaigns have connected us with new clients and made it an enjoyable and rewarding experience.”

Capturing the imagination of a national audience

We love a challenge – so when Canwood Gallery got in touch to see if we’d be interested in helping to capture the nation’s attention and bring people to see art in the depths of rural Herefordshire, we say yes! It had already launched the year before, so we needed to find a new news hook.

It turned out that this was an art gallery with a fascinating back story. Retired arable farmer Stephen Dale began his life-long love affair with contemporary art when he made his first-ever visit to an art gallery whilst being treated for leukaemia in the 1970s, and later decided to set up the Canwood Gallery and Sculpture Park on the remainder of his land, to fulfil his mission to bring art ‘into the sticks’.

We felt this angle would be sure to attract some high level interest, so we carefully honed our pitch and hit the phones, relaying the possible filming opportunities to our close journalistic contacts.

Our enthusiasm for this story was shared and we scooped plenty of national interest – including BBC 1 Six O’Clock News, BBC Radio 4, BBC UK News Channel, BBC World Service Radio, BBC World TV, reaching tens of millions of people – plus the likes of The Huffington Post,  The Independent and most recently The Guardian.

Our client said the coverage achieved ‘was beyond our wildest dreams’ and they attracted over 1000 visitors in the first 10 days, from as far afield as US, Canada and Australia, resulting in the extension of their summer exhibition by two weeks – happy client, happy us!

Getting Scunthorpe hunting for treasure

When artist Luke Jerram approached us with his idea for his latest project we jumped at the chance of working with him again.

Having previously helped to promote his famous Park and Slide waterslide and the launch of his Sky Orchestra at the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, and at the Bristol & Bath Science Park which now has several artworks, Spirit has had a long term relationship with Luke.

This time, the focus was on getting the word out about his new artwork, Treasured City, to encourage people to take part and to ensure the public understood the aims behind the project.

Treasured City was a thrilling treasure hunt which saw five golden objects hidden in secret locations across Scunthorpe and surrounding areas. Clues to the whereabouts of the five historic replicas cast in 18 carat gold were woven into a series of intricate paintings, shown at a new exhibition at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe.

Yes, it was about encouraging people to have some fun playing detective and enjoy the outdoors, but it was also designed to get people to explore Scunthorpe’s rich heritage and surroundings as well as engaging those who wouldn’t normally visit a gallery or take part in arts events.

We carefully timed our media approaches to ensure that we had a drip-feed of awareness building in the media in the months ahead of launch, whilst holding back from throwing the main spotlight on the project until just ahead of the opening of the exhibition. This was to maximise interest in the launch itself, which attracted hundreds of people who queued outside, eager to be the first ones inside.

We came up with different angles for key target press, for example inviting BBC Front Row to film the casting of the golden objects, whilst BBC Inside Out Yorkshire and Lincolnshire met Luke Jerram at his studio in Bristol where the paintings were being created.

We also invited BBC’s The One Show to do pre-recorded filming coupled with interviews on the day of launch, resulting in Treasured City being featured on the programme with guest presenters The Hairy Bikers.

Resulting coverage included also included BBC 1 National Breakfast (TV), BBC Radio Humberside, BBC Radio Two with Jonathan Ross, BBC News Online Humberside, Yorkshire Post, Scunthorpe Telegraph, ITV Calendar and Estuary TV.

In addition to our media work, we also advised on how to capitalise on the social media channels available to the arts centre team, including the best way to get key influencers on board, as well as the approach needed to enlist the support of local networks and groups in getting the word out.

We are currently working with Luke on his plans to bring his Play Me, I’m Yours piano arts trail back to Bristol – so watch this space!

It’s in our nature: Spirit gears up for festival fun

It’s the UK’s biggest free celebration of the natural world, which attracts thousands of people each year.

The Festival of Nature is returning to the Bristol and Bath region in June and Spirit has been appointed to handle its communications for the fifth year running.

This follows a successful campaign in 2016 which focused on promoting new arts activities and publicising the festival in additional locations, namely Bath and Keynsham.

We used the new artistic elements, including a poetry trail and performances of a specially created sea shanty song, to secure coverage in key broadcast outlets, including live performances on BBC Radio Bristol and extended pieces on BBC Points West.

Alongside extensive news coverage of the festival in the run-up to the festival, we also focused efforts on securing more expansive feature style press coverage and interviews with the festival director. This resulted in varied and interesting content across a range of news and lifestyle titles which really helped bring the festival to life.

For 2017, we will be focusing again on promoting the festival  across the wider region and the journey it will take along the River Avon, uncovering secret wildlife spots along the way.

To find out more about the festival, go to www.festivalofnature.org.uk

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