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Creative and intelligent campaigns
from award-winning Bristol PR Agency

Big life decisions more likely as a result of Covid pandemic

More than two thirds (68%) of people in the South West say the Covid pandemic has made them more likely to make big decisions in their lives in order to take back control, according to new research commissioned and developed by Spirit on behalf of leading housebuilders Barratt and David Wilson Homes.

The Spirit team developed themes and questions exploring people’s reaction to the coronavirus pandemic and the limits and challenges it put on lives in terms of planning and decision-making.

The study found that almost half of people in the region actually accelerated big life decisions in 2020 such as moving house, getting married or divorced, starting a family or having more children, or starting a business.

The results achieved widespread media coverage across the region, and informed fresh and engaging marketing content from the award-winning housebuilder.

Shining a spotlight on Bristol architects’ important work

We are proud to work with the Bristol and Cardiff studios of long-standing client BDP, a global architecture practice that has played an important role in designing many of the temporary hospitals created in response to the coronavirus pandemic this year.

Not only were we keen to demonstrate their innovative and swift response to key decision makers in the healthcare sector, but also their in-depth insight into the way the pandemic will shape healthcare design of the future.

Drawing on their expertise and experience in this field, we have spearheaded a regional and sector-specific thought leadership campaign that has seen BDP interviewed on the likes of BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Bristol & BBC Radio Somerset, as well as opinion piece and feature opportunities in the likes of Heath Estate Journal, Building Better Healthcare and Hospital Times – all supported by highly engaging social media content.

Well done to everyone involved in project Nightingale – what a fantastic achievement!

Spirit shares insights on achieving broadcast coverage

The Spirit team was invited by leading housebuilder Barratt Developments to share tips and approaches to achieving broadcast media coverage in an online session with partner agencies across the UK.

Brand new Bristol development Blackberry Park recently featured on BBC Politics West and this summer BBC Radio Wiltshire’s reporter broadcast live from a current development, giving enthusiastic descriptions of it as both a place to live and an innovative construction site in terms of Covid safety.

After delivering 35 pieces of broadcast coverage in our first six months working with the housebuilder and comments from the client of “knocking it out of the park for broadcast” the team shared ideas and pointers to ramp up coverage on TV and radio, which people have returned to for news during the Covid pandemic.

TAP for Bristol raises £30,000 for homelessness

Widespread media coverage has helped Bristol’s ground-breaking ‘TAP for Bristol’ contactless donation scheme raise more than £30,000 to support homeless people in its first year of operation.

Covered in  everything from the Guardian to ITV West Country and Bristol Live to Bristol 247, high levels of awareness of the city’s TAP Points has seen donations continue, even through the lockdown, and the first grants made to support homeless people in our city and people at risk of homelessness.

Lifting people’s spirits with the magic of Sky Orchestra

When renowned international Bristol artist Luke Jerram approached Spirit to lend a hand with ‘Sky Orchestra – A Moment in Time’, a way to offer hope for the future and showcase Bristol’s creative talent, we didn’t need to think twice. It wasn’t going to be a simple one, that’s for sure, with the limitations of coronavirus restrictions to contend with, not to mention the impact of weather on ballooning, but we knew this was going to be something really special for the city.

A collaboration between Bristol-based BAFTA-winning composer Dan Jones and Luke Jerram, ‘Sky Orchestra – A Moment in Time’ saw a flotilla of hot air balloons deliver an uplifting musical and visual experience in surround sound to the people of Bristol. It featured the premiere of a new composition commissioned by Bristol Old Vic, played through speakers attached to the balloons, alongside live accompaniment. Our goal was to share the joy of this wonderful arts project with people not just in Bristol but far beyond – with funds raised from the sale of the EP of the musical composition donated to support emerging musicians in the city, an very important cause given the impact of this year on the arts sector.

The team was delighted to see the project featured not just in the national media spanning the likes of the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Times and BBC Breakfast, but also around the world! BBC World Service, BBC’s biggest platform, played a moving piece from Radio 4’s Today programme repeatedly, whilst the story also captured the imagination of local media too including BBC Points West, ITV West Country and many more.

Thank you to all involved for letting us be a part of this magical project.

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.

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.

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