Blog

April Update

What’s going on at Sharp Relations? Well, it’s not been quiet that’s for sure! We’ve seen enormous changes to the way our clients are operating, from the rapid execution of a new online sales portal to home delivery solutions. We’ve offered product PR, business PR, crisis PR, media training, screen testing, media relations, feature article writing, new launch pitches, reputation management, set up countless interviews, screened countless interviewers created case studies and offered social media advice and support. Phew! All turned around within days, sometimes hours.  

Additionally, we’ve been invited by four different companies to pitch for new business. Two I’m delighted to announce we won and are now working on, and two we’re waiting to hear back.

For some businesses, particularly the smaller artisan clients, we’re getting the best coverage we ever have for them. Opportunities to shout about home delivery services and online sales are higher than ever, over the past 30 days our clients have been mentioned in The Telegraph, Vegan Life, The Sun, Top Santé, Yours, Prima, Woman’s Own, The Daily Mail, GQ Magazine, The Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio KENT, KMFM to name only a few.

We’ve had a few team changes to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus and so we can continue to offer our usually high standard of service to our clients: Our lovely Claire Hernandez has opted to take furlough for a month or so, her husband is a keyworker and she is home-schooling two small children at home, so it made sense. We are very lucky to have the wonderful Clare Pope MCIPR join us during this time to help us make the most of the many opportunities on behalf of our clients. And we are really looking forward to welcoming Jo Rose back from maternity leave, she will be in and out of the office (figuratively not literally) over the next few months, re-acquainting herself with all the client accounts.

We have given some time to a pro bono project for a band of nibble-needled locals who are fundraising and making much needed scrubs for Ashford, Folkstone and Dover hospitals. Melissa Dawkins of Made in Ashford has been co-ordinating the efforts in East Kent, follow this link to find out more.

Some of our food service clients and restaurants are having a tough time at the moment. All we can ask is please do support your local pubs and restaurants in any way that you can. If you can, please do buy takeaway regularly, or use the delivery service, or the local shop setup or simply purchase vouchers for a later date. These companies really need our support.

Keep going everyone!

E-Hugs from

The Team at Sharp Relations x

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A Food and Drinks PR and Marketing Guide to Surviving Covid-19:

There’s no doubt that these are extremely challenging times but what can you do to help maintain sales for your food or drinks business?  

The team here is talking to publishers and working with marketing specialists all day, every day and these are our top tips for keeping your company sales as healthy (as possible) in such challenging times:

Keep providing comments – Nearly all news-based media outlets want content related to the virus. They want to know how it will affect your business or your customers. They want to hear about the challenges as well as the good news stories. Do share stories about how you or your teams are helping people during this this time.

Push your online offering – The food and drink media is continuing to generate content as normal, although we have seen a shift in demand for products which can be bought online or for home-delivery.

Home-delivery – A number of shops and restaurants have already started a home delivery service for people in self-isolation, is this something you could offer?

Products – We have received a lot of content themes related to immunity boosting properties, high nutrition or long shelf life. Is this relevant to any of your products or dishes?

Recipes – These are still requested as frequently as ever. The consensus is that people want to create dishes that use fewer ingredients, can be frozen or suited to batch cooking.

Online Media – The shift from print media to online media is already well documented but we expect to see this process accelerating over the next few months. We think it’s possible some print publications may not survive this period, instead devoting all future resources to their online counterparts.

Think about where your customers will be – At the moment, most people in low-risk categories are still going about life fairly normally. But the expectation is that self-isolating is going to increase, a lot, and potential customers are going to be at home. We think they will have more time to read (especially online), so keep generating online content and write your newsletters too.

Up your social media – Keep this content going. Keep it light, aspirational and positive about the future, if you can. Share your good news stories. Share the help and support you’ve given or received.

Keep pushing out content – The good news is that requests for stories, new products and content continues to flow into us here, so we can carry on as usual generating coverage for our clients. So, you can too. Get on to twitter and search for #journorequest and see what the media is talking about with respect to your particular area of expertise.

Keep shopping locally – And shout about it. It has never been so important to shop locally and buy local produce, than right now. Shout about it on social media, not once, repeatedly. We need to help keep each other in business during this time.

Keep reaching out to your customers, your suppliers and your communities, if you can. Ask for help when you need it.  Don’t forget the Produced in Kent Members Group or The Food Hub Group on Facebook is a great place to reach out.  Look after each other.

Remember, “this too shall pass.”

E-Hugs from the team at Sharp Relations x

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February Update

It’s been another incredibly dynamic month for Sharp Relations. With only a day or two to spare we realised there’s still time to squeeze in a February update before the end of month!

Two very exciting things happened this month:

The first was that we got our seaside gastro-pub client, The Pearsons Arms, on the front page of a national newspaper, The Times no less! But not only did the image dominate the front cover of the weekend section but it was on the front of the main newspaper as well.

The second is that our little team has grown to four in the last month and the atmosphere in the office is really buzzing. We welcomed Martin Stanning to the team as the new Operations Director. He joins us with an incredible wealth of experience including 11 years as an officer in the British Army. Martin will be juggling our commercial requirements including finances and HR. Phew! At last, a grown up around here!

As for clients we are launching the UK’s first Vegan Celebration Cake from the ever dynamic OGGs brand. Macknade Elwick Place has opened its doors and we are working on the launch of this exciting new venue. Oast to Host conducted the most incredible photoshoot earlier this month and we have planned out content for the next 6 months. Thackeray’s has nearly sold out all their tables for the Honesty Menu entirely, the success of the project has been astounding. Nim’s launched their Infusions range this month, air dried citrus slices perfect for summer drinks. Lost Sheep Coffee is growing at a dynamic rate and looking for investment to push them into the next phase of growth. And it has been a pleasure to work on the launch for Nectvs from True British Spirit. As ever there are nearly as many projects that we can’t talk about but watch this space for more……….

We’ve just launched our Sharp Relations Twitter account please follow us @sharprelations

Find out what we’re up to on Instagram too @sharprelations

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Welcome to 2020!

The January Update!

The new decade has started at an exciting pace for Sharp Relations. Unless you’ve been living in a media black-out you will certainly have heard about Thackery’s shock launch of its new 5-course Honesty Menu. Our phones are literally ringing off the hook (hence why this blog is 19 days late!). Last Friday, we had the honour of experiencing a sneak preview tasting of the menu, it was in-cred-ible. Such an innovative, inspiring and, quite frankly, enormously instagrammable experience that I’m going to have to go back with my husband. What makes it honest you ask? So, after experiencing what I would describe as an absolute culinary extravaganza, you are asked to simply ‘pay what it means to you’. Already this innovative concept has generated over 25 pieces of coverage capturing the interests of numerous national newspapers, radio stations and even TV’s Jay Rayner.

Meanwhile, in case you didn’t know January is now known as “Veganuary”, a time some people like to try making vegan swops, so for our ethical London-based cake client OGGs, it’s been a busy time with samples going out to around 80 different national writers, magazine editors, bloggers and influencers wanting to dip their toe in. There’s no stopping this brand, we’ve rolled straight into Veganuary following a festive period which saw the generation of 54 piece of coverage on their ethical mince pies alone – phew!

Other vegan options have been the incredible Edible Teas from Nim’s Fruit Crisps. If you haven’t yet tried them – do! Available currently on their website for the discounted price of £5 a box, personally my favourite flavour is the Pineapple and Kiwi, here’s the link – you’re welcome. Our health writers are calling in samples left, right and centre so you’d better be quick! And keep an eye out for Nim’s new Redlove Apple crisps, the perfect crimson beauties which are good for your heart in more ways than one.

Oast to Host has launched its game-changing flour range for home-bakers living with coeliac or gluten intolerance. But what we discovered is that it’s extremely hard to tell the difference. The new flour range is going down very well with cookery editors at the big food magazines, watch this space for more exciting news.

Lost Sheep Coffee has some very thrilling plans afoot with the business expansion very much underway. This brand’s growth has been extraordinary – with the 2019 launch of its air-tight compostable Nespresso compatible capsules – it’s generating a lot of interest from investors. We have a press release waiting in the wings so we’ll reveal more next month.

Macknade is gearing up for the Ashford Launch….more to follow on that very soon too.

And we are delighted to welcome Fallen Brewery back to the agency and its fantastic range of Scottish craft beers all inspired by the old Kippen railway station in which the brewery is situated. There’s a lot of exciting changes afoot for the brand and we’ll be sure to keep you updated. Such a gorgeous range and it gives me a chance to flex my beer tasting muscles again after judging the beer category for the Great Taste Awards last June.

And to the real heart of our business, our people, they make up the very essence of our little agency.

We have been really excited to welcome experienced Account Manager Claire Hernandez to the team, she started with us at the end of November and she has had to hit the ground running negotiating opportunities for clients across all media channels. Despite one of the busiest periods the agency has ever seen Claire has more than stood up to the challenge – proving  her ability to take phone calls and type emails simultaneously – and already generating some absolutely fantastic opportunities for our clients in national newspapers and consumer magazines alike.

The awe-inspiring Katie Anderson continues to add value in everything she does, from updating the website, to keeping client coverage books looking awesome, to driving our social media to spotting the latest trends, blog writing, idea generation and much more.

We are also very pleased to welcome the very talented Klara Matusewicz a final year Marketing Communications undergraduate from the University of Kent, she is already adding so much value to the team, not least for her incredible knowledge of the Microsoft package, welcome Klara!

We were certainly sad to say “adieu” to the lovely Jo Rose as she set off on maternity leave at the end of December. We are sending her all the good vibes and excitedly awaiting news of her newest arrival. And we are very much look forward to welcoming her back later in the year.

As for me, I’m ever grateful that Aber – the office dog – takes me for a fresh air mindfulness walk every lunchtime.

AJ x

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December Update

This month has been BUMPER in every possible way. Our clients have appeared in The Evening Standard, the Metro, The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent, The Sunday Times, BBC Good Food, Good Housekeeping, Olive, delicious, The Index Magazine, Vegan Living, Vegan Life, Fine Food Digest, Kent Life, The Index Magazine, InsideKENT, Chef Magazine, Speciality Food, Women’s Health, The Grocer, ‘Cene Magazine, KM Group as well as hundreds of bloggers and websites to boot. Too many to mention but our coverage reader as logged nearly 300 pieces this month alone. WOW!

Christmas is still going in earnest as the last few national newspapers call in samples for Christmas but we’re starting to wrap up the festive antics at last. Long lead we have Vegan January, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day on the brain….

There are so many exciting new projects on the cards for 2020 and we will be releasing exciting news about them as and when we can.

We’re shining a light on Thackeray’s Shock Launch of a 5 course Tasting Menu coming up in January, find out more here.

December is the season for giving and we’ve been involved in a lot of pro bono work this work this month. It’s really important to us to put back into the community and the best way we can do this is by sharing the incredible work and stories of others. 

This month we are supporting Dockers who have pledged to deliver 10 loaves of bread to the Winter Shelter Appeal at the Rainbow Trust every week between December and February.

We are also support Primal Roots, who together with The White Cliffs Hotel, are launching wellbeing retreats. Where for every place sold, Primal Roots will donate a day of Primal Health and Fitness to a person experiencing homelessness this winter.

Festive Greetings one and all!

AJx

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November Update

November Update

We’re 12 days late with the November update and that is because it’s been another seriously eventful month. This week Sharp Relations is running five different events on behalf of our clients, involving 18 journalists and writers, most of whom have travelled to Kent especially to see our clients. I can’t do the stats for the whole month, but it’s a lot of reviews, press trips, experiences, lunches and masterclasses!

Posting, packaging and delivering client’s samples to writers for gift guides, festive food features and rounds ups has continued at a frenetic rate. This, of course, can only be a good thing. We’ve had to employ a cloud based management system to keep track of activities.

After receiving 72 applications for our role, we have found our new team member and we look forward to welcoming Claire Hernandez to the team in December.

AJ gave a lecture to the third year Marketing Students in the Sibson Building at the University of Kent at the end of October. She talked about future food trends, changing times in journalism and the effect of influencers on the media.

Finally, Sharp Relations has been nominated for two awards in the Kent Business Awards, Ashford group. Firstly, AJ is up for ‘Business Woman of the Year’ and secondly the agency is up for ‘Start-up Business of the Year’, we will hear the results at the Awards Dinner on the 20th November: There’s some seriously strong competition so we’re just chuffed to be finalists.

News from some of our Clients…

Well, where to start? There’s so much going on….. Nim’s Fruit Crisps have created a range of festive crisps including Brussel spout crisps, all air dried not fried so counts as one of your five a day. Brilliant healthier alternative for festive nibbles!

OGGs® Mince pies are flying off the shelves faster than they can be restocked in Sainsbury’s.

Macknade has opened a dedicated wine shop and is hosting butchery masterclasses, wine events, pop up suppers and more.

The Pearson’s Arms has just released its winter menu and started lighting the fires, so do get down to Whitstable for a cosy evening.

Lost Sheep Coffee is reflecting on the success of the past year and looking forward to some very exciting plans for 2020, watch this space!

Thackeray’s is gearing up for a very busy Christmas, hurry and book if you want one of their quirky event spaces for your private party.

And new client Oast to Host is launching a very exciting category changing product range but it’s embargoed for now, more on that to follow!

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