It's the return of the Digital
Agency Showcase, and we're showcasing the fantastic work of
Manchester based Consumer PR Agency, Smoking Gun PR.
The aim of the Digital Agency
Showcase is to highlight the innovative and specialist work of
agencies in the Northwest.
If you would like to get involved
in our Digital Agency Showcase get in touch at:
Smoking Gun PR is a dynamic
Manchester public relations agency that embraces all things digital
media. They offer clients across the UK and Europe digital and
traditional public relations services.
The agency was launched three years
ago by couple Rick and Vanessa Guttridge, both from highly
prestigious PR backgrounds.
Smoking Gun PR currently donate 1%
of their profits to the Starlight Children's Unit at Wythenshawe
Taking part in the Digital Agency
Showcase is founder and managing director, Rick Guttridge.
Before founding Smoking Gun PR,
Rick was managing director at a Consumer specialist PR agency in
Manchester working on major international, national and regional
Rick founded Smoking Gun PR with
his wife, Vanessa, in January 2010.
1. Hello, and thank you for
letting us interview you for our digital agency showcase. What is
your main job role and responsibility within the
As managing director / co-owner of
Smoking Gun PR, I have overall responsibility for the agency's
direction, client services, creative output and operational
2. Please could you pick a
case study from 2012, and explain why you have chosen it to
represent Smoking Gun PR's work?
I have chosen Kumho 'Cash for
Causes.' Kumho Tyres is one of the largest tyre manufacturers in
the world, and it is recognised as a high supplier of high
technology tyres with performance levels to rival any brand.
Their 'Cash for Causes' campaign
involved integrated work with an advertising agency and gained
The 'Cash for Causes' campaign was
centred on a £100,000 give away to good causes through Kumho's
network of ECSTA Performance Centre retailers (EPC) across the UK.
Each retailer nominated two local causes that deserved some help,
and an online vote decided who would receive the most cash.
Members of the public voted online
and they then had the chance to claim a £200 off their next
purchase at any EPC retailer. The campaign helped local causes and
boosted the trade of local EPC retailers.
Committed to "Making a Difference",
Kumho Tyres has been
involved in a number of community engagements for years. These have
ranged from helping kids cross the road to green initiatives. This
is one of the main reasons I decided to showcase this campaign.
Smoking Gun PR ran a truly holistic
national PR campaign through broadcast, national press, regional
and hyperlocal news.
Additionally, we created unique and
story-telling content, social media channel creation and community
management. In many ways the campaign utilised many of our
offerings as an agency.
3. What brief were you
initially supplied with, and what objectives did the Smoking Gun PR
devise when briefed?
The brief was to create Public
Relations around in-store EPC Retailers promotional campaigns and
raise aware of the online vote.
We set our own KPIs around regional
media coverage, social media engagement and OTS.
4. What campaign strategy
did the agency devise to answer the brief and objectives that were
The main strategy was to really
focus on the strength of the campaign - good news for local people.
Therefore, the PR would identify and focus on the human-interest
angle and the tangible benefit donations would make to each
We aimed to tap into regional pride
and give the public the power to boost local good causes.
In a climate of much doom and
economic gloom, we would position Kumho as the champions effecting
positive change in local communities and tell these localised
stories across a range of mediums.
5. How did you implement the campaign
The main part of the campaign was
concerned with great media relations. This involved National and
Regional pushes concerning the local causes with targeted and
tailored stories for each EPC's region. This included the launch of
the vote, the scheme itself, leaderboard regional hooks, local
winners announcements and finally the cash pay out
We also enlisted a celebrity,
Annabel Croft, for a celeb media push. We chose Annabel, as she was
a popular choice just after the Wimbledon championship and the
campaign was female biased. In addition Amanda Holden, who was a
patron of one of the causes involved, tweeted the campaign
promoting her own particular cause and we saw a spike in interest
for the campaign.
The digital side of the campaign
was equally as important. Social media management, blog content and
blogger outreach focused on the great local work the causes
provided and national good news stories.
We featured a "Cause of the Day"
profile blog on the website to encourage sharing and amplification
by each cause on its own and its own fan base social
To engage social media followers we
used powerful and emotional images of the work of the some of the
charities to drive engagement. Our tracking showed us that posting
an image on Friday mornings gave us our best engagement of the
Facebook advertising and promoted
posts were targeted at females in key locales using a £100 budget.
We created an Infographic highlighting our research into community
attitudes - we localised our research findings to create hooks in
order to best target hyper-local news sites and blogs.
We also created video stories of
case studies of two causes and the winner, which attracted over
7,000 organic views.
In addition, we curated other good
news and local charity stories via tools such as Paper.li and
Storify to create further cost effective reach of Kumho's
Smoking Gun also created an
activation pack for each cause offering quick and simple tips for
how they could engage their own stakeholders in order to help drive
6. Could you tell us what
results were derived from the campaign strategy, and any positive
feedback that you received from the campaign?
The results were fantastic. Kumho
Tyres out performed the market during this six-month period,
maintaining sales in a declining market and boosting market
There were 20,000+ unique visitors
to the campaign site, in addition to 100 million OTS in print and
incline media and 4.5milllion+ OTS on radio.
There were in total 158 media
stories both national and regional: 98% of coverage mentioned
"Kumho Cash for Causes"
94% of regional coverage had this message
the name of the local EPC.
Furthermore, we're now PRing the
2013 campaign, due to our fantastic results last year.
7. Could you give a top tip
to any perspective digital marketing candidates who would like to
work in a PR agency like yours?
My main advice would be to maintain
a portfolio of writing: Blog, Blog, Blog. Keep up to do date with
new social channels, play with them, use LinkedIn and don't be
afraid of building links with people in target companies. Also,
look out on Twitter for PR / Digital firms and relevant news sites.
Be proactive and personalised. Stand out.