Rob Waldon, Author at Richmond & Towers
13th June | Rob Waldon back

CHEERS TO US (AND AN INCRED FEW MONTHS FOR R&T)

We can’t lie – it’s been a great start to 2023. And now we’re almost halfway through the year, we wanted to fill you in on what’s been keeping us busy. We’ve had plenty to celebrate over the last couple of months: amazing new clients, incredible award wins… a brand-spanking-new office. What a time to be alive. Here’s the full lowdown…

CHEERS TO OUR NEW CLIENTS

We make no secret about it; we LOVE working with some of the best food & drink brands in the business. And we’ve just added even more iconic household names to our fantastic line up… First up, we’re growing our portfolio of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company brands.  Hobgoblin, Young’s, Shipyard and Wainwright join the fold, alongside our work with Brooklyn Brewery and ERDINGER. Our job? It’s all about crafting killer social strategies and creative content to build awareness and boost presence amongst each brand’s target consumers (as well as in the on and off-trade). Next, we’re shaking things up in the cocktail space for AG Barr’s FUNKIN Cocktails, handling UK trade comms in the on and off trade channels. Our task is to communicate the simplicity of FUNKIN’s range of ready-to-drink nitro cocktails, mixers and purees to bartenders, and support the brand’s grocery retail listings by targeting supermarket buyers and convenience store owners. And last but never least, we’re expanding our partnership with Pernod Ricard, to give “the best Vermouth in the world” the recognition it truly deserves. That’s right, we’ll be putting St Petroni on the map in a big way, increasing awareness of the brand WORLDWIDE through liquid medals (aka. Awards. Accreditations. Endorsements). After all, 26%* of consumers use medals when deciding to purchase spirits, and displaying a medal is known to drives sales by 15%**. Tasty. *IWSC Case Study. **Spirits Selection Research

AWARDS SEASON SUCCESS

Ah, speaking of awards – it’s been a cracking season so far, and we’ve been scooping results left right and centre for our work This is Brooklyn for Brooklyn Brewery, and RoyalTEA for Alpro. Award winning PR agency? That’s us. Here’s how we got on… WINS SABRE Awards EMEA – Trade Media Relations PRCA DARE Awards – Digital and Social Media Award PRCA Digital Awards – Best Social Media Campaign AND Best Use of Video in a Campaign UK Digital Excellence Awards – Best Digital PR Campaign The Drinks Business Awards – Trade Campaign of the Year NOMINATIONS SABRE Awards EMEA – Food & Beverage Campaign AND Small Budget IN2 SABRE Awards – Paid Influencer Programmes + Endorsements PR Moment – Social Media Campaign of The Year PRCA Dare Awards – Consumer Relations Award  AND Media Relations Award Independent Agency Awards – Best Use of PR AND Best Use of Social Media (results TBC!) In summary: six prestigious award wins, nine incredible nominations and a whooooole lot of celebrating.

A BRAND-NEW HOME

And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve done all this whilst building a new home. Well, not quite – but we did move into a brand-new-fresh office. Our sixth official home in the 90+ years we’ve been running as a food and drink marketing agency, and our second ‘bricks and mortar’ in London’s creative capital, Clerkenwell. We’re happy to throw open our doors on Turnmill Street, which is fashionably close to our favourites Exmouth Market and Leather Lane, for the best street food options the area has to offer. In case you missed it, here’s how it’s looking. Like what you see? Check out our latest showreel to give you even more of a flavour of our award winning work.

4th April | Nikki Thomson
R&T launches new Trailblazer report

We’ve delved into the minds of some of the biggest brand innovators around to uncover their secrets of success and inspiration. Brands aren’t just threads in life’s fabric; they’re engines of inspiration. Behind these brands are some of the world’s most influential leaders, driving change and innovation. That’s why we’ve… Read more

13th March | Eve Salmon
From Aisles to Algorithms: Exploring TikTok’s Influence on…

It’s no secret that we’re currently living through the age of social media, where platforms such as TikTok have become more than just entertainment hubs with viral dances and comedic skits — but now a powerful marketing influence that’s totally shaping consumer behaviours and trends, particularly in world of grocery… Read more

7th March | Anouska Leon
GLOBAL WIN FOR RICHMOND & TOWERS AS CARLSBERG…

Carlsberg Group has appointed London-based brand engagement agency, R&T (Richmond & Towers) to manage global PR and social media blueprints and strategies for Brooklyn Brewery. This exciting account win builds on the agency’s existing work with Brooklyn Brewery UK and will see the team working closely with the Brooklyn Brewery… Read more

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8th June | Rob Waldon back

Influencer Marketing Digest – What Are The Experts Saying?

I’m going to kick this off with a good ol’ cliché, because that’s what all decent blogs do: in a world that’s changing at a rapid pace, it’s no surprise that influencer marketing is moving just as quickly.

Influencer Marketing Strategy – how do you stay on the forefront?

What are the key movements, trends and considerations that are an absolute MUST when it comes to setting up an influencer campaign? It’s your lucky day, I’m about to give you a sneak peek. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Influencer 360 in Brighton – an event held by PRWeek and Campaign to bring together industry professionals from leading brands and agencies, to “discuss the latest opportunities and threats to the lucrative influencer landscape”. I was keen to attend, having been selected by PRWeek earlier this year to provide insights and commentary for their Influencer Expert Panel – a group of influencer marketing agency specialists from the UK’s top businesses. (I’ll link the resulting articles at the end of this post, if you fancy a read). Now, back to business. Here’s my attempt at distilling the depth of a full day’s worth of presentations into a quick, digestible blog. Let’s go…

1. AI IN MARKETING IS BLOWING UP

BENlab’s EVP of Technology, Alex McFayden discussed the vast acceleration of artificial intelligence, and how it’s shaping influencer marketing. Alex’s opening stat provided eye-opening context: it took Facebook three years to reach 50 million followers. YouTube did it in two years. TikTok in nine months. As for AI app, ChatGPT? Just one month. WOW. And with the growth of AI in marketing comes lots of efficiencies across the internet, including in influencer marketing strategy, such as enhanced evaluation techniques to establish exactly how consumers are engaging and receiving content. And it’s starting to play a role in content creation, too. But with great power, comes great responsibility – AI is not flawless, and it registers biases based on its users and the internet information it mines. The key takeout? There is absolutely the need for human reasoning and creative input. I don’t think we’re going to be fully replaced by robots any time soon. Phew.

2. INFLUENCER MARKETING REGULATIONS

The legal side of things FASCINATES me (genuinely). And Freeths’ Partner, Iona Silverman, did a smashing job of breaking down the law in the least jargon-centric way possible. A big shock for the room (but TBH, not for me – because it’s something we’re very aware of, as an agency) was centred around the rules of influencer gifting, and how content creators must use #Ad, even on gifted, unpaid content. Because a gift – whether it’s a week in the Maldives, or a new health food bar, still constitutes ‘payment’ in the eyes of the ASA cap code. That’s why we work closely with influencers and their agents and always remind them of this rule when sending out gifts.

3. AUTHENTICITY

This was the undeniable buzzword of the day – and something that fully resonated with OG YouTuber, Louis Cole. For him (and I’m sure most influencers), having an open and transparent relationship with his audience is vital – because they can tell if content isn’t authentic, especially if it’s branded. As I said at the beginning, we’re seeing the whole influencer space evolving on an almost daily basis. Channels are introducing new features (and let’s be real, copying their competitors), whilst content creators are straddling the line between polished, perfectionist content and the raw and real approach. Some creators may not have the same quality of production in their content, but they reap rewards in authenticity and therefore, audience buy-in and engagement. Also discussed were the important topics of ‘Diversity, Equity and Inclusion’, as well as the ‘De-Influencing’ trend. Both of which deserve their own blog posts – so keep your eyes peeled for those. But among the insights and commentary, what really stood out to me was a discussion around influencer spend, and where this sits in client marketing budgets. There was an emerging consensus that influencer marketing is being taken more seriously as a channel in its own right, and is increasingly taking more share marketing spend, in particular, from media budgets. AKA, it’s no longer funded purely from the PR or social budget. Great news! That said, I had to disagree with what was discussed next. A few doors down the road was Media 360, the event counterpart for advertising and media buying. It was discussed that as influencer marketing is seen as more of a force in its own right, and more of a viable marketing channel, that these conversations should be happening in Media 360, rather than in a separate Influencer talk, or indeed, PR. Couldn’t disagree more. In fact, the best retort I can provide here, is a response I told PR Week earlier this year, when discussing influencer marketing trends, as part of the aforementioned Influencer Expert Panel, which I’ll leave you with… “It’s important to look at influencer marketing through a PR lens – the storytelling and narrative are integral to get right. Influencer work activated through an advertising team can run the risk of being brand and creative first, and storytelling afterwards – which ends up feeling less natural, like seeing a celebrity in a TV yoghurt advert.”

Do be sure to check out these PRWeek articles, if you want to read more on my take…

Influencer costs rise as creators get ‘more savvy’ – but deals can be had. ‘There is a symbiotic relationship’ – How can PR maximise influencer co-operation? ‘We’re moving away from follower count’ – how is TikTok changing influencer marketing? The rise of niches – who’s been missing out on influencer marketing? Where do experts think influencer marketing will go in 2023?   And if you want to know more about our approach to influencer marketing, here at R&T, check out our case study here.

4th April | Nikki Thomson
R&T launches new Trailblazer report

We’ve delved into the minds of some of the biggest brand innovators around to uncover their secrets of success and inspiration. Brands aren’t just threads in life’s fabric; they’re engines of inspiration. Behind these brands are some of the world’s most influential leaders, driving change and innovation. That’s why we’ve… Read more

13th March | Eve Salmon
From Aisles to Algorithms: Exploring TikTok’s Influence on…

It’s no secret that we’re currently living through the age of social media, where platforms such as TikTok have become more than just entertainment hubs with viral dances and comedic skits — but now a powerful marketing influence that’s totally shaping consumer behaviours and trends, particularly in world of grocery… Read more

7th March | Anouska Leon
GLOBAL WIN FOR RICHMOND & TOWERS AS CARLSBERG…

Carlsberg Group has appointed London-based brand engagement agency, R&T (Richmond & Towers) to manage global PR and social media blueprints and strategies for Brooklyn Brewery. This exciting account win builds on the agency’s existing work with Brooklyn Brewery UK and will see the team working closely with the Brooklyn Brewery… Read more

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4th September | Rob Waldon back

The flight of the influencer… nothing to declare?  

Social media is like the ultimate freedom of speech platform. Without making it sound like a mythical video game or some kind of futuristic zoo, there are trolls, catfish, keyboard warriors and ghost followers… all sharing their opinion on anything and everything. For the right or wrong reasons, social channels present the opportunity for everyone – you and I, and celebrities alike – to share their views on the news, given an insight into what they’re up to, and shout about the products/services they’re using. So, when it comes to a brand endorsement, the rise of social media presented a genuine platform for everyone, giving celebrities and influencers more control to align themselves with the things they love. The move instigated a new wave of brand fandom, a step away from glossy ad photoshoots and television campaigns that seemed to force a celebrity’s face on their product in a clear financial endorsement. But while social media can present a genuine opportunity for authentic brand synergy (in fact, it’s the topic of our last blog post, Love at First Swipe), news broke recently that some of Britain’s biggest household names are misleading their followers. The Competition and Markets Authority launched a major investigation (it’s on the Government website, so you know it’s pretty serious) after finding evidence that posts by “influencers” may be endorsing goods or services without declaring they are being paid to do so. Basically, on face value, followers are being duped into thinking these posts are the real opinion of the poster, and not carefully crafted captions from a copywriting genius. Not cool. Not cool for the brand, not cool for the influencers involved and certainly not cool for trusting followers.

What does it all meme?

The social space is becoming more crowded than the northern line in rush hour (I would know). And in certain cases, #ad is being crammed in a bit too much like an armpit in the face… and just like that, it’s being noticed. People have been taking the pi- parodying the notion of influencers for a while now. Whether that’s with KFC clean eating campaign, with fictional Figgy Poppleton-Rice co-create a KFC clean cauliflower burger, or ‘Deliciously Stella’ (lol I laugh every time), developed by comedian Bella Younger who full-on satirised clean eating and wellbeing trends. (My personal fave was when she ‘oil pulled’ with Bounty spread during the coconut oil craze). Stella was such a hit in her prime that I’m pretty sure she even ended up doing some brand collaborations… I definitely saw #AD once or twice. Or, maybe that was ironic? There’s also ‘Blogger-off‘ who describes herself as the ANTI-INFLUENCER. Her posts are centred on existing #ad content, and recreating them in a comedic way, in order to show just how forced these posts can be. And apparently, now it’s meme accounts that are the way forward… that’s according to the latest campaign for Hayu streaming service which used meme accounts to amplify the latest series of KUWTK. With the rise of meme accounts posting more and more branded content (like the below example from ‘Bros Being Basic’), is it a matter of time before this avenue becomes too saturated, too? Plus, these accounts are not typically run by professionals. Maybe that makes it more genuine, or perhaps that means there’s less control for brands. The real trick is to carefully scope out influencers for authentic collaborations, remembering that it’s their audience you’re communicating with. That’s what we do at R&T. By building up a close and genuine rapport with key influencers, we’re know what will work on different people’s platforms: we recognise if it’s true to their aesthetic and above all, relevant to their followers. It’s important to keep that in mind and not fall into the trap of producing lovely pictures, but ones which no one really cares about. Remember: social media was created to be a two way street, not another push-advertising platform. Beautiful content is beautiful, but at the end of the day will their followers want to see it if it doesn’t feel natural? My guess is: probably not.

4th April | Nikki Thomson
R&T launches new Trailblazer report

We’ve delved into the minds of some of the biggest brand innovators around to uncover their secrets of success and inspiration. Brands aren’t just threads in life’s fabric; they’re engines of inspiration. Behind these brands are some of the world’s most influential leaders, driving change and innovation. That’s why we’ve… Read more

13th March | Eve Salmon
From Aisles to Algorithms: Exploring TikTok’s Influence on…

It’s no secret that we’re currently living through the age of social media, where platforms such as TikTok have become more than just entertainment hubs with viral dances and comedic skits — but now a powerful marketing influence that’s totally shaping consumer behaviours and trends, particularly in world of grocery… Read more

7th March | Anouska Leon
GLOBAL WIN FOR RICHMOND & TOWERS AS CARLSBERG…

Carlsberg Group has appointed London-based brand engagement agency, R&T (Richmond & Towers) to manage global PR and social media blueprints and strategies for Brooklyn Brewery. This exciting account win builds on the agency’s existing work with Brooklyn Brewery UK and will see the team working closely with the Brooklyn Brewery… Read more

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