Getting to grips with GDPR: a basic guide

Back in the 1950s, Charlotte and her web demonstrated how careful dissemination of personal data to a specific audience could be an incredibly powerful thing. Spoiler: she did a fine job of saving the little pig, Wilbur, from the butcher’s block! Now we have a different type of web in our communities that can be even more powerful. However, this digital landscape poses many risks and has made it much harder to protect our data from those who would seek to exploit it. New legislation, the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), plans to address this by ensuring data collectors and processors plug up potential areas of weakness and take steps to protect us. But how do you ensure the personal data you collect as a business is GDPR compliant?

Given the imminent changes, we have been reading up on and learning more about what’s due to happen and what we’ll be doing about it. So, I thought I’d share what we’ve learned so far in the hopes that it helps you tackle any necessary changes. Please note, I am not a legal advisor and the information here is based on my own reading and training.

What is ‘personal’ data?

Personal data is anything that can be linked back to an individual, whether that be a date of birth, place of work, IP address, health record, and so on.

How does GDPR differ from the Data Protection Act 1998?

By 25 May 2018 the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998 will be no more, but will be upgraded to the GDPR. At that point, your business should be well and truly addressing any potential issues around data collection and use.

What happens if you haven’t? Naturally this depends on your business and what kind of data you hold but, worst case scenario? Not only will there be a whole bunch of bad press, should there be something like a very public data breach… but you are likely to be fined an incredibly hefty amount. Whilst in all probability fines will be scalable depending upon the size of the business and severity of the infraction, to give you an idea of how serious the GDPR will be taking breaches, the guidance states that large businesses can expect fines of up to 20 million euros or 4% of global turnover, whichever is greater[1]. Not to mention the additional cost of fixing any security issues and possibly being subjected to further legal proceedings with personal claims from the individuals affected.

That would be your first major difference. Another big difference is that there are likely to be legal consequences for data processors as well as controllers, should there be a breach.

GDPR insists that contracts with third party data processors are also compliant, which could be EU or non-EU businesses working within or for EU companies. If they are not, this could also result in a prosecution. If you’re working with a business outside of the EU, you need to have a good, long look at your contracts with them and their privacy policies to ensure data they work with meets the criteria.

What are you collecting and why?

No doubt you have spent a long time building up your brand’s reputation, spent a considerable amount of money on campaigns to build trust with your customer base, invested in your employees to improve retention rates, and so forth. If you fail to understand the importance of protecting what you know about the people you engage with, whether internally or externally, you run the risk of all that going down the pipe. You may now be getting the sense that you can’t afford to ignore data protection. Not just for monetary reasons, but also to protect against damage to your reputation.

Firstly, consider what information you currently keep. Such as:

  • HR records
  • CVs and applications
  • Credit history
  • Health records
  • Criminal Record checks
  • Contact details
  • Location
  • Behaviour
  • Browsing history

Now assess why you are keeping this information. The changes to data protection law insists that what you have on file, you have for a specific reason. If you don’t need it, you need to (safely) ditch it by deleting, returning to the data subject, destroying… etc.

For information you think you should keep, do you have consent for what you are keeping or using it for? The GDPR makes it clear that consent is of the utmost importance. If you don’t have it, you need to ask for it. If you can’t get it, you need to get rid of it.

Are you seeking consent?

Before you have that knee-jerk reaction to being asked to delete, just consider how you would feel about someone keeping or using personal information about you. I don’t know about you, but I find all those unsolicited sales calls, emails, and letters bad enough. But, what if you found your GP practice sold your personal medical history to pharmaceutical or insurance companies[2]? Or your colleagues were informed of those past indiscretions, disciplinaries, credit issues, or criminal charges you’d given in confidence to a select few? What if you’re put at risk after someone purchases data about your internet habits that imply when your home is likely to be vacant[3]?

These are, of course, extreme cases. If consent isn’t sought though, how are you going to know what is happening with information about you?

GDPR sets out to address this as it has the data subject as the priority. Data subjects must be informed as to what information you are collecting, why, and how you’re likely to use it. This must be addressed in a privacy policy and in the terms & conditions, which must also be in layman’s terms so that anyone can understand it. If you need guidance here, the ICO has lots of information on what you should be considering as you travel through the processes and culture shifts necessary to achieve, not only compliance, but win customer or client confidence because you’ve put them first.

Protecting & storage of data

I expect this is one of those topics that could go on forever, fortunately this is a basic guide… With that in mind, consider where you store the data you collect. Are there paper copies? In the cloud? On discs? With an external company? Have you audited what you keep, where, why and how long for?

If not, you need to. You also need to assess what levels of security you have to prevent the loss, theft or destruction of a person’s data. This should also be done for third parties who handle the data you have. If they aren’t compliant, remember that you’re both liable in the case of a breach. If the software or tools you use are outdated, this needs to be addressed immediately. The NHS breach recently is a prime and, most likely, often cited example of how outdated systems and poor security can pose a huge problem. Don’t let that be you!

I haven’t exhausted all avenues that need to be considered for GDPR compliance, but I hope you’re now a little clearer on what you should be starting with at least. If we can all tighten up how we use and store what we collect, it not only protects our customers or clients, but also ensures the data we have works harder for us. It is more relevant to our needs, helping us to achieve our goals with ethically sourced information. I’m sure Charlotte’s children would embrace the new changes because, if you don’t have your data subject at the heart of all you do, you’re unlikely to make the impact you hope to on the world. How are you planning to make data collection and storage under GDPR work for you?

To see more updates, you can follow the SG LinkedIn page here or our team members here.

References

[1] https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2016/may/gdpr-potential-fines-for-data-security-breaches-more-severe-for-data-controllers-than-processors-says-expert/

[2] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-data-brokers-make-money-off-your-medical-records/

[3] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/28/internet-service-providers-sell-browsing-history-house-vote

Kingspan and Smith Goodfellow PR together again

Kingspan Insulated Panels

New clients, new branding, new staff, new opportunities, and a significant anniversary – 2017 is already an exciting year for Smith Goodfellow PR. The specialist construction and manufacturing PR Consultancy is proud to be celebrating 20 years working with Kingspan Insulation, and welcomes Kingspan Insulated Panels back to its client portfolio, after re-acquiring the account following a 4-year break.

Client News

The latter half of 2016 proved to be a busy end to the year for the well-established Consultancy. The company was commissioned to build a new website, and create a brand refresh for Middlewich based Valsave Engineered Solutions, who specialise in solutions for the water, utilities, process, and chemical industries.

Work started with Kingspan Cleanroom Systems, whose products allow the construction of high performance cleanroom environments. Two other existing clients also requested significant additional work, which was completed by the end of the year.

2017 looks to be equally fruitful, as the campaigns kick off for all clients, including the two largest divisions of the Kingspan Group. Kingspan Insulated Panels is a leading manufacturer of highly efficient products and solutions for the building envelope, including structural products and insulated roof & wall panel systems.

Kingspan Insulation’s product range provides premium and high performance rigid insulation and insulated systems for building fabric and building services applications, such as for roofs, walls, floors, pipework, and HVAC ducts.

Fundraising update

Throughout 2016 the SGPR team repeatedly set out on new challenges, the latest being a 24-hour, Harry Potter-themed bike ride. Two charities are benefitting from their self-inflicted discomfort: CRASH (the construction industry’s homeless and hospice charity) and The Wellspring (kitchen and resource centre for the homeless or vulnerable). A combined total of over £1,000 has been raised to date, with more events to come in 2017.

Cathy Barlow, Managing Director of Smith Goodfellow PR, said:

“2016 was a brilliant year with lots going on, and the team really showed what they are capable of. 2017 looks like being better yet. We are actively recruiting and look forward to inducting some new members of staff into our own particular brand of creativity, hard graft, teamwork, and of course a healthy dose of fun!”

Plans are in motion for more charity activities, campaign work, and a rebrand launch scheduled for May.

Construction barometer shows signs of industry slow down

Leading Edge, a market research and strategic marketing consultancy, guest blogs today to provide details from their Construction Industry Barometer on how the industry fares.

Sales expectations in the construction sector over the next 6 months are at their lowest level since 2011 as the market shows signs of slowing down, although new build housing and the London market remain relatively healthy.

The October 2016 Construction Industry Barometer, completed by senior executives from across the construction supply chain, was published by construction market research specialists Leading Edge, in association with CIMCIG (The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Interest Group) and Construction News.

In terms of sales performance, the average sales increase over the last 6 months (April to September 2016)  compared to a year earlier was 1.6%, the lowest figure since April 2013 – all the surveys in the interim period have reported back average sales increases of 5% plus. The pace of sales growth certainly seems to have slowed in the industry with expectations for the next 6 months at the lowest since the survey in October 2011. On the positive side, 38% of companies are still confident of a sales increase over the next 6 months and expect the current slow down to be temporary.

Marketing budgets are set to grow this year in 50% of construction related companies, down from 62% in the April survey, while 23% are expecting to increase their headcount – similar to the 26% in April.

The average forecast increase in marketing spend for the next 12 months is 0.8%, the same as in April but down from 2.0% in October 2015.   Mel Budd, Director at Leading Edge commented, “the survey shows that half of companies are planning an increase in their marketing budgets with a much smaller number, at 17%, looking to reduce their marketing spend over the next year.”

Mel commented that “although the market may have been stalling anyway, Brexit certainly seems to have had an effect. The immediate impact has been increases in the prices of imported building materials due to the falling pound, which together with the labour shortage has put a squeeze on margins for contractors. The survey showed there is now a level of uncertainty in the market which has caused some building projects to be stalled or reviewed. However, a number of companies are still confident of improving sales and parts of the market remain robust. ”

To download Leading Edge’s Construction Industry Barometer report, please go to http://www.lead-edge.co.uk/downloads-and-reports/construction-industry-barometer/

Construction Market Research

Construction Market Research

Leading Edge

Leading Edge is a market research and strategic marketing consultancy focusing on the construction and building products industries.

www.lead-edge.co.uk. More details from Mel Budd or Rachel Smith: 01252 279990 or email: mel.budd@lead-edge.co.uk

Three Things Pokémon GO Teaches Us About Good PR and Marketing

“Travelling with a goal in mind is a commendable thing” –  Alder, Pokémon.

Image: The Pokemon Company

Image: The Pokemon Company

I feel as if I’ve suddenly been hurled back in time to pimply skin, garlic bread with chips, Caramacs, and Birds Eye Macaroni Cheese ding dinners… I blame you, people I’ve known throughout my life. You and your reanimated obsession with Poké balls and gyms. The difference is, the game has evolved since last I heard of it; it’s no longer just about cartoons and cards. These people I’ve grown up with are experiencing the perks of a new and improved game based upon the enhancements afforded them through modern technology.

Whilst I’m not a Pokémon player, and never have been, there’s something I’m finding particularly exciting about this whole thing: People are getting outside! I’ve seen social media light up with stories of unsocial children engaging with each other over where to find the next target, stores jumping on board to show they have a personality whilst pitching their products, and less-visited places suddenly finding themselves in the spotlight. I’m looking at you, our humble library. I loved my library visits as a kid so, if a bit of Pokémon play gets kids and adults over that way, I’m in full support.

But what’s all this go to do with PR and marketing? There are three things Pokémon GO has in common with our PR adventures:

  1. Finding a Message That Works

Developed by Niantic, this augmented reality mobile game is designed to get people out and exploring Adventuretheir surroundings, but ordinarily this probably wouldn’t have caught much interest. Good timing, such as better weather, and this feeling that we as a community need to connect (given all the awful things happening at the moment) seems to have contributed to the mass take-up. Getting outside also offers the opportunity for the adventure to feel more real. Kids and adults alike can embrace that love of adventure based upon Ash’s travels through a multitude of terrains to catch many interesting and elusive little critters. The key here is remembering that picking the right time is often just as important as creating the perfect message! Take the example of the RFS (Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office) who have noted the popularity of Pokémon GO and used it to highlight the disparity between the lives of children in war torn countries, and those in more peaceful nations.

  1. Tailoring your offering

Pokémon GO uses a mobile’s GPS tracking system to help you pin point the best places to hunt for Pokémon and other players. Public spaces are the main areas you’ll source your next line up, but communicating with fellow users may well help you find the most prized catches. In this way, a business can learn that knowing and understanding what your client is looking for will help you deliver exactly what they want; improving their overall experience. Whether that be through efficient data capture on your website, customer surveys, or monitoring sentiment on social media, you are never short of ways in which you can tweak what you do to get the best results for you and your clients.

  1. Going Viral
One of my colleagues proving even the SG office isn't safe!

One of my colleagues proving even the SG office isn’t safe!

It seemed almost overnight this craze swept through several demographics. Children play it, adults are reliving it, and then there was that journalist trying to teach Corbyn about it… But why? The idea of using your location to ‘hunt’ for things isn’t a new one. Geo caching is one such example of an activity that involves a community and set locations to find items, which saw a reasonable amount of popularity. Pokémon Go itself is based on a system that’s been around for a little while: Google Earth.  The combination of that special kind of magic nostalgia has, together with sharing pictures and happy gatherings on social media, has ensured this game has hit the right chord with its market. When you know you have something people will love, it’s about finding the best way to deliver that message and get their attention. The story is that Pokémon GO was created as an April Fool’s prank, and this viral adoption was never planned for. So, whilst we can spend time creating the best version of what we have, we can put a lot of work into tailoring it to our target audience, and we can plan our campaigns and strategies to ensure we get the best response… Sometimes, just sometimes, going viral is really just a bit of good luck.

Hashtag Mania: A quick guide to making the most of your conversations

Still clueless on what a hashtag is? Where have you been hiding? They’ve practically taken over the world with hoards of kids communicating by texting hashtags, hashtaging with fingers whilst talking face-to-face, or eating hashtags! That’s right, I’ve just been informed Mashtags are not a joke, people! And now I want them too… (mmm… #mashtag butties…).

Mashtags

Despite being around for years now, there are many people who still don’t quite ‘get’ hashtags. In a nutshell, hashtags are a simple way of curating social media content. You pop one of those babies on your update and people automatically know what it’s all about. Visitors can sift through a mass of data looking specifically for that main theme with the aim of reading more around a particular topic or joining a specific conversation.

Twitter was the birthplace for all things hashtag, but there are lots of other networks that have embraced its basic function; including Google+, Facebook, and Instagram to name but a few.

What am I doing wrong?

Hashtag overload! This has to be one of the biggest offences made by an amateur hashtagger. Usually it’s a very basic comment followed by 4 or 5 tags.

Tweet

I get it. You want to be found, and you want to engage, but hopping onto every conversation stream however tenuous the link will have the opposite effect.

Hashtag

Think of it this way: you’re off enjoying the single life and find yourself in a room full of both eligible and attractive ladies/gents (whatever’s your flavour). Everyone’s talking, everyone’s got something really interesting to say, and you just don’t know where to start. So you stand on a chair and start shouting words and phrases out in no particular direction. You get a couple of curious looks, but mostly raised eyebrows before they turn back to their own conversations. You leave feeling a little lonely, or you leave with that person you regret in the morning…

Whittling your hashtags down to the one or two specific words or phrases is the equivalent to making a beeline for that corner of the room with those individuals you most want to spend your time engaging meaningfully with. You don’t waste your time, or theirs, by trying to get the attention of the masses. Whilst keeping your options open may seem like a good idea, you could be coming across as too needy by trying to connect with everyone. Being selective isn’t about playing ‘hard to get’, it’s about knowing what you want and not settling. It’s also ‘quality over quantity’.

Chat

This may mean doing a little research on the hashtags that are relevant to your post, as well as which ones have an existing conversation, but it’s research well worth doing! For example, if I’m posting about Building Information Modelling (BIM), I could post #construction or #technology, which isn’t technically wrong, but the people searching for those tags may have little interest in discussing digital modelling. If I use #BIM I’m then targeting a key group of people who are either creating content about BIM or want to discuss it.

However, it is important to note that whilst this is true for Twitter, there are slight variations in how each network may use them so do check the guidelines on those networks for more information.

Going your own way

Hashtags can be used in a number of ways, such as for celebrations, key world issues and campaigns (#JeSuisCharlie, #NotInMyName), holidays (#Halloween, #Christmas, #Summer), and interests such as #MondayMotivation, #worldbookday, #GoT50 (Game of Thrones 50 episodes in 50 days), or #tbt (throwback Thursday). We could be here for a long time if I continued…

Many brands create their own hashtags as a way of encouraging user generated content. For example, Costa started #mymorninghasbroken where users submit pictures or comments of what’s happened to them in the morning. Some are funny, some are sad, but most are relatable. It’s about individuals sharing their stories with Costa often making it better. Costa Crumpets seem to be a big winner for the Costa crowd! #Mymorninghasbroken has grown beyond the bounds of the coffee shop and tells the story of the individuals who shop there, whether they are stranded in the snow, fighting with broken electrical appliances, or soothing themselves with sweet treats and syrup lattes.

It’s important to understand the basic functions of a hashtag before going it alone but, once you feel you’re there, you can totally start idea generating about how you want your brand to be seen, or what it is you want people to talk about.

Is there a conversation you want to start?

Want to know more?

Using hashtags on Twitter

Using hashtags on Facebook

Using hashtags on Instagram

Finding Twitter Leads

 

 

12 tips to achieve business marketing resolutions (Friday)

— Friday

Congratulations, you’ve made it to Friday!

congratulations

As a reward, here are your final tips. Keep it up and you’ll be well on the way to your best year ever.

10. Take a measure

If your PR is managed by a consultancy, you’ll no doubt be receiving updates on how your campaign is going at set intervals. This is done so that both the service provider and your business knows that what’s being done works and, if not, what to do differently. This can be done by monitoring coverage, pulling off analytics for things like web traffic or social media, audience reach, cost… and so on. Whilst it is time consuming, if you’re not on a PR retainer or campaign, you can access some of this information yourself. It is important to regularly check this information to create a visual picture of what works and what doesn’t, to help shape future campaigns or content.

11. Meet & greet

Regardless of the industry you’re in, there are always opportunities to meet new people who may help you grow. There are many networking events, business growth focus groups, exhibitions where you can meet other businesses as well as learn more about relevant media outlets, industry awards… and so on. If you’re short on time, you can often liaise with your PR consultant to do the leg work for you, or find the most suitable places for you to be. No one can really tell you what the right approach is, but being open to learning more about how to grow your business will better inform you in preparation for evaluating this year’s results and the setting of next year’s resolutions.

12. Get feedback

If there are opportunities to receive input from those outside of your business, do take it! If there isn’t, create it! For example, customer service feedback forms are fairly simple processes that give you an insight into the customer’s journey and what you may be able to address or improve upon to increase the likelihood of return visits and positive sharing, whether that be through word of mouth or social media. TIP: this is also another way to measure your PR efforts if you ask them how they found you.

And there we have it: 12 tips to get you on the right track to this year being your best year yet!

If you have any questions, do let us know!

 

 

12 tips to achieve business marketing resolutions (Thursday)

— Thursday

Ahhh nothing quite like that Thursday feeling…

tired

Ok, Ok we promise we’ll keep it light today:

8. Check the date

Keep an eye on that calendar you set up earlier as well as continuing to add key information as you go along. Industry news, key trends, and law updates or changes are amongst the most useful information you can look out for. You can use this to keep your customers updated, or you can use this information to write about.

9. Get trendy

Events or dates that are relevant to your business and PR campaign, as outlined at the calendar stage, are great ways to continue to generate regular content about your industry. It is also super handy for social media to have a bunch of relevant hashtags at your disposal. One use for hashtags is to tap into a stream of potential leads that specifically search for content including those key words, eg/ #competition #BIM #PR and so on. You can also create a hashtag for particular campaigns to help monitor engagement.

See you in the morning!

12 tips to achieve business marketing resolutions (Wednesday)

— Wednesday

We’re half way through the week and by now you’re well into the swing of things and ready for more, right?

Resolutions

6. Plan your pictures

We have become a more visual society that tends to judge by looks before anything else. Rightly or wrongly, that’s the way of the world we are in and this is especially true of content you share. If you review your analytics for 2015, you may notice that social media content with images have most likely received the highest impressions, so do be mindful of this in 2016. In terms of putting your best foot forward, resolve to capture your products or services in the best possible light. You know that what you offer is superior to the company that shares the same page as you but, if their photography has better lighting or is more complimentary to what they’re selling, you will find that your potential customer’s perception is the reverse of what you would like.

7. Get organised

Once you’ve decided on key messages, news, images, and so on… you can begin plotting them in on a spreadsheet (if you’re feeling a little ‘old skool’). Another option is to make use of technology and try your hand at social media management tools you can find online, such as Buffer* and Hootsuite* which offer free packages and trials to get you started. With sites like these you can manage various social platforms, schedule posts, attach pictures, and review engagement in the one place. You can still post messages ad-hoc but this helps to set up the bulk of the work, to reshuffle as you deem necessary. You can see at a glance the spread of types of messages, news, etc. This may also require a little trial and error (or research) into the best times to post certain types of information to get the best out of your content. Don’t forget you can also share content such as blogs multiple times across social platforms, the key is to use different points from the text so that it is still ‘fresh’.

We’ll be back tomorrow…

*Please note, these are not sponsored or endorsed links, just examples of the kinds of tools available to you if you choose to do this yourself.

12 tips to achieve business marketing resolutions (Tuesday)

— Tuesday

Day 2, you’ve beaten the alarm, got to your desk early and are raring to go!

https://gif.daneden.me/too-excited.gif

Let’s get to it!

3. Speak the language

There’s nothing more frustrating as a consumer than to feel you’re not being heard. Twitter has become increasingly more popular for people to vent their frustrations and fears as surely as they would their excitement and joy, so a brand’s reputation can be made or broken in a few short tweets. I’m sure, by now, most businesses who aim to provide a great service understand how important customer service is, so be pro-active and ensure your social media strategy is aimed at your potential market and that you make an effort to engage with your customers.

4. Be you

This might sound like a bit of an odd one, so let’s put it another way: ‘be authentic’. Be professional and true to your company’s ethics, but be yourself. We, the people, have this knack for noticing fakers so, work on skills you want to improve on, but don’t be anything but the fabulous person you are. Let your personality shine and it will be noticed, because real people connect with real people and that’s how you win new business without the cringe-worthy sales patter that turns many people off. Not to mention it’s far more fun to be yourself than to play a part…

5. Find a voice

Think about who you are as well as your brand. Your business plan, conversations with potential clients as well as existing ones, outgoing content, social media engagement, invoice reminders… and so on all need to have the voice that best represents you and your brand. If what you do and what you say doesn’t match, your relationship with your target audience will suffer and your brand’s reputation as a result.

The next set of tips will be along tomorrow. See you then!

12 tips to achieve business marketing resolutions (Monday)

— Monday

Starting Your Year the Right Way

The gyms are full, cyclists have invaded the roads and you can’t move for joggers; the New Year is definitely here! Now it’s time to channel your renewed enthusiasm into the workplace by setting business resolutions.

Your resolutions should be specific, and a little challenging, but easy to manage. If you regularly monitor your progress, you’re more likely to keep the momentum and make adjustments that fit your goals as you go along.

To give you a helping hand we’ll be posting new, bite-sized tips all week, starting with the first two today:

  1. Use that calendar

Try to plot in all the key dates for your business such as events, shows, product launches, relevant features in magazines, and so on. This helps you plan things such as your social media strategy, how best to time the release of business news, and the beginnings of your writing plan. Don’t worry – you can move things around later if you need to, but this gives you a guide on what you want to focus on in 2016.

Resolutions

  1. Stay on target

In the age of smart phones and 4G things change quickly so it is essential to keep up with which media channels your audiences are using and, crucially, how they like to be communicated with. All around the world attention spans are dropping so it’s vital to blend detailed technical articles with concise, attention grabbing content such as videos or infographics.

Finding the most effective approach does require research and, if you have a PR consultant, they’ll do a lot of this work for you or advise you on how to begin. This may include, but is not limited to: digital analytics, surveys, coverage, and your order book.

The next instalment will be posted tomorrow! Let us know how you’re getting on as we go along.

If you have any questions, please do get in touch!

Smith Goodfellow PR are recruiting!

Smith Goodfellow PR is a growing PR consultancy who specialise in construction, manufacturing and sustainability. We are now requiring new employees to sustain this growth and add to the skills already held within the team. We’re looking for bubbly, driven people who work well within a close team.

SGPR believe in encouraging the development of its team and will do whatever it can to offer you the opportunity you seek with our warm and friendly bunch of ambitious individuals.

The short listing for our vacancies will take place over the next two weeks. If you are interested in working with us in a ‪PR‬ or ‪admin‬ role, please send your CV to pr@sgpr.co.uk.

1. Admin: We require someone who is very organised and has a good telephone manner to support other roles within the business. You must have accurate data entry skills, as well as being familiar with Excel. Bookkeeping experience is an advantage, but not essential. We use cloud-based accountancy software called Xero. Flexibility in terms of skills and ability to support others during busy periods are very important for this position. Part-time or flexible hours is available, if required, for the right candidate.

2. PR: We’re firstly looking for technical copywriters (construction, manufacturing and engineering experience an advantage). If you enjoy writing, or have undertaken a technical degree and would be interested in using the skills learned to support our clients by writing high quality articles and press releases, we would love to hear from you! We would also consider a freelance technical copywriter, so please get in touch to discuss this opportunity.

This PR position may also be suitable for PR or media graduates, social media managers, web marketers or someone familiar with the management of PR accounts.

If you require more information on who we are or how we work, feel free to email or call us.

Women in the workplace

The discussion around women in the workplace feels almost circular, especially when looking at skilled roles and traditionally male-dominated sectors (such as construction). Why is it that, even in these modern times, many still feel there’s gender inequality?

The problem is that the figures and reports that routinely do their rounds regularly highlight that there a fewer women taking on positions of responsibility. Communicate magazine (June 2015 issue) published a commentary on The Candidate’s report that highlighted 18 in 150 digital companies were led by women, and I can’t help but wonder how accurate this split is across other industries that are considered ‘male dominated’. The piece goes on to reveal that women ‘favour soft skill jobs’, citing PR and marketing amongst a list of examples, whilst men find themselves in more ‘technical roles, such as search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC)’ (Coding for Change, p.9).

As a PR consultancy comprised of technical writers, analytics specialists, as well as SEO and PPC advisors; we feel qualified to engage in this discussion, most especially given we are technical writers in the construction and manufacturing industry. More importantly, we have been in this industry for 35 years. The shocker? Our head is a woman. A strong, smart, and knowledgeable woman who is well respected within the industry and is regularly approached by trade press editors for article requests and commentaries on industry changes and issues that arise.

Even more surprising perhaps, in light of these figures, two thirds of our team are women who work in the technical roles listed above. UCATT released figures last year that stated just 11% of the construction work force were women (1% being on site), but how far do these figures go? Who is this a measure of? I feel our workplace may not be accurately reflected by The Candidate’s report, but what is the likelihood of us fitting directly into the figures provided by Women in Construction?

Whilst these reports and figures certainly help to highlight areas within various industries that could potentially be excluding skilled women from entering roles they would excel in, they do not showcase the areas within these industries in which the only barriers to a woman’s career is her willingness to learn. But this could apply to both men and women, as is certainly the case for us. We thrive in an environment that nurtures our thirst for learning by providing us with opportunities, resources, and an endless source of opportunities. All we need to do is begin; to express our interest, show a little courage, and set ourselves to the task of building our own future.

Bibliography
Communicate, June 2015, Cravenhill Publishing, communicatemagazine.co.uk
Women in Construction, http://www.ucatt.org.uk/women-construction

How Smart does Google think your website is?

I’m sure, like me, there are times when you’re out of the office but you need to jump onto a particular website to find information like contact numbers, opening times, directions, and so forth. You open the page on your mobile and wait. And wait. And wait.

Not only is loading the page eating into your precious free time, but the dimensions of the page doesn’t sit well on your mobile’s screen. You’re forced to tap and drag with clumsy, stubby fingers that just can’t seem to hit those minuscule buttons scattered about the layout. When you finally do reach the page you want, you can’t access it as your phone doesn’t have the relevant software.

Google knows all. Google sees all. This mighty behemoth hears the cries of many frustrated mobile users, and has responded. Tackling the issue head-on, in a move dubbed ‘mobilegeddon’, they issued guides and reports to encourage people to consider the feelings of mobile visitors to their sites, and plan to bestow ‘mobile-friendly’ labels to those who meet the criteria, which come into effect from 21 April 2015.

This is great news for mobile users, but not great for those who have yet to update their websites. Without considering usability, you run the risk of losing traffic to your website as Googlebot will know, and your page will be relegated to the dark depths of Google’s smartphone ranking.

Webmasters has provided a simple tool to check your current rating here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly Just enter your website address and they’ll let you know how you currently score.

If you would like more information on how to be mobile-friendly, visit: https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/mobile-seo/

May your websites live long and prosper!

 

Smith Goodfellow meet Theo Paphitis

Both professionally and personally, the last 12 months have been an incredibly challenging but rewarding period overall for us. What many of you may now be aware of, as it has featured most prominently on Smith Goodfellow social media outlets, is our work with Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH) charity this year.

With the support of many generous people, we received double the amount of what we’d aimed to raise, bringing the total to over £2,000! We are so proud of everyone involved in supporting this worthy cause.

We were really excited to hear from Joel Oxberry, the fundraising manager at RMCH, that his team wanted to acknowledge our fundraising efforts by inviting us along as one of five finalists at their awards event to deliver a presentation to a panel of judges, one of those judges being Theo Paphitis, for a chance to win a visit from the man himself!

Whilst we didn’t win, we were runners up to an awesome bunch of inspirational young people. BodyCheck were a great group of girls who raised a whopping £6,000 with their ‘children helping children’ campaign.

We had a fantastic time presenting to the judges with our ‘Ode to a Series of Extraordinary Events’, displaying both our creative flair and our quirky natures. We’re quite sure Theo loved it too!

The following day, we rounded off the whole experience by meeting up with the lovely Joel again to visit RMCH and see the amazing work the charity has been doing. Whilst the NHS does a wonderful job of providing all the necessary care for suffering children, the hospital has taken a pro-active approach to supporting their patients by providing an environment that is ergonomically designed to aid faster healing and improve mental and emotional health.

The hospital itself doesn’t look or smell like a standard hospital as it has been constructed to allow lots of natural light to suffuse the space, not only providing vitamin D, but also ensuring patients who are being treated long term can keep track of the time of day!

Upon approaching the X-ray unit, we could immediately see how hard the charity worked to provide a warm, welcoming, and calming environment for frightened children. Joel told us about patients who even enjoyed their time at the hospital and, as at odd as it may sound, we could see and feel why!

The colours are bold, the concept is bright and fun, and there are small robots (designed by other children) who are the ‘protectors’. There is a research facility on site, a healing open air roof garden, play therapy, a heated pool for therapy, and school rooms so children with long-term needs still receive an education. Not only does RMCH treat what physically ails these children, but they ensure they are mentally and emotionally prepared for their journey.

Robot protector

Robot protector

The RMCH are always looking for support. Without it, their children wouldn’t have the soothing environment that they have. There are many projects in the pipeline that would be so beneficial but require the funds to take them from paper to construction, such as improving their mental health and eating disorder facilities on site.

We wish RMCH the best of luck in continuing to sustain the growth of their ideas, as well as the difference they make to the community. We also want to thank them for allowing us to be a part of this incredible campaign; we feel very proud to have been a part of it, and we hope that other hospitals learn from the example they are setting.

Thank you for following and supporting us in this journey!

The Countdown Begins for the end of our RMCH campaign

Only two and half weeks left for the RMCH Many Hands campaign!

We have had such an amazing time working with the guys at NothingButEpic in support of this amazing charity. For those of you who don’t know, this charity drive was set up by Theo Paphitis to urge 50 companies to pledge to raise at least £1,000 for RMCH. It is just remarkable how well all the companies involved have done! If you have a look on the NothingButEpic site (linked above) you’ll see there are so many people who have done incredibly well raising awareness, as well as much needed funds to improve the conditions of the burn’s unit. These funds will go towards ensuring the environment is fun, interactive and distracting for children and parents who spend so much there during their difficult treatment period.

The date is set for our visit to the children’t burns unit in March, and the team is so excited about it!

If you haven’t donated already, please follow the link to the NothingButEpic page to show your support . We are so very grateful for all the donations, comments and shares from everyone who has followed our journey on the ‘Series of Extraordinary Events’.

As a thank you, and because we love a giggle just like the next person, we will be posting videos and extra pictures of our fundraising efforts on our facebook page. Do make your way over there to join us! We would love it if you could give us a like or follow us to stay up to date with our adventures, not to mention getting stuck into construction and sustainability related discussions.

All the best to you on this glorious Wednesday!

With regards,

The SGPR team.

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It Is Not Too Late to support RMCH

Lots of you wonderful people have followed our adventures over these last few months in support of the RMCH’s ‘Many Hands’ campaign.

'Many Hands' bands, the abseil.

‘Many Hands’ bands, the abseil.

We can’t possibly express in words, to any satisfactory degree, how much we appreciate your time, your cheering, your many lovely comments, and great generosity.

The end of the '5k Mud Run' challenge.

‘Many Hands’ is a charity that has touched our hearts and the hearts of so many others. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be moved by the bravery and fighting spirit of those incredible children! The SGPR team are so looking forward to meeting some of the brave little boys and girls in February 2015!

Humphrette enjoying a rock climb on the midnight hike.

If you’re still a little fuzzy on the cause we’re supporting, we recommend watching the RMCH Charity Film we were shown recently which is just fantastic. Even if you do know what RMCH and Many Hands are all about, we still think it’s well worth a watch!

There is also still time to donate if you haven’t done so already, and this would be very much appreciated. Just follow the link to the NothingButEPIC page to donate online. If you would rather an alternative method, or require any help at all, just give our office a call on 01625 429522 or email pr@sgpr.co.uk.

Celebrating the end of the 24-hour bike ride.

We hope that you continue to follow our adventures in the future and would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a fantastic Christmas and a very merry New Year!

Boghoppers-r-us!

There is no obstacle too great for the SGPR team – with good cheer we hurled ourselves into the seemingly insurmountable task of completing a 5k obstacle run, with a ridiculous amount of mud, at the fabulous Bramham Park in Leeds.

Sophie and Lou attempted to dodge the puddles with a log walk, only then be faced with this:

IMGP1900

…and then found themselves sunk to the knees in something akin to the ‘Bog of Eternal Stench’:

IMGP1891

Nice try, ladies.

We threw ourselves with remarkable grace down slick mud slides, waded through trenches, scaled tyre walls, and space-hopped across open fields…

IMGP1931

…all for a fantastic cause!

We have joined forces with NothingButEpic and the ‘Many Hands’ campaign to transform the specialist burns unit at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH). Only with your support can they bring some much needed joy to suffering children and their families.

To donate, please visit the NothingButEpic page

NEXT UP: The final part of our Series of Extraordinary Events is a 24-hour bike ride on the 27 November!