Group Companies

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, social enterprise FoodCloud have been put under increasing pressure for their services. FoodCloud launched their emergency appeal for food and funding in order to support their charity partners in distributing food parcels. Valda Boardman PR worked with FoodCloud on this project on their messaging and media relations. 

A press statement was drafted which outlined the appeal and the importance of FoodCloud’s services during this economically turbulent time. This statement was distributed across media channels including print, online, and broadcast media. VBPR aimed to create an increased awareness not only for FoodCloud’s services but for the urgency of their emergency appeal. 

The news story was broadcast on RTE Radio 1 Drivetime, TG4 Nuacht and Dublin City FM. FoodCloud CEO, Iseult Ward, was interviewed about the appeal and a representative from Sophia Housing in Dublin 8 was also interviewed as part of the Drivetime segment to highlight the importance of food banks and hampers to vulnerable community members. 

We received coverage in agri-food and retail trade online media. This coverage was particularly important as the appeal was targeted at retailers who supply food products.

Spring has sprung and comes with it the first Irish strawberries of the season. Marketing Network Group worked with Keelings to promote the arrival of the first Irish strawberry harvest of 2020. The campaign ran across all agency departments including PR, marketing, and digital. With the campaign aligning closely with the closure of many retail stores due to Covid-19, an alternative strategy was developed to adapt the campaign to the changing market in a way which was sensitive to the situation while also aiming for maximum traction. 

The marketing team activated point of sale across all retail multiples, both in store and online, and created a flash label for the First Irish Strawberry packs celebrating the first 2020 harvest. The digital team developed a range of assets to celebrate the arrival whilst heroing the delicious Strawberry Lemonade Cake recipe both on social media and on the Keelings ezine. 

The PR team drafted a press release to announce the first harvest which was sent to national and trade media. The release included information on the newly developed Keelings glasshouses that extend the strawberry season. A media drop also supported the campaign which included punnets of Keelings Irish strawberries and a framed strawberry print by an Irish artist. The drop gained significant traction online, achieving over 60% engagement. 

Despite the challenging times being faced by brands and consumers alike, it is great to see such a positive story and response!

Manor Farm, won The Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance (IFSA) Best Sustainable Food Product Award 2020 (4th Feb), for their ‘Farmers to Market’ Free-Range Chicken Thigh Burgers. Farmers to Market is open to Producers and Suppliers with food products produced in a manner that simultaneously protects and enhances the natural environment and the local community.

The theme of this year’s IFSA’s was ‘Innovation for a sustainable future’ which recognises the industry’s efforts to tackle the very real environmental issue that is climate change. The categories for the awards are designed to celebrate excellence and innovation across all food sectors from beverages to catering equipment.

We developed a release to target specific trade and agri-food media for Manor Farm Foodservice. Coverage achieved included Checkout, Food and Drink Business Europe, and Irish Food. A media partnership with The also promoted the IFSA award. The story also featured on radio broadcast on Northern Sound.

At the beginning of February, Keelings announced the acquisition of Las Brisas, a beautiful pineapple farm located in Costa Rica that is highly acclaimed for its product quality and community initiatives. Las Brisas is a significant operation with over 900 hectares of land, 460 employees and a modern pack-house producing over 24 million pineapples each year.

Keelings have been strategically aligned with Las Brisas for the last number of years and have been successfully producing Zero Residue Pineapples for the last 12 months. Costa Rica is also the home of Pura Vida melon farm in Nicoya, where Keelings have a 50:50 joint venture.

Caroline Keeling, CEO of Keelings Fruits said; “This acquisition further demonstrates our commitment at Keelings to both growing and sourcing quality fruit in the best way possible. We are delighted to welcome the Las Brisas colleagues to the Keelings family of companies. Their ethos and sustainability commitments in production and in local community activities are values we both share. We are very excited about the potential this partnership with Las Brisas will bring.”

Extensive coverage was achieved across national press including, The Business Post and The Irish Farmer’s Journal, and RTE, as well as trade media including, Industry and Business, Shelflife, and Checkout.

We were delighted to attend the first MII event of 2020 in Cork last week and the topic, presented by Niall Tracey, Director of Marketing at Failte Ireland, was one that had everybody intrigued ‘My Brand is a Liar’.

In this context, a Brand could be anything from Guinness, to the Accountants down the road, to your own personal brand. And the focus was on Brand Purpose.

In recent years, companies have been told that they need a purpose, a reason for existing beyond making money. Customers look for authenticity, and prospective employees want to work somewhere that makes the world better. However, over time brands start to move away from why they really exist, they lose sight of their true purpose and they all start to sound the same…

“In a world where everybody is increasingly polarised, at least they can come together over [insert your brand].”

Brand Purpose

When looking at your Brand Purpose, ask yourself the following questions:

1.    What does the world need?

2.    What you are passionate about?

3.    What are you good at?

Where these intersect, you have your Brand Purpose!

It’s important to remember that your Brand Purpose should align with your Strategy and your Behaviours (both internally and externally in the marketplace). And if they are inconsistent, well then quite simply you are lying to yourself, and more importantly to your customers!

Sometimes you don’t even realise that there is a disconnect. It’s your customers who experience this. Therefore, it’s important to get out there and BE your customer. We are all our own brand’s biggest fans; championing our brand at every opportunity. But when you think of your brand, when you look at your brand, when you experience your brand – your brand is telling you exactly what you want to hear. That your brand is the best thing sliced bread, everybody loves it and it is genuinely impacting positively on your customer’s lives in a way your competitors can’t.

But that’s a lie.

You THINK you are great. But what does it look like to your customers? What’s their experience like? How do they feel about your brand?

Be Your Customer

You need to act as your customer: buy the product, ask the salesperson for advice, sign-up for the newsletter, complain about something, send a compliment… What is the REAL customer experience?

Are you satisfied that your purpose, strategy, and behaviours are aligned? Yes? Amazing! You’re one of few!

Or, have you realised your brand is a liar? How are you going to change it?

We always strive to keep our client’s purpose at the core of all of their consumer touchpoints and ensure the strategies and behaviours (or activations) align. Keelings Love to Grow, so this Januberry we helped their customers to Grow their Glow. We’ve worked with Lyons Tea to promote their Pieta House and Hotpress Partnership, reminding people how important it is to Talk.

Get in touch to see if we can help you too – sometimes it takes an external view to help guide change and realign with YOUR purpose. 

With the turn of the new year, Keelings have launched their Januberry Grow Your Glow campaign to introduce self-care into the greyest month of the year. Instead of getting caught up with restrictive resolutions, Keelings want to spread the message of positivity and self-care throughout the month of January, so much so that they’ve renamed themselves Januberry for the occasion. With their Januberry calendar, Keelings have promoted a different self-care idea every day – a simple, easy to achieve task to help boost moods and Grow Your Glow.

This is an integrated campaign across in-store, creative, digitial and PR activation.

The PR team worked with Keelings to promote Januberry through media relations, influencer engagement and a broadcast partnership with Today FM.

Influencer engagement was two-fold with a targeted media drop at the beginning of the new year. All items were chosen to embody the self-care messaging of Januberry and enocurage recipients to engage with the Janubery calendar and post about how they plan to grow their glow.

In addition, three key influencers were also selected to post regular stories on Instagram about their Januberry journey. Emma O’Leary, Roisin Scott, and Sharon Hearne-Smith followed the Januberry calendar and posted about their experiences with the self-care ideas and how it benefitted them.

Keelings collaboration with the Mairead Ronan show on Today FM is a month-long campaign to promoting Januberry. Listeners were encouraged to share their self-care suggestions to win branded mugs, cooler bags, and OneForAll vouchers, plus an overall end of week prize. The Mairead Ronan show also shared the competition online across social media channels. The PR team also negotiated separate social media video content with Mairead, when she shared a particular daily self care idea with her DJ colleagues.

An advance campaign press release was issued, with suggestions from the calendar on how to take time out for oneself and grow their January glow, achieving coverage in national and local media. The release also agined coverage on online media sites including Magic Mum and Mummy Pages.

Irish retailer Great Outdoors had snow on their mind in January and bringing with it a reason to celebrate winter and welcome the ski season ahead. The PR team worked with Great Outdoors to create a winter wonderland right outside their store on South Great George’s Street. The snow-filled photo call featured two well-known models with the call to action being to promote the wide selection of Helly Hansen ski apparel in Great Outdoors. Adventurous skiers and snowboarders require performance rated, quality apparel, that also looks stylish on the slopes!

A press release was sent to national, regional and trade media focussing on a list of ski essentials as well as key items for the ski season. A selection of jackets and outdoor apparel for those not opting for a ski holiday were also included to give a well-rounded piece that would be appeal to a wider demographic of consumers.

Great Outdoors are an Irish brand committed to supplying professional outdoor apparel brands that incorporate unique and innovative technologies to boost outdoor clothing performance, allowing snow lovers to enjoy everything the mountains have to offer. Apparel brand Helly Hansen collaborated with Great Outdoors for their Ski Free promotion, allowing any customer who purchases a Helly Hansen jacket the opportunity to receive the added bonus of a redeemable one day free or two-for-one ski pass at participating resorts, throughout Europe, the U.S. and Canada as part of the brand’s Ski Free program.

Poacher’s Premium Irish mixers showed support of Buy Irish this Christmas through a media drop activation a week prior to ‘Green Friday’. The PR Team targeted 25 media and Influencers, and secured quality social media engagement for Poacher’s premium Irish mixers.

Each recipient received an individual bottle of Irish Gin, from a selection of Poacher’s Irish Gin partners, and presented in a large red and white Christmas stocking, as well as two bottles of each of the Poacher’s mixers; Classic Tonic with hand-picked Irish thyme, Wild Tonic with hand foraged Elderflower from County Wicklow, Citrus Tonic with orange and Irish rosemary, Poacher’s dry style Ginger Ale, made with natural ginger and organic apples from Highbank orchard in County Kilkenny, Poacher’s revitalising Irish Soda Water, and the new Poachers Light tonic with only 14 calories per bottle.

All items were presented with a Festive theme in a branded wooden crate, with Poacher’s branded green tree fairy lights.

Poacher’s is a producer of premium natural mixers, and is the first company to produce uniquely Irish tonic waters and mixers. Located in the beautiful Litterberg Estate in County Wexford, Poacher’s mixers are made with Irish ingredients and are without artificial additives or sweeteners.

The Bubble Digital team were engaged by Tallaght University Hospital Foundation to capture the spirit and ethos that exists within Tallaght University Hospital to celebrate the launch of TUHF, which is the centralised fundraising arm of the hospital.

A high-quality video was produced featuring a range of team members as they go about their working day to demonstrate the energy and drive that exists within Tallaght University Hospital.

The video will be displayed on monitors throughout the hospital campus while also being used on social media platforms. It will be accompanied on social media by a series of face to camera interviews with a broad range of team members.

Once the Bank holiday was over it was full steam ahead into Summer Sale mode for Great Outdoors and the Bubble Team were busy supporting them online. First up came the big announcement on social media that the sale had started. Content was created on an ad-hoc basis and shared continually throughout the sale period, promoting products as and when they were added to the sale. This ensured that all products posted across their social media channels were still in stock and priced at a discount when shoppers clicked through, resulting in a 30% increase in social media conversions from 2018. For the duration of the campaign posts were encouraging customers to drop into the new flagship store to see what was available, but also driving traffic to their website.

The sale was also supported with an adwords campaign, driving traffic to the website and encouraging customers to shop online. The campaign saw an increase of 48% in PPC conversions YOY with a fantastic 577% increase in ROI.

Across the month we also executed an ezine campaign, which varied in topic and increased in urgency in the messaging as the weeks went on. We also utilised the ezines throughout this period to test approaches and benchmark performance. Additionally, we weaved in our Festival Fever content throughout, which helped to promote festival camping gear before Electric Picnic.

Overall the campaign was hugely successful and saw a year-on-year increase of 36% in e-commerce revenue for the client throughout the period.