December update!

It’s been a busy couple of months since our last blog post, chock-a-block with great PR and marketing activity. We’ve been working our little socks off, and we’re really pleased with what we’ve achieved, so we thought we’d let you all know what we’ve been up to!

We’ve had two busy launches with TeamSport, with fantastic new tracks opening in both Acton and Reading. Both tracks are already proving popular with journalists and local karting enthusiasts alike, and it looks like it’s going to be a jam-packed Christmas period for everyone at TeamSport.

We’ve had a number of exciting developments with Forces War Records. In September they launched their Forces DNA service, which allows members of the public to find out more about their ancestry going back many generations. We even tested Rory Bremner’s DNA and found that he had Middle Eastern family members in generations past.

The guys over at Forces War Records have also been busy transcribing and digitising thousands of records from a collection of over 1.5 military hospital records. To celebrate the release of these records, TV historian Neil Oliver helped us explain the records to people all over the country in a very successful radio day (over 150 pieces of broadcast coverage!)

We’ve also helped provide historical information and insights to a number of stories over the last couple of months with great results. In fact, we even got a sneak preview of Sainsbury’s beautiful World War 1 themed Christmas advert when they asked FWR for their thoughts.

Closer to home we’ve also been helping launch the new The North Face and Timberland store in Guildford. We started out with a bang with a joint event with the Guildford Book Festival; we managed to entice Griff Rhys Jones into the store, and he gave a great talk about his new book.

Since the event we’ve been keeping our foot on the pedal with regular railway station concourse take-overs, promotional events on Guildford High Street and three very popular competitions. We also took over social media promotion for the store, with successful campaigns both on Twitter and Facebook.

With Christmas fast approaching we’ve managed to squeeze in a lot of preparation for our newest client; The Live-In Homecare Information Hub, a group of 13 of the UK’s leading live-in homecare providers. Homecare offers a real alternative to residential and nursing care. Our clients feel so passionately about what they do that they have put competition aside to promote this little known service together.

Together we’ve developed a beautiful logo and informative website: We’ve also started up a Twitter account as a platform to promote all the good work they’re doing to those making decisions about the care of elderly relatives.

PRCA Audit Success

More great news at The View headquarters this week: we have just passed our biennial PRCA audit. The Public Relations Consultants Association has a strict control process to make sure that all their members reach the very highest standards. This means that we are working in ways which are efficient, effective, properly run, fair and accountable. Which is wonderful news all round!

The Communications Management Standard (CMS) is the accepted kitemark of PR excellence and professionalism.  Independently audited, it was created by the PRCA in 1997 and it is based on ISO 9001 and Investors In People, with criteria specifically tailored to the needs of public relations consultancies.

Lovely news for the weekend!

Blackadder goes forth into vodcasts!

We just couldn’t resist blogging again to share the exciting news that the podcast we created for our recent Blackadder story for our client Forces War Records has gone live. You can find it in a number of places online, now including here! Hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did. 

Operation Cunning Plan

We here at The View are massive Blackadder fans, so you can imagine our excitement when we found a real-life namesake for the fictional Edmund Blackadder. Forces War Records, a leading genealogy website and one of our clients, help thousands of people to locate their family in millions of war records, and to subsequently make sense of the information they find, so it was fascinating to see the process being applied to the cast of Blackadder.

Once we had received confirmation that all of the characters had real-life counterparts, the process of excavation began. We were particularly keen to find photographs of all the characters, and so wrote to the universities and schools which the namesakes had attended to try to track them down. Sadly, we were only able to find Lieutenant George, although he does cut quite a figure in his uniform. Staff, both here and at Forces War Records trawled The National Archives for more information to flesh out the story, and give the characters life. We even sent one of our own, Sarah Wright, down there to gather some key images.

Forces War Records were able to uncover some amazing information about the lives of the real-life namesakes for the Blackadder cast, proving that while all the characters shared their surnames and ranks some were more like their First World War counterparts than others. Both Blackadders were career soldiers, who rose up the ranks before the war, serving overseas before fighting in the Somme. Similarly both Lieutenant Georges attended Cambridge, where they rowed for their colleges, were artists, eventually pilots, and, tragically, died in the trenches.

From here the characters diverge slightly from their fictional counterparts – the real Baldrick, although also from humble origins, was able to read and write, and is listed on the 1901 census as a scholar. However, the most dissimilar was Captain Darling. The fictional Darling was a shirker, educated at Ipplethorpe Primary, who had a girlfriend called Doris. The real Captain Darling was a hero, fighting at most of the major battles; Mons, Marne, Aisne and Ypres, he was educated at Eton, and married with two children.

With the story fully researched, and releases drafted, edited, polished and finally approved, it was time to wait for broadcast day. Media sell-in had started the day before and so by the time we got to the office we had acquired a number of national newspapers and soon were busy clipping out articles, trawling the internet for stories, and tweeting away to share the good news! Meanwhile Sarah was in London, schmoozing with celebrities and historians. Between this, she managed to shoehorn in 26 radio interviews with Tim McInnerny (who played Captain Darling) and Tom Bennington (the amazing young researcher who uncovered the information), which is amazing, considering that normally broadcast days average around 10-15.

The pick-up on the story has been incredible and we’ve been very busy in the office ever since capturing articles in print and online, as well as social media mentions, which have abounded! All this despite the fact that our story broke on a very busy news day, shows how strong the story was. All in all it was a really great validation of all the hard work and effort which went into creating as well as promoting the story, and we’re pretty proud of how well the story has done.

by Ellen Whitehead

Five reasons why doing work experience in a PR agency is a great idea

Like many other people graduating from University I found myself struggling to find gainful employment because, as I was told, repeatedly, in rejection emails (when I was lucky enough to be sent a reply at all) I had no relevant experience. At first this made me despondent, I had two degrees from a high ranking Russell Group university, and felt like I should be able to find work. However, as the rejections continued to flood in, I decided to apply for work experience, which it turns out was one of the best things I could have done. So today I’m going to share with you Five Reasons Why Doing Work Experience in a PR Agency is a Great Idea.

Ellen has five great tips

1. You learn new skills.
In the 4 short weeks that I have been working at The View, I feel like I have learned so many new skills, from how to use Media databases like Gorkana, to tips on media sell-ins and capturing news coverage. There are so many different strands which make up the work which companies like The View do, that I found I was doing different jobs every day, and learning all the time. The great thing about working in a small, and (thankfully!) jargon-free, office, has been that everyone has been really keen to tailor my experience to what I want to do, and also help me to learn and master certain basic skills.

2. You get to use the skills you gained elsewhere.
I’ve found that, despite all the mocking, my English degree is actually very useful (take that ‘hilarious’ relatives!) After five years of university, I like to think of my research skills as finely honed, and it’s nice that they are being given a new lease of life. Writing up précises of my reading feels comfortingly like the one-page reading responses of my university days. Finally,   writing and editing press releases, and emails means I’m writing again, and like my supervisor at uni, the commercial world appreciates succinct writing, so my editing skills are back!

3. You start looking at your CV in a whole new way.
This links in to the previous point quite strongly, but actually being on the ground as it were, getting a flavour of what it is to do PR work, actually allows you an insight to what those recruiting are looking for. Knowing what the day-to-day workings of a PR office looks like has made me think about how I structure my CV and what skills I need to showcase to potential employers. I think, along with most recent graduates, I’m not very familiar with what I’ve always looked at as “the real world” wants, so being out there and experiencing it first hand, really helps.

4. You can start to work on a portfolio of your work.
At  smaller agencies, like The View, everyone gets stuck into all the tasks, which means that, even after just a month, I can list a number of places where I have gotten material into press and publications, I have written press releases, and have helped create a pitch. The View is remarkably busy and works on really exciting and creative projects, resulting in the chance for me to take part in some really interesting activities, and complete work for some unusual clients.

5. The refreshments are ruddy fantastic.
I’m fairly certain this is universal across all PR firms, and is definitely one of the reasons I’m hanging around the office. From nearly the minute I started at The View there has been a near constant flow of tea, and despite all the warnings, I have not been the main tea-maker – everyone pitches in. Aside from the almost startling array of teas and herbal infusions I have also been offered cookies, and several enormous and very delicious cupcakes, which I have instagrammed with glee. Indeed as I write this I have been presented with a bag of popcorn. Yum.

In short, every job seeker should do some work experience, it’s a great opportunity which I’m very thankful for, and I am so grateful to everyone at The View for having me, and making me feel so welcome, I’ve really enjoyed being part of the team.

By Ellen Whitehead

Digging for History

Partnered with our new client Forces War Records, The View took a trip to the home of all records, The National Archives in the beautiful location of Kew, South West London. 

It took three flights of stairs before we reached registration and were issued a reader’s card: The red, rectangular pass that gives us the right to search through years of military history!
Walking into what can only be described as a detective’s room, we were faced with a sea of hexagonal tables, with researchers on each corner delving into ancestor’s pasts and discovering memoirs from the trenches.

Many people came armed with magnifying glasses and white gloves, but The View came with bare knuckles to fact find with a team of experts.

One fantastic find was the dietary records of a World War 1 soldier. A the start of the war, British soldiers at the front line were allocated 10oz of meat and 8oz of vegetables per day, which was a luxury compared to what would be provided in the years to come. Food parcels from home would be loaded with biscuits and tinned fish which would provide extra nourishment.
By 1916, the meat ration was down to 6oz a day, where later on this was reduced to meat intake once every nine days. When food reached extreme rations, reports showed that vegetable patches were being planted in the trenches. 

Whilst at The National Archives, I overheard that a man just two days ago found a key part of his family history by finding out who his great, great grandfather was. This man had also discovered that his great grandfather had won a significant amount of medals. Overhearing this triggered a thought that we all have a personal connection to The Great War.

All at The View are looking forward to using the Forces War Records database to research our own family tree and connection to the war, whilst discovering more information about brave WW1 soldiers that fought for our country.  
 By Charlotte Dear