As we look back on 2018 it’s safe to say it’s been quite an odd year for us in many ways. The ‘beast from the east’ raged on throughout the Garden Press Event (rudely cutting short our increasingly popular after show pub meetup). And then towards the other end of the year, the joint hottest summer on record, which stimulated a ‘backwards season’ for many of our clients, who went on to have one of the busiest autumns of recent years thanks to garden centre restocking and a bigger, re-energised Glee tradeshow.
The uncertainty and chaos of Brexit was also watched closely by all of us – particularly our automotive clients manufacturing in the EU – as the cloud of uncertainty continues to hang over us all as the exit deal and leadership contest continues to monopolise headlines. Elsewhere, the issue of single use plastic pollution finally moved from awareness into action, and we’re looking forward to seeing how this will develop in the year ahead.
Charity and sponsorship
The long winter thankfully subsided for the Garden Re-Leaf Day walk in March, as we livestreamed our way through another 20 miles for Greenfingers. It’s crazy to think Kimberley will join others in turning their personal tally into an astonishing 100 miles walked for Greenfingers next year on the 22nd March! The warm weather helped with the GIMA Charity Golf and Activity Day, allowing us to bring in a record amount of funds on our sponsored ‘beat the pro’ stand. We had an especially busy GIMA Awards — our role being to support with social media announcements whilst also handing out champagne — no mean feat! Congratulations again to clients Deco-Pak, Smart Garden and Woodlodge for winning major awards and making the night even more memorable.
Hornby Whitefoot’s most popular videos in 2018
- 2018 Garden Press Event Vlog
- Glee at Spring Fair Vlog
- GIMA Awards 2018
- Charlie Dimmock on the garden industry
- Two minute tour: Chelsea Flower Show 2018
One major PR trend we saw throughout 2018 — that wasn’t linked to extreme weather or Brexit — was the use of video in PR campaigns. Based on my own experience with vlogging and smartphone video filmmaking, we began offering video to our clients, winning free coverage during the busiest period for trade PR.
It was an honour to talk about vlogging at the HTA’s Marketing Forum in October, and although the video shows the subjects I covered, you really had to be there (there were a lot of questions afterwards)!
Kimberley’s interview with Charlie Dimmock was a definite highlight for us at Glee in September. We were able to have a really open conversation about the garden industry and even hear what she thought of Glee and how it’s evolved over the years. And as this post goes out we will have secured BBC TV coverage for our client Johnsons Lawn Seed, sharing lawn care tips from their research and development base in Tewkesbury.
PR firms are always looking for new ways to enhance both coverage monitoring and reporting. Whereas coverage monitoring technology remained relatively unchanged, there were a significant amount of developments in online PR services. As an agency we upgraded to a service that will revolutionise the way we serve our clients and engage with the media in 2019 — by adding in online lookbooks and client pressrooms to the mix.
There will be a few changes to our team in 2019, particularly as we look to build on our key position in the garden industry. Managing Director Kimberley is looking forward to announcing a new appointment that will be a pleasant surprise for both our clients and media contacts. PR Manager Cassie King will continue on maternity leave until early autumn. I myself have some big news that I can’t wait to share with you in the new year, something that I’ve always wanted to do and together with our new appointment stands to give us an even greater level of experience working with the media in future.
So here’s to an exciting 2019, whatever the weather, plastic or politics has in store.
From all of us at Hornby Whitefoot PR — Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!