How public relations helps challenger brands and business underdogs

by Brian Lewis

Friday, February 13th, 2015

A wave of coverage leads to a steady sales stream for water firm, thanks to PR agency

Scottish PR Agency Holyrood PR in Edinburgh helps challenger brand punch above thier weight IN THE world of sport, everybody roots for the underdog.

If only the same was true in business, then every start up or challenger brand would be an instant success story.

If you are running a fledgling business that is taking on the big guys you already know the real world is a lot tougher – so what can you do to increase sales?

Do you need to raise awareness of your name, products and services to help streamline the process of getting in front of the right people to help turn them into customers?

How can you punch above your weight and boost your business objectives with the help of PR services from a Scottish public relations agency like ours, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh?

If you’d like to know the answers, read on, because that’s exactly what we’ve been doing for one of our newest clients – Thames Water Commercial Services (TWCS).

The Mission

Alan Munro, Thames Water (Scotland)In 2008 Scotland became the first country in the world to deregulate its water market, opening up a former monopoly by allowing any business – like yours – to switch provider in exactly the same way you can change the company delivering your gas or electricity.

To start with 100% of the market share was moved to a new organisation called Business Stream, which took on all of the business customers previously handled by publicly-owned Scottish Water.

It was hoped introducing competition into the commercial water market in Scotland would blow it wide open, allowing newcomers like TWCS to offer better prices and services.

Yet, due to lack of awareness, fewer than 10% have moved from Business Stream, meaning the water supply to Scottish businesses is still an effective monopoly.

TWCS, part of the Thames group, set up as a separate company in Scotland in 2013, offering significant water bill savings to potential customers.  The team also offer to help businesses achieve better water management making them greener and more efficient.

This all sounds like a compelling argument and you may be asking where to sign up (it’s here).

However, like any newcomer with a comparatively small sales team facing the might of a massive incumbent with a near market stranglehold, TWCS knew it would be tough cutting through with their message.

So, they turned to our Edinburgh public relations agency Holyrood PR for help.

The Plan

PR success for Thames Water in ScotlandWe’re working with the TWCS to develop a public relations campaign to get their message in front of the widest possible audience, via the business pages of Scotland’s major national newspapers. The PR strategy also delivers messages to key target markets through local and industry titles.

To ensure a steady stream of media coverage in titles like The Herald and Scotsman, we also delivered high-impact PR photography. This is a powerful way to help tell the company’s success stories – like new deals the team have brokered, important new staff appointments and case studies with key clients.

Throughout all of this work the core message is always communicated to help build awareness of the significant savings businesses can make, just by switching supplier.

The PR results so far

In September 2014 we highlighted the fantastic work TWCS has done with satellite TV giant Sky to improve its’ water management at major offices in both Livingston, West Lothian and at Rosyth in Fife.

The Courier and the Dunfermline Press picked up on the story telling how staff with Sky – known for its slogan Believe in Better – were learning how to reduce water wastage.

As well as showcasing how TWCS has won over one of the biggest names in business, the coverage was packed with key messages for both companies, while also helping both to demonstrate strong corporate responsibility.

In November TWCS Sales Manager Alan Munro hit the front page of the renowned Scotland on Sunday business section, when we announced the company’s exciting plans to expand its dedicated Scottish team.

This story highlighted the early success of TWCS, with the public relations campaign delivering another outlet to reach the exact target audience, explaining why businesses should look into the benefits and savings that come from switching water supplier.

Edinburgh PR agency PR photos for Thames waterThe story was followed up and amplified in several influential and well-read online businesses news sites. Yet more successful public relations followed in January, with coverage on two more stories.

The first was in The Herald business pages – another hit in the exact target publications – where our PR campaign helped introduce the new members of the TWCS team, once again getting the message out to a national business audience.

The second story was focused on a target sector identified by TWCS, the Scottish hotel market. Local title, The Paisley Daily Express covered the story on how a local hotel chain is saving money thanks to switching to TWCS. A good local hit case studying a key target sector for TWCS.

Both stories were once again covered by several online titles.

The power of PR photography

The national coverage in The Scotland on Sunday and The Herald was brought to life thanks to the high impact public relations photography of the TWCS team at two different scenic locations.

These carefully crafted PR photos reinforced the firm’s position as a professional and trusted brand in the water market in Scotland, while also giving picture editors at both titles plenty of images to choose from to enliven their well-read business pages.


Essential business guide to public relations photography from Holyrood PR in EdinburghLearn more about the real Power of PR photography and how it will boost your business in our essential guide for businesses, Picture Perfect


But there’s more…

The TWCS team are out on the road on daily basis speaking to businesses – and they note a clear difference when potential customers have read about the company in trusted news sources and already have some knowledge of the possible savings they can make.

If that’s not enough to get them signing on the dotted line, the TWCS team have another ace up their sleeves – offering any potential customer the chance of appearing in a joint press release, aimed at gaining positive coverage for both businesses.

We’re expecting more successful public relations for TWCS as the PR campaign generates more stories and coverage – bringing more business opportunities for Alan and his team.

 Find out how our Edinburgh public relations agency can help your business  

Whether you’re a challenger brand or a well-established player in your sector, public relations success will help meet your business goals.

We’d love the chance to meet with you, find out what you want to achieve and tailor a PR strategy to deliver clear and measurable results. Phone us on 0131 561 2244 or fill in the simple form below and we’ll get straight back to you.

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Public relations account director with Scottish public relations agency, Holyrood PR in Edinburgh

Private: Brian Lewis

Brian Lewis is part of the expert PR team at Holyrood PR, a multi award-winnning Scottish public relations agency, which offers media relations, social media, photography, video, crisis management and PR in Edinburgh.

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