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Hedgehog Hall of Fame: JAM PR - On the Money

13th August 2013

Company: JAM PR Ltd Campaign: On The Money for Money Advice Group Category: Financial PR Campaign of the Year -North - Shortlisted Objective • Attract purchase opportunities / joint ventures with reputable brands in order to leverage business acquisitions • Ensure MAG is disassociated with the non-compliant / cowboy culture associated with the debt management industry • Seek to address the negative view of the debt management industry and position MAG as a champion of compliance • Reaffirm MAG’s position as a leading business / employer in the North West • Highlight MAG’s slick processes and consumer focus via PR messaging • Enhance MAG’s reputation to attract a strong calibre of candidates and skill sets to grow the business Strategy & Target Audience Money Advice Group (MAG) is one of the UK’s leading total financial solutions companies, offering complete, honest and effective financial resolutions direct to the public. MAG’s services are particularly aimed at those who are experiencing financial problems and include Debt Management, Individual Voluntary Arrangements, Advice on Bankruptcy and Debt Reconciliation. In 2012, MAG put plans in place for a comprehensive growth strategy after seeing an opportunity in the market, following industry-wide compliance guidelines imposed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Subject to these regulations, many of the smaller players, unable to facilitate compliance, were forced to exit completely, leaving larger companies in a position to gain more market share. MAG was in a position to invest in these smaller companies as a result of its highly compliant ethos and comprehensive IT infrastructure. In May 2012, it secured a £10 million investment loan from American bank, PNC, attained to help accomplish rapid growth freeing up finance for acquisitions. With a 6-month window in which to communicate this to the industry, JAMpr was tasked with communicating MAG’s compliant culture to the industry and generating interest from smaller companies wishing to be bought completely or to ‘sell their books’. JAM was to also facilitate interest in MAG’s recruitment drive, reaffirming its position as a leading employer in the debt management industry, as well as the North West. In a highly competitive industry dominated by large competitors and with only four relevant print titles to go at, JAM had to gain real traction with key trade editors, who regularly used news from competitors. With a short window in which to achieve results, it was essential that the PR activity mirrored MAG’s fervent ambitions for growth and the pace at which it was ready to move. With a major investment behind them, MAG wanted to spread the word that it was, in effect ‘ready to buy’. A fast-paced, and aggressive approach was to be the pinnacle of the campaign, ensuring we captured the attention of a limited media base, and created a ‘need-to-know’ buzz around MAG’s plans. Having had no ‘voice’ in the market for over two years, and with no additional advertising support, we knew the trade press needed to not only be reintroduced to MAG, but to be convinced on the newsworthiness of our outputs. We kicked off the campaign by identifying a pipeline of exciting news stories, which we would communicate to the industry and North West press. The aggressive but conscientiously timed news pipeline was complemented by thought-provoking, topical articles, focusing on issues affecting the industry, all with the underpinning aim of reaffirming MAG as ‘champions of compliance’. To win favour with key editors and to increase MAG’s share of voice, exclusive interviews and media visits were deemed essential – giving editors face time with MAG to ultimately increase the level of coverage dedicated to the brand. Target audience • The debt management and financial industries • Business / Corporates • The North West business media Action • In the six-month period, nine press releases were issued to trade and North West press with news of the £10m investment, key appointments, internal restructure, acquisitions and recruitment drive, as well as plans for the future. – 60 pieces of coverage resulted in 3,790,202 opportunities to see (OTS) • Communication with key editors across trade and North West business press was pertinent, talking around MAG’s comprehensive growth strategy, offering out comments, features and interviews to put MAG front of mind and communicate the message to industry peers on its ability to ‘buy’. – 10 pieces of coverage resulted in 959,798 OTS • Five bespoke, issued-led features were researched, drafted and pitched to leading publications. The features focused primarily on serious issues affecting the industry, positioning MAG as ‘champions of compliance’. Feature topics included: -  Compliance and Cowboy Culture -  Treating Customers Fairly - Purchasing Debt -  MAG plans for future (North West Business press) – 2 x double page, and 3 x full-page features were secured within the six month period resulting in 541,000 OTS • 3 editor visits were secured to allow MAG and its key media to meet face-to-face, allowing MAG to talk about its plans for the future, and furthermore the reasons behind it. It was imperative that MAG rebuild its own relationships with key media, having been ‘quiet’ for two years, for the media to then communicate this to the industry. • Exclusive interviews with regards to the investment and new senior appointments, including the company’s first external CEO, were integral to strengthening relations and giving key editors that ‘first bite of the cherry’ -  4 interviews were secured with Manchester Evening News (2), Credit Management and Insolvency Today, resulting in 321, 554 OTS • Personal profiling opportunities added to the activity increasing MAG’s share of voice and also reintroduced ‘company personality’, founder Stuart Parkin to the media, reminding them of MAG’s 10-year heritage, whilst pushing the message that MAG was in acquisition mode - 3 profile pieces resulted in 97,244 OTS Results Total of 35 outputs 82 cuttings = 14/month - 3/week PR Value: £350,000 Opportunities to see: 4.75 million Final Results Against Objectives During, and following, an intensive 6-month campaign, JAMpr successfully secured a stream of coverage in key titles at an accelerated rate, matching the aggressive growth strategy of MAG. As a direct result of the coverage, MAG received 9 offers to purchase smaller companies, and entered into negotiations. The highlight of the campaign for MAG (and us Jammers) was the offer to purchase a rival company that had been deemed ‘unattainable’ at the beginning of the growth strategy. Media comment on the six month campaign: "JAMpr serves Money Advice Group with high levels of service and thorough knowledge. They are clearly a key part of the team as MAG implements its growth strategy." Chris Barry, Editor, URLs The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.

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