The Recycling Association splashed across national media

BBC website Recycling Association story

There was amazing coverage yesterday for our client The Recycling Association and how it had picked Pringles and Lucozade bottles as among the least recyclable packaging in the UK.


The Recycling Association chief executive Simon Ellin appeared on BBC Breakfast on BBC 1, was interviewed on BBC 5 Live Breakfast (clip here and it was also one of the main stories on the BBC website (, and was the second most read story for 18 May 2016. Simon also appeared across a number of local radio stations.


But it didn’t stop there, the story was also picked up by the Press Association, the Guardian (, the Independent (, ITV News ( and the Evening Standard (


Well done to Simon for all his efforts and for spreading the Quality First message for recycling.

Taking time to think creatively

Thinking about creative communications

Paul Sanderson Hanicke Robins Sanderson
By Paul


I’m sure like for most people, 2016 has been a really busy year for me – in a good way obviously.


Christmas is one of the few times when I can really switch off for a while. The email alerts on my phone dwindle to a trickle, and it gives me time to think.


But that time to think is also an opportunity to be creative and ideas seem to pop into my head at those moments when I’m less focused.

Creative approach


I’m writing this blog after spending time doing some creative work for a client, and I find it really important to get away from my desk for a bit, and properly think and focus without distraction when being creative.


At Hanicke Robins Sanderson, we pride ourselves on thinking a bit differently at times. This can mean challenging our clients to be ‘Deliberately Bold’ and ‘Strategically Clever’ just like our company strapline.


Sometimes when we have a creative session with a client, this will be the first time in a long time they have sat down and had a proper think about their business. Often it becomes about whether their objectives should have changed as the business develops.


Quite often they start thinking they want one thing in terms of their communications, but realise they need another.


Our job is to help them navigate through that, to think differently while respecting the good things they already do. Then we help them focus, and finally assist them strategically in communicating that to the outside world.


One of the reasons I believe we are very good at that, is that building in time to think is a crucial part of it, and allows the creative juices to flow.


As I’m lazily watching films while eating chocs over Christmas, I probably won’t be thinking about work too much. But an idea might suddenly appear, I’ll jot it down and get to work on it in January when I’m back.


In the meantime, Merry Christmas.

‘Post Truth Authenticity’ and other 2017 PR challenges…

Adrienne Robins







By Adrienne


A couple of years ago, I remember writing about the importance of transparency in the social media age. In summary, the narrative went something like this:

  • Social media gives everyone a voice
  • If you talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, you’ll be called out – publicly
  • Be prepared – recognise and prepare for your skeletons; understand your shortfalls; build up your bank of goodness; do more to engage


And then 2016 happened.


This time last year we didn’t really have a clue what was coming. Or maybe we did have a clue – but we couldn’t acknowledge it or put it into words. At least collectively.


From a B2B PR perspective, I’ve seen so many organisations that got the whole ‘transparency’ thing. Trouble is, politically we either couldn’t or wouldn’t make that leap.


With the benefit of hindsight, if politicians had listened and responded a bit more maybe we’d be in a different place right now.
Instead we’re in a world where ‘post truth’ has happened. And 80s ‘dinkys’* (remember them) have disappointingly turned into ‘jams’**. If you’re of a certain age then it is possible that you could have started out a dinky, turned nimby and ended up in a bit of a jam. Really.
Thing is, post truth blatantly stamps all over transparency. So, do we throw our hands up and forget about it and resolve to change the story to fit the situation as required?
I think not.
So, just how should we be preparing our PR and comms strategies for the year ahead? Here are five areas that you should be concentrating on.


  1. Ensure you’re interesting: just because the world around you feels a little bit odd, that’s no excuse to revert to boring messages. Publishers are crying out for content, but unless it’s thought provoking, new and maybe a little bit controversial it’ll head straight into the bin.
  2. Be authentic: authenticity is the new transparency. Live your messaging and follow it through. Of course, you can surprise people – but do it in a good way. Remember those mission statements and values – go back to them and see if you’re really living the dream.
  3. Unleash your caring side: pick up the CSR baton, but try and make it a bit more human and spontaneous. If you or your team do something good – don’t strategise the comms into the ground. Just get out there and talk about it, in a natural, warm voice.
  4. Connect and collaborate: now, more than ever, it’s apparent that people want to meet ‘real’ people and work together to effect change and new opportunities. Get out from behind your content and listen. Add to the debate. Be brave (see point 1). Shape the outcome.
  5. Look for clarity of outcomes: when it comes to PR, measurement has long been a dirty word. Fact is, for most clients it’s about impact on real business objectives. When putting in place new PR campaigns, focus on deliverables and overarching objectives, not column inches. Get KPIs in place and everyone knows the required direction of travel.


Wishing you all a Happy 2017!


* DINKY: double income no kids yet, an acronym from the have-it-all, shoulder-padded, excessive 80s


** JAM: for those that have spent the last month on the moon, Teresa May’s shorthand for those that are Just About Managing and clearly can’t afford a new pair of leather trousers (although they may be wiser to make a different fashion choice)

An Explosion of Colour

Kirsty Hanicke






By Kirsty

Rainbow bagels, Cragels (part croissant and part bagel, and a promise to sell breakfast all day if you are nice are just some of the offerings from The Bagel Store in Brooklyn, NY.
Scott Rossillo, the self proclaimed world’s premier bagel artist is a native Brooklynite an accent to match, complete with earrings, tattoo sleeves, and a genuine spirituality that blends into his work. He is the man behind the rainbow bagel, bagels that have been swirled with vibrant colours that don’t bleed or fade and taste a lot like Fruit Loops and are usually stuffed with Funfetti cream cheese.
Through Rossillo’s commitment, experience, and expertise The Bagel Store has established a relationship with its customers that will last a lifetime!
Unique, no holds barred and tapped into customers’ wildest food dreams, this bakery has customers lining up around the block and is a social phenomenon.
Artists don’t merely exist – they evolve. Well that’s what I think anyway. By walking to the beat of his own drum Rossillo has re-energised a subdued industry and become a revolutionary figure in the market. Just think what a little bit hard world, free thinking and help from your favourite communication provider – Hanicke Robins Sanderson could do for you.
So if your communication strategy isn’t getting the results you want, you don’t have clients lining up at your door, then contact us for a complimentary creative session!

We promise you’ll never look back!


Sitting Down to Bleed

Kirsty Hanicke



By Kirsty


Sitting Down to Bleed


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”


Yes, that was the great Ernest Hemingway. From the first part of the quote, you get the impression that writing is easy. Then, you understand it’s actually the most difficult thing in the world. Of course, I am not sitting here at my laptop bleeding onto the keypad and I am not professing to be a ‘great blogger’.


There are of course a few technical requirements in blogging: decent grammar, good vocabulary, great idea, and awesome written expression. If you wrote great essays at college or university, then you’re one step closer to becoming a blogger people will appreciate. However, all these aspects don’t make a post amazing. It’s the idea, style, approach, and authority that matter.


Do you want to reach those levels? Of course you do! Some guidelines that I follow when writing:


Think of an irresistible first sentence.

You can’t expect to catch prey if you don’t have the right hook. The first sentence is really important because it convinces the visitor you’re offering something valuable for reading. The purpose of the catchy opening is to get the reader to the second line.


Keep the sentences short and clear.

You don’t want your reader to lose attention before they get to the end of a long sentence. It’s important to be as brief as possible.


Use analogies.

Writers are like psychologists. They dissect the human soul to discover the reasons, causes, and triggers of certain actions. That’s how they develop believable characters we can relate to.


Stay away from jargon.

Simple, precise words will capture the attention of all readers. Some of them may like jargon, but not everyone understands pretentious words a particular group uses.


Be creative and unique.

You can’t always have unique ideas. Sometimes you need to go with the flow and write a post on a trending topic, although it has already been covered by every single blogger in the niche. Nevertheless, you have to find a unique angle to approach the issue.


The universal techniques that apply to every blogger are: clarity, consistency, and uniqueness. When you achieve these qualities, you’ll discover what else your audience needs.


How to Forge Stronger Connections and Still Have Time for a Bath

Kirsty Hanicke

By Kirsty

“Don’t talk to strangers!”

That was the advice we all received as children and many of us will find ourselves saying those words to our own offspring. No one told us when to start talking to strangers again, 21? 30? 40? We have had to figure that one out on our own. As professionals and communicators we need to not only talk to strangers to build our network but we need to talk to the right strangers to build a robust, meaningful network.

You only need a small network. 25-50 people can get you what you need. There are essentially three levels of networking that really matter: a friend of a friend of a friend. That means that the friend of a friend of a friend of a friend (4 removed) won’t do much for you.  Further, if you want to build a meaningful professional or personal network, you need a warm introduction by someone. That fourth or fifth removed “friend” won’t get you places.

Other great advice that I have obtained over the years, and wholeheartedly try to put into practice is:

  • Your network is your critical asset; your network equals your net worth
  • Just be nice
  • Communicating is about listening more than talking – have to admit to having trouble with this one!!!
  • You can disagree without being disagreeable
  • Don’t ask, don’t get
  • Sometimes great ideas come when you’re not thinking about work
  • Kick fear to the curb
  • Work with people who have intellectual curiosity and a sense of humour – I am very lucky to be able to do so
  • Learn how to say NO – you will miraculously clear your calendar for more important things – this is so liberating but has taken me forever to implement
  • Rethink your assumptions – you know the old adage….
  • Work hard, work fun and take more baths.

That’s right: take more baths. Some of the best advice is the simplest.

Let’s get out of the bubble and get hands on

Kirsty HanickeBy Kirsty


Would you ask a room full of toddlers to read the top five food blogs for their perspectives on the Government’s guidelines for sugar intake as a way to sway them into eat their veggies? Of course not! But you might sit them down – with a yummy snack, of course – and read to them from the great Seuss tome of Green Eggs and Ham. Hey, if you do a good job, you might even convince a few picky tots to try a new food in the process.
As professional communicators, our job is essentially the same challenge – when we don’t know our audience, it is nearly impossible to be effective storytellers to them. We aren’t communicating at all when we aren’t in touch with how the audience is receiving our messages, or the contexts in which they’re being received. We all spend a lot of time heads-down (reading PR industry pubs, using research tools, and scanning headlines) but there is no substitute for first-hand experience seeing world through our audience’s eyes. How can you fine-tune your own consumer insights?
The answer is simple but often intimidating: Get out of your bubble and get hands-on.
With that in mind, here are my quick tips for getting up close and personal with your audience:

  • Get outside your own demographic by tapping into your empathy. Spend some time reading and watching the same media as your target audience in a non-judgmental way.
  • Check your bias at the door – you are likely approaching this assignment with some false assumptions. Perhaps you think you know what morning talk shows feature, but you haven’t watched one in years. Maybe you assume all consumers feel strongly about a topic, but you haven’t spent the time reading their comment threads in blogs. Maybe you’re getting all your info from one source and just need to dig deeper. Or perhaps, you just don’t relate to a given group so are biased in your overall approach.
  • Get past it and challenge yourself to go beyond the surface, get a full picture, and get yourself aligned in the process. Pay attention to how other brands are messaging – what else is competing for attention? What has the most value in this native context?
  • Ask questions, engage, but also quietly observe, take photos and notes. You’ll see inspiration everywhere and develop your spidey sense for what won’t fly for your audience. (Needless to say, leave your preferences aside for this assignment, too. See your audience’s environment through their eyes and not your own.) So roll your sleeves up and get ready to do some field work.

With a little extra effort, you can better understand your audience from the inside out.


Are you brave enough to say “tails” instead of “heads”?

Flipping a coin when it comes to exhibitions

Paul Sanderson Hanicke Robins SandersonBy Paul.


If you flip a coin, you might think you have a 50/50 chance right? Well you might be wrong.


If you attend an exhibition, then you will get leads right? Well you might be wrong on that too.


Most of us will typically say “heads” when asked to flip a coin, and actually, our chances might be slightly better by doing so. Research in 2012 found that things like the way people toss a coin and the weight of the coin, often leads to 51% of tosses landing on heads and 49% on tails.


So that slight advantage exists with heads even if we did not know it to begin with and just went along with what we have always done.


However, the research also found that if you use an American 1 cent coin (also known as a penny), the weighting on the heads side featuring Abraham Lincoln is such that tails is more likely to appear 80% of the time.


Flipping a coin when it comes to exhibitionsWhat appears to have been a 50/50 decision for most people, has turned into an 80/20 decision in favour of tails.


It just shows that even when we are making a simple decision, we need to ensure we have the evidence at hand to make sure we can make the right decision for our business.


I’d recommend making the same evaluation when it comes to your communications strategy. So rather than making a 50/50 punt, can you toss the coin so that it is more like tails on an American penny and therefore more in your favour?


For example, are you sure you are employing the right blend of experience and creativity to raise the profile of your business through PR and marketing?


Would you be better off arranging your own bespoke tightly organised event rather than spending a fortune on an exhibition where you don’t know whether the right people and leads will go to your stand?


Think about it, attending an exhibition means the odds are not in your favour. There is risk that your stand is in the wrong place at the end of a dead end, or that the person with the £1 million contract in their pocket is networking with your competitor because you were talking to a retired bloke who wanted to reminisce. It is also in the interests of the exhibition organiser to get more stands, and that means it dilutes the amount of potential visitors per stand.


Don’t get me wrong, some exhibitions are great, but having been to many, I also know the ones where the tumbleweed is blowing down the aisles and exhibitors look annoyed and frustrated with the time and money they have spent. I visited two of them myself in just November last year.


At a guess, I would say the odds of an exhibition working for you would be less than 50% – maybe even less than 25%.


But what if there was the American penny option, where you knew that if you shout “tails” the odds are massively in your favour?


There is that option, organise your own event with our expertise, and we will ensure that every person networks with you is a potential lead.


We will ensure those leads get quality time with you, so you can show off your business.


So when you are deciding whether to do that exhibition again, maybe it might be better to be brave and shout “tails” and do something where the odds are more in your favour.


I’m dreaming of a Hollywood Christmas – already!

Christmas business planning

Kirsty HanickeBy Kirsty

So here we are nearing the end of November – a time most notable for the specific phenomenon: feeling “Christmassy”.

At this juncture the notion of Christmas is exciting, hopeful and expectant.

From any age I have always dreamt of what I call my “Hollywood” Christmas. Winter’s frosty delights captivating me, all dressed, elf like, in garlands of red and green, singing carols while snow is falling and being nestled by the fire nibbling on Christmas delights and mulled wine.

All this talk of performing makes me want to dust off my tap shoes, stuff a mince pie in my mouth and shuffle off to 42nd Street or the set of “It’s a Wonderful Life” or such like.

Just now, putting on my duffle coat and stepping into the cold air, which still comes as a surprise, is cosy and charming. I almost envisage crystals forming on snow clad trees – yes I’m still dreaming. Santa is on his way, and as I’ve only been a tiny bit naughty and a whole lot nice, wonderful delights will be sitting under my, not yet bought or decorated, tree very soon.

I am currently dreaming about hams, lobsters, chutneys and lots of cheese. Oh go on then some champagne and cocktails won’t go amiss. Though in a few weeks I think that I’ll be praying for 1st January to start my ongoing New Year’s resolution of losing a stone. Oh, must correct myself and say 4th January as it’s rude to start a diet mid-week….

Hyde Park winter wonderland

Talking of New Year’s resolutions….every year starts with regular 10k runs around some London park, mentally patting myself on the back for doing ‘so much exercise’. Starting another one of my health kicks and boring myself senseless  with talk of how this is the latest best thing. I get super organised and fill my diary with plans and activities that I’ve yet to accomplish.

Needless to say, in my mind I’m still in January 2015, which would account for the fact that most of my resolutions continue to be just that – resolutions. The only thing that I ever follow through on is business planning and delivery.

If you haven’t yet got your business and marketing plan in place for 2016 then now is the time to get planning. If you have a plan in place, how much of it includes doing something a bit different? Are you looking for ways to connect with your existing customer base, deploy new tactics to bring on board new clients? Then why don’t you drop us a line as you can see we do things differently.

But for now I’m off to see what’s occurring in my winter wonderland! Ta ta.



How aboot something different?

Burns Night

Kirsty HanickeBy Kirsty


Every year, on the 25th January, or there abouts, Scots around the world celebrate Robert Burns (aka Rabbie Burns) life and works and pay tribute to the Scottish culture.


I say this as if I have hosted, or at least attended, many a Burns Night and this could not be further from the truth. I am born and bred Scottish, but in the 20 years I lived north of the border, not once did I go to a Burns Night. I have eaten haggis all of my life, love nothing better than partaking in a spot of Highland dancing – I do a mean sword dance – but I had just never gotten to a Burns Night.

Burns Night


I spent quite some time at university abroad and shattered many a poor foreigners´ assumption that us Scots are all mad, drunkly roam around the Highlands, wearing string vests, eating fried mars bars and everyone is called Mary Doll or Hamish – Rab C Nesbitt has a lot to answer for!


What I am alluding to is that “mair nonsense has been uttered in the name of Robert Burns and oor culture than ony’s, barrin liberty and Christ”. What I mean is that Rabbie Burns was a genius, with an ability to paint beautiful pictures with words, a wonderful command of language and a collector and improver of old Scots songs.


It took a while for me to celebrate the life and work of Burns and my own culture, but when I did, it made it feel all the more special.


The company that I used to work for was looking for a client retention and satisfaction strategy at the tail-end of the year.


If there’s one night in the year to gather all of your nearest and dearest for a hearty feast, with delectable haggis and drams along with rousing verses and ceilidh dancing until the wee hours, it must be Burns Night. And so on a cold January night our clients were enticed and cajoled through the doors for a fun-filled evening where they were to be entertained by their very own service provider.


We had singing, poetry readings, almost a war of words with the toast to the lassies and the retort to the ladies, and our very own mad Scot brandishing their knife whilst addressing the haggis – oh no it was not me! There was even a bagpiper, who moments earlier had had to remove the MD´s sporran from his neck and place it around his waist. The event was a rip-roaring success and for all many were suffering the next morning the Burns Night is still being spoken about fondly.


If you are looking to satisfy and retain your clients and open the door to new ones why not think of doing something that little bit different and personal. A repeat has been asked for many a time but as I have moved on to pastures new, it may be better you drop us a line and see how we can become


New acquaintances


Always brought to mind


New acquaintances never to be forgot


For the sake of auld lang syne!