Top three marketing trends for 2018

By Adrienne Robins

Putting together your 2018 marketing strategies? Well, here are some trends you might want to follow to keep things fresh and exciting. 

1. Get a good vlog game 

If you’re working on FMCG or are delivering B2C messaging, then you should reach out to the vlogging community. Share your products and opinions with these savvy YouTube/Instagram personalities and you’ll reach new audiences, particularly of the youth and female kind. This isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that’s growing quickly. Don’t expect vloggers to promote your stuff – that’s advertising! Instead, let them give their candid reviews. PC Centric does this really well when it comes to techy stuff 

Alternatively, if you’re comfortable being in front of the camera, there’s nothing to stop you from vlogging. Just make sure you’ve got an interesting angle and are prepared to stand by what you say. Don’t worry about being perfect in terms of lighting etc. It’s more to do with content. But remember, it’ll take time to build an audience – vloggers like PC Centric don’t achieve success over night. 

2. Think stories 

When it comes to social media, stories are where it’s at. Everyone loves an Instagram story, so make sure you add to these. And it’s the same when it comes to Facebook/Messenger.  

For Twitter (and Facebook), we’d like to see more people going live, letting people really engage with events and emotions as they happen. 

3. Old school is going to be super cool 

New GDPR and E Privacy Regulations come in to force in May 2018, and these will significantly change the way we approach direct marketing, especially in terms of emails. 

In short, mass email marketing to prospective customers is pretty much dead. Which is no bad thing seeing as the conversion rates are often pretty dismal.  

Instead, marketing strategies will be much more targeted and better joined up with the sales process. There will be a massive focus on getting well researched targets to opt in, rather than simply hitting the send button and hoping. 

To do this, marketing teams are going to have to spend more time understanding what really makes potential customers tick. We might also see an increase in old school direct mail.  

One thing is for sure though, if mass emails are an integral part of your marketing you need to prepare to do things differently. 

Industrial Strategy recycling plan requires packaging to be made simple to recycle

By Paul Sanderson

Today the Government published its long-awaited Industrial Strategy and the section on recycling is ambitious. 

But is this ambition realistic? 

We have a number of clients in the recycling sector, but also work with manufacturers too, so the Industrial Strategy is obviously of interest. 

For the recycling sector, it calls for the introduction of a circular economy. Great, but there was no detail on this. 

It also wants to see “raising the resource productivity of businesses, including through the promotion of recycling and strong secondary materials markets where products are designed with efficiency and recyclability in mind”. 

In my view, to create strong secondary markets, it is absolutely essential to design packaging that can be easily recycled in the first place. 

Give a member of the public a steel or aluminium can or a cardboard box and they almost always know it can be recycled. Give them a multi-material food pouch and they really aren’t sure whether they can or not. Simple wins. 

As Simon Ellin, the chief executive of The Recycling Association (one of our clients), always says, we have got to put quality first when it comes to recycling. Quality is vital as contamination makes the products harder, sometimes impossible, to recycle. 

The best way to get that quality is to have packaging that is easy for the public to understand whether they can recycle it or not. 

Let’s hope that when the Government eventually publishes its new strategy for resources and waste, it recognises that the biggest win will come from designing and manufacturing products that can be easily recycled.  

Top 5 tweets of the week


Here are our top 5 tweets of the week:

Not only is this a good story that promotes recycling and the circular economy, but it is also pretty cool as well: 


With our office based in Liverpool, this is quite a historical piece of information on Liverpool’s transport system and screams WOW:


Do you get annoyed with waiting for your recycle bins to be collected, then we have the perfect solution for you, via this post. Why not make a DIY recycling machine for the home? 


GDPR is becoming a bigger issue everyday and it’s important that you read up on this matter to avoid the consequences, here’s a a guide on the matter:


How could this not be in our top 5 tweets? Black Friday Stress = kittens? What more could you want?! 


Check back next week to see if your tweets made the cut!


How to find the right venue for your event

By Alex Bean

Over the years, we have held many events in different locations, from our recent event in the ultra-lush New Hall Hotel and Spa in Birmingham, to other lavish locations such as the Malmaison in Liverpool and Rudding Park in Harrogate. 

But what did we consider when choosing these venues?  

Most people will tell you the obvious points on how to find the right venue, such as setting a budget and writing a list of essentials beforehand. 

However, here are our five top tips that will make you really think and narrow down your search until you find that perfect venue for you.   

1) Proximity to public transport 

When finding the right venue, you need to consider how your guests will arrive. If some are likely to opt for public transport then make it easy by minimising the distance from train stations, bus stops and taxi ranks.  

Luxury locations can often be a little bit inaccessible, so although there may be parking on site, you really need to do your public transport homework (or lay on a transfer service) for the clients who aren’t driving.

2) Ring the venue first to get a feel for the level of service 

If you ring the venue first and they aren’t helpful over the phone, it is unlikely that they will be in person. Organising an event without a supportive venue team is possible, but it’s so much easier if you all pull in the same direction. This really is a case of first impressions being important. 

3) Has a competitor held an event there previously? 

To make your event stand out, have a look at where your competitors have held events, and cross them off your list.  

You want to hold an event somewhere new and exciting, somewhere that will make your clients remember every detail. 

By holding it in the same place as a competitor, what you are essentially doing is making them remember a previous event, which kind of defeats the objective. 

Be different! 

4) London is expensive – but free venues are anything but 

Although London may seem the best place in the UK to hold an event, it will cost you more than places in the surrounding areas.  

Unless you have a budget that can accommodate London prices, look elsewhere. We like Oxford and Birmingham for good prices and easy accessibility. 

You’ll be surprised what 100 miles can do to the price tag. 

A word on free venues: our experience is that free can be a headache requiring a lot of extra preparation hours (and hours are not free). Also, catering costs at free venues will rack up – and can often result in a similar cost to a paid for venue. Except you don’t have any on-site support. Our advice – proceed with free venues with a heavy dose of caution.   

5) Look around 4/5 venues before choosing  

It is essential that you look around the venues before booking, because sometimes pictures flatter to deceive. 

I like to call these “catfish-venues.” 

When you visit, remember your must-have list and really get a feel for the place, even down to the little details that you wouldn’t have previously thought of. Everything counts when searching and comparing venue locations. 

You now have some more tips to think about when looking for your dream venue! 

Happy hunting! ?  

Top five takeaways on Bold Street- Liverpool

By Alex Bean


With our office based just off Bold Street in Liverpool, we are surrounded by an abundance of restaurants and cafés that all scream “EAT FROM HERE”.  In fact, in summer when we have the office window open we can smell all the delicious food on Bold Street and it makes us starving! 

Although we aren’t Michelin star judges (we wouldn’t say no if asked though!), we know a thing or two about the best places to go for a perfect lunchtime takeaway from somewhere on Bold Street, because honestly, we have tried most eateries on the road already! 

So here are our top five takeaways from Bold Street in Liverpool:  

1) American Pizza Slice  

This place, without a doubt, takes our first spot. Not only does it do a good range of pizzas, but the size of one alone could fill you for an entire day, and plus it’s absolutely delicious.   

It’s a pizza that makes you want more, and with one slice only costing £2.50, it’s great value for money. Alex recommends the peperoni pizza and Paul loves the halloumi one.

2) Artisane 

The story behind this French bakery, sorry boulangerie and patisserie, is quite magnifique. The team behind this amazing place is made up from local and international bread and cake aficionados, who produce hundreds of mouth-watering treats every day. The stunning selection of beautiful patisserie makes it well worth a visit, but the selection of sandwiches and bakes is stunning too.

Paul suggests the vegetable curry pasty and ask for it to be warmed.  

3) Bold Street Coffee 

If you ever find yourself walking to the end of Bold Street, you will come across this little café on the left-hand side. 

Not only does this place do, in our opinion, the best coffee in Liverpool, it also makes ammmmazzzingg toasties that are truly-scrumptious. If you’re ever in need of a deep, intense coffee, walk past the Costa and the Caffe Nero and try this little place instead, you’ll discover what you’ve been missing. 

4) Bakchich 

This Lebanese street food restaurant is always packed, which says a lot about how good the food is.  

If you’re a fan of halloumi, kofta’s, Lebanese-style burgers, and wraps, then this place is one to try, and we are sure you will love it as much as we do! And not many people realise they do takeaway too. So when you need to grab something to eat at your desk, you can still have Bakchich.

5) The Italian Club 

Italian food is amazing anyway, but this restaurant makes it exquisitely. 

From the dry-cured ham paninis to the carbonara, this place is one for the lovers of traditional Italian recipes and ingredients. Don’t miss out on trying this little spot, because it will soon become a favourite. 


Happy eating!  


The power of personality

By Adrienne Robins

When it comes to B2B PR, the baseline focus is often on products, services and target markets. But that can only carry you so far. 

Identifying and nurturing an industry personality, however, can take your PR to another level.  

Over the years, we’ve worked with a range of individuals in the recycling, construction, energy and sustainability sectors, and all have enjoyed regular print media/online coverage. Some have come to us with the explicit objective of raising their personal profile, while others have been surprised to find themselves in the spotlight. 

For those that already recognise that they have a story to tell, the key is to help them refine messages and identify the less obvious (but often more interesting) stories and opportunities.  

For many, it’s also important to provide practical support in terms of identifying and securing feature and speaking opportunities, drafting copy and acting as a sounding board for more controversial (or should that be thought-provoking?!) opinions. 

In reality, if you have a ready-made personality, the challenge can be more about focus and direction.  

But not everyone arrives at our door ready to take to the stage, or even aware that they have a story to tell. Mike Jackson from Prismm Environmental is a good example. 

At our first meeting with Mike it was obvious that his mindset was all about innovation. He’s certainly not old school recycling.  

It was clear to us that Mike would be able to forge a place for himself in the UK recycling landscape, and after talking it through he was happy to give it a go. 

Six months down the line, Mike has a vlog, has spoken at a recycling conference, has a regular column in a target market e-newsletter, and features in the latest issue of Recycling & Waste World magazine (pictured above). And he’s full of new ideas, which means the coverage will keep on coming. 

You can read Mike’s feature here (go to page 20): 

Some relief from China, but not enough?

By Paul Sanderson


On Friday it is Black Friday when some retailers will be offering discounts on loads of consumer goods. 

In a matter of just a few years, Black Friday has become a UK institution after being developed in the United States as a shopping day for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving. 

But it has also become a day when some less scrupulous retailers lower prices after raising them the week before, effectively leaving them where they had been anyway. 

This is kind of how the news from China feels about the 0.5% allowed contamination levels that were revealed last week. 

Currently, it is permitted to send 1.5% contamination within loads to China, but the Chinese had proposed 0.3% in August. 

Therefore, there has been some relief that China has increased the amount of out-throw it will allow, even though effectively it means reducing the accepted amount by 1% of the total. 

Maybe this was clever psychology by the Chinese Government, or maybe they just listened to their own recyclers and the efforts of trade associations, including The Recycling Association in the UK. 

However, the 0.5% level is going to be really, really hard to meet. My view is that this can only be met by proactively sorting to this level, leaving a lot of material for other destinations. 

In order to meet this 0.5% level on a large scale, we need to transform everything from the beginning. This means packaging needs to be designed to be recyclable, and manufactured to be easily recyclable. That doesn’t mean theoretically recyclable, but that the public look at it and go, yep, I can recycle that.  

Need to know more about alternative destinations for your recyclable materials, post-China? Attend the REB Recycling End Markets Conference on the 13th December to find out the essential information :    

Recycling vs student  


         By Alex Bean

Recycle for Wales released a report stating that people between the age of 18-34 are less likely to recycle compared to the older generation. 

The report went on to say that the reason behind this was due to youngsters not understanding what items are actually recyclable.  

From my experience as someone within the 18-34 range, I never really got taught or got given extensive information about recycling. Instead, I mostly learnt from my parents about what items were acceptable, i.e., plastic, cardboard and paper. Living at home up until university I never really did the recycling bins, my parents did and I think this plays a vital role when examining younger generations impact on recycling rates. It was not until university that I really started to recycle by myself. 

The university I went to actually promoted recycling, this was through the bins labelled recyclable with the words paper, plastics underneath. They were placed all over campus and in university halls and actually made me question myself when I was about to throw away certain things. However, when I moved out of halls and in to a house with my friends for the remainder of university life, recycling actually became a big part of our little house.   

I don’t believe that the younger generation recycle less because of confusion, I think it is down to lack of information at a younger age that impacts us when we live independently.  

There is however, more information available nowadays than there used to be. One example being the recycle logo on bins or on the back of packaging in supermarkets. Another example from a personal experience was when I moved into my university house and received a flyer telling me and my friends about the pick-up days for the bins with what items belong in each coloured bin. What was also quite significant about the flyer was the warning it provided.  

It had three warnings: 

  • If you do not put the bins out on the correct day they will not get collected for two weeks 
  • If you put the wrong items in the wrong bin the waste will not get disposed 
  • If you fail to do either of these two things for longer than 4 weeks, you will be fined £1000. 

As students obviously, that kicked us in the right place and made up aware about the consequences. 

Although I agree in some aspects about the warning, I did think it was extensive, but it did make me more serious about the situation. As students, and the reputation students have when living in their own house, I think whoever wrote the flyer wanted to scare everyone. And they did.  

As time went past, and bin nights came around I found myself looking down the road (mostly made up of students) and every bin was out waiting to be emptied. I guess they were all scared too. But it does show that younger generations care about recycling, know what to recycle and overall not wanting to live in a dump for the next two weeks. 

As I said earlier, recycling became a part of my life as I lived independently and I think that local councils, although extreme, made me care a lot more about what items could be recyclable and what could not. If I learnt more about recycling when I was in primary school for instance, and then it was implemented more as I grew up throughout education, I think myself and the younger generation would feel more confident when moving out of home and beginning the recycle life alone.  

So, to conclude, if the world wants the younger generation to recycle more, implement information at a younger age and get the children involved at home, or just threat to fine them £1000!  

Until next time, 

Alex (Independent recycler since 2014) 

Assistant Curator of Communications and Events at Hanicke Robins Sanderson

From graduate to ‘creator of buzz’ 

By Alex Bean

Like nearly every upcoming graduate I panicked when my final few months of university were approaching and I had not yet decided what I wanted to do, either after University or with my entire life. Surrounded by students who were in the same sinking boat as me and others who knew exactly what they wanted to do, I felt the pressure not only from my own conscious, but from the careers centre who sent newsletters about jobs. every. single. day.

As the months passed, and I handed in my last assignment – the dreaded 8500-word dissertation, I still found myself stuck at what I should do. It seemed that all the graduate jobs that initially interested me were thousands of miles away or you needed 10 years’ experience (which would make me 11).

One day I opened my university email to find yet another career centre newsletter, except this time something sparked my interest ‘Assistant Curator of Communications and Events’ at Hanicke Robins Sanderson. I remember thinking ‘oooooooooo that sounds like a fancy title’ and it was quite close to where I live. Reading the requirements and the roles description, I took a plunge and applied. While this company is based around PR, marketing and organising events particularly in recycling and energy, I was still intrigued, even if I knew nothing about it. About a month or so later I got an email asking to meet for interview. I went, had a second interview and a month and half later, here I am writing this blog post.

My first day was extremely nerve racking, not only did I not get any sleep, but I didn’t know what to expect. Walking into an office for your first ever post-graduate role is never going to be easy, but it was quite a chilled atmosphere. I settled into my little desk (with my own little laptop that is also a touchscreen-both practical and frustrating) and waited for instructions. Paul Sanderson, the curator of us and events of Hanicke Robins Sanderson, made me a fabulous cup of tea and told me to write a small press release. Being a History and English Language graduate I thought I had it under control, but I did not. I started misspelling words, using incorrect punctuation and overall just worrying that I was doing my entire job wrong already. However, this is the most important thing I have learnt over the past few days, you can always improve and learn.

As the next couple of days went by I felt more comfortable in writing press releases, even if parts of it were still wrong. Getting into the role of the job more, I was told to come up with ideas of how to ‘create a buzz’ around Hanicke Robins Sanderson’s conferences using our social media accounts. While this has been the main priority of my role so far, I have also built a flatpack table, made Paul buy a new kettle because I’m fussy and redesigned the office multiple times in my head and shared my ideas (pictures coming soon). I also learnt that I will be attending events and interviewing clients about environmental issues which is extremely nerve racking, but the fact that I know nothing about environmental issues is equally terrifying. However, the thought of being able to learn from Adrienne and Paul and the clients we work with, and expanding my own knowledge and skills, will be rewarding.

Working life is always a scary thought, but so far, I am enjoying it, even if it is early days. I am grateful to this company for allowing me to expand my knowledge and life experiences without having to be 11 and know about rPET and CO2 carbon emissions.

Here’s hoping the next few months carry on this intrigue- keep posted for updates!

Alex Bean 

Assistant  curator ‘of buzz’ and communications and events at Hanicke Robins Sanderson


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.