If 2022 spelled, 'Not Waving but Drowning,'
2023 says, Keep Communications Strong!
So, how was YOUR 2022? You survived the pandemic, possibly got everyone back to the office, but could you hire the right people? Did your key messages cut through the noise and chaos of a year? With tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, the death of our longest serving monarch, tech mogul insanity, record-breaking weather, and farce-like political flux, at times it felt unbearable. But what rendered us speechless was the paucity of message sissued by those who should know better, or taken expert advice. What on earth...? Did lockdown morph into lockjaw? Sometimes, lessons on how to communicate are best served by 'How NOT to do it'. (Somewhere in Soho, a script writer is polishing off 'Three P.M.s and a Baby'. They're just trying to figure out which character to cast as the infant... )
Truss and Musk self combust. Who's next?
Recent politics seems to have been dominated by narcissistic types who fail to mature beyond the 'id' stage, believing they're the centre of the universe well beyond aged 6, are held aloft on a wave of popularism by lost sheep seeking the good ol' days, and eventually self combust? Last year's movie, Don't Look Up, was a staggeringly prescient take on 'the state we are in' from a climate crisis perspective, and many others. Anyone who saw it must smile at the parallels with Elon Musk's fall from grace vs. that of Peter Isherwell, CEO of BASH Cellular, who aborts Earth for a cryogenic life in Space, having attempted to milk the impending meteor for all the cash its ores were worth, before planet Earth explodes.
'Don't Look Up': Take 1 tech billionaire, introduce a lethal meteorite with 'rich ores' and watch the rest unfold...
Try sitting on a fence. It CAN feel good
But are US and other voters moving away from angry voices and Republicanism towards a common sense centre? Might the allure of 'me, me, me, money, money, money' be making way for judgement based on what is right and true? Whilst 'truth' is a complex concept, we predict 2023 will continue to see us question the algorithm-dictated 'truths' we are fed. Will cancel culture continue, or will we hear each other out despite holding different views, or even 'agree to disagree'? It's something that's being newly taught in colleges. (Hear this 'Plea for Nuance' podcast on iPlayer.) The jury is out, but we bet on greater scrutiny of issues such as greenwashing, 'profiteering' by energy firms, and probing of the motives behind hosting events such as this year's football World Cup. Not to mention the ability of COP27 to generate meaningful change. It only seems a decade ago that Youth was happy to 'buy new, eat fast food and keep gaming'. Now, they up-cycle, buy old vinyl, and question the 'echo chamber' diet they're fed by Snapchat et al 'Have more of what we know you like, why bother challenging your views?' Scrutiny comes fast, which means communications are ALL.
"The pandemic marked the end of a period of relative stability and predictability in geopolitics and economics. Today’s world is much more unstable, convulsed by the vicissitudes of great-power rivalry, the aftershocks of the pandemic, economic upheaval, extreme weather, and rapid social and technological change. Unpredictability is the new normal."
The Economist, Nov 2022
And if Covid - or indeed, The Queen - taught us anything, it was about the power of GOOD communicators to give people strength in adversity, and enable us to survive gargantuan flux (and the other ‘F’s life throws at us). So, looking ahead to 2023, make sure YOU get your communications strategies in place, and be prepared to adapt them. Because no-one can argue with The Economist's prediction that 'Unpredictability is the new normal' - echoing Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead: "Uncertainty is the normal state." Well, if life can imitate art, then vice versa. Yet, despite the crises, cynicism and comms disasters, we found 'a good C' and made sure we CELEBRATED our achievements, including nominations for 2 major PR awards!
🏅FINALISTS in 2 Major PR Awards! 🏅
Curious PR's Sophie Wesley | Susan Morgan, CEO, SongBird Survival | Hannah Kapff
Finalist for 'Best PR Campaign' - Third Sector Awards @ The Brewery, London
TV presenter, Torie Campbell, announces UK Agency Awards @ The Montcalm, Marble Arch
Curious PR were finalists for 'Best PR Campaign' (again!)
...We were goose-bumpingly proud to be 1 of 6 nominees for ‘Best PR Campaign’ at the Third Sector Awards - AND - 1 of 5 at UK Agency Awards. It just goes to show that our team really does ALWAYS go the extra mile, as our clients confirm, fuelled by our genuine passion (and good coffee). This recognition from expert judges makes us all the more determined to keep generating world class results. The campaign in question? ‘Cats & Cat Owners’ for the charity, SongBird Survival. We communicated the findings of elegantly-designed research by the University of Exeter - in meaningful ways - to the public and the media. Our work led to a global audience of around 2 billion thanks to the likes of Newsweek, Mail Online, BBC, CNN, ITV, The Telegraph. They, along with a plethora of other media and social media platforms, published the news about how to prevent our feline friends from decimating populations of our feathery ones. Songbirds have fallen by ~50% in 50 years. Communicating to make a global impact is our 'Holy Grail'. This message was clear: play with your cat for 5-10 mins a day and feed it high quality meat protein, and you'll help stem this tragic loss of biodiversity.
🎥 Publicising High-Flying Cinematography 🚁
The Sunday Times Culture Show meets Aerial Cinematographer, Jeremy Braben. Grant Tucker interviews Braben and Benedict Wong about filming from the air on the blockbuster movie,
'Dr Strange & The Multiverse of Madness'
Speaking of wings, we delight in continuing to raise the profile of global aerial cinematography specialists, Helicopter Film Services. Lucky presenter of The Sunday Times Culture Show, Grant Tucker, got to experience views over C. London in an HFS helicopter to hear how Aerial DoP, Jeremy Braben, captures aerial sequences for blockbusters such as Dr Strange: Multiverse of Madness (~$950m in revenue). Admitting to a fear of heights, Grant got tips from one of the movie's stars, Benedict Wong, as part of this great feature viewed by ~53,000 people on YouTube, and counting!
We publicised HFS's work on Jurassic World: Dominion, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, The Peripheral and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery starring Daniel Craig, for which HFS filmed at some uber-glamorous locations, from land, air + sea
🤡🔪Publicity for multi award-winning 'Follow Her'🤡🔪
😉❤️🤡🔪You want to be famous...right? We publicised the UK première of FOLLOW HER by multi Emmy award nominated Producer Director, Silvia Caminer. A psycho-sexual thriller with a twist, it asks 'how far will YOU go for social media fame', starring Dani Barker (Starvival) + Luke Cook (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2). It continues to win prestigious awards.
DIG IN! 🪱 The 1st ever UK Soils Awareness Week
From up high to underground… We helped uksoils get the British public digging into soils byplanning and launching the first ever UK Soils Awareness Week #UKSAW in October! Supporting the Sustainable Soils Alliance since 2020 drove us to get soil higher in people's consciousness, be they young, old, urban, rural, a farmer, environmentalist, gardener, policy-maker, journalist - or just somebody curious about what lies beneath our feet! UKSAW22 had a 3-pronged, gardening fork approach:
1.🙋🏽 Take the QUIZ: How much do YOU know about soils?
e.g. What can we learn about soil by burying underpants and digging them up months later?!
2. 🐛 The ABC or soil LEXICON: Ever heard of a Tardigrade? Or Regenerative farming?
3. 📈 TOP TIPS to take action on healthy soils e.g. avoid single-use plastics
Our media outreach enabled a 4 minute interview with Prof Bridget Emmett, soils expert at UKCEH, broadcast to a weekly global audience of over 100m people on BBC World News World Business Report and BBC One. The campaign was supported by major organisations eg The National Trust which shared the quiz with >1M Instagram followers, byYeo Valley, Toast Ale, Save Soils and by celebrity campaigner, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
'B' is for Biodiversity: 1 tsp of soil holds more organisms than there are people on Earth!
BELOW: Hannah with Matthew Orman, Founding Member of uksoils @ Yeo Valley HQ, Somerset
“Of all the environmental issues, soil is one of the most misunderstood and the most neglected. This is a huge problem, given its vital importance - for food security, safe water supply, carbon storage and indeed for all life on earth! I want people to be fascinated by soil - curious, inspired, connected - and yes, urgently concerned. Only when soil is established at the top table of public consciousness will we to start to see true progress on more sustainable food production and meaningful climate action."
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Celebrity Chef & Campaigner
Soil: A neglected ‘pillar’ of environment compared to air or water. We hear lots about plastic pollution and CO2, but when did you last read about SOIL in The Media?
Soil yields 95% of our food, but we treat it like dirt: 60-70% of European soil is deemed unhealthy, and 33% of global soils are degraded. In June, we travelled to the parched fields of Hertfordshire to dig into Groundswell. And 'swell' this conference had, from around 500 delegates a few years ago to 5,000 this year, including [then] Environment Minister, George Eustace. We felt palpable determination to bring regenerative farming to more. Curious to know more? Read our blog, Are We Standing on the Solution to Climate Change. Look out for more soils news on 5th December, World Soils Day, and spread theword (and the muck): We must take action on healthy soils now, for future generations!
Groundswell Conference 2022 debates included Natalie Bennett, Green Party |
former Environment Minister, George Eustace | Minette Batters, NFU | Rosie Boycott
Highs & Lows for 👑 The Queen's Regimental Charity
2022 was a year of highs and lows for our charity client, the Women’s Royal Army Corps Association. In May, we helped mark the biggest loss of female Army life in British history: the Great Yarmouth bombing of 1943, when 26 young servicewomen were killed by enemy plane bombardment. We ensured high quality media coverage of this tragic commemoration, including a beautifully-written article in Mail Online. Military History Matters, BBC Three Counties Radio and many other platforms shared our campaign to ensure ALL these women's names are rightly included on their local war memorials. Thank you to journalists and all involved in the ongoing We Will Remember Her campaign.
⚽️ Meet the Original 🦁 Lionesses ⚽️
In August, we told the story of WRAC veteran, Mary Blake, who helped pave the way for England’s win at the UEFA Women’s Euro Finals: In 1969 she played at the first Women’s European Championships before joining up in the WRAC with her best friend, Corrianne Abrahams. Fast forward to 2022 and they witnessed the Women’s Euro finals live at Wembley, having dreamed “for 50 years of this extraordinary day!” It was great to get Mary’s story on Page 3 of The Daily Express, and hear her on BBC Radio Three Counties. Sadly, intense crowds prevented her Sky Sports interview, but these Lionesses will roar again soon! We also cheered on WRACA's Wendy Hooton at the Queen’s Commonwealth Baton Relay: Wendy represented Bury St. Edmunds after stellar charity efforts, as told on BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Radio East, Suffolk News, E Anglian Daily Times, and other platforms.
TOP: WRAC's emblem is the rampant lion. The lionesses @ Wembley Stadium, July 2022
BELOW: WRACA fundraiser, Wendy Hooton @ the Queen’s Commonwealth Baton Relay
🇬🇧Memories of The Queen as WRACA's Patron🇬🇧
Sadly, soon after this exciting moment for Army women, the nation bid farewell to HM Queen Elizabeth II, Patron of WRACA from 2003 until she died. We were honoured to share stories of this patronage, based on HM's evident fondness of her time serving in the ATS. As reported in The Telegraph, in 1945 The Queen served as a Subaltern, reaching Junior Commander by the end of WW2, helping carve out new roles for women in wider society as well as the Army. We secured 20+ national and regional media interviews for Retired Lt Col Sue Westlake MBE, VP of WRACA, who helped persuade HM to be Patron. Sadly, tight security at HM's funeral prevented TV interviews going ahead, despite requests from around the world to speak to Retired Brigadier Fiona Gardner CBE, charity Vice President, who attended. But articles appeared in The Times, Times Radio and 12 regional BBC Radio stations, including an interview with Ann Stack about the history of WRACA on BBC Radio Gloucestershire. It was humbling to represent the charity at a key moment in history.
'Taking the bull by the horns, I said I appreciated HM was beginning to hand over some of her patronages, but I wondered if she'd consider making an exception and become our Patron. She smiled and said, "Just write to my Private Secretary." I wrote immediately, and was thrilled when she agreed to be our Patron.' Retired Lt Col Sue Westlake, WRACA
Pictured in FINANCIAL TIMES: Fiona Gardner CBE, VP & Chair of Trustees, WRACA
attending HM The Queen's funeral at Westminster Abbey, October 2022
Mental & Physical Health 🧠 for Women in Music
In October, we organised a 2nd event for the women in the music industry initiative, MTN, sponsored by client, Key Production. This focused on how better to support women’s mental and physical health for World Mental Health Day, World Menopause Day and ADHD Awareness Month. The menopause panel was moderated by Magic Radio presenter, Emma B, who unpicked the subject with trusted, impartial advice from Jo McEwan and Ann Stephens of PositivePause, including tips on handling symptoms plus best practice for employers. This led to an invitation from BBC News to speak live on World Menopause Day to a global audience over 100m. Bravo, Jo! Especially at 5.30am...
MENOPAUSE: Emma B | Jo McEwan & Ann Stephens | Karen Emanuel, CEO, Key Production NEURODIVERSITY: Louise Peaple, Performer | Tristan Hunt, ADHD Expert |
Silvia Montello, CEO, AFEM | Eve Horne, Director, Peak Music
We then heard fascinating insights into neurodiversity and mental health issues, including ADHD and Bipolar. The audience was moved from laughter to tears and back again by a courageous, honest session aimed at helping music industry professionals give and receive better support. The panel was sensitively moderated by BBC Radio 1 DJ Charlie Tee. HUGE thanks to all involved, including talented performers, Ciara Haidar, Malin Andersson, Lily McKenzie, and DJs Maxine Hardcastle, Jemma Bolt and Carly Carmen.
L to R: Izzy De-Rosa, singer | Khine Campanale | Hannah Kapff | Louise Claire Marshall, singer | Golda Rocheuvel, 'Bridgerton' star | Sue, MTN Supporter @ The Ministry SE1
On International Women's Day, we hosted our first MTN event: ‘Change The Record!’ at The Ministry SE1, celebrating a return to physical events and the 1st Birthday of MTN: a perfect opportunity to showcase women driving equality in the industry, with live performances from female artists, Izzi De-Rosa, Rosa Cecilia, Sophie Frear and others, plus inspirational talks from the MTN 'dream team'. Find out more: www.MTNnow.com.
🎭 Curious at Work AND Play 🎸
Summer 2022 heralded a new team member at Curious Towers. Sophie Wesley joined fresh from studying History & French at University of Exeter. We also had superlative support from Fed Zammit, Molly Smith and Kitty Ratcliffe. A huge thank you to you all! We were sad to see Christabel Allen depart in October for pastures new, but will cherish some unforgettable ‘work hard, play hard’ memories about town: from the Saatchi Gallery Chelseafor a covetous look at 150 years of Tiffany: Vision & Virtuosity, to The City for elegance and glamour at the London Concours, and south of the river for Brixton’s Cross The Tracksfestival, braving rain and ridiculous loo queues to see achingly-talented band, Khruangbin!
The Royal Academy: Petroc Sesti's 'Tree Beacon' | The Saatchi Gallery: Christabel & Molly
The Royal Academy courtyard, Piccadilly: Fed, Kitty, Christabel & Hannah
Lily & Christabel brunch @ Langan's | Hannah & filmmaker Nick Shooligin-Jordan @ Masterpiece | Sophie @ William Kentridge exhibition, Royal Academy | Khruangbin play @ Brockwell Park
A HUGE 🙏🏾 Thank you
We'd like to thank Curious clients for trusting in our strategies, journalists for hearing (and telling) our stories, and our award-nominated team for working so passionately to educate, engage and entertain new audiences, despite the challenges. We'll be holding onto our hats in 2023, but we're here to help YOU communicate with excellence, whatever life throws at us. Let us hope conflicts subside fast, and leading figures and their organisations perform and communicate well. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss any new PR matters.
Hannah & The Curious PR team