Earlier in the year, some of the DTW team – spurred on by director Lorna McAteer-Bingham, undertook a fitness challenge to support mental health awareness. This was also a great opportunity for a bit of friendly rivalry and competition amongst colleagues!
With more and more of us connecting virtually using Zoom, Teams and other online systems, DTW Director Lorna McAteer-Bingham takes a look at some of the simple steps you can take to help make your online meeting a success.
One of the biggest changes to businesses as a result of Covid-19 has been the increase in online meetings. At DTW we have used online meeting software such as Skype, Teams and Zoom for many years to keep in touch with clients who are often spread across the globe. But, with lockdown resulting in a shift to home working we have found these tools have become just as crucial for internal communication.
With more time being spent conducting meetings virtually, we wanted to share our top tips for success.
Think about your environment
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is adapting to work full-time in an environment away from the office. Added to this, in many cases we’re now sharing our workspaces with partners, children and pets – all of which can be an unwanted distraction when taking part in a meeting.
If you’re lucky enough to have a space you can set up a home office in, try to avoid strong sources of natural light behind you and anything that might generate unwanted background noise. If you’re in a particularly dark area you could invest in a simple ring light that attaches to your laptop to give things a boost.
Where sharing your space with other family members, try to plan your day in advance to allow for some peace and quiet around the time of your meeting. Equally, don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you might be subject to the odd unexpected interruption. After all, many of us are in the same position. Where sound is a challenge, consider headphones or a headset; the ones that come with many mobile phones have a microphone built in.
Test the technology
There’s nothing worse than joining an online meeting only to spend the first 20 minutes dealing with technical issues, with participants sorting out connectivity, audio or video challenges. Whilst this is sometimes unavoidable, it’s worth planning in some time in advance of a meeting to carry out a test run. This is especially important if you’re using a system for the first time as it may require you to install additional software and restart your computer.
Test out functions like screen sharing, get your documents ready in advance and don’t be the one everyone is watching struggling to get to grips with technology.
Set a clear agenda – and use the technology to help you stick to it
Knowing what you want to achieve from a meeting and setting a clear agenda is key to success – online or otherwise.
Where you are working on a long term project with a client, consider creating a standing agenda for meetings which covers off key points from the project plan. You can assign each section of the agenda to a specified team member to take responsibility for driving forward.
Be very clear in what you are saying
What you’re sharing on screen is as important – if not more so – than what you say. It keeps people focused and provides a record that you and others can go back to.
Working remotely takes away some of the non-verbal cues we all give off in meetings, so be really clear and explicit with people as to what you need them to do.
It comes back to good planning – but the online virtual delivery is a little different.
Follow up with actions
Make sure your meetings result in action. Appointing one of the team to do this at the start is critical. We always circulate a Contact Report after a meeting which captures key decisions, actions and deadlines.
They provide an extremely useful record of progress and prevent important aspects of a job getting sidelined or missed!
And, as with any meeting, getting the fundamentals right is only one part of it. Giving time and space for everyone involved to give their input and listening to their views can be key. It’s also worth bearing in mind that those taking part may have different learning styles and approaches to communicating, so it’s important to reflect on this and adapt your approach accordingly.
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It’s not just the TV and film industry that has been impacted by lockdown putting a pause on filming. Capturing content for corporate and social media has also been put on hold. Whilst there’s light at the end of the tunnel in terms of being able to resume filming, DTW Director Pete Whelan looks at some of the ways you can keep your content fresh in the meantime.
The world changed overnight when the lockdown was announced. In terms of communications, one of the biggest areas of impact was filming. We just had to stop overnight.
Even as we start to emerge from lockdown, challenges around filming aren’t going to disappear completely. We will need to take account of things like social distancing in everything we do.
As lockdown eases we’re making plans for filming over the summer months, but in the meantime, we haven’t stopped ‘doing stuff’. Here are just a few ways you can keep creating fresh content for your channels:
Mine the archives
If you’ve got old film on file, repost things which have worked well for you in the past. Don’t over-churn content and remember that videos you have posted previously may have a shorter shelf-life now than they did when they were fresh.
If you still have access to your raw files and footage for film content you created, consider creating new cuts from it. You can update things like graphics, colour grade and music to give this old content a fresh feel.
Don’t be afraid to self-shoot
Lockdown has resulted in is audiences being much more receptive to content being created in a “user-generated” style. Don’t be afraid to have a go at filming your own videos using a smartphone. It won’t be Academy award-winning production values, but sometimes speed is more important.
By investing in a couple of simple tools such as a tripod, microphone and it’s possible to capture a range of shots which you can turn into useable content for your channels.
You can edit this yourself using smartphone apps like Adobe Premier Rush, or have it edited professionally (as we have done for a number of our clients) to add extra polish to the end product.
Switch to animation
Animation and motion graphics can work just as well as film – sometimes even better. It also has the advantage of being an approach that can be delivered entirely remotely.
Since the start of lockdown, we’ve produced a range of animations for our clients, many of which were originally planned as film projects.
Animation also has the advantage of being flexible and easy to update. This will be increasingly important as we move beyond lockdown and into the world of living with Covid-19.
Pause and re-evaluate
Of course, in addition to the above, you can also use the pause in filming to take stock and put plans in place for the future.
The content plans and strategies you had in place prior to lockdown might need to be reviewed and updated. If that’s the case you can take a look at our recent post on this very topic.
We’re already planning for our filming schedule starting up again in July – all with appropriate social distancing and disinfection protocols in place – and we’re very much looking forward to getting back out and hitting record on some great content for our clients!
The team at North East public relations and digital marketing agency DTW is expanding with the addition of three new members of staff to kick-off 2020.
Anthony Doyle, Rebecca Dew and Richard Johnston have all joined the team here at DTW. Based in the Tees Valley, DTW has over 30 years of experience specialising in public relations and digital marketing campaigns.
This expansion comes on the back of a series of successes in securing new clients. There has also been significant growth throughout existing projects across the UK and further afield. We are currently working for organisations like the Law Society of England and Wales, the Financial Conduct Authority and multi-national tolling and mobility solutions provider emovis. We are also proud to be working with several well known local organisations. These include Road Safety GB North East, Middlesbrough & Stockton Mind and Middlesbrough Council.
Anthony joins the team as a Senior Strategist specialising in digital marketing, data analysis, SEO and website development. Anthony is a Teesside native who has worked around the world on a diverse range of projects. He brings a combination of strategic, technical and development expertise to DTW. Anthony will be leading on the development of the DTW’s growing digital offering to clients.
He has 20 years’ experience of working in digital marketing, having led enterprise marketing teams for major multi-national organisations. These include companies such as Frog Education and QS Unisolution, in the software and education sectors.
Rebecca joins us as a Public Relations and Digital Engagement Specialist. Rebecca will be providing media relations, copywriting and social media content services to clients. She has a National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) in Multimedia Journalism and a BA (Hons) in English Language and Linguistics from York St John University.
Richard joins us as the lead creative in our growing film and digital content team. Richard previously worked at the prestigious Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity in Canada. He is responsible for all aspects of filming – from storyboarding and planning, to working behind the camera and editing. Richard graduated in 2016 with a BA (Hons) First Class in Film and Television Production from Teesside University.
Strengthening our hugely talented team
Chris Taylor, Managing Director of DTW, said: “Our vision is very simple. It is about creating meaningful campaigns that are world-class, make a difference and help our clients succeed. I’m delighted to welcome Anthony, Rebecca and Richard because they will strengthen our hugely talented team. They are already making a difference to the work we are delivering for our clients.”
He added: “We’ve started 2020 with a bang. It’s important for us to invest in quality staff to ensure that we can continue to meet the growing demand from different sectors of the economy.”
DTW is ranked by PR Week as one of the top ten public sector specialist PR agencies in the UK. With these latest additions to the team, we now employ 15 people based in Guisborough, North East England. DTW is an expert digital marketing agency and public relations consultancy alongside film, social media, animation and design.
If you are interested in hearing more about how DTW can help your organisation succeed, get in touch with our team today.
The team at North East marketing agency DTW is backing local independent traders this Christmas with a touching seasonal short film encouraging people to #ShopLocal.
People have welcomed the #ShopLocal film on social media, which features a range of small retailers and businesses in Guisborough, highlighting the huge difference local customers make to small retailers in our towns and villages.
The short festive film was produced by Guisborough-based DTW’s film and digital content specialists Richard Johnston and Katie Mitchell as part of an online advent calendar the agency produced in the run up to Christmas.
They decided to go out into Guisborough to speak to businesses about why people should shop local, filming some of the town’s business owners, showing the vital contribution they make to the town’s economy.
Richard, who lives in Guisborough, said: “I’m incredibly proud of Guisborough and feel passionate about the people and businesses who make this town what it is.
“We have so many quirky shops and cafes here and I wanted to showcase the difference small independent retailers and businesses make to the town.
“They work incredibly hard all year to make a living and offer unique goods and a personal service that cannot be matched by bigger chains and superstores.
“We met so many amazing people while filming. I hope this encourages people to shop local, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.”
Katie said she hoped the film captured the atmosphere of the high street and the genuine difference small businesses make.
“Shopping local is personal, you get to know the business owner and they get to know you,” said Katie.
“Money spent in local shops stays in the local community, it supports local jobs and local families. At DTW, we shop in Guisborough all the time. Not only is it handy, but we have a great mix of shops and services. We wouldn’t want to lose them.
“If we want to keep vibrant local high streets, we all must do our bit and hopefully this video captures that.”
The film, which has been provided to local retailers and released on social media, is picking up attention from across the region, particularly among the community in Guisborough.
DTW Managing Director Chris Taylor said: “We produce films for clients all year, but this was a great opportunity to do something for independent retailers in Guisborough, and across the region, who we feel passionately about and who provide a fabulous service throughout the year.
“At a time when people are shopping more and more online and visiting huge superstores, at DTW we appreciate what independent businesses offer and the difference they make to the local economy.
“It’s nice to give something back, and I’d like to thank Richard and Katie for a great little film. We hope it helps make a difference for a few local retailers this Christmas.”
DTW is a marketing, communications and public relations agency that works for clients including the Law Society, emovis, the Financial Conduct Authority, RSGB NE, Middlesbrough & Stockton Mind, and others across the UK and around the world by providing expert marketing and public relations consultancy alongside film, social media, animation and design.
For more information, call 01287 610404.
There is always excitement at DTW when the office Christmas lights switch on and we trade our usual playlist for something a little more festive. So, what better way to celebrate the season than to create a Christmas video celebrating our fabulous local high street.
Those who have visited DTW will know we are lucky enough to be based on the beautiful Guisborough high street, adorned with many quirky cafes and independent retailers. Inspired by this, we decided to pop into a few shops with our cameras and find out why it’s so important to shop local this Christmas.
When it comes to shopping local, we learnt that:
- Local businesses are unique and will provide unique gifts
- Shopping local is personal, you get to know the business owner and they get to know you
- Money spent in local shops stays in the local community, it supports local jobs and local families
It was great to talk to other businesses local to us, getting to know the shop owners and building further connections. However, my favourite part of the project was definitely window shopping during the film days and picking out the Christmas music when we returned to the office and began the edit!
We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and remember to check out the unique gifts your local, independent retailers have to offer you.
It’s common knowledge that we love a good bridge here at DTW Towers.
So, we’re delighted that Sunderland’s Northern Spire bridge has been nominated in the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) international People’s Choice Award.
The People’s Choice Award is decided by public votes, so it’s time to get involved and cast your vote today. Voting closes on September 27.
The awards celebrate the best civil engineering projects of the year from across the globe that have made a positive impact for their local communities.
Northern Spire is competing against a range of impressive projects, including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Shed cultural centre in New York City, the Colwyn Bay Waterfront in Wales, and a children’s surgery facility in Leeds.
We know we are biased, but we believe Northern Spire, which has dominated the Sunderland skyline since opening in August of last year, has what it takes to win.
Having provided communications and PR support to Sunderland City Council on this magnificent new bridge for three years, we appreciate the planning, effort and dedication that went into bringing this impressive structure to life by a team of more than 2,000 people.
Not only does Northern Spire look good, but innovative engineering methods were used to construct it, from building the deck in two sections on the riverbank and launching them out across the River Wear, to fabricating the massive 105m A-frame centerpiece in Belgium and sailing it to site.
We were privileged to work with such a team of skilled, experienced people on such a great project right here in the north east. We should all feel extremely proud of Northern Spire.
You can read and watch more about our wider infrastructure work here.
We’ve been doing our bit to recognise talented communicators of the future this month. We’ve sponsored the Public Relations prize at Teesside University’s annual Journalism Awards.
The joint winners of the Public Relations Student of the Year prize – Emma Morton and Ellie Dalton – will each spend a week on work experience at DTW over the next year to give them an insight into working life at a public relations and communications agency in 2019.
It was a pleasure to be invited to the awards evening at the Uni’s Love it Lounge and present Emma and Ellie with their prize. We’re looking forward to seeing them over the next few months and welcoming them to #teamDTW.
It’s important organisations in our industry are involved with initiatives like this. It gives students a chance to shine and learn and helps keep us businesses on our toes as well. In our experience, the ideas, creativity and passion that young graduates bring when working with us is a huge asset to DTW.
And we should know, we’re proud to say we have six Teesside graduates as part of our team. They are specialists in everything from animation and video to marketing strategy, and we’re regularly in and out of the University to chat to students and lecturers about various industry issues and opportunities.
Huge congrats to Emma and Ellie!!
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We’re proud to say that DTW has again been ranked in the top ten specialist public sector public relations agencies in the UK by leading industry publication PR Week.
We have retained our position of 8th in the 2019 league table, which was published in May 2019. It means we’ve been in the top 10 for the past five years now.
As an agency that is highly skilled and experienced in working with the public sector over a long period of time, this continues to be important recognition for the work we deliver. The public sector – in the UK and elsewhere – has changed phenomenally, but the principles of good communications and PR remain the same.
Getting the basics right
Firstly, you have to understand the communications objectives, make sure you know who your audience is and do the insight and research work. Importantly, this makes sure you understand how your audience feels about the issue you are engaging with them on.
Then it is all about clear, authentic and honest communications – whether you are seeking to generate behaviour change, inform people about new initiatives or seek the views of residents and stakeholders on a new proposal.
Once you have those elements clear, you can think about the tactics, channels and creative themes you need to use for maximum impact.
This approach is relevant for so much more than public sector bodies, and the private sector increasingly needs to adopt it where it is delivering public services.
With the majority of our work focusing on that for membership organisations and private sector led infrastructure and construction developments, our skills and knowledge of the public sector market are proving valuable to our private sector clients.
So if you’ve got a challenging project coming up that you think would benefit from our public sector approach, we’d love you to get in touch.
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Tips, insight, inspiration and enthusiasm – that’s what I came away with after attending the Membership Excellence 2019 conference yesterday.
With 700 delegates genuinely eager to learn – and a programme jam packed with speakers just as eager to share their knowledge and experience – the MemberWise event was an opportunity to take some time out and learn from forward-thinking membership organisations across many different sectors.
Organisations who face the same daily challenges as many of our clients, who are looking for solutions to the same problems and genuinely want to deliver value to their members.
Being on the agency side, the Membership Excellence conference really helped me think about things from our clients’ perspective. Enabling me to take a step back and appreciate the part our communications work plays in the overall member journey.
Building stronger relationships with members is key. But how do we do this? It’s all about understanding the motivations of our audience and communicating our value to different audiences in different ways. For some it’s about tangible benefits, while for others it’s the benefit to the overall cause they are supporting – capturing hearts and minds. Emma Day, Director of Membership at the British Horse Society illustrated this perfectly through some thought-provoking and powerful video.
It’s also about doing the right things at the right time in a member’s journey. Turning things up a notch and reinforcing member value at key points before renewals and saying thank you for member support at every opportunity.
Sian Hoggett, Head of membership and CRM at The British Museum and James Beardsworth-Shaw, Head of Commercial Services at the National Gallery brought this to life, sharing insights from each of their organisations through a fun and engaging joint presentation.
(MEMX highlights captured by Chapple Cartoons)
Another thing that resonated with me is how the enthusiasm of membership services teams has a direct impact on the members you’re trying to attract or retain. Success starts from the inside – get this right and you’re halfway there. If the team is empowered and enthused this shines through at member events, creating a buzz that gives members a more enjoyable experience.
Events like Membership Excellence really reinforce the value of knowledge sharing and networking with likeminded professionals. We’re all doing a lot of good stuff but through sharing our experiences, we can all do that little bit better.
So thank you MemberWise for an insightful day!
Thanks for reading,