Vicki Murphy

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Baselworld is coming… and Prohibition will be there

It’s full steam ahead in the office this week as we prepare to attend the world’s largest watch and jewellery fair, Baselworld, later this month.

We’re heading to Basel, Switzerland from 22nd – 25th March and will be bringing the show to life online, for our clients Watches of Switzerland and Goldsmiths.

Baselworld has earned its reputation as a globally trendsetting show for the year ahead, and is renowned for its showcase of innovations, creations and brand new collections from the world’s leading luxury watch and jewellery brands.

We’ll be meeting with some of the most prestigious players including Rolex, Patek Philippe, TAG Heuer and Audemars Piguet to gather exclusive information on the latest launches, as well as spotting celebrities (Ryan Reynolds is a Piaget brand ambassador and firmly on the top of the girl’s ‘shot list’) and reporting on the biggest show news throughout the day.

We are super excited that Watches of Switzerland is also partnering with British GQ throughout the show and we’ll be bringing you LIVE Facebook show reviews on Thursday (23rd) and Friday (24th) evening, with a panel of experts giving you their thoughts and views on the day’s biggest stories.

Keep on top of our Baselworld news by following Watches of Switzerland and Goldsmiths on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We’ll see you there!

Top interview tips for bagging that PR job you’ve always dreamed of!

The team here at Prohibition HQ has grown quite significantly over the past 12 months – and that has meant holding lots of interviews with some fab PR candidates looking to secure a PR executive role. We also work closely with the PR degree at Leeds Beckett University – our MD, Chris, regularly lectures on the course and we have lots of students joining us in the office for short term work experience placements – so with this in mind, we thought it might be worth offering some tips and advice for those of you looking for a job after graduation.

When it comes to interview prep, those old-school interview favourites such as identifying your ‘biggest strengths and weakness’ are still 99% likely to make an appearance. Love them or hate them – they do offer your interviewer a real insight into how you perceive yourself. When it comes to identifying your strengths, it’s often best to pick three attributes and, where possible, give strong examples of how you have used these in ‘real life’ work situations. The weaknesses are harder! Avoid the typical ‘I’m a perfectionist’ or I ‘tend to work too hard’ and instead, try and highlight specific areas that you have already worked hard to try and rectify – whether it’s a gap in knowledge or practical experience of skills such as pitching or networking.

The general consensus at Prohibition is for candidates to remember to cover off the three Ps – ‘Punctuality’, ‘Preparation’ and ‘Politeness.’ Manners really are so important and being on time, being well presented and well prepared, as well as not talking over people and maintaining strong eye contact, are all really important when it comes to make a good first impression. It’s also worth thinking through your day before planning pre-interview activities – it’s never good to turn up to an interview dripping with sweat after an hour-long gym sesh!

Having some pre-planned answers for those common interview questions is always a good idea. Here’s a list of 10 questions that often crop up and that you should consider before arriving at an interview:

  • Tell us about yourself and your PR experience.
  • What experience do you have in securing media coverage?
  • What would you see as the biggest challenge in a PR executive role?
  • What PR campaign have you admired recently and why?
  • What would you do in ‘X’ scenario
  • Why do you want to work with us?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What recent social media trend has caught your attention and why?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
  • Do you have any questions for us?

It’s also worth being prepared for those tricky curve ball questions such as:

  • Tell me about the worst boss you’ve had?
  • What’s the most embarrassing situation you have found yourself in and how did you get out of it?
  • If you were a kitchen utensil – what would you be?

Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience in terms of journo contacts and PR campaign execution – an enthusiastic, willing to learn attitude goes a long way when starting out in PR.

In order to give you the best possible advice, we thought we would asked our friend Helen Salt, Founding Director at leading PR & Public Affairs recruitment firm, Black Cherry Recruitment Ltd, for her top tips to interview success.

Helen comments: “Preparation is always key! We always tell our candidates that their interview prep should include researching the company – have an opinion on their recent campaigns and why you would make a good addition to their company. Name dropping journos you have a good relationship with and having a list of media that you enjoy reading/listing to, is also a good bet. We also always recommend taking a portfolio with you – being able to showcase your experience and offer examples of your work is invaluable. Try and include a variety of work including examples of your writing and coverage you’ve achieved where possible.”

So there’s a few of our top tips for those of you heading out into the world of employment this summer… you’ll probably also really thank us for these last few ‘nuggets’ of wisdom:

  1. Whatever you do, don’t go in for the double cheek ‘PR Kiss’ at interview stage
  2. One of the biggest bug bears from an interviewer’s perspective is bad grammar in your CV – triple check it before you send it to any perspective employer!
  3. If you’re going to ‘inflate’ your experience, make sure it’s believable…
  4. Good hygiene is vital, but don’t overdo the aftershave… you want to leave a lasting impression, not a lasting smell.
  5. Finally, practice really does make perfect… rope in a friend to talk through some of your answers and ask them to throw in some curve balls to keep you on your toes.

 

#HelloNetto – Tasty Pastry Anyone?

As part of our work with Scandinavian supermarket chain, Netto, we were tasked with helping to launch Netto’s new Queen’s Road store in Sheffield – part of the firm’s plan to open 15 stores in 2015.

overviewWe wanted to get locals talking about Netto online, so what better way to do it then by getting potential customers to experience some of the great tasting (and surprisingly good value) produce Netto has to offer.
Our #HelloNetto tasty pastry Twitter take-over did just that. One of Netto’s hero products is the Copenhagener – a delicious almond and poppy seed pastry that is to the Danish what the croissant is to the French. Netto prides itself on its fresh pastries which are only 29-39p each.

selfie stationWe wanted to educate people on these tasty pastries – so for one day only – a week after the new store opened – Sheffield businesses were able to tweet for a treat! Our promo team delivered freshly made Netto pastries to organisations in and around the city in return for a tweet! The branded pastry boxes included a selection of Netto’s fantastically priced pastries along with details of the new store.

Recipients we encouraged to share their team’s thoughts about the pastries with the hashtag #HelloNetto. Throughout the morning, we delivered pastry boxes to more than 60 Sheffield businesses, receiving tweets from the city’s biggest brands and we even received requests for deliveries to Netto’s main competitors such as Asda and Upper Crust.

An in store selfie station complimented the online activity, with customers posing for a #HelloNetto selfie in return for a free pastry.

DixieThe campaign’s hashtag was trending in Sheffield all day with brand mentions and engagement sky rocketing across the board. Netto’s share of voice rose from an average of 1.2% (with Aldi and Lidl) to 21.4% on the day of the campaign. Radio drops offs led to campaign mentions by Capital FM and Heart FM presenters. The stores sales figures were the most successful of all new stores launches this year.

Breast is best – or is it?

This is a bit of a random introduction to the blog and I honestly didn’t plan for my first post to be about boobs! However, after hearing recent news reports that Britain has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Western Europe, costing the NHS millions of pounds, it brought back my own ‘issues’ around breast feeding and I decided to air my few little thoughts on why the rates might be so low!

Throughout my pregnancy, I didn’t really have any preconceptions or plans on how I’d bring up my child or whether I would breast feed or not – my plan was just go with the flow and see what happens…

So when the time came and my son began to breastfeed with no issues (and I know I was lucky), I just thought I’ll carry on for as long as I can. Though there were initial problems such as only feeding from one side due to bruising from forceps, it was all going quite well and I felt it was easier than getting up in the middle of the night and heating bottles etc.

The midwives at the hospital, the ones that visited my house after the birth and my local Little Angels group were all supportive but when I asked any questions around when to introduce a bottle I got pretty much the same response: ‘the baby will get confused and could refuse the breast if you start to introduce a bottle”- so basically don’t bother!

So when after a couple of weeks I decided to get my haircut and leave my son alone in the hands of his father for the first time, I expressed milk, invested in some ‘top of the range’ Medela bottles and left him to it.

It was when I returned and my boyfriend told me my son had refused to feed, that the nightmare began… you see, though I’ve heard it from almost everyone I talk to since, no-one felt it necessary at the time to mention to me that the this ‘nipple aversion’ can work the other way round – and your baby might REFUSE TO TAKE A BOTTLE… for NINE WHOLE MONTHS… And there begun months of stress and pain!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I did find breast feeding a really bonding experience and I’m really thankful that it was relatively easy for me to do it – I know that babies refusing to latch on causes a lot of stress. But, honestly, I think that being unable to bottle feed my son was every bit as stressful – if not worse!

In the weeks and months that followed, I tried every bottle known to man… well every bottle I could find in Boots and Mothercare – NUK, Medela (including the £15 a go ‘Calma’ teats), Tommy Tippee, Asda’s own brand, Avent… the list goes on… and eventually as time passed, this turned into trying sippy cups, straw cups etc, etc. You get the point…

I know a lot of people at this point would suggest just refusing to feed my baby and eventually he would take a bottle but after withholding one feed and him refusing any other substantial feed; I just couldn’t face banning him from eating! He was only tiny anyway and I’m a bit of a wimp like that. But I did try everything else people suggested from different positions, to allowing every man and his dog to have a go at trying to feed him, to cup feeding and so on… he was very stubborn.

All in all this lead to a nightmare few months. Not only was I unable to leave my son with his dad or my parents for a few hours or overnight, but he started teething at four months and literally didn’t stop – they came one after the other and I ended up with bite holes and weeping wounds that I wouldn’t wish on anyone! But with what I felt was no other option than to carry on, I had to just ride through the pain.

There were other issues – as my son got older and bigger, I can’t describe how awkward and uncomfortable I felt whenever I had to go anywhere and feed him in public. None of my family or friends had breast fed before for any length of time so it was strange enough when visiting them – and I am the first to admit that its mostly down to my own insecurities, but I am just not one of those people that feels comfortable whipping my boobs out in the park, supermarket, local Italian restaurant etc. and just expecting people to deal with it! I still find it really strange seeing someone else breast feed so to do it myself was a strange and often uncomfortable thing. And most places are still so ‘un-breastfeeding friendly’ it’s a joke! Alton Towers – one of the leading amusement parks in the country – and I found myself trying to find a staircase hidden out of view or hiding in a corner in a restaurant just so I could feed my son. The main expectation I have to say is the breast feeding rooms in The Trafford Centre which were recently revamped by Laura Ashley – worth a visit!

My final point is that breast feeding is meant to help your baby fight off infection, yet my son has been riddled with lots of coughs, colds and sneezes, and was even hospitalised with measles at eight months. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on any other this and I’m sure there are lots of research papers that can prove me wrong and say that in the long run Hari is less likely to get eczema or become obese later in life, and his teething was definitely the cause for a lot of his coughs and colds, but he certainly doesn’t seem vastly healthier than his bottle-fed mates!

So I know I have rambled slightly but getting back to the point – it’s commonly argued that the people feel pressured into breast feeding and that people in the UK don’t embrace breast feeding enough, but there’s much more to breast feeding than just if the baby latches on your fine and if he doesn’t, you’re not. There’s plenty of other issues and struggles and when my baby didn’t take a bottle there was no real support or people to turn to – every health professional I spoke to was like ‘oh yeah that happened to me’ or ‘oh yeah that happens sometimes’ you’ll just have to wait until he is weaned.

Luckily after nine months, one day my son just randomly started taking a bottle – I genuinely think the stress it was putting me under was drying up my milk and he wasn’t satisfied. But for others I know the problem didn’t rectify itself and there was little support for those breast feeding mums who are finding it hard.

Is breast best… not always!