Awards logos

Client Business Awards Update

What a great start to the year it’s been for two of my clients; The Family Law Company and Nourish, both shortlisted in legal and business awards.

In the latter part of 2018 I worked on five submissions with The Family Law Company for DASLS Awards 2019, visiting the offices in Exeter and Plymouth and meeting with four solicitors and legal execs. All had strong stories which made great submissions. I was delighted when they were all announced as awards finalists. The company was also shortlisted in Law Firm of the Year (1 – 10 Partners). All will be revealed on 4th April at Exeter Cathedral.

The Family Law Company was also shortlisted in the national Modern Law Awards, Boutique Law Firm of the Year. Winners will be announced on 31st January.

In a hat trick, I also entered the company for the Exeter Living Awards, in the Legal & Financial Category. The Family Law Company won this category two years’ ago, so it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off again! This awards event is on March 7th.

I have recently started working with a wonderful new client, Nourish of Topsham. Nourish is a zero waste provisions store in Topsham, just outside Exeter. Created with style and panache by the talented and dedicated Sarah Martin, it’s a fantastic proposition. We entered Nourish into two categories at the Exeter Living Awards: New Business and Retail. Nourish has been shortlisted in both. She’s also a finalist in the Venus Awards for New Business, not my doing and thank you to whoever nominated her!

I’m very excited that The Family Law has invited me to the DASLS Awards and Nourish is taking me to the Exeter Living Awards. Although it’s never about me but all about my clients, I do enjoy the chance to be there on the night and cheer them on.

Good luck!

Legal Hero Norman Hartnell

A True Legal Hero

Awards Success – Legal Hero

Last year’s Devon and Somerset Law Society (DASLS) Awards were a great success for The Family Law Company. Three solicitors won their categories, and we made much use of the term ‘hat-trick of awards’. They were all female solicitors and this added to the kudos – law remains a male-dominated sector.

Fast forward to this year’s awards. Of the two submissions I worked on, the first was for Plymouth solicitor Derek Jordan who is a rock for difficult domestic violence cases. I spoke to Derek at length and felt humbled by his commitment to standing up for vulnerable clients.

The second submission was for Norman Hartnell. Norman is the founder and Managing Director of The Family Law Company – his ethos underpins the company’s refreshing attitude to family law. Norman is the last to blow his own trumpet, so the submission was carried out in secret. His colleagues asked me to enter him for the Legal Hero category.

I spoke to people at length to gather information and everyone had nothing but praise for him. His commitment for the past 25 years (and more) has been to turn family law from a combatative process to one that attempts to keep couples amicable. This is especially important where there are children involved.

The submission seemed strong to me, but you never can tell with awards. The judges decision, as they say, is final.

The Legal Hero award was to be announced on the night, so there was no shortlist. I could only keep my fingers crossed. I was delighted that Derek was shortlisted, particularly as his area of work is by far and away a less ‘glamorous’ area of law.

Unfortunately, the heavy snow we experienced in the South West in March scuppered the original awards event. It moved to May and Norman was unable to attend, as he was on holiday. However, the team FaceTimed him with the news that he had been announced as DASLS Legal Hero 2018. There were certainly a few tears shed.

Although Derek didn’t win on this occasion, he was acknowledged as a finalist. I am hopeful that he will win on another occasion, as he thoroughly deserves to.

Legal Hero DASLS AwardsWell done to Norman. Having worked with The Family Law Company for several years and been touched by family law issues in my own life, I agree with everyone, you are a true Legal Hero.

The award was collected on Norman’s behalf by Rachel Buckley and Stephen Sowden.

Post-awards news report here.

 

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Ad Hoc PR Support

Although I work with the majority of my clients on a retained basis, I also offer an ad hoc PR support service.

This type of service is perfect for a one-off project, which could be:

  • Website copy
  • Brochure copy
  • Setting up social media
  • Temporary social media management for (eg) maternity cover
  • Awards entries
  • Blog writing

Retained or ad hoc?

The benefit of working with retained clients means I have the opportunity to get to understand their business thoroughly. As the relationship builds, so does the trust – and the client can clearly see that the service is meeting – and hopefully exceeding – their expectations.

With an ad hoc service, it’s more a case of having to very quickly understand the culture of a company, get their tone of voice straight away, and to present them as they wish to be seen. Having worked in so many sectors over the years means I am often able to jump feet first into a project. On the odd occasion it takes a few stops and starts to get it right.

Examples of recent ad hoc PR support

  • In the latter part of 2017 I took on a three-month contract with Dartmoor-based company Directions to manage social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) for three accounts based in Suffolk – two hotels and a pier! Now that was a challenge, as I never had the opportunity to see the businesses I was representing. After a week or two of tentatively feeling my way, I got into my stride. By the end of the contract I believe I had enlivened all the accounts and left them in a positive shape to be managed in-house.
  • I worked with Ross Pollard at bathroom and kitchen designer Vision Installs to sort out his website, which had been half-way finished for longer than he wanted. I tidied the existing content, wrote new content and created case studies. The website became one that Ross felt able to point potential clients to.
  • I’ve helped Griffin Chartered Accountants with blogs, press releases and most recently, an awards submission. We’ve yet to find out if they have made the shortlist, but Griffin gave me so much quality information to work with, that I’d be surprised if they don’t. Griffin are featured in my portfolio as I work from them on an occasional rather than one-off basis.
  • Website company Cloudberry Digital needed blogs for some of their client websites. These are mainly food and drink based, so I had fun researching a variety of foodie companies and products. I always feel writing a blog should be much more than an SEO exercise, a blog should be written to be read.
  • I’ve also written press releases for a variety of small businesses including Exminster Garage, Baking Matters, Barrel Tops and Gleave Media.

What’s next?

If you are interested in dipping your toe in the water, using an ad hoc PR support service is a good way of finding out a) if we click and b) if you get value for money. You can then decide on whether you want or need to move into a retained client service. For more information please contact me.

 

Winners Tickety-Boo receiving the bronze awards

Winners all

Thursday November 23rd 2017 might go down in history as ‘the most awards in one evening’, with lots of worthy winners. Well, in my world, at least.

Tickety-Boo

Winners all glammed upIn Devon, my coffee shop clients Tickety-Boo were finalists in the Devon Tourism Awards. This was extremely exciting as these are really very prestigious awards. The event was held at the Guildhall in Plymouth and Tickety-Boo’s owner, Stuart, took his team along. They picked up a bronze award, and everyone was delighted. Recognition indeed for a very young business.

DEBI

Meanwhile, also in Devon, I was attending the Devon Environmental Business Initiative (DEBI) Awards as I’m a DEBI Director. None of my clients were entered on this occasion, although Rusty Winners in the DEBI AwardsPig was a previous finalist and Otter Garden Centres were category sponsors. These awards celebrate all that is green in Devon, with winners this year including Sungift Energy, Millbrook Cottages and Sonya Bedford from Stephens Scown, crowned this year’s Environmental Champion. I had a chat with Sonya after the awards event, she really does love her work.

Diespeker

Winners Diespeker MD John Krause collecting awardsIn London, at the same time, Diespeker & Co, my client via agency Terra Ferma Media, was attending the South East Manufacturers Awards, organised by Insider Media. This was the first awards we’d put them up for, and they were finalists in the Manufacturer of the Year (under £25M) category. We weren’t expecting a win, but they did it – a brilliant result.

The icing on the cake came the next day when Solicitor Derek Jordan from client The Family Law Company was announced as a finalist in the Devon & Somerset Legal Society Awards. Derek is a really dedicated solicitor, working in Plymouth to help clients often suffering in domestic violence and abuse situations. I hope he wins as he really does make a difference.

After all that excitement I am exhausted! But now it’s time to look at the Exeter Living Awards…..

The Family Law Company at the Exeter Living Awards

Exeter Living Awards 2017

Awards are part of business life – in Exeter we have a wonderful array of awards to enter clients for; WMN, Express & Echo, Devon Life Food & Drink, Love the Flavour, Taste of the West – the list goes on!

I was lucky enough to attend the Exeter Living Awards recently. This is the second year for the awards, which celebrate the ‘best of Exeter’ (and beyond). The event was held at Exeter Uni’s Great Hall which was packed; more tables than last year and a very lively crowd indeed. The Great Hall looked, well, great! Tony Hawkes (not the skateboarder) was the compere, and entertained us with his dry humour.

My partner on the night was Sharon Goble of If…Media, and we had the best table in the house, with Jim, Lucy and Nathalie from Exeter Cookery School, Bethan and colleagues from YMCA Exeter and two of my clients, Kirsten and Rachel from The Family Law Company. Everyone, apart from Sharon and me, was a finalist. (Next year, Sharon?).

Awards Winners

Exeter Cookery SchoWinners Family Law Donna, Kirsten and Rachel at Exeter Living Awardsol and YMCA were pipped at the post on this occasion, such a shame but the competition was red hot. However, as the awards on the presentation table dwindled, we came to the Legal & Financial category. The Family Law Company has won some great awards in the past nine months, and a fifth gong seemed too much to hope for.

So, when they were announced as winners, I emitted a rather loud and embarrassing ‘woop woop’. Kirsten, Rachel and Donna (who was there with another winner, Citizen’s Advice Bureau which she’s a Trustee of) went onstage to collect the award. They looked absolutely great, three talented, strong women in an all too often male-dominated sector.

I always say to clients that it is almost as good to be a finalist as it is to win. But then, when they do win, it feels amazing!

Next up

In May, Devondale Electrical Wholesalers will find out if they have won their category in the national Electrical Wholesaler Awards, which they’ve just been shortlisted for. Fingers crossed for a win, Devondale is a truly independent South West company with a great ethos.

Writing awards submissions is sometimes time-consuming, but they really do help the writer (in this case, me) to understand a company better.

Of course, awards wins are only part of a PR service, but they are great for kudos, confidence and chutzpah. And not just for clients, for me too.