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Just using this pic of me, faffing about @google last year in NYC, because I needed something to illustrate this little introduction.
A spate of new followers and some fascinating meetings have led me to commit these points to my feed; 1. My job is to cast social talent for brand campaigns 2. When I say casting (as opposed to connecting) - yes I’m making the comparison with how a casting director works for 🎥 and 📺 My clients are the brands - sticking with the above comparison then - the brands are the producers 4. And the social talent therefore are the actors 5. And it’s casting because for every campaign I like to think about not only who will the brand like, but who will the audience enjoy and how does the whole cast work as a whole 6. I’m not an agent - I don’t represent the talent 7. But I do nurture my talent relationships and I enjoy trying to understand from them (and their agents) where they want to work next. Eg let’s say a fashion blogger wants to move into interiors or a beauty blogger is now pregnant and so moving into family content 8. I’ve worked on lots of lovely projects for brands such as Miele, Warehouse, Oasis, B&Q 9. My prediction for 2019 is that more of the services brands (insurance, banks, mortgages, utilities) will look to social to bring their products to life 10. I’ve been called CJ all my life. Stands for Cathrine Jane. 💋
Who’s got a question for me about what I do or how to bolster their work with brand campaigns??
When I was a kid I used to pretend I was @zoetheball on Saturday morning TV and talk and talk and talk in front of my bedroom mirror. Now I’m less of a kid but still in the same mindset TBF, I’m going to be talking (and talking) in front of an actual audience about being your own brand and using your influence to work with complimentary brands to make money. These events/workshops are run by @notaboutthekids and @antoniataylorpr under their Elevate brand. They’re full of excellent advice and practical knowledge, you’ll come away with a real sense of ‘I know what to do now’. I’m not the only speaker - full details in the accounts tagged. But if you’ve ever thought ‘I wonder if I can sell my product/brand on Instagram?’ this is the course for you. Any questions, please ask below or bring them on the day? These events always sell out so def book early to avoid genuine disappointment - the @stokepark setting alone is worth travelling for. 💋 15th March
5 seconds to capture perhaps a lifetime goal?
Remember @comicrelief and Red Nose Day as a kid? It was essential viewing and even more essential that I’d hassle my parents to donate. I can recall so many top, top scenes; like the Smithy original car-pool karaoke with George Michael, French and Saunders Mama Mia rip off, Beckham in Peckham, the Beckhams and Ali G, Dawn kissing Hugh!! Just as I was insistent that my parents pledged money I was as annoying (persuasive) to @emmafreud that she let me gather a group of top social talent to lead a #cometogether campaign for this year’s @rednoseday. Absolutely delighted that @hygge_for_home @doesmybumlook40 @me_and_orla @rosemarino1 @dadvgirls @mother_pukka all said YES to the red nose. Their campaign will launch soon - more of that to come as we get ready for RND on March 15th 2019.
Drawing by @london_sl2 (another of his skilz?
) of our potential boot-room storage. Before we commit this to wood, any advice on the design? What with the whole organising, decluttering, cleaning content roaring a riot on here just now I expect lots and lots and lots of advice. Thanks team. Will attempt to incorporate as many (good) ideas as possible and you’ll all be welcome to hang your hat, anytime, at ours.
Genuinely don’t understand how people wear non matching underwear?
I can’t actually get dressed unless I match and for my money @marksandspencer sets are the v best for fit and style. I know the matching underwear chat causes some contention on here - so let’s park that because I know we will all agree that M&S absolutely smashed their press day today and that @jessiicalucy and her team @marksandspencerfashionpr deserve a huge 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 M&S are one of the most forward thinking brands when it comes to their influencer comms - which is why today’s event was so well attended by the who’s who of Instagram. A veritable feast of vegan food was served all day with great long tables to allow everyone to catch-up on work and with each other. I loved seeing @_thisgirlcanorganise @tiatalula @the_colour_file @bethgoodrham_stylist @mercer7official @feathering_the_empty_nest @life_with_ivycoco @ladyofthemanor77 @finlay_fox @bricksandstitches and special mention to @inpolife and @rosemarino1 for their extra special run round (see their stories and support @redjanuaryuk) And they’ve taken their influencer strategy to another level - of course they have - by launching shoes actually designed by their top team of
Rather than my #topnine most interactive, I’m talking about my overall top nine things I 💗
on here in 2018. 1) the social campaigns and strategy from @marksandspencerfashionpr have gone from strength to strength. Their casting is inclusive and consistent. If you don’t own one of their stripe down the side jumpsuits are you even on here? 2) Instagram users numbers swelled to 1Billion. Lots of network-y/mentor-y groups launched in response to all the fresh faces on here but my money is on @notaboutthekids and @antoniataylorpr being your go-to girls if you want to elevate your business. Their workshops offer hands on practical advice, not just inspirational chatter. 3) are we agreed that interiors broke Instagram this year? @_Lisa_dawson_ and @deecampling. launched a podcast together and held their first recoding at the @miele_gb showroom. I loved the mutually beneficial set up of this event; Miele hosting the girls with their absolutely delicious food and Lisa and Dee filling the showroom with their chatter and crowd of fans. 4) I predict that 2019 will see a wave of financial and service brands flock to Instagram for campaigns. 👏 to @scotfriendly for leading the way with this campaign with @vixmeldrew 5) I loved the way @superlativelylj storied from the #ORSsocial - felt like I was sat right next to her cribbing her notes! Lots of chat about what will be big in social next year; my fave tip was ‘people driving MSI will always do well’ MSI? Meaningful Social Interactions 6) converting success in store to social is no mean feat, in fact it takes a v particular person and Jo from @blackwhitedenim is just that 7) I loved all the hype and camaraderie that came with #worldcup2018 so was v happy to recruit talent for the @aball4all campaign especially to cast @domandink who is set for BIG things in 2019 8) small brand launch of the year goes to @mrsfroggyfletcher for celebrating her twin boys’ birthdays, having a daughter a month later and all the while launching @babybarebubbles 8) my personal highlight of the year; seeing #boardingboy graduate from prep and ready for senior school 💗
You know when you read a book and you bore all your holiday mates about it? 🙄🤓 This has been me this week, but I’m not apologising because @crouchy’s autobiography has been an absolute joy.
How To Be A Footballer is full of witty and intelligent insights into the beautifully game and his whole chapter on Steven Gerrard is a real tear jerker. Can you all just imagine me nodding along with agreement when he describes how footballers and social media should mix? “You want real, a lightness of touch and the occasional hapless mistake.”
My favourite line ever from the original is ‘Ready to face the enemy?’ What’s yours?
Here’s your chance to face the entire cast of the original Four Weddings - @emmafreud and her boyfriend are at it again and doing a bloody sequel for @comicrelief. There’s going to be another wedding and it’s going to be just glorious and you can be there. Prize draw to be at the actual filming. Link in my bio And whilst you’re here, who thinks Richard should be a permanent feature on Insta and do a sort of weekly ‘what Richard says’ type piece?
BluntComms - navigating the shift of comms from trad to social media

New photos, time to remind everyone what I do. Cast social talent for brands.

We started as a traditional PR agency, scoring editorial coverage for clients (across fashion, homewares, lifestyle) in national media (print, broadcast and online)

I've sat on the BBC Breakfast red sofa, hung around backstage of Lorraine and ThisMornng, donned the big headphones for a Radio 5 Live interview, steered clients through heavy weight broadsheet interviews and been stuck in the DailyMail revolving door many times.

As such it was typical for us to generate the type of coverage for clients that would create a significant, business changing, effect - websites have record hits, phones ringing incessantly, peak sales days.

Excellent, our work was done.

But, around five years ago we started to notice that traditional media exposure stopped having that 'fall over' effect it used to have. Calls to clients after a big PR win were a bit flat - 'How did it go, were you busy?' 'Not really, didn't notice much.' #awkward

It wasn't as if securing the coverage was getting any easier - it still required the usual back and forth between journalists and skill to know what and when to pitch and then the inevitable wait for publication, which often came without warning.

BUT if the eventual piece worked for the client - ie created an effect - then all that was worth it. But you can see our problem when our work, stopped working. Yikes

At the same time I had started to work with the stylists, makeup artists and hairdressers on shows such as XFactor, Dancing on Ice, The Voice and SCD. I'd notice that their twitter accounts would be full of requests for what contestant X was wearing, just how the presenter got that perfect red lip, what product did that judge use to get her hair like that? As the spin off/extra shows for these programmes became more popular so too did the audience's appetite for everything that was going on behind the scenes and now with social it was now possible to get this dialogue going. The brands were delighted and would send stacks of product for the stylsts and MUA to use and credit.

So whilst trad media influence was waning, these new voices were having stacks of influence - and I also happened to love the speed at which brands could get coverage and track their results.

This is how we started to shift our focus towards social influencers - admittedly it was a challenge at first, mostly explaining to clients what an influencer was. But we have since advised brands such as Miele, Vision Express, Warehouse, B&Q, M&S, Tesco, FeelUnique.

#tiatalulamademedoit I’ve spent something like 20 years in the industry of promotion.
I’ve been at so many events, run photo calls, assisted on photo and video shoots, been backstage of live TV and organised or attended the most instagenic of social events. But I rarely, #hardlyever, get photo evidence. I just squirm when I have to be facing the camera. I’m much happier looking at a monitor checking that everyone else’s picture is perfect. So when @tiatalula offered to take some photos of just me - she was so gorgeously kind about it - I couldn’t refuse. But I did dress it up as actually a shoot for @spikey_mama and @ladyofthemanor77 @stokepark just to add that extra layer of comfort. Once Tia had taken the shots of the ‘proper models’ I literally faffed about whilst Tia put me completely at ease and look what she got! Eyes open ✅ looking to camera ✅ relaxed smile ✅ I’m off today on a major project - and having had this experience with Tia I’m now less weird about me being in the pics so hopefully I’ll pop up if you’re watching carefully 💋
This woman.
It’s actually impossible to write a caption about @bowelbabe that doesn’t include all the buzz words of brave and inspirational and amazing. And each time I write something I just scrap it because it doesn’t go anywhere near to doing her justice. From a work perspective, #casting, #connecting, #matching @bowelbabe with @fandfclothing was one of the fastest contracts I’ve pulled off. And that was largely down to the fact that Tesco immediately recognised and grabbed the opportunity to have Debs as a brand partner for their @fandfclothing range. Who wouldn’t want this woman cheering them on?? Alongside her treatment for bowel cancer and mothering and managing a house renovation and writing her column for The Sun and showing SCD her moves on the underground and recording her podcast and having normal arguments with her husband and sharing that on here, Debs has been supporting @yourgotri this month and doing so in her @fandfclothing fitwear. And so you’ll see how it is impossible for me not to say that I really have been so inspired by Debs so much so that I’m doing an actual triathlon with @sarah_bracken123 on Thursday.
What do you see here?
I like the snow against the black and red. The detail of Gemma’s stylist @lucasmarmitage arranging her skirt train. Gemma’s face looking down to prepare to face the camera. What really strikes me about this picture is the design of the dress and the part it is playing in @gemmacollins1 making a statement. No doubt she gives as good as she gets but she gets it. And I mean - she actually ‘gets it’. If she’s cast to bring drama - well then the GC delivers. So I have no doubt that when @lucasmarmitage designed this for Gemma he knew exactly what he was doing especially when he put pockets in that skirt. Pockets forever. And ever. Am I right? I’d love to know how @gemmacollins1 felt in this dress. 💋💋💋
We are away for Christmas and my house is a building site so I don’t have the cosy festive scene to post.
And I’m well aware that this low budget vid of me in spin on a Sunday morning is not that interesting and let’s be honest slightly on the #smug side. But bear with.... In an attempt to stick to at least some basic Christmas traditions, I watched Love Actually last night and then trawled YouTube for interviews with Richard Curtis - I don’t care what RC is talking about, everything he says is wonderful. In amongst so many gems about writing and his inspirations and how @emmafreud made him rewrite Four Weddings 19 times until it was right and just exactly how he came up with wrote line in Notting Hill (“I’m just a girl”) he also said this; Love yourself, even if you think that 99% of what you’ve done is rubbish, 1% is brilliant. It makes me think about all those things we want to achieve, from long standing career goals to finding the perfect present or having just one harmonious afternoon with the family all happy and festive rather than harassed and falling out. I hate spin and I think I’m rubbish at it. But I go and I turn those wheels and that’s the bit I’m going to focus on. Try doing the same this Christmas, be more Curtis and Love Yourself actually.
It took about 5 rounds of persuasion to get the teen to take this photo and absolutely no way he was going to be in it.
We also had to do the briefest of poses because he’d only take 1 shot. Taken on Christmas Day 2018. Took another 9 days for him to get round to send me the picture, despite asking daily. Teen parenting - who’s got that down? Not us two, despite the smiles - although I do find smiling through it helps! Oh and the beach and a glass of fizz comes in handy too. 😉 I can also hugely recommend @nicolamorganauthor book #blamemybrain for some very clever insight into the actual science of what is going on inside a teenage brain. Helps when, for the life of you, you can’t understand why they don’t want to pose with you in your sparkly cossie and your Wham t-shirt on Christmas Day! ! 😂
These brilliant tumblers are such a clever find.
Typical of my lovely friend Jo and her Wilmsow store @blackwhitedenim. Genuinely a great gift for those tricky types - they’re £32 and Jo is excellent on DMs so if you want a purchase, she’ll sort you out. Even better if you can get to her actual store which is a Mecca for the Cheshire set. As for me I am firmly team Rosé - which is set to be the cool new drink this Christmas. I’ll be on the @mirabeauwine. What do you think? Can Christmas be pink?
Every morning I wake at 6am.
It's too early for me, especially since I don't have to get up for #boardingboy. I know I sld get another hour but then I reach under my pillow (yes that's where I keep it) and I do a merry dance from Insta 🔁 twitter 🔁 emails. This morning I was struck by @thestyleeditor post about authenticity being the new influence. Yeeeesss 💯. As someone who connects brands to talent increasingly I'm looking for people that really know what they're talking about and have an audience that listens. Less of the big follower numbers, more of the threads. I was about to make a stylised image of this authenticity quote but thought I should live it, rather than just say it. This is me, squinting coz I can't see the phone properly and worried I've wasted 2 hours of what should have been sleep by scrolling these squares.
So then.
This happened. The more observant of you will spot my spaceman suit - modelled by my mate Sibbo, whilst I’m in his (v soft I must say) shirt and jeans. It’s pretty standard at ver ver serious dinner parties that ‘what the hell I do’ is knocked about the table for fun. 🙄 I’ve ended up accepting a challenge to swap outfits with Sibbo until we get 1000 likes - honestly don’t ask - just like. Thanks insta pals.
This was not one of my campaigns but hot damn I wish it was.
The only teeny bit of kudos I can claim is that all of last year I was DM/spamming @jessjolley45 to say 👏 and what a bloody brilliant job she and her team @marksandspencerfashionpr were doing. Their unrelenting persistence with social comms, their inclusivity so all walks of talent are gifted, get invited to events or cast for campaigns and then this. Led by @dresslikeamum @erica_davies @daniellevanier @thefashion_lift @doesmybumlook40 @stylemesunday this completely collaborative, team effort is just outstanding. And what I love even more is that a trad media source is acknowledging how genius it is. The whole article is well worth your registration for @campaignmagazine, but this is my favourite line; “most brands are currently doing it badly. There is a need for influencer marketing to be done more elegantly.” If you’d like some elegance brought to your social campaigns - try the M&S marketing dept 😉 - failing that, je peux le faire. 💋
I’ve had mixed feelings about the #10yearchallenge - I’ve seen the melting glacier and empathised with @doesmybumlook40’s fringe regrets and nodded emphatically to @cherryhealey’s post about age shaming.
There are two ways I can describe what I was up to 10 years ago; We were in our 3rd year of living in France and as you can see I was fluent enough to start driving lessons. We lived in a thriving fishing village, with beaches at either end of the v pretty port. We had a small but super close expat community - @maisondelaroche for one - and we all massively supported each other with the challenges of living abroad. The French wholeheartedly invited us into their lives - including the sacred Sunday family lunch. We ran the business from our beachside apartment with lots of can-do attitude, pre recession budgets and the marvel that was the recently launched Skype. #boardingboy was as bilingual as 4 year olds can be and I still credit his incredible eating habits to his maternelle. Ten years ago we were lonely in France. The much longed for sibling was not happening. I started driving lessons as something to keep me distracted. Business was trickling along - we lived a v simple life so money wasn’t a priority but it was too easy to coast. I had started to lose my drive and feeling a bit out of touch. With each visit to the 🇬🇧 it because harder to leave. And so - we came back. It was heartbreaking leaving - because of course we had loved our experience, but it was time.
Errrr spot the non-instagrammer who can’t just pull a normal pose for the #selfie?
Jesus CJ - what are you like?? My friends and fam will all say “well at least your eyes aren’t closed!” The reason I’m never in the pictures at these things is, not just because I don’t know how to pose (yes, really to you at the back who thinks I’m a show off), but also because as the ‘connector’ between brands and talent I don’t think I should get in the way. But if I’m never in the pictures - how will the Gram ever know what I’ve done. Because if it isn’t committed to the squares it never happened, right? So today that’s why I asked @tiatalula - the brightest star - if she would come and take some actual, proper, non 🤪 photos of me. And we did it and you’ll be seeing them shortly. Also managed to combine the day with the beauties that are @inpolife @ladyofthemanor77 and @spikey_mama and arranged #gift lunch for us all @stokepark. So I aced it on the work front, just need to work on my photo face. Watch this space
This is my accounts department paying an invoice 4 hours 28 mins after receiving an invoice.
We pride ourselves (not on just brilliant and creative casting and all that fun stuff) but on paying invoices as quickly as possible. For all of our campaigns we bill the client and talent invoice us and we pay. Straight away. Money money money. I know there’s some old fashioned rule about not talking about it because it’s #awkward but seriously not paying bills on time is not OK. Not acknowledging invoices and then being chased and saying ‘oh we’ve just processed that’ is not ok. 60, 90 day payment runs are not ok. Almost shaming people for chasing payment is not ok. Blaming your accounts department is not ok. I’m v grateful to @london_sl2 for running my accounts department so so brilliantly. I’m actually claiming this as the fastest ever paid invoice - can anyone beat it?
#renovationmode full on.
Cracking the whip with the builders today as our 6 month 🏠 reno is coming to an END tomorrow. The furniture is coming back and that is that. This is the second time we have worked on this property and this time we fixed all the things we got wrong the first time. Funny what you learn from mistakes isn’t it? I’ve learnt so, so much this time round too - my head literally 🤯 at times with the building jargon and the umpteen decisions. My absolute best advice though is to find a set of v comfy, not scruffy loungewear and this set #gifted to my by the amazing Jo @blackwhitedenim from their in-house BWDBasics range has kept me looking reasonable whilst I have been 🤔😰🙄😳😤 thru most of this project! And as much as I’m excited to get a sofa and a TV and table and chairs back - this de-cluttered look is rather fabulous isn’t it?
Everyone Needs to Eat

Background

Marketing a restaurant, cafe, or bar has traditionally been limited to reviews in local and national media, or purchasing expensive advertising that is difficult to measure. However with the explosion of social media influencers there is now an opportunity to receive lots of exposure for very little cost.

What is ENTE?

Everyone Needs to Eat is a service for restaurant, cafe, and bar owners whereby Instagram influencers are given a dedicated offer and in return the Influencer posts on their instagram grid and/or stories.

The offers can be made as general or as bespoke as the owners would like. For example, only influencers with a following of over 10,000 could be considered and then given 'stepped' offers e.g. between 10k-30k they could be given a free coffee/starter/cocktail, over 100k a free meal/evening of drinks.

We provide advice on what offers will achieve your aims, and connect you with suitable influencers. Unlike automated platforms we personally select appropriate influencers and handle all negotiations.

Why?

Due to our constant interaction with influencers, they have highlighted a gap whereby they often need to go somewhere for lunch or even just stop between events and have a coffee (or matcha tea!). Restaurants, cafes, and bars need exposure. Everyone Needs to Eat leverages the fact that 'everyone needs to eat (and drink!)', with every business needing marketing exposure.

Hospitality businesses generally do not carry out large social media marketing campaigns. It is unlikely that the cost of such a campaign would see a return, however, especially in the food and beverage industry, 'smaller' but constant mentions in social media do have an effect.

Instagram is becoming the most important search engine for food and travel.

I’ve set goals and missed them, fluffed them, lost my nerve, forgotten about them, talked myself out of them.
So when @bowelbabe started promoting @yourgotri I said - v quietly - I’ll do a whole triathlon on the last day of the month. Well, @sarah_bracken123 was listening and she took the challenge in her stride and so that’s how I found myself striding across v icy fields to @stokepark this morning to complete a bike, run and swim course. I set a target of 20km on the bike, Sarah pushed me to 25km. I ached at 3km and said I’d had enough - she made me do 5K and I knew there was no point in even suggesting 30 lengths instead of 50. That’s the thing with goals, it’s easy and absolutely fine to not make them. But if you can be persuaded to at least try....you might just surprise yourself.
About 2 seconds after @dollyalderton mentions her latest #lovestories podcast with @stanleytucci I hotfoot it to said episode and absorb every word.
There’s a beautiful story where Stanley describes this most fabulous of pasta dishes. Typically Italian - and like most things in life - it’s beauty is in its simplicity, both the dish he is describing but also the effortless way he takes us through the recipe. And then he #micdrops at the end by saying ‘I made it for Colin Firth the other night.’ In business I think the best ideas are often the simplest, bit if you can finesse with a touch of magic, that’s the secret. Stanley and Dolly, thank you. Loved this podcast.
For years I never admitted that my legal and finance department was in fact my husband.
It felt unprofessional somehow, and now I can’t even think why I would have thought that. Maybe when we started out (working together as opposed to being together) I didn’t have the confidence to admit my biz partner was also my life partner. We started our own thing back in 2005 and without realising it have been champions of #flexibleworking and breaking the mould of what a business looks like. We’ve never had an office, we’ve moved the business to France and back again, we’re happy to work on holidays but never on the afternoons #boardingboy has a match and bumper or difficult year I’ve learnt to just go with it. Anyway, back to Jimbo, for all those that have been on the receiving end of one of his v fair contracts or v speedy payments - to misquote my song of the year This Is Him 💋
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