Category: Spreading the jam


World Photography Day – an image is worth a thousand words

By Raspberry Jim,


World Photography Day is an annual, worldwide celebration of the art, craft, science and history of photography.

However in a world that’s swamped with a cacophony of photographs and the swamp of selfies that we see on our social media news feeds you can get lost in the sheer volume of photographs that you see everyday.

In 2018, there was an estimated 1 trillion photographs taken!

Source: The Conversation


This got us thinking at jamjar HQ about how powerful images can be. You know, those few images that make you look twice and think. A picture is worth a thousand words after all.

Here are some images that got us talking in the office…

  • Sudanese Protests – Summer 2019
Woman preaching during the unrest in Sudan
Image via news.sky.com

This image of 22-year-old Alaa Salah went viral on social media during the unrest in Sudan earlier this summer. As police used tear gas, rubber bullets and live fire to try to disperse the protesters this ethereal image of a woman addressing the crowd, dressed in white is simple but powerful and with a clear message – words not violence.

“I’m very glad that my photo let people around the world know about the revolution in Sudan … Since the beginning of the uprising I have been going out every day and participating in the demonstrations because my parents raised me to love our home,”

Alaa Salah via The Guardian
  • Wales’ Grand Slam Win – March 2019
Welsh Rugby TEam celebrating winning the Grand Slam 2019 amongst rain, champagne and fireworks
Image: Ben Evans/Huw Evans Agency via walesonline.co.uk
Welsh Rugby Captain Alun Wyn Jones celebrating Wales' 2019 Grand Slam win
Image: Aled Llywelyn/Huw Evans Agency via walesonline.co.uk

The euphoria of the team, the passion in Alun Wyn Jones’ celebration. There really aren’t the words to convey the pure joy that passed through Wales that day back in March. Sit back and bask in that feeling once again…

  • Pages of the Sea – November 2018
Sand portrain of WW1 soldier being washed away with the tide
Image via taliesinartscentre.co.uk

On 11 November 2018, tens of thousands gathered on beaches to say goodbye and thank you, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the First World War, many never to return. Curated by Danny Boyle, beaches around the UK hosted a sand portrait of an individual from the First World War. And then, as the tide rose, it was washed away as we took a moment to say a collective thank you and goodbye.

  • Harry & Meghan’s Wedding – May 2018
PA/Getty/Yui Mok

Everyone loves a good pour over wedding photos and so when Harry and Megan got married the whole world stopped and waited to see what she would be wearing. The image that went viral of the day though was an arial shot by Yui Mok. It became known as “Diana’s View”.

Yui Mok said:

“The carriage took less than a second to pass underneath me, and in that time I had managed to shoot five frames, one of which would end up as one of the most memorable photos of the whole wedding. Of course, had the carriage driven a foot or so either side of my viewpoint, there wouldn’t have been a picture. There was a lot of luck, coupled with judgement and risk, involved in the making of this image, but often in photography that’s how the most memorable photographs come about!”

Yui Mok in townandcountrymag.com

  • Planet Earth II – December 2017
A fish swimming in an ocean that is also filled with plastic debris
Image via bbc.co.uk

The final episode of Planet Earth David Attenborough didn’t hold back and showed us the heart-breaking images that our disposable plastic lives were responsible in creating.

The BBC naturalist added afterwards:

“We hoped that Blue Planet II would open people’s eyes to the damage that we are doing to our oceans and the creatures that live in them. I’ve been absolutely astonished at the result that that programme has had. I never imagined there would be quite so many of you who would be inspired to want change. “

via bbc.co.uk
  • Prince George meets President Obama – April 2016
Prince George meets President Obama at Kensington Palace

This adorable image, released by Kensington Palace, captured the even the coldest hearts. Allowed to stay up late, Prince George wasn’t at all fazed by the President’s arrival. He reportedly was more curious as to why Uncle Harry wasn’t goofing around as much as usual…

Results Day Advice

By Raspberry Jim,

Tex on orange background that says Be Bold, Be Brave, Be Brilliant


We’ve all been through it…dreaded Results Day. For those getting results this week we wanted to share some jamjar words of wisdom with you:


Stuck in a jam?

Didn’t get what you wanted on results day? Don’t worry, it will all work out, even if it doesn’t feel like it now. Take a deep breath and here are some ideas about what you can do next:

  • Clearing – This is when universities still have spaces open on some of their courses, and they advertise them to students still looking for a course (more information here).
  • Take a year off and reapply – There are lots of benefits of a gap year which might actually enrich you more than heading off to university straight away. Why not take some time to learn a new language abroad? Save some money? Gain some work experience? (more information here).
  • Re-sit your exams or ask for a re-mark – If you are thinking of either, here is Karis’ story.
  • Choose a professional qualification – perhaps earning qualifications thought vocational training courses that relate to a specific industry you’re interested in is better suited? (more information here).
  • Learn-on-the-job with an Apprenticeship – how about gaining recognised qualifications, essential skills and earning a wage? (more information here).


Inspirations

With or without A-Levels and University, there are major success stories in this world. Here are some of our favourite inspirational people who didn’t follow the traditional route:

Jim Carrey

When Carrey was 14 years old his family hit rough times. They moved into a VW van and the young aspiring comedian took an eight-hours-per-day factory job after school to help make ends meet. He moved to LA and would park on Mulholland Drive every night and visualise his success. One of these nights he wrote himself a check for $10,000,000 for “Acting Services Rendered,” which he dated for Thanksgiving 1995.
Just before that date, he hit his payday with Dumb and Dumber. He put the deteriorated check, which he’d kept in his wallet the whole time, in his father’s casket.

themuse.com

JK Rowling

J.K. Rowling had just gotten a divorce, was on benefits, and could barely afford to feed her baby in 1994, just three years before the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, was published. When she was shopping it out, she was so poor she couldn’t afford a computer or even the cost of photocopying the 90,000-word novel. It was rejected dozens of times until finally Bloomsbury gave it a second chance after the CEO’s eight year-old daughter fell in love with it.

themuse.com


So, don’t worry, you do you. And in the words of our Chief Jammer, Lyndsey:


Be bold, be brave and be brilliant.


Good luck xo

When jargon gets lost in translation with the media

By Gemma Gwilym,


Synergy, stakeholders, best practice, and incentivise, are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to business jargon.

Nothing is more eye roll inducing for journalists and copy editors than overused industry jargon which buries the real meaning and just generally adds confusion.

Yes, under the right circumstances, for instance liaising with business-specific media or even colleagues in your industry, jargon is appropriate. It can even act as a shorthand to get to the point quicker – which is great! But if it disguises what you’re actually trying to say, to the point that it is misunderstood or unreadable, then jargon is just jargon.

It can be all too easy to get sucked into jargon-heavy language when you’re surrounded by it daily in a business environment. Here at jamjar we’ve been known to ping an email or two, action a proposal, or even touch base with clients when the time has called for it – let’s be honest we’ve all done it! We sat down to discuss further…

Team jamjar


Jargon is often inevitable when you’re communicating with colleagues and using your own weird little language. But when this business-specific language suddenly becomes part of your vocabulary when communicating with potential clients or as part of press releases, the confusion begins. It’s at that point that you are assuming that the reader has prior knowledge of the technical phrases within your industry, which of course, they are unlikely to.

When communicating with anyone outside of your immediate business it is crucial that they are able to understand what product or service you are discussing. Otherwise, what’s the point! Using jargon in these interactions could result in the meaning being utterly lost in translation, which ultimately costs you business.


People who work in specialised fields seem to have their own language. Practitioners develop a shorthand to communicate among themselves. The jargon can almost sound like a foreign language.

Barry Ritzholtz


If your professional field is particularly technical or in-depth in any way, then when it comes to communicating with the media, it’s time to cut out the jargon. Overuse of it could not only see them heavily editing any release or information you send over, it could ultimately confuse them and lead to inaccuracies being introduced while they are re-writing it, or worst of all, dissuade them from even using the release entirely.

Always re-read any copy that you are sending out to customers or the press, and in doing so ask yourself, would a friend or family member outside of this industry understand this completely? If the answer is no, it might be time to explore using more easily understandable language, which gets the message across more effectively.

Equally, another offender which many are guilty of, is introducing acronyms into a press release without any explanation of the business they are related to. This, like jargon, also falls under the assumed knowledge category. Always write the full business title first followed by the acronym, never assume that the reader just knows what it is – they often don’t.

For example, diving straight in and discussing SEO might be fine for those in your technical field, but the average reader would have no clue you were discussing Search Engine Optimisation. So, always write Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This just clarifies the context for the reader and helps them understand what is being discussed.


So in conclusion, when it comes to jargon – less is always more!

Before we sign off, don’t forget to drop jamjar a line, or ping us an email if you have any press release or copywriting queries!!

Gemma is our resident media mastermind at jamjar. If you need that journo shine added to a story and an inside look into the mind of a reporter, she’s your gal.

Boost your CV with work experience

By Raspberry Jim,

We’ve recently been joined by Swansea University student Nerys Durbin who’s written this great blog for us on the benefits of undertaking work experience.

Here Nerys gives us an insight into the benefits of heading out into the world and getting first-hand experience before jumping on the career ladder. For anyone looking to get into the communications industry, this is a great read …

One of the biggest worries during your time at university is wondering if you’ll ever actually get that dream job as soon as you graduate. With thousands of students graduating this summer, it can seem like a bit of a battlefield to ensure you end up employed.

Having some work experience in a role you might be interested in will not only give you the practical skills that are necessary for working in PR, but it can also give you the confidence to reach your career goals. We’ve collected the top five things you will gain from work experience, so you can stand out amongst those thousands of graduates and get the job of your dreams (or at least one that pays the rent).

Variety is the spice of life

Something a degree focusing on the theories behind PR won’t teach you is the huge variety of tasks that you’ll do each day. Getting some real-life work experience will let you try your hand at everything from writing blogs and press releases to creating a social media calendar, giving you actual examples of your work that can be shown to prospective employers. Having this variety of experiences will also give you something to chat about in that all important job interview.

Real World Experience

Whilst you’re in the university bubble, it can be easy to forget work you produce could one day be released into the big wide world. Getting to craft your writing skills away from an academic setting will allow you to grow in confidence, whilst also letting your creativity flourish. It can also add a new kind of pressure knowing that more eyes will be seeing whatever you get to produce, giving you a taste of how a full-time job would be and better equipping you to deal with day-to-day pressures.

Communication is key

You’ve probably heard this before, but communication skills are some of the most valuable ones you can gain. In a world where face-to-face interactions are becoming few and far between, having a solid set of written communication skills will boost your position amongst your peers. Whilst navigating a group project email chain at university can really test those verbal communication skills, nothing beats being plonked down in an office setting. Between asking for help, answering phones or sending professional emails, being able to effectively communicate will always help you out.

Try Before You Buy

Did you go to university thinking you’d figure out a career path somewhere between a 9AM lecture and a 3PM pint with your flatmates? Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life is a lot harder than those distant relatives who ask, “but what do you want to do with that degree?” think. Giving yourself the chance to try out a variety of different jobs will make that journey slightly easier, even if it just allows you to eliminate the jobs you absolutely do not want to do.

Stand out from the crowd

Whilst that dedication to the university dance team will add something to your CV, having practical experience in a similar setting to a job that you are applying for will surely make you stand out. With a lot of graduates applying for a small pool of jobs, having some evidence of prior interest will definitely elevate your application.

Beat the January Blues and start planning your 2019 PR content 

By Raspberry Jim,


Let’s be honest – January is a long, cold, and slightly disorientating month when the only thing you really want to do is hibernate until February.

Sadly, for many, that is not an option.

So, shedding your pyjamas, venturing out of the house and facing the world is an inevitability.

For those of you getting back into the swing of it this month, planning ahead for your news , PR, digital, and social media content in 2019 might seem ever so slightly daunting.

However, this could actually be the ideal time to get planning and get one step ahead of the rest.

This is especially true if you are looking ahead at maximising potential PR, social media, digital, and media angles for the year. Many natural PR, editorial, and social media opportunities crop up around special calendar days and national days, and now is the time to start planning these in and pitching to the media.

Many online sites are devoted to detailing every traditional, unusual, and sometimes strange, calendar observances throughout the year, which you can tap into.  A quick search online should lead you to national and UK-wide calendar days throughout 2019.

These can range from health awareness initiatives, such as National Obesity Awareness Week running this week, to general awareness days such as the gloomy Blue Monday on January 21, to slightly obscure celebrations such as Popcorn Day on January 19.

Whatever your business and its focus, these upcoming events could prove to be especially useful when you’re planning your media and PR activity for the year.

Take for example, Data Privacy Day; Spouse’s Day; and eDay, which are all set to take place this month.

For legal or intellectual property firms, both eDay and Data Privacy Day could be prime opportunities to promote their services and create an article, specialist feature, or advice-led piece around.

Or you could tap into the social media aspect of these days, creating a bespoke social media calendar offering data privacy top tips every few hours, quotes from experts at your firm, gifs, video interviews, and links to articles, which could really bring your social content alive. Always remember to also use any relevant hashtags to ensure you are part of the national discussion.

Equally, Spouse’s Day could also be another opportunity for legal firms to discuss their services either through an article or social media.

And why not utilise your internal digital channels too? Upload case studies to your website’s news section detailing the common mistakes couples make when creating a prenuptial agreement. Add Q&A and expert opinions from your family solicitors, and even upload videos with interviews with staff offering advice to couples.

If this is all tied into and published via your social media accounts then you’re ensuring even more publicity and coverage.

While Static Electricity or Kid Inventors Days could prove to be useful for educational or science-based businesses looking to tap into something a little bit different this month. Why not create online tasks for budding kid inventors on your website? This can then be tied into your social media and promotional messages.

There’s an abundance to choose from, with everything from the sublime to the unusual set to take place.

Planning ahead will enable you to truly maximise natural PR, digital, and social media opportunities and media hooks which arise throughout the year and are often jumped on by the media.

Allowing more time to get organised will allow you to plan a more thorough multimedia approach around these special days, which not only provides editorial coverage through press releases and features, but also social media, design, and video.

And if you really can’t find a calendar day to suit your business needs, there’s always Chocolate Cake Day on January 27 for you to enjoy!

For more information on our services please visit www.jamjar.agency

Six tips to stand out in the business blogging world

By Gemma Gwilym,


When it comes to blogging, many people may believe this is simply a space to unleash all your innermost thoughts on the world.

And, in some cases, they would be right.

However, blogs can also play an effective and engaging role in the business world too.

Rather than sending out a press release to the masses, a blog allows businesses and their staff, to engage with their clients in a far more intimate and relatable way.

It enables those at the heart of the organisation to share their unique perspective and underline their expertise as only they can.

But, this isn’t news to many businesses. Many managers and team members are seasoned blog masters who have cleverly utilised this skill to their advantage for years. So, how can you make your blog stand out from all the online noise?

Here are our five top tips to creating a blog that demands to be seen and heard…


1.Unleash your expertise

When it comes to blogging, the first step is, obviously, deciding what you want to say.

In terms of business, this might be to share your expertise in mergers and acquisitions, make science more relatable, or bring legal matters to the fore in an engaging way.

Whatever it is, you’ll be starting your blog with a purpose – but so will millions of others.

So, what makes your blog speak for itself?

You! Your voice and expertise are what sets your blog apart.

Don’t be afraid to share your expert knowledge, experience, and advice, and highlight what you, and ultimately your business, have to offer.

If you spot a news topic you can add your own perspective on, why not blog about it? If it adds to the ongoing social or news commentary – even better!

Ultimately, the online world of news and social media is fast-moving, and an online audience is always on the hunt for the latest, most unique, and most interesting topic.

By drawing on your unique industry expertise, and offering a new opinion, this is exactly what you’re providing.


2. Relating to your audience

Knowing your audience is probably one of the most important aspects of blogging.

Identifying who you are speaking to, and what they will be interested in, is certain to make your blog soar.

As we previously mentioned, if you are targeting businesses in your sector, add to the discussion and unleash your expertise, this is your time to shine!

If you think something is newsworthy and interesting – chances are, your industry colleagues will too!

However, if you are targeting a non-specialist audience, such as potential clients, it’s time to get your research hat on, delve into what interests them, any newsworthy topics which are hitting the headlines, and speak to them in clear and understandable language.


3. Lost in translation

It can be easy to adopt jargon we use daily, however with a person outside your industry, this might be quickly lost in translation.

For example, using industry jargon or technical language might be fine if you are appealing to someone from a specialist financial/legal/ intellectual property or similar audience, who know their corporate finance from their copyright law.

However, if you are attempting to relate to a younger audience, such as graduates, or even prospective employees – then bombarding them with specialist terms might miss the mark.

Tailoring your message and tone of voice to your audience is guaranteed to speak to them on a more relatable level, and set your blog apart.


4. A picture is worth a thousand words

And when it comes to blogging it’s definitely worth remembering this!

It can be all too tempting to reel off paragraphs of information to your audience, particularly if it’s something you are passionate about.

However, excessive information presented in a wall of words can easily become overwhelming and detract the reader.

So, why not introduce an image or two?

If you have any images relating to your topic add them in, this will break up the text and make it more visually appealing. Equally videos, graphics, and Gifs can also add an engaging and fun element to your blog.

Remember to try and use good quality images, and if you’ve downloaded them from online ensure you have permission to use the image.


5. Break it up

A wall of words can be both daunting and off-putting.

So why not use a few headings to break it up?

It’s a simple and effective tool which helps to divide your writing into easily readable sections and make the blog more appealing to your audience.

Make sure each heading clearly relates to the section it is introducing and is not too vague.


6. One man and his blog

The title of your blog is your first chance to grab a reader’s attention – so get it right!

An interesting, funny, witty, or thought-provoking headline is more likely to demand the audience’s attention and tempt them to read on.

While a standard headline explaining the blog’s content is fine, it’s highly unlikely to stand out from the crowd.

A top tip is to write your headline after completing the blog, and you’ve got a gist of what the piece entails. This will enable you to write an informed and interesting title that will command attention.

Unlike a news article, the blog headline doesn’t need to be explanatory, it can instead be interesting and intriguing but remember it also must relate to the blog topic.

When getting creative, just ensure this is right for the tone of the article. If you’re writing about a sensitive subject be particularly careful with your headline.

If in doubt, do a bit of research into other industry blogs to get a more realistic perspective on what is effective.

Gemma is our resident media mastermind at jamjar. If you need that journo shine added to a story and an inside look into the mind of a reporter, she’s your gal.

Rebrand vs refresh

By Anna Jarvis,



Rebrand vs Refresh…and what’s the difference?

In a world where attention spans are decreasing and the propensity to buy and research a company online is dramatically increasing, it is imperative that your brand remains fresh, current and reflective of your business.

Just like fashion, the look of your brand identity can feel dated after a while, so it’s understandable that many businesses rashly decide that a rebrand is in order.

But is a rebrand what you need? Or could a brand refresh be the answer?

The difference between the two concepts can often be confusing, so having just undergone a brand refresh at jamjar, we thought it was timely to put together a blog to help clear up any confusion.

But before we start, we think it’s as important to sum up what a brand is, as many incorrectly assume it’s just a logo.

 

What is a brand?

Your brand isn’t just your logo, name, culture or marketing efforts. Your brand is your company DNA. It’s your image, reputation, personality, point of distinction and promise to everyone who experiences it. It’s the culmination of it all that when combined work together to create a whole brand. Each piece is as crucial as the next, and you can’t have one without the support of the others or your brand will fall flat.

Rebrand or Refresh – what’s the difference?

We think a good way of differentiating between the two is using a property development analogy!

Is it a fresh coat of paint that you need or a complete rebuild of the property?

Do you need to refresh what you have to make it more current or should you “kill” the brand and start again?

Rebrand

A rebrand is essentially a complete reworking of your brand. It’s more than a brand redefinition or even a reposition. It’s a full restart and the end of the current brand and all that it stands for.

Everything from your name and aesthetics to your brand strategy will be completely different.

A rebrand is the right decision when your brand can’t go on as it is.

It may be due to new ownership or leadership, when your business is going in a new direction, or when your brand equity is negative or heading that way.

Refresh

A refresh is a makeover of the current brand. It can as subtle as tweaks to the logo to make it fresh, current and up-to-date with the direction of the company. But it can also be a ceiling-to-floor rethink of how the brand not only looks but also how it delivers, speaks and operates.

The reason it’s different to a rebrand is because the brand’s DNA remains intact. The brand retains its core market position, its brand equity and values, but opens the door to change other aspects of the brand as required.

When to refresh?

  • To update an older brand and make it appealing to a current/new audience.
  • To address current market conditions.
  • When it feels disconnected from your offerings

Examples of brand refreshes

Ours is a good example of a brand refresh.

Our old brand was no longer fit for purpose as we now offer so much more than just PR – Marketing, Creative, Digital and Social. It was time to drop the PR from our name and get a new, fresh look.

Other examples include:

  • Converse
  • Airbnb
  • Netflix
  • Starbucks
  • Youtube

Rebrands gone wrong

If rebranding is the answer, be mindful that it can be intensive, costly and if not done right, can go horribly wrong.

A local one that springs to mind is Cardiff City. When new owner Vincent Tan took over, he decided to change Cardiff City’s brand identity as much as possible.

Known as the Bluebirds, with a history of blue kits and a blue logo, when Mr Tan took over, he decided to change the kit from blue to red, along with replacing the blue bird on the logo to a red dragon. Fair enough, he was playing up to the Welsh flag, but it just didn’t make sense.

To add to the confusion, Vincent Tan decided to let the team keep their original nickname and added a small blue bird to the bottom of their predominately red logo. Eeks!

Not only was the rebrand costly in terms of monetary value, it also cost Cardiff City the faith and trust of a selection of their newly confused fans. Needless to say our beloved Bluebirds are now back in blue!

What’s the right move for my business?

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on the difference between the two concepts.

But before you decide to revamp your brand ask yourselves these questions:

  1. Why are we proposing a change?
  2. What would be the goal of a rebrand/refresh?
  3. What is our brand equity – good/bad?
  4. What will we be able to do as a result of this change that we have never been able to do up until now – and how do we know that?
  5. If we took a more/less radical approach, what would we gain/lose – and would that be worth it?

 

Any questions?

If you need any further advice or have taken the decision to rebrand or refresh your brand and need some creative support, we’d love to hear from.

Anna is our zen master designer with an eye for detail. If it’s branding, print or digital graphics you’re after – she’s your font-tastic fairy godmother and knows how to make a creative project ‘pop’!

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