A Week in my Life: Lisa Morton, MD of Roland Dransfield PR

Simon Austin's picture
by Simon Austin
Lisa Morton

This week it's Lisa Morton, MD of Roland Dransfield PR. To suggest another senior media or creative figure for A Week In My Life, please email david@prolificnorth.co.uk

Monday

This week is going to be busy. We have the launch of D&D London’s brand-new rooftop restaurant - 20 Stories at No. 1 Spinningfields -  on Wednesday, which the whole team is really looking forward to, three new business meetings, last minute touches to our new website and planning for MIPIM, the international property exhibition in Cannes.

We have a team meeting at 9.30am every Monday, but today I went straight to visit a potential new brand partner for Boodles’ Tennis at the Mere, a three-day event we are handling PR and social media for again this year. Considered to be one of the North West’s most glamorous garden parties, we are rolling this out to Yorkshire for the first time with a new two-day event the following week at Hazelwood Castle in Leeds - another amazing setting. 

From there I went to XYZ in Spinningfields with our head of consumer, Adam Moss, to take a new business brief on a really exciting potential project. We need to present our approach in a week’s time so will do a team brainstorm session on this on Wednesday. 

We then had a 20 Stories’ team update session to run through the guest list, logistics on the night, media attendance, VIPs, photographers – and contingency plans for snow…

Tuesday

Woke up to snow and road chaos but made it in for a meeting first thing with our team and a prospective client we had pitched for before Christmas. We were officially appointed by 9.05am and immediately started planning. This win is one we are really excited with and can’t wait to announce. It’s huge for Manchester. We actually cancelled the Roland Dransfield Christmas lunch to turn this pitch around, so the whole team is over the moon. Having said that, we did replace a five course lunch with award-winning karaoke at the City Road Inn, so it probably worked out well all round.

Early afternoon we had a meeting with our client Schroders, at 20 Stories, in No. 1 Spinningfields, which they recently acquired from Allied London. We were appointed by Schroders four years ago when they bought City Tower in Piccadilly, so this was to look at a wider brief to include No. 1 and 340 Deansgate as part of their portfolio along with new assets in the pipeline.

Then, we got the lift down two floors for the launch of floors 15 and 16 of No. 1 Spinningfields which are available for occupiers. The views were incredible today – one minute we could see snow on the Pennines and the next we were blinded by a snowstorm. It is an amazing space and you can’t help but realise what a positive impact a working environment like this would have. Apologies, a blatant but justified plug. Well, I am in PR…

Back to the office to run through emails and look at some of the conversations already going on around the ‘Chef’s Table’ painting, which we had commissioned by Nomad Clan for 20 Stories’ launch. The painting featured 20 Stories chef Aiden Byrne alongside 19 of modern Manchester’s most influential movers and shakers – everyone from Michelle Keegan to Danny Boyle – at a ‘Last Supper’ style dining table. It certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest of opinion in Manchester, setting social media alight with comments – which is exactly what we hoped – putting the incredible 20 Stories restaurant firmly at the heart of conversation in the run up to launch.

Wednesday

Woke up to more snow on the morning of the launch of 20 Stories and hoping that the Siberian temperatures wouldn’t deter people from coming out.

We didn’t need to worry as we were inundated all day by requests to be added to the list including people who were changing plans to stay overnight in Manchester so they didn’t get stuck.  

Conveniently, the Roland Dransfield office is currently at Old Granada Studios whilst we wait for our new one to be ready, so our 20 Stories team could literally make the dash across Quay Street in the snow storm in a couple of minutes.

Tomorrow night we have a fund-raising dinner for the amazing Debate Mate programme, generously hosted by Boodles. This is an award-winning educational charity dedicated to improving social mobility and teaching key skills through after-school debating programmes, teacher training and students training programmes across the UK.  

It’s an incredible initiative and one which Roland Dransfield has worked closely with for two years now. I spent a couple of hours making contingency travel plans for the team based in London, some of whom were coming up from the South Coast, in order to make sure the event could still go ahead. It was a case of trains, planes and automobiles.

On top of this the schools who were coming to do a show debate at the dinner were closed due to the snow. At one point it was really looking like the weather was going to mean we had to cancel. However, by the time we all were due at 20 Stories, it was back on track, subject to anything that happened overnight!

The whole team at RD had been really looking forward to 28th February as pretty much everybody has been involved in some aspect of the PR, engagement, social media and event planning. The place is incredible and gives Mancunians a view of their city they have never seen before. It’s become a magnet over the past few weeks during soft launch and arguable the most Instagrammed venue pre-launch.

Each time you to go 20 Stories it feels like a different experience with the terrace, fine-dining restaurant, grill, and bar area. You could be in any international city in the world except that it’s better because here you have a view of Old Trafford.

We needn’t have worried about the weather as 20 Stories filled up within half an hour and the atmosphere was amazing. We had over 400 guests and VIPs including Kym Marsh, Mani, Sheree Murphy and Harry Kewell, Simon Rimmer as well as a host of stars from Coronation Street and Hollyoaks.  It was brilliant to see so many friends and familiar faces who I know will adopt this place and make it their own.

Aiden Byrne was fan-mobbed for much of the night but had time to be interviewed alongside the controversial “Chef’s Table” painting by Nomad Clan, which drew a queue of visitors to the private dining room all night.

There was a DJ set by Trevor Nelson and then our home-grown Clint Boon, with more than 20 Stories to his name, finished off the evening with a much-loved Manchester play list.  Mancunians do love a dancefloor and I ended the night dancing to “Don’t Look Back in Anger” with Tom Bloxham. 

I got home by 1am, got into bed, then realised Thursday is bin day. This was my son’s job and now he’s at uni, returned to me. 

It was around -5 degrees and I laughed to myself as I dragged the blue bin through two inches of snow in Ugg boots, a dressing gown and parka on top. From the glamour of 20 Stories to putting the bins out in your pyjamas...

Thursday

I had managed to get into bed by 2am but the younger/dafter Roland Dransfield contingent did the honourable thing and accompanied the D&D team to Albert’s Schloss for the after party. 

Being troopers, they were all at their desks by 8.15 to monitor all the media coverage and follow up from the night before. There are going to be some early nights tonight… 

I spent the first three hours of the day arranging transport and back up hotels for the Debate Mate team and guests who were travelling from London and further afield in order to make sure we had a full attendance for this evening. Thankfully everybody confirmed that they would be there – including the students, who we arranged taxis for from home and enticed them with the promise of Nando’s vouchers.

We had an afternoon catch up with our client, architects Stephen and Claire Hodder of Hodder and Partners, who are working with Gary Neville and the team on St Michael’s. Hodders are attending MIPIM the week after next, along with much of the Manchester property community, as is Roland Dransfield, so we put plans in place for content around events on the Manchester stand. Last year the weather was beautiful but this year looks like we are going to need thermals and umbrellas on the Croisette!

Then onto Boodles on King Street for the Debate Mate dinner with guests of Boodles and Roland Dransfield. This was an opportunity for Debate Mate to showcase its amazing students who have learned invaluable life skills through after-school debating clubs. The students were so impressive at handling questions and putting across arguments that silenced even the most articulate of guests.

It was a fun evening in the most beautiful setting, with amazing food, flowers and champagne – and surrounded by diamonds! We were humbled by the pledges of support from the guests and the support shown by the Boodles family for this incredible initiative which is making a huge impact on young people’s futures.

Friday

6:30am start, and I’ll be honest - although I’ll be going to Paris for the weekend with Nina, I’d have traded it for another hour in bed when the alarm went off! I had to write some copy for Roland Dransfield’s new website, catch up on this column, discuss a couple of pitches with the team and do some follow-ups from last night. 

It’s been an incredibly busy week and I know everyone is ready for the weekend. Fortunately our flight was on time and it was great to switch off and catch up with Nina. When I turned my phone on in the taxi on the way into Paris, I got an email to say one of the guests from the 

Boodles dinner last night had donated £10,000 to Debate Mate. This means that all the children in the Manchester programme will be able to continue to develop these amazing skills in the next academic year. Roland Dransfield is celebrating its 21st birthday this year and I love the business as much now as I did when I set up. We have an amazing team who are full of energy and ideas - and clients who give us the opportunity to work on great projects. 

It’s been a very rewarding week.