The Wrap: Louise Vaughan, Managing Director of Acceleris
Each Friday in The Wrap, one of the North’s leading media and creative figures will be giving us their take on the news covered by Prolific North over the last seven days. This week it’s the turn of Louise Vaughan, Managing Director of integrated communications agency Acceleris, which last month acquired London-based B2B PR agency Limelight and a network of offices in Harrogate, London and Dubai.
Last week, we saw the Government’s leaked memo hinting to the impact a hard Brexit will have on the region’s economy, expected to reduce GDP in Yorkshire by 5-7%. The forecast for those on the other side of the Pennines wasn’t much brighter either, with Manchester Digital’s Skills Audit revealing almost half of tech and digital businesses in the North West already feeling the effects of Brexit uncertainty.
Yet despite the gloomy façade too commonly associated with the North, we remain a hardy bunch! If Prolific North’s Tech 100 report from late last year is anything to go by, the Northern tech sector is growing in strength and in resilience. As an agency, we’re remaining optimistic too, having seen our own profile for delivering high impact issues and reputation management work extend our client base across Europe, winning a run of European PR industry awards in the process.
As Ian Dury once wrote, here’s a few of our Reasons to be Cheerful in the North this week:
Companies with a social purpose: Julia Shepherd, Insight Director at MediaCom North wrote earlier this week that the benefits of having a social purpose can be huge for businesses if properly marketed. I couldn’t agree more. In today’s world successful businesses not only need to be good, but need to do good. This doesn’t mean a tick box exercise, but identifying opportunities to give something real back to the communities or sectors relevant to you, providing an important point of differentiation as well as consumer confidence and trust in your brand. Last week we launched the care sector’s first corporate foundation in parliament to an audience of almost 100 MPs and stakeholders. The Caretech Foundation launched projects to the value of £2M to tackle issues linked to the social care funding crisis in the North and across the country - a bold move endorsed by some of the leading names in Government, social care and the UK charity sector.
Diversification: Brand design consultants Elmwood has broadened out its remit through the acquisition of London-based immersive experience agency, Framework Creative. The move will see the company incorporate AR and VR capabilities to its portfolio. With the market expected to grow to over 2 billion users in the next 2 years, it’s a move that could certainly pay off.
Innovation: We also saw Now Healthcare’s tele-pharmacy app, Now Patient hit number one in the app store. Designed to address the current strain that the NHS is under, the app allows patients to nominate the app as their pharmacy to get free delivery on repeat prescriptions. It aims to reduce the pressure on the country’s overstretched practices and surgeries. We work closely with Liaison, the leading financial services provider to the NHS to help promote their work helping the NHS drive greater efficiencies and reducing its reliance on locum workers. It’s great to see similar projects using well thought through digital solutions to successfully engage patients and streamline areas of service.
Creativity: We also saw the announcement of the Be More Manchester event hosted by Creative England – where the City’s mayor, Andy Burnham will reveal the findings of a new Nesta report. It is expected to highlight growth in the creative sector, contributing an estimated £2.46bn to the local economy and 3.74% of GVA.
Media: And finally, in the week that saw Trinity Mirror buy the Express and The Star for £200m, the group also revealed the brand-new team for its Leeds Live outlet – a new foray into the City; covering news, sport, food and drink and entertainment. With recent statistics revealed the closure of over 200 regional newspapers in the last 12 years, harnessing new and exciting platforms for quality local news and content offers a brighter future for regional media.
It goes without saying that Brexit will continue to throw out both negative and positive surprises in equal measure over the coming months! The only certainty here is that no one really knows what the future will hold and so all we can do is stay focused on what we can control, keep an open mind to opportunity and stay ahead of the curve...