UK university ransomware FoI results

As a leading B2B PR agency we like to practice what we preach. As such we regularly run our own online PR campaigns related to tech PR subjects that interest us, like cyber security. This campaign involved us submitting Freedom of Information requests to 134 universities in July 2020 to establish how many had been subject to ransomware attacks. Of the 105 universities that responded, 35 admitted to being attacked (33%), 25 said they hadn’t been (24%) and 43 refused to answer (45%).

With most universities reporting isolated incidents, Sheffield Hallam University and City, University of London stood out, reporting 42 attacks since 2013, and seven attacks since 2014, respectively. The following table contains the results in full. Please contact us if you’d like the data in a spreadsheet for further analysis.

 

University/QuestionHas your university been subject to any ransomware attacks in the last ten years (definition of ransomware here)?If so, when
did they take place?
Have you paid a ransom/s in return for data stolen during aforementioned ransomware
attack/s?
If you’ve paid ransom/s, then what’s the total amount you’ve paid?
Queen
Margaret University
Non/an/an/a
University of Leicester refused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of EssexNon/an/an/a
Royal College of ArtDoes not
hold info
Does not hold infoDoes not hold infoDoes not hold info
Glyndŵr UniversityNon/an/an/a
Royal Academy of MusicNon/an/an/a
Manchester Metropolitan UniversityNoNoNoNo
De Montfort UniversityYes2019 & 2016No, restored all affected data via our enterprise backup
solution
n/a
University College LondonYes14th June 2017No ransom was paid.n/a
University of Bedfordshirenon/anon/a
Aberystwyth UniversityYesCant confirmnon/a
University of WolverhamptonNon/an/an/a
UALrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Oxford Brookes Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Brightonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
The University of EdinburghNoNoNoNo
University of WinchesterYes2016Non/a
University of LondonYesJanuary 2016Non/a
University of BradfordNon/an/an/a
Barbican / Guildhall School of Music & DramaNon/an/an/a
London Business Schoolrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Queen’s University Belfastrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Warwickrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Teesside UniversityNon/an/an/a
Cranfield UniversityYes2016 and 2017non/a
Queen Mary University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
London South Bank UniversityNon/an/an/a
Heriot-Watt UniversityYesrefused – 35(2)(g) – FOISA sectionNon/a
Liverpool John Moores UniversityYes2017refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of NorthamptonYes2017Non/a
University of SussexNon/an/an/a
Leeds Beckett UniversityYesSeptember 2016
February 2017
June 2017
Non/a
University of Strathclyderefused –
section 30(c) – (FOISA)
refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)refused – section 30(c) – (FOISA)
University of Leedsrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Coventry UniversityNon/an/an/a
Northumbria Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of HuddersfieldYesJune 2018 and September 2018Non/a
Nottingham Trent UniversityYes2014Non/a
St George’s University of LondonNon/an/an/a
University of ManchesterYesNot recordedn/an/a
University of BathYesNot recordedNon/a
SOAS, University of LondonNon/an/an/a
University of CumbriaYesOctober 2015Non/a
Kingston Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
York St John Universityrefused –
Section 43 (2) – FOIA
refused – Section 43 (2) – FOIArefused – Section 43 (2) – FOIArefused – Section 43 (2) – FOIA
Robert Gordon UniversityYes2015 & 2016Non/a
Buckinghamshire New Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Sheffield Hallam UniversityYes42 attacks since 2013Non/a
University of ReadingYesrefused – 31.1.a – FOIANoNo
Harper Adams UniversityYes2016Non/a
The Royal Veterinary CollegeNon/an/an/a
University of East Angliarefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIA
Durham Universityrefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIArefused – 12 – FOIA
Anglia Ruskin UniversityYes2014-15Non/a
Canterbury Christ Church UniversityNon/an/an/a
University of WorcesterNon/aNon/a
University of Hertfordshirerefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Edinburgh Napier Universityrefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISArefused – 35(1)(a) – FOISA
Bath Spa UniversityNon/aNon/a
University of Oxfordrefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIA
City, University of LondonYes14th April 2014
23rd June 2015
26th June 2015
19th Feb 2016
16th June 2016
1st February 2017
16th February 2017
Non/a
University of Plymouthrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Liverpool Hope UniversityYes2015Non/a
The University of SheffieldYes2015Non/a
Cardiff Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Cardiff Metropolitan UniversityYesJuly 2016Non/a
Glasgow Caledonian UniversityNon/an/an/a
University of ChichesterYes2015Non/a
University of the West of Englandrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
King’s College Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Royal College of MusicYesMarch 2015Non/a
Imperial College Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Cambridgerefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of West LondonYesOnce in early 2017 and twice in early 2020Non/a
Abertay UniversityNon/an/an/a
Aston Universityrefused –
section 43(2) – FOIA
refused – section 43(2) – FOIArefused – section 43(2) – FOIArefused – section 43(2) – FOIA
University of Glasgowrefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISArefused – 30 – FOISA
Swansea Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Nottinghamrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Goldsmiths, University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Brunel University LondonYes2015Non/a
University of GreenwichNon/an/an/a
Birmingham City UniversityYesn/aNon/a
University of Yorkrefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIArefused – 36 (2c) – FOIA
University of St Andrewsrefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISArefused – 18 – FOISA
Ulster Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Liverpoolrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of Exeterrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of SunderlandYes2017Non/a
Bournemouth Universityrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Newcastle Universityrefused –
31(3) – FOIA
refused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIArefused – 31(3) – FOIA
University of South WalesNon/an/an/a
Royal Holloway, University of Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
Lancaster UniversityYes2013, 2015Non/a
University of Surreyrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of DerbyYesFeb 2016Non/a
University of the West of ScotlandYes25th January 2016Non/a
University of Salfordrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of East Londonrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
University of PortsmouthNon/an/an/a
University of Stirlingrefused –
31.1.a – FOIA
refused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIArefused – 31.1.a – FOIA
The Open UniversityYesJanuary 9 2013 and January 1 2014Non/a
University of AberdeenInformation
not held
n/aNon/a
University of GloucestershireYes2015/16Non/a



It’s official: TopLine is a great place to work for women!

We are incredibly excited to announce that TopLine has been recognised as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Women! Awarded by Great Place To Work, the award recognises UK organisations that are ‘leading the way in creating equal opportunities for women in their workplace’.

At TopLine, we have worked hard to create a fair and trusting environment – for women and everybody else – and we’re constantly looking for ways to improve further. We believe that inclusion is a fundamental necessity, and that if any person feels uncomfortable or unwelcome in our office, we can’t succeed as a team. But don’t just take our word for it – the TopLine team are happy to share what this award means to them.

Micky said: “Being a woman that works at TopLine, I think it’s fantastic news that we have ranked in the Great Places to Work for Women list! I’m so glad I have the pleasure of working at such an amazing company, and it also makes me feel proud to be a part of the TopLine team!”

The men of TopLine were similarly enthusiastic, with Tom saying: “I’m really proud to work for a woman-led company where gender equality and diversity has always come so naturally. It’s always been a given at TopLine for everyone to be treated with respect and it’s a great culture to be a part of.”

Sian said that “Being a woman at TopLine has never felt like a disadvantage. It’s a non-issue, and that’s something we certainly don’t take for granted. I’m really proud that we’ve been recognised and included on the Great Places to Work for Women list – because it really is a great place to work and be a woman!”

Rob took the opportunity to reflect on the role of female colleagues as “both allies and mentors,” adding that he “learns from them all the time.” Having a balanced workplace, Katy mentioned, “brings with it a range of perspectives, experiences and inspirations.”

While celebrating, the team fully recognises that this award is a milestone in an ongoing effort and not the conclusion of our efforts. Jenna said: “Gender inequality is something that still remains a major problem in today’s society. We’re leaps and bounds ahead of where we used to be 100 years ago, but there is still a very long way to go. Working for a company that acknowledges the gaps we still face as a society but works towards filling those is essential for me. I’m so happy to be a part of a company that celebrates women and builds them. I feel proud to be a woman at TopLine Comms today.”

Bronwen added: “It’s refreshing to work for a company that values and supports women. Gender equality in the workplace is so important. We’ve come a long way – and despite the progress, there’s still a long way to go – but I’m proud to be a part of a company that understands that and works towards minimising these gaps.”

The sentiment was echoed by Jack: “I’m grateful that the company recognises that none of us can truly succeed while women held back, spoken over, or paid less for the same work. I’m proud to work for a company making continuing, proactive efforts to create an inclusive environment.” Ben added the importance of “pushing for workplace equality for women” in some of the male-dominated industries that TopLine works with, “like fintech.”

Katie S said “TopLine’s inclusion in the Great Places to Work for Women list is testament to the great work the company is doing to create a fair and supportive workplace for all. I’m proud to be part of a team that is striving to provide equal opportunities and support women in their careers.”

Brent also voiced the principle that “gender equality is good for everyone” and that it “affects us all.” He said that he is “proud to be a part of a company that takes it seriously” and that it’s “great to be a part of a team that celebrates the role of women in the workplace.”

In short, as Katie C put it, “I’ve always known that it’s great to work at TopLine as a woman, so I’m really happy to see it recognised officially!”

At TopLine, we’re proud that we’re headed in the right direction, and we recognise that there’s still a long way to go toward creating a workplace – and a society – that is fully inclusive of all genders and people from all backgrounds. We extend our gratitude to Great Places to Work for the recognition, and we pledge to continue to uphold our commitment to gender equality.

 

Written by: Jenna Rosmarin, Comms Executive at TopLineComms

 

We’re one of PR Week’s top UK consultancies

TopLine Comms has made PR Week’s ranking of its top 150 UK PR consultancies for the fourth year in a row. This year, we jumped 15 places to rank 116th.

The rankings are based on UK revenues for the 2019 calendar year, with TopLine enjoying a 7% increase in revenue over that period.

Heather Baker, TopLine’s CEO, comments:

“It feels good to be recognised as one of the leading UK PR agencies, particularly in an economically challenging 2019 when, like so many agencies in our industry, we were battling against budget cuts and uncertainty caused by Brexit. And it’s useful to have these rankings as a benchmark to see how the industry as a whole is faring.

“I’m particularly proud of our passionate team, who continue to deliver an excellent level of service to our longstanding tech, education, science, engineering and fintech PR clients. I’d like to extend a huge ‘thank-you’ to all TopLiners who worked so hard to make 2019 a success. I know things are tough at the moment, with so much uncertainty in every area of our lives, but I have an enormous amount of respect for the professionalism, compassion, diligence and creativity being displayed at every level of this organisation”

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TopLine ranked as one of the UK’s best workplaces

We are very pleased that TopLine has been recognised as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces™ for the second year running. We’ve been recognised in this year’s ranking along with 161 other great employers.

The UK’s Best Workplaces™  published by Great Place to Work® celebrates organisations that promote a healthy workplace culture through trust, pride and camaraderie and TopLine ranked 9th in the small business category.

Heather Baker, TopLine’s CEO, comments:

“It’s hard to find great people, so when we do, it’s important that we give them the best possible working environment. We’ve invested a lot over the past few years in our benefits packages, recruitment strategy and communications systems and it’s great to see that investment pay off.”

“Our employees told us that they would recommend TopLine as a workplace, that they have the opportunity to gain recognition, that they believe in our services and they are treated with respect, and we will continue to work hard to build a successful workplace environment.”

To determine an organisation’s ranking, Great Place® to Work administers their Trust Index survey® to employees which represents 3/4 of the final score. The remaining quarter of the score comes from the Culture Audit®, a business-driven questionnaire that uncovers and evaluates the organisation’s HR and leadership practices, policies and culture.

TopLine Comms gets creative in lockdown

While we may all be self-isolating, and working from home, we are still celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Day. At TopLine we try to channel creativity and innovation into everything that we do, and this begins with hiring inherently creative, outside the box thinkers (does this sound like the sort of place you’d like to work? Join us!) During these tough times, we have seen just how much this creativity shines through.

Every week we all share a positive update, and over the past few weeks, we’ve noticed some particularly inspiring work as our team thinks of creative ways to stay positive and make a difference in the world. We thought that we would share a few and potentially give you some inspiration!

Sian’s not loafing around with her home bakery

TopLine Film’s senior producer, Sian and her partner Tom, who is a chef, have started their very own community bakery in Croydon! The effort began with simple offers of bread to neighbours, but word of the mouth-watering loaves and focaccia quickly spread. They have since transformed their humble home bakery into Chatsworth Bakehouse: an initiative to supply their local Croydon community with fresh bread in exchange for donations to hostels, food-banks, soup kitchens, and other worthy causes. Sian and Tom have even expanded into a professional kitchen, which they were offered free of charge, to meet the incredible demand!

Katie S’ passion for fashion

Comms consultant Katie has taken her love of fashion to a whole new level in lockdown by taking two Business of Fashion courses: ‘Fashion History’ and ‘Fashion Styling and Image Making’. She has completed the online courses, and now Katie is a certified fashionista. We have always known Katie has a love for fashion, and we can’t wait to see her stylish meeting attire once we’re all back in the office. If that’s not enough of a devotion to couture, Katie has also written for cutting-edge fashion magazine, Schön! Check out her latest excellent article on the actress and film director Hannah Marks here.

Brent’s green thumb

At TopLine, we care about the environment on both a large scale and a small one. Brent, our graphic designer, is taking that commitment to the next step by planting a sustainable vegetable garden. It’s a peaceful pastime, a great way to stay busy and at the end of it, he’ll have some wonderful fresh vegetables!

Katie C hits the roof

Due to the restrictions of COVID-19 in South Africa, comms consultant and copywriter Katie C wanted to find a way to soak up the South African sun without breaking the new regulations put in place by the government. To do so, she decided to bravely scale her building. After clambering up a pretty dodgy ladder, Katie discovered an incredible vista laid out before her, and she sent in this photo. Katie has promised to find a safer way of getting up next time, and she intends to pack a picnic. Life is all about perspective!

Jenna is putting her mind to mental health awareness

Comms executive Jenna has always emphasised the fundamental importance of mental health, and this topic is more important in these uncertain times than ever before. Jenna has put her writing, photography and social media skills to good use by creating incredible Instagram posts musing on this important topic. She talks about her own struggles as well as various tools that others can use to help themselves. At TopLine we prioritise mental health, and only by supporting one another can we make it through tough times. Don’t suffer in silence! You can check out Jenna’s initiative here.

Luke is logging hours in the woodshed

Luke, our head of digital PR and SEO, has taken a creative approach to keeping his kids occupied: he’s converting an old cupboard into a soapbox racing car for them. We can’t wait to see the looks on their faces as Luke sends them down a hill for the first time. The wheels are on the way, but check out the picture of the partially constructed vehicle below.

Dana is sketching en plein air

Dana, TopLine Film’s animator, has been going to the nearby woodlands for some nature drawing. She has found that it’s a really relaxing way to get some mental space – and with social distancing, people have tended to leave her in peace! Check out Dana’s incredible sketches below – we love the lively linework.

Micky is solving puzzles

Office manager Micky spends her days solving logistical puzzles for the business, but she’s taken to an entirely different type of puzzle in her spare time. She has taken on a table full of jigsaw puzzles together with her family as a way to spend time together and pass the time. One thing we can appreciate about being in lockdown is the opportunity for nostalgia and good old-fashioned pastimes. Micky has taken this to heart, check out her progress:

Stay safe, stay creative!

There you have it, that’s a small slice of what the TopLiners have been up to during their social isolation for World Creativity and Innovation Day – after all, a caged bird still sings. When we’re not baking or climbing on rooftops, we’re a B2B PR agency. To find out what a creative, innovative PR campaign could do for your business, contact us today.

Moving office – behind the scenes

Moving office – behind the scenes

Near the end of 2019, we decided that it was time to find TopLine Comms and TopLine Film a new home. The decision was partly due to company growth, but also because our flexible working policy (which allows our employees to work from home up to twice a week, or to work flexible hours) meant that we weren’t making use of all the desks and space we had. It made sense to rethink our space, so that’s exactly what we did.

As a B2B PR agency in London, we think it’s important to be around other creative companies, in both a flexible and quirky work environment. We didn’t want to add extra time to everyone’s daily commute, so the location was crucial. Plus, the space needed to be dog-friendly and have a really good coffee machine!

Of course, moving office isn’t all glamour and we certainly faced some bumps in the road. This included things like making sure the internet speed was up to scratch in our new serviced office; adjusting to flexible desk spaces; moving furniture and equipment from one office to the other and of course, making sure it felt like home. But we got there in the end and can now safely say that we feel right at home in our new space.

Helpful tips when considering an office move

Before starting the process of moving office, it’s worth making sure that you understand how the IT system works in all the potential new office spaces you look at. This means that once you do make the move, you won’t have any delays or issues and you can be up and running straight away.

Finding a space that fit our criteria was proving to be a bit of a task, so we decided to look into the proptech market (particularly proptech in London) to find a platform that could help us. We found that the company KONTOR was well-suited to finding us a new office space. They asked for our requirements, such as the number of people in our team; how many desks we needed; what our IT requirements were and then went to work on finding us some potential new office spaces.

There are also other proptech companies, such as Hubble, which can provide help when you’re considering making the move. Have a look online at the different proptech apps and services to find what’s best for you – you don’t need to face moving office on your own!

Also, it may really help to use apps such as Citymapper when you’re trying to work out the possible new commute times for your team. It’s downloadable on most smartphones and is super easy to use and very accurate.

TopLine has now settled in at The Office Group, and we LOVE our new office. We have great views of Tottenham Court Road and Russel Square, and it’s also allowed the team to work and collaborate with people they wouldn’t usually get the chance to.

All of us here at TopLine look forward to welcoming you at our new office soon!

 

Written by: Michaela Lee, Office Manager 

Becoming one of the best places to work in the UK

Company culture and reputation are important because they affect everything, from sales and marketing to client relations and recruitment. Having great people is an essential part of running a B2B PR agency, which is why at TopLine Comms, we spend a lot of time on our people strategy. We know that we need to keep the great people we already have, to attract the best clients, and vice versa. PR is a competitive field, and PR pros have plenty of choice in where to work, so we do our best to keep our people happy – and to keep them at TopLine.

One of the main ways to do that is to gather in-depth, specific data on where we are succeeding and where we can improve. That’s why we turned to the Great Place to Work® UK (GPTW UK) Best Workplaces™ survey. This year, we submitted for the second time – and while we eagerly await the results, we’re taking the time to reflect on the process and what we’ve learned from previous years.

Encouraging two-way dialogue

The best way to find out what people want is to ask them. We run monthly ‘start, stop, continue’ surveys with our team, where they get to tell us (anonymously) what they would like TopLine to start, stop and continue doing.

In addition, a while ago, we made a long list of current and potential future benefits that we could offer and compared them to other equivalent size companies. Once we finalised our list, we ran a workshop with the entire team to discuss what people valued. Sure enough, our team told us what they wanted – and generally, it wasn’t too much to ask.

The next step was completing the GPTW Best Workplaces™ survey and analysing the results.

Completing the GPTW UK Trust Index© survey and Culture Audit© assessment

The survey works as an analysis tool, a platform for recognition of your efforts, and it helps to attract new talent. The process starts with the Trust Index© survey with employees. It measures the level of trust and engagement within the organisation, considering factors such as values and ethics, leadership effectiveness, inclusivity, wellbeing, and innovation.

Next is the Culture Audit© assessment, which is an extremely detailed piece of work based on our policies, processes and results. The combined results of these assessments determined our success and ranking as a 2019 Best Workplace™.

The work paid off, as TopLine Comms ranked sixth in the UK’s Best Workplaces™ 2019 small business category. We are also grateful that we were recognised as a ‘Best Workplace™ for Women,’ and we have received the ‘Excellence in Wellbeing’ accreditation for two years running.

Using the process to make changes

They say that anything worth having doesn’t come easy, and in this case, we tend to agree – the award entry is detailed and takes some time. But it’s worth it: not only do you (hopefully) get an award, but you also gather insights about your company that you might not have done otherwise.

After you receive your results, GPTW UK provides a detailed employee engagement report that highlights key areas of strength and areas for improvement. Upon getting ours, we split the whole company into three teams to look at where we did well, where results appeared inconsistent, and where we fell short. Each group discussed the results and contributed their ideas for achieving and maintaining a high score, and we collated the feedback to inform our action planning.

The work didn’t stop once we got our award. We’ve continued taking on further CSR and engagement initiatives and we are always working to improve. We’re proud to put our employees first and honestly believe this is the key to our success as a B2B PR agency.

For more information on GPTW UK, check out this case study, and watch this space for our 2020 results!

Four fashion tech trends making a statement this season

In 2000, J.Lo appeared at the Grammys in a jungle-print Versace dress with a neckline that plunged so far it pushed the very definition of ‘neckline’. Suddenly, Google – which at this point was just two years old – was bombarded with searches for images of that dress, and they reacted by creating ‘Google Images’. Fast forward to 2020, and J.Lo walked the runway wearing a version of that iconic dress in an unofficial partnership between Google and Versace. But this wasn’t just a publicity stunt: over the past two decades, fashion and technology have become inextricably intertwined.

Social media and online search now form a critical part of the shopping experience, and both luxury and high street brands are racing to keep up with the pace of technology. Here are four fashion tech trends that are in vogue this season and beyond.

1. Blockchain x Fashion

Fashion rental companies such as Rent the Runway and clothing resale sites like Vestiaire Collective have emerged in response to widespread concerns about the industry’s sustainability – but as with any online purchase, they come with the risk of fakery. Blockchain promises to resolve the issue of counterfeit luxury items once and for all by cryptographically tracking their provenance.

Farfetch recently partnered with Facebook and Spotify, for instance, to create a blockchain-based unique digital identifier for items sold on the platform. Similarly, luxury conglomerate LVMH teamed up with Microsoft to launch Aura, a blockchain platform for tracking products from brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton. In addition to allowing consumers to authenticate their products, they can also be used to track the product over time – all the way from raw materials to your closet. This is a major boon to an industry which is working to improve its sustainability record, and it should improve consumer confidence when it comes to picking up second-hand goods.

2. Style and the supply chain

The influence of tech companies doesn’t stop with online services: many fashion brands are reconsidering their operations and looking at technology companies for inspiration. After a server migration glitch recently left Rent the Runway with severe supply chain issues, the industry is looking for more robust solutions. French luxury brand family Kering and multinational LVMH, for instance, have held hackathons to search for radical redesigns of the way that the supply chain is managed.

Leveraging consumer data through AI and machine learning is vital for brands looking to tighten their supply chain and optimise production levels. Currently, fashion brands are surprisingly far behind their tech counterparts when it comes to data collection. However, some are beginning to turn to machine learning algorithms to process customer insights, make better product recommendations, and provide more accurate sizing details as a way of combatting costly returns. Brands that use data effectively to create a more personalised shopping experience online will be in a stronger position to tailor their supply chain and cut down on overproduction.

3. Sustainability is the showstopper

Sustainability is a serious issue, and it’s one that the fashion industry is taking seriously. Nearly 87 million tonnes of packaging waste was discarded in the EU in 2016, or approximately 170 kg per person, and the clothing business – particularly fast fashion – is a significant  contributor. The fashion industry, in fact, consumes more energy than all of aviation and shipping combined, according to the UN. So, what are companies doing to clean up their act?

The likes of Moncler and Zalando have borrowed the hackathon concept from the tech world and adapted it to focus on sustainability, while Kering has declared that it will go carbon neutral at every step of the supply chain. In particular, tech is at the heart of developments surrounding waste management, greenhouse gas emissions and water usage. Tech partnerships are also helping fashion companies be more sustainable, too, as in the case of Google Cloud’s partnership with Stella McCartney to help brands generate a more accurate assessment of the environmental impact of their production process.

4. Retail as a Service is the new online shopping

Retail as a Service (RaaS) is another key fashion tech trend. For a glimpse at the future of techno-fashion boutiques, look no further than Microsoft’s white-label “store of the future” showcase. It manages inventory, automatically generates insights for the store operator, and streamlines the shopping experience for consumers. These ‘off the rack’ services provide increased functionality for retailers of all sizes to streamline back-end infrastructure, enabling them to provide exceptional service. Slick operations will play an increasingly important role in brand loyalty – RaaS will ensure that smaller retailers don’t lose out.

The collaboration between fashion and technology isn’t just in one season and out the next: these fashion tech trends will likely define the next decade or more in the industry. Brands from the runway to the high street are adopting technology to take on new challenges such as sustainability, to solve old issues like counterfeiting, and to get an edge in a cutthroat industry.

To give your FashTech business the best chance of growing, drop us a line today. Or find out more about our tech PR services.

 

Written by: Katie Shuff, Comms Consultant  

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2019 Events

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a global, week-long festival of live events taking place throughout the world from 18-24 November 2019. And with the UK being one of the world’s most vibrant start-up hubs, GEW UK is joining forces this year with a group of leading enterprise and entrepreneurship organisations around the world and encouraging UK startups to #GoGlobal.

Following is a list of some noteworthy events, both here and abroad, that current and would-be entrepreneurs can look forward to.

Attend a workshop guaranteed to help aspiring entrepreneurs begin the process of owning a successful business – including evaluating business ideas, developing a business plan, and exploring financing options.

 

Guest speaker Jeffrey Krauss, from The HR Office, will cover best practices for policies, benefits, and unique selling propositions to help your company retain employees while attracting new ones.

 

Ideal for current and future founders, investors, and ecosystem builders, the two-day Founder Factory event aims to celebrate and connect successful founders and business leaders in the Philadelphia region.

 

Students aged 5-19 from across Eastbourne will deliver over 50 hours of magazine style programmes on 87.7fm and via www.eyr.org.uk, while learning a range of employability and personal skills.

 

Connect and network with like-minded businesswomen over a three-course lunch and hear inspirational stories from two acclaimed business speakers.

 

Join a discussion on inclusive entrepreneurship, specifically aimed at those who are facing barriers that are preventing them from normal access to the workplace.

 

 

This interview-format event will allow the audience to learn about the struggles and positives of entrepreneurship and finance, whether you’re a full-time entrepreneur or an entrepreneur with a full-time job.

 

A lively, interactive seminar packed with practical marketing hints and tips only available to those who have not already started a new business, including an overview of how to select the most effective marketing methods.

 

Corpus BDS aims to support young and upcoming entrepreneurs through this week-long event by providing the necessary stimulation, encouragement and relevant information to foster their entrepreneurial growth.

 

The November meeting of Women in Telecoms & Technology (WiTT) celebrates women around the world in the tech sector and features inspiring presentations from several leading women entrepreneurs.

To keep an eye on these amazing events, download our PDF calendar so that you have access on the go.