TopLine acquired by Definition

Leeds and London based Definition, the multi-award winning strategic communications group, has today announced its acquisition of leading B2B growth agency TopLine Comms, including TopLine Film, ranked by clients as the UK’s top independent video production company in 2020*.

The deal sees Definition add SEO and inbound marketing along with video and animation content production to the Group’s InsideOut Communications™ delivery model for major brands, business leaders, member organisations and Government.  These additional capabilities boost the Group’s ability to deliver lead generation and content marketing alongside strategic brand creation, reputation management, social media and employee engagement services.

TopLine is Definition’s third acquisition in seven months following its purchase of London creative brand agency Redhouse and Leeds-based W&P – one of the country’s leading employee engagement agencies.

The Group’s expanding expertise in B2B communications has been reflected in a number of recent accolades from PR Week and has resulted in a series of prestigious client wins since the start of the year.

PR Week listed Definition as a Top 10 specialist B2B agency, selected it as one of the twelve agencies to watch in 2021, showed it rising 45 places in its rankings of Top 150 UK agencies by revenue and included Managing Director Louise Vaughan in its 2021 UK Power Book, the definitive annual guide to the country’s elite communications professionals.

New clients include Cielo (the world’s leading recruitment outsourcing partner), Halfords, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, cyber security firm Reliance ACSN and the Security Industry Association.

Founded in London by CEO Heather Baker in 2008, TopLine is one of the UK’s leading B2B digital PR and SEO agencies, with specific specialisms in fintech, tech, engineering and education. With campaigns spanning the UK, Europe, the US and Africa, global clients include ABB, Access Self Storage, Bullhorn, Impero, Outokumpu and Xero. The agency has won a raft of industry awards and been ranked in the Top 10 Great UK Places to Work (Small Companies Category) for the last two years.

The acquisition will see Heather Baker join the Definition Group board, as Group Marketing Director, with the TopLine Comms team joining Definition under the leadership of Louise Vaughan. Jamie Field will continue as Managing Director of TopLine Film, driving the growth of its film, video and animation production and delivery services to a diverse range of clients.

The enlarged, £5 million turnover group has a combined 80 years of experience working for global brands, charities and Government and boasts a tally of over 400 UK and international awards. Definition is currently short listed as B2B Agency of the Year in the PR Moment Awards after winning the category in 2020 and W&P scooped five class wins in 2020 in the IoIC National Awards and Central and North Awards.

Nigel Howes, Chairman of Definition said:

“The TopLine acquisition is an important next step in our ongoing growth strategy.  It brings together two of the UK’s foremost B2B agencies – both leaders in their specific fields of reputation management and search-centric PR – to form the ultimate B2B growth agency and position it as one of the top 3 in the UK**.

“The acquisition also broadens and deepens our sector and service coverage – adding fintech and engineering specialisms to our existing expertise in business and professional services, technology, education, transportation, health & wellness, financial services and the public sector.”

Heather Baker, CEO of TopLine said:

Of all the agencies we’ve talked to, Definition stood out because its ambition, culture and values closely matched our own. It also had a clear and well-articulated growth strategy that offers excellent prospects for our business and our team. We’re incredibly excited about the opportunities to offer an expanded range of services to our clients and for working together with the other group agencies to deliver accelerated growth.”

Funding for the acquisition, as part of its ongoing support for Definition’s growth strategy, was provided by ThinCats (Ben Kimball). Corporate finance and debt advisory services were provided to Definition by Andy Miller at Sentio Partners and corporate finance services were provided to TopLine by Mark Madsen at Madsen Advisory. Legal advice on the transaction was provided to Definition by Dahren Naidoo at Freeths, to TopLine by James Hardy at Acuity Law and to ThinCats by Ben Slack at Clarion.

  • * Ranking according to Clutch’s listing of UK video production companies 2020
  • ** Based on revenue reported in the 2021 PR Week B2B Agency Rankings
Corporate video awards to enter in April 2021

Despite the challenges that the coronavirus has caused for video production teams, they have continued to create moving, impactful and engaging content for clients – and these corporate video awards will offer a fitting celebration. As the vaccine roll-out continues, there’s even hope that we may be able to attend some of these events in person once again. If you have worked on a video project that you believe might be award-worthy, check out these awards to enter in April.

The Vega Digital Awards praise the year’s best digital work, and they expect this to be a particularly significant ceremony due to the increased role that digital media has played during the Covid crisis. There are award categories for video, online video, VR and 360 video, and many more, and you can learn more on their Facebook and Twitter. Get your entries in before April 7th to be in with a chance of winning.

The Rookie Awards focus on animation and digital art across games, video and other forms of media among, as the name suggests, amateurs and beginners. The Rookies are unique for offering a wide array of prizes at all levels, encouraging entrants at a range of skill levels to get involved. If you are a creator with fewer than 12 months of professional experience, enter the awards before the deadline on April 15th and keep an eye on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

At the glitzy NYX Video Awards, the world’s leading media producers contribute over 42,000 entries to face judgement by more than 180 international judges. These corporate video awards are affiliated with some of the industry’s biggest names and brands, including Adobe, Disney and Microsoft, and winning is a guaranteed way to get noticed. Categories this year include broadcast and television, social video, web-based production and many more. Check out their presence on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to enter before the April 21st deadline.

These corporate video awards highlight some of our industry’s best work, and we can’t wait to see all of it. If you are interested in creating award-worthy video content for your business, TopLine Film can help. Learn more at our corporate video production page and check out our full corporate video awards database.

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How to contact journalists (and sell them your story)

Contents

If you’re embarking on a PR campaign, you’re going to need to get your head around how to contact journalists. Fortunately there is a definite process for reaching out to journalists, and as a B2B PR agency we have been refining this process for decades.

The high level summary is that getting journalists interested is all about the story. And if that sounds obvious in theory, the reality of doing so is a bit more complicated. Here’s what you should do.

Define and refine the story

Is your story news, an opinion, a feature, a case study (find out about how to make a case study video), an event or a request for an interview?

If it’s an opinion, consider:

  • The expertise, profile and credibility of your spokesperson (it’s useful if they have an active Twitter profile).
  • Why their opinion is different, unique or particularly insightful.
  • How this opinion story can be hooked to the current news agenda? In other words, why is it relevant now?

If it’s an event, think about:

  • Why should the journalist give up their time to attend? Will they learn something they cannot learn elsewhere? Meet people they cannot meet elsewhere? Or see or experience something new, interesting and exciting?
  • Which elements of the event will be most of interest to the journalist? Lead with that.
  • Timings – no journalist wants to be invited to an event at the last minute. It’s unlikely they will be able to drop everything just to attend.

If it’s an interview, consider:

  • The credibility of your spokesperson.
  • The insight they can add.

If it’s a case study, consider:

  • How does this person / business relate to the journalist’s readers, listeners or viewers?

If it’s news, then you should apply news values:

  • What is the audience impact and relevance? Which readers / listeners will be most interested and why will they be interested now?
  • Is this relevant and relatable to the journalist and their target audience? If not, can you make it more suitable?
  • Does it involve conflict? What is your viewpoint and why is this newsworthy?
  • Who is your spokesperson and why are they an expert in this field? Why would the journalist want to quote them or run their piece and why should the audience take them seriously?
  • Is it relevant? Does your story relate to a current trend? What’s the impact? Why will the audience care?

Research your journalist contact

Before you even try to contact a journalist, you need to research them. That will take a bit of time, but will pay dividends. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Read / watch / listen to their media: You want to do your research around the topic, find out where and how the subject has been covered in the past, which section it might work best within.
  • Research the journalist: check their social accounts, previous stories they have covered, likes and dislikes. You need to understand their beat – that means, what kind of stories they are interested in and what their agenda is.

This kind of background research will give you a really good overview of how to contact the journalist and how to tailor your pitch for maximum success.

Find their contact details

If you’re getting your head around how to contact journalists, you will need to know where to go to get their contact information. If you don’t have access to a media database like Muckrack or Roxhill, then you will need to do some investigating. Look at:

  • The media website – you might be lucky and find their email address there. If not, you should contact the general email address, or complete the contact form saying you have a story for that particular journalist and you would like to request their email address.
  • Social media – journalists tend to be quite active on Twitter and LinkedIn, making these social networks great channels for contacting them.

Craft your pitch

Whether you are contacting the journalist by phone by email, or by social media, it is always worth writing out your pitch to organise your thoughts. We recommend starting with an email pitch and following up over the phone.

A good pitch will include:

  • A clear headline, such as Potential opinion piece on the impact of new Brexit legislation on SMEs.
  • A very brief greeting, followed by a message that gets straight to the point. Avoid clichés, like “I’m reaching out to find out if….”
  • Give them a flavour of what the story is about and, if relevant, link to videos, or blog posts or interviews done by your subject matter expert.
  • Indicate whether you are offering an exclusive or not. You will have more chance of a favourable result if it is an exclusive. If you’re pitching on Twitter you need to be careful not to give the story away in your tweet – because then it won’t be an exclusive anymore if it’s there on Twitter for anyone to see. Rather give them a taste for the story and ask if you can contact them directly.
  • Summarise the story, including why it’s relevant to your journalist’s audience and why it’s relevant now.
  • Simplify where you can – this is especially important for complex B2B topics (we cover this in our post on engineering PR).
  • Make sure they have all the information they need – if it’s an opinion piece, how quickly can you pull it together? If it’s an interview, when is your spokesperson available? If this is a down the line interview for broadcast, does your spokesperson have access to a studio?
  • Leave them wanting to find out more.
  • Include pictures if you think they could bring the story to life (link to these rather than attaching them).
  • Finally, end with a strong call to action – “do you want to run this piece?”

Once you have written down your pitch, run through it a few times to see if you can make it even more concise. Then deliver it, either via email, Twitter, LinkedIn or over the phone.

Follow up and build on the relationship

You will want to follow up on this particular pitch to find out if the journalist is interested, and we usually recommend doing this over the phone or by email. But your follow up should be about building a longer term relationship.

So even if there’s no prospect of immediate coverage, you want to position your spokesperson as a useful source on the topic, so that the journalist might come to you for comment in future when she is covering the topic. This strategy will also make your future pitches more likely to be successful. It’s much more likely that you will have a positive outcome if the journalist knows you.

Build ongoing relationships by:

  • Seeking the journalist out at conferences or trade shows and introducing yourself.
  • Introducing new spokespeople within the business over email. By introducing we mean providing background information on the spokesperson, their area of expertise and availability – not actually introducing them to the journalist (who probably is too busy to handle cold introductions to new people).
  • Carefully curating what you send to the journalist – making sure you’ve done your research and only send them stuff that’ll be of interest.
  • Being available to help them at the last minute when a spokesperson has fallen through – and always being responsive.
  • Not annoying them by imposing. Don’t ask them to meet up until you’ve gotten to know them, and don’t invite them to events that are just self-promotional.

If you do meet up with a journalist for lunch, don’t just sit down, pick up your knife and fork, and launch into talking about clients – it doesn’t need to be that formal. It’s more a case of seeing if you get on, exploring interesting topics and hopefully having a good time.

If a lot of the above sounds like common sense…well, it is. But common sense is less common than you might think. Ultimately, you want to treat a journalist like you’d treat a prospective date, or investor, or any other person you want to impress: respectfully, and with the assumption that they’re an intelligent person whose time is valuable. If you have an interesting enough story, they’ll treat you well in return.

Building great relationships with journalists can be invaluable for your career in PR – the contacts you have and the network you build can amplify your chances of success when it comes to getting coverage/interviews for your clients.

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Announcing our diversity and inclusion awards database

‘Diversity and inclusion’ is more than just a slogan or a call for a one-and-done overhaul of company policy; it’s an ongoing effort to create a non-discriminatory workplace where everybody feels comfortable and able to do their best work. While these efforts are their own reward, it’s also rewarding to recognise organisations that have gone above and beyond in pursuit of a fairer workplace, and that’s why there are diversity and inclusion awards.

Just like the awards databases we host for entrepreneur awards and technology awards, our new diversity and inclusion awards database provides details on and links to a variety of offerings. We will update it weekly to ensure that it includes the most up-to-date information, but if you spot something that’s missing, get in touch and we’ll add it as soon as possible.

Check out the diversity and inclusion awards database here.

At TopLine Comms, we are continually working to create a diverse, inclusive workplace, as well as ensuring that all of our work is consistent with these values. We are proud, for instance, to have been recognised as a great place to work for women. If you’re interested in working with us, get in touch.

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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.