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VU-tbg

Nicola Winn
Nicola Winn

VU-tbg

www.vu-tbg.com/

(previously The Bridge Group)

Concept House

9 Orchard Court

Binley Business Park

Coventry

CV3 2TQ

Longest-held clients

WM Housing (since 2000) and Futures Housing Group (since 2003).

New business contact

Brent Osborne

New business manager

brent.osborne@vu-tbg.com

07867 455582


Managing director

Nicola Winn

nicola.winn@vu-tbg.com

024 7656 0440

@NicolaWinn

Describe your agency in five words

Conversational, expert, thoughtful, results focused

Name your three best public sector clients or account wins over the past year

We won a three-year marketing and communications contract with Futures Housing Group, a provider of affordable housing and neighbourhood services across the East Midlands. We were delighted to be re-selected following an intensive tender process. The new contract represents the full breadth of our services, combining product branding and marketing consultancy with media relations, PR campaigns, internal communications support, digital services and design.

We also secured a new, three-year contract to provide PR and marketing services to Walsall Housing Group (whg). Whg is one of the largest providers of housing in the West Midlands with around 19,000 properties. The win comes at an exciting time in whg’s development, as the organisation prepares to market new services to a growing customer base. Our contract covers proactive PR to help the organisation enhance its reputation amongst customers and stakeholders, crisis media support and execution and marketing consultancy for specific projects.

In education we were selected by City & Guilds to provide a digital engagement campaign to maximise its return on investment at World Skills London 2011. As a major exhibitor, City & Guilds needed to reach out and connect with young visitors to the show, as well as reach their friends via social media. We developed an interactive show environment built around the theme ‘Unleash your talent’. The stand included live DJs running ‘how to’ training sessions and a plasma screen showing a rolling ‘X-Factor’ inspired animation. Our team developed a touchscreen DJ music app with virtual decks, samples and effects. Visitors could record their own 60-second dance track and post it on Facebook, with automatic links back to City & Guilds’ online course directory. Nearly 3,000 tracks were posted on Facebook during the event. An SMS messaging and auto-email response service also enabled visitors to text for careers information on specific courses. 

What was the most exciting public sector campaign you ran over the past year?

We were appointed by the Royal Life Saving Society UK to deliver its second Water Safety Awareness Week campaign. Following a pilot last year, the charity was keen to increase the reach of the campaign which forms a key part of its drowning prevention strategy.  
Following a multi-agency pitch we were chosen to work with the charity to provide PR, digital and marketing services.  

The campaign aims to reduce accidental drownings in the UK and abroad. Latest figures show that there were 420 accidental deaths from drowning in the UK and that drowning is the third most common reason for accidental child deaths.  
Key audiences were schools and parents with young children, who would soon be heading off on their summer holidays.

We engaged British diver Nick Robinson-Baker as a celebrity figurehead. Nick had become a lifesaver himself when he performed a rescue on fellow diver Monique Gladding at a World Cup meeting in Russia last year.

Nick’s backing helped us to leverage media coverage, which was further spread with the help of social media and celebrity tweeters including Ben Fogle.

Our work included developing the campaign identity, writing and designing the microsite and campaign packs for schools, businesses and individual donors. Promotional activity helped to direct people to free lifesaving sessions, held by RLSS UK volunteers at leisure centres across the country.  
The campaign week culminated in Top Trunks Day, a stunt we developed in which people were encouraged to wear their swimwear over their clothes to raise money and awareness.

More than 180 supporters’ packs were requested in advance of the week, the website received more than 5,000 visits and the charity saw its Facebook followers increase by more than 20 per cent as a result of activity.

How has the tightening in public sector budgets affected your business over the past year?

In a tough economic climate, public sector clients are more keenly measuring the return on their investment in communications activity. That’s no bad thing, for them or for us. It heightens the need for strategic understanding of what an organisation or campaign must achieve and we have developed new approaches to measuring the impact of what we do. Value for money is key and clients are still willing to invest in good quality services. We are being asked to suggest how savings can be made over the lifetime of a contract in tenders and at interview – but that’s something we’re used to doing with partners anyway.

The proliferation of digital communications channels are helping many clients to do more for less, and we are providing consultancy and training to help in-house teams make the most of new social media platforms in particular. Our merger with digital agency, VU Creative, has helped us to anticipate the way the world is going. So we’ve seen a change in the balance of activity for clients, with digital tools taking a more central role in our campaign work.

If your agency was a film title, which one would it be?

Inception – we handle intricate campaigns in an ever-changing landscape, so there’s a need to be tactically agile. Although we’re based in the real world rather than dream states, of course…

What are your plans for the agency over the next year?

We have an exciting year ahead. Having merged with digital agency VU Creative at the start of 2010, this year we will co-locate our two offices into a single base. This will coincide with a rebrand for the agency.

I believe that bringing the two agencies together under one roof will help to better harness the energy, talent and creativity within our teams.  That means closer collaboration on multi-channel campaigns, and blending what have historically been distinct public sector and commercial client portfolios and products into a more integrated approach.

It will be a busy 12 months and things will look very different this time next year. But the communications world is changing so quickly that you have to keep changing to maximise the opportunities.

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