Winner – Boots UK
Since 2020, under the leadership of Lucy Reynolds, director of comms and CSR, Boots has been evolving its PR and Communications approach. This has meant shifting from a largely reactive, press-office-centred activity to a multi-discipline proactive PR operation. It has involved combining a best-in-class media relations and press office with a new multi-channel publishing and content approach.
The team has created a new and improved Boots newsroom. Rather than a repository for press releases, it is now a hub for news, images, video and insights. And the team’s mindset has changed from press officers to content-led storytellers that call upon video, infographics and virtual events as easily as news releases. Content briefs are now standard, ensuring that assets are created that can work not just for media, but also for other audiences such as influencers, colleagues, and customers.
Boots has seen its best-ever levels of brand reputation and consumer trust, and the volume of coverage has been increasing year on year for the past three years. From Sept 2021 to end April 2022, Boots landed 12,137 pieces of coverage, up 12 per cent on the same period the year before, and reached over 98.8 billion people.
The impact of the team has resulted in comms being elevated to the top level of the company for the first time, with Reynolds appointed to the executive committee earlier this year. Seb James, chief executive, said: “This Boots PR team has been a real revelation to me of what a really well-thought-out and structured approach to PR can do… I could not be happier.”
The judges said
What impressed me most was how the Boots in-house PR team has transformed to be more press, campaigns and publisher focused.
Highly commended – Tideway Communications & Media Team
A proactive, integrated and creative approach, encompassing media engagement and social media, has helped generate positive coverage for the Thames Tideway Tunnel, a 25km super sewer. The team has championed the skills, passion and diversity of those behind the project, and worked with Boldspace to have a unique cello performance live-streamed from the tunnel – generating more than 300 pieces of national coverage.