Spurs & FIFA 13: The perfect PR kit launch

This may be a little late in coming, but Tottenham Hotspur raised the bar as kit launches go with a cool tie-in with the eagerly anticipated video game FIFA 13.

Not only can the video game turn full-grown adults into sniggering and excited teenagers, but also it appears that it will be the way to go for future PR stunts.

An Outstanding Young Communicator Finalist: From speech impediments and Oliver Holt to dyslexia and Public Relations

Communication can be a struggle. Communication can also be ruthless, reckless and rather rapacious. However, it’s my calling and despite constant battles that dogged my progress, I was nominated for Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year. An honour that can’t be overlooked; an honour that made my parents so proud.

This is ultimately the point of this blog post. As a youngster, I struggled to string three words together and had many speech therapy sessions so I could interact with other children my age. My parents had great fear for me. However, it was just one of life’s obstacles that defines you. It probably defined me as a communicator too.

Ever since the teenage years, I wanted to be with people and talk to people, and more importantly, influence people. I was always a fan of History and Sociology; the latter was a subject I almost studied at the University of Surrey before being rejected after not receiving good-enough grades.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me.

It was then I came across an article, which changed my thinking.  It directed me towards the type of career I wanted to pursue.

Many may remember the article; many hated the article. For me, it showed a true reflection of what a communicator can achieve and how it can influence people.

Oliver Holt wrote a scathing piece criticizing my football club, Reading FC. It was not the content that interested me, but the sheer impact it had on the town of Reading. Whether he still likes to giggle or gag, it’s up to him – perhaps he’s been reading 50 Shades of Grey – but I will never forget the impact a journalist can have. If you read the article all the way through, you will see a comment from me – probably my first ever attempt at writing in a journalistic way. Don’t laugh.

Following this article, I decided to undertake a degree in Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University. After three years of hard work, which included interning at Hampshire CCC, having work experience at Get Reading and Southampton FC and writing for countless websites and publications, I went travelling and still felt unsatisfied.

I was enjoying my academic career too much to stop. After heavy consideration in Australia, watching England win the Ashes and Andy Murray making his way to the Australia Open final, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree – especially with the job market as it was.

Come September 2011, I was firmly in the PR hotseat being given a dressing down by the course leader – Catherine Sweet – about how horrible journalists are. She was someone who inspired me, and became a figure to really look up to.

One of the units, Professional Practice, changed my manner of thinking. One of my objectives and goals I set myself was to tackle my speech wholeheartedly and do anything to improve. Because of this, I went for a dyslexia and dyspraxia test, something I avoided through my teenage years. It turned out, I was quite dyslexic and had speech dyspraxia. This changed nothing, however. It gave me reason to work harder.

As someone who loves a project, my ex-tutor John May introduced me to Winchester City and more importantly, their owners Paul and Bernie McCarthy – two truly lovely people, with no clue about communication. I rubbed my hands together and saw some real potential.

In the space of a year, I produced and provided a whole new social media presence, generated over fifty back page leads for local and regional press, and contributed to community relations as well as doubling the average attendance for home matches.

At the beginning of this project, I made the bold decision to call the campaign ‘Champions in the Making’, and the team were a success and subsequently won the league. A glorious ending.

It was this work that I was put up for Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year, something I did on a whim. I haven’t regretted it one bit. I have recently started a job with 33 Digital, a sister company of Hotwire PR, and Microsoft, and it proves how quickly you can progress in this industry.

It was an honour to be nominated for Outstanding Young Communicator, and it was a huge honour to have won two Gold Awards with the team at Southampton Solent University about Loving Your Bin.

If my first year in PR has anything to go by, I will be having a very enjoyable career.

CIPR Round Up: Two Golds and Runner Up in Outstanding Young Communicator Award

Internal comms from Microsoft in recognition of last night’s achievements:

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New Microsoft/33 Digital recruit Steven Woodgate struck gold last night, winning two awards and coming runner up in the Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year at the CIPR Awards.

Steven, and his team at Southampton Solent University, won the Community Campaign of the Year award which looked at tackling problematic bin issues around the heavily student populated region of Southampton. The team came up with a social media campaign and produced two YouTube videos (Video 1 & Video 2) that were deemed a great success. Steven was in charge of producing, editing and tracking the videos that were crucial to the success of the campaign.

As well as that, the team won Gold in the Measurement and Evaluation category implementing a new style of matrix to track social media and news data.

He did not quite make it three out of three though, as Steven narrowly missed out on the Outstanding Young Communicator of the Year award for his PR and media work with semi-professional football club Winchester City. In the space of a year, he provided a whole new social media presence, generated over fifty back page leads for local and regional press, and contributed to community relations as well as doubling the average attendance for home matches.

He made the bold decision to call the campaign ‘Champions in the Making’, and the team were a success and subsequently won the league.

Steven started with Microsoft/33 Digital as a Senior Community Manager for the SMB team last Monday, and is eagerly awaiting his MA results that come out next week.