PR case studies

1. Alara Wholefoods

Organic and sustainable food pioneer Alara Wholefoods hired Natural Newsdesk to manage its media relations and support its wider marketing and communications activities. A key objective of the brief was to retell the ‘Alara story’ – the company has a rich 40-year heritage and long track record of sustainability ‘firsts’ – to a new audience of younger citizen consumers. At the same time, the refreshed PR campaign would seek to strengthen Alara’s influence in policy-making, media and industry circles. 

The initial phase of Natural Newdesk’s work with Alara focused on communicating the brand’s position on key sustainability issues and its own industry-leading practices. This included Alara’s pioneering work on Scope 3 carbon emissions, and the development of its Net Zero Food range. 

The campaign has also helped elevate Alara’s community engagement and its commitment to making affordability part of the organic conversation. A second phase has focused on getting the message out on key new product lines, including the recent Alara Singles launch. 

In its initial 12 months, the campaign has employed a range of delivery methods including:

• Press releases 

• Blog posts

• Op eds  

• Video interviews 

• Social media-friendly video bites

This has secured regular coverage in UK trade titles and International new sites, creating a significant increase in brand awareness among key target audience groups. 

Special projects have included communicating Alara founder Alex Smith’s views on the current debate on genome editing. Following a successful pitch to The Grocer magazine (512,630 unique monthly users), Natural Newsdesk helped Alara secure the high profile Saturday Essay slot in the magazine, which was accompanied by a front page news lead drawing on the piece. The piece was extensively quoted in The Sunday Times, and led to an interview with Radio 4’s Food Programme

Despite the dual challenges of the pandemic and trading in the new post-Brexit trading environment, Alara reports that its sales (as October 2021) are running at significantly above 2020 figures. In September 2021, Alara founder, Alex Smith, was featured in Sainsbury’s Magazine as its ‘Food Hero’.

Alara founder, Alex Smith, is Sainsbury’s Magazine ‘Food Hero’, September 2021

In October 2021 Alara received the coveted Sustainable Initiative of the Year Award at the Grocer Gold Awards at a spectacular ceremony at London’s Guildhall. And in April 2022, Alex Smith received the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Natural & Organic Awards, part of the Natural & Organic Products Europe event. Both awards received extensive media coverage as a result of follow up PR initiatives.

Alex Smith receiving the Grocer Gold Awards for Sustainability Initiative of the Year, on behalf of Alara Wholefoods.
Alara founder, Alex Smith, appears in a video interview with Natural Newsdesk’s Jim Manson

2. Health Stores UK

In Spring 2022, the National Association of Health Stores (NAHS), hired Natural Newsdesk to provide ongoing PR and marketing communications. It also commissioned a small research project aimed at exploring ways the 91-year-old trade association could grow its membership and influence. 

One recommendation that emerged, was to consider creating a sub-brand that would help the NAHS communicate more confidently with consumer audiences. Not only was there clear support for this at Committee level, but was also an openness to the idea of a complete rebrand and name change. 

A new name was settled on, Health Stores UK, and a go-live date of 26 September was agreed for the launch of a ‘Say hello to Health Stores UK’ campaign – to include a new logo and refreshed messaging.

Natural Newsdesk worked with the NAHS senior team and creative agency Think Creative to produce the print and digital campaign, which included a 30-second video, digital and print ads, exhibition flyers and post-cards. An accompanying PR campaign produced high profile coverage across the main trade press titles. 

Part of brief was to help the Association engage more authoritatively on key industry issues, via trade media or directly at policy maker level. Post-rebrand media coverage has achieved a notable change in tone, with more substance and weight on more serious trade and policy issues. The full spelled-out name – Health Stores UK – regularly appears in headlines, strengthening brand recognition. In the coming months the Association will begin consumer-facing marcoms, using its recently acquired B2C HealthyDoesIt platform.

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