In March 2020 the world was paralysed by Covid but a little known bus company (run by a much better known businessman) approached us to help spread the word about hydrogen – asking us to not only raise the profile of the Wrightbus brand and its executive chairman Jo Bamford (son of JCB chairman Lord Anthony Bamford) but also to promote its zero emission transport offerings. It not only had the world’s first hydrogen double-decker on the market (with little fanfare) but it was also building single-deck versions and similar variants powered by batteries.
We knew very little about hydrogen and were incredibly open with Jo at the start of the process. Indeed, it was this honesty (along with our energy and enthusiasm) which helped us win the gig. The Bamford family has been incredibly successful because they knuckle down and get on with the job at hand. JCB is a business built on engineering and innovation and Jo brought that drive and ambition to Wrightbus.
We promised to be quick learners but we also showed him how we use four prongs to deliver success:
It’s easy to say ‘you’re pushing at an open door with this sort of collateral at your fingertips’ but a previous PR company had spent a year working with the same information and only generated two national hits. Within three months of us starting we’d generated 800, including more than 50 pieces of national TV and print cuttings. We’d made friends with energy and environment journalists, we’d engaged with the trade media, we’d got the Northern Ireland media onside, we’d provided a platform for local and regional papers to feel included, and we’d also developed deep understandings with a host of cross-party MPs who were using their time in Parliament to encourage the Government to make hydrogen a top priority.
Eighteen months into the campaign and the story tally is running at more than 4,000 – worth almost £10m in advertising equivalent revenue and meaning every single person in the UK has seen our hydrogen stories at least twice.
Dovetailing with the brilliant public affairs agency Beyond 2050, we provided PR support to the Hydrogen Strategy Now Campaign, a collegiate of more than 60 hydrogen-related businesses, driving home the message at the very highest level.
In a testimonial Jo himself provided, he said:
“ROUS+ is at the forefront of the energy story, creating a tidalwave of coverage. Their contacts and connections are unrivalled and I would highly recommend their support to any organisation.”