When Mantis started working with PSNGB in June 2014, it was the first time that the organisation had invested in a Public Relations campaign. Founded in 2011, PSNGB was established to lobby Government and public sector technology end users on behalf of suppliers of Public Service Network technology (PSN).
PSN was established as part of the Transformational Government initiative in 2005 – it commonly became known as the network of networks. Its initial aims were twofold – to consolidate and simplify public sector networks by having a single trusted platform; and secondly to provide a common, trusted platform on which the public sector could share services and transform.
At the time of engaging Mantis, the PSN market place was going through significant changes. The vast majority of public sector bodies, with the exception of healthcare and the Police for example, had signed up to the PSN and consolidated multiple network connections onto a single.
However, for PSN to realise its ability to transform citizen engagement or public services, organisations needed to look beyond simple point to point connections and start identifying opportunities to share and collaborate across PSN.
This presented a great opportunity for PSNGB to effectively ‘own’ the high ground on effective collaboration and sharing across PSN.
Mike Thomas, founder and chairman of PSNGB comments: “We knew about Mantis through the team’s work with Updata. The PR programme implemented for Updata, in my view at least, contributed significantly to the success that organisation had in the PSN space.
Mantis’ experience in multiple technologies and its experience in the application of those technologies to all sectors within the public sector and its superb media and influencer contacts made them the only PR partner for us.”
The strategy we developed for this PR campaign was fully aware of the voluntary status of PSNGB’s board. We needed to save PSNGB directors time, provide extra writing and media resource; reach out to a far wider portfolio of media titles and we would help identify and facilitate engagement with PSNGB’s desired stakeholders.
The thinking behind this was simple – to establish and position PSNGB as the de-facto body for championing and representing the needs of suppliers involved in PSN.
From the outset:
- we would present a coherent and consistent image of PSNGB to all audiences
- create content that sold the benefits of PSNGB membership and addressed the wider benefits of PSN and its ability to transform.
- we recommended PSNGB focus on its absolute commitment to and, representation of PSN suppliers – a key differentiator for the organisation against other more established technology trade associations.
Sprinting from the start
Mantis knew that PSN was a hot topic and that there would be little time available to settle into the account – we were sprinting from the outset. A combination of news hijacking, and rapid response saw in depth articles published in leading titles Computer Weekly and Government Computing.
Neil Mellor, Marketing Director PSNGB comments: “Mantis was off to a flying start and immediately their approach to working with us and, the results on day one, reinforced our decision to invest in the team.”
Working alongside Neil to develop a whitepaper: ‘PSN – a platform for reform’, Mantis worked with its media contacts for days to ensure that when the paper launched, there was a significant spread of media coverage across core public sector IT and pure play technology titles to support the launch of the paper. Coverage was secured in Government Computing, IT Pro Portal and 24N – to name but a few.
PSN – all change please
By the summer of 2014, PSN had firmly moved into the responsibility of the Government Digital Services (GDS), and it was all change.
The original PSN connectivity and services frameworks were coming to and end and being replaced by the Network Services Framework. Keen to be positioned as a key thinker behind the new frameworks and to have a voice at the top table alongside Crown Commercial Services (CCS) – who were designing the new framework – Mantis’ campaign shifted into overdrive.
Every single opportunity to be involved in the early framework discussions was capitalised on by the Mantis team. Across a period of 4 months, the Mantis team was relentless in its drive to position PSNGB as the key organisation representing the interests of the supplier community on this new framework. Just shy of 20 press articles were secured throughout the 4-month period across a wide selection of core media.
As all eyes focused on the new framework, GDS itself was busy tinkering with the security classifications of PSN and moving towards a model of self assertion. The impact of this on the supplier and user community was profound and it was paramount that PSNGB voiced the concerns and impact these changes would have on suppliers.
Thought leadership and news hijacking kicked off in abundance, with commentary secured in Computing, PublicTechnology.net, Computer Weekly and ComputerWorldUK – to name a just a few titles.
Timescales: 6 months
- 10 thought leadership articles, placed across multiple publications
- 9 rapid response campaigns
- 20+ interviews
- 95% coverage increase versus first six months of 2014
- June – Dec totalled 40 press articles
Mike Thomas comments: “The board at PSNGB comprises of individuals from some very large brands, but also smaller more niche organisations are represented. Most of us working for those larger organisations have all worked with a plethora of PR agencies over the years – some good, others not.
But I am absolutely certain that few of us have ever worked with an agency as committed, driven, tenacious and well connected as Mantis. They care about the job they do and that is demonstrated through their tireless dedication to ensuring they get results well above what we expected.”