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Lights, camera, NEON! #BHS at Connor & Company Photoshoot

Lights, camera, NEON! #BHS at Connor & Company Photoshoot

With edgy hairstyling from the creative Connor & Company team, vibrant make-up by beauty business queen Grainne McCoy, photography by expert Glenn Norwood and unique garments from talented Ulster University fashion graduates – last week’s photoshoot was a hub of exceptional collaboration and creativity.

The photoshoot comes as preparation to celebrate the imminent opening of Connor & Company, an all-new concept salon located in the heart of Derry, owned by our innovative client and champion hairdresser Connor Grant.

Taking place at 1G1 Studio, the team embraced the grungy industrial surroundings as well as injecting plenty of neon, colour and fun to create a one-of-a-kind theme – the most fitting way to showcase Connor & Company’s diverse abilities and clientele as well as compliment their branding.

The shoot saw everything from quirky 70’s corkscrew curls to silky straight do’s; from dramatic high ponytails to freshly-coloured silver hair, all of which were effortlessly modelled by Chloe Spence, Hannah Watson, Dearbhla MacFarland, Grainne McCoy, Nicky Irvine and Austin Cush.

We also welcomed a number of eclectic Ulster University fashion graduate collections by designers Matthew Tanner, Chloe Dougan and Chloe Elliott.

Matthew Tanner’s intricate gothic pieces brought a vampy element to the shoot, allowing Connor & Company hair stylists Aaron Hutchman, Becky Gallen and Aislinn Kelly to show off their skills.

Chloe Dougan’s extensive range bought us something for everyone; including bright tassels, delicate sheer and heavy-duty chain mail which excelled in all themes of the photoshoot.

Recent graduate Chloe Elliott’s signature embroidered and embellished colour-block blazers proved the perfect match for Connor & Company’s bold branding, which was built from conception in-house by Rumour Mill and That Clever Ghost.

Speaking on the day, Connor enthuses: “The day was fantastic and better than expected. The success of the day was all down to the creative people who worked together to produce something special and outside the box. This shoot allowed us to capture the vision of Connor & Company and showcase our ability to create iconic, stylish and head turning looks. I want to extend a very special thank you to Matthew, Chloe Dougan and Chloe Elliott for kindly supplying clothes for the shoot – as their incredible looks took the shoot to another level. I can’t wait to see the finish images and we are already looking forward to the next photoshoot!”

Stay tuned see the release of the professional photos as well as the grand opening of Connor & Company. Watch this space…

NEW BELFAST BNI® CHAPTER LAUNCHED TO GENERATE £3MILLION IN BUSINESS

NEW BELFAST BNI® CHAPTER LAUNCHED TO GENERATE £3MILLION IN BUSINESS

BNI® Northern Ireland, has expanded its referral marketing network with the launch of a new Belfast City Centre based Chapter – Cathedral. With five chapters across the province this latest addition brings its current membership base up to over 130 local business representatives, with the new chapter aiming to generate annually over £3million pounds worth of business.

Established over 30 years, BNI® is the world’s leading referral organisation with over 250,000 members in over 70 countries worldwide. It works by organising weekly referral meetings for groups of businesses. Groups, known as chapters, use their combined network of contacts to find business opportunities and referrals for one another, to a specific brief that members outline at every meeting.

This new chapter signals a change in the format of the meetings, starting at 10am rather than 7am. The Cathedral Chapter was specify launched with a new start time to cater for businesspeople keen to be part of BNI®, but who are unable to commit to early breakfast hour meetings that are the norm in other groups.

Speaking on this significant launch BNI Northern Ireland Director, Andrew Dobbin said: “This is a fantastic achievement and testament to the growing popularity of BNI as an effective way to grow your business network. Our members are business professionals who help each other grow their businesses through their commitment to our principal core value, Givers Gain®.

“Each week, in thousands of communities across the globe, members meet with other trusted business leaders to build and nurture lasting relationships and pass qualified business referrals.  Membership in BNI® offers access to business training, peer learning and opportunities to network and do business with hundreds of thousands of BNI® members around the world.

“Last year, BNI® members in this area generated over £3.3 million worth of business for each other. Each chapter has a personality of its own and finding where you fit best helps you to get connected.”

The Cathedral Chapter’s leadership team is headed up by Aaron Skinner, B4B group; Peter Bond, PMB Accountants and Casey Graham, Miskimmin Wealth.

BNI® Cathedral Chapter Director, Aaron Skinner adds: “I am thrilled to be at the helm of this new Chapter and format. As a start-up group, we have a whole load of popular slots open which is an exciting offering. We would welcome anyone who is either just interested in BNI® or who has been unable previously to join due to the early hours, or because their slot is filled in other groups, to get in touch and come along as a visitor.”

DARE TO WIN…TWICE!

DARE TO WIN…TWICE!

Well would you look at that…not just one award win but two at the PRCA DARE Awards in Belfast.

  • Event, Launch or Stunt of the Year– Six by Nico
  • Low Budget Campaign of the Year – Abigail’s Party at the MAC

Both campaigns were truly exciting and by working with clients that allowed us to be our creative selves enabled us to produce activity that exceeded all expectations.

In a very competitive category, the judges remarked that our launch of Six by Nico was ‘well-executed and a clear winner”. High praise indeed! This is a campaign that we are extremely proud of and demonstrates the strength of our social-first approach. We triumphed in this award category last year for our launch of Revolucion de Cuba – another amazing and fun client.

The judges commented that our campaign for the promotion of Abigail’s Party at the MAC delivered “great results for a tiny budget” and in fact “what they did with a small budget was extremely effective.”

Claire Murray, Acting Marketing Manager at the time in the MAC said: “It was not only the quantity of coverage but the quality of the features, and suitability of message and tone for the various audiences that made this PR campaign stand out. We’ve had a long-standing relationship with Rumour Mill and their level of service is second to none. For Abigail’s Party the team at Rumour Mill created a strong and ambitious PR plan, our key Spring production and the most important one for us from a revenue point of view outside Christmas. We achieved all our joint objectives, securing coverage and awareness right across Ireland in both the Northern Irish and Irish markets which contributed to our overall box office success.”

Our boss lady thinks this is amazing news too…

“I am so proud of my team and this is testament to the hard work, tenacity and passion they put in everyday on our client campaigns. We love being creative and pushing the envelope in order to get the best results for clients.

“To win Event, Launch or Stunt of the Year for the second consecutive year is an incredible achievement. It is down to creating bold campaigns that deliver for our clients and challenge what has gone before.”

We have just submitted our entries for the annual CIPR Pride Awards, so hopefully we make the shortlist in July. Stay tuned!

CINEMA IS STILL A BLOCKBUSTER HIT IN IRELAND

CINEMA IS STILL A BLOCKBUSTER HIT IN IRELAND

2019 is proving once again to be a strong year for moviegoers with Omniplex Cinemas reporting that on average every person on the island of Ireland will visit the cinema 3.8 times per year*. This makes Ireland the highest cinema-going nation in Europe for four years running.

Omniplex Cinemas, one of Ireland’s largest cinema chains, has been leading the charge in making cinema more accessible, memorable and interactive. Currently with 15 cinemas located across the province to date which including 6 OmniplexMAXX screens & 13 OmniplexRecline screens.

Over the past 10 years, an average of 702 movies are released per year, with the most popular genre in Ireland being action movies. This has been reflected by the huge swell in numbers following the release of Avenger’s Endgame which has grossed to date £6.4M at the box office**. Other popular genres in Ireland are comedy and animation.

However, Irish cinema-goers have a diverse taste, with a strong affinity towards musicals & music based movies. In 2018, Ireland was the only country in Europe to have two music-based films in their top two movie slots at the end of the year – Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! and A Star is Born***.

Speaking on the demand of cinema across the Island of Ireland, Paul John Anderson, Director of Omniplex Group (NI) says: “I am delighted to see the continued growth and demand for cinema across Ireland. There is still a lot of nostalgia associated with going out to the cinema, grabbing your popcorn, socialising with friends and being fully absorbed by a narrative, away from the distractions of everyday life.”

Recognising this steady evolution of cinema, Ominplex Cinemas is now introducing its MyOmniPass – a monthly subscription scheme allowing customers to ‘See It All’. The monthly subscription includes a range of benefits including one ticket to every standard movie, 10% off your cinema treats, 10% off extra tickets online for your friends, free upgrades of MyOmniPass tickets to MAXX & Recline show, and exclusive screenings just for its members.

Commenting on this new subscription service, Paul explains: “A lot of customers have asked about a subscription service at Omniplex, and it’s taken us a little while to find the best solution. Two key elements of our service is that it’s all based on e-cards so once you have a smartphone you always have access to your card. And secondly, we’ve based the service on getting one ticket to every standard movie we’re showing, with an average of 702 movies released per year over the past 10 years we really want to give our customers a chance to see it all.

“2019 has already been a massive year for cinema and the upcoming releases of major films like Spider-Man far From Home, IT: Chapter 2 and Star Wars is set to continue this trend, making our MyOmnipass the perfect option for avid moviegoers.”

For more information on MyOmniPass and to register visit: https://www.omniplex.ie/myomni/

STEAM SATURDAYS ROLL IN TO WHITEHEAD TO KICK OFF THE SUMMER SEASON

STEAM SATURDAYS ROLL IN TO WHITEHEAD TO KICK OFF THE SUMMER SEASON

Whitehead Railway Museum is pleased to announce the commencement of their Steam Saturdays at the Excursion Station. The return of the steam train rides marks the start of what is expected to be the award-winning museum’s most successful year. 2018 was recorded as the busiest year for the unique tourist attraction, as it welcomed visitors from across the globe, including America, Australia and Europe and the numbers are set to continue.

A steam engine built 100 years ago which celebrated its centenary this year, will be the star of the show this summer. No. 3BG Guinness, which worked at the famous Dublin brewery for 45 years before being presented to the RPSI, will be providing steam train rides as part of the Whitehead Railway Museum’s Summer Steam season.

The steam train rides stir the senses as you step on board a traditional steam train. Visitors will have the chance to see The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland (RPSI) footplate crew at work, shovelling coal into the firebox and preparing the engine for each of its runs.

RPSI General Manager Lisa Adair said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this extra attraction at Whitehead Railway Museum over the summer months. The steam train ride is always very popular for our visitors young and old as the sound, smell and sight of the locomotive creates a magical atmosphere. We have a really exciting programme of events coming up over the summer including our Afternoon Tea and Steam & Jazz events and we would be delighted to welcome visits, old and new to experience all that we have to offer.”

The train rides will operate this Saturday 25th May, Saturday 29th June and every Saturday in July and August from 12 midday to 4pm, departing from Whitehead Railway Museum platform every 15 minutes.

There is also the chance to visit the award-winning Whitehead Railway Museum which is open from 10am to 4pm, Thursday to Saturday and guided tours are at 11am, 1pm and 2.30pm. Later in the summer, the Museum will also open on Sundays.

Tickets for the steam train rides can be purchased on the day and are priced at £2 for children and £2.50 for adults. For further details about Whitehead Railway Museum opening times and the steam train rides, visit www.steamtrainsireland.com.

CAN NEW INNOVATIONS IN ULTRA-LOW ENERGY HOUSING TACKLE FUEL POVERTY?

CAN NEW INNOVATIONS IN ULTRA-LOW ENERGY HOUSING TACKLE FUEL POVERTY?

This is the question being addressed at the inaugural Passive House Association of Ireland Conference, taking place in Belfast on Friday 10th May. The conference, supported by The Royal Society of Ulster Architects and Kingspan Insulation, has been developed to debate, challenge and address how the industry in NI needs to move forward and embrace new ways of tackling fuel poverty.

The 2016 Northern Ireland House Condition survey showed that 22% of households were living in fuel poverty in Northern Ireland; the private rented sector is the worst affected by fuel poverty with most recent figures at 26.3%; and in 2017-18 there were 1,500 excess winter deaths with 30% attributable to living in a cold home. In addition, 68% of households in Northern Ireland are reliant on home heating oil; an unregulated fuel in terms of price and customer protection.

Panellists and attendees will be privy to the latest research and development in the field, and there will be the opportunity for much lively conversation – with focus given to retrofit and new build housing.

The conference will have an esteemed panel of industry experts leading the discussions which includes: Director of Fuel Poverty Coalition NI, Pat Austin; County Architect for Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown County Council, Andrée Dargan; Dr. Shane Colclough from University of Ulster; Green Party NI Leader, Claire Bailey; Caroline Best Project Architect at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive; Managing Director of Mosart & Passive House Academy, Tomas O’Leary; and Chair of PHAB Group and GP Developments, Garrett Quinn.

The conference keynote speaker will be the Housing Development Manager for Exeter City Council, Emma Osmundsen who will be discussing her council’s policy and successes in social housing by implementing low energy, healthy and climate resilient buildings.

Speaking about the upcoming event, Paul McAlister, Chairman of the PHAI, said, “This is a discussion which is long overdue, and we are delighted with the positive response from across the political and civic spectrum to our first ever conference tackling this issue.

“Fuel poverty affects thousands of households in Northern Ireland and decisive action is needed. The main issue is that there is a lack of understanding of the benefits of low energy housing and a perception that it is more costly to implement this approach; which is not correct. We believe that this conference marks an important first step in addressing the problem, and we hope that it will motivate our business and community leaders to embrace and be more open to recognising the potential of ultra-low energy housing.”

Tickets for the conference are currently available via http://bit.ly/PHAIBelConf2019 priced at £55pp general admission and £45pp for PHAI members.

ENDS

TOP 3 CLANDESTINE SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2019

TOP 3 CLANDESTINE SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2019

Social media: we all use it, whether we love or – let’s be honest – sometimes loathe it. We have been rattling our social media brains to pick out some top tips to help you stay on top of your social media game, ensuring your content is hashtag on fleek!

  1. Authenticity

Focus more on communication than selling: Don’t make your engagement a sales pitch; work on forming relationships with your followers, get to know them and create engaging content that is of interest to them. This means stepping away from constant sales pitches, with a slant towards more social-focused posts, offering opportunities for followers to get involved and give their opinion.

In the moment content: Highly-produced content is influencing us to switch off and engage less. Current focus has moved towards authenticity and giving followers an opportunity to gain unfiltered access. This is helped by a recent surge in the use of ephemeral content across various social media outlets. Think less about the ‘perfect’ 15 seconds you are trying to create and shift your content to be more real life…no one likes over-produced content.

Give creative freedom: Content can very quickly become staged by giving people rules and guidelines to follow. Whether it’s your creative team, or that micro-blogger that you recently managed to get on board – it’s absolutely vital that you give them the freedom and trust to get creative with the content you require. Eagle-eyed followers are finding it easier to spot staged content and this presents a lack of integrity from both the brand and blogger.

  1. Community

Along with authenticity comes community: By creating authentic content and allowing followers to gain insight into the behind-the-scenes of your organisation, you can produce a community as people begin to feel more connected, with you and one another.

In the past, most company social media pages were managed by an invisible identity who acted as the one spokesperson for the company. Now, it’s all about getting to know the faces behind social media pages, which allows followers to relate to the organisation more. Knowing there is a group of like-minded individuals rather than one large company with one voice helps build on that community feel.

Selfie Central: You may have noticed the increase in speaking to the camera on various platforms, but mainly Instagram. Perfect for creating content for stories, this recent adaption from professionally shot informative videos, to more casual face-to-camera pieces show a move into more authentic content. This allows people to feel closer to the organisation as it comes across as more relatable.

These short face-to-camera video clips offer ways for followers to interact and share their opinions, rather than feeling like all communication with the organisation should be formal or corporate.

 

  1. Loyalty

Some may argue that using social media can impact and retain brand loyalty while others believe the contrary. One way or another, followers are going to come and go, so its about unique, fun and engaging content to make them stay.

Loyalty has become key when engaging on social media. With countless different social accounts for various businesses and organisations out there to follow, it’s easy for your followers to opt out and find new favourites. The focus is on offering real and authentic content, which helps your followers to feel a sense of community. This helps form a loyal connection to the brand or organisation.

Loyal influencers: Influencers are quickly becoming a great way to boost your brand awareness, but with so many great options to choose from, who is going to best represent your brand? It’s important to ensure that representors can remain loyal to the brand that they are working with. Don’t contact every influencer you spot, research them, find out if they fit your brand image and decide if you are a good fit together! It’s important to have representors who truly embody your brand and will be excited to champion your organisation.

Micro-Influencers: Micro-influencers are becoming first choice to many digital focused brands, as they exemplify a committed and authentic obligation to present their followers with good content and brands. It’s also a good opportunity for brands to target a certain niche – for example ‘mummy bloggers’ or ‘eco-focused families’ as there are many micro-influencers that have a loyal following from certain people groups.

 

At Rumour Mill Creative Communications, we work with various clients and influencers, who have successfully helped maintain and grow brand awareness. Having such positive relationships with influencers from across all sectors including fashion, food and business, we are confident we will pick the best people to represent your organisation. We want your brand to reflect your mission and help achieve your business goal. Let’s have a chat to see how we can help.

MID ULSTER BARBER CHAIN SWEEPS THE BOARD AT L’ORÉAL COLOUR TROPHY REGIONALS 2019

MID ULSTER BARBER CHAIN SWEEPS THE BOARD AT L’ORÉAL COLOUR TROPHY REGIONALS 2019

Mid Ulster stylists, Barbers of BT45/Barbers of BT80 and Salon 45, are celebrating after being named as the only salon chosen to represent Northern Ireland at the L’Oréal Colour Trophy grand final in London this June, in three categories. The first time this has ever been achieved, making history.

The L’Oréal Colour Trophy is the longest running live hairdressing competition in the world – having started in 1954 – and it has hosted thousands of the industry’s most prestigious talents over the years. Competitors are given just 30 minutes in front of a live audience to style a model of their choice before the models are required to partake in a catwalk. The competition is blind, and judges have no idea which model is attached to which salon.

The accolade was awarded to Barbers of BT45/Barbers of BT80 and Salon 45 after competing in the Northern Ireland regional semi-finals at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Ten entries from across the province were whittled down to just three, and the judges were so impressed with the barbers efforts that all three positions were awarded to the Mid Ulster outfit.

Owner and lead stylist, Chris Graham has said of the occasion: “We’re absolutely overjoyed by the news that we will be representing Northern Ireland in London. We proved time and time again that talent and vision can thrive outside of the cities, and that Mid Ulster is a haven of inspiring stylists.

“Our stylists Cathal McCormack, Megan Ludlow and Kala Boyle have done an exceptional job at the regional semi-finals and our ambition now is to go to England and take the big prize home with us. Northern Ireland has a rich tradition of innovation when it comes to beauty and style and we want to continue on in that vein.”

The Grand Final of the L’Oréal Colour Trophy will take place on the 3rd of June at Battersea Park in London where Barbers of BT45/Barbers of BT80 and Salon 45 will be competing against other regional winners from across the U.K. including London, the South of England, the East of England, the West of England, the North East, the North West, Scotland, and Wales.

RELIVE FOND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES  AT SIX BY NICO

RELIVE FOND CHILDHOOD MEMORIES AT SIX BY NICO

Six by Nico Belfast has today announced its latest theme and it’s set to take you right back to your youth.

In the latest offering, ‘Childhood’, Chef Nico Simeone has created a menu filled with fun, laughter and reminisce; recreating dishes inspired by memories of our childhood, to create an unforgettable dining experience. Guests will be invited to take a trip down memory lane at Six by Nico Belfast, located in the bustling Cathedral Quarter.

The conceptual six-course tasting menu restaurant has already taken the city by storm having only opened its doors a month ago. During launch week in March 2019, there were over 5,000 pre-opening reservations made for ‘The Chippie’ menu, indicating that this novel dining experience was something people in the city where craving. The eagerly anticipated second menu to land in Belfast is set to be a hit as it has previously been a firm favourite at sistering restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

‘Childhood’s’ new six course tasting menu includes: Mac’n’Cheese – Compressed grape, cauliflower couscous, caper & raisin; Egg & Soldier – Duck egg, Pecorino, Black Garlic Emulsion, Asparagus Salad; Pancakes & Bacon – Pork Belly, Compressed Apple, Chickpea Pancake, Maple Mayonnaise; Fish Finger – Confit Salmon, Kohlrabi, Buttermilk & Dill Dressing; Duck Duck Goose – Duck Beast & Leg Bonbon, Spiced Date, Heritage Carrot; and Cereal milk – Pannacotta, Honey Gelee, Peanut Clusters & Strawberry.

Known for his quirky dishes and original flavour combinations, Chef Nico Simeone’s latest menu, ‘Childhood’ will instantly transport guests back to the memories of their grandmother’s kitchen, their fond school canteen days or their first overseas holiday as a family.Chef Nico Simeone said, “Reliving those fond childhood memories is exactly what we aim to do for all our guests with our ‘Childhood’ tasting menu. There are some foods that no matter how many years have passed, they will embody youth. Almost everyone has childhood memories of family meals, ranging from holiday gatherings to the ordinary breakfasts, packed lunches, and home cooked dinners. We want to evoke those memories and help re-create those reminiscent foods and flavours but in an unforgettable way.”Nico added, “It is fascinating to discover what memories stay with you and when it comes to food, nothing evokes stronger feelings of nostalgia as your childhood.”

Diners can book a table now for ’Childhood’. Open from midday, Tuesday to Sunday at the Belfast restaurant on Waring Street.  Each six-course menu will be available from noon to night. The menu is priced at £28 per person with the option to enjoy an expertly selected wine and specialist drinks pairing for an additional £25. There is a vegetarian alternative available for every course, as well as childhood theme inspired snack sides.

To make a reservation and to book now, visit https://www.sixbynico.co.uk/belfast/‘Childhood’ will run from Tuesday 16th April – Sunday May 26th 2019.

BELFAST PROPERTY EXPERT MICHAEL CHANDLER MARKS 10 YEARS IN BUSINESS

BELFAST PROPERTY EXPERT MICHAEL CHANDLER MARKS 10 YEARS IN BUSINESS

An impressive 380% growth, new territories acquired and the creation of over 20 jobs marks an incredible 10 years for property expert Michael Chandler and wife Laura.

The last decade has been an unpredictable one for the Northern Irish property market. Prices have fluctuated, new trends introduced, and many areas across the province have experienced major rejuvenation.

During all this, Michael Chandler has worked hard to establish himself and the agency as one of Northern Ireland’s most well-respected and forward-thinking property agents challenging the perceived model of estate agency. This has resulted in achieving an impressive 380% client base growth, expansion into new territories, East Belfast, South Belfast and all over County Down; plus, the introduction of a mortgage and insurance division.

Identifying an opportunity for growth during the worst of the economic downturn, when property values fell by as much as 40%, Michael and his team helped to steer vendors and landlords through the storm; as well as advancing the business.

Now with the property market making a recovery to pre-2007 levels, Northern Ireland has demonstrated remarkable resilience and has been reported as the ‘best performing’ region in the UK. Michael Chandler Estate Agents based on the Ormeau Road, has been at the forefront of this recovery.

Managing Director, Michael Chandler, says his company’s approach to estate agency “very proactive” and has emphasised a change in mood from the dour predictions of ten years ago. He said: “When I launched Michael Chandler Estate Agents a decade ago, I had two young children with two more to come. I wanted to ensure I had a well-respected and trusted business to ensure their future was bright as possible, and by setting out to improve the opinion people have of Estate Agents seemed like the perfect place to start.

“We have come a long way since then, and I’m proud to say that Michael Chandler Estate Agents is flourishing! Through winning scores of endorsements from customers and expert peers, it goes to show the dedication of the staff in making my initial vision a reality, and I feel so grateful to be the captain of this particular ship.”

Northern Ireland’s property market is experiencing something of a boom now, and Michael Chandler Estate Agents is confident it will stay ahead of the curve.

Michael adds: “Going forward we have a positive outlook to the property market in Northern Ireland. We also have plans in place to expand the team, services and territories with additional investment into the Michael Chandler brand.  I strongly believe that our approach is unique, and we will keep looking at ways to push the boundaries, simplify the process of buying and selling and ensure that we continue to strive for excellence.”