Driving Miss Crazy

Gritit       98bYou can spend hours with a client in their corporate HQ and still not know them as well as you do after a day on the tools. And so it was with Magenta’s newest client GRITIT, which specialises in winter maintenance from gritting to snow clearance.  Jackie and I joined the GRITIT board, and 50 gritting operatives, on a regional training day at Donington Park Race Course last week to get a taste of what life is like for the hundreds of GRITIT employees who keep sites and people safe throughout the country all winter.  Every year the company runs six training days around the country to train first-timers and refresh the memory of the more experienced gritters who have spent the summer months doing anything from farming and landscape gardening to acting.

You can tell a day is going to be a challenge when the first question you’re asked is: “Do you have a trailer licence?”. And if I thought for a moment that the lack of experience driving a vehicle bigger than a Volvo XC90 was going to give me a pass to sit on the sidelines and just watch, then I was very wrong.

The training involves driving a 4×4 safely (reasonably straightforward); towing a trailer and then reversing it through two cones into a ‘garage’ (fiendishly difficult); driving in a special ‘skid’ car which simulates the effects of driving on ice (excellent fun); and learning how to drive a truck and spread salt at the same time (challenging). While the skidding task was easily the most fun (except for those of us who felt rather green sitting in the back seat being spun round and round at high speed), it was the salt spreading I found most difficult.

If it wasn’t bad enough being the only girl in that group, I found myself being called forward first to demonstrate my salt spreading skills – in front of 10 experienced gritters and GRITIT’S MD and marketing director. All in a PR day’s work until I realised the vehicle was a manual rather than an automatic. The only clutch I’m used to holding is at a black tie event. Forget about the salt spreading, my main aim was not to be the girl who stalled the truck. By some miracle, I managed to complete the course, albeit with only one gear change. Fortunately for GRITIT’s customers I won’t be out spreading salt this winter – I was rather too generous with my application according to the experts and would have killed off the surrounding landscape, something that GRITIT is very careful not to do.

But spending a day not just with the board, but with the chaps actually doing the job, really brings PR to life and makes it so much easier to come up with ideas to promote what they do, and how they do it. And makes you realise that while skidding around Donington Park on a sunny October day is really quite fun, at 2am in February, when the temperature is below zero, it could be a completely different experience.




Three Magenta clients recognised at BIFM Awards 2014

Kings & Bouygues[1]

Key Magenta clients – King’s College London, Bouygues Energy & Services and Andrew Hulbert at Pareto FM – were recognised at last night’s BIFM Awards.  Bouygues and King’s won the FM Excellence in a Major Project category for the Public Private Partnership (PPP) accommodation efficiency review undertaken by the two organisations in 2013 while Hulbert, managing director of Pareto FM, was highly commended in the Rising Talent in Facilities Management category.

Magenta supported all three organisations in putting together the awards submissions and managing the judging process as part of a wider PR and marketing strategy.

King’s and Bouygues are also shortlisted for the PFM Awards next month in the Partners in FM Education Facilities, where another Magenta client, Trade Interchange, is up for the Facilities Technology Innovation Award.

“Awards are a great way to increase awareness of your organisation’s brand and provide recognition for your people’s expertise,” said Cathy Hayward, Magenta’s managing director. “We are delighted that three of our clients were recognised for being the best in the industry and look forward to achieving similar success at the PFM Awards next month.”

Magenta has published a guide to support organisations entering awards. Visit https://www.magentaassociates.co.uk/magentelligence/ to download your free copy.


Sodexo, Carillion and Mitie top Magenta’s social media FM ranking

Sodexo, Carillion and Mitie have been revealed as the top three users of social media among facilities management service providers. That’s according to the second annual research report from FM communication specialists Magenta Associates.

Social Media in the Facilities Management Sector, published today, 15 November 2013, includes, for the first time, a ranking of the best social media communicators which are:
1. Sodexo
2. Carillion Support Services
3. Mitie Group
4. Kier Services
5. ISS Facility Services
6. Serco
7. Johnson Controls GWS
8. Interserve
9. Compass
10. Amey

The ranking was compiled combining measures including number of active followers, number of tweets/ posts during the research week and Klout scores together with a subjective assessment of the range and content of social media activity.

The 44-page report analyses new and developing trends within social media and how its use has developed in the FM industry. It looks at each of the top 50 FM service providers’ performances across the main social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr and compares them with their 2012 performance.

The research explores: what organisations in the facilities management sector have done to date in their use of social media (through an in-depth analysis over a test period during October 2013) in terms of frequency of use and timing; the audience; the content published; and the maintenance of the conversation. This information is then compared to the 2012 research to see if there are any increasing trends, or improvements in the general operating of social media channels.

The report is available to purchase via Paypal as a hard copy for £99, or as a downloadable PDF for £75.

HARD COPY[nicepaypallite name=”Social Media Report – hard copy” amount=”99″] PDF[nicepaypallite name=”Social Media Report – digital copy” amount=”75″]

Alternatively please email Marianne Halavage at Marianne.halavage@magentaassociates.co.uk to purchase your copy.

“Although the uptake of social media has increased since our last report, it is still evident that the FM sector either isn’t fully committed to the communications tool, or doesn’t understand it,” explained Cathy Hayward, managing director of Magenta. “Channels are often set up as it is seen as the done thing to do, however there is often little thought to the resources needed to effectively run them. Without a social media strategy and staff to run the channels, effective communication is impossible.”

The report’s publication marks the launch of Magenta’s social media division which includes social media audits, strategy and content planning, as well as full social media management services. “We’ve provided social media advice and content as part of our PR and marketing offering for some time, but given the increasing importance of social media as a B2B communications tool, we felt it was time to launch a dedicated division,” added Hayward. Magenta is also offering social media training, including a half-day introductory course, a full-day course for more advanced users and bespoke training. These courses will be based in Brighton and London and all delegates will receive a complimentary hard copy of the report. To discuss your training needs, email Cathy Hayward on Cathy.hayward@magentaassociates.co.uk