About the Company
Alchemy Virtual Assistance (VA), based in Northampton, provides remote administration and PA support to independent business owners, entrepreneurs and sole traders. The company was about to enter an exciting period and was preparing to launch its new franchise and first ever Alchemy VA Hub. Suzy Sanders, the founder, had already worked hard and with great success to develop Alchemy’s strong reputation through networking, collaborations, successful social media activity and a number of highly prestigious awards, but she knew there was still a lot of room to grow. She knew it was time to invest in professional PR support to complement her own continued efforts.
Alchemy VA approached Pilkington Communications as a local PR & Communications agency which had all the services and experience Suzy was looking for.
Before any work is commenced, Pilkington Communications will always undergo a discovery session where the requirements, objectives and brand are explored. One of the most important things for Suzy was that all the work conveyed her strong core values: integrity, honesty, family and adventure. It was discussed how this is a noticeably different approach to Alchemy’s competitors and other virtual assistant providers, and it was decided that these values would be at the heart of all messaging.
After the discovery session, key objectives for the initial two-month PR project were put in place:
• To promote Alchemy VA’s new business model and the franchise opportunities available through key media publications
• To celebrate the launch of the company’s first Hub and new Hub Manager
• To publicise increased capacity within the Alchemy VA team and grow the company’s client-base
A short-term plan of targeted PR activities were agreed – all strategically chosen to meet the key objectives. It began with a press release to announce the new franchise and Alchemy Hub Manager, and then a range of media activities were executed, including producing a media distribution list, building media relations and the management of all media enquiries. Six social media videos were also created that were purposefully designed to support the key requirements.
Outcomes and Results
Significant regional press and broadcast media coverage was achieved in just six weeks, including a whole morning of live broadcasts on BBC Radio Northampton’s Breakfast Show, a pre-recorded feature on BBC Look East, and coverage in All Things Business, NN Pulse Magazine, Northants Life, Love Business, Kettering Business Network, and a key industry publication, PA Life.
In addition, the suite of videos gave Suzy and her team new social media content which could be recycled over the coming months.
Through the targeted approach with media, conversations were able to begin to explore future PR/advertising opportunities with key industry publications including The Homeworker Magazine, PA Life and The Times ‘Business Owners Checklist’. As a result of this early PR success, Alchemy invested in further PR support on an ad hoc project basis.
Pilkington Communications have since worked with Suzy and the team on other projects with continued success, including three UK-wide franchise launches and a number of high-status award applications. Most recently, Alchemy commissioned an Adapt, Recover, Rebuild package to refresh copy in key marketing materials and explore further speaking opportunities.
Each project has included clear PR objectives and messaging, again based around Suzy’s core values and unique collaborative approach. The PR has been very much based on promoting franchise opportunities to aspiring VAs with the same commitment, skills, mindset and personal objectives, and actively seeking likeminded clients who shared a similar Alchemy ethos. It has been about reinforcing Suzy’s overall approach as a business and franchise, and complementing, steering and focusing her other nurturing and compassionate business activities.
As a result of the PR activities during 2020, and with COVID radically changing the landscape and opportunities in the business support sector, Alchemy’s client and franchise enquiries have quadrupled.
Suzy comments: “The team at Pilkington Communications have achieved phenomenal results for our virtual assistant business. We have gained media coverage in local and national online publications and print magazines, had interviews on radio and even made an appearance on primetime regional TV – boosting our reputation and generating leads. We have also had success with key industry publications aimed and read by our target audiences – PAs, executive assistants, administrators and secretaries who might aspire to set up their own successful Alchemy VA Hub.
“Being a small, independent, family-run company, we did not think any of this was possible. Results aside, what is most impressive about Pilkington Communications is the way they do things. They are personal, professional, friendly, realistic, consultative, passionate and honest. As former journalists they have expertise, experience, integrity and a work ethic of the highest standard.
“When a journalist compliments you on your choice of PR firm, you know you’ve made a good decision.”