All posts by Liberty Comms

5G: the latest rural fantasy?

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By Jasmine Gray

The global race to launch 5G is on. In the midst of ongoing British commitments to adopt 5G, the population of rural Britain still remain some of the least connected people in Europe.

A recent study by GoCompare outlines how London, along with major cities Manchester and Nottingham have access to more than 60% of total mobile data coverage, whilst Exeter and Devon, barely sees more than 6%.

The upgrade to 4G in 2012 echoed much of the current 5G hype, promising faster download and upload speeds, faster connectivity and more stable internet access. This has undoubtedly been delivered to those residing in the capital. Money well spent, right?

Securing 5G for Britain has already exceeded £1bn, but the 4G dream is yet to be realised by most of the UK – London boasts up to ten times as much data coverage as most parts of the UK!

This is not a problem that 5G will solve – no matter how innovative the tech. Unfortunately, the huge costs of creating the service will mean limited access for the foreseeable future.

The problem rests in providers’ hands. Companies are left without incentives to create access to their 4G services in the more remote areas of Britain, where the government is reluctant to subsidise. Although the NIC has made recommendations of exactly this kind, they have also suggested a roll-out of full fibre across the whole of the UK. Despite providing a longer-term solution, it could take up to 15 years to execute, leaving rural Britain a decade behind once again.

Government commitments to ‘connect the unconnected’ need to have a real impact. Rolling out the latest mobile data services in rural areas is a positive step forward, but both the government and the providers risk getting less for their money.

Disproportionate shortcomings faced by those without fast broadband and wireless mobile data access continue to undercut government humanitarian commitments. Plans to make access to fast broadband a legal right by 2020 has seen pushback by big providers like BT. If the public sector and providers can reach an agreement, and if these plans are executed effectively, it might just be the parallel policy we need to start bridging the gap in wireless access.

As providers push towards the inevitable 5G launch, city dwellers can look forward to what new technology has to offer.

For the rest, 5G remains painfully out of reach.

Introducing: Olivia Mora

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Tell us a little about your background

I’ve worked in public relations in a variety of industries including entertainment, non-profit and my favorite – technology. I find creating messaging in the technology industry exciting because there is a lot of room to be creative and introduce a new product that could revolutionize the way people live life.  As public relations professionals, we have the opportunity to be at the forefront of cutting edge and disruptive technology.

I have experience in both agency and in-house positions, where I was able to learn about all the different aspects of PR.  I’ve worked on social media at Hortonworks, pitched campaigns to Warner Bros., created messaging for Chick-fil-A and got to witness, first hand, my agency supporting Pepsi when they were under siege.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

When I came to interview at Liberty Communications I knew right away that this was an agency I wanted to work at. Liberty demonstrates quality clients, quality work and quality team members. It’s important to me that I am able to work on accounts that I am passionate about and work with people who are also passionate about their work– at Liberty I get to fulfill both of those needs.

What are some of your hobbies?

Some of my favorite hobbies include listening to true-crime podcasts, finding new recipes online to test out on my family, hiking 6-mile trails, browsing farmers markets and scouting out the best Thai food in the Bay Area.

What was the last book you read/song you listened to?

I love memoirs because they are little snippets into someone’s life. The Glass Castle is the last book I read and it is a set of stories that depict the unorthodox childhood of author, Jeanette Walls.  Currently, I am catching up on modern politics with Michael Wolff’s, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump Whitehouse.

The last song I listened to was Finesse (Remix) by Bruno Mars and Cardi B.  I love that the two artists came together to collaborate on today’s RnB and gave it a ‘90s hip-hop twist.

Liberty US Holiday Retreat Hits the Mark

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We here at the Liberty Communication always aim to hit our targets. So, what better location for a holiday team building retreat than a place where we can hone our targeting skills, the archery range located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

We sharpened our focus under the guidance of an experienced instructor, and our outing hit the bullseye, literally! And we rewarded ourselves with a little picnic.

To top off the day, we sang our hearts out doing karaoke over sushi. We’re usually known for our pitches, but that night we might have been a little off our game, but we did light up the restaurant with some yuletide cheer!

Introducing: Vito Gallo

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Tell us a little about your background:

Originally from New England, I moved to the Bay Area in April of 2016. I graduated from Suffolk University in Boston with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Political Science. Shortly after graduating, I was offered a position with Kel & Partners, a medium sized communications agency in Boston, where I created social media content for B2B and B2C clients.

I made the journey to the west coast last Spring and joined UPRAISE PR, a boutique agency in San Francisco. During my time there, I worked with a variety of clients including a robot laundry folding machine and a nonprofit organization focused on teaching and empowering girls to code. I wore many hats, including leading a client team, creating content, and launching a viral campaign.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

I’m eager to join an agency that represents a diverse set of clients, each with their own needs, wants, and challenges. Over the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with “mainstream” companies as well as niche organizations and startups. Liberty Communications represents that range of clientele, as well.

I couldn’t be happier to be joining the US team at Liberty Communications as an Account Executive. I look forward to whatever challenges come my way; I learn best when the tasks are challenging and require creative thought. I’m excited to bring my own skill set into this position, while learning more tools of the trade.

What are some of your hobbies?

When I’m not creating stories or content for clients, I’m usually exploring San Francisco –  there’s so much to see and do. As mentioned below, I’m a bit of a nerd, so I like to take some time each week to play video games. It’s a hobby I’ve had since 1998, when I was catching Pokémon on my Gameboy.

What was the last book you read/song you listened to?

I’ve been investing in graphic novels and recently read seven volumes of the “Saga” series. It’s a blend of Romeo and Juliet, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones. It’s beautifully written and illustrated; a must read if sci-fi is of any interest.

I’m a “Top 40” person, so anything that’s mainstream piques my interest. Lorde’s new album, Melodrama, is one of my favorites of 2017. Currently listening to “Supercut” as I type this!

Liberty Presents our Senior Executives – An Interview with Jim Lubinskas

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This month we’re continuing our series of profiling our senior executives. We sat down with Jim Lubinskas, a Managing Director at Liberty in our San Francisco office. Let’s learn more about him:

Hi Jim, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Our first question is, what is your management style?

I tend to manage like I like being managed. Namely, I give people lots of room to develop their own style and manage their own work flow. That being said, I also want to make sure everyone is on the same page so I like to have frequent check ins to make sure things are running smoothly. Luckily, Liberty employees tend to be self-sufficient and responsible. So it is the right environment for this management style.

If you could predict the future, where would you like to see Liberty in 5 years?

Liberty is in the enviable position of growing steadily through good work and referrals. This is the best way to grow, especially in PR as great performance and superior service are highly praised among all clients. We are a well-regarded agency amongst reporters and other PR professionals in the Silicon Valley so we must be doing something right. As we grow, we have to keep our reputation for high standards in mind.

What is your favorite/proudest memory during your time at Liberty?

One thing that stands out is getting recommended by a client who we had only been representing for a few months. To be able to make such an impression upon a customer in that short a time is very pleasing. It is always nice to be noted for doing good work.

Beyond that, I’d say just the day to day energy amongst our Liberty US team has been great. We have a small but efficient team in San Francisco. There are a lot of moving parts but the team handles things with a degree of efficiency that I had not seen before. Plus, everyone has a really great attitude and wants to be here working in tech PR. That makes a big difference.

On a more personal note, if you could live in a book, TV show or film, what would it be?

 Mad Men. I know it is dramatized but the 1960s were a key time for the marketing industry. Maybe I could have handled PR for Sterling Cooper! The early 60’s especially seemed to have an energy and drive that I would have liked to have been a part of. The characters remind me of my older family members and I love the style. Of course, I would have hated all the smoking and would have had to wait until after work to start drinking!

Besides being a PR super star, what was your dream job growing up?

I was into sports and dreamed of being a professional athlete.

Jim, thanks so much for sharing your answers with us today. We appreciate all your contributions to Liberty US.

Make sure to tune in next time, as we continue to interview the senior management team here at Liberty Comms.

Liberty Presents our Senior Executives – An Interview with Katie Finn

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This month we’re continuing our series of profiling our senior executives. We sat down with Katie Finn, a Senior Account Director at Liberty in our London office. She has been with Liberty since 2014 and has played a role in Liberty’s continued success. Let’s learn more about her:

Hi Katie, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Our first question is, what is your management style?

I aim to create a positive workplace environment, where people feel supported and rewarded for their achievements. I believe that when people are happy and motivated they go the extra mile for both their clients and teams, which in turn helps to fuel a good atmosphere and results in excellent client service – it really is a win-win situation!

If you could predict the future, where would you like to see Liberty in the next 5 years?

So far in my time at Liberty it has been really exciting to see Liberty US grow, and our client base continue to expand with really innovative and cutting edge technology companies. Both the technology and the media landscape are changing rapidly, so it’s important for us as an agency to keep pace with these trends, and make sure we’re always ahead of the game. In the next five years, I’d like to see our client portfolio continue to grow, while still offering the boutique service we’re renowned for, and possibly opening a new Liberty overseas!

What is your favorite/proudest memory during your time at Liberty?

My proudest memory at Liberty was winning the annual client services prize.

On a more personal note, if you could live in a book, TV show or film, what would it be?

I’d probably have to say Arrested Development, for the brilliant California sunshine and so I could hang out with the Bluth family.

Besides being a PR super star, what was your dream job growing up?

I wanted to be an actress, which needless to say hasn’t materialised!

Katie, thanks so much for sharing your answers with us today. We appreciate all your contributions to Liberty UK and US.

Make sure to tune in next time, as we continue to interview the senior management team here at Liberty to see what makes them tick.

Introducing: James Meredith

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Tell us a little about your background:

I graduated from Cardiff University in 2007 with a BA in English Language Studies. After completing three work experience placements at PR companies in the South West of England, I secured my first full time position as a Junior Account Executive at an agency that specialised in technology in Bath.

Within a couple of years, I worked my way up to Account Manager level, supporting a mix of B2B and B2C clients across the UK, Europe and US in a range of sectors including cybersecurity, gaming and healthcare.

After I had been with the agency for three years, I felt it was time for a new challenge, and I joined a B2B agency in Bristol specialising predominantly in professional services, cybersecurity and manufacturing. During my three and a half years at the agency, I was promoted to Account Director.

My next position was in the business & corporate division of a larger agency in Bristol. This was a fantastic opportunity, with the agency’s parent company consisting of an AIM-listed network of integrated, multi-discipline, multi-sector agencies specialising in marketing/comms and employing over 1,000 people in 20 offices around the world.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

After two and a half years with my previous agency, it felt that the time was right to make the move to London before life had completely passed me by! I had interviews at a few agencies, but Liberty was the one that caught my attention.

My immediate impression was that Liberty is an agency with a strong people-focus and collaborative culture, which is exactly what I was looking for. As for the clients, it feels to a degree that I have come full circle, with a great opportunity to get back into the world of technology.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy watching and playing most sports, but particularly love tennis and football. I’m also a big fan of quizzes and have embarrassed myself on UK TV quiz shows including Eggheads, Brainteaser and Revenge of the Egghead! From time to time I’m also guilty of binge watching a TV series with my all-time favourites being Breaking Bad, The Wire and The Sopranos.

What was the last book you read or song you listened to?

I’m an avid reader, particularly of crime fiction thriller novels by the likes of Linwood Barclay, Harlan Coben, Lee Child and Tom Wood. But the last book I read (well technically re-read!) was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It’s set in Barcelona just after the Spanish Civil War and follows the life of a young boy who is taken to a secret library by his father and allowed to choose any book to keep on the condition that he must protect it for life.

Without giving too much away, he picks a book called The Shadow of the Wind – and from there it starts to become clear that the novel is actually a story within a story. I highly recommend it!

Introducing: Rick Judge

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Tell us a little about your background:

I’ve always lived my life by one simple quote: “The journey is better than the end.” That journey has led me from New York to South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and now San Francisco. I am a Senior Account Manager here at Liberty, working out of our 17th floor office in the busy Financial District.

I have my B.A. in Mass Communications and Philosophy from SUNY Oneonta, and earned my M.A. in Public Communications from American University in Washington. In my former life, I was an aspiring journalist who worked in various television newsroom roles in New York and South Carolina. I’ve been practicing public relations for over a decade, working for Fortune 500 companies, global enterprises, fast growing startups, trade associations and non-profits.

Why are excited to support Liberty and our clients?

If you’re practicing tech PR, there’s no place else you’d rather be than San Francisco. The opportunity to work with Liberty’s creative team, plus the ability to partner with some of the most innovative companies is why I chose this career path. I’m looking forward to watching our clients grow with us, and I’m excited to share their stories.

What are some of your hobbies?

I thrive on creativity. I’m constantly on the lookout for new endeavors that push my creative limits. Along with PR, one of my passions is filmmaking. I am a director/editor, creating award-winning short films and documentaries with my production company. I also enjoy walking around the city on the weekends with my Canon Mark II, sharpening my photography skills. On top of all that, I’m also a graphic designer and fledgling guitar player.

What was the last book you read/song you listened to?

I recently finished reading Animal Farm, again. I enjoy revisiting the classics that I forgot about. The last song I listened to is Ophelia, by the Lumineers. It’s a great song that is definitely worth listening to!

The Weekend that was SXSW 2017

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Liberty’s own Megan Keesee attended SXSW in Austin – an annual conference that covers the future of everything. It is perhaps the most generalized professional conference in existence today, organized from chaos to coherence by categorizing all events into one of four tracks: Interactive, Film, Music, and Comedy. There’s literally something for everyone. Megan attended the interactive track, focusing on the most exciting tech developments in the connected world.

There was tangible excitement in the air as the streets of Austin filled with hopeful millennials, entrepreneurs, and creatives from all walks of life, conference badges hanging proudly around their necks as they sauntered out of local bars and hip restaurants where events were being held by Silicon Valley’s best.

Megan’s weekend was spent supporting our clients who were speaking or attending; sitting in on panels and sessions providing insight into the top trends, and attending the most anticipated media parties and pop-ups. Here’s what she observed, learned and brought back with her.

Standout Sessions

Keynote speakers like Corey Booker and Joe Biden as well as event subtracks on European government and “Trump’s America” electrified the conference with political undertones and pushed a polito-innovation agenda. Perhaps the most memorable session included Joe Biden’s appearance as part of SXSW’s Connect to End Cancer series, and not just because Megan is in fact his #1 fan. His talk outlined the plans for the Biden Foundation’s Cancer Initiative, calling on attendees to join him in his efforts to cure cancer by 2020. Biden energized the crowd with his passion and optimism, and he even stuck around for a few selfies with fans afterward.

Another session close to the hearts of all our Libertinis was a panel titled“Brexit: How UK/European Tech Companies Are Coping,” which we secured and managed at SXSW. The panel explored the changes that tech companies in Europe have experienced and will continue to experience as the effects of Brexit take shape. The panelists included our friends and clients from Wire, WaveOptics, Blis and Jobbatical, who candidly shared anecdotes on how they are  managing the changes brought on by an evolving political landscape and how they plan to face the challenges that lie ahead. The session brought perspective from a diverse group of companies and leaders. Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but this session had to be one of our favorites because of the honesty amidst uncertainty that was shared by panelists.

Pop Ups and Panels

In addition to the main event, one thing that makes SXSW unique to the conference grind is the volume of pop ups and “house parties” hosted by brands on the side. During the week of the festival, most of the venues downtown Austin are completely booked for these side events, and there’s no lack of daytime or evening activities. Megan was able to chat with  Tim Ferriss, who turned  up at the SXSW bookstore to sign copies of his latest work Tools of Titans and also stumbled upon a pop-up promoting one of her all-time favorite books turned television show, American Gods.

In true PR fashion, Megan spent quality time talking to journalists at the TechCrunch Day Party, complete with musical appearances from Kishi Bashi and Madame Gandhi. She made sure not to miss out on good ole Texas bbq and Tex-Mex which she shared with our attending clients. She saved up enough conference momentum on her last night in town to make it to the annual and ever-notorious #MashBash party hosted by the editors at Mashable to celebrate the first weekend of SXSW. Who says you can’t work and play at the same time?

Looking Forward

In the heart of Austin, an oasis of modern thinking in the middle of traditional Texas, SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. The conference features a variety of tracks that allow attendees to explore the realm of unfolding possibilities in the worlds of entertainment, culture and technology.

In the last decade SXSW has built a reputation for highlighting the technology and trends that  shape industries, empower people and enable new possibilities. This year, that meant focusing on the geopolitical changes taking place internationally, as the technology of politics and politics of technology took center stage. The biggest takeaway from individual sessions was that the tech community has the power to influence public debate and shape our future.
The larger takeaway, though, in a conference that has become a behemoth of innovation and trade events, is how brands can cut through the noise to make that impact. Those that attended SXSW certainly had the opportunity to practice.

Introducing: Grace Simpson

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Tell us a little about your background:

My background is in professional dance, which is perhaps a little unorthodox compared to most in tech PR. I graduated from Northern Ballet School in the Summer of 2012 and traveled for 2 years abroad Celebrity cruise ships performing in their theatre productions and teaching ballroom dancing. I was lucky enough to explore the southern Caribbean, Norwegian Fiords, Russia and Scandinavia as well as the more familiar sights of the Mediterranean.

Whilst this experience was truly amazing the constant changes involved in this career had me pining for a more stable profession, so, I hung up my dance shoes and moved to London in 2014 and had a brief venture into sales and event planning with Wimbledon based music agency, Earcandy. At the end of 2016, I  joined Liberty’s work experience program. I felt drawn to tech PR in particular because of the rapid pace: on a day-to-day basis I might be looking at anything from AR to cyber-security, and staying on the pulse with the media and latest technology advancements is really exciting.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

During my initial experience at Liberty, I was struck by the dynamic and creative atmosphere just as much as I was by the exciting prospect of working with such a wide variety of clients, all at the forefront of technology today. I see no better way to learn about this fascinating industry than by being exposed to such a wealth of shared knowledge and experience and of course the ever changing and developing landscape of technology itself.

What are some of your hobbies?

Given my background in the arts I have at times been obsessive about fitness and nutrition. Some of this remains (though thankfully with less of the original intensity) as I regularly run to decompress after a long day. I love to cook for my fiancé, family and friends as eating together has always played a fundamental role in my understanding of family time from childhood to now. I also salsa dance at various clubs in the city from time to time but deny that this is any sort of prep for an elaborate first dance!

What was the last book you read/song you listened to?

The last book I read was Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. I studied World War I  and II  literature during my schooling and find they offer important perspective for life today; and there’s nothing like losing yourself in the facts or fiction.

The last song I listened to was 1999 by Prince. I’m ashamed to say I’m only just educating myself since his music has been available on Spotify -but I love it!

Introducing: Jim Lubinskas

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Tell us a little about your background:

I was born and raised in Connecticut but attended Catholic University in Washington D.C. and ended up staying in the area. I studied philosophy and, while I enjoyed my classes, I decided there was not much of a job market for philosophy majors. Hence my move into public relations.

I have nearly 20 years of public relations experience in agency, association and corporate environments. This includes directing PR campaigns for clients including: Microsoft, Cisco, USA TODAY and Monster Government Solutions. I have also worked with smaller companies and start-ups to create media strategies and generate market visibility.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

I couldn’t be more excited to have joined Liberty, and looking forward to supporting its clients.

In fact, I will be moving to San Francisco for both family and career reasons, which is a great position to be in. The San Francisco area is home to some of the greatest technology brands and visionaries in the world. Any tech PR professional would be thrilled to work in this booming area which is home to many key journalists and influencers. This is especially true with regard to Liberty, as we are continuing to build out our San Francisco office to grow alongside the thriving tech sector in Silicon Valley. It is a very exciting time and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

What are some of your hobbies?

I have two young kids so that takes up a lot of my time. I like to stay in shape with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, boxing and kickboxing. I also love music, movies, books and hanging out with family and friends.

Introducing: Riikka Heinäaho

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Tell us a little about your background:

I’m originally from central Finland, where I studied at Jyvaskylan Kristillinen Opisto and received a degree in Children and Family Welfare. After graduating, I became an Au Pair in a small coastal town in Scotland. In 2014, I moved to London as I wanted to pursue career in the technology field.

Prior to Liberty, I worked at a startup called AnyVan and this is where I fell in love with communications and PR. From AnyVan I moved to a PR agency that was fully consumer tech based, where I supported Acer with their communications and PR in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

My past experience and interest in tech were the main factors I wanted to join the Liberty team. I was really impressed by the company’s client base and am excited to start as an Account Executive.

So far I am really enjoying my time at Liberty because of the fast paced environment.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy walking, hiking and anything outdoors related; luckily London has many great green spaces to offer!

I also love taking advantage of all of the amazing museums and art galleries that London has to offer.

What was the last book you read/song you listened to?

I’m currently reading a couple of very different books; Tess Gerritse’s, Playing with Fire and Ernst Fischer’s, A Kim Jong‑Il Production.

Last song I listened to was; Friends – Tom Misch remix. This song is really bittersweet and anyone who has friends overseas can relate!

Looking Ahead in 2017

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It is time to look ahead to what the New Year might have in store…

Predictions are always a tricky thing to make. Fast forward twelve months and you will either look smug or red faced – as an agency with fee paying clients, neither is particularly desirable. So rather than risk the annual prognostication gauntlet, this year we are going to suggest a couple of trends that as communications professionals, (in-house and agency-side) you might like to consider.

You can bet that trade shows and events will be on agenda for our clients in this year and one of the perennial challenges in PR and marketing is how to elevate a brand message above the crowd and thus making clients stand-out. The start of the 2016 saw a big ground-swell for VR, and while this will no doubt continue, the success of Pokémon Go (to us at least) highlights the great opportunity represented by AR from a comms perspective in 2017 too. Being less immersive and more interactive with the physical world, AR must be on the radar of comms people as a genuine tactic for events and campaigns alike in the New Year.

Content will always be king for my money, but what has changed however, is the type of content that agencies should look to be encouraging with clients in the New Year. We would definitely keep an eye out for visual storytelling trends; for example, how brands implement Instagram stories or Twitter videos into their online marketing and communications strategies – done well they can offer the ‘wow-factor’ and attract attention to core brand values and messages.

Artificial Intelligence is big news across the pantheon of global media. Whether it’s autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity or marketing orientated news, AI is here to stay and with the ‘Big 5’ all vying for a piece of the pie, with various offerings such as Siri, Cortana, Alexa & Echo, 2017 will see plenty more developments.

But have we thought of the potential of AI from a comms perspective? What if you could have a link to a chatbot at the end of an email or press release rather than a stagnant corporate boilerplate or URL to a ‘press section’ on a company’s website… wouldn’t that be different? It would certainly be something innovative and could even serve to elevate awareness of the brand over its competitors.

Finally, part of our job is to remain at the cutting edge of the comms space as it grows, morphs and changes direction. A favourite in terms of discoveries in 2016 was Medium (essentially long-form Twitter), and Ghost runs a close second!

As 2017 in upon us, keep your eyes wide open for new platforms that might provide a good fit for presenting client messages untapped to areas and audiences – it is no longer enough to simply revert to ‘type’ and the likes of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as the social media platforms when considering campaigns.

So there you have it, 2017 in a nutshell… let us know if you agree, or indeed if you have any ideas of what you think will be big in the comms space in the New Year – we’d love to hear your opinions too!

Introducing: Mike Walker

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Tell us a little about your background:

I graduated in September from the University of Lincoln with a degree in English, but have been working since late April, when university all of a sudden, sadly, no longer was a thing.

Prior to arriving at Liberty, I was a freelancer for Hotwire PR’s B2B and consumer tech accounts, drafting by-lined articles along many verticals including robotics, AR/VR, home technology devices and 3D printing.

Before I started working in PR, I was the Lifestyle Editor of the university paper, The Linc, and I wrote articles for my regional newspaper, the Leicester Mercury, over the course of my degree as an intern. In my second year of university, I wrote a theatrical play, which was performed in February 2016, for which I won an award at the end of year awards ceremony. During the production, I headed a marketing campaign for the play, which achieved several pieces of regional coverage; technically my first PR experience!

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

The main reason I wanted to be in PR was because I am passionate about writing and creativity, and I’m also keen to work for brands that develop products that are perpetually changing. Therefore, tech PR is the space to be a part of in this evolving new digital age.

Liberty’s fantastic range of clients caters towards many of my personal interests, and I am ecstatic to be working not only with a brilliant team here in London, but also with the great team over in the US. What also attracted me to the agency is its global presence. The fact that the agency has offices in the UK and US is testament to the fact that it is doing very well, and I love having the opportunity to work with people from all over the world on a daily basis!

Another big reason why I am excited to be supporting the team at Liberty is that I really want to build my media network. Clearly, Liberty has extensive connections in all corners of the media world. To build my own network through Liberty is not only great for me professionally, but also highly satisfying on a personal level.

What are some of your hobbies?

My passion has always been writing, especially stage and film scripts. My friend and I are currently in the early stages of producing two short films that I have written. We eventually aim to get funding to film them on a larger scale! I also love reading (I’m thankful for books on the long tube commute), swimming and travelling – you can find my travel ramblings on my blog, if you have nothing better to do!

What was the last book you read or song you listened to?

Ironically, the last book I read was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.  Inevitably, this has resulted in some seriously dangerous existential thinking whilst at work, but I’m comforted by the fact that a robot apocalypse perpetrated by the robots we work with won’t be TOO bad… right?

Liberty Presents our Senior Executives – An Interview with Elena Davidson

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At Liberty we think it is important to honor all of our employees, especially the people who have helped build this agency into what it is today. With that being said we are excited to kick off a new series profiling all of our senior executives.

First up is Liberty’s new Managing Director, Elena Davidson, coming to us from our London office. She has been with Liberty since 2008 and has played an important role in Liberty’s continuing growth. We sat down with Elena to learn more about her:

Hi Elena, congratulations on your promotion and thanks for volunteering to help us kick off our new series. Our first question is, what is your management style?

I think Liberty has a very special culture – one that is centered around an ethos of support and collaboration. I am a firm believer in this and the benefit it brings to the team spirit we have within our offices. It’s far more motivating to work hard for a company you believe in and who believes in you!

Let’s take out our crystal ball, shall we? We wanted to know, where would you like to see Liberty in the next 5 years?

Liberty is founded on great service for our clients and great opportunities for our team. As we look to 2017 and beyond I see us continuing to create and deliver exceptional international PR services for our clients. We also have an ambition to build our business organically by creating a team that we hire ourselves, knows each other, believes in our business and collaborates across time zones.

What is your favorite/proudest memory during your time at Liberty?

My proudest memory at Liberty was becoming Managing Director. It is both a privilege and an honor!

On a more personal note, if you could live in a book, TV show or film, what would it be?

I am going to defer to my daughter on this one – she’d say Frozen which would probably be quite a good choice!

Besides being a PR super star, what was your dream job growing up?

I wanted to be a teacher. Lucky for me, I married one instead!

Thanks so much for joining us today Elena, we really appreciate everything you do here at Liberty. Thanks for sharing your insight!

Make sure to tune in next time, as we continue to interview the senior management team here at Liberty to see what makes them tick.

Bringing the UK to SF with Our First Media Happy Hour

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Last month we were joined by journalists and friends of Liberty to celebrate a British-themed evening at San Francisco’s Whitechapel gin bar for our inaugural media happy hour. The bar gets its namesake from the infamous East London neighborhood and is home to the largest gin selection in North America. It is styled as a mix between a Victorian-era distillery and an abandoned London Underground tube station.

Inspired by the Liquid Lunches hosted by our counterparts in the UK, the evening was an opportunity to spend time with the friends and media that have helped to make Liberty a success in the US. The evening was well spent with everyone, sipping remarkable cocktails and sampling delicious food prepared in an incredible setting.

We wanted to say thank you to everyone who joined us for our inaugural event. Thanks for making it a great one, we look forward to seeing you all at our next event!

Introducing: Lyle McAdam

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Tell us a little about your background:

I’m originally from St. Andrews, a small town on the East coast of Scotland about 45 mins north of Edinburgh. Although my parents sound proper Scottish, I appear to be the exact opposite, which may be due to the fact that I went to an international school.

I studied a four-year joint honours Master of Arts degree in International Relations & History at The University of Aberdeen, where I specialised in the increase in female involvement within terrorism and international relations, as well as gender issues in the USA and their IPE (International Political Economy). Throughout my time studying, I incorporated a year abroad at The University of Stockholm, in Sweden through an exchange programme. While there, I even took Swedish lessons and am now fairly proficient!

I was confident that PR and Communications was what I wanted to do in terms of a career from my last year at university – my degree provided a lot of transferable skills and I always found the industry interesting.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

I think Liberty is an amazing agency! What I love about it, is the size – it’s a large enough agency for me to learn, network and advance in my career, but at the same time, small enough to really learn the fundamentals of this industry with a great team around me for constant support. Furthermore, coming from a generation where tech was embedded in my life from a very young age, I have an awareness of tech and the essential nature attached to the industry, which I’m excited to bring to the clients at Liberty.

What are some of your hobbies?

I love to run, and I try and go every day after work, as it de-stresses me and gives me time to clear my head. I live in Islington, which offers great access to parks right on my doorstep so it would be a shame to waste this.

I’m also into fashion and design; I’m always looking for new ways to improve my room and I use Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. Worth mentioning that, any spare time I get, you’ll probably find me catching up with my family and a lot of my friends who live abroad on Facetime/Skype/Whatsapp etc.

What was the last book you read/song you listened to?

The last book I read was called ‘Mind Change’ by Susan Greenfield, which basically discusses the impact of digital technologies on our minds. I usually like books that are informative, which stimulate and challenge my way of thinking.

The last song I listened to was ‘Cheap Thrills’ by Sia, which is essentially my weekend song.

Introducing: Anna Palagi

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Tell us a little about your background:

I graduated from DePaul University in Chicago with a degree in Public Relations and Advertising and a double minor in Women’s Studies and Public Law. I’ve been in public relations since my sophomore year and most recently worked at The OutCast Agency and SutherlandGold Group in San Francisco.

I’ve worked with a range of clients, from small startups to Fortune 100 companies. I also have experience in entertainment PR, and worked promoting films such as Lizzie Borden Took an Ax and Bad Country, as well as assisting in managing the PR efforts for Kim Kardashian and Johnny Depp.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

I was drawn to Liberty because of my experience with enterprise, business and consumer tech. I’m excited to be working within an agency that has such an impressive lineup of clients. I’m thrilled to join the Liberty Communications team as a Junior Account Executive, and know this will be a fun yet knowledgeable experience

What are some of your hobbies?

When I’m not storytelling, you can find me blogging to share everything superficial in the world of lifestyle, styling and art. I spend my time traveling, frequenting the gym, experimenting in the kitchen, and collecting shoes.

What was the last book you read or song you listened to?

I just finished reading #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, a novel that is deeply personal yet universal. Filled with cunning and frank observations and behind-the-scenes stories from the Nasty Gal’s meteoric rise, #GIRLBOSS covers a lot of ground. It proves that successful is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.

5 Ways to Use Social Media for Event Participation

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Social Media is everywhere, and with worldwide social media users are predicted to reach 2.55 billion by 2018, it’s essential to make sure you’re active on it to engage with your target audience. This is particularly true when it comes to events. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can be excellent ways to promote your participation in an upcoming conference, whether your company is speaking, sponsoring or exhibiting. But why stop there?! It’s essential to continue promoting your participation during and after the event.
We’ve therefore come up with these 5 social media tips to promote your participation at the next industry event:
1. #Hashtags are Key
Many events create a unique, short hashtag to help get the discussion going. Using the specialized hashtag for the event can enhance your social buzz by allowing your followers to track the conversation around the event, and increase participation. Promote it everywhere, including your company’s website, dedicated emails, social networks, etc. The hashtag is a great way for attendees to engage with the event content, speakers, and each other.
2. Time is of the Essence
Get started now! The earlier you promote your participation at the event and use the dedicated hashtag, the greater your chances are for success. This helps to create momentum and help you reach a larger audience. If you’re trying to gain a lot of recognition at one of the larger industry conferences, it would be best to start promoting a few months in advance to ensure a wider reach.
3. Reach Out
Social media is an ideal channel for initiating conversations. If you’re participating in an event, reaching out to attendees, speakers, and prospective conference-goers can help get them excited about the conference. Whether it’s an RT (retweet), a direct message, or even sharing their content on platforms such as Linkedin, this will help you stay relevant by sharing related content around the event and initiate social buzz.
If you’re speaking at an event, engaging with other speakers via social media can help promote your participation. . The more attendees at the event, the more people that get to hear the awesome content they have to share, so it’s in the interest of all speakers to promote both the event itself and the other exciting speakers on the lineup. Therefore, when you tweet, make sure to mention other speakers with the hopes of a retweet! This can also work for event sponsorship/exhibiting.
4. Keep your Followers Updated
It’s essential that you maintain the momentum during the event by posting in real-time. Activities, photos, sponsors, special guests, speakers, agenda info, and anything else that is cool, and relevant for the conference can provide great content for Twitter feeds, and can be scheduled in advance as well as live-tweeted on the day.
5. Follow Back
Most importantly, engage with and follow-up with those who you met at the event. From the hashtag, you’ll be able to get feedback from attendees about what they liked best, least, and what they hope to see for next time (hopefully your participation is a part of this). This will increase the likelihood to return the following year and share their positive experiences with their own networks.
Don’t miss out on all the added value that can be created by utilizing the wonderful world of #social media.

Kourtney, Junior Account Assistant

Introducing: Megan Keesee

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Tell us a little about your background:

I graduated from Southeast Missouri State University (near my hometown of Jackson, Missouri) with degrees in both Global Cultures and Languages and Mass Communications. I’ve been in the public relations and marketing industry for almost three years now. I most recently held a position as Assistant Account Executive at The OutCast Agency in San Francisco, and prior to that, worked at Golin in Chicago. In previous positions, I’ve worked with a range of clients, from small startups to Fortune 100 companies—such as Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Box, Minted, Walmart, Corona Extra and Silk. I love writing, content strategy, and brand building with a dash of media relations.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

I was drawn to Liberty by the fact that even as a small agency, breaking into the Silicon Valley market, it has proved its worth with U.S. campaigns supporting European government programs, leading tech companies, and new players that challenge the status quo of some of the Valley’s most successful startups. This is a lucrative agency quickly making its way to the top with some of the most interesting clients I could hope to work with. Liberty is going places and I just really want to be along for the ride.

What are some of your hobbies?

I’m passionate about humanitarian efforts and languages. I speak roughly three languages— English, Spanish and ein bisschen German— and am currently learning Portuguese as a fourth. I really love to travel and learn about new places and people. Most recently, I spent New Year’s in Japan, navigating through Tokyo with a few broken Japanese phrases and snowboarding in Niseko. I’m also a member/volunteer for the United Nations Association as well as More Than Me, a nonprofit organization focused on women’s education in Liberia. I’m a big fan of outdoor activities, from hiking, running, snowboarding, rock climbing, to canoeing and camping, along with my boyfriend and our German Shepherd mix, Champ. This year I also plan to try my hand at skydiving and surfing.

What was the last book you read or song you listened to?

I am almost done reading two books; The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, by Erik Larson and Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential, by Gene Sharp.

Another year, another budget announcement: But is it good news for tech companies?

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When you see the image of our honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, standing outside Number 10 with his shiny red suitcase it can only mean one thing – time for another budget announcement. As the eighth budget announcement during his tenure as Chancellor, George cracked down on sugar drink brands and told us all why he thinks it is crucial Britain stays in Europe. It was all riveting stuff (if you’re into fiscal planning that is) but what announcements did he make that tech companies should take note of?

Firstly, for small tech start-ups, the announcement that business rates will be reduced is welcoming. Essentially, small tech firms which set up shop in a property with a rateable value of £12,000 or less will effectively be exempt from paying any business rates. Tech investors and entrepreneurs can breathe a sigh of relief that they will have more money in their pockets to invest in their company. Moreover, the Entrepreneurs’ Relief has been extended to encourage investors to back unlisted companies. In essence, this allows an investor to finance a business and obtain the 10 per cent entrepreneurs’ rate without having to work in the business.

Other initiatives to help businesses, particularly in the communications sector, include the Broadband Investment Fund, created to help the growth of alternative broadband networks by working with private sector companies. Additionally, Osborne outlined plans to establish an Institute of Coding by forming a panel of experts to shape and oversee its creation, with the aim of providing young people with digital skills like coding. For the technology companies based in the UK, the fact that government is committed to nurturing home-grown digital talent is welcoming.

On the surface then, it seems George’s budget was largely focused on giving small companies a boost, however it also demonstrated the government’s commitment to meeting its overall digital objectives. As part of its aim to support broadband and mobile infrastructure, the government plans to increase ultrafast broadband in the South West to £14.5m. Additionally, the government is set to push ahead with its plans for 5G by setting up a review to examine the benefits of the technology and hopes to have a strategy by 2017. On pioneering technologies, the government committed £10m to fund a data centre to create more accurate stats from big data and advance the development of tech initiatives like driverless cars.

So it looks like George’s latest budget has been one that could potentially have a lot to offer for technology companies, both big and small. What’s more, technology initiatives like driverless cars and big data are still high on the agenda and it’s comforting to know that the UK is still ambitious in its digital plans.

Leke Apena, Senior Account Executive

Introducing: Leah Monteleone

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Tell us a little about your background:

I graduated from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo in June of 2015 with a degree in Communications and Psychology. After a month-long graduation trip to Southeast Asia, I started work at The OutCast Agency where I worked with various B2B and B2C clients.

At my last agency, I was involved in a multitude of projects including: Super Bowl 2016 crisis communication strategizing, cloud computing industry and competitive landscape analysis, proactive story angle and content creation, and interactive team brainstorms.

Prior to OutCast, I interned with South San Francisco biotechnology company, Solazyme, where I supported both the public relations and marketing teams. I also spent a summer interning with the San Francisco Giants as a brand ambassador for their nonprofit organization, The San Francisco Junior Giants. The Jr. Giants were created to provide underprivileged children in the SF area with a summer baseball camp, free of charge. After a couple summers of building brands and sharing their stories, I decided to pursue public relations.

Why are you excited to support Liberty and our clients?

My experience with enterprise, business and consumer tech led me straight to Liberty where I am elated to be a part of the team.

As a lover of reading, writing and storytelling, I knew PR was the perfect career for me. There is nothing more satisfying than being able to tell a captivating yet concise story – especially in technology, for those stories are the most challenging (yet fun!) to tell. In order to convey a compelling story, the narrator must also believe in the company or product. That’s why I chose Liberty – with an impressive lineup of tech clients, I knew I’d have the time of my life!

I am honored to join the Liberty Communications team as the new Junior Account Executive in the San Francisco office. I am ready to ramp up and plan to hit the ground running. I am confident that this is going to be a fun and knowledge-rich ride. I am excited to get the ball rolling and look forward to learning all things Liberty.

What are some of your hobbies?

When I’m not storytelling, I enjoy reading, scuba diving, cooking, traveling and practicing yoga. You can find me at most SF Giants games supporting Joe Panik and Buster Posey or meditating after a long day of pitching reporters. I have recently taken up the piano and I am currently perfecting The Beatle’s infamous “Lucy in the Sky”.

What was the last book you read or song you listened to?

I just finished reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, a heartbreaking historical fiction novel about the Nazis invading France during WWII. Hannah captures WWII from the perspective of the French women in an emotional yet inspiring story.

Relationship goals: Five valuable things I’ve learned in Tech PR so far

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In my first three-months in the Liberty Communications’ San Francisco office I’ve learned that the most important part of working in public relations all boils down to one thing: relationships.

The first relationship I had to build was one with my alarm clock. I mean, I was never the type to sleep-in until noon, but the earliest start time I’ve ever had for a job was 10am. Now, imagine waking up at 6am and having to be fully alert for two hours worth of client calls before your day even starts! Here we are, three months later, my roommates are still in awe when they see me running out of our apartment before they’ve even had breakfast. But I’ve also learned that when you’re headed to a place where you enjoy working and feel motivated, waking up early isn’t actually a chore anymore.

The second important relationship I’ve built over the last few months is with my co-workers. I’ve learned that it’s vital to open up to the people on your teams so that they feel comfortable giving you feedback, which in turn, leads to professional growth. As you continue to work together, they might also introduce you to passions you never knew existed. In my case, I’ve discovered an interest for big data and real-time communications technology.

Next, I’ve learned that the relationships built with journalists, editors and clients are amongst the most important. You thought your mom was harsh about making sure you mail those graduation photos and thank you cards? Ha! Try not answering a clients’ email in a timely fashion, or not doing your research to present relevant information that fits a reporters’ beat before sending a pitch. This is another aspect in which paying attention to detail comes into play, as it’s important to keep the relationship with a reporter in mind, not just settling for the fact that you’ve secured a briefing or a decent piece of coverage.

I’ve seen first hand that trust between a client and their PR team is what builds a great relationship. Once a client sees that we have their best interests at heart, the opportunities to show value are countless. That kind of trust only comes from transparent professional contact, exceptional communication, mutual respect and taking the time to really understand your clients’ needs.

Last, and certainly not least, is the relationship you need to develop with yourself. I’ve been extremely fortunate to join an agency and a team that is more closely-knit than I had originally expected, especially since some of my colleagues are over 5000 miles away in London. The team has helped me focus on my strengths and build on them. It’s truly a remarkable feeling to be a part of Liberty, and I love being able to support my teammates and see the direct effect of my contributions.

As I move into my fourth month working at Liberty Communications, I’ve realized just how much I’ve learned since starting. In college, you learn the concepts and practice your writing but it’s not until you put your education to use that you actually begin to learn that there’s so much more to know. These interpersonal relationships are critical to your success in the exciting – and sometimes challenging – world of tech PR.

Kourtney, Junior Account Assistant

light trails

Bringing Art to Life Through Technology

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There is no question about it; technology has carried art leaps and bounds over the past 100 years. From the progressive development of photography and film, to technologies used on the stage in theatres, the evolution of art is intrinsically linked to technological advancement. The uncertainty of the future is inevitably going to be regarded as exciting and we will never stop fantasising about what is to come, and what this will mean for the art world. One recent exhibition that opened this summer at the Tate Britain in London seems to have discovered the future of technology by travelling back in time through art.

Until now, the 4D experience has only existed in movie theaters. However now it’s time for 4D cinema to take a step back to make room for the 4D art experience. The Tate Sensorium is an incredibly small exhibition with no more than four paintings on display. The creative company Flying Objects partnered up with Tate Britain to tantalise the senses through works of famous artists; Francis Bacon, David Bomberg, Richard Hamilton and John Latham.

The former three purely focus on four senses: taste, touch, smell and sound, to catalyse the audience’s imagination and temporarily transport them back into the era of the artwork, fully immersing them in the painting. However John Latham’s piece, Full Stop, is dedicated to the fifth sense, touch.

By using ultrasound technology, Ultrahaptics and Flying Objects created a physical space which the audience can feel and hold the image portrayed in the painting by touching nothing but air. The ultrasound travels from multiple speakers and reaches the audience’s hands, vibrating to create a sensation as if they were touching the object. The ‘mid-air tactile feedback technology’ allows the audience to feel the object in the painting whilst visually studying it, enhancing the overall experience.

This exhibition has provided us with a concept that seems alien to us; to be able to touch something without touching anything at all. With this in mind, the technology has opened a new area for us to work towards and has given the world a glimpse of what we will see in the future.

Artists are constantly searching for ways to push the boundaries of expressionism and technology has provided the art world with a platform in which to progress. With this latest exhibition, it seems that this combination of art and technology may have already kick-started our ‘future’.

designer dress

Is digital disrupting the fashion industry?

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Looking back at London Fashion Week this September, I’ve enjoyed keeping up to date on what my favourite designers have showcased, and while it’s pouring down with rain right now, I’m already excited for Summer 2016 just so I have an excuse to buy next season’s clothes.

As a self-confessed fashion victim I look forward to this time of year; Fashion Week for me is like CES for the tech industry – brands revealing new products that are set to revolutionise consumers’ lives. This year we’ve seen tech and fashion coming together like never before and the next generation of designers have been building tech into smart products that are both fashionable and functional – yes even that smartwatch that alerts you every time you’ve gained weight.

However, tech has also prompted a change in the Fashion Week’s ethos. Fashion Week used to be a prestigious event that only the elite would be invited to. Now it’s accessible to everyone – whether you’re live streaming a show on your tablet, watching clips on Instagram or gaining backstage access via Snapchat, as designers put social media at front of mind. Burberry, for example, unveiled its Spring/Summer 2016 collection exclusively on Snapchat, effectively opening their show up to a mass audience. But while it’s great that the traditionally snobby and exclusive fashion industry is open to everyone, part of me does feel like that glitz and glamour has been tarnished slightly.

I remember the first time I attended a fashion show at Somerset House (note, I was interning, I wasn’t actually lucky enough to be invited) and the moment I stepped into that room, the buzz was electrifying and the anticipation in the air, well I can’t describe it. But, now we can watch the show in our pyjamas without really experiencing that buzz that the week truly deserves.

Ateliers spend over eight weeks and eighteen hours a day creating one garment and what keeps them going is not just receiving a nod of approval from the designer, but knowing that their masterpiece is going to be published in the fashion bibles such as, Vogue and Vanity Fair. Sadly that isn’t always the case anymore. Images of their creations are now released ahead of the show due to that ‘backstage access’ option on Snapchat and ruined by that Sepia filter. While this is intended– to make it look more ‘edgy’ this frustrates me, as ateliers are not receiving the acknowledgment they deserve. And don’t even get me started on the ‘click to buy’ option that is now available! Remember I mentioned how long designers spend on creating one garment? Well thanks to that ‘click to buy’ option the industry has created a ‘fast fashion’ culture, with high street stores producing cheap, dupe products in a matter of a day – Christian Dior would be turning in his grave right now.

This fast fashion culture makes me wonder whether brands have actually lost control of what they get to showcase during Fashion Week as a result of social media and the pressure for high-street brands to mimic designers’ ensembles, or whether they just need to adapt to technology to keep up with consumer demand to discover and share fast content, anywhere, anytime, on any device.

The fashion industry is known for its elitism and while I might never be personally invited to a show, I do like the idea of the ‘outside looking in’ element that Fashion Week once had. I’m also a bit fed up of seeing the Kardashians at, but that’s a rant for another day (#NotKeepingUpWithTheKardashians). The question I pose today is, and wait for it… Should all forms of communication/social media be banned during Fashion Week? Who knows, maybe the designers who do decide to ban smartphones during their show would create an even bigger buzz and receive the recognition they truly deserve #winning.

Nonetheless, whether you chose to watch the action by smartphone or tablet, in your pyjamas or even on the frow (if you were lucky enough to have been invited), September’s 2015 London Fashion Week has made for some captivating viewing for audiences everywhere.