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Members Spotlight: James Hayward-Browne - Bottled Imagination

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22 May 2024

In this months members spotlight we were joined by James Hayward-Browne from Bottled Imagination! A creative digital PR agency creating industry-leading campaigns from Colony’s Flint Glass Works venue. We caught up with James to learn more about what they do and how they do it.

Meet Bottled Imagination! A creative digital PR agency crafting industry-leading campaigns from Colony’s vibrant Flint Glass Works venue. This talented team use collaboration and creativity to send brand awareness and sales soaring (for new and established names alike).

For this Member Spotlight, we caught up with the James Hayward-Browne, Co-founder and Marketing Director of Bottled Imagination, to learn more about what they do, why they chose Manchester (and Colony) to set up shop, and how they plan to continue standing out in an ever-evolving and saturated market.

Hey James! Thanks for taking the time. Can you tell us a bit about your business and what you do?

Hey! We are Bottled Imagination. We’re a creative digital PR agency that builds brands through high-impact creative PR campaigns. Our winning formula is combining wild imagination and strategic expertise to generate earned media, drive web traffic and boost online visibility for our clients.

Every day we aim to bring the best of the best together - to collaborate on exciting projects, and produce work that makes the competition jealous and our clients proud, all while being a supportive and inspirational place to work.

To learn more about our inception, our work (and potential job opportunities), visit our website!

What’s one of your favourite things about working in Manchester?

We’re originally from Sheffield but we decided to set the agency up 30 miles across the Pennines for a reason - Manchester has an incredible buzz around it. And for a company that’s designed to make noise for their clients, setting up here, and building our team around this great city just felt like the right move. We love being here because there’s always something going on - a new food place to try, a new coffee shop to discover – we’re surrounded by inspiration and we’re never stuck on team social ideas..

As we are already moving quickly through 2024, what are some of the challenges facing your industry today?

It’s no secret that there are a lot of PR and Digital Marketing agencies for brands to choose from (especially in Manchester). But there are also more brands than ever for consumers to choose from. So the real challenge for all of us is figuring out how to stand out and be front of mind.

Luckily, our whole USP is to stand out by helping others stand out – in fact, we sell it by the bottle.! And though everything we do is backed by solid data, we’ve hung our hat on imagination, creativity and original thinking (check our case studies to get a glimpse of that).

Haha. I have to say, I’ve never been made to feel sympathy for public toilets before spotting your campaign for Victorian Plumbing! Original indeed.

How do you expect the role of digital PR in Digital Marketing to evolve in the coming years, and what skills and expertise do you think will be most valuable for your business to possess?

A lot of digital marketing is fully concentrated on Artificial Intelligence right now (and rightfully so in a lot of instances). It’s an incredible tool that can be used for a whole host of things – from data analysis to improving operational efficiency. But ultimately, people still buy from, and connect with, people and AI can’t (yet) replace human creativity and connection. So I think our role as PR experts in this increasingly technological world is to double-down on creating campaigns that resonate with people’s emotions. To craft and tell stories that reach people on a truly human level.

TL;DR: Being able to tell your brand’s story in a way that resonates with your target customer on a deep level is going to become more important than ever.

Given the requirements of your business, how have you found the step up from coworking to full-time office space?

Moving from our coworking memberships to a dedicated office has been great for us as a business. When it was just the 3/4 of us in the early days we could sit round one table in the co-working space and it was fine. But as 5, 6 and 7 joined us, we were quickly taking over the space and it felt like the logical next step to take our own private office with Colony.

Having our own private space has definitely brought us all closer together as a team, especially because we’ve been able to make it our own. Taking that office was a really cool, exciting moment for us. We are still very much in the business of people though, and we love to hang out in the shared spaces still for meetings, coffee and chill-time!

What exciting projects / plans (that you can tell us about) have you in store for the year ahead?

Ah, we’ve got lots of exciting projects in the pipeline but one that we’re really excited to share is our partnership with the iconic fashion brand, Bench, who recently chose us to lead their PR activity across the summer.

To celebrate their 35th year in business, we’ll be helping Bench to emphasise their milestone achievements and contributions to the fashion industry over the last few decades, as well as helping to promote their latest collection to a fresh audience. We’ll mostly be doing this by managing their reactive PR activity, influencer engagement, and with an appropriately epic PR event!

Katy Powell, Co-founder and PR Director at Bottled Imagination commented: “This is the perfect brief for us. We’re looking forward to working alongside an amazing team at Bench, bringing innovation and creativity to make some noise around an incredibly nostalgic brand!”

James, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. We’ve loved watching Bottled Imagination grow within Colony, and we look forward to seeing you guys continue to soar!

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