Posts by Julie Wilson

Delivering The Extraordinary With Outside of Ordinary

We’re delighted to introduce Outside Of Ordinary to Strong’s portfolio of clients.

Specialists in building authentic active and outdoor brands that better connect to people and planet, Outside of Ordinary offers extraordinary thinking for brands looking to create a better future.

Working in close partnership with the agency, Strong will shine a light on Outside of Ordinary’s impactful work, further raising the profile of the expert team and its breadth of exceptional services in a suite of specialist media outlets.

With an impressive roster of clients under Outside of Ordinary’s belt including Adidas Terrex, Montane, Ronhill, TOG24, Alpkit, Mountain Equipment, Ribble Cycles, and the British Mountaineering Council, there are no shortage of powerful stories to tell.

We’re looking forward to sharing them.


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2023: An Award-Winning Year for The Strong Agency

With the arrival of a new year comes the opportunity to pause and reflect on the past.  And what a year 2023 has been for The Strong Agency.

We were delighted see our work recognised in not one but three industry-leading awards, with The Strong Agency crowned:

We were equally thrilled to see Strong founder Julie Wilson acknowledged and awarded Professional of the Year in the 2023 PRCA Dare Awards.  It is the third consecutive year that Jules has received the prestigious accolade and is an achievement of which we are incredibly proud.

October saw a move into new premises for The Strong Agency with us delighted to join the Bruntwood Works community at Bloc.  It’s an incredible office space located in the heart of Manchester and provides Strong’s clients with access to a suite of state-of-the-art facilities.

The move coincided with us welcoming fantastic new talent to the agency, expanding our ever strong PR and marketing communications team.

And it’s not just the team that has grown over the last 12 months.  We’ve been delighted to expand our portfolio of clients in a wide range of sectors.

We’ve launched and promoted some of the UK’s most exciting new hospitality venues including Liverpool’s highest alfresco bar, 360 Sky Bar; Gino D’Acampo’s latest outpost, Gino D’Acampo Boar Lane, in Leeds; and announced Upmarket Leisure’s acquisition of Radio Rooftop, one of London’s most iconic rooftop bars located at ME London hotel.

We were also thrilled to continue our work with the north’s most prestigious art fair, Manchester Art Fair, as it celebrated its 15th edition in the city.  It’s a story we were delighted to document on BBC Northwest Tonight.

We’ve been proud to contribute to the continued growth and success of all Strong’s clients with  Groobarbs Field Kitchen celebrating a hat-trick of food and drink accolades in the 2023 Taste Cheshire awards, Astra Group awarded Wayfinding Project of the Year at the 2023 UK Sign Awards, and Mint Property Finance crowned Best Short-Term Lender in the 2023 What Mortgage Awards.

We’ve navigated the continually evolving business and media landscape and delivered a 100% increase in linked YOY coverage for one client alone.

We move into 2024 with exciting plans in place and look forward to sharing more over the coming weeks and months.

Should you be looking to build your brand, launch a new product, drive increased sales, reach new audiences, or elevate your market position we’d love to discuss how together we can make your business stronger.

Here’s to a wonderful 2024.

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Gino D’Acampo To Open New Premium Italian Restaurant And Bar At INNSiDE Manchester Hotel

We were delighted to close the year with some fantastic news, as we revealed Gino D’Acampo’s plans to launch a new restaurant and bar in the heart of Manchester – Gino D’Acampo Manchester.

The new premium Italian restaurant and bar will open at INNSiDE by Melia hotel in February to follow an extensive £800k refurbishment of the coveted First Street venue, which the acclaimed Italian chef’s experienced team currently operates under the First Street Bar & Kitchen brand.

Designed by renowned international restaurant designer Bernard Carroll, the look and feel of the new premium Italian restaurant and bar will be chic and contemporary, with Gino’s signature feature wallpaper, marble topped tables, brass finishes, and ambient lighting introduced throughout the 200-seated open-plan restaurant and bar lounge.

Behind the scenes, modifications to the restaurant’s kitchen will enable Gino and his esteemed team of chefs to bring his full menu to INNSiDE Manchester, including the Italian chef’s coveted real Neapolitan pizzas, signature dishes, and new table theatre plates, which further enhance the guest experience.

Speaking on the announcement, Gino D’Acampo said: “I couldn’t be more pleased to announce plans for Gino D’Acampo at INNSiDE Manchester. I have a long relationship with the city having opened one of my first restaurants here almost ten years ago and I’m delighted to return to the heart of Manchester, as planned. It has always been our intention to open a Gino here, at the beautiful INNSiDE Manchester hotel, and I’m looking forward to launching this early next year.”

For just a taste of the feature coverage enjoyed in the target trade and regional heartland media, see: The Caterer, Restaurant Online, Hospitality & Catering News, Manchester Evening News, I Love Manchester and The Manc.

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Upmarket Leisure Acquires Iconic Radio Rooftop Bar At ME London

Premium hospitality group Upmarket Leisure has acquired Radio Rooftop, the iconic bar within five-star luxury lifestyle hotel, ME London.

The deal further strengthens the business’s strategic partnership with Meliá Hotels International, Spain’s largest hotel group, with Upmarket Leisure to significantly enhance the luxury lifestyle hotel’s food and beverage offer, bringing further innovation and growth to the design-led venue.

With over 20 years’ senior management expertise in owning, operating, and investing in premium restaurants and bars, the group takes over all food and beverage operations including Radio Rooftop, Marconi Bar, ME events and in-room dining with immediate effect, delivering a five-star experience in-keeping with ME London’s world-class operating standards.

A new menu will be unveiled in autumn, with Asian small plates and an impressive drinks list catering for a stylish and discerning crowd.  A refurbishment of Radio, one of London’s most celebrated rooftop bars, will follow in the New Year.

The development cements Upmarket Leisure’s relationship with Meliá’s ME brand, with whom the business also owns and operates premium Italian restaurant Luciano by Gino D’Acampo.

Speaking on the announcement, Mat Cunningham, Managing Director of Upmarket Leisure, said: “We’re delighted to further extend our valued partnership with Meliá Hotels International with the acquisition of Radio at ME London, together with providing our specialist food and beverage services.  We look forward to introducing a luxury and proudly different offer.”

Garry Fortune, UK Director of Operations at Meliá Hotels International, added: “Upmarket Leisure is a trusted and much respected partner with a proven track record for delivering on performance.  We are thrilled to continue our work together as we mark a decade of design, expression, and restless creativity at ME London hotel.”

Launched in 2013, ME London is an architectural masterpiece bursting with art, music, design, and fine cuisine. Its enviable location, at the heart of London’s most bohemian and cosmopolitan district, provides guests with effortless access to the English capital’s theatres, pubs, boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and live music.

We were pleased to announce the strategic partnership, with widespread industry coverage enjoyed.

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PR Agency Of The Year For The Strong Agency

We were lost for words last night as The Strong Agency was awarded PR Agency of the Year (Small) at the 2023 Prolific North Champions Awards.

The prestigious awards celebrate the top teams, innovative companies, remarkable campaigns and influential people all making their mark on the region.

The win follows an independent and rigorous judging process with each entry individually scored against a set of criteria, followed by a discussion amongst all the judges.  The Strong Agency was recognised for its outstanding work and incredible achievements in what remains one of the most challenging times for UK businesses, with Strong founder, Julie Wilson, proud to receive the accolade.

Also celebrating on the night was BBC Breakfast, awarded Broadcasting Programme of the Year for ‘Rob Burrow: Living With MND’, and 7digital Creative (BBC Radio 2), awarded Audio Production of the Year for ’21st Century Folk.’

The event was hosted by one of the UK’s most decorated Paralympians Danny Crates at Emirates Old Trafford, The Point, and saw 30 trophies presented to the region’s most deserving winners.  Celebrations continued late into the evening.


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The Strong Agency Celebrates At The 2023 MEN Business Awards

It was a proud moment for The Strong Agency last night as the agency was recognised in the 2023 MEN Business Awards.

The prestigious awards, decided by a team of the UK’s leading industry experts, honour the region’s best businesses and the people behind them.

And there was real cause for celebration for Strong, with the agency thrilled to receive the Judges’ Choice Award, in recognition of its outstanding work and business achievements.

Returning for the 31st year the MEN Business Awards celebrate innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, and creativity, shining a light on the fantastic activities businesses are undertaking to make a difference across Greater Manchester.

Also celebrating on the evening was MattressTek who picked up the Global Britain Award, N Brown who received the Innovation Award, Twisted Loom who picked up the Made in Britain Award and Manchester Central who received the Outstanding Contribution to Business Award.  Business of the Year was awarded to Sambro International Ltd, sponsored by Gately Legal.

Speaking on the win, Founder of The Strong Agency, Julie Wilson, said: “Strong was founded with one objective, to deliver great work with great people.  To have that work recognised by the MEN Business Awards and in the company of so many outstanding businesses is incredibly humbling. We’re absolutely thrilled.”

The ceremony was hosted by Olympic sprinter Iwan Thomas MBE and supported by the Manchester Evening News and Reach’s business news site BusinessLive.

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The Strong Agency Nominated In The 2023 MEN Business Awards

The agency is delighted to be nominated in the 2023 MEN Business Awards.

The shortlist, announced today (April 12), sees The Strong Agency nominated for Small Business of the Year, alongside Flowd, Shipster, and Apex Self Storage Ltd.

The prestigious awards honour the region’s best businesses and the people behind them.  Back for the 31st year the awards celebrate innovation, entrepreneurship, technology, and creativity, shining a light on the fantastic activities businesses are undertaking to make a difference across Greater Manchester.

Speaking on the news Strong Founder, Julie Wilson, said: “To be shortlisted in this year’s MEN Business Awards and alongside so many fantastic businesses is an incredibly proud moment.  We’re looking forward to celebrating with our fellow nominees and enjoying what promises to be a fantastic night.”

Amongst the high profile Greater Manchester businesses shortlisted are THG, N Brown Group,  Auto Trader UK, TalkTalk and Lookers PLC.

Winners will be announced at an exclusive awards ceremony at Kimpton Clocktower Hotel on May 11th, 2023.

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Strong Shortlisted In The 2023 Prolific North Champions Awards

We’re over the moon to be a finalist in the 2023 Prolific North Champions Awards.

The shortlist, announced today, sees The Strong Agency nominated for PR Agency of the Year (up to 20 employees).

The prestigious awards celebrate top talent across the North’s thriving creative, digital, tech, media and marketing sectors, and are one of the biggest and most respected industry events in the North.

The shortlist follows an independent and rigorous judging process with each entry individually scored against a set of criteria, followed by a discussion amongst all the judges.

Winners will be announced at a high-profile event at Emirates Old Trafford, The Point, on May 18th.

We’re looking forward to joining our industry peers and raising a glass to what promises to be a great night.

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The Strong Agency Delivers With Groobarbs Wild Farm

We’re pleased to announce we’ve been appointed by Groobarbs Wild Farm to manage the business’s communications.

The twofold contract sees The Strong Agency responsible for promoting the business’s newly launched field-to-fork restaurant, Groobarbs Field Kitchen, located on the farm’s estate in High Legh, Cheshire.

Opened in late 2022, the Kitchen, founded by husband-and-wife team, David and Becky Fryer, and led by Head Chef, Mark Price, sees an emphasis on ‘true seasonal dining’ with dishes centred around produce freshly harvested from the Kitchen’s 6.5-acre market garden just metres away.  It’s absolutely incredible and we (and the Manchester Evening News) highly recommend you try it.

The agency will also work with Groobarbs to promote the farm’s vegetable box delivery business, Groobox, as it enters the next phase of expansion.  Established in 2014, the business delivers locally grown produce to customers over a 35-mile radius reaching as far as Buxton, Bury, Liverpool, and Stoke on Trent.

Work is already well underway with an integrated business and consumer communications campaign designed to drive awareness, web traffic, reservations, and sales.

Speaking on the business’s decision to appoint Strong, owner of Groobarbs Wild Farm, David Fryer, said: “The Strong Agency’s passion for what we’re doing coupled with its extensive knowledge of the hospitality, food and beverage, and retail sectors impressed us from the off.  They’ve already contributed considerable value to the business; we’re looking forward to the months ahead.”

It’s a dream brief for the agency combining our love of the outdoors with our passion for food, leisure, and hospitality.  We couldn’t be more pleased to work together.

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Strong Founder Recognised At PRCA Dare Awards

It was a proud moment for The Strong Agency on Monday as agency founder, Julie Wilson, was recognised in the PRCA Dare Awards, North West.

The prestigious awards, decided by a team of the UK’s leading industry experts, strive to seek out and reward the very best PR & communications professionals in the country.

And there was double cause for celebration for Strong as Jules was recognised in two categories, proudly receiving the title Professional of the Year 2022, an award that recognises outstanding performance and an individual’s significant contribution to the industry, and Outstanding Contribution During Covid-19.

This accolade recognises those who have gone above and beyond during the global pandemic and have volunteered their knowledge and expertise to support colleagues in their efforts to adapt to the demands of the crisis.  The award also celebrates those who have overcome challenging circumstances, championed professional standards and delivered exceptional support to the public relations community in 2021.

Speaking on the achievement, Jules said:  “The last 12 months have seen many examples of businesses selflessly and determinedly uniting to support one another through this difficult time.  To have our own contribution to the industry during Covid-19 recognised and receive these accolades is therefore incredibly humbling.

“It’s an absolute privilege to have been able to support our clients and peers through the pandemic and our thanks go to them for putting their trust in us during a period of such uncertainty.  Their continued success is the greatest reward we could ask for.”

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is the world’s largest professional PR body and represents more than 35,000 PR professionals in 82 countries worldwide. With offices in London, Hongkong, Dubai, Singapore, and Buenos Aires, the PRCA is a global advocate for excellence in public relations.

The awards were announced at a ceremony at Manchester Hall on Monday June 13th.  A Grand Prix ceremony will be hosted later in the year.

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