Ptarmigan Academy

Hello and welcome to the Ptarmigan Academy 2010/2011 blog.

You may already be aware of the Ptarmigan Academy but for those of you who are not, please let me introduce you to the project.

Starting in February 2010, Ptarmigan Bell Pottinger – a Leeds based PR firm – offered public relations students from Leeds Metropolitan University a chance to become the first ever Ptarmigan Academy. Students were given the opportunity to form groups and pitch campaign ideas to the Ptarmigan staff. The winning team was then invited to work alongside Ptarmigan for that academic year, working on real PR campaigns and with real life clients. The winning team would also get the chance to work closely with Nathan Lane, Managing Director of Ptarmigan, to develop their skills and get a real taste of life working within an agency.

After a very successful year for the winning team, Ptarmigan decided to run the same project for a second year.

The brief was to plan and develop a three month PR campaign for the Leeds Corn Exchange starting in November. A fictional budget of £10,000 was allocated to ensure that each team developed their ideas within reason. The budget allowed teams to show they have conducted research into their ideas and carefully develop a well-structured and well thought out campaign.

A group of course mates and I were keen to get involved, realising it would be an amazing opportunity to gain agency experience, working with a well established company. The opportunity to work alongside the Ptarmigan team and gain experience from their years of experience in the profession was just too good to turn down.

After conducting research with shoppers and shop owners, we realised that the objective of the campaign should be to create sustained, long-term interest in the Corn Exchange, and not focused on obtaining the maximum amount of coverage in the shortest period of time. Our campaign, ‘Your Corn Exchange’, involved increasing, improving and synchronizing social media tactics to help build mutual relationships, involving two-way communication with our target audience. We wanted to give something back to those who took advantage of the Corn Exchange so we decided to give them vouchers, offers and free entry to prize draws. We also wanted our target audience to be part of moulding the shopping complex back to its former glory through clothing design competitions where winning garments would be stocked in a Corn Exchange store. We had many more ideas, (perhaps too many), as we are a very creative lot!

The pitch went really well and after checking my email several times for feedback, we decided that the verdict wasn’t coming and we should call it a day. Just as I’d drove the girls home, I received an email. It was an email from Ptarmigan, we’d won!

We were delighted with the result and the feedback provided. The team worked really hard on the pitch, amongst other final year responsibilities, and it was great to see our work had paid off.

We can’t wait to get started working on our first campaign at Ptarmigan, Challenge 66. Please visit for more details.

The unique opportunity that Ptarmigan is providing students is helping them to experience an area of PR they may not have encountered– the pitch process.

On behalf of the team I must say a massive thank you to Ptarmigan for the opportunity to work as their 2010/2011 academy. Another huge thank you to Nathan Lane and Adam Burns of Ptarmigan and Louise Smith from Leeds Corn Exchange, for inviting us to pitch and taking the time to engage with students to help them to develop their careers.

Please check back soon for further blog entries.



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