Innovate UK competition winners' communications toolkit
Competition winners' communications toolkit 1
Competition Winners'Communications & Media Toolkit
Congratulations!Your project has reached the stage where it has been awarded
InnovateUK is all about helping innovative ideas to flourish, and effective business
communications is a vital part of any enterprise’s path to growth. That is why we
encourageyou wholeheartedly to take a proactiveapproach to communications.
To help out, we’ve put together this Competition Winners’ Communications &
Media Toolkit. It’s intended to help you, no matter how big or small the projector
your PR knowledgeis.
The toolkit covers:
1. Announcement checklist
2. Your story – in-housePR
3. Social media and InnovateUK
a. PR agencies
b. InnovateUK descriptors
Even if you are a communications expert, we hope that you will find parts of the
toolkit useful. We would greatly appreciate your feedback so that we can
continuously improvethe supportweoffer, sharebest practice and success stories.
Competition winners' communications toolkit 2
So you are ready to makeyour announcement. What next?
i. Let us know, get in touch
Firstly, let us know whatyou plan to do. Shareyour final press release to
firstname.lastname@example.org or callus on 07766 901 150. If wearedoing our own
communication activity relevant to your projectwe will let you know. By being co-
ordinated we can bestamplify all our communication, so let’s keep in touch.
We are not here to vet or to approveyour announcement; we are here to help if
you need it. We positively encourageyou to publicise your projectand wish you
every success. Many of the companies we fund find that they get stronger traction
in the media or can appear more credible to potential customers, partners or other
investors if they can demonstrate their supportfrom InnovateUK. So let Innovate
UK be part of the story you tell too. This toolkit shows you how you can do this.
iii. Government ministerial support
Sometimes governmentministers may wantto make an announcementin which
your projectfeatures. If this happens we will let you know and to make sureyour
announcement is co-ordinated with governmentto get maximum impact. If you are
the lead partner of a consortium, please ensurethat all of the partners in your
projectare aware of this approach to media activity.
iv. How todescribe the support fromInnovate UK
When you mention InnovateUK in your announcement please spell it out in full. We
like to be described as ‘Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency’. Here’s our full
description weuseon our press releases that you’rewelcome to usetoo:
Competition winners' communications toolkit 3
Innovate UK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses
to develop and realise the potential of new ideas.
We connectbusinesses to the partners, customersand investors that can help them
turn ideas into commercially successfulproductsand servicesand business growth.
We fund business and research collaborationsto accelerate innovation and drive
business investment into R&D. Our support is available to businesses acrossall
economic sectors, value chainsand UK regions.
Innovate UK is partof UK Research and Innovation.
For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org
Also, as a way of linking us to your work weencourage you to consider detailing why
InnovateUK funding and supportwill make a difference to your work going forward,
perhaps through a quote fromyour spokesperson.
Itis vital the funding figures are accurate and wherefunding is split between
InnovateUK and businesses within a project(for example, as part of our
collaborative R&D programme), please usethe wording such as - “co-fundedby the
UK’s innovationagency, Innovate UK”.
If your projectis being undertaken by a consortium, makethis clear too. Get
approvalfromthe lead partner of the consortium or, if you are the lead partner,
ensurethat the other partners are happy.
Funding fromInnovateUK comes in various forms, so wehave prepared
descriptions of each of them for you use – they can be found in the Appendices.
v. Quote request for your press release
As you can appreciate, we run severalcompetitions and fund a lot of companies, so
we receive a lot of requests for quotes. We don’t havethe capacity to offer quotes
on an individual basis to competition winners. However, pleasecheck when
contacting us in the first instance as we may have written and shared our own news
Competition winners' communications toolkit 4
story abouta specific competition result and be able to providean agreed quote
related to that.
vi. Think about who you want to tell about your story
When you come to publicising your project, think about who might want to know
about your success as this will help you target your communications effectively. This
could rangefrom other figures in your industry, an industry body you’rea member
of, members of the local community to potential customers and investors or multi-
The media is a great way to reach large and diverseaudiences, but you can also try a
more direct approach. For example, we’re often told by MPs and other elected
representatives that they are very keen to hear about companies and projects in
their areas that have been funded by InnovateUK. So why not drop them a line and
tell them about your success atthe sametime you’recontacting journalists – they
may even wantto provideyou with a supportivequote for your press release or visit
you. You can find contact details for all your local representatives here:
vii. Innovate UK brand and logoguidelines
Although our logo is not needed on your press release, weencourage you to use it
on other stakeholder publicity material.
The ‘Funded by InnovateUK’ logo pack can be downloaded from Dropbox here
%20pack%202018.zip?dl=0 and should be used for the following purposes:
To highlight funded projects on your website
In promotionalliterature for your products such as posters, event banners
On vehicles (whereappropriate)
Competition winners' communications toolkit 5
For guidance on positioning please contact the InnovateUK brand guardian:
To ensurelegibility of the logo it should never be smaller than 20mm
The recommended maximum width of the logo is three fifths of the document
Your story – in-house PR
In-housePRcan be much more cost-effective. You do not have to spend the time
educating an external agency all about your projectand by doing your own PR, you
have an even greater stakein its success. Even in a communication world
transformed by socialmedia the role of crafting an effective press release is the
foundation of effective public relations.
You have to put yourself in the place of a journalist. As this guide
press-releasesuggests, ask yourself thesequestions:
1. Is there anything 'new' in my story?
2. Is there anything unusualor unexpected aboutit?
3. Would this be of interest to anyoneoutside my business?
4. Will anyoneactually care?
Then you mustcarefully structureyour press release. Startwith the mostimportant
information. The introduction should address the who, what, why, when and how of
your project. Leave the least important information at the end of the release. This is
known as the inverted pyramid structure.
The part of the press releaseyou should spend the most amount of your time
getting right is your quote. Journalists like to put a name and a face to a story, so the
language you use in the quote is crucial, as this often is the only thing they will use.
Competition winners' communications toolkit 6
Do not wasteopportunities by using phrases such as “We are delighted...”, or “I am
pleased…', becauseas question 4 (above) asks: Will anyoneactually care?
Use your quote to state the tangible benefits of your project, such as: How it saves
money, how it is good for the environment, how it creates new jobs. Essentially,
anything that is positiveand new.
Do not neglect the power of images. You are much more likely to secure great
coverageif you havecompelling visuals. Business pages arefull of pictures of
middle-aged white men in suits, so try to find something that will stand out. If your
projectis at a conceptual stage, investing in computer generated imagery or other
concept artwork may well be cost-effective.
Finally, do not forgetthe basics. Makesureyour press release is dated. State clearly
whether there is any embargo. Ensure there are full contact details (phone, email,
social media links etc.).
Now you need to get your press release to its audience. Firstly make surethat the
news section on your websiteis clearly sign-posted. To drive people to your news
there are various things you can do. We will address socialmedia later in this guide,
but an email distribution list is still an effective channel. Identifying your audience
may take a lot of Googling or picking the brains of people you trust with the right
If you have the budget you may wish to invest in using a media database. There are
many on the marketand you will need to investigate which is going to meet your
needs cost-effectively. A Google search brings up many competing prod
Social media and Innovate UK
The way that individuals and organisations communicatehas been transformed by
social media in a fantastically shortspace of time.
Not all social media channels are the same. A tweet can be very differentto a
posting on LinkedIn. Not all social media channels may be right for every company
so it is best to prioritise as you can’tbe everywhereand you can’t supportevery
Competition winners' communications toolkit 7
platform. Before choosing which social media channels you may wish to engage with
– and bear in mind engaging often means starting a conversation, not just
broadcasting – ask yourself these questions?:
1. Who is your audience?
2. What is your message?
3. What value is there to your audience in your post?
4. What tone of voice is right?
When you are ready to go, don’t forgetto say hi to InnovateUK by using
@innovateuk in your tweets. We’ll say hi back so you know you’reup and running!
a) PR agencies
One way of potentially maximising publicity for your project is to engage a PR
agency. They have expertise in getting companies’ messages through to the media.
That expertise comes fromexperience with dealing with many clients and having
frequent contact with journalists, leading to a thorough understanding of the media
and its myriad outlets.
The most important factor in any PR agency's success with you, the client, is a great
relationship based on trustand a thorough understanding of your business. Itcan be
a big – and potentially expensive – step to employ a PR agency, so ask for
recommendations frompeople you trustand look for testimonials.
A good starting point for you is the trade association for public relations agencies in
the UK, the PRCA. http://www.prca.org.uk/membership/directory
b) Innovate UK descriptors
Standard Innovate UK description:
Competition winners' communications toolkit 8
InnovateUK drives productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses
to develop and realise the potential of new ideas.
We connect businesses to the partners, customers and investors thatcan help them
turn ideas into commercially successfulproducts and services and business growth.
We fund business and research collaborations to accelerate innovation and drive
business investmentinto R&D. Our support is available to businesses across all
economic sectors, valuechains and UK regions.
InnovateUK is part of UK Research and Innovation.
For more information visit www.innovateuk.ukri.org
Catapults: Catapult centres are overseen by InnovateUK and are places where the
best of the UK’s innovative businesses and researchers work together to bring new
products and services more quickly to commercialisation. Focusing on areas with
great market potential, Catapults open up global opportunities for the UK and
generate economic growth for the future. For moreinformation, please visit
Industrial Strategy ChallengeFund: The IndustrialStrategy Challenge Fund aims to
bring together the UK’s world leading research with business to meet the major
industrial and societal challenges of our time. The fund was created to provide
funding and supportto UK businesses and researchers, partof the government’s
£4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. Itwas
designed to ensurethat research and innovation takes centre stagein the
Government’s IndustrialStrategy and is run by InnovateUK and the Research
Councils on behalf of UK Research and Innovation.
SBRI: The SBRI programmeuses the power of governmentprocurement to drive
innovation. Itprovides opportunities for innovativecompanies to engage with the
public sector and gain contracts to solvespecific problems. Competitions for new
technologies and ideas are run on specific topics and aim to engage a broad range of
organisations. SBRI enables the public sector to engage with industry during the
Competition winners' communications toolkit 9
early stages of development, supporting projects through thestages of feasibility
and prototyping. https://www.gov.uk/innovation-apply-for-a-funding-award#find-
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships(KTPs): KTPs or Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
http://ktp.innovateuk.org is Europe's leading programmehelping businesses to
improvetheir competitiveness by enabling companies to work with higher
education or research and technology organisations to obtain knowledge,
technology or skills which they consider to be of strategic competitive importance.
The UK- wide programmeis overseen by InnovateUK, the UK’s innovation agency,
and supported by 16 other public sector funding organisations.
Missions: InnovateUK supports key events known as entrepreneur ‘missions'run in
partnership with UK Trade and Investment. Missionsinvolvethepick of innovative
and often early-stageUK companies in InnovateUK priority areas or themes
including digital, healthcare or clean technology travelling to countries strong in
innovation and enterprise, such as the US, China and Brazil. While there the
companies have the opportunity to make new connections and meet potential
investors, suppliers and customers and grow their business internationally.
InnovateUK does not endorseany of the products, services or companies
mentioned in this guide. Itmentions sources of information that you may or may
not chooseto investigate. InnovateUK does not take any legal responsibility for any
courseof action competition winners may chooseto take.