As the year draws to a close, life on Dame Street is reflecting the festive season. The Viking Splash Tours we’re so used to hearing during the warmer months have all but stopped passing by; the windows of the businesses around us are lighting up earlier and earlier as the day dims; the sound of stilettos on the pavement and the glint of glitter worn by passers-by tell us Christmas is here and one of the world’s best known stories is ready to be told again.
Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve up to in 2017
Storytelling and Confidence – underpinning everything we do
“It feels like there has been an upsurge in the popularity of storytelling this year. But, more than that, people are really beginning to understand the value of good stories as a tool for businesses, for brands, for products,” Cilian says. As Ireland’s leading storytelling expert, it’s no surprise that Cilian has been in high demand as a speaker and has spent a lot of 2017 on the road at conferences, seminars and workshops both here in Ireland and abroad.
Political Intelligence @ Work was top of Natasha’s agenda this year. Political Intelligence is all about understanding how power and politics really work in an organisation. Natasha spoke on the topic at many events throughout the year including a number of Image Networking Breakfasts, Mentoring Workshops and the Professional Women’s Network (PWN). In June, she hosted her own sold-out event at The Westbury, Dublin. Natasha also delivered storytelling workshops to the European Central Bank (ECB) in Heidelberg and Frankfurt this year.
From small acorns, mighty Oaks grow. For the past four years, Cilian has been mentoring start-ups in San Francisco, helping them develop their stories in preparation for pitching to investors. As these start-ups mature, it’s great to see them bearing fruit. One of his most successful companies, Molekule, was recently named one of the best inventions of 2017 by Time magazine and one of the ‘top start-ups to watch’ by Business Insider.
Cilian also began working with a number of companies based in China this year. With his help, these companies are recrafting the narrative of China as a country that simply makes cheap products for others, to one that creates powerful, indigenous brands. This transition from being merely affordable, to now being actually desirable, is one of the most significant global shifts in the story of modern manufacturing and retail.
We’re very proud to be working with Quinnipiac University on the Famine-related art exhibition, Coming Home: Art and the Great Hunger. In 2018, for the first time ever, the collection will travel from its home at Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, Connecticut to Dublin, Cork and Derry. We look forward to the exhibition’s opening in March. Watch this space.
After three years, Project Slándáil (607691), a pan-European research project that looked at the use of social media in disaster management, came to an end. Cilian and Rebecca will be continuing to work with Trinity College on two spin-off companies from the project. Meanwhile, Rebecca is actively looking for more work that involves European travel!
Connections over Column Inches
We always strive to stay ahead of the curve and give our clients the best service possible. With the way the world consumes media changing so rapidly, at Stillwater we believe that PR is becoming less about column inches, and more about influencing and connecting with the right people.
From Plan International Ireland’s Lost Girls event, in partnership with The Irish Times Women’s Podcast, to Optimise Design’s Home Truths series of events for homeowners and renovators, to Elave’s Baby Safe Skincare bloggers brunch, we focused on targeting smaller yet more engaged and receptive audiences for our clients.
The charity sector has come through a tough time in the last few years. It’s had to work hard to rebuild trust with donors and funders that are very conscious of how and where money is being spent. We have worked with the Charities Institute Ireland (Cii) and its members on their strategic communications, including how to continue to build trust with the public as well as deal with the media, especially during a crisis.
In July we began working with Jigsaw – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health. We’ve been helping them to develop their core messaging and story, as well as launch their annual report which set an ambitious bar for Ireland as a global leader in youth mental health research and support services.
Stillwater has found an unexpected niche in the area of raising awareness of the impact psoriasis has on the more than 120,000 people in Ireland living with the condition. This year, we worked with Flaky Fashionista, Helen Hanrahan, on the Psoriasis Shout Out as well as Blathnáid Ní Chofaigh who, ahead of World Psoriasis Day, opened up about her personal experience of living with the auto-immune disease.
We also worked with our friends at Appassionata Flowers as they brought their distinctive, sophisticated style to a brand new store in Cornelscourt.
After their IFTA award last year, Cilian and his team received the award for Best Entertainment for RTÉ’s Centenary at the Celtic Media Festival. Sheena added to the Stillwater gongs, by collecting her post-grad in Human Rights & Equality Studies at Dublin Castle. Sarah Kilduff said goodbye to the Stillwater team but she gave us a great ‘day out’ at her wedding in June.
Travelling was once again top of the list this year with Natasha checking into a writing and singing retreat on the Greek island of Skyros. Rebecca travelled to northern and southern India with her father and brothers this autumn, whilst Martina was granted a rare evening out at James Blunt in the 3 Arena! Meanwhile, Niamh is getting very excited about her trip to Sri Lanka in January.
From all of us here at Stillwater Communications, we’d like to thank you for your business and support throughout 2017. We wish you a very happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in the new year.