The Challenger Sessions

We host regular virtual events, bringing in inspiring speakers from across the PR & marketing industry to share powerful work and explore challenger brand thinking. 

For more information or for copies of the recordings contact Kayleigh Paget  

  • Communicating D&I: How to cut through and inspire change



    • Jo Scott, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer – Lloyd’s
    • Jo Pursaill, Director of Talent – ManpowerGroup
    • Claire Rudall, Executive Director, Business & Corporate – Good Relations

    Communicating D&I is about more than just showcasing initiatives on offer for minority groups across the business, it’s about celebrating a true sense of belonging for every individual, regardless of their background.

    Join us and our guest speakers and we’ll be exploring ways to engage internal and external audiences through strategic communications and creative executions that bring to life D&I ambitions and practices, and inspire meaningful cultural change.

  • Influencer & Partnership Marketing: The Age of Collaborative Creativity



    • Anton Reyniers, Creative Agency Partnerships Lead – Google
    • Will Humphries, Senior Entertainment Manager – Unilever
    • Tom Sneddon, Social & Content Director, Consumer – Good Relations

    With the rise and rise of Influencer Marketing and Brand Partnerships, collaborative creativity has opened up a new playing field for brands to reach audiences by identifying and integrating with the culturally cool IP that is born from digital channels.

    But what challenges do brand’s face to stand out from the crowd? How should they adapt to keep pace with the rapidly changing digital landscape and what might be the long term impact on how to measure performance?

    Join us as we discuss how brands can find their place in the new creative landscape with a leading digital marketeer and experienced entertainment platform strategist.


  • How to cut through the noise with purpose driven campaigning?



    • Kerry Thorpe, Head of Communications Europe, Ben & Jerry’s
    • Maeve Atkins, External Comms Lead, Budweiser Brewing Group UK & I
    • Aarti Bulsara, Head of Activation at Good Relations

    The events of the past eighteen months have led to an explosion in purpose-driven campaigning in the communications world.

    Consumer expectations for brands to play a role in creating a better world have never been so high and accordingly smart comms professionals have renewed their focus on communicating the role their brand is playing to rally against the big issues of the day.

    But amidst a sea of purpose driven campaigns, what are the creative secrets to ensuring your campaign truly cuts through the noise and delivers meaningful impact?

  • How to create campaigns that truly connect with SME leaders?



    • Fergus Campbell, Head of Corporate communications at eBay Group
    • James Hurley, Enterprise editor at The Times
    • Neil Bayley, MD, Business and Corporate at Good Relations

    SMEs are the backbone of the British economy. In 2020, they employed 16.8 million people and generated an estimated turnover of £2.3 trillion.

    That’s why making a connection with SME leaders is a key part of many B2B marketing and corporate reputation campaigns. But they’ve been hit hard by Covid-19, with research earlier this year predicting more than 250,000 small businesses are at risk of collapse.

    The pressure on leaders to fight their way through to recovery is immense. Their commitment has never been in question, but the nature and scale of their challenges has changed thanks to the pandemic, Brexit, new ways of working and a host of influences shaping their markets.

    The battle for their attention is intense and picking the right channels of influence has never been more difficult. What issues do they really care about right now? What kind of action or insights inspire them? How can you build campaigns that cut through to truly connect SME leaders with your brand?

    Join us to hear one of the UK’s foremost opinion leading journalists, a successful brand campaigner and experienced strategist discuss how to give campaigns the edge to cut through with SME leaders in a recovering economy.



  • Cannes: Creativity Recapped



    • Danny Rogers, Editor-in-Chief, UK & EMEA, PR Week and Brand Republic Group
    • Ben Winter, Executive Creative Director, Good Relations
    • Ollie Edwards, Earned Creative Director, Good Relations

    The superyachts and magnums of rose may have been missing this year, but there was still plenty of creative excellence at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to float your boat.

    Join the Good Relations creative team and guest speaker Danny Rogers, Editor-in-Chief, UK & EMEA, PR Week, as we chart a path through some of the key creative trends from this year’s festival.

    We’ll analyse some of the famous and lesser known campaigns, applying an ‘earned first’ lens, to unpick the secrets of their success for PR and communications professionals.

  • Employee engagement: The Key to Building a More Resilient Workforce 



    • Lydia Howard, Internal Communications & Engagement Lead, Ted Baker
    • Eleanor Tweddell, Author, Podcast host and Founder, Another Door
    • Huw Morgan, Director of Employee Engagement at Good Relations

    The pandemic has sharpened our focus on the need for employee wellbeing and resilience; our ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune, adversity and change.

    Research during the pandemic has shown a strong correlation between resilience and an engaged and motivated workforce.

    But resilience is not something we’re born with. It’s developed over time and through experience and we all respond to stress and adversity in different ways. There is no one size fits all solution.

    In our latest employee engagement event we’ll be discussing and sharing tips on how we can play a vital role in helping our organisations to build resilient employees and teams by instilling a sense of purpose and reframing failures, challenges and setbacks as a learning opportunity.


  • Building Confidence in the Return to the Office



    • Clare Marland, Workspace
    • Guy Montague-Jones, React News
    • James Ralph, Good Relations

    Whether or not life restarts on the 21st June 2021, smart real-estate communicators are already looking ahead to 2022 and beyond. Covid-19 has undoubtedly disrupted the norms of office working, so as the world begins to return to work, how can those with prime real estate on their books rebuild confidence in the value of purpose-built offices?

    In our next Challenger Session, we’ll be exploring the stories we should be telling to build back confidence amongst key stakeholders; from employees and employers to investors and the wider market.

    We’ll hear insights from Clare Marland at Workspace and Guy Montague-Jones at React News on the role communicators have to play in showing the value of matching businesses with the right workspace.

  • Finding your Reputation Building Strategy in a Recovering World



    • Rupert Gowrley, Bupa Group
    • Nick Jones, Experian Group
    • Neil Bayley, Good Relations

    Work from home. Maintain service. Support the NHS. Keep workers safe. Open safely. Help customers. Care for the vulnerable. Protect jobs. Streamline to survive.

    The business communications agenda during the Covid-19 pandemic has been shaped by unprecedented challenges and needs. We’ve seen many organisations find their feet, adapt and take on new roles shaped by their purpose and values. 

    But what’s the role for businesses as we thankfully move into this new phase of recovery?  The world in which they operate has changed dramatically. Health and wellbeing has taken on a new level of importance. Economic prosperity is returning for some sectors and segments of society, but others have been deeply affected. 

    The global landscape looks drastically different, so how has this impacted the way brands see their future growth and role in enabling progress? And what does this mean for their communications strategies and reputation goals?

    Join us for a panel discussion with senior speakers from Bupa and Experian to hear their thoughts, experiences and ambitions for reputation building in a recovering world.

  • Engaging the Retail Consumer of the Future



    • Liv Walker, Depop
    • Peter Gasston, VCCP
    • Madison Schill, Livescale

    The past twelve months has seen the trend for online shopping accelerate at a startling pace. Deloitte’s global consumer tracker recorded five years of growth in online market share in a matter of weeks and recent statistics indicate that some changes in consumer behaviour are here to stay.

    In our next Challenger Session, we’ll be exploring the latest global trends in marketing that are fuelling this dramatic shift to online retail and how brands can use communications to engage the retail consumer of the future. 


  • Engaging Communities to Inspire Action



    • Lucy Dormandy, Aviva
    • Sabrina Nixon, British Red Cross

    Our next Challenger Session event will look at the role of communications in mobilising communities to provide local support, inspiring individuals to take action, and sparking local initiatives.

    We’ll explore the role of creative storytelling, the content and channels that are most effective in targeting and engaging new communities and the power of corporate/ NGO collaboration in building advocacy and support amongst volunteers, influencers and policymakers.


  • Marketing to women: Connecting authentically in 2021



    • Charlotte Davies, LinkedIn
    • Tanja Grubner, Bodyform, an Essity brand

    This year’s International Women’s Day saw brands championing female empowerment, tackling taboos and, crucially, highlighting the disproportionate impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on women.

    In this session, we’ll explore how brands can authentically connect with women and help forge a gender equal world as they embark on strategic planning for life post Covid.

    We’re delighted to welcome guest speakers from LinkedIn, who will be sharing insights from their first global IWD campaign, and Bodyform, who will go behind the scenes on their award-winning #Wombstories campaign and their latest #Painstories activation.


  • Talking to Gen Alpha: The New Rules of Engagement



    • Helenor Gilmour & Pete Maginn, Beano Brain
    • Saffron Clague, LEGO Group

    Generation Alpha is the demographic cohort succeeding Generation Z, a generation set to exceed two billion people worldwide by 2025, and one with dramatically different behaviours and values to those before it.

    But who really is Gen Alpha? And how can brands meet their expectations; both in terms of matching their activist spirit and providing interactive, responsive digital experiences? 

    David Wiles, Executive Director, Consumer at Good Relations will be chairing this session featuring guest speakers from two leading lights in youth marketing, Beano and LEGO Group.


  • Creating partnerships to drive sustainable change



    • Isabel Giulia Silva Oliveira,  Santander
    • Victoria Coltman, Alzheimer’s Society
    Partnerships between corporates and not-for-profit organisations are an increasingly prominent element of corporate responsibility programmes but the spectrum of activation ranges from short-term marketing campaigns, to those that deliver against business strategy and drive meaningful change.

    In this session, we’ll be shining a light on a unique and sector-leading strategic partnership between Santander and Alzheimer’s Society, a collaboration which was established in 2019 to improve financial inclusion as well as drive employee fundraising activities and volunteering. 


  • From Mission to Movement: How to create positive impact through communications


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    • Sarah Gillard, John Lewis & Partners
    • Alec Mills, DAME

    This year the spotlight is on businesses to help tackle the biggest social and environmental challenges of our time like never before. 

    Consumers are actively seeking out brands that reflect their values and the pressure on companies to do the right thing and address key issues, from poverty to social justice and climate change, is on the increase. 

    For our next virtual event, we’re delighted to be welcoming speakers from two purpose-driven organisations at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of size and heritage, both committed to putting corporate responsibility at the forefront of business decision making. We’ll be exploring how brands can use communications to create a movement around their mission for multiple stakeholders, from employees to consumers.

  • Channelling creativity to combat the lockdown employee engagement slump


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    • Tom Coleman, Holland & Barrett
    • Huw Morgan, Good Relations

    After 12-months in lockdown, many employees are suffering from cognitive overload; drained by Zoom calls, overwhelmed by the increased volume of emails and IMs and hankering after the simple pleasures of a chat with a colleague over the desk.

    This lockdown slump has prompted employees to treat all but the most relevant and effective of internal communications as spam. But with insight, creativity and purpose, you can achieve cut through and engagement; even in the most challenging working environment in living memory.

    Join us for a discussion about how best to channel creativity to combat the lockdown engagement slump. Our special guest speaker from Holland & Barrett will join us to share how they have found innovative and effective ways to keep their people informed and engaged while stores remain open.



  • How to become best in class in B2B social media


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    • Fredrik Borestrom, LinkedIn
    • Anthony Rosendo, Airbus,
    • Robert Anderson, Good Relations

    The global events of the past twelve months are transforming B2B communications, accelerating digital transformation and fundamentally reframing stakeholder relationships.

    In the next event in our ‘Challenger Sessions’ series we’ll be exploring how brands can get ahead of the game to deliver maximum impact across B2B social media in 2021.

    We’ll be welcoming guest speakers: Fredrik Borestom from LinkedIn who will share examples of best practice from B2B brands on the platform, along with an overview of trends for 2021 and Anthony Rosendo from Airbus who will be sharing the secrets to the brand’s success on social media channels.



  • Maximising social media impact in 2021


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    • Gord Ray, Brand Development Lead at Instagram
    • Louise Cruttenden, Marketing Director at Huel
    • Robert Anderson, Executive Director, Social media at Good Relations

    The extraordinary events of 2020 have made for seismic shifts in our digital habits. We’ve become ever more reliant on social media as one of our main windows on the world.

    Join us for our next event in ‘The Challenger Sessions’ series as we get ahead of the curve and explore how to deliver maximum social media impact in 2021.

    We’re delighted to welcome Gord Ray, Brand Development Director at Instagram who will be sharing insights on how brands can tap into cultural trends to maximise social impact in 2021, and Louise Cruttenden, Marketing Director at Huel, who will be sharing the secrets to the brand’s success on social media channels.

  • Building Corporate Reputation: The Value of Taking a Stand


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    • Natalie Deacon, Executive Director, Corporate Affairs, CSR and Sustainability, Avon
    • Alex Murphy, Head of Marketing, Admiral Group Plc
    • Leigh Marshall, Associate Director, Good Relations

    For many of us, devising campaigns that address big social, economic and political issues is what gets us up in the morning. But the challenge of convincing businesses to put themselves out there on an issue, and take a stand, is easier said than done.

    With the nation in lockdown earlier this year, Admiral launched their “Stay at Home Refund” returning £110m to their car insurance customers. While Avon’s promise to help end violence against women and girls is backed by a real commitment to put resources, people and energy behind its efforts.

    Join us to hear from the people involved in these campaigns about how their businesses found the courage to take a stand and what this has done for their corporate reputation.

  • Lessons from a New Generation of Challenger Brands


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    • Ryan Martin, Global Business Marketing – Program Manager at TikTok
    • Maya Orr, Head of Marketing and Communications at LADbible Group
    • David Wiles, Executive Director, Consumer, Good Relations

    On 4th November, we’ll be hosting a discussion on what it means to be a challenger in brand communications with insights from TikTok and LADBible Group, two hugely successful challenger brands in the media industry.

    We’ll be discussing the challenger behaviours that have driven their growth, the brands that are using their platforms most effectively and what we can expect to see more of in 2021.


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