Top Festivals on Instagram

The humble festival has exploded over recent years into a colourful Catherine Wheel combining music, food, yoga, face paint (AND glitter bras?), we’ve moved from wellies to high end Hunters and from day festivals to VIP experiences. In the world of marketing, where the VIP pass can be exploited by brands to offer influencers, celebrities and journalists alike a little taste of the high life on their time (and money) in return for exposure, we’ve seen social media become one of the key ways to sell the ‘festival experience’. Sure who doesn’t want backstage access, free food, copious amounts of drinks and zero queues to the Portaloo {answers on a postcard}! Festivals can communicate through high quality images to thousands quickly and easily through social media and they are doing it well bringing the FOMO out in all of us.

Claire Etchell NakedPRGirl Festivals

My festival or should I say gig fashion vibe is usually a flattish boot (check these from Jones The Bootmakers), short shorts from Zara and a essential J Brand Denim Jacket.

Here’s my top festivals on social media who give me major marketing FOMO:

COACHELLA – The Fashion One

Oh Coachella what is NOT TO LOVE? Always happens early in the year when the UK is FREEZING thus massively appealing to celebs and social media stars who are starving for dreamy content. It is always beautiful and sunny and so heavenly with the likes of Rihanna. Alessandra Ambrosio, Sophie Turner and Kendall/Kylie Jenner so it is not surprising that fashion brands like Revolve are getting involved. They have 1.2M on Instagram and it is light, bright and professional. I wanna gooooo!

The little things 📷: @evoake

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GLASTONBURY – The ONE

Glastonbury has been an absolute beast – in a good way. It is now so big that fans will argue over the line up (which is like the holy grail of marketing – if people CARE that much)! The Eaves family have kept it down to earth and from all the amazing experiences, it is truly one of the only festivals on my bucket list. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is raining and turned into a mudslide or if BREXIT has just happened on the outside, everyone seems to have an absolute blast. Their 230k Instagram followers will enjoy their distinctive flags for daytime and neon lights and fireworks in the evening.

 

2 days #Glastonbury2017

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Claire Etchell NakedPRGirl Festivals Instagram

Kensington Palace Gardens

Kensington Palace

When I first moved to London, I couldn’t quite work out where Kensington Palace Gardens ended and Hyde Park started. Google informs me they are separated by water which starting at the Italian Gardens through The Long Water and opening up into The Serpentine which snakes around into a beautiful lake where you can go sailing in a little pedal boat. Kensington Palace is home to the Royal family, famously home to Princess Diana for 15 years where the black gates became a shrine after her death 20 years ago and was somewhat recreated this year with balloons and flowers marking the anniversary. The palace is the best place to start exploring which is easy to find if you come in from the South via High Street Kensington tube or north via Notting Hill Gate (it’s halfway between them). Kensington Palace Take a tour inside Kensington Palace and this year you can also see the special anniversary exhibition called Diana; Her Fashion Story. If it’s a beautiful day, there’s plenty to do that’s free so start with a stroll around the grounds. CLICK HERE TO READ

Kensington_Palace

Kensington Palace Gardens

Kensington Palace Gardens

Sunken Garden

My favourite is the garden which is just raised up at the side of the palace (you can reach this via a mini maze) and the gardeners must work all hours to keep it in tip top shape! This year it’s a White Garden in memory of the Princess of Wales who it is said admired the changing floral displays throughout the year (I’ve added Instagram shots so you can see how it has changed). This garden has a leafy archway which is in bloom from summer. It gets busy here so take your time going around and enjoy it. Afterwards you can have lunch or a coffee at the Palace coffee shop or something a little fancier at The Orangery. CLICK HERE TO READ

Sunken Garden Kensington Palace Gardens

Sunken garden at Kensington Palace Gardens

Kensington Palace Gardens - Sunken Garden

Sunken Garden Kensington Palace

Diana Gate - Kensington Palace Gardens

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Queen Victoria & Prince Albert

After that you can stroll past the Queen Victoria statue and take a right down towards the bottom of the park to pick up the flower walk (no feeding squirrels here lols). This little path is a tranquil corner with benches so you can sit and read a book as you head towards Prince Albert memorial. The Albert Memorial is kind of the omnipresent Godfather of Kensington Palace Gardens, you feel like he is always watching you from his throne. It is an extravagant memorial (I mean, who wants a small one right?) and he towers high up above the park, glinting with gold with intricate paintings and carvings making this a work of art. There’s not tooooo much information to hand, so if there is a tour, it might be worth it….for example it is only Wikipedia that informs me this is 54m tall (yikes), took ten years to complete, cost £120k and it has allegorical sculptures around the base. It’s worth noting that Diana’s official memorial – the ill fated slide thingy is close by (just across the road) if you want to pop over and take a look but officially sits in Hyde Park. CLICK HERE TO READ

Royal Albert Hall

Albert Memorial Kensington Palace Garden

Albert Memorial

Serpentine Gallery

After that keep heading forward and you’ll pick up the edge of the river and Hyde Park and then you’ll spot the Serpentine Gallery. I popped in (for free) to see the Grayson Perry exhibition so it’s highly recommended and small enough to be a quick look round rather than a half day adventure. Grab a snack at the cool bar there. CLICK HERE TO READ

Serpentine Gallery Kensington Palace Gardens

Serpentine Gallery Kensington Palace

Serpentine Gallery - Kensington Palace Gardens

The Bridge

From there stay on this side of the river but cross the bridge where if you stand at a certain point for can SEE all the way to Westminster Abbey. You’ll see the main Serpentine Gallery on the corner here (if you’re thirsty for more art) or if not, head into the next entrance on the left.

Bridge Kensington Palace Gardens

Henry Moore & Italian Gardens

Walk along the river until you see the Henry Moore statue because if you look you can see all the way to Kensington Palace. Carry on to my second favourite places, the Italian Gardens which is usually very busy but tranquil and they’ve recently added an extra cafe there too so you can spend an hour by the fountains overlooking the Serpentine. CLICK HERE TO READ

Henry Moore Kensington Palace Gardens

Peter Pan and Parakeets

From here, walk along the other side of the river and you’ll come across the Peter Pan statue which is so magical with Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys all in a spiral. Carry on walking and if you’re lucky, you might spot the Parakeets which hang out here and tourists encourage with snacks!

Peter Pan Statue

Parakeets Kensington Palace

Parakeets Kensington Palace Gardens

Round the Pond and Back Again

Round the Pond and Back Again From here you can head right via tree filled paths and the magnificent statue of the Hot Guy on his Horse (not actual name) to the Round Pond which is a little duck pond in the middle of the grounds. Et voila! You will be back at the house.

I did this walk and took snaps in about two hours (I reckon it’s around a 5k walk) but there are deckchairs and plenty of places to eat and drink so on a lovely day, take your time! Make it longer and pop to Hyde Park too. CLICK HERE TO READ

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Albert Memorial Kensington Palace Garden

Guide to Italy - Sorrento, Amalfi Coast & Capri

NAKED PR GUIDE TO ITALY – SORRENTO, AMAFI COAST, & CAPRI – Italy is colourful and passionate and wonderful. It has fresh sharp lemons and the juiciest oranges and brightest flowers. It has narrow coastal roads that have been nicknamed Mamma M…

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Claire Etchell, Naked PR Girl at Ravello, Italy

NAKED REVIEW - KEW GARDENS LONDON

I’ve been three times to Kew Garden; once on a Saturday in June, once to a outdoor cinema thingy in July and last week in May. You come into Kew Garden station which is about ten minutes walk to the main gates. The entry price is around £16 and you can buy online to avoid the queues.

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My top tip is to avoid the obvious cafe near the gates and go around to one of the other cafes either the Pavillion or the Orangery. They have lovely sandwiches, salads and hot food plus tea, coffee and boozy drinks if you fancy it. It’s taken me a couple of trips to get around the whole thing now (it’s a full day experience whichever way you slice it) and I have to say the best bits are the rose gardens (in full bloom in June) and the gardens to the right of the main entrances where the greenhouses are! Make sure you go to the Palm House, Waterlilly House and Princess of Wales Conservatory. If you have time, there are bluebell woods and beautiful flower filled paths (Rhododendron Dell lovely in May) to walk around. There’s a fab bit called Kew on a Plate too which was featured on the BBC featuring vegetable gardens.

 

I’m going to shout out for the marvellous gardens behind this palace which could get overlooked by the sheer magnitude of Kew Gardens. This quaint palace is super pretty up front but wait until you scurry around to the back and take a look at the perfectly formed gardens. There’s lavender all around giving the most delicate fragrance, a decorative well stands tall in the middle, there’s white statues of gods standing majestically at the end, there’s a birdcage type thing on the hill for fun Instagram photos, there’s an archway filled with Laburnum flowers (blooming in May), it has luscious leafy walkways, there’s a little fountain and well placed benches to sit and take in the view plus there’s a cute little garden with vegetables and herbs. And I haven’t even been in the house – imagine how excited I’d be then?! You can visit the gardens with your normal Kew Gardens entry and this special place is one of my faves, it reminds me a little of gardens I’ve seen in Versailles.

 

My second attempted visit to The Hive at Kew Gardens is on a blisteringly hot summers day – as opposed to the first where the electrically charged skies meant that we were unable to go anywhere near it as thunder and lightning are considered a tad on the dangerous side for a metal structure. So there’s my first tip, go in fairly good weather if you can and my second tip is to go at the beginning or end of day to do your best to avoid the crowds. The Hive is an impressive, curious structure from the outside, visible from all sides and protected by wild flower bankings. The silver metal, which in sunlight almost seems to have a rose gold hue, feels imposing but somehow still delicate with slender pieces holding together like a elaborate and arty giant Jenga and accented with glowing, flickering bulbs. If you enter the structure from the bottom you can look up to the people above visible through a Perspex walkway. It you enter the floor above, The Hive is all around you, glowing and buzzing with gentle music and then look up to see the sky above through the skylight and light streaming in through gaps in the structure. From all the Perspex and metal it’s a reflective dream with light chaotically bouncing about so makes for wonderful photos with people becoming chic silhouettes against the backdrop. Take a seat on this level or even lie on the floor if you can and it becomes a gallery space with gentle sounds all around it’s a meditative space. Enjoy the sensory experience of The Hive.

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Getting Naked With Interview With Nik Speller

Getting Naked With Interview with Nik Speller

What is your background? Where are you from? What did you study?
I’m from Cambridgeshire originally, but I’ve lived in Manchester, Oxford, and now London. At uni I studied History and then international business – not two things that naturally go together, I guess; but, I couldn’t think what to do after uni, so staying on and studying a bit more seemed like the best (easiest) option.

And before anyone thinks I’m a millionaire, this was back in the day when uni was far far cheaper.

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You’re a lifestyle writer for Buckets and Spades – how did you get into blogging?
I actually started writing my own food blog about 6 years ago, because people were sick of hearing me moaning about restaurants – and I guess they thought if I wrote it down, I’d stop talking about it.

From my tiny food blog, I was asked to write for a couple of bigger food blogs and then – somehow – Mat (editor of Buckets and Spades) and I bumped into each other on Twitter. Mat asked me to write a piece for him about what I wore to the gym (I think) and we went from there.

How have you seen menswear change and evolve over the years?
I guess the biggest change to the industry, that I’ve seen, is just how many start-up brands have come along, got up and running, really quickly, and really made a name for themselves. Social media has helped with this massively. Brands are able to spread the word and get in touch with those people who can help spread the word for them.

How do you think influencers will help to shape the future of menswear?
Influencers are helping smaller brands reach a larger audience, but they’re also providing decent customer feedback (if only the brands will listen). These guys know their clothes and know why they (and their audience) will buy them. Brands need to treat this as the gold it really is, get listening, and adjust their products, marketing, and the like accordingly.

What’s your failsafe outfit or signature look? Do you have any favourite brands or designers you admire?
Ha ha. You’re asking the wrong person here. I have a classic ‘go to’ – but whether it’s a fail-safe outfit or signature look, I don’t know. Here it is: white trainers, black jeans, blue Oxford shirt, grey sweater, harrington jacket. If you ever see me walking the streets of London, I’ll most likely be wearing that and will have my head buried in my phone.

Do you have any favourite products or grooming tips?
I’m too much of a bloke (ha ha) for grooming products. Everyone tells me I need to moisturise and whatever else, but I’m not really sure I know what I’m doing. I wear some moisturiser after shaving. That’s about it.

That said, I’ve started watching a few YouTubers who know their grooming onions. Robin James (@ManForHimself) is one funny guy and seems to give decent grooming tips – one day I might actually act on them.

You’re also a co-founder of marketing agency Three Letters, how did that come about? What’s behind the name?
Three Letters is an agency that I’m working on with Mat (editor of Buckets and Spades). We put the business together to give a more formal feel to the work we were already doing ‘behind the scenes’ with brands – helping them identify the right influencers to work with and helping them work out the best way of working with these guys.

The name? That came about because both of our first names have three letters in them. Simple!

How important is your working relationship with Creative Director Matthew Pike?
Very important! Whether we’re working on a project for Three Letters or Buckets and Spades, we have to collaborate closely to make sure that we always deliver quality. We’ve become sounding boards for near enough everything now – ideas, outreach, projects, photos, travel, holidays, music, you name it!

I spotted on your website that you’ll send out your top pick of influencers each month (for FREE!?) – is that your USP?
Yeah. For free. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? We use to charge for the data and we built a nice client list; but, my life had basically become selling the database and I was getting so bored of being a salesman, it was depressing.

We see our database as a who’s-who of UK based men’s lifestyle influencers. Within the 450+ influencers in the database are the people that brands and agencies need to be working with to promote their products. It’s a no-brainer not to get signed-up to receive the data, to be honest. Although, I would say that, wouldn’t I.

(Sign-up here: https://www.threelettersagency.com/influencer-database/)

How hard was it to get up and running? What were the biggest hurdles?
Starting a business is easy. It costs about £15 to register a name and about the same to get a website going. The hardest part is winning clients. I’ve worked for myself before, so I know just how hard it is. Meetings, emails, meetings, emails, coffees, breakfasts, hand shakes, networking, the promise of work, work, and more work, which always disappears, goes on hold, and is cancelled for unknown reasons. And then, when you do win a project, sign-up a new client, or deliver some work, it feels completely amazing. There’s nothing like it! A real thrill of a reward for all your hard effort.

You’re leading the charge against #Instafraud, where was the tipping point when you decided to take action? (I’ll embed the video you made here)
Ha ha! Leading the charge! I like that. I don’t think I am, to be honest. There are a lot of people out there making more noise and really pushing the case. I think I was lucky in that I published that video just before a bank holiday, when – for whatever reason – people had chance to sit down, watch what I did, and then uncover some fraudsters of their own. That set things off, with accusations, denials, and apologies.

I think of myself as being fairly tech savvy – Instagram star LornaLuxe http://nakedprgirl.com/2017/02/lornaluxe-nakedprgirl-how-to-speak-to-influencers/ and I talk all the time about influencers buying followers – but even I didn’t know terms like Rubber Banding and how widespread the spam bots are. Have we got too much trust in Instagram? Do we need more education? How can we win against such a big organisation?
Personally, I have zero trust in the data behind Instagram. Automated engagement is rife across the whole network and it makes a total mockery of any ‘engagement score’ anyone tries to calculate from it. As I’ve said recently, any ‘score’ you can easily produce by using the relevant hashtags to draw in the bots. It’s beyond a joke really.

In terms of trusting Instagram as an organisation, I’d like to believe that they’re just a bit naive as to how bad things are with their network. But, then they’re a massive company, with billions of dollars at their disposal. How have they not identified this as a massive risk to their business? And why are they not seeming to do anything about it?

I think folks like me banging on about Instafraud will only take us so far. I’ll get bored eventually and probably give up; but, if a major media outlet takes it up and if brands, advertisers, and decent agencies start asking questions publicly, Instagram will have to act – either that or they’ll die.

What advice would you give to a blogger who has used bots? What should they do to rectify it?
There’s not a lot you can do, I guess. The thing to do is stop and focus on building decent content that wins you an audience, organically. I’m not sure whether it’s worth telling the world you used bots, but prepare an answer / response to send out if someone calls you out.

Something along the lines of ‘feeling the pressure of the industry’ etc – I’ve seen that one rolled out, along with the (possibly fake) tears a couple of times now: ‘I’m so sorry! (I got caught)’

Have you been surprised by some of the people you’ve uncovered using bots? Do you think bloggers are scared they will now be caught out?
Initially, some where; but, many just carry on. They know they have to. Their content isn’t good enough to justify that following and if they stop, they know they’ll lose a lot of ‘followers’ – which will cause them trouble when brands ponder why they’re in decline.

I’ve been surprised by just how many people have used bots, yep. Many of them, it was sad to see, as I didn’t think they needed to (because they produce good content) – and very frustrating, as I’d told brands about how great they were! And that makes me look a fool.

What advice do you give to brands looking to work with influencers?
I can’t give too much away or people will stop paying me! One key bit of advice I always give (which routinely gets ignored) is that influencers understand their audience and what compels that audience to pay attention to a brand – so get them involved in campaign planning.

Brands don’t involve influencers enough. They see them more as ad spaces, rather than content creators. When they do the former, they miss a massive opportunity to build a real connection with their audience and – basically – throw most of their money away. When they do the latter, they build credible, engaging content, that speaks to their audience and motivates them to act in the way the brand desires.

Other than Instagram, what’s your view on current social platforms? What’s your favourite? Anything new on the horizon?
I’m getting back into Twitter a little more these days. People seem keener to chat on their then they did about a year ago – when the whole place became one big link share platform.

Instagram is still the winner for me. As much as I hate the statistics and the cheating, I have to say that the network is still the best place to be. And, with Instagram Stories, it’s now a lot more engaging. I love seeing what people are up to and (especially) what creative approaches they can develop on Stories.

I like how you promote micro-influencers and encourage people to look beyond numbers, why is that and who are you championing at the moment?
The reason I champion micro-influencers is that numbers are not the end game – but they’ve become it. Social media is about content – in any number of forms – and the impact it has. The numbers should reflect the popularity of that content, but we all know they don’t. Plus, just having high followers or engagement doesn’t mean your content is actually any good.

That’s not to say, for one minute, that people with a big following don’t produce good content – by the way.

In terms of the guys I like, I’m going on Instagram here and not just men’s lifestyle folks – but it’s people like @worshipblues, @scotchtrooper, and @haarkon_ who really inspire me. Such great takes on the world, all for very different reasons.

Do you have a motto or a mantra that you live by?
I wish I was that cool. Or maybe I don’t. I’m not sure mantras are really something I give much thought to, really. I like the idea of doing those things that interest you and that you’re passionate about. I also can’t stand fake people and suck-ups – which makes it incredibly difficult to work in marketing, as the industry is full of people with very little to add, aside from being able to say they know this person, that person, or someone else.

What advice would you give to someone looking to be a blogger or influencer?
Don’t try and be an influencer. That’s the first piece of advice. Be a creator. Think of the content that you enjoy and that you’d like to produce – and do that. The influence part will come later if / when others enjoy your content. If you don’t do this, you might become an influencer, but it’ll be on a fake basis, that you can’t support long term, and that’ll leave you fairly unhappy.

Where will you be in ten years time?
Probably sat in a dark room somewhere, ranting about Instagram bots to the wall. Ha ha ha. I’m not sure. 10 years ago, I had no idea where I’d be now, so I’m not sure how I can foresee the next ten years – to be honest. Most of my dreams involve sitting on comfy chairs and drinking whisky, so if I’m doing that, I’ll be pretty happy.

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She worked closely with our in-house creative team to build the brand and my personal profile within the fashion and business sectors, managing photo shoots and Look Books. Claire is loyal, entrepreneurial and strategic so when presented with a challenge she sees it as an opportunity.

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