I’ve just returned from working at Brit Mums Live! this weekend, which has been an inspiring, exhilarating and entertaining experience. I was there with my Bananagrams hat on as I’d arranged for them to be one of the Bronze sponsors of the blogger event. So, after setting up our fruit-stall of games and treats, the weekend became a blur of meeting bloggers and PRs I’ve worked with over the years and in various guises (@LizJarvisUK who knows me mainly from my days as an airline PR; @FamilyAffairs who’s become a great comrade and sounding-board this year; @LittleJennie who thankfully still remembers when I used to get evangelical about Graze boxes on Twitter) and spotting those whose blog posts and Twitter updates I’ve enjoyed over the years and who hold a celebrity-like status for me (@Nickie72, @LizFraser1, @SuperAmazingMum to name only a few).
The stall proved to be a hit and Rena (the inventor of Bananagrams) and I often found ourselves six or seven deep in intrigued bloggers who generally opened with “So it’s like Scrabble, right?”. It didn’t take me long to develop what I hope was a succinct explanation of the main game and I soon found myself blitzing through game descriptions as if I’d been doing it for years.
The best part of working on the stand and chatting to people about the games was knowing that the passion I was (hopefully) portraying to the bloggers about the game was genuinely from the heart: since starting out as a solo PR six years ago after a long time in the PR agency world, I’ve frequently banged on about my ethos of “only working with brands I can get truly passionate about”. And this, to me, was proof that I’m doing exactly that. Yes my feet ached, yes I worked long hours, yes I missed putting my kids to bed two nights in a row and spent a gazillion pounds on parking… but I truly felt proper job satisfaction and almost didn’t feel like ‘a PR’, if that makes sense. This wasn’t about spinning a story or painting something in a good light – I was safe in the knowledge that the games ARE good, they come from a good place and “you and your kids will love ‘em”.
But I digress. I know there are already dozens of blog posts from Brit Mums’ delegates, airing their opinions about the event, the workshops, the speakers and the award winners. So to offer my perspective, as a sponsor and a PR, I just wanted to give credit where it’s due to the organisers for a well-planned, slickly co-ordinated event. I couldn’t attend the workshops as the stand was busy even when they were running (either that or I was maintaining the @Bananagrams_UK twitterfeed) but the word of the weekend certainly seemed to be “inspiring”. The BiB Awards on Friday night, presented by @KatyHillTV (a newly converted Bananagrams fan, of course!) felt authentic rather than sycophantic, with genuine warmth from the audience of bloggers when their peers took to the stage to collect their trophy.
From our side of things, Brit Mums Live! feels like it was a perfect way of engaging with the many bloggers we’ve already been working with this year, as well as being a great platform for meeting new families who are just getting to know the games. I’m not a pushy PR and that certainly fits with the Bananagrams way of doing things – we’ll be putting the effort in, getting to know the bloggers who’d like to perhaps work with us in future and tailoring ways in which we can complement their blogs.
So our top three highlights?
1. Rena gets to meet Sarah Brown and ends up selling her ten games to use as teacher gifts
2. Lucy (@FamilyAffairs) joins Rena and I to pick out @MumOlderSingle as the winner of our Bananagrams gift basket worth £150
3. Taking the Saturday Night Live “Is that a Bananagrams in your pocket” joke to the extreme, Rena accosts the @RadcliffeWines waiters at the BiBs drinks party