Determining the Digital Marketing Toolkit

Here, Aro’s Managing Director Billy McKenna discusses why working from home has opened doors for many businesses and shares tips to help your business thrive despite covid-19.

Abraham Maslow once said; “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”. This is a quote that inspires continuous evaluation, consideration and change within business. With the right tools and support, this challenging time can help your business to grow in the long term, not wither. To back this up, I recently read that approximately 65% of Forbes’ top 1000 businesses were founded during a recession or depression.

Marketing is all about reaching the right people at the right time. As lockdown continues across the UK, it is important to see this new style of working as an opportunity. As production managers and business development teams are suddenly working from the kitchen table, surrounded by crying children and mischievous pets, they are limited to three connections to their work.

These connections are the internet, their technology (largely phones and laptops) and social media; all of which can be harnessed by digital marketing. In short, your audience are now utilising technology more than ever, which means you should be too.

Whilst digital marketing is a broad term with many golden opportunities, I would advise concentrating on three key platforms: email, social media and webinars.

With email service providers (ESPs) such as MailChimp, it is now easier than ever to create lists of your target audience to keep you front of mind with your current customers and potential customers too. Don’t forget to personalise your emails, keep them brief, and put a call to action (CTA) or click through to your website above the email fold. Email is a low-cost way to keep in touch with warm leads and current business; did you know that the conversion rate from email is 6.05% compared to social media, which is just 1.9%?

I would also suggest making sure you give your social media platforms some love. Keeping your channels updated with news, information about your services (and any change to service due to covid-19) will show your audience that you are prevailing and ready to support their needs. It is also worth considering that whilst many people are furloughed, they are bound to be spending more time on social networking platforms, particularly Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter- so keep these updated to give a good impression.

With many people – including procurement teams and engineers – with more time on their hands, this is the perfect moment to present them with your idea, how your products and services can help them achieve for their own companies. It is possible that production and buying teams that were too busy with the here and now before the crisis, can now spend a little more time thinking of new opportunities, new ways of working.

The third content I would suggest investing time in would be webinars. At this time, sharing knowledge and keeping connected is vital to maintaining business connections. Trust me, your customers will remember who checked in on them at a difficult time. I have launched several webinars at Aro, giving digital marketing workshops as well as offering advice and free consultations to manufacturing businesses, which are combating covid-19 like the rest of the country. This is a real chance to help your industry survive and to add value to customers and potential audiences.

In conclusion, I encourage you to check in, share knowledge and swap out that hammer for a digital marketing strategy. If you would like any more information, a free consultation or a discussion about marketing support, please email me at

Aro launches pro-bono PR service for manufacturers helping fight Covid19

Aro PR and Marketing is launching a pro bono PR service to celebrate the work of engineering, science and composites businesses helping to fight Covid19.

The service is a one-off campaign, which includes writing a news release and distributing it to Aro’s network of media contacts.

Managing Director Billy McKenna said Aro had been humbled by the tech industry doing its bit to help during the pandemic and the team had been scratching its heads as to how it could help in a meaningful way.

McKenna said: “We know many SMEs are unsung heroes who have adapted their manufacturing facilities in order to help the NHS – be it manufacturing parts for ventilators, producing chemicals for hand sanitizer or supplying PPE, but they don’t have the time or resources to tell their story.

“We’re offering to write and distribute their story to the media for free. We want to paint a picture of the varied capabilities in UK manufacturing and how the sector is coming together at this unprecedented time.

“We feel it’s the least we can do given the fact that UK businesses are working tirelessly to help provide our amazing NHS staff with essential kit to help save the lives of friends and family across the country.”

McKenna added: “Businesses can rest assured we’ve specially designed this pro-bono  PR service to minimise the amount of time they need to input into the process, allowing them to concentrate on manufacturing the vital components needed for the NHS.”

Aro is no stranger to doing pro-bono work for good causes, having previously helped raise the profile of aviation charity Fly2help. It also supports local charities.

If you’d like to take advantage of Aro’s free PR service, please get in touch by emailing

Airbond wins second coveted Queen’s Award- 23rd April 2019

Airbond, the experts in the science of fibre splicing and its applications, is celebrating securing the Queen’s Award for Innovation – the UK’s highest accolade for business success – for its new patented, splicing technology. This is the second Queen’s Award the company has achieved, having won another for innovation in 2013.

The technology delivers game-changing improvements in operating costs for yarn processors in the textiles and the composites industry. Airbond has invested heavily in R&D as previously splicing carbon or glass fibres with compressed air turned them to dust as they were so brittle, even though strong longitudinally.

That research led to unique machines which for the first time spliced modern composite materials. The innovation in these machines lies in control of the air with newly developed accessories. The splicer bodies themselves were of conventional design and took some time to develop.

When the machines began to sell, the company found that the resins used in many composites processes adhered to the splicer surfaces, inhibiting their performance. They were also asked to splice yet bigger yarns, and to develop more sophisticated splicers. Airbond overcame these challenges with more investment in innovation.

New designs of machine keep the splicing units hidden and protected inside a sturdy moulded shell, making them much more durable. The outer shells are inexpensive, so that they can be viewed as consumables if covered with resin while the splicers themselves remain pristine.

Airbond remains heavily committed to R&D and is adopting revolutionary methods of manufacture during 2019. The company exports to 40 countries worldwide with local support provided by its network of agents and distributors, including in the USA.

The company has also won various regional innovation awards, such as South Wales Chamber of Commerce for Innovation.

This year 201 winners were announced: 129 for International Trade; 61 for Innovation; 5 for Sustainable Development and 6 for Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility). The awards are made annually by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and are awarded for outstanding achievement in each category.

Graham Waters, MD of Airbond, said: “Splicing is a mature technology which had stagnated for decades. We have catapulted it into the 21st century. Get it wrong and you will waste a lot of product, transforming fibres into dust. However, we have invested heavily in R& D to get it right, and we are really pleased at the recognition of this second Queen’s Award for Innovation.

“This was a whole team effort, with every member of the company contributing to its success. I am proud and lucky to work with such a talented and creative group of people. It is also heartening that our hard work is begining increasingly recognised by our customers, with more and more companies seeing what our splicer can achieve.

“This is a very exciting time for the company, and I am looking forward to deliver cutting edge precision splicing help our clients save time, money and resources.”

Airbond provides solutions for all yarn splicing needs, especially new composite applications. It is now creating the next generation of pneumatic yarn splicer for the future.

Representatives of Airbond will be attending a special Queen’s Award reception at Buckingham Palace in June to celebrate this significant achievement.

For more information about Airbond and its range of splicers, visit the website

Aro Blog – The value of a PR apprenticeship

This month’s blog is written by Molly Prout, Aro’s first-ever Apprentice PR and Marketing Executive.  Molly gives us the low down on how an apprenticeship is giving her the opportunity to earn a real salary and gain a real qualification, all whilst gaining valuable workplace skills and experience!

After finishing my A-levels, I started my apprenticeship at Aro PR and Marketing. The Devon-based company specialise in raising the profile of engineering, composites and scientific companies across aerospace, automotive, marine, energy and science.

From originally wanting to be a vet, I gained some work experience in the field of PR. The complete change in career came as a shock to friends and family as most didn’t (and still don’t) understand what PR is! When I finally decided that PR was something that I was interested in pursuing, I started to look at different university courses. Undecided in what I wanted to study I started to think about the apprenticeship route. Fate was obviously on my side as I was informed that Aro was looking for a PR apprentice. I contacted Billy immediately, was successful in the interview process and here I am today!

Not really knowing what to expect, I started my first day with an open mind; excited about what I was going to learn. From the moment I stepped into the office, the team greeted me and made me feel welcome. I settled in instantly and felt like I had been there ages!

Being a small business, means we all work closely with each other and can respond quickly to our client’s needs. It also allows me, as an apprentice, to work with actual real-life clients (not doing the tea run and photocopying) whilst always having excellent guidance whenever I need it. This opportunity to get stuck in from the very first day means that I was able to build a close relationship with the clients I work with and, although I have only been at Aro for 8 months, I feel am able to help them us much as possible.

Day to day, my job changes. From planning and posting social media content, to drafting, distributing and ‘selling-in’ press releases to the media, to general business admin; no two days are ever the same. I enjoy the variety of the work as it allows me to see lots of sides to PR as well as key things that make the business run.

One of my favourite parts of the job is the social media management. This allows me to not only to develop skills regarding what is best to post for the client. It also gives me an overview on the latest news from the industry allowing me to develop a deeper understanding of the different sectors we operate in. From the posts, we can see trends in what the followers of the social media platforms engage with the most.

As part of my apprenticeship, I use Fridays to complete my course work. As well as this, I have attended two PRCA training courses, one in Manchester introducing PR and one in Birmingham on selling into the media. The later was a skill I struggled with, but the course gave me some great tips. I also attend webinars to add to my knowledge of PR.

My job isn’t just based in the office but all over the country. I have attended client meetings and pitches from Bodmin, in Cornwall, to the north of the country in Manchester. I have also represented Aro at the Advanced Engineering Show 2018, the largest engineering trade show in the UK. This was a great opportunity to meet our clients and also the editors I work with on a weekly basis.

I am glad that I chose the apprenticeship route over going to university as it allows me to gain experience whilst earning a qualification (and money)! Not only am I learning the theory behind PR, but I am also working with clients at the same time, putting that theory into practice. This means I can learn whilst also honing skills such as talking with clients and developing professional relationships. This has, so far, not only helped me within PR but I have developed confidence as a person. Only time will tell, but I hope that by choosing the apprenticeship route, my hands-on practical experience combined with my professional qualification will make me extremely employable!



Tomorrow’s fish and chip paper?

Tomorrow’s fish and chip paper?

Continuing his regular series of blogs, Aro PR and Marketing’s Managing Director, Billy McKenna waxes lyrical on why newspapers and trade magazines are still alive and kicking despite the rise of social media.

Because social media is so popular, it’s often wrongly assumed traditional print media has taken a back seat as a marketing tool. Print media is sometimes seen as struggling to compete with the convenience and cost effectiveness of being online. Yet, if used as part of a multichannel strategy, newspapers and specialist magazines are powerful tools to raise the profile of your business and reach out to customers, suppliers and staff, both existing and potential partners.

All about audience

When building your content and marketing strategies, think about who you try to reach with each of the different communication channels at your disposal. As with any business, but especially for those in more specialised industries such as engineering, composites and science, you need to think about who your audience are and where they consume their content. For example, most often millennials (those born between 1980s to early 2000s) and Gen Z (those born after millennials) are more comfortable with social media and search for their news via the internet. Whereas, Gen X (those born between 1960’s and early 1980’s) or Babyboomers (those born mostly after World War II but generally between 1940’s and 1964) are more inclined to obtain their information from printed media such as newspapers or industry magazines.

Establish credibility

Readers often like the convenience of digesting short bursts of news online but prefer printed media for more indepth content. The downside to consuming your news via a website is the slew of ads and pop ups that can interrupt your reading experience, not to mention the fear of spam, which can be a bit of a nuisance. Conversely, there are no such irritations to reading an article in a newspaper or trade magazine.

A publication may often be more relaxed about the news criteria for their online editions as they have the ability to add, amend or remove with greater ease compared to printed editions. Whereas the effort required to put together a trade magazine or newspaper is a lot more arduous, with a far longer lead time, so being featured in print can often be perceived as a greater achievement. Simply put, if your business is featured in a trustworthy, respected and well known trade magazine or newspaper, it raises your profile amongst existing and potential customers and strengthens your credibility.


Many people prefer reading their news from a trade magazine or newspaper simple because they like the fact they are holding the article in their hands rather than reading from a screen. Research shows that physically holding something can leave a longer impression on the brain which can help to create a longer and more memorable message.

On the flip side, it’s often argued that when something is online it’s there forever, whereas a newspaper or trade magazine can be thrown away. However, there is something to be said for hardcopies. The media coverage can be framed or put in a portfolio in your reception for customers to browse through and read about your capabilities in black and white! Whereas an online article can be easily forgotten or deleted from cyber space, a serious concern if you’re website was hacked or shut down.

To sum up, as with most things in life, when it comes to news, there are benefits and drawbacks to both print and online. So, adopt a multichannel approach and use both for maximum effect to ensure your message is seen by as many people as possible.

Billy McKenna is the Managing Director at Aro PR and Marketing, a specialist agency for engineering, composites and scientific companies.

Why awards aren’t just shiny objects in a display cabinet!

And the award goes to …

Kicking off a new series of blogs, Aro PR and Marketing’s Managing Director, Billy McKenna, waxes lyrical on why awards aren’t simply shiny objects gathering dust in a display cabinet. Instead, if you’re strategic about what awards to enter, winning a trophy can add to your business’ credibility and help your wider marketing.

No matter the size of your business, winning an industry award is an incredibly powerful means of validating your products and services and showcasing your company’s skills, expertise and capabilities. However, application processes are often time consuming and there is a certain knack to navigating a successful path through them.

Find the right one

Over the years’ we’ve helped a number of business apply for a range of awards from EEF Future Manufacturing Awards and UK Private Business Awards to the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The awards circuit can at first appear a bit overwhelming – there are hundreds of awards vying for our attention so we always advise clients that the first step is to do your homework. Research what awards are out there and make sure you apply to one that suits your business and its strategic goals. Go for industry recognised awards. If in doubt maybe look for ones that your competitors or companies that you admire apply for. Also see what awards your industry magazines promote or cover.

Increase your profile

One of the biggest incentives to doing awards is for the recognition it can bring your business. You’ll get a bite of the PR cherry if you’re shortlisted – and an even bigger portion if you win thanks to all the coverage in trade magazines, social media and the ability to use the winner’s logo on your website and other marketing materials. But even if that top prize evades you, you can still get PR mileage by promoting the fact you were an – award finalist’. Clearly, if you’re an award winning business your suppliers and customers will often share your success with their stakeholders as it shows they do business with recognised industry experts, which makes them look good too!

Raise staff morale

Winning, and even being nominated for an award can be incredibly motivating for your employees. To know that all the effort, investment and hard work they’ve put in over the years’ was worth it. For example, a rise of staff engagement was found in 73% of Queen’s awards winners.

New opportunities for recruitment

Having the publicity of winning an award can be of great use when looking to recruit new members of your team. Being able to add that your company is awarding winning is always attractive to high quality candidates looking for a job.

Standout against competitors

Winning and even being nominated for an award is a fantastic way to stand out against your competitors to demonstrate your excellence and success. A recent survey from Queen’s Award found that 77% of winners had improved the commercial value of the business.

Build network

With most awards, come award ceremonies which are valuable opportunities to network and build your connections with others who are passionate about building and celebrating quality businesses.

To sum up, whilst it might be tempting to apply for every award out there, don’t! Be selective. The more worthwhile awards take time to put together successful applications so factor this in. Make sure you have all the information you need so you can build an engaging story to attract the judges’ attention.

If you win (or unfortunately do not win) make sure to take time to reflect. Think about what’s worked and why or what you could have done better. And don’t forget to use any feedback to improve future applications.

Best of luck!

Billy McKenna is the Managing Director at Aro PR and Marketing, a specialist agency for engineering, composites and scientific companies. Aro’s award application service identifies the most relevant industry awards for your business; provides support in drafting the application and manages the process. Aro also provide PR for nominations and wins. For more information visit our awards section

Aro makes debut at Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2018 with launch of new video service

Aro makes debut at Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2018 with launch of new video service

Aro PR and Marketing – a specialist agency for composites, engineering and scientific companies – is launching two new video services at Southern Manufacturing and Electronics 2018, to complement its existing marketing communications, awards and SEO services.

The two styles of video are:

  • A traditional high quality, corporate video, showcasing capabilities with high production values.
  • A more informal video, which can be deployed in social media, as well as on company websites, and is shorter and more energetic in presentation.

Video marketing has seen a surge over the past few years, with more companies producing videos to showcase their capabilities and services. With younger and more innovative engineers also turning to social media, video provides an excellent opportunity to position and promote within the engineering, scientific and composites markets.

The launch of this new capability closely follows Aro’s new SEO and Awards Applications services, both of which have received positive feedback and good uptake. These complement Aro’s existing offering which includes: PR, marketing, media relations, profile boosting, digital marketing, social media, graphic design, web design and build, and copywriting.

Making their Southern Manufacturing and Electronics debut, Aro will demonstrate how these services support business development, fund raising, staff recruitment and motivation.

Billy McKenna, Aro Director said: “Video marketing has gone from strength to strength in recent years for many major sectors and the engineering, scientific and composites industries are no exception. Increasing PR and marketing can help with business development, recruitment and fundraising, and more and more engineering companies are seeing the benefit of investing in this.”

Experience across the engineering, aerospace, marine, composite and recently, additive manufacturing sectors, has enabled Aro PR and Marketing to expand their portfolio and services, building a reputation in delivering quality services. For more information, visit stand D110 at The Southern Manufacturing and Electronics show

Aro PR and Marketing gears up for Subcon

Aro PR and Marketing gears up for Subcon With just 9 weeks to go until Subcon – the UK’s premier manufacturing supply chain show dedicated to subcontract and outsourced engineering services – Aro PR and Marketing is gearing up for a fantastic event.

This year looks to be extra special as Subcon, Advanced Manufacturing Show and The Engineer Design and Innovation Show join forces to deliver one complete event serving the UK’s engineering and manufacturing industry.

Aro is a specialist PR and marketing agency for composites, advanced engineering and scientific companies.

So, whether you manufacture aeroplane parts or metrology systems, supply aero-tooling solutions or surface finishing technologies, Aro PR and Marketing can help boost your company’s profile.

Aro Director, Billy McKenna, said: “Subcon 2016 was a fantastic opportunity for Aro. We met a variety of advanced manufacturing companies and saw some fascinating innovations. 2017 looks to be even more exciting thanks to the collaboration with The Advanced Manufacturing Show and The Engineer Design & Innovation Show. We’re especially looking forward to meeting show attendees and discussing how we can help raise their company’s profile and drive sales!”

Aro has experience across the full marketing mix, including PR; social media management; marketing & brand management; media relations; public affairs/lobbying; copywriting; graphic design; web design & build and event management.

Aro’s friendly, hard-working team of PR and marketing professionals, journalists and designers are experts in their field.

Aro works closely with clients to establish their business needs and agree clear PR and marketing strategies. Indeed, for many clients across the aerospace, marine, automotive and medical sectors, Aro is an integral part of their business and they use the company as their outsourced marketing manager and team.

Billy added: “Aro’s success is built on our reputation for delivering tangible results for our worldclass clients time and time again. We know what it takes to provide high quality, cost effective strategic PR and marketing support, helping clients achieve their sales objectives both in the UK and globally. Our clients are loyal and stay with us for long periods as we build a strong partnership ensuring their marketing and business targets are met.”

Visit Aro PR and Marketing at Stand B5.

Contact Camilla Clarke, Aro PR and Marketing Tel: 01752 894786

Aro launches new awards & SEO services at Advanced Engineering 2017

Aro launches new awards & SEO services at Advanced Engineering 2017

Aro PR and Marketing – a specialist agency for composites, engineering and scientific companies – is launching its new awards applications and SEO services at Advanced Engineering 2017 on the 1st and 2nd of November at the NEC.

Aro’s new awards service came about after several clients asked for support in applying for a range of industry awards, including EEF Future Manufacturing Awards and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade of business success.

Using their PR and journalism skills, Aro successfully wrote the applications and managed the whole process – resulting in a number of Aro clients’ becoming official award winners!

As part of its awards service, Aro identifies the most relevant industry awards for its clients, and manages the whole application process, including writing the application form which can often be lengthy and time consuming.

Aro’s second new service is for Search Engine Optimisation service (SEO). Having successfully trialled the new service, Aro is rolling it out to existing and new clients. Focusing on key elements that contribute to website ranking, this new service helped one of Aro’s clients move from page four on Google searches to page one.

The service covers GA/GTM tracking setup/configuration and provides a tailored reporting setup in line with business objectives and KPI’s. It optimises existing pages on the website, based on the keyword research and maps all keywords to the best landing page.

These services complement Aro’s existing offering which includes: PR, marketing, media relations, profile boosting, digital marketing, social media, graphic design, web design and build, and copywriting.

Returning to the Advanced Engineering Show for the fourth consecutive year, Aro will showcase how these services support business development, fund raising and staff recruitment and motivation.

Aro director Billy McKenna describes the new services: “Awards are a fantastic way to achieve recognition within the industry and beyond, and enhance engineering and composites companies’ marketing. They are also a great way to boost staff morale. However, the application process is often complicated and time consuming, and that’s where Aro comes in.

We are also pleased to add SEO to our range of services. If your company is on the second page for a Google search, the chances are you won’t be found. Our SEO service will address this and could catapult you onto the first page. This could make a real impact in finding new customers, and reassuring existing customers.”

Experience across the engineering and composites industries and, recently, additive manufacturing, has enabled Aro PR and Marketing to grow from strength to strength, building a reputation in delivering quality services tailored to the target audience.

For more information, for a free half-hour consultation at Advanced Engineering 2017, e-mail

Our 5th Birthday

Aro PR and Marketing is celebrating five years in business with new staff and more clients than ever before.

The team of journalists, marketing experts and science writers has created a niche role helping small and medium sized high-tech engineering companies raise their profiles and increase business.

Aro staff have an in-depth knowledge of the aerospace, automotive, motorsport, energy, marine and science sectors. And the company’s dedication to their clients has paid off with two new staff members recently being recruited.

Billy McKenna, Director of Aro, said: “When I started the company five years ago I knew I wanted to work with engineering, composites and science related companies. All our clients are doing really clever work, from designing microfluidic devices to helping making aircraft more efficient.

“However, they don’t always have the time or know-how to market themselves effectively. That’s where we come in. We have built up a knowledge of the engineering and science sectors and we know how to get the most out of any story – from new innovations to awards success.”

The Devon-based company has clients from Newcastle to Plymouth and was originally a one-man band when it launched in 2011. It now employs five staff members, each with their own speciality, with an additional pool of seven associates.

Mr McKenna added: “We are all delighted to be celebrating our fifth anniversary. I’d like to thank our customers and staff for their commitment over the past five years. From the outset we’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic customers for whom we will bend over backwards to meet any challenge.”

The team will be at this year’s Advanced Engineering Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on the 2nd and 3rd of November. Why not pop along and say hello. You will find the Aro team at stand N94, hall 3A.

For more information on Aro’s services, visit or phone 01752 894 786.