Tweed Media is an Untiring Advocate for its Clients

The Scotland-based company is a global PR firm specializing in the outdoor leisure and countryside lifestyle sectors, but with a particular focus on hunting and shooting.

Legendary merchant John Wanamaker is considered by some to be a pioneer in modern marketing. Nearly a century after his death, he is still remembered for his prescient quote regarding the value of advertising: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Leica media breakfast at SHOT Show
One of Tweed’s biggest assignments is organizing the Leica media breakfast at SHOT Show.Slaton L. White

You could say the same thing about public relations. Part of the problem for any company is finding the right partner to handle it. If it’s a poor fit, as with an ill-fitting shotgun, targets are going to be missed. Some companies avoid the issue by having public relations done in-house. But this tactic can also misfire if the designated employee is ill-suited to the task or is asked to handle p.r. while performing other duties. And given the specialized nature of many of the products found in the shooting sports industry, you can make a good case that hiring an agency that understands your company’s culture and products, and the market in which those products must compete, is money well spent.

Established in 2009, Scotland-based Tweed Media International is a global public relations firm that specializes in the outdoor leisure and countryside lifestyle sectors, but with a particular focus on hunting and shooting.

“Over the past decade, Tweed Media has grown from a small kitchen-table start-up in a sector that did not understand the power of public relations to a dominant international agency working with huge brands all over the U.S. and the world,” says managing director Selena Barr. She co-founded the agency with her husband, Simon, who serves as CEO. “At the beginning, it was tricky to convince businesses that they should consider appointing an external agency to handle their public relations.”

In many cases when Tweed approached companies in the shooting sports sector, Barr discovered, they learned that tradition dictated that public relations be handled internally. "Invariably, we found that this person did not understand the subject matter because they weren't a hunter or shooter. As such, their efforts would prove ineffective."

Another barrier Tweed encountered during pitches was a company’s previous experience with an outside agency.

"When we talked to these CEOs, we learned that some companies had had their fingers burned by an agency that had over-promised and under-delivered," Barr says. "We had to convince these CEOs that we were different, that we were accountable and transparent."

And just how did Tweed do that?

“What set us apart is that we are passionately committed to the outdoors,” she says. “When we are not working, we are chasing deer and fish, and camping in the wilderness.”

Another key selling point was that the Barrs told these companies that Tweed is “always on.”

“That means 24/7,” she says. “If a crisis hits at 10 p.m. on a Sunday, we are available. Always.”

Future company goals for Tweed include continued expansion in the United States. “Tweed Media’s USP is helping American brands penetrate the U.K. and European markets, and vice versa,” Barr says. “We are currently pitching to some well-known household brands that I hope to announce as part of our portfolio very soon.”

Case Study Premium German optics brand Leica tasks Tweed Media with translating European-sounding and European-looking branding messages to the U.S. market. Tweed's staff, now composed of 11 staffers (including writers, SEO experts, designers, and photographers), will rewrite, reshoot, and rework the marketing collateral that comes from Wetzlar to make it relatable to the American market.

“We have worked with Leica for the past seven years, so we understand their messaging and brand identity intricately,” Barr says. “In addition, our role is to secure Leica with as much editorial coverage in the U.S. as possible.

One of Barr’s biggest tasks at SHOT Show is the annual Leica breakfast: “Organizing the Leica media breakfast on the Wednesday morning of SHOT Show is no small undertaking. There is so much competition for people to attend events. It takes an enormous number of man-hours to secure the presence of the top editors, writers, bloggers, photographers, and influencers in one room. I think one of the reasons I always manage to pull it off is because I bother to send an email to every single attendee to thank them for their support. Without the support and respect of these people, Tweed Media would not be able to achieve all that we do.”