Unearthing hidden gems

Client: Nottingham University Business School Expertise: Editorial, Public relations, Strategy

Major research with obvious scope for impact and engagement easily lends itself to maximum exposure, but what about more esoteric studies? We pride ourselves on finding potential in some of the unlikeliest material – for example, a 23-page Nottingham University Business School paper on “process innovation, horizontal product innovation and geographic dispersion”.


The research was carried out “with reference to the history of the English brewing industry”. Regardless of how obscure the framing, beer is something of which many people are fond and a key element of numerous industries. That had to count for something in discerning target markets.

“Many thanks for creating something eye-catching from what is in essence a rather ‘academic’ paper!” Professor Peter Swann, Nottingham University of Business School

In addition, buried amid the equations was a simple and pertinent story: the birth of the UK’s Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the concomitant raising of consumer acumen had revived a moribund industry, leading to an ever-growing number of microbreweries satisfying ever more sophisticated palates.

So there was a tale to tell – one presented in concise, jargon-free, plain-English text suited to an era in which reporters, sub-editors and copy-tasters have to determine a story’s merits within seconds. We circulated this to mainstream and specialist media and also produced a research briefing – slightly more formal in tone but still succinct – for consumer groups such as CAMRA and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).


National newspapers, the trade press, the internet in general and economics and business websites in particular all seized on the study in its accessible form. This resulted in a high media profile.

Both CAMRA and SIBA made the research briefing available as a downloadable PDF. This meant the findings were shared with tens of thousands of CAMRA members and every independent brewer in the country.

The author was approached by several leading brewers and was even invited to the Great British Beer Festival to be thanked in person for his contribution to the microbrewery movement.