This Week in PR (1 April)

About the author

Richard Bailey Hon FCIPR is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

'So much positive energy in London today for the people of Ukraine.' David Gallagher @tbonegallagher on Instagram
'So much positive energy in London today for the people of Ukraine.' David Gallagher @tbonegallagher on Instagram

It happened this week

  • Kevin RuckMary Berry’s PR masterclass (29 March)
    ‘In an age of social media, Mary does not have an Insta account. Her career and celebrity are based on traditional TV and print. But her real appeal is derived from kindness to contestants, humility, and that word again, ‘authenticity’.’


Purpose and ESG

  • Andrew Adie: Net zero is set to become a major reputational issue come November (31 March)
    ‘The spotlight of the world has understandably swung to Ukraine and to geopolitics. It’s also swung to the cost of living crisis and rising global energy and commodity costs that are in part a result of that war, the impact of the fighting on Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia. Yet net zero hasn’t gone away.’
  • Emma Drake: ESG reporting and managing reputation issues [podcast] (31 March)
    ‘ESG reporting is emerging as one of these effective ways for businesses to build a positive reputation.’
  • Sophie Morello: Purpose on Payday (25 March)
    ‘Over the past month, Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine has thrown up a number of complex issues around the ethics of business and how we keep fragile net zero ambitions alive.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Selina Jardim: Separating fact from fiction: lessons from Madbird (31 March)
    ‘I myself made the decision to accept a job offer in London and immigrate to the UK – based solely on communication and interaction through technology with a dash of blind faith. Job interviews over Zoom/MS teams have become the norm. Fortunately, I evaded becoming a casualty of jobfishing and joined an established, reputable, and dynamic European tech PR agency.’
  • Alice Wilkinson: We’ve mastered WFH and hybrid working – what’s next? (31 March)
    ‘SEC Newgate UK has introduced a policy that allows staff to work remotely for up to a month a year, assuming client commitments and team availability allow.’
  • Ben Smith with Kat McGettigan: How to pitch successfully [podcast] (30 March)
    ‘Agency growth can happen in three ways: clearly, there’s always going to be the new business pitches; growth is also about being resilient about setting up your agency to grow; there are also questions about how competitive we are on our rate card and on paying our team. Great work, great time: it’s a virtuous cycle.’

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Scott Guthrie: Creator Lucy Edwards on ditching tokenism from influencer marketing [podcast] (31 March)
    ‘When I first sat down to talk to these big global companies I thought: am I good enough to do this, especially with the perceptions about disability. My mindset now is ‘I’m blind, not broken’, but it hasn’t always been that way.’
  • Aby Hawker: Celebrating Trans Talent this Trans Day Of Visibility (28 March)
    ‘For Trans Day of Visibility this year, March 31, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of the talented individuals that have joined our network since TransMission PR went live.’

Public and third sectors

  • Dan Slee: VIDEO VIEW: 5 ways the public sector can use TikTok (31 March)
    ‘What has started as a Chinese platform with music is morphing into a genuine contender to break the Facebook monopoly. The public sector, by and large, has been eyeing up TikTok warily. Innovators have been experimenting.’
  • Stuart Baird: A decade on: strong Govt comms is needed more than ever (31 March)
    ‘I am proud to have worked for the GCS for 16years, working for just about every Department and executive agency, including the strategic communications unit in No10 Downing Street and the Royal Family: I was no career tourist.’
  • Andrew Fielding: April fools’ day for the public sector (30 March)
    ‘A really good April Fools’ Day prank is clever, subtle, almost artistic. It shows that a brand or public sector organisation has humility and humanity. It is an opportunity to raise a smile and generate a really positive discussion and appreciation from the audience.’
  • Sally Northeast: Comms – the beating heart of an organisation (30 March)
    ‘The thing about comms is that it can influence literally everything in an organisation. It amplifies and helps embeds our culture, vision, values and behaviours. It tells our story both internally and externally. It helps our leaders to be visible and to connect with our people and our communities. It sells our brand.’
  • Alix Macfarlane: Two years on… (30 March)
    ‘It’s been a long two years, yet we are stronger in many ways as a profession. We know we are at our best when we work together, look after each other, promote success and work to raise people up.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere 

  • George Esmond: Confidence is the certainty our kids need to excel in education (31 March)
    ‘We’ve always known that everyone is different, but that conversation led me to believe that the nature of education has changed because what our children need has changed, and we must understand and accept that.’
  • Charlie Rattigan: Energy deadlock (31 March)
    ‘Once the energy strategy is published, it will have significant implications on the direction of renewable supply in the UK. It will be interesting to see if the Treasury holds strong on objections to funding.’
  • James Surallie: Met issue first Downing Street ‘partygate’ fines (29 March)
    ‘Despite the Met making it clear that they will not be identifying any of the people receiving fines, the spotlight will be fixed on the Prime Minister. In response to the announcement, opposition parties have reignited their calls for Boris Johnson to resign.’
  • Adam Hall: Genomic testing: a win-win for the UK Government? (29 March)
    ‘Back in September 2020, six months or so in to the pandemic, the UK Government set out its 10-year strategy to create the world’s most advanced genomic healthcare system, delivering better health outcomes for patients at lower cost.’
  • Daniel Hedengren: 2022 Spring Statement: Less than the sum of its parts
    ‘It seems like the Chancellor is trying to reaffirm the image of the Conservative Party as the party of tax cuts and prudent spending, as this has brought with it great electoral success in the past and lies at the core of many of its MPs ideological identities.’
  • Farzana Baduel: To service or not to service, that is the question (29 March)
    ‘The PR industry has been accused of many wrongdoings, but following a recent research paper from Chatham House on the UK’s kleptocracy problem, PRs are now accused of weakening the rule of law by servicing post-Soviet elites.’
  • Stuart Thomson: How to assess your level of political exposure (28 March)
    ‘The higher your level of political exposure, the more need there is to engage with government and politics. Without this engagement, you are failing to manage your risks.’

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Amanda Coleman: Preparedness – an issue for us all (31 March)
    ‘The pandemic has shown that we all need to be more ready both personally and professionally for the crises that will arrive.’

Internal communication

  • Katie Macaulay with Nick Harding and Alana Renner: Strategy & IC: A masterclass in collaboration [podcast] (no date)
    ‘We had an internal communications team in Bristol, an internal communications team in the Isle of Man, internal communications team in London, etc, etc. What we needed to do is if we were going to really drive a consistent message and one set of narrative to really bring the organisation with us through transformation, we needed the central communications office to drive that.’
  • Jenni Field: Chaos to calm: Managing stakeholders [podcast] (30 March)
    ‘I want to explore what happens when we don’t manage stakeholders, and the chaos that can come from that.’
  • Martin Flegg: Inner sceptic (27 March)
    ‘Having a questioning and sceptical mindset is a fundamental skill for being an ethical communication practitioner. Asking ‘why’ often, and challenging organisational leaders on their thinking and decision making is critical for maintaining a healthy balance between the demands of leaders and the needs of employees.’

Media, digital and technology

  • Claire Simpson: AI readiness: Seven hard truths for PR (no date)
    Artificial intelligence is set to transform the PR industry. We’ve known this for some time, but the question of our readiness remains a salient one.’
  • Ankita Bose: NFTs are coming to Instagram – but why should brands care? (29 March)
    ‘Zuckerberg didn’t specify how NFTs will look on Instagram, but he did confirm digital collectables will soon be arriving on the app in a new environment that will, eventually, enable users to mint new NFTs.’
  • Claire Foster: Sustaining the Metaverse (no date)
    ‘Our pandemic lives have been predominantly virtual for two years and this has undoubtedly accelerated investment in the metaverse.’
  • Pete Lambie with Sabah Meddings: Media Network: What makes a dream scoop for Sunday Times business? (no date)
    ‘The dream Sunday Times story is an exclusive on a deal that no one else has or an investigation into a corporate wrongdoing.’
  • Arjun Upadhyay: Decoding private equity’s video game spending spree (28 March)
    ‘The video game industry was a notable beneficiary of the pandemic as millions of people globally were confined to their homes, triggering a period of exceptional growth: the industry is expected to expand by 14.5% annually over the next five years, reaching a value of $314 billion by 2026’

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    • Sarah Cockett (Leeds Beckett):


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  • Elena Niculescu (Solent): Pestering women to become a criminal offence (31 March)
    ‘Nobody is ever safe, no matter the time of day and location, especially if you are a woman walking alone.’
  • Bethany Gough (Solent): Should all new businesses be sustainable? (28 March)
    ‘When she first announced her business plan, Kathryn branded the pyjama brand as ethical and sustainable. This branding was scrutinised as she went on to say she will manufacture her garments for very little money in China.’