This week in PR (1 February)

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.

At least my windscreen looked pretty this morning ❄️ @emmabowers1
At least my windscreen looked pretty this morning ❄️ @emmabowers1

In the news

  • PRCA has published its 2019 report looking back on 2018 – ‘the year in which we became the world’s largest PR association.’ 2019 is also the PRCA’s 50th anniversary year.
  • Look how well journalists mark the passing of one of their own: here’s an obituary of legendary sports reporter Hugh McIlvanney in The Guardian. Full professions keep records of their distinguished members. It surprises me how little interest there is in public relations circles for something similar. With your help and contributions, we hope to address this at PR Place.
  • Alan VanderMolen is leaving WE Communications after almost three years as the firm’s international president (Holmes Report).
  • Jason MacKenzie and Kevin Davis have joined Ahzaz Chowdhury as partners in Nudge Factory.


Insights and opinions: Pick of the posts

These are the editor’s pick of posts about public relations this week (UK focused, but with a global outlook). Recommendations are welcome to or @pr_place

Purpose and professionalism

  • Debs Field: Power of Words (27 January)
    ‘I’ve been reflecting on the power of our words because of how this week has begun and ended.’
  • Claire Simpson: Meet the GLG (27 January)
    ‘The CIPR Greater London Group is the largest single regional or sector group in the Chartered Institute of Public Relations with 3,000 members.’

Consulting, careers and skills

  • Farzana Baduel: Principles of negotiation (30 January)
    ‘Negotiation is both an art and a science, one which requires the skillful mastery of influence through persuasion, rather than coercion, for the purpose of reaching a desired agreement without excessive sacrifice and/ or compromise.’
  • Brendon Craigie: The future of the agency and why it’s decentralised (no date)
    ‘We can, and we must, start experimenting with different ways of working. Why shouldn’t PR pros be able to work for a dynamic agency, one that operates at the same pace as the top London firms, but with the flexibility to work from anywhere?’
  • Jason MacKenzie: Compelling corporate communications: proposition, positioning, perception, persuasion. (30 January)
    ‘Marketing theory is built on ‘four Ps’ – product, price, place and promotion. Corporate communications can also be structured around four ‘Ps’ – proposition, positioning, perception and persuasion.’
  • Ronke Lawal: Professionalism v Perfectionism (29 January)
    ‘Professionalism is the key to upholding a trusted reputation, it is not perfectionism.’
  • Ben Smith with Giles Fraser: PR Moment Podcast (28 January)
    ‘People in our industry stop training and developing too early. If you can develop all those skills to work with the senior people in the business, you can be much more effective as a communicator.’
  • Roger Darashah: The Phrase That Set the PR Business Back a Decade (25 January)
    ‘Agency success is built not only on client happiness, but that of their staff, the respect of their partners and media.’

Politics and public affairs

  • Stuart Thomson: Be prepared to defend yourself (30 January)
    ‘So don’t be afraid to defend yourself.  You may be prepared for a rough ride but you can often come away pleasantly surprised by the welcome you receive.  It is often a case of getting information to people at the right time. But if you are not prepared to defend yourselves then no-one else will.’
  • Aidan Muller and Tom Hashemi: Why the public should matter to think tankers (28 January)
    ‘Social media has given the public a voice. This voice is undoubtedly messy and noisy. But in aggregate, it carries considerable weight.’

Public sector

  • Damien Currie: Our evaluation journey – a new case study (30 January)
    ‘It was [Alex Aiken’s] call for all government communicators to be leaders that pushed me to challenge our board to make the necessary investment in communications: to transition away from the “spray and pray” method to targeted, controlled communications which speak directly with our audience.’
  • Paul Masterman: If you want to move and shake in your organisation, get yourself a decent strategy (26 January)
    ‘To thrive in the modern public services, communications professionals must now have a strategic brain, an ability to look ahead and spot trends, the craft to tell and share stories and the expertise to create and sustain brands.’

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Katy Howell: You never see old marketers or baby pigeons [free registration required] (30 January)
    ‘Who bloody cares what age your agency marketer is? Oh, it matters. And it’s going to matter a whole lot more over the next few years. Our industry has a whole lot of shit coming at us, and it’s going to get worse.’
  • Andy West: Treat me as a person, not a commodity (29 January)
    ‘I’m lucky to work for an organisation that strives to provide the right work life balance. I can’t imagine working for a leader who expects the type of sacrifices that [Elon] Musk is asking of his people.’

Brands and influence

  • Emma Hazan: The kid influencers of today and why you need to know who they are… (30 January)
    ‘It will come as no surprise to any parent of young children that 70% of 5-7 year olds are watching YouTube. From slime tutorials to unboxing LOL surprises and simply watching other kids play, our kids are fixated with user-generated content.’
  • Scott Guthrie: CMA rewards influencers’ brand affinity (25 January)
    ‘The move to insist on transparency surrounding past collaborations will promote fewer, but deeper and longer-term relationships between brand and influencer.’

Trust and reputation

  • Elisabeth Lewis-Jones: #ShameOnYouWarwick (31 January)
    ‘Imagine, in the post #MeToo world, banning a small group of boys from a university for offensive, threatening sexual behaviour where they discussed ‘friends’ in an open forum…and then lifting the ban and allowing them back on to campus.’
  • Arianne Smart:  What does the Edelman Trust Barometer mean for Public Relations? (31 January)
    ‘In terms of sources of news, Europe showed a low trust in social media at just 34%, compared to 44% globally. This is in comparison to 60% indicating trust in traditional media and 59% in search in Europe.’
  • Claire Walker: Is your reputation hot or cold? Seven ways to check (31 July)
    ‘Your reputation is what people say and think about you. It’s the respect you command, the trust you’ve earned. Your brand is what you say about yourself. It’s showing your confidence, stating your conviction – your vision, mission, purpose or values.’
  • Chris Measures: James Dyson and three lessons for Brexit communications (30 January)
    ‘At any other time a successful company investing more in the country, while pledging to keep jobs in the UK would be applauded. But whatever the story, business decisions are currently all viewed through a Brexit lens.’

Internal communication

  • Saskia Jones: 3 Compelling Reasons Why Leaders Should Give Employees A Voice (no date)
    ‘Leaders today need to empower employees to have a voice at work. They’ll achieve far more engagement and even bolster their organisational brand and reputation in doing so.’
  • Helen Deverell: Make the Grade this Groundhog Day (30 January)
    ‘Ever had a Bill Murray moment where you feel trapped in a never-ending cycle with your internal communications? We’ve all been there. We work our socks off to deliver impactful internal communications, but time and time again we get the same result, and not the one we wanted.’
  • Dan Gerrella: Why businesses need to build trust with their employees (30 January)
    ‘Over three-quarters of those surveyed said it was a CEO’s role to talk about these topics and lead positive change regarding industry issues, political events and national crises.’
  • Kate Isichei: How can we encourage collaboration? (29 January)
    ‘Collaboration within teams, across business units and geographies fuels engagement.  Why? Because engagement craves collaboration and collaboration is born of communication.  The same could be said in reverse.’
  • Katie Macaulay with Russell Grossman: What it takes to be an IC leader [podcast] (29 January)
    ‘Head of Profession at Government Communication Service means having oversight of recruitment and progression of 4,500 people. The people we most like to see at senior director level are those that have done at least two and preferably more disciplines so people who reach the role have truly got an understanding of the whole comms discipline.’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Marcel Klebba: On creativity, longevity and clout (27 January)
    ‘Creating is hard. No matter whether we’re publishing content for millions of subscribers or a handful of industry folk, it’s important to remember there’s a mission behind it; to share the knowledge, insights, opinions. And most importantly, to benefit those who consume our work.’

Technology and AI

  • Paul Nolan: A trip down MWC memory lane (part II) (no date)
    ‘[Mobile World Congress] 2010 was all about Google. A range of new devices based on the Android platform were announced at the show. Google CEO, Eric Schmidt was the leading keynote speaker and famously said the smartphones would soon outsell PCs – not everyone believed him.’

Media and digital

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

PR Careers: 2019: 150 PR internships and graduate schemes

  • Heiða Ingimarsdóttir (Leeds): Studying PR abroad (31 January)
    ‘Last semester at Leeds University we have mostly been focusing on marketing courses as my degree is a masters in “Corporate Communications, Marketing and Public Relations”.’
  • Lucy Hayball (Bournemouth): Keeping it real: trends to watch out for in 2019 (31 January)
    ‘I can’t help but wonder where voice search will go and how much we will all unknowingly be relying on it in a year’s time.’
  • Annie-Rose Mulholland (Ulster): On Dippy the Diplodocus and childhood obsessions (31 January)
    ‘So, there’s me, tweeting about seeing Dippy and how much I love dinosaurs, add a couple of photos, post and don’t think about it again. A few days later, the Ulster Museum, the Natural History Museum in London, and Dippy himself have all replied to me.’
  • Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores): Leveraging Social Media as a Music Artist: The Capaldi Way (30 January)
    ‘The sudden rise in his Instagram followers got me thinking about how musicians can leverage their social media in order to boost their profile and get more people listening to and loving their music.’
  • Shauna McKillop (Ulster): Placement Panic (30 January)
    ‘For anyone who is yet to receive a placement offer or is awaiting a response, do not panic. Make use of the resources to build your CV and be yourself in the interview.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): iSpy (29 January)
    ‘It just scares me that not only do people give away this control and information, but we accept it and don’t seem to care. That’s not normal.’
  • Sian Jones (South Wales): A Smear Campaign (29 January)
    ‘It has been almost 10 years since Jade Goody lost her battle with cervical cancer. Post Jade’s death, smear tests peaked. This was known as the Jade Goody effect. Now sadly the effect is long gone.’
  • Holly Rees (South Wales): Social Anxiety Disguised at Modesty (29 January)
    ‘The inability to talk about myself means that I also lack the ability to sell myself. I can never think of good examples of my experience when put on the spot in interviews, despite having experience in so many things that my C.V. would look like a novella, if I had the courage to include everything on there!’
  • Catherine Maguire (Ulster): Click plate (28 January)
    ‘The food section of an Instagram explore page can be a dangerous place. Rainbow bagels, fully loaded fries and “freak shakes.” As we scroll in awe and think to ourselves, “I need to try that.” we are falling victim to the world of stunt food.’
  • Beth Smith (Sunderland): How to | Build you social media ‘portfolio’ (27 January)
    ‘Things you post about on social media stay with you forever (think Jack Maynard, I’m a celeb situation) nothing is ever 100% private online, so make sure you think before posting a rant about that bad day at work or posting that inappropriate photo.’