This week in PR (1 May)

About the author

Richard Bailey FCIPR MPRCA is editor of our Insights, formerly PR Place. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

Ottolenghi chocolate and cranberry biscuits made before 9am! #rainyday #lockdown #toddlertainment @dannywhatmough
Ottolenghi chocolate and cranberry biscuits made before 9am! #rainyday #lockdown #toddlertainment @dannywhatmough

News in brief

  • PR Week has published its top 150 ranking of UK PR agencies and PRovoke has published its top 250 global agency ranking.
  • The CIPR has stepped up its lobbying on behalf of the self-employed and small business owners
  • ‘Hong Kong is again seeking global PR support to help rebuild its international reputation,’ Arun Sudhaman reports for PRovoke.
  • A number of professional membership associations (including AMEC, CIPR, IPRA PRCA) are supporting the Virtual Public Relations Summit on 25-29 May. Members of these associations receive a 20% discount off the All-Access Pass.

Academic, education and training

  • Johanna Fawkes: Re-setting PR (25 April)
    ‘What if we look beyond ‘managing’ to the revolutionary potential of re-thinking the whole caboodle? What would PR look like if it (we) worked from values or made planetary well-being  the main driver, not another T-shirt slogan?

Covid-19 comms

  • Amanda Coleman: A tapestry of messages (30 April)
    ‘It is clear that whatever comes after the lockdown it will take some very careful messaging to ensure people understand what it means and how it will change their lives.’
  • Orlagh Shanks: 20 Things I Expect to Change Post-COVID-19 (29 April)
    ‘Life is going to be a lot different post-COVID and we’re going to have a lot of new things to get used to. Below are 20 things I think will change and how I expect them to change.’
  • Paul Sutton with Maja Pawinska Sims: Covid-19: The future of the communications industry [podcast] (29 April)
    ‘I do think it’s going to be a real pivotal point for the communications industry. It’s put comms front and centre; it can’t be on the sidelines anymore. When it’s not appropriate to use traditional advertising and marketing, but you do still have to look after your reputation and your relationships with your stakeholders, then there’s only one place for companies to put their money at the moment.’
  • Jessica Pardoe: Crisis Communications: What We Can Learn From Jacinda Ardern (28 April)
    ‘I would go so far as to say that her impressive handling of this pandemic is largely down to her education and experience within the communications industry.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Lockdown letter: Communities respond to an inequitable crisis (26 April)
    ‘Approximately two million people are freelance or working in the gig economy and have no work or income. People in care, the NHS or public services are working 18 hour days in public services, risking their lives every day.’

Purpose and professionalism

  • Jenni Field: CIPR President’s April video update

    (29 April)
    ‘We have launched our mentoring scheme which matches our fellow to our members and it’s the perfect time to help people look at their career choice

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Victoria Moffatt: PR – ‘free’ is not the answer, charge your worth (29 April)
    ‘Offering a service for free instantly devalues it. PR suffers enough with regards to measurability, its one time ‘fluffy’ image and the periodic knocks it takes in the press (rightly) due to bad, negligent and sometimes downright dodgy practice. Strategic, measurable, accountable PR should be expensive. It is a professional service in the same vein as law or accountancy and deserves to be charged accordingly.’
  • Emily Wallace: How to help your agency weather the storm – some advice to my younger self (28 April)
    ‘As someone who has spent the last 17 years in Board level roles in three different agencies, I wanted to write something that might help my younger self, the one that had never run an agency, and who was blissfully unaware of some of the discussions going on in the boardroom.’
  • Caroline Addy: Why I moved from a global to a start-up agency (28 April)
    ‘Hindsight would suggest this was not the right time to have started a new role, much less at a start-up. But I disagree. I’m relieved to be working in a people-first organisation, within a team whose values are ultimately the same as mine.’

Public sector

  • Dan Slee: COVID COMMS #7: What public sector comms can learn from five key surveys (1 May)
    ‘Some important numbers for you if you’re in the public sector trying to communicate to people. A majority of people trust you.’
  • Louisa Dean: 7 things I’ve learned about my team during lockdown (27 April)
    ‘This crisis has shown that we council comms teams across the county have a strong relationship. We’ve been supporting each other, for example when we’ve had to deal with the awful news of a death of a colleague. We’ve also used our chats to sound out new ideas in a safe space – we all know how important it is to get the message right.’

Politics and public affairs

  • Clare Moody: Grayling’s Brexit Bulletin (28 April()
    ‘Another scene in the Second Act of the ongoing Brexit performance was rolled out last week, with each side playing what have become their familiar roles, and the rest of us left to wonder how this might have moved the plot forward – there seems to be little hope of character development at this stage.’
  • Stuart Thomson: The Government’s Plans For Football: Beware The Review (27 April)
    ‘It seems that government as well as parliament will launch inquiries and reviews into football once the immediate COVID-19 crisis is over.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • John Harrington: Mental health focus fuels race to the top for best PR employers (28 April)
    ‘In the past few years mental health has moved from being a fairly niche interest to a mainstream concern across society. This is as true in the PR industry as anywhere, given that the often high-pressure nature of working in comms can cause stress, anxiety and sometimes worse.’

Campaigns and creativity

Monitoring, measurement and evaluation

Internal communication

  • Mark Terry: Kahn’s 3 Dimensions of Employee Engagement: Still Good to Go in 2020? (30 April)
    ‘One of the first researchers to identify the concept of employee engagement was William Kahn, a psychologist who was interested in understanding the factors involved in people engagement.’
  • Martin Flegg: The undiscovered country (29 April)
    ‘For internal communicators this is now no longer a crisis to be dealt with by a reactive communications response and tactics. We are now dealing with the mother of all change situations.’
  • Katie Macaulay with Bill Quirke: The godfather of IC [podcast] (no date)
    ‘That taught me a lot about the hierarchy of communication: media tend to come first, because everyone is terrified of journalists; analysts come second because everyone is scared about the share price; but the people you never thought about were your employees because everyone assumed they’d do as they were told.’
  • Adrian Stirrup and Darren Caveney with Kevin McDougall and Andy Macleod: How the pandemic is impacting internal communicators, lockdown twitching, and getting deep on consumerism [podcast] (28 April)
    ‘Every leader seems to be a communicator at present, which is a great leap from where we were, but how do you manage that?’
  • Keith Riley-Whittingham: How to use video for your Internal Comms (27 April)
    ‘We should do everything to a high standard but nothing we do has to be perfect, so it’s fine that the video will feel like it has been done on the fly. Just call it ‘authentic’ and be proud you got it done.’
  • Agnes Costa: What internal communications can do about employee wellbeing (27 April)
    ‘In his book Dying For A Paycheck (Harper Collins, 2018), Jeffery Pfeiffer, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, explains how employee engagement and wellbeing are linked. Pfeiffer provides research to show that two critical contributors to employee engagement — job control and social support — also improve employee health.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Paddy Blewer: The media are not the enemy of free speech – but those that say they are might be (28 April)
    ‘Maybe we should all stand back and take a breath before we criticise “the media” again? Unless we want to live in a world where all government decisions are praised as “brave” and all corporate moves and to be welcomed as “innovative” Who wants a newspaper that reads like a bloody press release?’
  • Claire Etchell: IGTV – What is it, why bother and how to use it (28 April)
    ‘Instagram fancies a slice of YouTubes pie. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, and Instagram has created a separate app for this platform. By using IGTV you’re getting in there first, on what is already proving to be a popular medium.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs


This is our final week, so we summarise the contest and reveal the shortlist here.

  • Teela Clayton (Leeds Beckett): Gizza job (30 April)
    ‘The PR job market, like many others, has suffered a blow in these… dare I say unprecedented… times. So thank me later, but I’ve enlisted the help of a PR pro to make securing your first role easy as.’
  • Emma Rogers (Solent): My blogging story (30 April)
    ‘Yes my YouTube and influencer career failed. But, I believe these aspirations as a mere 15 year old planted a seed within me that has led me to where I am today. Blogging always stuck with me, and I continued to dabble over the years.’
  • Hannah Bowering (Sunderland): The TikTok takeover (30 April)
    ‘During the lockdown period, it appears adults have been taking to TikTok too, sometimes making fun videos with their children, or more often than not, using it as a creative outlet for themselves.’
  • Emma Street (Lincoln): What I’ve learnt about myself (29 April)
    ‘I was really looking forward to getting my own independence, and having my own place to look after and come home to after work. I was not expecting this!’
  • Charlotte Price (Sunderland): Staying In Is The New Going Out: 4 Breweries Adapting During COVID-19 (29 April)
    ‘Breweries are showcasing their adaptability during these make or break times with their creativity and resilience, showcasing house themed party beers, delivery services launched and special beers crafted in support of the NHS.’
  • Alice Wilmot (Solent): My Favourite Influencer Collaborations… (28 April)
    ‘Many of you have probably spent your time watching YouTube to pass the time or to follow your favourite influencers. I follow a few influencers on YouTube and they’re fantastic! I find it very entertaining.’
  • Rory Drake (Sunderland): Working for a PR Agency and Advice for Students: Q&A with Jessica Pardoe (28 April)
    ‘The same applies for students just starting their PR course, the sooner you can ‘PR’ yourself, the better really. Also, it’s a really good idea to start reading up on PR and marketing – go further than your course materials as there’s a wealth of really great content out there.’
  • Ben Painter (Sunderland): Why is PR important in the modern sporting world? (28 April)
    ‘Sports clubs are an integral part of their respected communities so it is very important that they maintain goodwill and promote their positive reputation.’
  • Steven Batey (Sunderland): Virtual Rallying: Making the Most of a Bad Situation (28 April)
    ‘But why does this work so well? For starters, it doesn’t matter if you have a £5000 Sim Racing setup with the latest computer components and the fanciest steering wheel on the market or (like me!) a rather more basic setup costing less than three figures – the game and the idea about it is the same.’
  • Olivia Price (Leeds Beckett): My Fifth Week In Lockdown – Coronavirus Crisis (27 April)
    ‘My virtual lectures began again this week, and I only have one more week left of them, which is also absolutely MAD. I can’t really fault the lectures, or my university. My course is pretty bitty and has lots of different parts to it but I think it has been taught as best it could have been in this situation.’
  • Alex Burgess (Sunderland): 3 of the best movie marketing campaigns (27 April)
    ‘I think it’s fair to say that the marketing for The Blair Witch Project paved the way for viral marketing campaigns as we know them today, and should be acknowledged as one of the best. Looking back it probably seems quite simple but considering it was done in 1999, and basically unheard of at the time, it was definitely effective.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): That’s a wrap (27 April)
    ‘I moved out so learned all about living by myself and with other people, I learned about time management, coping with stress, looking after myself, juggling a social life with a job and a degree. I did a placement year so got a hell of an insight into the real world and working 9-5 and everything that comes with it. I also learned how to cook daal.’
  • Connor Lamb (Sunderland): Why do I choose non-league over the professional game? (25 April)
    ‘Non-league is a sense of community, and there’s a much greater sense of involvement and influence at a non-league club. You can suggest how you think the club could improve and it’ll likely be acted on. You can sit in the clubhouse after the game and have a pint with your players.’
  • Alice Byrne (Ulster): Return of The Great British Sewing Bee (Ulster)
    ‘Finally something that isn’t the News, providing a brief but golden hour of light-hearted entertainment helping distract us all during such a challenging time!’