This week in PR (10 April)

About the author

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

‘Come and hangout with the PRFest community online - vent, ask questions, discuss and just check in with each other’ @laurafromaura
‘Come and hangout with the PRFest community online - vent, ask questions, discuss and just check in with each other’ @laurafromaura

News in brief

  • The Government Communication Service (GCS) has established an advisory panel of leaders from across the communications industry to provide expert challenge, advice and support for the Government’s COVID-19 communication activities. Those with communication skills and expertise to offer are encouraged to sign up for interim roles. (GCS)
  • The PRCA’s Global COVID-19 Taskforce has launched a free consultation service led by Tony Langham to help communications leaders manage their organisations and agencies through the COVID-19 crisis. (PRCA)
  • The CIPR is lobbying on behalf of PR freelancers, with research showing that half of them have lost over 60% of their income. (CIPR)
  • Ben Nunn has been appointed Labour party director of comms following Sir Keir Starmer’s election as party leader (PR Week)
  • I can’t recall a faster rise and more sudden fall than that of Zoom. No sooner had it emerged as the big winner for video conferencing during the lockdown, than security concerns have been raised, and some institutions have now forbidden staff to use if for work purposes.
  • Ok Mentor is a free training and ‘crash’ mentorship programme specially designed for females who want to break into creative industries. If this sounds like you, then you can sign up for the webinar series that starts on 22 April.

Covid-19 comms

  • Rod Cartwright: Human, Humane & Humble: A Covid-19 Brand Survival Guide (9 April)
    ‘Whether in conversation with members of the PRCA, EACD, the Supper Club or the Institute of Leadership & Management, we’ve been focusing on a core set of seven crisis communication principles and crisis preparedness best practices.’
  • Orlagh Shanks: A Front Row Seat to My First Comms Crisis (9 April)
    ‘It’s a difficult time emotionally, mentally and physically. We’re stuck indoors, getting very minimal exercise and fresh air. Every day looks the same. When it already seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, communicators need to do their best and communicate.’
  • Ella Minty: Food, Shelter, Safety First – Purpose, Leadership, Vision, Values Second (8 April)‘This virus prioritised what truly matters for many businesses – is it worth paying the exorbitant rates for a posh address which for months, highly likely, they won’t be using? Is [it] worth having a desirable address when you must fire staff whose livelihood depends on the wages, they receive from you?’
  • Alison Boothby with Nancy Coyle: Communication isn’t one size fits all (8 April)
    ‘We’re flicking between our ‘reptile brain’ that keeps us alive, our ‘mammal brain’ that holds our values and social abilities and our ‘neo-cortex’ where we can think and make decisions. It’s a roller coaster. Our reptile brains can overreact to things, so I recommend practicing pre-forgiveness.”
  • Jessica Pardoe: Creative Campaigns #10 – Brewdog Formulates Brewgel For The NHS (8 April)
    ‘Using their distillery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire for a higher purpose, Brewdog are now producing hand sanitiser for the masses. And not to make a profit, but instead to support the NHS and other key organisations performing life-saving work.’
  • Scott Hamilton: How to do news interviews during lockdown: Ten Top Tips for Virtual Media Interviews (7 April)
    ‘Coronavirus has meant remote interviews online – in this case webcam links directly into the home of isolating spokespeople – have shot from the fringes to centre stage. The downsides – poor lighting, dodgy sound, voice delay, and the potential for interruption by smaller members of the family – have not gone away, however.’
  • Alex Malouf: The Government Comms Playbook to Fight the Coronavirus (3 April)
    ‘Government communications is key here. I’ve seen some brilliant work, and I’ve seen work which isn’t going to achieve anything other than the opposite of what was intended. Here’s what I hope governments will look at doing right now.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Jo Field: Top tips for leading a virtual team (no date)
    ‘As the first ever virtual public affairs agency, we were set up to support and encourage flexible and remote working. So in many ways, this way of working is business as usual for us. But while the business model has many benefits, leading a virtual team can be challenging.’
  • Dominic Ridley-Moy: Freelancers falling through support gaps (6 April)
    6 in 10 freelancers are the main household earner; almost half have limited companies so get no support; half are considering leaving freelancing altogether.’
  • Robert Minton-Taylor: Roger Hayes – Burson-Marsteller International Legend Has Died (3 April)
    ‘Roger had a fearsome intellect and didn’t suffer fools gladly. As a boss he was fair minded, but demanding to work for. He expected excellence.’

Public and third sectors

Politics and public affairs

  • Dan Julian: Things can only get better for new Labour leader (9 April)
    ‘The most difficult part of opposition is creating news, but with wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage Starmer is unlikely to cut through even if he were to decisively break from the Corbyn years. The lack of media coverage would normally be seen as a negative, yet a calm and composed politician like Starmer could turn it to his advantage.’
  • Nick Williams and John McTernan: BCW Political Insight: Keir Starmer’s Labour Party: Spent Force or Credible Challenger? (6 April)
    ‘Starmer received 275,780 votes – more than Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 – a resounding victory that provides him with the political capital to change the Labour Party – and possibly its fortunes.’

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Amanda Coleman: What works and why (8 April)
    ‘Over time your memory will fade and you will lose the clarity you have at the moment of decision making. This is why carrying out ‘hot debriefs’ is so important. They can be done to fit the amount of time that is available and should be focused on gathering as much detail as possible. You can then review this at some point when you have more time.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Robert Phillips: Cancer in the Time of Coronavirus (9 April)
    ‘Long before the Coronavirus crisis, I had come to terms with dying. As a Stage 4 cancer patient, it’s something you need to do.’
  • Sheena Thomson: Living under lockdown – again: a former peacekeeper’s perspective (7 April)
    ‘There is no doubt our post-COVID-19 lives will be very different on so many levels.  Thinking about an undefined future can cause anxiety and be overwhelming. After Bosnia and Afghanistan, I didn’t have a job, but it didn’t stop me doing something about it before leaving, despite the challenging conditions I was living and working in.’
  • Nancy Elgadi: Category is… Rona Eleganza (5 April)
    ‘Some of us may already be anxiety-stricken about what’s currently going on in the world so it would be nice not to also have to worry about whether we’ve adequately brushed our hair for that 9am conference call.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Virtual fallacies, humblebrags and what comes next (4 April)
    ’What’s important is a clear division of labour in relationships and families. This is an aspect of life that let’s hope will never go back to normal. It’s an important point. Life won’t ever go back to normal. We need to figure out what’s next.’

Internal communication

Technology, media and digital

  • Mark Pinsent with Kerry Sheehan: Adaptation in the age of artificial intelligence [podcast] (9 April)
    ‘[AI] will help us crunch millions of points of data in seconds. Not many of us in PR deal with big data.’
  • Paul Campbell: Ensuring your media relations programme adapts to the challenge (9 April)
    ‘When you speak to a journalist, you should put their priorities first. Ask them what they’re looking for in terms of content to help with their current agenda – i.e. what topics are they focusing on and what form do they want content to take – short written comment, interviews, contributed articles, etc. There is less industry news coming from events and launches at present, so we’ve found that journalists have been particularly receptive to receiving contributed articles.’
  • Adam Taylor: How is the media industry responding to an age of social distancing? (9 April)
    ‘Perhaps, the most noticeable outcome has been the victory for public service broadcasting. In an era of fake news and disintermediation, it’s clear that in times of trouble and angst, people do revert to what they know and trust.’
  • Drew Benvie: WhatsApp limits message forwarding to fight spread of fake news (7 April)
    ‘In a blog post published today, the messaging service has announced that it has brought in new limits to how messages can be forwarded, to address the spread of misinformation around the coronavirus.’
  • Matt Silver: Why you need a PR tool stack (6 April)
    ‘I’ve gathered together 10 of my favourite free or freemium tools that communicators can use to drive more value in their campaigns.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Rory Drake (Sunderland): Being a Student During Coronavirus Pandemic (9 April)
    ‘At this point, I feel quite thankful to have chosen a PR degree. For some degrees the assignments have seen large scale changes and students don’t have much time to get their head around their new assignments before they are due in.’
  • Teela Clayton (Leeds Beckett): Lessons from Buffy (9 April)
    ‘The biggest thing I’ve learned from Buffy is this: “We are defined by the things we fear. If I can face my fear, it cannot master me”. Absolute poetry from The Master himself. And words that especially resonate in these times.’
  • Emma Rogers (Solent): Finding Joy (9 April)
    ‘Isn’t social media amazing! It is bringing me so much joy each day. Tik Tok videos make me chuckle when I enter one of my many scrolling sessions of the day. Video calling friends brings a smile to my face after not seeing them for so long.’
  • Charlotte Price (Sunderland): Is Covid-19 shaping the future of social media? (9 April)
    ‘Many people have taken to TikTok as a source of entertainment, brands are finding new ways of creating content to stay connected with their audience and people across the UK are tuning in to live workouts from the comfort of their own homes.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): Things I’ve learned in lockdown (9 April)
    ‘Because I’m doing a tan detox, I’ve actually seen my natural skin colour for the first time in God knows how long. Have I always been this pale?? How am I pale but still red ? Weird.
  • Emily Ward (Ulster): Quarantine with me (8 April)
    ‘A class I really enjoyed this semester was digital communication, however, Coronavirus meant that my time in this class was cut short. I am now using my time in lockdown by developing my skills in digital marketing.’
  • Hannah Bowering (Sunderland): Stay Home: Fashion Campaigns in the Coronavirus Era (7 April)
    ‘A lot of fast fashion brands have created #stayhome edits, which include a curation of loungewear and nightwear to keep people comfortable and cosy throughout the lockdown period. This is a fast turn around for brands and shows how quickly the fast fashion industry can adapt to the current climate.’
  • Connor Lamb (Sunderland): Five things I wasn’t expecting when I started a PR masters (7 April)
    ‘I knew that PR had links with journalism and many people go between the two, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as different as it is.’
  • Hollie Walls (Ulster): Defying the Stereotype! (6 April)
    ‘We are turning our back on a stereotypical job role and not turning away the opposite sex simply for not being the “correct gender” for the role that they have applied for.’  
  • Sonya Karimkhanzand (Leeds Beckett): Coronavirus, but make it fashion? (4 April)
    ‘During these uncertain times, fashion always comes through. Take the face-mask for example. An item which somewhat has some fear attached to it. Then, turn it into a style accessory. Voila! Fashion has managed to inject some positivity and vibrancy, into a global pandemic.’
  • Babett Kürschner (LCC/UAL): When nudge comes to shove – my take on the UK’s initial Covid-19 strategy (3 April)
    ‘“No research without action, no action without research” Kurt Lewin, a 20th century pioneer of social psychology, urged. He was referring to the necessity of self-reflexion of individuals in order to rationalise and improve one’s actions. The UK government would have done well with a little bit more of this during the conception of their initial COVID-19 strategy.’