This week in PR (10 May)

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.

'#palmoil isn’t the problem, deforestation is…' Iceland's Hil Berg (photo: @GeorgeBlizzard)
'#palmoil isn’t the problem, deforestation is…' Iceland's Hil Berg (photo: @GeorgeBlizzard)

In the news

    • Another week, another industry survey. This time is the PRCA Census, indicating a decline in average salaries across the sector. (PR Week reports). The number working in UK public relations roles is now estimated at 95,000.
    • The CIPR has awarded fellowships (FCIPR) to eight members: William Church, Martin Flegg, Sara McCracken, Jo Field, Peter Holt, Shirley Collyer, Anne-Marie Lacey, Michelle Canning.



  • Orlagh Shanks: The UK’s Best PR Student Blogger 2019 (9 May)
    ‘For now, I’m going to give you a lot of reasons as to why you should blog and why they’ve been life-changing reasons for me.’
  • Marcel Klebba: Why creating content matters (7 May)
    ‘Because it’ll be our last session in two week’s time, tell us what are your key take-outs from Comms School.’

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

Royal family

  • Louisa Dean: How to handle a royal birth: planning ahead, relationships and social media (8 May)
    ‘Good relationships with the Royal Household and the Crown Estate have been a key part of our stakeholder mapping particularly since the Royal wedding last May and since we hold more royal events in the town than most it makes sense to put time and effort into developing and maintaining these relationships.’
  • Mark Borkowski: Meghan and the Royal Fame Game (8 May)
    ‘The birth of the royal baby and subsequent media relations has been a disaster and exposed a lack of joined-up thinking, strategic control, and collaboration.’

Ethics and professionalism

    • Ella Minty: The Power and Influence of Passion, Belief and Hope for Public Relations (9 May)
      ‘#PowerAndInfluence Twitter chat has now been included in the list of approved CPD activities by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)’
    • Isobel Arrowsmith and Harry Gardiner: PRCA PRcast – Episode 7 – Nina Jaksic [podcast] (9 May)
      ‘There are so many sectors – there’s something for everyone in PR. Yet something that adds to PR’s bad reputation is pop culture and TV shows.’
    • Paddy Blewer: Vive la mort, vive la guerre, vive la Légion Étrangère (3 May)
      ‘I don’t like being told what to believe. I don’t like being told what to feel. I don’t think we have to engage on that level to do an outstanding job. I was briefly both a hard left trot and worked on an institutional foreign exchange floor. I’ve comfortably coexisted as a soft left social democrat and PR advisor to autocratic sovereign states whose system of government I find personally challenging.’

Consulting, careers and skills

  • Jennifer Sanchis with Lucy Eckley: “Calling yourself a freelance communications consultant is too broad” (no date)
    ‘There is a challenge that once you’ve been a senior communicator you can turn your hand to so many things. When I first went independent, I used to call myself a freelance communications consultant. I soon realised this was too broad. I made lots of business friends but it was hard for potential clients to understand exactly how I could help them.’
  • John Harrington: The PR Show podcast: Agency bosses run the rule over the Top 150 Consultancies report (8 May)
    ‘It’s great to see growth. Clients have never been more open minded: there’s now a real recognition that we can do more. As long as we keep earned at the core, surrounding that with new skills and talents, then there’s a path to growth.’
  • Stephen Welch and Casilda Malagon: Strategic advisers: five perspectives (7 May)
    ‘Being a ‘strategic adviser’ comes in five different flavours. So what are the five? And which one are you?’
  • Arun Sudhaman: Analysis: Edelman ‘Undaunted’ Amid Perfect Storm (7 May)
    ‘The fortunes of the world’s biggest PR firm raise legitimate questions about the PR industry’s ability to meet the critical challenge of transformation.’
  • Paul Cheal with David Brain: David Brain on the challenge PR faces from management consultants (6 May)
    ‘[Management consultancies] are absolutely moving into the creative space. Consultants have the box seat on digital transformation in companies. They’re already as big as the marketing services companies, but they don’t win many awards.’
  • Brendon Craigie: Not the hammer! Diversify your Comms toolbox (3 May)
    ‘To be a great communications partner, and to be able make a real difference, it’s crucial that an agency can identify the best possible communications approach for their client, through an objective and strategic creative process.’

Politics and public affairs

  • Paula Keaveney: Parties launch for unexpected elections (7 May)
    ‘Voters can only choose one party in these elections, so  campaigners will need to find ways to stand out and be preferred. This is going to be tricky for those on the Stop Brexit side of things.’
  • Charlie Pownall: The gloves come off at Change UK (6 May)
    ‘Change UK’s talk of changing politics comes across as little more than an attempt to reshuffle the UK’s centre-ground political deck chairs and otherwise preserve the status quo.’
  • Euan Ryan: Cicero Brexit Insights: Reluctant frenemies seek compromise (3 May)
    ‘If we manage to limp towards a resolution prior to 31st October, the question moves on to: who is best placed to pick up the pieces?’

Public and third sectors

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Harriet Small: Oh The Cavalry (9 May)
    ‘I’ve found ways of dealing with my mental health and identifying when things are getting to a fever pitch. Even though my tears are far away, they are there. The complexities of my anxieties are a cocktail of factors which have a splash of imposter syndrome, fear, and a hint of race sprinkled on top.’
  • Debs Field: Who’s responsible for mental health (7 May)
    ‘The conclusion of the evening: our mental health care and welfare doesn’t fall in to one person’s responsibility, but a responsibility of us all. As much as we must care for ourselves (and ultimately will be responsible for seeking help for ourselves), we also have a duty to each other.’

Brands and influence

Internal communication

  • Mike Klein: Why is it so damned hard to get companies to spend money on internal communication? (7 May)
    ‘When internal communicators propose expenditures, whether on campaigns, technology, new staff or consultancy, they are frequently pushed back with the questions: “How much of this can we do on our own?” “How can we make better use of our existing resources to cover part of this?”
  • Shelby Loasby: Free resources every Internal Comms newbie needs – #8 The IC Space (6 May)
    If you’re looking for a tool where all of your strategic internal communication questions are answered, look no further than The IC Space.’
  • Martin Flegg: The IC Citizen (6 May)
    ‘Internal communication is still a relatively new industry that’s not heavily commercialised and where everyone isn’t just trying to make a buck out of everyone else. This possibly explains why most people who work in it are still willing to share so unconditionally.’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Karan Chadda: Going with the flow: neuroscience and marketing (8 May)
    ‘Don’t overthink through which pricing option or call to action will work best, run tests and see which does. Constantly improve performance through repeat and ongoing testing.’
  • Jaime Cox: How to use Google to generate content ideas (no date)
    ‘Once you have your refined list of phrases, keywords or topics, it’s time to hit Google. When you’re doing keyword research, always use Incognito tabs – this ensures you’re seen as a fresh visitor.’

Research and evaluation

Technology and AI

  • Nicola Rossi: Films made by AI: Insight into the possible (and the surreal) (7 May)
    ‘Anyone with an interest in how AIs are being used in the creative process right now should spend half an hour checking out the short films of Oscar Sharp and Ross Goodwin, screened at a recent British Film Institute (BFI) event showcase, featuring films made by, or about, Artificial Intelligence, as part of their Stanley Kubrick season.’

Media and digital