This week in PR (13 July)

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.

Red Arrows @michaelwhite1
Red Arrows @michaelwhite1

Behind the headlines

  • CIPR says 1,800 new members joined in 2017 (but because of attrition and non-renewal, total membership was 9,750 at the end of 2017.) These figures are taken from the CIPR’s Integrated Report for 2017, which reviews the CIPR value proposition based on an analysis of social, intellectual, human, environmental and economic capital. The CIPR generated a surplus of £150,000 in 2017 and is planning a move to smaller offices having surrendered the lease on Russell Square.
  • Anniversaries are making news this year: The RAF centenary, the centenary of women getting the vote, the NHS and CIPR at 70. But I didn’t see much news in a press release celebrating a PR consultancy reaching 20.
  • Journalists are good good at commemorating their own, though for much of his 50-year career Ken Jackson worked in public relations (he worked in corporate affairs for Tarmac at the time of the Channel Tunnel construction).
  • The Economist’s Bartleby column (5 July print edition) reviews agile as a management concept, borrowed from software development. ‘Some argue that the old, top-down corporate model, associated with Alfred Sloan at General Motors in the second quarter of the 20th century, is no longer relevant. Instead, companies need to adapt to a world that is VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) and which requires continuous innovation in order to keep up. Agile teams are the equivalent of in-house startups.’
  • Charity Commission research suggests charities need to be authentic to regain trust.
  • The annual Reginald Watts prize is open for submissions from practitioners aged under 25. ‘In an age of a revolution in digital communications how would you define Public Relations?’
  • Here’s the call for papers for a special issue of the Journal of Public Affairs: Lobbying Roles, the Public Interest and Democracy: Communication Perspectives.


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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

Business / profession

  • Paul Cheal with Andy Green: Smoke Signal episode 5 – Creating a tribe of change makers  [podcast] (12 July)
    ‘For Andy, there’s never been a more critical need for a redefined, revitalised and rejuvenated public relations.’
  • Robert Minton-Taylor: Solving the intern conundrum (11 July)
    ‘From that fateful meeting with students I resolved to try and change perceptions on unpaid internships on the campus and with employers.’
  • Jon White: Crisis, what crisis? Hopes for public relations at BledCom25 (11 July)
    ‘It is very difficult to leave Bled meetings feeling less than optimistic.  The several days of conversation overflow with ideas. Many of these are immediately translatable into practice, or provide new ways of looking at what is done in public relations.’
  • Anonymous: Falling out of love with comms (9 July)
    ‘So now I freelance. People listen to my opinions more, respect my professionalism more. I go to fewer meetings, there’s no office politics to deal with. I don’t have to fight against the use of Spongebob Squarepants gifs any more. It’s lovely.’
  • Chris Genasi: Kudos to the brave new wave of corporate communicators (9 July)
    ‘As we hurtle towards exit from the single market in March of next year, global corporations are adopting a new confrontational approach to lobbying.’
  • Maja Pawinska Sims with Sarah Hall: Echo Chamber podcast (9 July)
    On FuturePRoof: ‘I put together a plan, shared it and it grew from there. It’s a lovely book – and there are now three!’

Public sector and politics

  • Lorna Branton: NHS birthday campaigns show the power of storytelling (11 July)
    ‘The 70th birthday has given a real platform for the NHS across the country to keep using the stories of individuals to initiate conversations.’
  • Abha Thakor: Meaningful communications support democracy (10 July)
    ‘The first week long celebration of democracy in the UK is taking place this week, 2 – 8 July 2018. It coincides with the 100 year anniversary of when the first women in the UK were granted the vote.’

Careers and skills

Artificial Intelligence

  • Maud Davis: How far can AI assist in account management? (12 July)
    Good news for those account managing public relations – there are some things they do which cannot be replicated by machines. Yet other account management tasks requiring research, creating content, evaluating campaigns and tracking issues can and are already being automated.’


  • Alex Malouf: Clients, Non-Payments and Slow Growth – Is it time for the Middle East’s PR Industry to work together? (12 July)
    ‘Let’s give a little context to the PR industry across the Middle East. Over the past two years economies in the Gulf have struggled. Saudi has been in recession for a number of quarters. The UAE’s economy is growing slowly.’
  • Chris Lee: Anyone but England: Five reasons some people want England to lose (no date)
    ‘The Premier League has helped make the country popular in Asia and elsewhere, and this young, exciting and multicultural team and articulate manager are a credit to the country.’
  • Rafal Salak: Guest Post: PR notes from Poland (8 July)
    ‘Polish press law introduces an original regulation that is hard to find in any other legal system in the world. The quote authorization right (pol. autoryzacja) implies that, whenever you’re being cited by a written medium (i.e. dailies, news portals, magazines), you have the right to approve your quote before it gets published.’

Gender and diversity

  • Elizabeth Bananuka with Davnet Doran: Friends We Love: Davnet Doran, UK MD, M&C Saatchi PR (11 July)
    ‘I am one of two girls who was brought up by a single Mum with ambitions for her daughters. We lost my Dad when I was 11 and I had a couple of very serious years of being very grown up closely followed by rebellious (and highly enjoyable) teenage years. University hadn’t occurred to me.’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Lucy Denton: One team’s journey to campaign-based communications (11 July)
    ‘Last year our communications team moved from embedded comms to a centralised team. We now operate within a campaign model.’
  • Hamish Thompson: There are no new ideas (7 July)
    ‘The skeleton of the familiar is valuable. It’s tried, tested and a primed canvas on which to lay a creative treatment. Don’t lose sight of the old when trying to do something new.’

Crisis and reputation

  • Amanda Coleman: Thinking ahead (9 July)
    ‘Crisis communication may not be your daily business but it has to be important for us all as we never know where or when the next one may appear.’
  • Charlie Pownall: Navigating the data breach blame game (6 July)
    ‘Playing the blame game can be appropriate when your company is clearly not guilty. However, in most other instances it convinces almost nobody, leaves a sour taste in the mouth, and encourages regulators to come down extra hard.’

Internal communication

  • Rachel Miller and Angie Main: Why leaders need to serve (12 July)
    ‘Servant Leadership is a practical and proven approach to leadership that balances a concern for results with relationships. It’s all about a shift from ‘me’ to ‘we’, removing self-interest to inspire trust.’
  • Jenni Kampf: Five things from the Russell Group internal communications meeting (10 July)
    ‘Communications should speak from a ‘neutral’ position. We should seek to inform the debate rather than to lead it, and avoid the temptation to join a ‘side’ of an argument or issue.’
  • Advita Patel and Jackie Le Fevre: How to bring your organisational values to life… (9 July)
    ‘Values are a sense making framework. So when you have news to share or a question to ask use the core values as a frame.’

Media and digital