This week in PR (14 August)

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.

See. A #staycation ain’t so bad afterall #fistralbeach Terry Gilligan @tezzag1970 on Instagram
See. A #staycation ain’t so bad afterall #fistralbeach Terry Gilligan @tezzag1970 on Instagram

News in brief

  • CIPR finances: Income is down; cuts are being made. There’s nothing surprising here, and it’s matched at the PRCA which is anticipating lost income this year. But the CIPR has been forced to respond to the leak of its Council minutes to the Guido Fawkes website resulting in a headline that the institute is ‘virtually bust’.
  • Downing Street is pressing ahead with a radical centralisation of communications,’ reports The Guardian. ‘Whitehall departments were given a deadline of Thursday to submit details of their communications operations to Alex Aiken, the senior civil servant overseeing the drastic shake-up.’
  • Renna Markson has been appointed deputy director general and director of engagement at the PRCA; Koray Camgoz is now director of marketing and communications and Neha Khatwani head of public affairs and policy. (PRCA announcement).

Covid-19 comms

  • Adam Driver: What next? Tradeoffs. Lots of tradeoffs (11 August)
    ‘Whatever precise action the government takes in order to safely reopen schools in September the message is clear: until a vaccine comes along – and possibly after – the future is in tradeoffs such as the one between schools and pubs.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Watching with confidence (11 August)
    ‘[Jacinda Ardern] has been very visible in explaining the local lockdown measures and spoke directly to the people of Auckland as well as the rest of New Zealand.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Paul Richards: Going Freelance? Five Things to Think About… (13 August)
    ‘If you need to bathe in others’ approval, or crave the buzz of teamwork, or enjoy office banter, freelancing is definitely not for you. If you lack self-motivation and are easily distracted by daytime TV or twitter, then think again.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Meeting the Covid-19 agency startups (13 August)
    ‘I caught up with nine agency founders who have started their businesses during the COVID-19 crisis to talk about their proposition, motivation and the lessons that they’d share with others thinking of doing the same.’
  • John Brown: Freebies will only lead to false hope (12 August)
    ‘We’re not going to make the necessary change in the world if we give everything away for free, thereby devaluing our people and our industry, and playing directly into the hands of procurement-led price wars.’
  • Matt Silver: Comms XV: The Ultimate PR Rugby Team (11 August)
    ‘High energy and a good team player, [Harriet] Small’s game vision and ability to communicate effectively with teammates makes her a strong addition to the side, both in attacking play and in defence. A big presence on the field and in the clubhouse, she is a lynchpin for team morale and energy.’
  • Laura Sutherland: Laura talks to Nigel Sarbutts about what being a freelancer is all about [podcast] (11 August)
    ‘The freelance market took an absolute battering at the start of lockdown. But I think that things are coming back slowly but surely. The numbers of jobs going through the platform is as high as it’s ever been.’
  • Katie Marlow: Ten lessons in ten years (10 August)
    ‘I’m now celebrating ten years having worked with a huge range of clients from engineering and healthcare to social housing and science. I also completed my CIPR Internal comms diploma, and gone on to teach the course at Bournemouth University, I became Chartered, and most recently became a CIPR Fellow.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Teela Clayton: And still I rise (12 August)
    ‘In numbers, 75% of our team are from under-represented groups referenced in diversity reports: non-white, over 50s, males below board level, LGBTQ+. We subvert the standard agency tropes, and it’s no coincidence that our people are making an impact in wider society.’
  • Dan Holden: Diversity, inclusion & belonging and the role of IC – workshop review (8 August)
    ‘One thing I loved about the workshop was that it got you to think about how you can get your own house in order, looking inwards at policies, practices and the behaviours that exist within your own organisation. Taking a moment to stop and reflect is something we perhaps all don’t do enough of, and it was an opportunity to think about the ethical aspects of our role as communicators.’
  • Arvind Hickman with David Fraser, Sophie Raine, Graham Goodkind and Natalie Neave: Does antisemitism have a ‘PR’ problem? [podcast] (7 August)
    ‘It was horrifying and terrifying in equal measure and seemed to be getting worse and worse. I knew Wiley’s manager, who is a Jewish guy, and reached out to him. Although the platforms have reacted, it seemed incredibly late.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Stuart Thomson: What has Covid-19 done for public affairs? (11 August)
    ‘Covid-19 drew a much wider audience into the government’s ambit. Trade and membership bodies became more attractive to those they represented because they could see a real and immediate worth in having lines into government.  This time has also, so far, been less party political which cannot be said of Brexit.’
  • Jason Mackenzie: Soft power, public diplomacy and the digital-first era (11 August)
    ‘The fundamental purpose of a campaign is to achieve objectives: to influence and persuade relevant groups of people in the court of public opinion, and through direct communication. Without delineating what success looks like, you can’t evaluate whether you’ve succeeded.’
  • Ron Ridderbeekx: Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them…well, I have others (10 August)
    ‘Not all companies will suddenly be pivoting and pirouetting in some sort of choreographed corporate dance. Most will gradually and quietly adapt their policies and procedures to embed evolving societal beliefs into an existing value-set and focus on the organisational nuts and bolts to be future proof.’

Brands, storytelling, content and influence

  • Rich Rawlins: Peace, Love and Ice Cream? Ben and Jerry’s faces calls to be cancelled (13 August)
    ‘Brands must be prepared to engage in controversial debate. But they should recognise that the consumers on whom they rely for the viability of their platform (i.e. normal people who buy stuff in supermarkets) are not all of the same mindset as those with whom they engage on Twitter.’
  • Steve Barrett with Vikki Chowney: Coffee Break with Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ Vikki Chowney

    (12 August)
    ‘My role is to think about who we create content with (whether influencers or industry thought leaders); what that content is – what’s the format?; and also, where does it live? – what’s our channel strategy and where are we going to publish it?’

  • Vassilena Valsinova: Obviously Awesome: a Guide to Successful Positioning (no date)
    ‘I’ve been in marketing for almost half my life now. Yet, I never completely understood what brand positioning is. To me, positioning has always seemed like a theoretical exercise with a place in executive boardrooms but little applicability to real life.’

Planning and evaluation

  • Orla Graham: The grass isn’t always greener (7 August)
    ‘Over the last few years, I’ve been working more and more on integrated measurement programmes, looking at paid, owned and earned media data. The more I’m exposed to these types of projects, the more I realise that it’s actually the same story everywhere – all comms disciplines are guilty of using dodgy data and therefore fail to plan and strategise appropriately.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Kate Stinchcombe-Gillies: Seven ways to pitch your story to the media (13 August)
    ‘The crux is genuinely having a timely and relevant hook. The addition of data, a case study or third party opinion all helps but isn’t necessarily essential. Great imagery and resonating commentary will go along nicely too.’
  • Ash Billinghay: Writing for people, not machines (13 August)
    ‘You should never write for SEO. Why? Well, there are a few reasons.’
  • Sophie Moore: The 3 key ingredients for digital PR (13 August)
    ‘Much like smashingly good onsite content, PR is a raising agent for SEO. It increases search visibility in 3 key ways.’
  • Nancy Elgadi: Instagram reels TikTok users in with new feature (10 August)
    ‘I believe Facebook, through its ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp, is seeking to dominate and possibly monopolise even more of the social media space with Reels by weeding out smaller competitors such as TikTok, Snapchat, and at one point Instagram itself.’
  • Alex Malouf: Will Pay-to-Publish become the norm for media relations? (10 August)
    ‘Why should a client hire an agency to pitch if publication is guaranteed by money? You may say content generation, but algorithms are increasingly being used to write stories. Where does the agency add value?’