This week in PR (14 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.

When sleep eludes you, just watch the sunrise 🌄 @lisamcgaulay on Instagram
When sleep eludes you, just watch the sunrise 🌄 @lisamcgaulay on Instagram

It happened this week

  • PRovoke’s Global Top 10 PR Agency Ranking shows stability and resilience, with no changes in the top five positions.
  • Rob Flaherty is to retire after 32 years with Ketchum, where he is currently chairman.
  • Tim Sutton, formerly of Weber Shandwick, is advising Richard Edelman on the firm’s international operations.

ESG, corporate and financial

  • Paul Sutton with Kate Hartley and John Brown: Boohoo: No trust, no ethics, no problem [podcast] (12 May)
    ‘The biggest worry for me is that their sales have gone up 40% through Covid, so that says [concerns about the firm’s ethics are] not making any difference.’
  • Louise Nicolson: Between a Rock and a Hard Place (11 May)
    ‘In France, meanwhile, greenwashing can be costly.  Under recently introduced sanctions, you can be fined up to 80% of the cost of a marketing campaign and forced to issue apologies and corrections.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Steve Dunne: The Future of Communications is Integration (no date)
    ‘With audiences increasingly fluid in how, and where, they consume their communications and messages, and with the growth of fake news and the general lack of trust in some media channels, often demanding cross referencing with other communications channels, every PR practitioner will need to be knowledgeable about how to integrate the various channels to present an engaging and cohesive integrated communications campaign.’
  • Nick Le Chat: How to navigate the initial stages of the client/agency relationship (10 May)
    ‘The thing about communication is that to communicate effectively, you don’t need to say much, rather you need to listen, cue Epictetus quote ‘We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak’.
  • Ben Smith: How to create a flexible working culture with Axicom’s Rosie Bannister and Kate Stevens [podcast]
    ‘Flexible working to us is about how you work – and using flexible working to your advantage in your life.’
  • Chris McLean: Frank by Nature with Graham Goodkind

    (7 May)
    ‘I set the business up in 2000, sold it in 2007 to Photo which became Enero. In 2012 I did another deal whereby I agreed to stay on in return for 25% of the agency being given back to me to distribute among the team. Then we closed the deal a few weeks ago which saw the remaining 75% of Frank returned to me and Alex Grier. It feels like a start-up agency again

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Georgia Turner: Sensual healing from nearby nature (13 May)
    ‘As we start to emerge from lockdown, I want to hold on to the soothing and uplifting sensations that taking the time to stop, take notice and connect with nature has given me.’
  • Simone Fassom: Mental Health Awareness Week – are you ready for the post lockdown world? (13 May)
    ‘Experts have warned that the three COVID enforced lockdowns we’ve lived through over the past year have created a mental health ticking timebomb, the results of which will be felt far longer than the physical effects of the virus itself.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Blow away the dark clouds (13 May)
    ‘I have said before that when your world caves in you have to accept it and then work with friends, family and experts to find a way out of the dark pit. You also need to make sure you don’t step back into it. This takes some time and care.’
  • Benjamin Cresswell: Nudging employees towards better mental health (12 May)
    ‘By simplifying what we present to employees in well designed environments, that take human behaviour into consideration, we can create spaces where employees can thrive.’
  • Chris Norton: Online trolling: Why increased social media regulation is important (11 May)
    ‘Online trolling involves people using anonymous accounts to post insults and abuse on social media to provoke outrage or to upset. This abuse can range from nasty comments to something as extreme as death threats.’
  • Darren Caveney: A city slacker’s guide to enjoying nature wherever you live (11 May)
    ‘There have been times working solo from home during the pandemic that you could actually stay within your own four walls for days on end, But that would be a real mistake.’
  • Advita Patel, Trudy Lewis and Jenni Field: The Power of Language [podcast] (7 May)
    ‘There’s so much confusion about the language of inclusivity. We’ve become over-sensitive. When it comes to words like ‘black’ and ‘coloured’ it’s evolved over time.’

Public and third sectors

  • Emma Kane: Winning partnerships (13 May)
    ‘There are numerous ways that a company can create winning partnerships with registered charities that are win win for both parties.  You can support causes that align with your corporate values, provide much needed funds to charities, and provide great opportunities for your employees.’
  • Dan Slee: INSPIRING AIM: What Facebook’s big shift in its algorithm will mean for the public sector (7 May)
    ‘As a rule, Facebook is a huge oil tanker that barely stops for big brands. Government and public sector doesn’t float their boat that much. But it does raise the intriguing prospect that there may be less shouting on Facebook. If people don’t feel inspired by posts about dog mess and potholes they will be ranked down so they will be seen less.’


Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Pearce Branigan: West Midlands Mayoralty: All roads lead to Street (13 May)
    ‘[Andy] Street has defied the odds to not only retain the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) for the Conservatives but did so on an impressive majority of 55,309 votes ahead of his Labour rival, increasing his vote of 54 per cent of the vote for first and second preference votes, against his inaugural vote in 2017 of 50.4 per cent.’
  • Sian Jones: Where now for Wales? Senedd Elections 2021 and beyond (12 May)
    ‘By any measure, this was a remarkable result for Welsh Labour. After 22 years in power in Cardiff Bay, they equalled their best-ever Senedd performance, winning half of the Senedd’s 60 seats.’
  • Scott Harker: The inquiry will last longer than the pandemic (12 May)
    ‘With the Prime Minister setting out plans for an inquiry into the Government’s handling of the pandemic today, it’s clear that the political battle over the legacy of the pandemic is only just beginning.’
  • Fraser Raleigh: The Queen’s Speech: a second chance to make a first impression? (11 May)
    ‘The first Queen’s Speech of the post-COVID and post-Brexit era represented a second chance for the government to prove it can deliver the domestic priorities that took it to victory in the last general election, but were blown off course by the pandemic.’
  • Stuart Thomson: How to prepare for engagement with policy makers (11 May)
    ‘Critically politicians need to show that they are doing something. Why? Because unlike any other stakeholder audiences, they have to stand up and put themselves forward for election. They either need to have achieved something during their time in office or have a plan for how things will change if they are elected to office.’
  • Marc Woolfson: Post-election debrief: what do you need to know? (10 May)
    ‘Liberal, middle class, anti-Brexit, graduates and young professionals are moving out of London to affluent Conservative supporting areas, and are potentially put off by the culture-war messaging targeted at blue collar former Labour voters.’
  • Tim Le Couilliard: A long weekend of politics (10 May)
    ‘If Starmer had hoped his reshuffle would reunite his party, it may just have done the opposite, with Labour infighting being at the front and centre. It took the re-elected Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, a rising star in the Labour party, to call for party unity before order had resumed.’
  • Phil Briscoe: Brexit – gone but not forgotten! (10 May)
    ‘At the time of writing this, every local authority where the Conservatives gained control last week was an area that voted Leave in the referendum… Conversely, Labour celebrated two big mayoral scalps in Cambridgeshire and the West of England, where they ousted Conservative mayors in quite strongly Remain areas.’
  • Will McMyn: Fifty Shades of Green: misleading environmental claims in energy and other markets (10 May)
    ‘The majority of suppliers that offer green tariffs actually buy power from the wholesale market (an anonymous pool of fossil, renewable and nuclear power). Thanks to a quirk of regulation, they can then legally call their tariffs “100% renewable”, as long as they buy up enough certificates (known in the industry as “REGOs” and “GoOs”) to greenwash their power.’
  • Clare Coghill: Creating a legacy: What can we expect from Sadiq? (10 May)
    ‘While many regional authorities have directly elected mayors, London’s mayoralty has unique significance. City Hall is one of the most influential authorities in Europe. It has vast and significant powers and has very real consequences for the everyday lives of millions of people across our Capital.’
  • George Pascoe-Watson: Boris Moves to Close Labour’s Options (10 May)
    ‘Labour’s woes have given the PM the green light to go further into the Opposition’s traditional winning ground. And tomorrow’s Queen’s Speech is aimed at leaving Labour voters in no doubt that a Conservative Party is on their side.’

Brands, storytelling, and influence

  • Scott Guthrie: More kids can spot influencer intent than search engine ads (10 May)
    ‘Ofcom asked children aged 12-15 why influencers might say good things about products or brands. Two-thirds correctly recognised influencers might be being paid by the company or brand to promote the product or service (65%).’

Internal communication

  • Helen Deverell: How to create a sense of belonging for hybrid workers (13 May)
    ‘While creating a sense of belonging doesn’t sit solely with internal communication (far from it!) we have an important role to play, whether that’s considering the types of channels that can help to facilitate meaningful connection, to listening to employees and feeding their views back to leadership, to creating communication that provides clarity.’
  • Martin Flegg: Back to the future of hybrid working (12 May)
    ‘Flexible working (as it used to be called in old money) is nothing new and its success in organisations was always down to how committed (really committed) the organisation was to this way of working and the frameworks, policies and culture which were in place to support it.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Henry Young: Africa banks on cryptocurrency (12 May)
    ‘In Africa, cryptocurrency is not just an asset to include in one’s investment portfolio, it is a real alternative to a national currency, and the revolution is only just beginning.’
  • Lee Simpson: Speed dating for PRs and journos: what could possibly go wrong? (11 May)
    ‘Finding new ways to make connections and being proactive is something I will take away from this. It feels like if we’re relying on email pitches, we’re fighting a losing battle.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

We plan to run this weekly selection for one final week before our by-invitation-only onine event to celebrate #prstudent bloggers on 27 May.

  • Katie Hull (Sunderland): A day in the life of a working MA PR student (13 May)
    ‘At the moment, I am working two internships while finishing the last assignments for my MA. It is hectic, but I feel like you have to find that work and personal life balance pretty early on.’
  • Sophie Smith (Newcastle): The PR Students Experience: Rhea Mathew (13 May)
    ‘When she finished her masters degree, Rhea got her first job pretty quickly at HP as a global communications manager for one year and internal comms for 2 years… Most recently, she has joined Battenhall as a social media manager.’
  • Kayleigh Tinney (Ulster): The Career I Never Knew I Wanted (13 May)
    ‘This time last year, I thought that PR was something that an influencer received in the post and now it’s my future job!’
  • Piotr Boiwka (Newcastle): How my PR blog gave me a full-time comms job (13 May)
    ‘The CEO of the ad tech company from Silicon Valley read my post and found it good enough to invite me to the interview! After two amazing chats, I signed the contract, and this Monday was my first day at Pixalate as a Content Writer.’
  • Megna Gohil (Leeds Beckett): Did curiosity kill the cat? (13 May)
    ‘To answer my question, did curiosity kill the cat? My answer is this: no. Keeping curiosity at bay is a form of control. Ask those tough questions to your friends and family. Delve into the unknown because knowledge is simply power. Find comfort in curiosity rather than seeking comfort in the known.’
  • Toluwani Omotoye (Birmingham): Being an agency’s first intern (10 May)
    ‘In 2019, I carried out an internship through the Taylor Bennett Foundation, a charity that exists to encourage BAME graduates to pursue a career in PR and communications and I must say I am grateful for these organisations that are dedicated to helping amend the ethnicity gap within the PR sector.’
  • Lottie Kelly (Ulster): The Future of Marketing is in Gaming Hands (10 May)
    ‘In 2020 as we spent more time at home than ever before, more of us began playing video games. This created a surge in gaming during lock down, with some games soaring to become world sensations.’