This week in PR (15 February)

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.

Long day #in2summitMENA @arunsudhaman
Long day #in2summitMENA @arunsudhaman

In the news

  • The CIPR and PRCA have broadly welcomed the publication on 12 February of the Cairncross Review: A Sustainable Future for Journalism. ‘The biggest challenge facing the sustainability of high quality journalism, and the press, may be the same as that which is affecting many areas of life: the digital revolution means that people have more claims on their attention than ever before. Moreover, the stories people want to read may not always be the ones that they ought to read in order to ensure that a democracy can hold its public servants properly to account.’
  • Alex Malouf has been named Regional Leader of the Year in the IABC Chapter Management Awards 2019 for his work in the Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMENA) region.
  • What’s the difference between an ad agency and an public relations consultancy (since it’s no longer a distinction between paid and earned media)? Acknowledging the blurring lines, Edelman has hired Judy John from Leo Burnett as its first-ever global chief creative officer.
  • Five inspirational people have been shortlisted for the Suzy Spirit Award 2019 (in memory of LEWIS employee Suzy Ferguson who died from bowel cancer in 2012). They are Addy Frederick, Prudential; Billie Dee Gianfrancesco, Vardags; Kayte Burns, NEP UK; Kev O’Sullivan, FleishmanHillard Fishburn; Sarah Hall, Sarah Hall Consulting. The winner will be announced at the PRmoment Awards on 4 April.


  • Call for papers: ICA pre-conference “Are We Moving Towards Convergence? Revisiting communication disciplines, theories, models and concepts”. Revised deadline 25 February. Details here.
  • A team led by Prof. Alfonso Siano from the University of Salerno, Italy, is conducting an exploratory Delphi research study into brand hijacking. Academics and practitioners in the fields of marketing communications and brand management are invited to complete the online questionnaires.

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

Purpose and professionalism

  • Ella Minty: Why PR Should Not Report to Marketing (13 February)
    ‘To be a really good PR practitioner, not only do you need to know everything that a marketer does but, also, you need to understand the implications and repercussions on the sales and market positioning of every single action the organisation takes overall, of the bearing of its reputation and its good standing among all its stakeholder groups.’
  • Ben Capper: Do the right thing (11 February)
    ‘The Gillette ad, for all its hokieness, is an attempt for a brand to stand for something different, more positive, and to use its platform to contribute to a much needed societal conversation. They’ve identified that there is something bigger than their product, and even their market dominance.’

Consulting, careers and skills

  • Marcel Klebba: Comms School: Build your community, create content, get ahead (14 February)
    ‘Practical skills are not always taught at university. Hence Comms School. Stephen [Waddington] and I will be running a series of webinars on our Facebook group and exploring blogging and building networks for students, and anyone else who might find it useful.’
  • Rob Flaherty: Happy (Real) Birthday Ketchum (13 February)
    ‘Here’s the real history. Ketchum wasn’t founded in 1923 as an ad agency. George Ketchum and his brother Carlton founded Ketchum as a PR firm called Ketchum Publicity four years earlier in 1919.’
  • Roger Darashah: The Science of Communications (13 February)
    ‘Listening is more important than we realised; it is the basis on which life emerged. This is the most fundamental service which – by nature of their separation from their clients – PR firms should be delivering, every day. What is happening outside, what does it mean, should the brand be worried or look to exploit the shift? And how.’
  • Adele Breen: Re-Imagining the C-Suite and Staying Relevant Beyond 30 (12 February)
    ‘Many businesses today are focused on collaboration and global teamwork, and yet many still have bonus schemes and structures which are centred around country-level revenues and EBITDA targets.’
  • Farzana Baduel: The psychology of negotiation (9 February)
    ‘Negotiation is both an art and a science, one which requires the skillful mastery of influence through persuasion, rather than coercion, for the purpose of reaching a desired agreement without excessive sacrifice and/ or compromise.’
  • Laura Wilkinson-ReaThe perfect PR agency – the stuff of fiction? (8 February)
    ‘Does the perfect PR agency exist? Having spent much of my career being the client in the in-house communications team, I can categorically say that there’s no such thing as the perfect agency. To have the perfect agency you need to have the perfect client.’

Politics and public affairs

  • Carolyn Lockhead: Comms strategy: What can we learn from Brexit? (13 February)
    ‘Every decision has both short and long-term consequences, and both must be considered before you take action. If you put out a response to a news story, it might get you on the telly or trending on Facebook that evening, but does it support the longer-term story you’re trying to tell? Or does it in fact undermine it?’
  • Stuart Thomson: The rise (again) of parliament and its impact on public affairs (11 February)
    ‘The importance of Parliament is increasing. Taking back control means that public affairs campaigns need to focus on Parliament and not just treat it as somewhere to hold events.’

Public and third sectors

  • Richard Evans: Charity videos that only introduce their subject at the end (13 February)
    ‘Waiting till the end before getting their message across might mean that people who pass by it on social media miss the point, but I think also makes them more powerful.’
  • Sarah Lay: Are you ready for a virtual town hall? (11 February)
    ‘Understanding the appeal of this game [Fortnite] is as much about community as it is battle victories, and how virtual world interactions sit alongside social media in the way people choose to communicate. A picture begins to build of something that potentially could cross-over with the real world and the services being delivered right now. ‘

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Sarah Hall: Public schooled and posh: PR’s big problem (14 February)
    ‘There’s a huge amount of energy around the issue of diversity and inclusivity in public relations and yet our industry remains a closed shop to anyone without money and networks.’
  • Dan Gerrella: The three Cs: how culture, confidence and choice are holding women back at work (13 February)
    ‘Companies should introduce the ‘Rosie Rule’ – to support gender balance in senior leadership positions, at least one competent and qualified woman should be interviewed for each role.’
  • Amanda Coleman: With a little help (10 February)
    ‘We all face pressure at points in our lives what matters is how we recognise and deal with it. Take time to relax.’
  • Tom Berry: Mental Health’s PR Problem (8 February)
    ‘I am in PR, which – like journalism – is an industry which tends towards stress. In any agency, the highs are very high, the lows are very low, and they all seem to happen on the same day.’

Brands and influence

  • Rob McKinlay: What’s an influencer? (Even the PR industry can’t seem to decide) [PR Week registration required] (14 February)
    ‘Recent TV coverage – including Netflix’s recent Fyre Festival documentary and this week’s BBC Panorama on the subject – have brought influencers into even sharper focus but, according to the industry professionals we asked, the definition remains blurred.’
  • Zoe Clark and Brendon Craigie: S01E06 – Glenn Manoff [podcast] (no date)
    I focused a lot of attention on how do we create trust in society at a time when we are all uber connected? And that’s kind of what drew me to my current job at Trustpilot.’
  • Iva Grigorova: Insightful Content is What People Need (11 February)
    ‘“Insights” might be an overused word in marketing. However, insights give meaning to ideas, strategy, campaigns, and content that can change consumer’s perception of a brand.’

Trust and reputation

  • Anaïs Merlin: Huawei: You OK hun? (no date)
    ‘Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the last few months, you’ll know that Chinese vendor, Huawei, has landed itself in hot water recently.’
  • Ben Verinder: 8 lessons in reputation management (13 February)
    ‘Tony Langham’s new book – Reputation Management, The Future of Communications and Public Relations – is a very useful addition to the literature. I’ve presented my top 8 tips from the book in the form of questions and responding quotes.’
  • Steve Earl: Bravery: the unavoidable reputational asset (11 February)
    ‘What triggered the rise of modern brand activism was, of course, the internet. The evolution of the media and the crumbling of prior barriers between audience and brand mean more direct action can be taken by more direct means.’
  • Michael White: Reputation Management by Tony Langham, book review [vlog] (10 February)
    ‘There are three things you need: you must have a story; case studies are critical; you have to accept what’s happened before. This is where Reputation Management really excels.’

Internal communication

    • Katie Macaulay with Jenni Field: What the State of the Sector report means for IC [podcast] (13 February)
      ‘What’s really exciting is the Edelman Trust Barometer because that opens the door for us to have conversations with CEOs and for the first time talk about employees being more important than shareholders.’
    • Lee Smith: Telling your corporate story: how to elevate your messaging (11 February)
      ‘If we want to be seen as trusted advisors and strategic enablers, we need to elevate the art of messaging beyond mere word smithing and ensure we’re really adding value.’
    • Matthew Batten: How to be more strategic in internal communications (10 February)
      ‘Start with your aims and objectives, know the timescale and who’s involved. Understand the scope, who will benefit and what are the challenges. Most of all, have a clear understanding of how this links to business strategy.’
    • Katie Marlow: Three simple things: Connections, co-facilitating and bright spots (9 February)
      ‘I have a problem with blogging. I do really enjoy it when I do it, and I know it’s important, but making it happen amongst busy work / business / family life is hard. So, I thought I’d experiment with a different approach.’

Campaigns and creativity

Media and digital

  • Stephen Waddington: Your audience with the public (12 February)
    ‘The development of communities around an organisation in a two-way form of engagement is the most significant opportunity for modern marketing and PR practice that we’ve had in more than a generation.’
  • Stephen Davies: Spotify ushers in professional pivot to third wave podcasting (no date)
    ‘Spotify made its claim to dominate the world of podcasting last week when it announced the acquisition of content company, Gimlet Media and creation platform, Anchor.’
  • Chris Lee: PRs should own search reputation – but do we? (8 February)
    ‘While news sites presented the biggest threat, other prominent sites that can provide reputational damage include Glassdoor and, in particular, Wikipedia. In short, the online reputation of many FTSE 100 companies – on search engines, at least – is out of control.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

PR Careers: 2019: 150 PR internships and graduate schemes

Comms school Facebook group

  • Lucy Hayball (Bournemouth): A letter to my first-year self – what my degree hasn’t taught me (14 February)
    ‘University isn’t going to teach you everything you could possibly need to succeed and my degree certainly hasn’t. There is a lot of self-investment needed. You get out what you put in.’
  • Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores): How to Prepare for Life After Graduation (14 February)
    ‘How do we remain calm knowing our graduation is only five months away? And how do we prepare ourselves for life after graduation when we don’t know where to even begin? Let me give you a few tips.’
  • Caitlin Donnelly (Sunderland): Gambling for Children? (13 February)
    ‘When I think of gambling, I think of adults betting on horses and playing poker. But who would have thought that children are gambling?’
  • Abigail Foran (Ulster): The evolution of Barbie: The brains behind the Blonde (13 February)
    ‘Despite her years of success, Barbie has found herself under scrutiny for negatively influencing girls and portraying negative body expectations.’
  • Holly Rees (South Wales): A Rant About Non-Tailored Communications (12 February)
    ‘I will never understand why people are always preached to be unique individuals, but blanket communications are expected to be effective across everyone.’
  • Sian Jones (South Wales): Advertising (12 February)
    ‘If companies want to create memorable ads for their target market, then they have to get to know their intended market, their likes, dislikes etc. [By] targeting, advertisers can create great ads and PR practitioners can be having the conversations to really delve into their target market.’
  • Alex Slaine (Ulster): I’m Back. (11 February)
    ‘When placement hits, you’ll be working 40hrs a week, with only your evenings to do as you please, rather than finishing at 1pm and feeling like you still have the whole day.’
  • Michael Borth (Leeds Beckett): How important is PR in the music industry? (10 February)
    ‘While good publicity and PR are the key for an artist to be noticed, talent remains a big addition to success. The goal for an artist should not be the fame, but the happiness of sharing music with other people.’
  • Beth Smith (Sunderland): Beauty and the Influencer Beast (9 February)
    ‘I’m currently following over 30-40 Instagram and YouTube influencers who are far more influential on my makeup decisions than any traditional advert.’