This week in PR (15 May)

About the author

Richard Bailey FCIPR MPRCA is editor of our Insights, formerly PR Place. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

Next phase of existence. Channelling a super villain look. Triple filtered layered industrial chic. Forget Covid .. I’m ready for a limited tear gas attack. #dystopianfuture #greyhairs @markborkowski
Next phase of existence. Channelling a super villain look. Triple filtered layered industrial chic. Forget Covid .. I’m ready for a limited tear gas attack. #dystopianfuture #greyhairs @markborkowski

News in brief

  • Economy: The services sector shrunk by 1.9% in January-March, the steepest fall since 2008 – and it doesn’t even reveal the full effects of the lockdown which started in late March and which will be revealed in the April-June GDP statistics (Office for National Statistics).
  • Weber Shandwick is the latest international agency to announce cost-cutting measures including redundancies (PRovoke)
  • London is now Chinese-owned app TikTok’s second largest office in the world, after Los Angeles, reports CNBC.
  • Buzzfeed is to close its UK news operation, BBC reports.
  • The UK Influencer Study by Vuelio and Canterbury Christ Church University shows incomes were up in 2019, with one in five influencers saying it had become their main source of income.
  • Next week is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek. It seems more relevant than ever this year.

Academic, education and training

  • Sarah Browning: Lessons learned (13 May)
    ‘The overall impact of such an effective and skilful approach to communication is that I feel as informed as I can be, without being overwhelmed. I trust the head and her team and believe her when she says we will get through this together.’

Covid-19 comms

  • Kate Hartley: Why do people flout the lockdown guidelines? Lessons from 1940 (no date)
    ‘How do you communicate with a group of people who believe they are immune? Scaring them won’t help. Nor will giving them autonomy to decide what’s acceptable. Perhaps it is communicating a sense of collective responsibility that will do it.’
  • Tony Langham with Jane Stevensen: Sustainability now and post Covid-19 [podcast] (no date)
    ‘The critical question now is: what is the environment going to do to my business – and that makes businesses look very hard at their strategies for growth over the coming five or ten years.’
  • Sheena Thomson: Be Alert: A pragmatic approach (12 May)
    ‘There is no pleasure writing any of this. The nation needs reassurance to help return to its ‘new normal’.   It shouldn’t be like this: we shouldn’t be joking about something this serious.’
  • Gavin Devine: Covid-19: The UK Government’s Communications Own Goal (12 May)
    ‘Floating ideas and messages before a big announcement is sometimes a really good idea. You can test what works, build excitement and avoid surprises. But in a situation like this – literally life and death – allowing speculation to mount at the end of last week… was a catastrophically dumb idea.’
  • David Gallagher: Expert Insight: Industry Snapshot (12 May)
    ‘I’ve heard CEOs say this is the most challenging situation of their professional careers. I think those most likely to succeed are those emerge with a clear sense of why their business exists and how to deliver on what the world — not just shareholders — expect.’
  • Shavaun Glen: Wanting to be right (11 May)
    ‘We each bring our lived experience, political bias, knowledge, expectations, and a whole lot more to every interaction we have. It is hard to part company with our deeply held beliefs and values.’
  • David Brain: Can Tories only communicate well in elections? (11 May)
    ‘These are the slides your intern puts together when they are desperately trying to pretend they are working for McKinsey, not your communications agency.  These are the interns that don’t make it.’
  • Darren Caveney: The streets aren’t empty, they’re full of Stella: Messaging madness is risking the health of our nation (10 May)
    ‘The street had observed lockdown to the absolute letter up until VE Day, the day after those newspaper headlines.’
  • Adam Driver: ‘Stay alert: the issues with subjective language (10 May)
    ‘There is no such thing as common sense. What is common, is that everyone has a different opinion. It all depends on context – how the next few months affect you personally, socially and economically as an individual, family member, employee, businessperson, home owner and so on.’
  • Rachel Miller: What does the Government’s new messaging mean? (10 May)
    ‘I liked the original messaging because it was clear, concise and the use of the word protect was particularly smart to evoke the emotional and practical response from UK citizens.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Brand conversations during COVID-19 (9 May)
    ‘Organisations often aren’t very good at conversations. Like a needy friend they want to talk about themselves all the time. Instead of listening they shout about their latest products or services.’

Consulting, teams and careers

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Molly Nolan: Disunited? The future for regulatory divergence within the United Kingdom (14 May)
    ‘In recent days, however, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowing England to ease its lockdown and thus diverge from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; the crisis has shed an uncomfortably bright light on the fragile equilibrium of our federal government and its devolved administrations.’
  • Aidan Muller: Think Tanks: The Four Stages of Digital Maturity (12 May)
    ‘This should serve as a benchmark for organisations who are looking for where they can improve further. We are hoping to turn this model into a free interactive benchmarking tool.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Sarah Pinch: 11 Lockdown Lessons (12 May)
    ‘Clearly guidance is changing, especially on how often we can exercise outside. But I thought these ideas might still help. And I wanted to write something. I’ve missed it.’
  • Chloe Wise: Overcoming Your Insecurities (11 May)
    ‘Whenever I am having a rough day, or questioning my work, I utilise the above steps to alleviate the negative thoughts.’

Brands, storytelling, and influence

Monitoring, measurement and evaluation

  • Carrie Rose: Why Digital PR is MORE than just links – and the metrics we track at Rise (14 May)
    We have a live dashboard showing everything link we have built, the DA of the site, how many people click on the links, buy a product, and engage via social. We combine around 5 tools to allow us to do this but the data is insane!  It means I know exactly which links drove the most value for my client and which links my client’s boss is actually going to care about.’

Internal communication

  • Dan Holden: Planning for #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 2020 (10 May)
    ‘Mental Health Awareness Week is a key date in many of our content plans, yet this year, I’ve seen many communicators reach out to ask for help and guidance on how to engage colleagues throughout the week.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Paul Sutton with Matt Navarra: Beyond Covid: Redemption of the social networks? [podcast] (13 May)
    ‘This is a huge opportunity for all of the platforms to show that they are a power for good at this time when people need factual, authoritative sources of information.’
  • Phil Szomszor: How you can harness the power of LinkedIn to achieve your goals (13 May)
    ‘Five months in to our new venture my partner and I looked back to where our business had come and one thing stood out: almost a quarter of our revenues can be attributed directly to LinkedIn. We’re not the only ones seeing success and getting value from the platform.’