This week in PR (16 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.


Business and finance

  • Anthony Hughes: Talking ‘bout a recession: Is the current state of the UK markets just extended seasonal malaise? (15 February)
    ‘In keeping with the season, the UK’s stock markets are in deep hibernation. There has been talk of IPOs returning for some time now and anecdotally SEC Newgate has been involved in a number of very encouraging discussions, but we are yet to see evidence of them coming back in force. The private capital markets have fared only marginally better, the venture valuation bubble has well and truly deflated.’
  • Charlotte Coulson: The end of supermarket banking? (13 February)
    The rapid increase in competitors in the market, with the likes of Monzo, Starling, Metro and others all taking up market share, have made it harder for supermarkets to compete.

Purpose, climate and ESG


  • Milk & Honey: The Role Of Communications Amid A Labyrinth Of ESG Regulation (no date)
    ESG reporting may be essential from a compliance perspective, and it’s vital you engage with the right professional audit company to support this. However, what happens next? The ability to help others engage your ESG story is just as important.’
  • Rebecca Addley and Paul MacKenzie-Cummins: ‘Greenwashing’ Index: Jul-Dec ’23 (9 February)
    ‘You would be forgiven for believing that ‘greenwashing’ is a relatively recent phenomenon. But you would be wrong. In fact, the term was coined by US environmentalist Jay Westerveld as far back as 1986.’

Consulting, skills and careers

  • Arun Lloyd: Obama’s is taken, get your own leadership style (15 February)
    ‘My journey from manager to leader – delegator to motivator, in crude terms – is an ongoing process and a big part has been working out how I want to be perceived.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere


  • Chris White: Can Labour afford to miss open goals? (15 February)
    ‘The closer Labour gets to power, the higher the level of scrutiny it will be subject to. Labour should still win the by-elections overnight, and the party can afford to make some mistakes and still recover. However, missing too many open goals may come back to haunt them if the polls start to tighten.’
  • Allie Renison: Restoring devolution in Northern Ireland (15 February)
    ‘Perhaps the biggest substantive mover in the deal to restore devolution in Northern Ireland is the funding pot that comes with it. In truth, for all the noise about the lingering Brexit dynamic inherent in the Protocol and Windsor Framework squabbles that underpinned both the Assembly and Executive’s collapse and return, it is funding for a much starved and stretched set of public services in NI that really moved the dial.’
  • Rhianna Riley: Will Rural Devolution Work? (14 February)
    The Government has announced another devolution deal, this time in Devon and Torbay. This means that sixty per cent of the English population will now be covered by devolution – up from 41% just under two years ago.’
  • Jonathan Blake: Crisis of communication: a week to forget for top politicians (9 February)
    For politicians, communication is often about control. Sticking rigidly to a script and staying on message. Choosing when and by whom you agree to be interviewed. Planning your announcements with military precision.’
  • Angus Hill: Tackling the £28bn question (9 February)
    While backsliding over the £28bn figure could be perceived as a signal that Labour is wavering on green investment, it’s the 2030 target that really matters. Recommitting to this yesterday was key. The question now is whether Labour is willing to take the bold steps required to deliver it…’

Brands, content and creativity

  • Jessica Pardoe: Does floating things down the Thames still work? (14 February)
    ‘In terms of getting people talking – you can’t deny that this stuff works; but putting data to it is impossible. You have to have a client that’s willing to say ‘yes’ to things and who’s not crazy on numbers.’
  • Chris Carr and Jemma Nightingale: Super Bowl LVIII and the NFL’s gift from Swift (12 February)
    When Travis Kelce caught a touchdown pass and helped the Chiefs narrowly win last year’s Super Bowl vs. the Eagles, he had 162k Instagram followers. Heading into the big event this year, he has 2.41m. 63% of his Instagram following is under the age of 25 and 54.1% are female – and likes on his account have grown from 187k at last year’s Super Bowl, to a whopping 13.2m today.’

Research, data, measurement and evaluation


  • Alex Beach: Nine AI tools and techniques to help your PR measurement (14 February)
    ‘AI enables faster and more accurate data modelling by removing human biases, automating tedious analysis tasks, and providing more nuanced insights using advanced algorithms. Specifically, AI can detect misinformation campaigns, make qualitative survey analysis cost-effective, improve sentiment measurement, and uncover strategic opportunities from vast datasets. My go-to AI tools for this are Talkwalker’s BlueSilk, Microsoft’s Copilot and Anthropic’s Claude.’

Crisis, risk and reputation


  • Chris Lawrance: The Last Post? (13 February)
    The big question is: will the Horizon IT scandal be the nail in the coffin for the Post Office – does it spell the last post for the organisation?  By going from one of the most trusted brands to one of the least across the country, it does not auger well, even allowing for an organisation that commits to learning from its failures.’
  • Siobhan Holt, John Harrington and Evie Barrett: ‘Is Schillings a real threat to Brunswick et al?’ – PR Week podcast (14 February)
    ‘Schillings Communications has officially launched with a core team of senior hires from top PR agencies. The digital side of things seems particularly strong; they see controlling your online presence as the future of reputation management.’
  • Ben Smith: How do you find your organisation’s reputation North Star? With Ellie Thompson and Danielle Restivo [podcast] (9 February)
    ‘A reputational North Star is the one thing key stakeholders need to think, feel and believe about you for your organisation for it to succeed against its business plan. So defining that enables you to link comms to business.’

Internal communication 


  • Sarah Ogden: Internal comms review: Every recession takes a toll on company culture (15 February)
    ‘If the turbulence of the past five years has shown us anything, it is the importance of continuing to invest in employee engagement, during extreme highs and lows.’
  • Jenni Field: Overcoming fear and building trust inside your organisation (15 February)
    ‘In this blog post we’ll look at the science behind fear, why it happens, and ways to alleviate it. So let’s get started and break down overcoming fear and building trust inside your organisation…’
  • Katie Marlow: A great workplace starts with great communications (14 February)
    So often in organisations we’re not clear on what our internal communication’s purpose is and ‘stuff’ just gets sent out, creating noise with no output or outcomes.’
  • Dan Holden: What’s the state of internal communication? (12 February)
    If you’re reading this and thinking ‘Oh no, we’re using the annual employee survey as our only internal comms metric’’ don’t panic. I’d encourage you to make some time and think about what impact you want to measure from your internal communication.’

Media, digital and technology


  • Emma Drake: Deep Dive with Ben Lee: Embedding AI into your team [podcast] (15 February)
    ‘I wanted to deliver more video with less. The tools are not expensive; I love discovering new things. Descript is a gateway drug for me that got me into AI. When ChatGPT came along we went all in.’
  • Scott Guthrie: Deepfakes create ‘liars dividend’ eroding trust (13 February)
    AI creates a “liar’s dividend,” says Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who studies digital propaganda and misinformation. In an interview with the Washington Post Prof Farid continues “When you actually do catch a police officer or politician saying something awful, they have plausible deniability” in the age of AI.’
  • Cheryl Morris: Should you demand a correction when a journalist prints an error? (12 February)
    Often, people will accuse media outlets of carrying incorrect information because they don’t like the way something is written. Publications only need to address factual errors. They can share conflicting opinions or alternative points of view.’

Academic, education and training