This week in PR (17 April)

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.

Via @covid19campaigns on Instagram
Via @covid19campaigns on Instagram

News in brief

  • ‘We’re all in this together’: Membership organisations have been more useful than ever during the pandemic, so it’s a surprise to see the PRCA furloughing staff and taking pay cuts. But it’s consistent with offering free membership for six months for those affected by a drop in income, and may reflect an anticipated loss of income from events and training. (Source: PRCA)
  • CIPR has launched a free mentoring scheme for members. Called Progress, it allows members to search for mentors from among 48 volunteering CIPR fellows. (Source: CIPR)

Academic, education and training

Covid-19 comms

  • Arvind Hickman with Andrew Bloch and Nik Govier: The PR Show: Getting tone right during the coronavirus crisis [podcast] (15 April)
    ‘It’s no longer appropriate to act in ways you could before.  It’s what you do, not just what you say. The days of spin are long, long gone. We all want to see how businesses are reacting, not just how brands are behaving.’
  • Paul Sutton with Rob Stewart and Rod Cartwright: Covid-19: Business Continuity & the Human Imperative [podcast] (15 April)
    ‘More than ever our leadership needs to be conscious, and it needs to be explicit, now we have people sitting behind their screens not knowing what’s happening.’
  • Jessica Pardoe: The Power Of Positive PR: Captain Tom’s Story (15 April)‘There’s little more I can think of that would lift the spirits more than Captain Tom Moore’s fundraising story.’
  • Kathy Kyle Bonomini: Branding home truths in a lockdown (14 April)
    ‘I’ve distilled my recommendations into five simple ‘truths’ that I live by, whether I’m working in the midst of a global pandemic, or in calmer times. When we examine our work in this way, through truths that are evidence-based and results orientated, then we can be more effective in empowering our own and our clients’ success.’
  • Adam Driver: It’s only words: The danger of losing resonance. (14 April)
    ‘This piece is purely to illustrate the associated risks of using the same language as others do, meaning  you stand out less, and your brand or organisation’s individual values or tone of voice can be left behind. Take a moment to consider this next time a release, piece of content or tweet gets close to sign off. Is this the right time to change a few words? How are you being different?’
  • Amanda Coleman: A little big thing (13 April)
    ‘People will obviously say as a communicator I would put importance on words, and they are right I do value words. I feel we all need to pay extra attention to what we say and how we say it during these difficult days.’
  • Katy Murray: Expertise might save many of us from Covid, but will Covid save expertise from us? (13 April)
    ‘A few commentators were quick off the mark to say that one good to come from the Covid-19 pandemic could be that experts will make a come-back in the eyes of the public. Some signs are already there.’
  • Ben Lowndes: Responding to the new normal: an eight-step comms strategy (13 April)
    ‘The crisis has impacted every organisation in the UK, no matter what sector they operate in. It’s upended plans for the rest of the year as organisations move into crisis mode. Communication activity must adapt to reflect this.’
  • Shavaun Glen: What is happening to you? (13 April)
    ‘We need to give serious thought to how we introduce empathy into the language and behaviours of the organisations we work with and for. I would recommend gathering data first; conduct an audit to establish how well your business scores on empathy through its employment policies, recruitment questions, customer charter for example.’
  • Ross Wigham: Thank you to all the Covid communicators (12 April)
    ‘I’ve been so inspired and impressed by all the work going on across the whole of the UK and on behalf of the network and your organisations I wanted to say thank you and well done. This is a profound and perhaps existential challenge that we’re all facing together and it’s been heartening to feel so much support and solidarity across the whole of the NHS.’
  • Dan Slee: COVID COMMS: We need to move from phase one ‘here’s a poster’ to phase two ‘here’s me doing what the poster says.’ (10 April)
    ‘Pumping stuff out in an SOS style isn’t the way forward regardless of what an executive director who has joined Facebook but never posted says. Your content is competing in a far more crowded market place and simply shovelling out the same data on repeat is not the answer. This is where you earn your corn as a communicator who understands the landscape and advises the organisation.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Orlagh Shanks: Will Remote Working be the New Norm? (15 April)
    ‘Working from home and working remotely are two different things. Right now, we are all working from home. When the time comes, we may be able to switch to remote working and work from anywhere that we choose. This would be the ideal scenario for me.’
  • Lis Lewis-Jones: A teenager in quarantine (no date)
    ‘Like most business founders, I refer to Liquid almost as a person, concerned for its well-being and ironically, even more so this week as Liquid, my teenager, turns 16.’
  • Dan Slee: PR WFH: Working from home isn’t remote working so cut yourself some slack (15 April)
    ‘Like prescriptive books for new parents, blog posts that show you how to work for home should be binned. Do what works for you. Life is hard enough already without measuring yourself against a lifestyle blogger.’
  • Sarah Dickinson: A view from the client side: How to be the best agency (14 April)
    ‘Try to understand and appreciate the environment your client works in. Agency side life is very different to in-house. Everything in an agency revolves around either clients or journalists, largely speaking. On the client side, PR is a small cog in a whole organisation regardless of the size.’

Public and third sectors

  • Robert Haslam: Building ‘Out of the Margins’ website for Stonewall (15 April)
    ‘We worked with Stonewall as part of our 20% time commitment. Since launching in 2013, we have ring-fenced a fifth of all consultants’ work time for side projects, which includes raising money for charitable causes, pushing technical boundaries through research and development, and pursuing passion projects.’
  • Drew Salisbury: Charities can still thrive despite there being one story in town (14 April)
    ‘While an art or culture charity may be hit by a drop in visitors and ticket sales, a social care and health charity may be significantly impacted by a team who can no longer physically come into work or carry out their duties remotely. Every charity will have a different experience – some will fare better than others.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Kirsty Hulse: What to do when you just like, really can’t be arsed (16 April)
    ‘For so many of us the elements of our days that most energise us are no longer accessible, though with ongoing deadlines and commitments, we are left drinking from our ever depleting reserves.’

Internal communication

  • Katie Macaulay with Shel Holtz: Stepping up in a Crisis [podcast] (15 April)
    ‘Ask what can you do to help. With all of these employees working from home, [Microsoft] Teams is suddenly a big deal. So we’re now publishing a Teams Tip of the Day – and people like that.’
  • Liam FitzPatrick: Knowing the Now (15 April)
    ‘When you are in crisis, you live intensely in the now. Tomorrow’s plans just have to wait – what’s the point of preparing for a future that may never come or turn up looking anything like you expected? The past is gone and soon irrelevant.’
  • Emer Beirne: 5 questions to Frank Dias (14 April)
    ‘I always talk about IC as an enabler of business success. I think it’s important to focus your answers on how IC can help the business achieve its vision and strategy through the medium of stories, projects and campaigns.’

Technology, media and digital

  • James Taylor with Hester Grainger: Digital life #1 (15 April)
    ‘You might get some amazing coverage but it doesn’t contain a backlink. The link is not the be-all and end-all.’
  • Roger Darashah: Welcome to Public Tech. Whether You Like It or Not…… (16 April)
    ‘Technology is particularly susceptible to the ‘Di Maio-effect’; everyone has an opinion on certain Chinese networking equipment’s security flaws, or Twitter’s encryption standards, or whether Google’s algorithm favours the Democrats . . . . .’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Teela Clayton (Leeds Beckett): Consumer 2.0 (16 April)
    ‘For most of us, who we are has changed. With no training we’ve become teachers and chefs. We’ve lost jobs and gained new ones; swallowed our sense of pride from the old world and become heroes on the frontline, in warehouses and supermarkets. We’ve built hospitals overnight.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): Better late than never (16 April)
    ‘But now, to right some serious wrongs, the public are taking things into their own hands and doing their bit to fund the NHS (since you can’t depend on the British government to). And I think that says a lot. A lot of people have been furloughed, had their hours reduced or lost their jobs, so they don’t have a lot of income.’
  • Charlotte Price (Sunderland): Thursday Thoughts with Hannah Lennox (16 April)
    ‘Slowly but surely, I see the world of PR, marketing and comms all becoming integrated. A lot of what I do now is a mix between the three, and it’s hard to define exactly which thread it would fall under!’
  • Cassandra Roos (Solent): Changing Plans (15 April)
    ‘Before covid-19 was declared a pandemic, I had plans for my future, or at least for the next year. First of all I was going to finish the last few weeks of Uni, then go home to Sweden and work for the summer (Coming back for graduation) and then in the fall I was going to do a Master. One more year of full time studying to help me specialise my knowledge a bit more. All those plans have changed…’
  • Emma Rogers (Solent): Dreams & Aspirations (15 April)
    This time spent in self-isolation has given my head a lot of space to think. As my degree is drawing to a close, I am beginning to think about my future and applying for jobs where I can.’
  • Catherine Maguire (Ulster): How To Market the C-Word (15 April)
    ‘Coke and McDonald’s response to the pandemic was spacing out their lettering to encourage social distances, whilst Burger King rejigged their tagline “home of the whopper.” to “Stay home.”’
  • Nóirín O’Neill (Ulster): Creativity in Public Relations (15 April)
    ‘Even the United Nations have launched an open brief for creatives everywhere to “help spread public health messages.” (United Nations, 2020).’
  • Alice Wilmot (Solent): How Brands, The Public and Channels are helping us ‘Stay Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives’
    ‘Social Media has been the most important communication currently, keeping our families together, keeping up to date with the news and broadcasting important messages like ‘Stay Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives’.
  • Connor Lamb (Sunderland): Amazon PR blunder – how damaging could it be? (14 April)
    ‘It just shows how important good PR is to such a massive company, and how threatening even the slightest of mistakes can be.’
  • Hannah Bowering (Sunderland): 5 things I’m doing to stay motivated during lockdown (14 April)
    ‘Instead of trying to cram huge amounts of work into one day, I have been setting myself a small amount of time everyday to work on a set task. This has been keeping me ticking over and not draining me, which I have found is helping me to manage the workload more efficiently.’
  • Rory Drake (Sunderland): Football, PR and Coronavirus (13 April)
    ‘Away from social media, this is a good time for clubs to improve their reputation when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility. One club that has really stood out to me is Stevenage. Within days of the season being suspended the Hertfordshire club set up a Coronavirus Community Careline helping people with meals, supplies, phonecalls to try and help people feeling lonely and sending food to the local hospital with messages of support printed on what would have been match tickets.’
  • Steven Batey (Sunderland): COVID-19 and Public Relations – 3 Ways Organisations Made Themselves Look Bad (10 April)
    ‘How would you feel working in the PR team for either Sports Direct or for Ashley himself? It must be a difficult job at the best of times, but this latest problem has made even more people dislike what the company does and the man at the helm more than they already did.’