This week in PR (17 December)

About the author

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

Here we are, literally in the middle of the desert. Kevin Ruck @kevoruck on Instagram
Here we are, literally in the middle of the desert. Kevin Ruck @kevoruck on Instagram

Profession and purpose

  • Phoebe-Jane Boyd and others: What were the biggest triumphs and challenges for comms in 2021? (15 December)
    ‘It hasn’t always been easy to know how in practice to deliver for clients and to keep colleagues motivated and positive. These challenges are not unique to comms but we perhaps feel them particularly acutely because often we have been called in to help clients shape and communicate their responses to COVID-19.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Almanac: Challenges and opportunities for public relations 2022 (15 December)
    ‘This isn’t a review of 2021, or even a series of predictions for 2022. Think of it as an almanac, a guide to some of the biggest issues for our profession for the year ahead.’

ESG, corporate and financial

  • Emily Church: All I want for Christmas is some renewable energy infrastructure (14 December)
    ‘Encouragingly, assets continue to flow into ‘green’ sectors as investor awareness of ESG goes mainstream and troublesome areas such as categorization, taxonomy and measurement begin to move, albeit creakily, towards a resolution.’
  • Louise Nicolson: Welcome to the Future (no date)
    ‘We predict a definitive move from traditional marketing segmentation and classifications of B2B and B2C, to B2Community. ‘

Public and third sectors

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Will Parker: Briefing from Brussels – the priorities of the French Presidency (16 December)
    ‘The end of the Merkel era and the Presidential elections in France were seen as a period of uncertainty for the EU.’
  • Tiffany Burrows: Twas the day of North Shropshire… (16 December)
    ‘The Paterson fiasco kickstarted a terrible few weeks for the Conservatives, who have been battling accusations of corruption and hypocrisy, with the Prime Minister himself receiving a barrage of criticism about his ability (and credibility) to lead.’
  • Siân Jones: What’s in store for Wales in 2022? (16 December)
    ‘The outlook for the Welsh economy is more positive than had been feared. Far from the widespread job losses that had been anticipated when the furlough scheme came to an end, the job market in Wales is buoyant, with unemployment rates lower than many other parts of the UK.’
  • Ian Silvera: The crypto penny finally drops for the Bank of England (16 December)
    ‘After recognising the fast growth of the industry and that more than 2.3m people in the UK now have exposure to the digital tokens, [the deputy governor of the Bank of England] warned that integration into the mainstream financial system could considerably harm established market players, because of the extreme price volatility of crypto.’
  • George Thomas: Government set to survive a rebellion, but another vaccine boost is very much needed. (14 December)
    ‘What is abundantly clear, is that Covid is once again back on top of the political agenda (and indeed in Westminster itself with many MPs announcing today that they’ve tested positive). The Prime Minister will look to put stories of sleaze and Christmas parties behind him and get on with running the country.’
  • Dr Björn Weber: The New German Chancellor and Government (14 December)
    ‘[Olaf] Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) won the most votes in the federal election in September and will now govern together with the Greens (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) and the Liberals (Freie Demokratische Partei, FDP) in the first ever three-party coalition, aka the “traffic light-coalition” after the signature colors of the parties involved.’
  • Stuart Thomson: When is a dead cat not a dead cat? (14 December)
    ‘A ‘dead cat’ strategy is seen as a communication technique to help distract attention and avoid scrutiny. But some distractions are more effective than others.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Jill Spurr: Wake up to “woke” (16 December)
    ‘One of the greatest threats to our freedom and liberties – perhaps THE greatest – is the erosion of critical thinking by people using manipulative soundbites on social media that makes you react first, think later.’
  • Ben Smith with Dr Clare Spencer and Jo Carr: Are cases of the menopause partly responsible for women aged 45+ leaving a career in PR? [podcast] (14 December)
    ‘It’s clear that PR is losing too many women from the sector and better diagnosis and treatment of menopause is likely to make a contribution towards slowing this trend.’

Planning, measurement and evaluation

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Anna Caig: Why public sector comms is the perfect springboard to a successful freelance business (16 December)
    ‘What I’ve realised is that my previous jobs gave me a superb foundation for this kind of freelance work. The skills and knowledge I needed to turn my passion into a successful business, I got from working in public sector comms.’
  • Sophie Vandenbroucke: Finding opportunities: what I learnt as an intern (no date)
    ‘Overall, my time as an intern has been a fantastic learning experience and has led to a full-time Account Executive position that I’m starting in January. This is not an internship program where you will be asked to just buy people coffees or get forgotten in the corner – it’s an opportunity to become a part of a dynamic and hardworking team where you can jumpstart your career in health policy and communications.’

Content and creativity

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Amanda Coleman: Another day, another press conference (15 December)
    ‘Every day I think about, talk about, and write about crisis communication. I provide counsel to organisations that find themselves struggling with a situation, issue or incident. Now I find I have to turn this onto myself and look at crisis management to take me through the next few months.’

Behaviour and influence

Internal communication

Media, digital and technology

  • Babel PR: Technology sector predictions 2022 (16 December)
    “2022’s word of the year will be ‘Metaverse’. If you listen closely, you won’t hear sleighbells ringing at this time of year, you’ll instead hear the Metaverse hype train careering out of control as everyone and their dog tries to make sense of what it is, what it means, when it’ll happen, and if anyone actually needs or wants it.’
  • George Rogers: Fintok and finfluencers go mainstream but don’t let your brand see red (no date)
    ‘The emergence of ‘fintok’ (financial TikTok) and the ‘finfluencer’ (financial influencer) in 2021 has led financial services providers to weigh the role of TikTok in their brand communications.’
  • Colin Jacobs, Belle Lawrence and Katy Howell: Serious Social – Bringing the social boom [podcast] (no date)
    ‘A year ago we were banging the drum about strategy, linked to corporate goals. Did all that get bypassed as we hit this race for the bottom line?’
  • Neville Hobson: 15 years and 100,000 tweets later: 3 tips for Twitter you can learn from (12 December)
    ‘100,000 is quite a number. I’m actually a little amazed that I have posted so much organic content online, much of which is undoubtedly ephemeral and of little real interest beyond the passing moments of when those posts were published.’

#prstudent #CreatorAwards22

We began at the start of October, will resume in January and then run to the end of the academic year in May. So here’s an interim report as we reach the Christmas break. 

15 students from 11 colleges and universities have featured so far, though one institution dominates the ranking as you can see in the table below. But there’s plenty of time for newcomers to emerge.

To learn more about this contest, listen to the following podcast or read this article.

  • Orlagh Shanks: How to Stand Out Amongst the Crowd as a PR Student with Richard Bailey [podcast] (15 December)
    ‘You can either be in the middle of the crowd – be a sheep. Or you can be an outlier – the sheepdog if you like. It’s very tempting for young people to be in the crowd, to be exactly like everyone around them. University rewards people like this; but life rewards people who are outliers – the entrepreneurs and risk takers.’

Leading individuals

Name University Appearances
Bethany Gough Solent 10
Jasmine Denike LCC / UAL 9
Julie Mari Solent 8
Elena Niculescu Solent 8
Martin Agunwa Leeds Beckett 4
Andrea Carbonell Solent 4
Ellie Jones LJMU 4


This week’s content

    • Julie Mari (Solent): H&M sustainability programs: A way forward or greenwashing? (16 December)
      ‘I’m not sure that encouraging the purchase of new clothes by offering discounts is an effective method to reduce the social and environmental damages of fast fashion. It always comes back to a circle, but not necessarily a virtuous nor a vicious one, I think it is a bit of both.’
    • Elena Niculescu (Solent): Santa is in a long-distance relationship (15 December)
      ‘We got to witness Santa kissing his Mr. Claus! Harry got what he wanted for Christmas, I do hope they get married and live happily ever after. Santa had to end the long-distance thing!’
    • Bethany Gough (Solent): Do consumers believe Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns? (14 December)
      ‘In a world full of fake news, do consumers believe organisational CSR, or do they just think organisations are promising things to boost their profile?’
    • Jasmine Denike (LCC/UAL):
@jazzdenikelast full day in london for a bit ##fyp ##minivlog ##dailyvlog ##londontok ##londonlife ##uktiktok ##londonfoodie ##prstudent ##caughtavibe ##londonvlog♬ original sound – christian french