This week in PR (17 January)

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.

Lieutenant Caddy reporting to the PICARDilly Space Station! 💫🙋🏼‍♀️ #StarTrekPicard #StarTrek @beccacaddy
Lieutenant Caddy reporting to the PICARDilly Space Station! 💫🙋🏼‍♀️ #StarTrekPicard #StarTrek @beccacaddy

News in brief

  • Harold Burson has died aged 98. Richard Edelman writes: ‘Every one of us should aspire to the same intellectual hunger and basic decency that guided the life of Harold Burson. We must live up to his standard of professional conduct.’
  • The public relations profession is “sleep walking into artificial intelligence” and markedly behind other professions in its preparations for the 4th industrial revolution, warns a new #AIinPR report. (via CIPR).
  • ‘He practically invented pest control PR’. Former Rentokil director of public relations Peter Bateman FCIPR has died (via CIPR)
  • “Electronic devices have definitely made things worse. We’re spending two hours a day more connected to work than we ever were before smartphones… It’s such an unhealthy place for us to be as a society. It’s not even in the service of us doing our jobs well.” So said outgoing Twitter European vice president Bruce Daisley, in a New Statesman interview.

Purpose, professionalism and predictions

  • Arun Sudhaman with Paul Holmes: Podcast: The remarkable legacy of Harold Burson (16 January)
    Whether they were a client, a colleague or a competitor, Harold treated everyone the same.’ ‘He saw public relations not as a communictions discipline but as a management discipline.’ ‘Everything he said about public relations was about the need to be ethical, to be responsible, to act with integrity.’
  • Stephen Waddington: More on PR2020: social media activism, internal comms resurgence, storytelling and professionalism (15 January)
    ‘Forward-thinking organisations are using new technologies as a means of listening and engaging with employees. Social leaders use platforms and technology to build relationships externally with employees, customers and other stakeholders. It’s a powerful form of advocacy.’
  • Con Franklin: Making 2020 the Year of Evidence-Based Communications (13 January)
    ‘Our development at Ketchum of digital analytics tools designed to pinpoint conversations that matter, and who is driving them, has thrown up some surprising and engaging insights.’
  • Dan Smith: Corporate affairs in the 2020s: Time to stop waiting for the world to happen to us (14 January)
    ‘Corporate affairs and communications teams need to help the organisations they serve bring the outside world in. I recently suggested to an insurance giant that their CEO meet the heads of Extinction Rebellion. My argument was that they shouldn’t view such groups as activists, but potential partners.’
  • Stuart Bruce: 10 top PR tips for communication success in 2020 (13 January)
    ‘In reality for most PR practitioners content marketing was nothing new. News, case studies, white papers, how to, Q&As, user stories etc are all just traditional types of public relations content.’
  • Michael White: Purpose-led communications has shifted public relations from the office floor to the boardroom (12 January)
    ‘Perceptions of public relations vary from scantily clad club representatives handing out leaflets to university freshers, and the world I live-and-breath each day; protecting and improving the reputations of corporate brands. As a discipline, public relations must be evolutionary, as the way people communicate with each other constantly changes.’

Consulting and careers

  • Advita Patel: Five lessons learnt in the first five days as a business owner (no date)
    ‘Setting up your own business is tough at the best of times, but in January it’s the toughest. You’re coming down from a festive high, everything is going back to normal and people are getting on with their life.’
  • Fran Tindall: None-work/life balance (15 January)
    ‘Since 2009 I have, oops, my role has been made redundant five times. Each time I found another role within three months so I was not overly concerned.  I was just so, so grateful for my redundancy package; the time to relish new things, my puppy, new people and do new things especially when Comms Unplugged came along in Sept. ‘
  • Sarah Waddington: Moving from good to great with the Institute of Directors (14 January)
    ‘Directors must be ethical, professional, performance-oriented and independent. They also need an insight into their own emotions and behaviours.’
  • Laura Smith: What I’ve learnt from five years of freelancing (10 January)
    ‘You will say yes to a lot of things you should say no to, because the idea of turning money away is scary. This is especially true in the first year or so, and I’m glad I’m better at recognising the potential in an opportunity now.’

Public and third sectors

    • Oliver Kozsla and others: Two years of PReflect: Our highlights so far (10 January)
      ‘We’re a team of PR graduates who decided to embark on a unique adventure two years ago. As then PR interns, we brought together our skills and knowledge to help small, local charities and community groups who cannot yet afford a PR agency, or those who just need an extra pair of hands to communicate with their audiences.’

Politics and public affairs

Risk and reputation

  • Ella Minty: When Investors Buy A Reputation, Not Just Assets (16 January)
    ‘Reputation (corporate and executive) weighs heavily in the (pre)investment due diligence that any hedge fund, venture capitalist, bank, capital fund and similar would undertake before investing in that business.’
  • Jessie Frahm with Stuart Thomson: Ep 9: Reputation Management [podcast] (15 January)
    ‘Fundamentally, it’s about the leadership of an organisation. Are they listening to their teams, and working closely with comms and HR? Most organisations know where the risks in their organisations lie.’
  • Gary Tayor: Through the Looking Glass (14 January)
    ‘Once in a while you get to experience stakeholder communications as a recipient rather than a messenger.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

Campaigns and creativity

  • Jessica Pardoe: Creative Campaigns #1 – Build Your Own Baby Yoda (15 January)
    ‘Even for those like myself who have no real interest in Star Wars whatsoever, “The Child” is seriously cute and has been a big hit on social media – becoming one of the most popular memes of late 2019.’

Brands, storytelling and influence

  • Jonathan Kirkby: Consumers aren’t idiots: influencer marketing in 2020 (16 January)
    ‘Influencer Marketing spent most of last year facing intense media negativity for issues such as fake followers, lack of transparency and influencers contravening the ASA guidelines. Issues that are bound to affect an industry that is still finding its feet – even though it is set to break the $10 billion barrier this year.’
  • Iliyana Stareva: How I Used to Work with Influencers (14 January)
    ‘You need to be a bit like an anthropologist if you want to succeed when working with influencers.’
  • Scott Guthrie: The real reason Casper lists influencers as IPO risk (12 January)
    ‘This story about Casper listing influencers as potential risks in its IPO documentation has gained the attention of many mainstream media outlets.’

Measurement and evaluation

  • Nicole Moreo: Begin with measurement and analytics (14 January)
    ‘Analytics needs to be brought in before planning starts, at the first table read of a RFP, for brainstorms, and as the strategy is being developed. Too often research and analytics is brought in after the fact.’

Internal communication

  • Ian Harris with Tony Sanchez: Life on Mars (13 January)
    ‘Three years ago, Tony and his team were approached to revamp the company intranet, and at this point they made it their mission to target every one of the 115,000 associates with a central solution.’

AI and automation

  • David Phillips: AI in PR Management (16 January)
    ‘AI analysis will evidence who leads the conversation and about who and what aspects of the discussion is about the client and competitors. It will map the history of subject interest and who clusters around this subject and who leads the conversation.’

Media and digital

  • Max Tatton-Brown and Danny Whatmough: Digital Wake: 2015-2020 Review [podcast] (13 January)
    ‘Some things have shifted quite a bit: Periscope and Meerkat have completely disappeared, they’ve been replaced by TikTok. Platforms change, but underneath it people don’t.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Hannah Chambers (Ulster): Are ASOS Leading The Way For Innovation In Fashion E-Commerce? (16 January)
    ‘I absolutely love that ASOS takes the effort out of online shopping for me and usually the recommendations are pretty accurate of brands I like and buy from and style I’ve been looking at. I especially love that they recommend alternatives to sold out items which you have saved.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): Celebrity goss: what’s the obsession? (16 January)
    ‘To be fair, I don’t follow celebs on Instagram or Twitter (still don’t have it oops) and I don’t watch celebrity shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians (I don’t even know if they still make it) or buy those weird £1 “OMG!” magazines.  So maybe that’s why I don’t get it.’
  • Shannon Walsh (Ulster): 261 years into a 9,000-year lease (16 January)
    ‘In 1759, 261 years ago, Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease for the old abandoned St. James brewery and generations of the Guinness family have been brewing Guinness there ever since.’
  • Abi Kitcher (Solent): January sales… a marketing trick? (16 January)
    ‘As a PR student, I’m more aware on how things are marketed which has certainly helped me make wise buying decisions.’
  • Megan Gillespie (Ulster): No Direction (15 January)
    ‘I want to have a job I’m passionate about. I refuse to be part of a ‘eat, sleep, work, live unconsciously, repeat’ society, at least, not forever.’