This week in PR (21 June)

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.

Woolwich sunset @AcademyAnn
Woolwich sunset @AcademyAnn

In the news

  • The CIPR has worked with UK government to publish guidance on terrorism crisis management.
  • Thought of the week that will resonate with public relations practitioners: ‘Words have consequences’.
  • We know the potential of workplace messaging, but what’s business worth? Loss-making Slack went public this week with a rare and risky direct listing – and shares were selling for 50% more than expected, valuing the business at over $24 billion (The Guardian)
  • Interested in the implications of voice search and podcasts for public relations? There are some free places for non-members at a workshop on Monday organised for Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) members.

Academic, research and qualifications

  • VMA Inside Insight research: Now in its eighth year, Inside Insight is a comprehensive analysis of the UK Internal Communications industry, covering everything from strategy and planning, budgets, team size, remuneration, communications channels, professional development, and the influence of the internal communications function within an organisation. To complete the survey, please click here

Insights and opinions: Pick of the posts

These are the editor’s pick of posts about public relations this week (UK focused, but with a global outlook). Recommendations are welcome to or @pr_place

Purpose and professionalism

  • Jon White: The end of trust and the irrelevance of reputation? (20 June)
    ‘In public relations, the focus of practice must be on behaviour and on greater understanding of the influence of levels of trust and quality of reputation on behaviour of interest. They – awareness, understanding, trust, goodwill and reputation – are not ends in themselves but factors bearing on behaviour, sometimes highly relevant and at other times less so.’
  • Jenni Field: The purpose and the how (19 June)
    ‘If you are looking at your purpose or you’re trying to work out what just isn’t working inside your organisation here are the five things I start with when helping organisations shape their business strategy.’
  • Mandy Pearse: Get Chartered (16 June)
    ‘If like me you are a senior practitioner being held back from getting Chartered by your self doubt please do take the plunge.’
  • John O’Brien: Finding your Purposeful Path (14 June)
    ‘Having purpose is a powerful leadership motivation. Even if you haven’t considered yourself in that vein before, you will find that with purpose will come a perception by others that however modest or unassuming you may be, your sense of purpose is infectious. You will end up being attracted to those who have a complimentary purpose and they to you. This may well amplify your passion and enthusiasm in a way which makes others follow your example.’

Consulting, careers and skills

  • Rich Leigh: Agency impact: 1 year into our 4-day, same-pay work week (20 June)
    ‘As one of the first companies in the UK to trial going four-day, we’re in a fairly unique position. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the business results below, 12 months on – from staff happiness through to financial impact.’
  • Mary McKinlay: Best Practice – or is it? (18 June)
    ‘I would like to ban the use of the phrase “Best Practice”. It seems to crop up everywhere and is used as justification for taking a particular course of action.’
  • Ben Smith: Richard Fogg, CEO at CCgroup, on the PRmoment podcast (18 June)
    ‘I can’t speak highly enough of the Bournemouth PR degree course; we covered dozens of different subjects, and it annoys me that PR courses get such a panning in the industry. There is a sizeable body of PR theory out there that is rarely used and I can’t help but feel that there’s a correlation between our industry’s inability to use academic models and our difficulties in getting onto the board.’
  • Dan Slee: SKILLS NEEDED: The 68 skills your comms team needs and the one thing you need to remember (14 June)
    ‘You can’t know everything. You need a team of specialist generalists. People who have some solid core skills but can also excel in a few specialist areas.’
  • Gary Taylor: Take back your web? (15 June)
    ‘If you have time to post on Facebook, you have time to run your own website. Set it up for free, choose a free template/design and away you go.’
  • Maja Pawinska Sims with George Blizzard and Nicky Regazzoni: The Rise of Virtual PR Agencies [podcast] (14 June)
    ‘There seemed to be a real appetite and need on the client side to access senior freelance expertise in certain areas. We said: let’s set up an agency with a different model that didn’t have a lot of employees.’

Politics and public affairs

  • Mark Borkowski: Boris Johnson and what brands can learn from him (20 June)
    ‘Our politics, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been captured by powerful cabals of rightwing power-mongers, who have chosen that their flawed leaders are vassals that they cannot afford to lose, and that they won’t compromise on.’
  • Helen Lewis: Why political journalism keeps getting it wrong (19 June)
    ‘Historians warn about “the teleological view of history” – assuming a fixed endpoint and then telling the story as if it was always heading for that end point. Something similar has happened, over and over again, in political journalism.’

Public and third sectors

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Jude Tipper: How to communicate wellbeing in an organisation (20 June)
    ‘If you need a reminder of the importance of repetition and consistency of key messages – our evaluation included asking staff what they thought the campaign was about. Many answers accurately reflected the key messages of the campaign. In multiple cases, it was pretty much word-for-word.’

Brands and influence

Trust, crisis and reputation

  • Charlie Pownall: VW diesel emissions scandal timeline (19 June)
    ‘Following on from my last post on VW’s new electric driving marketing campaign, here are highlights of the VW diesel emissions test crisis from its inception to the current day.’
  • Dan Gerrella: PR on the front line: crisis communications during a terror or cyber attack (19 June)
    ‘Getting the communications right if a crisis happens is vital. Organisations are responsible for the welfare of stakeholders and will be expected to provide leadership and support. If they don’t do this or handle the situation poorly (from being insensitive to not managing the issues) huge reputational damage will be caused.’
  • Ella Minty: Fracking and Where the Oil Industry Got It Wrong (14 June)
    ‘It would be difficult to imagine, in the United Kingdom of 2019, an industrial process which could cause so much public concern as “fracking”.’

Internal communication

  • Helen Deverell: How to help your leaders tell compelling stories (18 June)
    ‘In the world of internal comms, we often talk about the need for leaders to be more visible and the important role they play in effective communication. And of course, the role we have in coaching them to be engaging, open, human and relatable.’
  • Liam FitzPatrick: How to construct an internal comms narrative (18 June)
    ‘We have to avoid falling into the trap of thinking of messages as a slogans or messaging as the act of purely spinning. The art of messaging is fundamentally about the creation of shared meaning; and that can never be a one way process.’
  • Stephen Jolly and Mark Mason-Jones: Do. Feel. Think. Using behavioural change to drive employee engagement. (18 June)
    ‘Behavioural change is in essence learning, retaining and acting on something new. So, a holistic approach to initiating and sustaining change – in which [Think, Feel, Do], head, heart and body are all aligned and engaged simultaneously and without an imposed hierarchy – makes as much sense here as it does in the classroom.’
  • Advita Patel: Why we need to avoid the third space… (17 June)
    ‘I now understand why some employees were completely against the idea of having these screens – they were in their third space. It’s their socialising space. It’s an area where they go to form relationships and have a conversation with each other.’
  • Emma Bridger: Lessons in Employee Experience (no date)
    ‘Imagine recruitment being as easy, and efficient as ordering an Uber? Or a learning offer more akin to Netflix? And their HR advisory offer for managers is like more like a fitbit, helping managers to be better managers.’
  • Grant McDonald: Changing the way we talk about change (14 June)
    ‘During times of change, people really want to know the things that will affect them personally – “How does this affect the role I do?” and “Am I going to move location?”’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Arun Sudhaman with Chris Perry and Hugh Baillie: Cannes Podcast: The Data-Driven PR Industry (19 June)
    ‘You still need the creative idea, but if you do your data mining up front then you’ll get a much tighter brief for the creative work… A creative idea has to move you, so you can’t judge it only by maths. You can judge its impact by maths.’

Measurement and evaluation

Media and digital

  • Gemma Storey: Why we need to manage our news consumption (18 June)
    ‘The authors of the [Reuters] report think that news organisations need their own Netflix-like service if they want to benefit from subscriptions, as it’s unlikely that most people would budget for multiple news subscriptions.’