This week in PR (22 January)

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.

First London run of the year. Up early to beat the crowds and enjoy the beautiful winter sun in Hyde Park☀️ @lornagott on Instagram
First London run of the year. Up early to beat the crowds and enjoy the beautiful winter sun in Hyde Park☀️ @lornagott on Instagram

News in brief

  • In its response to the Government’s review of the 2014 Lobbying Act, the PRCA has called for major changes.
  • Michael Bland, crisis communication author and trainer, has died aged 76. See below for an obituary written by his son Ben.

Covid-19 and comms

  • Emma Morris: Seven social media tips for lockdown (20 January)
    ‘One great thing that has come out of this pandemic is the desire for people to support local businesses. And local businesses should do the same by supporting each other.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Book review: Post Corona by Scott Galloway (19 January)
    ‘Galloway’s view is that the pandemic’s enduring impact will be an acceleration for technology, and no area of the economy will be left unchanged. The book and the case studies are all US centric but you don’t have to work hard to apply Galloway’s work to other markets.’#
  • Ross Wigham: Postcard on covid comms vol4 (16 January)
    ‘NHS comms has been in full swing again this week and it was great to see the North East leading the pack in terms of numbers.’

Ethics, purpose and professionalism

  • Maja Pawinska Sims with Kirsty Leighton and Fiona Gildea: Milk & Honey on building a sustainable agency [podcast] (19 January)
    ‘Everybody is talking about ESG: it seems to be the buzz word – along with purpose – on everyone’s lips. I don’t actually think any of us have all of the answers here – big agencies or management consultancies. We need to collaborate and bring outside experts into the mix.’

Corporate and financial

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Ben Bland: Michael Bland Obituary (21 January)
    ‘In his late fifties, around twenty years before his death, Bland was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Despite the gradual degenerative effects of the disease, he remained physically fit until the last few years, and was able to maintain his independence until the end.’
  • Alison Gallagher-Hughes: Top tips for effective pet PR (20 January)
    ‘25% of the nation’s households now own a dog and 17%, a cat, equating to 9 million dogs and 7.5 million cats in the UK.’
  • Stella Bayles with Brendon Craigie: PR without borders (and offices!)  [podcast] (18 January)
    ‘I’ve spent roughly 20 years working in communications and I’ve felt communications consultants in agencies tended to work in siloed teams. Global businesses need a different communication service.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

Public and third sectors

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Gareth Jones: Sunak’s fiscal dilemma (21 January)
    ‘As we head towards 3rd March, the Treasury and Number 10 will be facing a series of very tough decisions about public spending.’
  • Simon Gentry: Vaccines, ideology and Britain on the world stage (19 January)
    ‘Fear of the media and the need to satisfy the insatiable is a feature of Boris Johnson’s government and not one that endears him to his backbenchers or critics.’
  • Dafydd Rees: The Power of Persistence and Persuasion (19 January)
    ‘A highly organised and well-funded defence of Slavery was mounted in Government and by powerful business interests heavily invested in the sugar trade in the West Indies. The Establishment utilised  every spurious economic, moral and indeed religious argument to justify the continuation of Slavery.’

Campaigns and creativity 

  • Sarah Evans: Helping audiences overcome the Ostrich Effect (21 January)
    ‘The Ostrich Effect is a phenomenon when people actively avoid information they consider negative or unpleasant. It’s a conflict between our rational mind and the pain we anticipate with our emotional mind.’
  • Andy Green: The true story behind ‘Blue Monday’​ (18 January)
    ‘The story behind ‘Blue Monday’ provides an exemplary example of what I call ‘creative recycling and upcycling’ – how you can use an existing idea to address a challenge.’

Brands, storytelling, and influence

  • Orlagh Shanks: What’s The Deal With Influencer Creator Houses? (20 January)
    ‘One of the most famous TikTok creator houses, Hype House sits in Los Angeles and is home to 19 TikTok stars. TikTok stars like 15-year-old Charli D’Amelio (who recently had a Dunkin Donuts drink named after her and has 106.2 million followers on the app) drop in on the mansion to get their creative juices flowing.’
  • Jen Derrick: National Thesaurus Day – Editing content tips to make you a better writer (18 January)
    ‘It can be difficult to explain intangible features – especially when describing a technical product or service. For example, the words ‘quality’ and ‘powerful’ are hard to visualise. Metaphors allow you to convey an intangible thing by describing it as a tangible thing.’
  • Scott Guthrie: Love Island, test & trace and that £63,000 (18 January)
    ‘We now know the UK government spent £63,000 paying Love Island stars for their part in promoting the Test and Trace app. Was it money well spent?’

Internal communication

Technology, media and digital

  • Adam Tuckwell and Jon Wilcox: The PR Hub podcast on… podcasting (21 January)
    ‘Podcasting is radio on demand, it’s incredibly accessible for audiences and it’s equally accessible and cheap to produce. That’s why it seems like everyone has a pod these days!’
  • Matt Silver: What’s up with Whatsapp: the messaging app meltdown (18 January)
    How did one of the most successful messaging companies get something that was relatively simple to communicate so wrong, and what will happen now?’
  • Katy Howell: Serious Social – From first date to wedded bliss [podcast]
    ‘Why do relationships matter on social media? Basically, there’s an overwhelming competition for attention.’
  • Robert Minton-Taylor: A Simple Act of Kindness – had me in tears. (16 January)
    ‘As I was recovering from a stroke after discharge from Airedale General Hospital in West Yorkshire, UK I received a handwritten letter in the post from a national newspaper journalist I had never met or spoken to.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Megan Laura Harris (Liverpool John Moores): Influencers and COVID-19 – is it ethical to promote Track and Trace and then go on a work holiday? (21 January)
    ‘I don’t think it is right that these ‘influencers’ who use their platforms to promote the NHS system to escape to another country for a so called ‘work holiday’. It would be bad enough if they weren’t posting about it but they are. Do these influencers have no shame, no ethics?’
  • Kayleigh Tinney (Ulster): The Power of a Morning Routine (21 January)
    ‘I always start my morning by journaling as it gives me the opportunity to be at one with my thoughts. There is something very powerful about waking up and writing down a few things that you are grateful for in your life.’
  • Lindelani Moyo (Birmingham City): University experience of a PR student (21 January)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has obviously changed the social experience within the university. Although we can’t socialise physically we are encouraged to connect via Microsoft teams and the university has hosted a lot of virtual social activities so students can socialise with one another.’
  • Cliodhna Donnelly (Ulster): 2020 – A Year for PR to Shine. Here’s my favourites (21 January)
    ‘In many ways, I feel privileged to have been exposed to such innovation, creativity and resilience this year, at a time in my life where I will soon be a young professional challenged to think of new ideas and ways of working.’
  • Aveem Moore (Ulster): COVID-19 UK: How social media has affected communication during a pandemic. (20 January)
    ‘Social media was a breeding ground for misinformation and of course disinformation in a time of widespread panic and uncertainty. People in a panic can be exploited when exposed to misleading information – particularly during a time when no one is really sure what is happening.’