This Week in PR (22 May)

About the author

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

Thames as still as ever ce soir. And beautiful blue skies and sunshine. 👍 @woolfallalex
Thames as still as ever ce soir. And beautiful blue skies and sunshine. 👍 @woolfallalex

News in brief

  • AMEC has announced those shortlisted for its 2020 Awards
  • The CIPR’s member magazine Influence is now digital-only, and the current issue is freely available to non-members.
  • The PRCA has established a Global Ethics Council chaired by Omnicom international president David Gallagher.
  • Manchester-based Rule 5 has launched an online publication, Twenty-Twenty, focusing on leisure attractions in preparation for life after lockdown. Twenty Twenty will run daily stories about what the leisure and destinations industry is doing to keep resilient, alongside updates of plans for the present and the future. As managing partner Rob Brown says: ‘We’ve found ourselves with some extra time on our hands, so whilst we’re unable to visit our favourite weekend spots – we thought we’d try to keep them front of mind for when we begin to return to what will be the ‘new normal’. Twenty Twenty is there not just for our clients but for the whole industry and we welcome submissions.’
  • This Harvard Business Review article by Dan Ciampa makes The Case for a Chief of Staff. In principle, the role is similar to the chief communication officer; the practice may be different. Here’s the checklist of the five roles [of the chief of staff]: ‘serving as an air traffic controller for the leader and the senior team; as an integrator connecting work streams that would otherwise remain siloed; as a communicator linking the leadership team and the broader organization; as an honest broker and truth teller when the leader needs a wide-ranging view without turf considerations; and as a confidant without an organizational agenda.’

Academic, education and training


Covid-19 comms

  • Lou Rudkin: Parlez-vous Covid? (19 May)
    ‘Times of crises show us the importance that we place on words and how the words we use can be interpreted or (purposefully) misinterpreted. I work in mental health research communications and I’m conscious of how the nuances of positive and negative phrasing can be interpreted.’
  • Drew Benvie: The PR industry’s greatest challenge could be to fight the coronavirus infodemic (19 May)
    ‘Like the coronavirus itself, disinformation is spreading fast, such as the misconception that 5G is causing COVID-19, or racist statements blaming ethnic groups.’
  • Trevor Young: Will this trend continue? (18 May)
    ‘[Jacinda Ardern] was a good communicator coming into the pandemic, and she has emerged from the crisis with her reputation enhanced.’
  • Ben Capper: There is nothing about this that is “common sense” (18 May)
    ‘What seems less of a useful approach is to rely on “common sense” to interpret new guidelines that to many are confusing, and apparently contradictory in places.’

Purpose and professionalism

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Ben Smith: Adrian Talbot, finance director of Hotwire PR, on the financial management of a PR firm during Covid-19 [podcast] (19 May)
    ‘In the technology sector and in B2B, where Hotwire is really focused, we’ve got quite a few clients round the world who are having relative success at the moment. There is an inherent resilience in the technology sector.’
  • Heather Kernahan: Entering a tough, but not impossible, jobs market (18 May)
    ‘This current business environment is tough, but not impossible. My suggestion is to stay focused on only the things you can control, not what you can’t, and there is a lot within your control!’
  • Claire Etchell: Getting Naked Interview with Freelance PR Specialist Daisy Craydon (18 May)
    ‘A lot of people say that they don’t believe in the power of a press release, but I will challenge anyone that says this…look at Captain Tom’s story. It all started with a very regional press list that gathered more and more momentum as the days went on.’
  • Andrew Bloch: 20 things from my 20 years at Frank (18 May)
    ‘I’m planning to consult in the creative and marketing services space. I also want to take on some advisory roles and maybe a couple of other NED positions. I want to give something back and spend more time helping charities and not for profit organisations.  I’ll also continue working for Lord Sugar and his various organisations.’

Public and third sectors

  • Adrian Stirrup and Darren Caveney with Jude Tipper and Ross Wigham: NHS coronavirus comms special [podcast] (17 May)
    Jude Tipper: ‘I’ve never been prouder to work for the NHS and in NHS comms. My admiration and respect goes to my peers at the frontline and in frontline comms. I happen to live with one of them: my husband is the head of comms in a Trust.’

Politics and public affairs

  • John Kavanagh: Public affairs in the new normal (20 May)
    For the time being at least, remote working is also here to stay. Those who embrace the digital tools available for their advocacy efforts will be able to reach their intended audience above those who maintain the use of traditional methods.’

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Adam Driver: Why media training shouldn’t be sniffed at (21 May)
    ‘In recent years, communications has had more influence within the c-suite. Businesses, brands and their stakeholders are coming around to it being more than ‘mwah-mwah’ PR schmooze and newspaper cuttings.’
  • Dan Thomas: EasyJet: How not to communicate a data breach (20 May)
    ‘According to the BBC, easyJet first became aware of the attack in January but only notified customers who had their credit card details stolen in April. It’s taken them a further month to “go public” in the media, warning customers to be cautious as they could become the victims of scam email attacks designed to steal personal or financial data.’
  • Sheena Thomson: When is it safe to go back in the water? (20 May)
    ‘For returning to work, responsibility for the assessment and control of the risks to people transfers to those outside of the home. They also have a legal obligation under Health and Safety legislation to ensure the risks to people are minimised.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Leigh-Ann Hewer: How I learned to stop worrying and love the news (21 May)
    ‘What happens when media intake is your job, or when there is an expectation to always be ‘on’ to better serve clients and businesses?’
  • Georgia Turner: Not baking banana bread (20 May)
    ‘Throughout this crisis I’ve upped the gratitude. Spent some time thinking about the small things that are improving my life, and trying to do more of those things. Spend time in my little garden, speak to family and friends, cook with my husband, listen to birdsong and watch the blue tit parents flit back and forth to the nest box, water my plants, get out into the sun every day (or the fresh air, at least), stroking my cat, enjoy images of wildlife and nature. Call it by another name, and I think it’s about taking notice, about mindfulness.’
  • Harriet King: Dealing with lockdown when you’re an extrovert (20 May)
    ‘There’s nowhere I’d rather be than surrounded by friends, cocktail in hand, letting out my inner dancing queen. When lockdown was announced, the thought of ‘me time’ and ‘working from home’ made me anxious.’
  • Katrina Marshall: Visagate – update (20 May)
    ‘The world is a far kinder place than I allowed myself to believe.  My tribe is stronger and roars louder than the thunder of this perfect storm swirling around me.’
  • Shavaun Glen: Is guilt good for our mental health (18 May)
    ‘Feelings of guilt can consume and overrun. They can hang heavy on our minds. They can haunt us and send us to dark places; turning a reasonable mind into a state of confusion and warp how we interpret relationships and interactions with others.’
  • Ian Curwen: Mental health matters (18 May)
    ‘Each and every one of us is having to adapt to a world that doesn’t feel quite normal. Where things are strange. Where your routine is new. Where even the simplest and most usual of tasks is harder than should be. This means that even the most resilient of us will have off days. We will feel more stressful and we will feel more anxious. And that’s ok.’
  • Darren Caveney: Emergency stop: a chance to reflect during mental health awareness week (17 May)
    ‘Comms Unplugged was set up in 2017 with the purpose of helping individuals cope and thrive in an increasingly demanding industry. To create knowledge and resources targeting mental health and wellbeing, and networks and friendships for us all to utilise. It’s grown from an idea we just chatted about to a movement and a set of visions and values that couldn’t feel any more relevant in 2020.’
  • Amanda Coleman: When it’s not ok (16 May)
    ‘Over almost six years I have been trying to improve my mental health through coaching, wellbeing workshops, retraining my brain to be more positive and having counselling. It has not been an easy journey and I have not yet reached the destination. For a long time I would not talk about this sticking to the well-worn phrase ‘I’m fine’ whenever I was asked how things were. We have to do more and remove the stigma.’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Brendon Craigie and Felicity Haslehurst: New Horizons 06 – Gabriela Lungu [podcast] (no date)
    ‘This is creativity’s moment; it’s such a tonic for our minds. You can make things, solve problems, entertain yourself and your loved ones. You can explore without leaving your house. From a professional point of view, creativity is the only thing that can help us innovate: new times demand new methods and new solutions. Creativity is the answer to limited resources.’

Brands, storytelling, and influence

  • Orlagh Shanks: Where Did the Virtual Influencers Go? (20 May)
    ‘These virtual influencers are life-like and from their Instagram profiles, you would think they were real people, interacting with followers, posting about their outfits and even appearing to be at the world’s most glamorous and popular events.’
  • Jessica Pardoe: Is There Any Point In Influencer Marketing Right Now? (15 May)
    ‘Is it still worth availing influencers to promote your product and brand during a time where most industries can’t even sell them?’

Internal communication

  • Nick Helsby: The power of language and human connection – the Communications function states its case (20 May)
    ‘Until this crisis arrived, it is probably fair to say internal communications was some way from being an established business discipline. It is also not unreasonable to state that many companies would still not know what good internal communications looks or feels like; and why it matters, perhaps beyond conveying corporate news and information.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Laura Sutherland: How to execute a virtual interview (19 May)
    ‘From a personal point of view, I’ve done virtual interviews before and during lockdown. Before, I was sending a soundbite for a radio station. During, the very same thing. The media is slowly adapting and being more accepting of different file formats as long as they get what they want.’