This week in PR (24 April)

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.

Bottle in doors 🚪@wearebottle
Bottle in doors 🚪@wearebottle

News in brief

  • The 2020 Global Communication Report from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism is focused on New Activism, predicting ‘activism will grow in influence over the next five years, primarily driven by the lack of trust in political institutions. They also agree that “average citizens” will be more influential than CEOs and journalists, with the prototypical New Activist being a younger, nonwhite, urban female who is well-educated and tech-savvy.

Academic, education and training

Covid-19 comms

  • Lisa Barnett: Changing your communications approach during a crisis (17 April)
    ‘Content calendars, creative briefs and advertising budgets are being ripped apart during the coronavirus pandemic as brands rethink their content and marketing messages to make sure it is appropriate. While the temptation would be to pull all advertising and not respond to your audience, this is the critical time when your audience needs to hear from you to protect the image and long-term future of the company.’
  • Jennifer Sanchis: Covid-19: How entrepreneurial spirit can boost PR efforts (17 April)
    ‘Those businesses continuing to operate should not feel guilty – or cringy – about sustaining earnings during a global crisis.’
  • Alan Miller: The telecoms industry needs more than facts to fight 5G conspiracies (no date)
    ‘There have been over 30 acts of arson and vandalism against telecom sites and around 80 recorded acts of harassment against telecoms engineers. One viral incident saw the harasser confident enough to record their interaction, switching quickly from social distancing concerns to conspiracy theories.’

Purpose and professionalism

  • Amanda Coleman: A new future (22 April)
    ‘Now there needs to be brave thinking to find those new ways of working for PR and communication as much as other areas of business. It requires an empowered workforce who feel able to speak and are listened to. It requires a willingness to try new things and to do this quickly. It requires a detailed understanding of the business and of the systems, processes and data that underpin the PR and communication function.’
  • Paul MacKenzie-Cummins: Four ways COVID-19 has changed our industry indefinitely (17 April)
    ‘Along with ‘co-ompetition’ between agencies, another likely output from the current crisis will be the rise in the number of PR professionals giving away their secrets. Brands aren’t looking to be sold-to, they need guidance, support and answers to the challenges they face.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • John Brown: Four business meditations for ushering in a new agency era (no date)
    ‘With leaders such as Jacinda Ardern showing how a compassion first approach works, it’s crucial we balance spreadsheets with ethos. Have we made our mission more compassionate? Are we prioritising the right way?’
  • Alex Myers: Super Furlough Animals (20 April)
    ‘Through no fault of our own, and like many of our contemporaries, we lost around 40% of our expected income between March and July because of the COVID-19 outbreak.’
  • Laura Sutherland: CPD – Investing in your professional and personal development (20 April)
    ‘The most important thing is about learning, progressing and continuing to be able to offer the best solutions to our clients and organisations. You can’t do that if you’re not up-to-speed!’

Public sector

  • Amanda Nash: Why communications is an essential service (19 April)
    ‘Working in a large, specialist hospital and Major Trauma Centre in Plymouth, it’s important to understand Communications is one of many important support services and our role, our raison d’etre, is to be there to support the care of patients. That’s exactly as it should be.’

Politics and public affairs


  • Andy Kirby: The landscape of lockdown (23 April)
    ‘Our horizons have expanded in some ways, through getting to know the areas in which we live more intimately. We look more closely at the things around us, trying to attain the

Internal communication

  • Katie Macaulay: The lasting legacy of Covid-19 on internal communication (21 April)
    ‘Might we see a new breed of servant-leaders emerge from this crisis? As each day unfolds we are seeing smart leaders focus on the greater good. They understand their role is to equip and enable others to get on with the job. They show gratitude. Servant leadership turns the power pyramid on its head.’
  • Jo Field: Top tips for engaging your employees during the Covid-19 crisis (21 April)
    ‘One of the most important things to remember during an incident is to keep team members informed and engaged. This is particularly relevant at the moment, while many people are working remotely.’
  • Rachel Miller with Naomi Jones: How to communicate with remote workers during the pandemic (20 April)
    ‘The majority of our employees have very practical, operational roles that mean they are rarely, if ever, at a desk. Our people are predominantly drivers, site operatives, engineers, loaders.  Over half our staff do not have a work laptop, phone or email account, as they don’t need it for their jobs.’


Technology, media and digital

  • Stephen Waddington: Lockdown letter: humanising business and media (18 April)
    ‘We’ll cease to apologise for arranging work around family life and will never ever complain about a noisy household. Home desks will be styled for video conference meetings. There’s already been a rush on cameras, microphones, and lighting kit from internet stores.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Emma Rogers (Solent): Primark’s e-commerce (or lack of) (23 April)
    For some reason, Primark has never entered into e-commerce. Apparently, this is because they would not be able to keep prices as low as they are. But, I wonder if at a time like this, they begin to question that decision.’
  • Hannah Bowering (Sunderland): PR in an unprecedented time (23 April)
    ‘Whether companies are boosting their reputation, or accumulating negative press, it is clear to see that PR doesn’t require a huge budget to be successful. With the help of social media and small acts of kindness, it is easy for a company to remain in the spotlight despite the current climate.’ 
  • Kayleigh Tinney (Ulster): When you can’t control the situation, control your reaction to it (23 April)
    ‘Looking back now I’m annoyed  that I wasted a week moping around feeling sorry for myself. Little by little, day by day I started doing things that I had been putting off because I was so busy.’
  • Charlotte Price (Sunderland): Thursday Thoughts with Arianne Smart (23 April)
    ‘I am currently working from home and I’m trying to keep to my usual routine as much as I can – getting ready, switching on my PC just before 9am, cup of tea in hand and we’ve got our systems set up to work as close to normal as we can. To keep myself motivated, I’ve been planning out my week as I usually would, working out what I’m going to do and when, and working my way through that. We have regular team catch-ups so everyone knows the priorities each day and week.’
  • Teela Clayton (Leeds Beckett): Clubbing in the time of corona (22 April)
    ‘I’ve found myself reverting to 50s housewife; gleefully single-handedly undertaking chores that would have once been the basis of my Edinburgh Fringe show: F**k the Patriarchy. I guess I’m just a sucker for social constructs and social media is telling me I should be baking and jogging and clapping.’
  • Catherine Maguire (Ulster): Life lessons learnt from living in Lockdown (22 April)
    ‘For many of us life has been on pause for weeks now, I’m on day 38. And in those 38 days, I have found myself looking at things differently and realising the amazing things I took for granted before COVID-19 changed our lives as we knew it.’
  • Paulina Solka (Leeds Beckett): How much is time worth? (21 April)
    ‘Investing our time, our most valuable asset, in our happiness is no doubt a wise thing to do.’
  • Rory Drake (Sunderland): Are Promoted Tweets on their Way out? (21 April)
    ‘I don’t know whether it’s just me, but I’ve noticed a real lack in promoted tweets over the last few weeks.’
  • Steven Batey (Sunderland): Have Electronic Arts Heard of Public Relations? (21 April)
    ‘EA seem to do everything and anything to annoy their stakeholders. Surely that can’t be right in the world of PR?’
  • Connor Lamb (Sunderland): PR trouble with football agents (21 April)
    ‘As is regularly reported, agents have a massive impact on footballers, especially at the very top level. Agents do somewhat act as PR agents for footballers, with many taking responsibility of the output of footballers whether that be in an interview or by taking control of their social media accounts.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): The Restaurant that Burns off Calories: helpful or harmful? (21 April)
    ‘Last December, there was talk of introducing some new labelling thing where food products print how much exercise you’d need to do to burn it off on the packaging. There was, as expected, a lot of backlash from people and eating disorder charities saying that this was a dangerous idea, especially to people who are vulnerable to eating disorders.’
  • Babett Kürschner (LCC/UAL): #Relevant: Thoughts on celebrity culture (17 April)
    ‘Despite it’s buzzword-y ring, celebrity culture has been around for longer than one might think. Back in the days – actually, tens of thousands of years ago – our hunter-gatherer ancestors laid the foundations for celebrity culture as we know it today.’