This week in PR (25 February)

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.

 ‘London from Parliament Hill, 2022’ @TBoneGallagher on Twitter
‘London from Parliament Hill, 2022’ @TBoneGallagher on Twitter

It happened this week

  • Two ethical fails became talking points this week. One from an adjacent industry and the other from a high profile US public relations practitioner. A BBC investigation tells the story of a startup design agency called Madbird built on lies and false promises that tricked people into working for free. Meanwhile outspoken US practitioner Ron Torossian was forced to admit to ethical lapses (via PRovoke Media).

Industry / profession

  • Ben Smith with Will Sturgeon: What do CEOs want from their PR people? [podcast] (21 February)
    ‘It’s our twenty-fifth CEO survey: there’s a greater commitment to purpose and lots more conversations about ESG. There is awareness that this is important if they want to attract talent, retain customers and investors.’
  • Paul Sutton with Gini Dietrich and Stephen Waddington: Public relations survived the pandemic! Or did it? [podcast] (21 February)
    ‘With values-based messaging and D&I, and with organizations being told that they should stand up for what they believe but not knowing how to do that, this has given communicators a more central role because we’re the ones able to help organizations and executives through those things.’
  • Teela Clayton: Communication trends of 2022: the largest international poll on communications trends launches (20 February)
    ‘Digital transformation is in progress, but few communication departments or agencies have reached maturity – 39% of practitioners across Europe described their unit as immature in both digitalising stakeholder communications and building digital infrastructure. Digital tools are still lacking when it comes to functional support activities such as monitoring publics and aligning communication and business goals.’

Purpose and ESG

  • Andrew Adie: Positivity is a critical tool in tackling global warming (24 February)
    ‘SEC Newgate’s global ESG Monitor found that in the UK alone, consumers cared more about the environment than they did about the economy or Covid. In the midst of the third lockdown, that was a striking statistic.’
  • Louise Nicolson: A Seat at the Table (23 February)
    ‘The rise in Chief Sustainability Officers not only recognises the importance of ESG but also the interconnectedness of strategy and sustainability.  Decisions today reverberate throughout companies and having a broader spectrum of insight enables better decision making.’
  • Ben Matthews: From climate commitments to climate action: 10 climate change trends to aid your comms campaigns (no date)
    ‘This year, COP27 will take place in Egypt and the climate vulnerabilities facing communities across the African continent will be on full display, including the ongoing drought in the Sahel and floods in the Nile Delta.’

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Sudha Singh: Emmanuel Ofosu Appiah, Vice Chair, PRCA REEB on building a fairer industry [podcast] (24 February)
    When I came into the PR industry I didn’t see many role models and specifically black men in public relations. When I looked at other careers, banking, I saw a few, when I looked into law, I saw quite a few, when I looked into medicine, I saw quite a few. And I was thinking to myself, so why are there not black men in public relations?’
  • Scott Guthrie: Keely Cat-Wells CEO of C Talent talks Inspiration Porn [podcast] (23 February)
    ‘We’re so influenced by what we see, what we hear and what we watch in the media. So if we do not represent disabled people or misrepresent them in any way then the world will see it and believe it. We have the power in the media to shift perspectives.’  

Public and third sectors

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Imogen Shaw and colleagues: Global reaction to Russian invasion of Ukraine (24 February)
    ‘Today, Poland is facing an alarming situation: one of our eastern neighbours has attacked another one. What’s important, as a NATO member state, our eastern border is also NATO’s eastern border.’ 
  • Rebecca Coleman: Stepping on the gas (22 February)
    ‘Russia is the main EU supplier of crude oil, natural gas, and solid fossil fuels, with gas imports via pipelines alone accounting for 42% of gas used by member states in 2021. The conundrum for Europe has therefore been how to effectively sanction Russia, without simultaneously funding it through payments for oil and gas or indeed, without threatening its own energy supply.’
  • Sabine Tyldesley: We don’t talk about… Brexit (22 February)
    ‘On the second anniversary of the UK’s exit from the EU, the Government published a paper titled The Benefits of Brexit: how the UK is taking advantage of leaving the EU. With the ‘partygate’ scandal dominating the news for weeks, you will be forgiven for missing the publication, and with Brexit having been ‘done’, you may also be asking why we’re still talking about it.’
  • Stuart Thomson: All aboard the Starmer Express (21 February)
    ‘Any engagement with Labour needs to keep in mind their central need to rebuild credibility with the national electorate.’

Planning, measurement and evaluation

Brands, content and creativity

  • Nick Winn: F1 in pole position: Formula One’s digital resurgence (24 February)
    ‘It is the result of an organisation putting brand reputation first, delivering high quality content that engages fans and refusing to see them as cash cows to build quick-fire profit off.’
  • Michelle Goodall: Introducing the Periodic Table of Community Strategy (21 February)
    ‘Surprisingly, nobody has created a Periodic Table for Community Strategy, so I thought I’d have a go. I’ve got more than two decades experience in community strategy, community building and lecturing about community…so I thought, why not?’
  • James Ellaby: Top tips for creating compelling storytelling (22 February)
    ‘Whatever your brand, whatever your story, whatever the format, don’t be boring.’
  • Bottle: A social media and influencer campaign (no date)
    ‘When Goodyear wanted a new product awareness campaign for Facebook and Twitter, to support the launch of their latest generation All Season Tyre, hooking the creative to our nation’s iconic precipitation made a whole lot of sense.’

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Tony Jaques: Who should take the lead in a crisis? Lawyers or Communicators? Or neither? (21 February)
    ‘While reputation can be an important factor in litigation, it’s a mistake to think that litigation is the primary platform for reputation risk.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Communication at a crossroads (21 February)
    ‘I really hope that we don’t feel we have ‘done crisis communication’ as we move forward. If the past two years has taught us anything it is that those things on the risk register really can and sometimes do happen.’

Media, digital and technology

  • Dan Slee: NEW NUMBERS: Here’s the UK social media statistics for 2022 (24 February)
    ‘The big number from the YouGov survey is that 86 per cent of the UK population use social media. Beyond that, we see a landscape dominated by Meta with Facebook 1st, Instagram 2nd and WhatsApp in 3rd.’
  • Katy Howell with James Pearson: Serious Social – Proving value for every pound spent in social [podcast] (no date)
    ‘We can track an ROI directly back to sales from social media. But that isn’t so easy when you work for an FMCG brand because the point of conversion is, it’s on a retailer’s website that we have no tracking for. Yes, we know what our sales are at the end of the day, but we don’t know where they’ve come from. We don’t know where the referral track is.’

Academic and education

#prstudent #CreatorAwards22

  • Madison Fowler (Leeds Beckett): Sustainable Fashion (24 February)
    ‘Buy your clothes from sustainable fashion companies or small businesses instead of fast fashion companies. Charity shopping or using online selling pages to buy and sell clothes like eBay, Vinted and Depop (an extremely popular app for the younger generation) is also great.’
  • Elena Niculescu (Solent): What I work on as a year 3 student (23 February)
    ‘My chosen [dissertation] topic is modern slavery and how Public Affairs can help lobby and pressurize governmental bodies to improve and toughen laws to eradicate it.’
  • Lily Harrison (Solent): The Power of Networking (21 February)
    ‘Not only has networking helped me to ‘get my foot in the door’, it has, more importantly, given me confidence in my own abilities and my prospects for the future.’
  • Bethany Gough (Solent): What I learnt last week when I attended a business conference (21 February)
    ‘As we move into the digital era, it’s becoming more relevant to focus on growing your connections online. At the two events I have been to recently, I have made a conscious effort to network and put myself out there. I have learnt it is important to brand your own personal channels accurately and in a way which is appealing to organisations.’
  • Brooke Harrison (Leeds Beckett): The real price of fast fashion (21 February)
    ‘The title ‘fast fashion’ was first heard in the early 1990s, when it was created by the New York Times. The term was used to narrate Zara’s statement that they could create a design and bring it into their stores in just 15 days.’
  • Jasmine Denike (LCC/UAL): 
@jazzdenike missing London vibes #minivlog #prstudent #stormeunice #londonlife #londonvlog #londonvlogger #dailyvlog #singleinlondon #fyp #uktiktok #ualstudent ♬ Sweater Weather FRENCH VERSION – Chloé Stafler