This week in PR (26 February)

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.

Gosh the SUNSET tho! @SparklyPinchy on Twitter
Gosh the SUNSET tho! @SparklyPinchy on Twitter

News in brief

  • PR Week founder Geoffrey Lace has died at the age of 74. Arvind Hickman tells this story and shares an obituary of a ‘maverick’ entrepreneur.
  • Vuelio has updated its list of top 10 UK PR bloggers.

Covid-19 and comms

Ethics, purpose and professionalism 

Corporate and financial

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Ben Smith: Chris McCafferty, Group CEO, MSL UK on the latest PRmoment podcast (23 February)
    ‘I spent three years effectively as a management consultant within Accenture. I learnt a huge amount from working in a truly scaled business but it didn’t make me happy. I really missed the craft and creativity of what we do in communications.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Rebecca Roberts, Harriet Small and Kamiqua Pearce: The State of LinkedIn and Creating Community with UK Black Comms Networ‪k‬ [podcast] (25 February)
    ‘The main reason I set up the UK Black Comms Network was to build a sense of community outside work – and because the Whatsapp group was getting far too big. It became apparent that people had similar experiences but had never shared their stories.’
  • Josephine Graham: In the battle between work versus home school – who wins? (23 February)
    ‘For parents, we are combining this work-based intensity with being asked to provide almost continuous attention to our children. From providing hugs and cuddles on demand, no matter what Webex call you might be on at the time, or answering one million questions about dinosaurs, to the heavy responsibility of maintaining something that resembles their education; the pressure of being switched on as a parent 24/7, while also trying to do your job, is exhausting.’
  • Hannah Jackson: A thank you to LGBTQ+ allies (21 February)
    ‘An ally can take so many forms, from an all-out activist working day and night for the cause, to a passing stranger on the street that gives a friendly smile rather than a stare. Many of these individuals will never know the positive impact they have had on LGBTQ+ lives, but we do.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Tom Lawless: ESG is changing the axis of reputation (25 February)
    ‘A company trying to grow its reputation by focusing on what it is doing for itself will only get so far. Today, businesses wanting to grow their ESG reputations need to move from having a strategy for themselves to having a strategy for the world.’
  • Steve Earl: Business ethics is now the top UK reputation risk (23 February)
    ‘The rise of ESG investing, and the pressure it places on businesses to transform and pursue better ESG ‘scores’, has helped. Data is now becoming available that brings the level of rigour needed to drive investment decisions, and by analysing it in the right way can develop a better understanding of reputation too. It means reputation risk can be understood in depth.’
  • Claire Walker: Weathering a communications storm: What can we learn from the recent KPMG crisis? (23 February)
    ‘There is no doubt that an over-exuberant or insensitive leader somewhere will make mistakes again, and there is so much being written right now about leading with empathy. But, how can you prevent this kind of crisis from happening in the first place and protect your organisation if the heavens open and you find yourself in the middle of a communications storm?’
  • Jade Beddington: Coronavirus crisis press office support for Childcare.co.uk (23 February)
    ‘Our work included responding to the media with member insights about childcare, parenting and schooling, providing comment and expertise, and running several creative campaigns. All of this was to ensure Childcare.co.uk was a firm part of the ‘parenting in a pandemic’ narrative and as a supportive ally for childcare providers.’
  • Sandra Macleod: Reputation impact heightened in face of pandemic (23 February)
    ‘Corporate reputations have helped companies to secure shareholder value through the pandemic, and now account for one in every three pounds on the UK’s stock market.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Knowledge is not power (22 February)
    ‘In responding to a crisis you need to have as much information about the situation as possible but more than that you need to be sharing it.’

Campaigns and creativity 

Brands, storytelling, and influence

  • Scott Guthrie with Chris Godfrey and Alissa Khan-Whelan: Profile of Happy Yolk, & the Egg that broke Instagram [podcast] (24 February)
    ‘I settled on an egg. It’s the most simple, universal object. Looking back, you can make sense of it but at the time it was a bit of fun.’ ‘It was a comment on reality TV internet celebrity. This was our opportunity to bring purpose back into our life and do other things in the mental health space.’
  • Tracey Rimell: In a world of smartphones, what constitutes good content? (no date)
    ‘No matter the amount of technology at our fingertips, creating authentic content and building trust with an audience takes a degree of old-school talent. The innate ability to tell a story. The imagination to visualize. The skill to be at ease, or put someone at ease, on camera. The empathy to understand people and what will reach them on an emotional level.’
  • Oliver Matuszynski: Follow the Herd, Not your Customer (22 February)
    ‘Businesses are run by teams, not individuals. The success of the team is the success of the business. The westernised view of the infallible customer is ill-conceived.’

Planning, insight, measurement and evaluation

  • Azeem Digital: Thierry Ngutegure on the importance of data accuracy [podcast] (24 February)
    ‘The analytical approach I picked up from biological sciences plus the psychological insight from marketing is what made me. I enjoy bringing life, energy and creativity to the world of data.’
  • Stella Bayles with Alex Judd: Who are you talking to? [podcast] (19 February)
    ‘I love research and insight – but personas are just an indulgence that cost a lot of money. What’s important is segmentation.’

Internal communication

  • Trudy Lewis, Advita Patel and Jenni Field: Strategy and Tactics [podcast] (25 February)
    ‘What do we mean by being strategic? For me, strategy has always been about future plans: how we are going to get there?’
  • Rachel Miller: Being Candid with Matt Batten [podcast] (21 February)
    ‘Bishop June did not want a press secretary. What she wanted was someone who does engagement. With my background in theology plus my enthusiasm for comms, I was brought in to lead communications and engagement.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Colin Cather: How to boost your Domain Authority through link building (25 February)
    ‘[Domain Authority] is NOT Google’s own score of authority. None of the authority-scores are. The only one which is Google’s score is called PageRank. And they don’t make that visible (anymore). So we use proxies.’
  • Yolandé Haynes: Are hashtags still relevant in 2021? (24 February)
    ‘Not all hashtags are created equally. Don’t forget to optimise your hashtag strategy to suit specific channels– unique-to-platform algorithms reward and penalise different hashtag approaches. What works on Instagram won’t work on LinkedIn – so make sure to refine your hashtag strategies at a platform level.’
  • Orlagh Shanks: What Instagram Must Do To Stay Relevant (24 February)
    Where are the new ideas from Instagram? I can sense that the app is trying to become the social version of Amazon, adding shopping features left, right and centre with one-click-to-buy options, but I just don’t see that it’s done very well right now.’
  • Simon Gentry: Is GB News the British Fox? (23 February)
    ‘GB News is chaired by media veteran Andrew Neil, who also Chairs The Spectator, and has reportedly raised over £60 million from the Discovery Channel and financial investors to launch a round the clock TV news service to rival BBC News 24 and Sky News.’
  • Tom Flynn: Don’t shoot the (WhatsApp) messenger just yet… (23 February)
    ‘The impact on WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook has been overstated in recent media reports. In large parts of the world, the company’s dominance comes from Messenger rather than Whatsapp.’
  • Duncan McKean: Creativity in B2B tech PR: We can all do better! (no date)
    ‘Creativity in B2B PR uses research and insights to develop unique campaigns that meet specified outcomes by stimulating a measurable reaction among the client’s target audience.’
  • Dan Parris and colleagues: How has media relations changed since the pandemic? [podcast] (no date)
    ‘Phone is still definitely the number one technique. If you’re pitching a story that’s not going to resonate it’s best to hear that straight from the horse’s mouth.’
  • David Brain: Facebook Australia Battle Has Significant PR Implications (19 February)
    ‘…Everyone would have to rethink their version of the ‘earned centric, social by design’ content strategies that have been a staple of the industry for the last decade.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Megan Laura Harris (Liverpool John Moores): A Week in the Life (25 February)
    ‘I logged into my zoom lecture for my digital communication module. I learnt about how PESO can be applied to an organisations digital content.’
  • Rachael Thompson (Sunderland): Is the gaming community the new home for charity PR? (25 February)
    ‘One of the things that helps me when I’m going through a particularly nasty episode of depression or anxiety is closing out the world around me and immersing myself in a game.’
  • Piotr Boiwka (Newcastle): PR Internship – How I Gained My First Experience (25 February)
    ‘Today’s points are very simple: be brave and engaged. Memberships in CIPR and PRCA are a bargain for students. But what you can gain from it is priceless.’
  • Katie Hull (Sunderland): World of PR x Charlotte Greaves (25 February)
    ‘Get as much experience as you can throughout University. It can be achieved by exposure to PR blogs, creating a social media presence and networking with PR students and professionals.’
  • Eloise Newman (Solent): Extreme E: A New Opportunity for Motorsport to be Ethical and Sustainable? (25 February)
    ‘Can motorsport ever be ethical? One’s instant reaction may be that it cannot, especially regarding the environment, as car components, fuel, travel and logistics have a massive negative effect on the environment, especially regarding climate change. However, Extreme E is paving the way for a more ethical motorsport series.’
  • Maria Macfarlane (Ulster): Social Media Marketing And The Instagram Algorithm (25 February)
    ‘There is a lot of talk on social media about algorithms and how they affect reach on social media platforms. Most notably Instagram, the platform that changed its chronological algorithm back in 2016 to a more calculated and engagement driven algorithmic feed – like Facebook’s.’
  • Ste Lindsey (Sunderland): Celtic fire-fighting, UEFA ignorance & Juventus ‘doing a Spurs’ (24 February)
    ‘The prominence of clear communication from the top is either the product of an effective and persuasive PR function that has buy-in from directors within the club, or an executive structure that wholeheartedly embraces public relations as an integral part of the business. Either way, Celtic’s practitioners deserve a lot of credit.’
  • Daisy Hughes (Sunderland): The ‘new normal’ for Government Comms? (23 February)
    ‘Of course, COVID-19 is a devastating crisis like no other, and consequently, required an extreme response. But, I would argue that we can learn something about how the government has communicated their policy changes/new restrictions etc.’
  • Martin Agunwa (Leeds Beckett): A troubled world and the study of public relations (23 February)
    ‘I appreciate the role of communication in building social communities, promoting causes, engendering trade and even affecting diplomatic relations. I have realized that the power to creatively and effectively manipulate communication (content) to achieve desired social relations is very well captured within the Public Relations discipline.’
  • Sophie Smith (Newcastle): Five Podcasts for PR and Comms Enthusiasts (22 February)
    ‘Below I list five of my top podcasts for PR and comms enthusiasts. They will help with uni as well so they are great for students!’
  • Titas Sengupta (Leeds Beckett): What’s Around The Next Bend? (19 February)
    ‘The uncertainty of what we might see around the next bend has made Public Relations the most thrilling roller coaster ride in this amusement park called life.’