This week in PR (26 March)

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.

Beach PT: feeling the burn, but check out that view @wadds via Twitter
Beach PT: feeling the burn, but check out that view @wadds via Twitter

This week

  • As Prime Minister, he had warned that lobbying was ‘the next big scandal waiting to happen’. Now David Cameron being investigated by the lobbying registrar (BBC News).
  • Here are this year’s PRCA Digital Awards winners

Virtual events

Please check out our PR Calendar and send us links to your events.

  • Christopher Bo Shields: Truly hybrid – the only strategy that matters now (23 March)
    ‘The past year has changed everything. As much as we think life will go back to the way it was – it won’t. Companies should be aspiring towards creating seamless hybrid experiences.’

Academic and education

Ethics and professionalism 

  • Alison Gallagher-Hughes: Unchartered territory (19 March)
    ‘Of course, there’s no substitute for experience and it’s important to dig deep and undertake a great deal of soul searching and self-analysis to draw upon the things that have gone before – the positive and the negative. Because life is about learning and recognising the mistakes, it is as important as acknowledging the accolades.’

Corporate and financial

  • Ben Smith with Victoria Cross: Understanding ESG [podcast] (25 March)
    ‘It’s a discipline of preparing investor-focused material on financially material environmental, social and governance risks… Fundamentally what investors want is reassurance that there’s a strong management team, a strong business focus and that they’re committed to doing the right thing for their stakeholders.’
  • Adam Lloyd: FCA to launch social media Ad campaign to protect amateur investors (from themselves) (25 March)
    ‘For many the pandemic has meant more time spent at home in front of the computer. Restless minds with spare time have been eying opportunities to use the money saved by not going out to make a few quid in the stock market or in cryptocurrencies or anything else that seems to be flying.’
  • Karan Chadda: Break the stakeholder wall (23 March)
    ‘Corporate communicators need to break the wall that stops stakeholders from being seen as people. All the messaging in the world, however beautifully framed it might be, will not win over a stakeholder who through personal experience (or that of their friends and family) has a dim view of your company.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Dan Gold with Sir Martin Sorrell: Forget Going Back to Normal [podcast] (25 March)
    The public relations companies that were the most resilient [in 2020] were the ones that had moved into social media fastest.’
  • Gareth Jones: Will we ever go back to wearing suits? (23 March)
    ‘Last week one of my colleagues did something shocking, almost subversive on one of our regular team calls – he wore a suit and tie. After 12 months of working from home – appearing on screen with full formal work attire seemed strikingly odd and even a challenge to our accepted norms.’
  • Christine Quigley: I’ve started, so I’ll finish… (23 March)
    ‘As a former contestant, I have a deep and abiding affection for [Mastermind], and was delighted to see yesterday’s news… However, there are a couple of things I would like to see change as the programme nears its fiftieth year. ’
  • Stuart Bruce: Davos Communications Awards celebrate excellent global PR (23 March)
    ‘The Davos Communication Awards recognise exceptional professional work by public relations and communications professionals from all around the world. The awards are open to agencies, in-house teams and individuals from any sector to help celebrate and showcase professional excellence during a challenging year.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Reflections on 12 months going it alone (23 March)
    ‘Today marks my first year running my crisis communication consultancy. I started from my home office on 23 March 2020 a date I will never forget particularly because it marked the start of lockdown due to Covid-19. My carefully crafted business plan had to be torn up overnight and I was faced with building a new business in this uncertain world.’
  • Matt Silver: 30 Lessons I’ve Learned In 30 Years (20 March)
    ‘I’m in a relatively privileged position – I’ve got a good job, my health, and a network of close friends and family. Not everyone is so fortunate. Personally and professionally, I’ve been given guidance, advice, and encouragement by a number of people that have helped me get to where I am today. So wherever I can, I look for ways to help others in the same way.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Rebecca Roberts and Harriet Small: Safe Spaces at Work and Crisis Comms in the Police with Amanda Coleman [podcast] (23 March)
    ‘Social media can be quite a dangerous place for women. Sometimes you’re even scared to reply to a message or interact with certain people because you don’t know what you’re going to get back.’
  • Jenni Field: The power of language (23 March)
    ‘The biggest lightbulb moment for me was the mental health continuum. There were several terms covered during this part of the course; specifically mental health and mental illness. What this taught me was that we use mental health as such a generic term that is has been misinterpreted.

Public and third sectors

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Ciaran Gill: The Northern Ireland Protocol and the impact on Irish Sea trade: Where are we now? (23 March)
    ‘Northern Ireland’s de facto place in the EU Single Market has necessitated the introduction of checks on goods travelling into the province. Strict EU rules covering food, for instance, mean that checks must be undertaken on products such as eggs and milk entering the region from Great Britain. Some Northern Irish importers have been able to adjust to the changes while others have recalibrated their supply chains to the detriment of Great British exporters and the benefit of Irish exporters.’
  • Stuart Thomson: Beware! Government is starting to wake up (22 March)
    ‘It is not that the government has been completely focused on Brexit and COVID-19 for the past few years but there is no doubt that it has taken up most of their time and attention. Other announcements that have been made have tended to be fitted in around those key issues.’
  • Laura Griffiths: West Midlands Mayoralty: Byrne, Baby, Byrne (22 March)
    ‘The postponement of the 2020 election cycle has afforded Byrne valuable extra campaigning time to hone his message and target his key supporters.’
  • Pearce Branigan: West Midlands Mayoralty: Street Fighting Man (22 March)
    ‘Having defied the odds in May 2017 to secure the inaugural mayoralty for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), Andy Street can arguably be credited as the first blue fracture in the ‘red wall’ of Labour’s traditional political heartlands across the West Midlands.’
  • Nick Jessup: Flying taxis: ready for take off? (22 March)
    ‘The forthcoming Transport Decarbonisation Strategy will likely reveal more about the Government’s priorities for ensuring that the Net Zero target is reached by 2050 and will also tell us more about how the Government envisages that we will travel in the future.’

Brands, storytelling, and influence

Planning, insight, measurement and evaluation

Internal communication

  • Rachel Miller: Podcast: How to communicate change (21 March)
    ‘When I say ‘change is…’ how do you describe it in a sentence? What would employees say? What do leaders think?’
  • Alex Malouf: Why Acknowledging Other’s Views Makes for Powerful Engagement (20 March)
    ‘By acknowledging differences in your argument and talking points, you strengthen your ability to persuade and convince others. Empathy is a powerful means to build partnerships and advocates, and the best way to do this is to listen to and understand what others are saying, especially those who are different than you (that’s why diversity and inclusion are fundamental to effective communications, and why all communication teams should be diverse).’

Technology, media and digital

  • Shaifali Agrawal: Top PR blogs you should be reading (22 March)
    ‘Reading industry blogs help you keep updated, brush up on your skills and know first-hand what industry professionals think. Here are our top blog recommendations based on the quality and diversity of the content.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Piotr Boiwka (Newcastle): PR Graduate Jobs – Skills Necessary to Be Successful Part 2 (25 March)
    ‘Like it or not, but entry-level PR jobs often require knowledge of Adobe Suite, Canva, or other graphic and video editing tools. 86% of businesses use video in their content strategy and the ability to create it adequately and engagingly can be your great asset and possibility to stand out from the crowd.’
  • Eloise Newman (Solent): Working After the Coronavirus Pandemic – Should Employees Return to the Office or is Working From Home Here to Stay? (25 March)
    ‘So, is working from home here to stay beyond the pandemic? Although many are itching to get back into social working environments, it is evident that working from home has been successful from both an employer and employee perspective.’
  • Ellen Turbett (Ulster): How fashion companies evolved their brand to suit demand (25 March)
    ‘A ground-breaking trend during lockdown has been loungewear. Wardrobes once overcrowded with uncomfortable jeans and stiff blazers are now significantly softer, showcasing comfortable, yet respectable transitional pieces. Although we were all advised to ‘stick to our work routine’ when at home, I think we can all agree that the work uniform was the first thing to go.’
  • Ste Linsley (Sunderland): The Word on Safe Standing; City Announcement Could Help Rebuild The Feeling Of Community in Football (24 March)
    ‘Despite the riches of talent and the reputation of the Premier League on a global scale, Bundesliga clubs are the envy of English fans, myself included, for how supporters are central to the way they operate. The sense of community has somewhat eroded in modern day football and safe standing could well help to rebuild that, with clubs embracing it as a token of showing fans they really value them.’
  • Aiofe Teague (Ulster): Netflix – The marketing platform that resurrected Formula 1 (24 March)
    ‘Who could have pictured it; a young female driver of a 2008 Ford Fiesta, who doesn’t break the speed limit, stalls on average around 3 times a day, completely engrossed in a Netflix series all about high speed racing, cars reaching up to 200mph to determine over a number of races who is the F1 World Champion. But that’s the power of Netflix.’
  • Sophie Smith (Newcastle): Feeling Like You Belong (24 March)
    ‘Twitter has been a saviour when it comes to networking online (especially since we can’t do it in person). I get involved in conversations with people from the PR industry, as well as use it as a source of information.’
  • Katie Hull (Sunderland): ASA x influencers (23 March)
    ‘The [ASA] did a spot check on Instagram posts by 122 UK social media influencers and uncovered more than 24,000 posts that were not declared with the #ad over three weeks in September.’
  • Daisy Hughes (Sunderland): Towards a Two-Way Symmetrical Approach for Government; The Revolutionary Tool of Social Media (23 March)
    ‘Just like visiting publics and constituencies, government and politicians should use social media, to establish better public relations, and ultimately  engaging with general public sentiment should help to inform their policy.’
  • Chanelle Quinn (Ulster): Supermarkets lead the way for a Zero-Waste future (23 March)
    ‘It is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year in the UK, nearly half of which is used in packaging. Plastic waste often does not decompose and can last centuries in landfill or in the natural environment, which in turn can pollute rivers and oceans, soils and harm the creatures that inhabit them.’
  • Grace Blaney (Ulster): TikTok is thriving, but have you got what it takes to go viral? (22 March)
    ‘Let’s go back to the start. Vine has been and gone, the mums/Karens have taken over Facebook, Instagram is full of advertising and irrelevant content. It’s 2019. (Brighter days might I add). You see your 13yr old cousin performing some strange form of dance whilst recording themselves on the latest iPhone they got from Santa, while lip-syncing at the same time. You ask them what they’re doing. “Making a TikTok” they respond.’
  • Daniel Hastings (Ulster): How a job in PR could look in 10 years time. (19 March)
    ‘There are many benefits of replacing humans with robots, costs are lower, jobs will be done quicker and they will no doubt have less sick days than the average human. However PR is a field where I feel the human beats the AI.’