This week in PR (27 March)

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.

Any tips on how to make my office more butch?? @drewbenvie on Instagram
Any tips on how to make my office more butch?? @drewbenvie on Instagram

News in brief

  • The CIPR and PRCA have issued a joint statement on coronavirus: ‘Our profession plays a significant role in the economy, and touches every sector in the country. The importance of trustworthy and ethical communication at this time could not be clearer. Managing a crisis requires strategic communication to provide certainty to the public, influence public opinion, and inspire changes in behaviour. Our members will have a crucial role to play in rebuilding the economy in the coming months.’
  • A #FuturePRoof survey has found that loss of income (80.9%) is the biggest immediate challenge facing the sector. Longer-term, more than a third of respondents (31.3%) are worried about cessation of trading.
  • So industry leaders have welcomed the announced government support for the self-employed earning under £50,000 – though the money won’t be available until June.
  • The CIPR is offering a series of webinars through April and May, with free registration for any PR practitioner. The webinars will then remain available to members.
  • Isaac Levido, who headed up the Conservative Party’s general election campaign at the end of last year, has been brought into No.10 in after heavy criticism of the comms strategy for convincing people to comply with Covid-19 measures’, reports Civil Service World.


Academic and education

  • Stuart Mills: Coronavirus: how the UK government is using behavioural science (24 March)
    ‘According to the principles of behavioural science, people don’t act rationally. But if we can understand people’s actions, and how they act irrationally, then we can intervene to change behaviour. Such interventions are typically called “nudges”.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Remembering Dr Roger Hayes (24 March)
    ‘Roger, like the other practitioners and scholars that I’ve cited, believed that the exchange of ideas between theory and practice is a critical component of the professionalism of public relations.’

Coronavirus comms

  • Hel Reynolds: Your brand’s social media during the coronavirus crisis – 5 tips (25 March)
    ‘You may be sick of me saying this, but tough: It’s SOCIAL media, not corporate media.’
  • Jennifer Sanchis: Covid-19: A monitoring and evaluation guide for communicators (25 March)
    As I have been self-isolating for the last 2 weeks now, I’ve had the chance to attend various webinars, read official recommendations, blogs and best practice advice. I have attached my top sources list at the bottom of this blog.’
  • Ella Minty: “If You Can Keep Your Head When All Around You Are Losing Theirs …”​ (25 March)
    ‘No degree, diploma or qualification will ever prepare you for the moment when the walls start crumbling down around you, and for that time when all eyes are on you, everyone expecting you to be “the saviour”.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Getting through this together (23 March)
    ‘After a period when I have been dealing with my own mental health issues, I am feeling a new sense of purpose being able to step up and offer some support. I have offered to support both the PRCA and the CIPR with their Covid-19 teams and will look at ways to support people within the industry.’
  • Rich Leigh: PR in a Car Episode 10 [vlog] (23 March)
    ‘Last week was a difficult one for us as a company. We lost a good chunk of business in travel, events. For us as an agency, remote working has been quite seamless on account of the four day week we’ve had for getting on for two years now.’
  • Bieneosa Ebite and Paul Nezandonyi: PR Bants #40 [podcast] (23 March)
    ‘A really good thing this government has done is to involve two experts alongside Boris Johnson. The communication is getting better. There clearly is a demand from the public for news. But this is a global pandemic: is this the time for nudge theory?’
  • Brendon Craigie: Tyto launches New Horizons: A series of online events and podcasts for business leaders adjusting to the present and preparing for the future (23 March)
    ‘We need to adjust to new horizons. We need to reassess, re-plan, and re-prioritise and as hard as it seems right now, we have to try and embrace this change and find ways to make it better.’
  • Alastair Campbell: Time for Johnson to get serious about crisis management skills. My twenty check points for his briefing team. (21 March)
    ‘In a crisis as fluid and fast-moving as this one, a proper communications strategy is one in which the Prime Minister takes the public into his confidence about the process and the reasoning behind his thinking. He has to decide, execute but also narrate a strategy.’
  • Katie Macaulay with Sarah Pinch and Tamara Littleton: Crisis Communications: Covid-19 Special [podcast] (20 March)
    ‘I hope that one of the things that comes out of this is that the public sector catches up on some of the technological advances the private sector has been using for some time.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Ann Pilkington: So that’s what you do all day… (21 March)
    ‘I hope that a good thing to come out of what is happening right now is a realisation of how essential good PR – not spin – and internal communication are. The alignment of internal and external communication has never been more important (and it has always been important). This extends to not only internal communication about employees’ personal circumstances but ensuring consistent messages for customers.’

Politics and public affairs

  • Stuart Thomson: Engagement Is Still Needed But Pick Your Issue Carefully (23 March)
    ‘For most organisations, now is not the time for involvement. For the government to hear about issues that are probably largely irrelevant to the current crisis simply risks relationships and reputations.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Maja Pawinska Sims: Being Human In The Time Of Coronavirus (25 March)
    ‘We’re concerned about our clients, but we’re also concerned about the elderly parents we can’t look after. We’re working alone in unfamiliar environments. Being a working parent was hard enough with childcare and an office to escape to: we have no idea how, when we’re all at home, we can simultaneously be good parents of children who need home-schooling but are missing their friends, or young enough to need constant supervision, let alone morph overnight into untrained teachers.’

Internal communication

  • Rachel Miller: Video: How to encourage leaders to be virtually visible (23 March)
    ‘Are you struggling to help your leaders understand their role when it comes to being present and being visible at this time? This should hopefully help you?’
  • Martin Flegg: Coronavirus – the silver lining for internal communicators (21 March)
    ‘The silver lining of the coronavirus outbreak is the opportunity it will afford for internal communicators to hold up the evidence of what they did, how they did it, and how it could have been done better. It is a fantastic opportunity to tell that story based on factual evidence rather than theory and supposition.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Orlagh Shanks: IFH: Influencing From Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic (26 March)
    ‘A lot of people seem to be passing the isolation time by getting involved with Tik Tok. If you haven’t already joined (why not??) then you won’t know that the platform is full of funny videos, dance crazes and different challenges.’
  • Rebecca Potts: How to network. Virtually. (26 March)
    ‘As people work remotely and, in some cases, need to self isolate, it is more important than ever that we stay in contact with our peers and colleagues in the industry. Social media was already a fundamental function for PR and comms, but it now plays a vital role in keeping people connected, allowing them to discuss the issues and challenges they’re facing, and offering support and advice to colleagues and clients.’
  • David White: TikTok: My experience with the hottest social channel and how my dog went viral(ish) (23 March)
    ‘As a marketer understanding new and emerging channels fascinates me, so with this in mind I decided to set up a TikTok account for my dog (I thought this would resonate better with the audience on TikTok) as an experiment and share my experience with you all.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Hannah Chambers (Ulster): 17 Things I’ve Learnt While Self-Isolating (26 March)
    ‘That everyone is getting Disney+ and I haven’t caved yet, I also don’t really like Disney that much so I might not buy into it.’
  • Emma Rogers (Solent): Living in a virtual world (26 March)
    ‘Our lives are tricky right now but connecting with others is vital not just for productivity at work but for our own sanity. For example, Zoom is incredible. I have just had an online lecture which I admit was a bit weird, and have also been able to connect with friends who I haven’t seen for months.’
  • Noirin O’Neill (Ulster): Studying Healthcare Communication during a Pandemic. COVID-19 Chapter 1 (26 March)
    ‘Studying healthcare communication during the COVID-19 pandemic is the steepest learning curve I have ever experienced in my entire life.’
  • Gareth Donnelly (Ulster): A worthy CAUSE (26 March)
    ‘Apart from my amazing experience with Strictly, I’ve had the best time volunteering for CAUSE. I’ve had the opportunity to see what goes on in the day to day running of a charity and how important promotional materials, communications and PR are for a small local charity.’
  • Connor Lamb (Sunderland): Does PR have a role to play in preventing panic buying? (24 March)
    ‘PR practitioners may struggle to provide useful content and expertise to be used in battle against panic buying and coronavirus, but they certainly should give it a go.’
  • Paulina Solka (Leeds Beckett): What can we learn about communicating online? (24 March)
    ‘The ideal length for Facebook videos is 2 minutes, for Instagram 60 seconds and TikToks are only 15 seconds long. Reason being that the human attention span has decreased from 12 to 8 seconds – congrats, even a goldfish can focus for 9 seconds in average.’
  • Teela Clayton (Leeds Beckett): We got 99 problems, but Netflix ain’t one (24 March)
    ‘It is no longer socially acceptable to cough. It’s no longer socially acceptable to be within six feet of a stranger. It’s no longer socially acceptable to even be seen outdoors. And for the record it’s never been socially acceptable to hoard toilet paper.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): Things I don’t miss (24 March)
    ‘Let’s be honest, life’s a bit crap at the minute. Not gonna lie lads, not a great time to be in final year. But, ANYWAY, instead of thinking about what I have to worry about (a lot), I’m thinking about what I DON’T have to worry about. Enjoy.’
  • Cassandra Roos (Solent): Covid-19 is not the end of the world! (23 March)
    ‘The University has closed down all face to face contact. My Graduation is going to be postponed to a later date, (who knows when) many of us might not be able to return when it is. So the end of University is essentially cancelled for me and many others.’
  • Rory Drake (Sunderland): Boris’ Briefings; How Clear is the Message? (23 March)
    ‘It has been clear from the start that the government does not want a total lockdown, saying it is “crucial for mental and physical health” that people are allowed out, and this was said again while warning people to follow advice on social distancing.’