This week in PR (28 August)

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.

Huge buzz to see our work up on the big screen at Piccadilly Circus. Check out the @samsunguk 8K trailer for the Notting Hill Virtual Carnival 2020 over on @taylorherringuk via @itsjamesherring
Huge buzz to see our work up on the big screen at Piccadilly Circus. Check out the @samsunguk 8K trailer for the Notting Hill Virtual Carnival 2020 over on @taylorherringuk via @itsjamesherring

News in brief

  • Word of the week: algorithm. ‘Algorithms are the engine that use data as fuel. The issues we see with algorithms are that they don’t do nuance very well. They are biased almost by design (humans programme them), they have a propensity to discriminate in terms of diversity and inclusion, and how they are constructed is not transparent.’ From Ethics Guide to Artificial Intelligence in PR.
  • ‘We have identified six current ‘big picture’ issues that public relations professionals should keep in mind. These are important because we don’t just work with communication ‘tools’, we offer strategic advice to colleagues and senior leaders and we have a professional responsibility to society and our organisations to help them make good decisions. It’s the ethical guardian role. Decisions about how our organisations use AI will have reputational and relational impacts that go far beyond our use of AI enabled tools. The context in which, and for which, they are used is of critical importance.’ Jean Valin and Anne Gregory, Ethics Guide to Artificial Intelligence in PR
  • The 2020 Influence 100 is PRovoke Media’s global list of the hundred most influential in-house communicators. 56% are from North America; 24% are based in Europe. There’s a 54%-46% ratio in favour of women. Almost all have a university degree, and ‘there was a clear bias towards degrees focused on marketing, communications, journalism and PR, but the second biggest category was political science or economics…There were very few pure English graduates, and only a scattering of languages, history, law and other humanities degrees. At least two of our cohort, however, come from a science background, with degrees in chemical engineering.’

Ethics and professionalism

  • Eva Maclaine: Ethics in a cross-cultural context: A PR Q&A (27 August)
    ‘According to the CIPR Code of Conduct members should respect, in their dealings with other people, the legal and regulatory frameworks and codes of all countries where they practise. This is balanced, however, by a culture in the UK where giving gifts is often criticised and sometimes even forbidden.’
  • Jean Valin and Anne Gregory: It is always about ethics – even with AI (26 August)
    ‘Ethical and reputational guardianship should be at the heart of how organisations approach and implement AI and that is our business.’
  • Kerry Sheehan: AI is ticking time bomb for PR’s reputation (26 August)
    ‘Ethics itself is ordinarily a challenge. Add in data and technology for artificial intelligence, and the challenges that brings, and we have bigger issues on our hands. This should sound as an alarm call on PR stepping up and being at the forefront of AI ethics.’
  • Sarah Hall: The CIPR election: wondering whether to stand and how to vote? (26 August)
    ‘Outside of the three year term, the actual year as President is a massive time and emotional drain. Whoever stands needs to be fully committed to the organisation and driving it forward – not using it as a vehicle to fulfil personal career ambitions.’

Virtual events

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Jessica Pardoe: How I Wound Up Working In PR, Without Interviewing (27 August)
    ‘The ‘apply – interview – offer’ model is still by far the most commonly used, but for me, I’ve always found that my connections and my own ‘personal brand’ have afforded me the opportunities I’ve had so far in my career.’
  • Mustafa Ahmed: Three things I’ve learnt during my summer placement at Pagefield (no date)
    ‘This internship has highlighted to me that PR does not exist in a bubble, but is intertwined with politics, society and the law. The bedrock of any successful campaign therefore requires you to fully immerse yourself in that client or prospect’s world.’
  • Adam Tuckwell and Jon Wilcox with Rebecca Zeitlin: What a way to start a Friday! [podcast] (26 August)
    ‘I’m very deeply purpose-driven, I’m also very loyal (sometimes to a fault). These characteristics make me suited to working in-house.’
  • Graham Goodkind: 7,300 days later! Graham Goodkind looks back on the lessons learnt in the 20 years since he co-founded Frank (26 August)
    ‘After 20 years in agency-land, there are plenty of setbacks, disappointments and kicks in the teeth that I’ve been on the receiving end of. You’ve got to roll with the blows, be confident in your ability and pick yourself up and get on with it as best you can.’
  • Chris Lee: Being a digital nomad: Is it as easy as it looks? (25 August)
    ‘Ignore those pictures of laptops and hammocks! Work is work and holiday is holiday – sand in laptops is a disaster, so keep work and play separate, as you would at home!’
  • Ben Smith with Effie Kanyua, director of PR & Comms, Hearst UK on the PRmoment Podcast (26 August)
    ‘I very much wanted to get a broad spectrum of experience: not just FMCG but healthcare, beauty, tech. The thing I found useful and has translated to my in-house roles is that I was able to work across a broad spectrum of accounts. It grounds you and makes you a better comms person.’
  • Andrew Barr: 15 years of running an agency, mostly badly. TLDR: The mistakes I made along the way (25 August)
    ‘My number one weakness, and this is one that everyone thinks they are good at, is that I am a terrible judge of character. About 6 or 7 years into making mistake after mistake at hiring people (apart from Shannon, she is next level), I finally realised I was the issue and I have now taken myself out of the hiring process completely.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

  • Teela Clayton: It’s not about choo choosing sides (27 August)
    ‘Well done to the National Trust for acknowledging the part slavery plays in the sprawling stately homes. Well done Sky Sports for giving fresh voices a chance. And well-done Avanti West Coast for your rainbow train staffed by an LGBTQ+ crew.’
  • Dom Burch: Opening up about my mental health helped me recharge my batteries (25 August)
    ‘Through lockdown I’d used up all my surge capacity, like many, simply surviving on adrenaline. The initial novelty of it all had got me so far, but now I was running on empty.’

Public and third sectors

  • Susan Kinnear: Book Review: What I’m reading now…. (25 August_
    ‘Ultimately, Communicating Causes deals with trust – how to win it, how to nurture it and how to keep it through excellent communications.  In an environment of fake news, lack of transparency and increasing international competition for resources, the ability to communicate trust will be what sets apart those NPO’s that survive Covid-19, and those who don’t.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Victoria Adams: Why is the UK so behind with e-scooters? (27 August)~
    ‘The UK is the last major European country where e-scooters are illegal. They have a strong presence in the major cities of Spain, France, Italy and elsewhere.’
  • Stuart Thomson: The age of inquiry (26 August)
    ‘What type of political activity are we likely to see over the coming months? We are, I believe, about to enter an extended period of introspection, review and inquiry.’

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Amanda Coleman: Forever in your thoughts (23 August)
    ‘This is the reality for many who work in PR and communication. There are the moments in your life when what you do pushes you to the edge. But it really matters and the decisions you make can help people. This is the side of PR and communication that many ignore, downgrade or try to dismiss.’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Adam Driver: Creativity: morning lark or night owl (24 August)
    ‘Are we alone in our burning of the midnight oil? Why does my brain speed up and feel busy in the evening, no matter how long I’ve been working during the day?’

Brands, storytelling, and influence

  • Orlagh Shanks: Why Don’t Network Marketers Use #Ad? (26 August)
    ‘I do think that there needs to be a harder cracking down on social media advertising – especially when it’s coming from influencers and network marketers.’

Measurement and evaluation

Internal communication

  • Harriet Small: For the Love of Rugby and Comms (26 August)
    ‘Sports has always been very coy about their internal communications strategy and I think I have only ever seen one job advert for an IC pro by Manchester United. However, it is fascinating how eloquently Eddie Jones speaks about his communication style with players and his coaching staff.’
  • Naomi Goodman: In a firestorm of overwhelming change it’s time to rethink employee resilience (25 August)
    ‘As communications professionals, a key part of our role is in our ability to facilitate engagement. Yet if ‘change’ comes with a tag of being stressful, overwhelming or tiring, then we’ll always be facing an upward battle with employees. So maybe it’s time for a reset and a greater focus on inner connection.’
  • Erica Goodwin and Keith Riley with Rachel Miller: Practically Perfect in Every Way [podcast] (24 August)
    ‘I really wanted to talk about failure, and listen to other people’s stories about failure. So I hosted a [conference] session on failure. People work so hard on not failing that they forget how to succeed. We’re human; we make mistakes; it’s OK.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Alex Malouf: How to deal with Israeli Clients, PR Agencies and Media (27 August)
    ‘The Israeli media is the most open of any in the Middle East. Unlike the rest of the region, there is little censorship and no self-censorship (the exception is when writing on something that is considered harmful to public security, and there are even ways for the media to circumvent these rules).’
  • Katy Howell with Neville Hobson: Building trust in innovations and the future of social [podcast] (no date)
    ‘To me a better social network is one that doesn’t treat its members as fodder for enrichment. They’ve got to safeguard your data. We’re seeing people withdrawing from public networks in favour of private ones.’
  • Luke Budka: Building media relationships, virtually (26 August)
    ‘The pandemic has (sadly) blurred the line between business and pleasure. We’ve spoken to national journalists who were running newspapers via WhatsApp during lockdown – if you’re stuck on email, you’re missing out.’
  • Robert Haslam: 9 tips for mastering social media algorithms (25 August)
    ‘The platforms all work slightly differently, but there’s one general rule of thumb: if you’re a business, your organic content may not perform as it once did. And if you’re wanting to use social to reach your target audiences, you’ll need to consider paid promotion.’
  • Vassilena Valchanova: The Complete Guide to Google Data Studio – with Examples (no date)
    ‘A lot of my colleagues find Google Analytics hard to use. Reports are not intuitive and there are so many menus to get lost in. All the metrics are there, but it’s like drinking from a firehose. With Data Studio you can build simple and beautiful reports that just make sense.’