This week in PR (28 July)

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.


It happened this week


Purpose, climate and ESG

  • Maja Pawinska Sims: Study: “Comms Professionals Must Challenge Environmental Claims” (27 July)
    Most consumers don’t understand the environmental and sustainability claims used by food, drink and household products brands, according to new research by FleishmanHillard.’
  • Mark Goyder: Are you connected with the soul of your company? (24 July)
    ‘Like Tomorrow’s Company the Conscious Capitalism movement defies the traditional assumptions underlying what we teach about business and economics. It follows all the major religions of the world in insisting that everything is connected. You cannot separate business from society, shareholder wealth from planetary health, today from tomorrow.’


Consulting, skills and careers

  • Son Pham: The Nomad S4: Lindsay Mandeville on brand archetype, taking herself out of comfort zone and moving abroad (27 July)
    In the U.S., we tend to be overly positive to the point that it doesn’t seem genuine, but the Dutch people are very direct. They say exactly what they mean, even if it seems a bit harsh for different cultures. That was something that I had to get used to because it can be quite brutal sometimes.’
  • John Harrington: From the UK editor: Do ‘pure’ consumer PR agencies have a future? (26 July)
    ‘Last month’s sudden closure of Talker Tailor Trouble Maker – the well-regarded, award-winning creative consumer shop that worked with some big-name clients including Spotify and Deliveroo – was a wake-up call. Its founders spoke of “rising market forces, trepidation and challenges in the industry [that] continue to squeeze smaller agencies like ours, to the point where we cannot continue to be the agency we set out to be for both our teams and our clients”.
  • Claire Munro: Book Review: Organizational listening – The missing essential in public communication (23 July)
    ‘Macnamara outlines the high stakes, looking at the commercial, political and social consequences of organisations failing to listen. The author argues that “a lack of listening can cause voter frustration that can ultimately topple governments.” And without proper listening, he says, are we public relations professionals all just shouting into the void?’

Public and third sectors

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • Owen Griffiths: The roadmap to Party Conference (25 July)
    Labour will begin to slowly change the dial from development of policy to consolidation of it, and businesses should be aware of the narrowing window between now, Conference, and into early 2024 to try and influence manifesto development.’
  • Stuart Thomson: Assess Your Political Assets: Why Will Anyone Listen To You? (24 July)
    We will often consider an organisation’s strengths and weaknesses (as well as opportunities and threats). But the idea of assets and liabilities enables us to think a little deeper. It can be more focused and nuanced. It also talks in a language that resonates throughout an organisation, not just with the communications team.’
  • Jovana Vuletic: Unpacking the by-elections – In Conversation with Steve Richards (21 July)
    Despite speculation that Sunak will try to go for an early election, this is highly unlikely. While he is behind in polls, Sunak will wait. So the General Election is still expected in October or November next year.’


Brands, content, community and creativity

  • Rebecca Fitzgerald: PR Resolution Meets: Ian McAllister from The Alnwick Garden (25 July)
    ‘We have had huge success with our Tai Haku cherry orchard (the largest outside of Japan), our Annual Gayday which hosts the finals of Mr Gay Europe, and the one time we announced that a (fake) snake was loose in The Garden, resulting in countless interviews, all of which promoted our “Alnwick Untamed” event.’

Crisis and reputation: Coutts and Farage

  • Nick Barron: Coutts is not Britain’s Bud Light (27 July)
    ‘Promoting progressive political positions is no-longer risk-free for business. From Just Stop Oil to Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, activism eventually produces a backlash.’
  • Jason Nisse: Rose Not Smelling So Sweet (26 July)
    As we’ve seen since Watergate in the early 70s (and probably before), it’s usually the cover up that kills you, not the original crime.’
  • Stuart Bruce: What can we learn from NatWest’s Nigel Farage crisis? (26 July)
    If you’re talking to a journalist, then expect what you say to end up in the public domain and be attributed to you. It is possible to have private, confidential conversations but the parameters need to be agreed clearly in advance.’
  • Amanda Coleman: When the response becomes the crisis (26 July)
    I stress the importance of honesty and integrity if you are going to be able to manage a crisis. The situation may feel really difficult and challenging, and you may be under pressure but any attempt to hide or cover up will just make things worse.’
  • Ian Morris: Farage fiasco shows perils of trying to be the moral police (25 July)
    Are you judging the ethics and values of all your customers, or just those you have heard of? What is the process for this? How do customers qualify for this scrutiny? Do you have a scoring system? Who else have you refused to do business with?’


Behaviour and influence

Internal communication

  • David Olajide: 5 Must-Read Books on Internal Communications (25 July)
    To help you master the art of effective internal communication and build a thriving workplace culture, we’ve curated a list of five essential books by industry-leading experts. From fostering inclusivity to handling crises and driving employee engagement, these books offer valuable insights and actionable strategies to supercharge your internal communication efforts.’
  • Emma Bridger: Why are McDonalds and The Met getting their employee experience so wrong? (21 July)
    ‘Clearly there are some incredibly toxic and unsafe workplace cultures still out there. I was optimistic and probably naive, to believe these behaviours were a thing of the past (I have my own personal experience but that’s a story for another time).’


Media, digital and technology



Academic, education and training