This week in PR (28 October)

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

  • Halloween: There’s a long read article by Tim Dowling in The Guardian informed with data and insights from Jim Hawker of Threepipe (produced a year ago). Digested read: It was Scots who exported Halloween traditions to the United States, from where it’s returned in its latest, commercial form. ‘Halloween is now the third biggest annual shopping event for supermarkets, after Christmas and Easter. The percentage of people who celebrate it is higher in the north (56%) than in the south (45%).’


  • Dan Holden: Why I joined the Company of Communicators (26 October)
    ‘For me, charity isn’t just about finances, it’s about using my own lived experiences and supporting others. Whether providing advice, guidance or giving up some time to work on a particular project can be just as valuable, if not more so, in some instances.’
  • Ray Eglington: Three Things I’ve Learned… (21 October)
    ‘We’ve got to stop feeling that PR has somehow failed in being taken seriously… Look at the thousands of people now in our profession. Look at the trade associations, professional accreditation programmes and degrees. Look at the central role ESG plays in so many organisations. Look at the vanishingly small number of CEOs who can succeed without a public profile.’

Purpose, climate and ESG

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Taja Woods: How brands can champion Black History Month in the right way (21 October)
    ‘Avoid treating Black History Month as another key date in the marketing calendar. It’s important to make your brand’s commitments known year-round, and ensure you’re backing them up with truly genuine action.’

Public and third sectors

  • Darren Caveney and anonymous comms pros: Don’t become the story 2 (27 October)
    ‘As a Head of Comms I’ve been feeling generally uneasy about being visible on social media from a personal point of view for a while but I actually feel this will ultimately impact my career.’
  • Anonymous: Don’t become the story (23 October)
    ‘Where I work, in local government, threats and intimidation feel like they’re becoming normalised. It makes me worry about where things are heading.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

  • James Surallie: Has the UK had its Obama moment? (27 October)
    ‘We have witnessed the first British Asian and Hindu Prime Minister with the election of Rishi Sunak, just a few weeks after Kwasi Kwarteng became the UK’s first Black Chancellor in the most ethnically diverse cabinet in history under Liz Truss.’
  • Alice Klein: Funding global health into the future (27 October)
    ‘Lord Mark Malloch Brown from the Open Society Foundation – a major philanthropic foundation – began the event by explaining that, though we face the threat of reduced budgets, we have to win the argument that global health and other inequality issues are problems for us all.’
  • Mark Borkowski: Why there will be no more Great Men (24 October)
    ‘Both Johnson and Churchill were men with a self-conscious mythology, and the exaggerated Englishness that only occurs to people on its fringes.’
  • Laura Leggetter: We must urgently cosy up to energy efficiency (20 October)
    ‘Making existing homes more sustainable is critical to the government and housing sector’s sustainability targets. Underpinning this is the staggering fact that in the UK, 85% of the homes we’ll live in by 2050 have already been built.’

Brands, content, community and creativity

Crisis, risk and reputation

  • Stella Bayles with Andy Sutherden: PR & the most controversial World Cup in history [podcast] (no date)
    ‘If you haven’t bought the rights – don’t use the [World Cup] logo. Whilst ambush marketing has always won the hearts and minds of fans, the industry needs to become better at explaining the value of official sponsors and where their money goes because if you took out commercial sponsorship from many of these events, there would be no events.’ 
  • George Hutchinson: A lesson in risk management, why we keep churning Prime Ministers… (21 October)
    In risk management, denial is so often the fuel that takes an issue and turns it into a crisis that burns. And, for me that problem sits, not with Brexit itself, but with the need for a perfection and purity of Brexit post-referendum and what that has meant in political terms.’

Internal communication

  • Rachel Miller and Caroline Cubbon-King: Podcast: How to work well with a comms consultancy (26 October)
    ‘The first thing to think about is why do you need the [external] support? Is it for specialist knowledge or skills? Or do you want to validate your approach? Do you just need inspiration and ideas?’
  • Calm Edged Rebels: Is Employee Engagement Dead? [podcast] (21 October)
    ‘Employee engagement has become a huge industry. We have big global surveys showing how engaged people are. The scores are being weaponised for managers and communicators. What’s important for me is that we move away from engagement. Surely we should be looking at how aligned people are?’

Media, digital and technology

  • Ben Smith with Howard Kosky: What Rajar’s Q3 Results 2022 mean for PR folks [podcast] (27 October)
    ‘The results are very positive for radio in general: 89% of the adult population listen to the radio every week with the average listener tuning in to 20.6 hours of live radio per week.’
  • Zoë Clark: Media relations in a period of multi-crisis (24 October)
    ‘The world is increasingly turbulent, headline stories are everywhere, and there are far fewer journalists to tell them. Media houses generally have less time and human resources to cover non-urgent stories. Longer-form analysis or features are increasingly rare, especially in trade publications.’
  • Michael White: FTSE 100 companies are targeted with disinformation daily (21 October)
    ‘Kekst CNC’s disinformation technology (powered by NewsGuard®) identified that 2% of news sources shaping perceptions about FTSE 100 companies came from non-credible publications—equating to 4,010 articles over just a 30-day period. It evidenced that disinformation is a constant, impacting nearly every FTSE 100 organisation.’

Academic and education

#prstudent #CreatorAwards23

Last year’s joint winner Jazz Denike – still technically a PR student as she’s working on her Master’s dissertation – should be an inspiration to others for her storytelling vlogs. All you need to do is tag your shareable content with #prstudent and you could appear in this column.

@jazzdenike wow what an amazing monday #fyp #londonlife #londonvlog #minivlog #barrysuk #barrysbootcamp  #dayinmylife #singleinlondon #ukgradstudent #londonstudent #prstudent #ualstudent #lccstudent #unboxing CUFF IT – Beyoncé