This week in PR (28 September)

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.

Basil on his first beach outing at Bamburgh @prgirlclaire
Basil on his first beach outing at Bamburgh @prgirlclaire

Behind the headlines

  • Google reached 20 this week. I’m now teaching students who don’t know a world before Google or smartphones.
  • Brands2Life has taken a dose of its own medicine: rebranding to put employees at the heart of its message. ‘As part of the internal brand launch, all our employees were given the day off last Friday – Brands2Life IN A DAY – to go and experience something new, paid for by the company. Activities included a dim sum making class, drumming lessons, volunteering at a food bank and white-water rafting.’

  • Edinburgh nightclub meme: this photo became a social media talking point, then a news story. Lucia Gorman, the female in this photo, studies at Strathclyde University and helps promote the equivalent club night in Glasgow. She insists this wasn’t a promotional stunt.
  • PR Week US has published its list of the 20 most influential communicators over the  past two decades.

Insights and opinions: Pick of the posts

These are the editor’s pick of posts about public relations this week (UK focused, but with a global outlook). Recommendations are welcome to or @pr_place

Consulting, careers and skills

  • Ben Capper: The Do Good Better List – 4 Things I’ve Loved This Week (27 September)
    ‘Pitching communications to audiences that already know a lot about the subject matter in intimate detail (a regular occurrence if you work in either health or academia) is something a lot of comms people grapple with every day. You don’t want to “dumb down”. You want to make sure you sound credible, and use the language of the profession you’re working with.’
  • Nigel Sarbutts: Freelancers – the Ethical Heart of PR (no date)
    ‘Working with a freelancer does protect against a kind of behaviour that is unethical – to advise clients based on what is best for your employer rather than the client’s long term interests.’
  • Sam Knowles: Have we reached peak PR in the age of earned? (24 September)
    ‘The splendidly candid Alison Clarke lamented that “the PR industry is really crap at PRing itself.” She also said that too many PRs are “order-takers who respond – but don’t challenge – briefs.’
  • Amanda Coleman: A tale as old as a donkey (21 September)
    ‘We need to stand up and challenge those who ask us to do work without this information. We have to break the cycle of being busy with no idea whether we are being successful.’

Politics and public affairs

  • Paula Keaveney: Selling Labour government? The message from conference (27 September)
    ‘This year I saw a noticeable increase in stalls (a sign that organisations think the party is worth lobbying which also provides a handy source of party income).’
  • Jenni Field: Why the new Labour policy won’t help the employee voice (24 September)
    ‘Under Labour’s plans, all companies with a workforce of 250 or more, whether public or private, would be required by law to reserve at least one third of places at the boardroom table for employee representatives.’

Ethics and professionalism

  • Chris Measures: Time for PR to change its name? (26 September)
    ‘From now on, I’m not a public relations consultant, I’m a communications consultant.’
  • Sarah Hall: The importance of organisational purpose and PR’s role in achieving it (26 September)
    Social purpose is often seen as a ‘nice to have’ but in fact it is increasingly sought after by the public and proven to drive financial performance, stakeholder engagement and talent acquisition. It also increases employee and customer satisfaction.’

Public and third sectors

Crisis and reputation

  • Ruth Sparkes: Tips for handling a difficult news story (26 September)
    ‘Being called by a journalist out of the blue to corroborate a negative story about your organisation is always difficult, and to be honest when it comes to advice – one size does not fit all.’

Measurement and evaluation


  • Ella Minty: Ten Dollars and a Bag of Rice (27 September)
    ‘Human rights, the right to live and the price of a life are very different across the globe, and if you promote a social purpose, a charitable project or an investment in a deprived region of the world, you need to do it wisely and carefully.’

Brands and influence

  • Hamish Thompson: The greatest rebranding of all time (27 September)
    ‘Changing hard-wired perceptions requires dedication, action and expression – and sometimes a bit of chutzpah.’
  • John Brown: New client alert: The Children’s Trust (24 September)
    ‘Our mission, from the start, was to work with brands that want to communicate honestly. We also want to have a net positive impact on our local community and work with organisations that are truly making a difference to people’s lives.’

Technology and AI

Internal communication

  • Emma Bridger: Using a strategic narrative – why it works and how to do it (27 September)
    ‘Developing and communicating, a clear, compelling story about where your organisation is going and why, is a great way for internal communicators to positively impact employee engagement.’
  • IC Kollectif: The Next Level: The Business Value of Good Internal Communication (27 September)
    ‘IC Kollectif has launched a new global report, The Next Level, examining the value and practice of internal communication from several angles around one central theme: the business value of good internal communication.’
  • Anonymous: Why I want to ban internal awareness raising campaigns (27 September)
    ‘The question I most frequently ask as someone working in internal comms is “why?” “We need to put this statement on SharePoint.” Why? “The Director has written a blog post.” Why? “I need to send an email to all staff.” Why?’
  • Adam Driver: The IoIC Awards | Raising the bar, and key learnings (25 September)
    ‘The days of not measuring are gone. Time to wake up. You wouldn’t do it outside your company, so don’t do it within.’
  • Nadine Powrie: How to successfully manage upwards (23 September)
    ‘Managing upwards can be challenging particularly when you are already very busy managing downwards and sideways. Look at the positive side as there are different reasons why this might be a great way forward for you.’

Media and digital

PR student advice and opinion

Our #bestPRblogs contest starts next week

  • Aoibheann McCormack (Liverpool John Moores): Internal Comms is #Cool (27 September)
    ‘Having come out the other side of a Placement, I have some heavenly hindsight I am going to share with you that I believe will make your transition into your Placement year that little bit better.’
  • Émer Stinson (Ulster): What is today’s white picket fence? (25 September)
    ‘I’m a 21 year old student, who has stumbled through the past 3 years of her life, struggling to find ‘where I belong’.’
  • Orlagh Shanks (Liverpool John Moores): #FridayFive: Five Things I’m Fearing About Final Year (21 September)
    ‘I’ve been told quite a lot this year to definitely make the most of being a student one last time as you won’t get this kind of freedom and relaxed structure once you start working.‘