This week in PR (29 April)

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

  • The PR Moment awards were back with an event last night. Follow #prmomentawards to see who won the awards in London and the South.

Elon Musk and Twitter

  • George Pitcher: The power of silence – what Elon Musk and Twitter don’t get (28 April)
    ‘The kind of public discourse that underpins a healthy democratic process is not the kind of public square in which Musk imagines anyone can say anything they like, a sort of free-for-all punch-up in which the biggest gob prevails. And the proof of that is the power of silence or, as it used to be known, the keeping of one’s own counsel.’
  • Nick Barron: Musk has promised to follow the PR industry playbook (27 April)
    ‘By offering transparency, purpose, action and accountability, Musk has proved a model student of the communications industry. Yet, the reaction from our industry has been guarded at best.’
  • Son Pham: Is Elon Musk taking over Twitter the vibe shift of 2022? (27 April)
    ‘Twitter and Elon Musk are kindred spirits. I don’t mean that as a compliment. Twitter is a chaos engine. Musk is a chaos agent.’
  • Clotilde Gros: “If I were a rich man…” (26 April)
    ‘Musk’s intention [to buy Twitter] was announced a few weeks ago but many completely dismissed it. Even coming from the richest person in the world, the announcement felt like a bit of a joke – was he just trying to have a bit of fun or cause a stir?’


  • Emma Drake: Why you need stakeholders and advocacy to be an integral part of your PR strategy [podcast] (28 April)
    ‘Stakeholder mapping is a useful starting point for understanding stakeholder needs. But don’t stop at this.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Imposter syndrome and public relations (25 April)
    ‘There is no unifying theory of public relations. There are countless worldviews. The same term is used to describe the application of practice in a public health setting as on behalf of an oil major. It’s used to describe a range of activities from publicity to stakeholder management at the highest levels.’

Purpose and ESG

  • Lucy Walton: Earth Day? We overshot it (no date)
    ‘We need to preserve our natural resources. It’s fundamentally a matter of economic prosperity. The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) claims almost half of the world’s economic activity depends on nature. That’s about $44tn of value.’
  • John Brown and Matt Hocking: Brownbare Vodcast ep.3: We have to go beyond treewashing

    (22 April)
    ‘Trees are good – they haven’t done anything wrong. We’d love to see more of them. But it’s the right trees in the right places we need.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Adam Driver: Authentic Comms | Year 2 in numbers (27 April)
    ‘Grow sustainably within your means, take breaks (holiday for freelancers is tough), and know when to not put your foot to the floor.’ 
  • Paul Holmes: Obituary: Alan Kelly, Agency Founder & Industry Iconoclast (24 April)
    ‘Alan Kelly, who died last week at the age of 64, was one of the public relations industry’s true iconoclasts, an original thinker and a frequent critic of what he saw as either hypocrisy or naivete in the profession.’

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

Public and third sectors

@helreynolds Full TikTok chat with Jack and Zander from @southyorkshirefire comms team is up on our website now #comms #publicrelations #commscreatives ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

Politics, public affairs and public sphere 

  • Harry Brown: Political sleaze is back, and its bad news for the Government (28 April)
    ‘These latest revelations follow a raft of ‘sleazy’ headlines. Cast your eyes back to the last eighteen months, and the stories keep coming. From cash for curtains, the Owen Paterson lobbying scandal, questions over the appointment of honours and Lords, Russian money, partygate, and now Pestminster 2.0, the Government seems to have all elements of the sleaze tick box on their resume.’
  • Pearce Branigan & Vincent Carroll-Battaglino: The countdown is on – one week until the Local Elections (28 April)
    ‘One week to go until the local elections and the Conservatives are set to have a fight on their hands, with the latest YouGov poll (26-27 April) placing Labour ahead on 39 per cent and Conservatives second on 33 per cent.’
  • Miles Watson: Billwatch: The Health and Care Bill becomes law (no date)
    ‘Its passing cements a whole host of changes to the way healthcare is organised and delivered, from who gets to take part in local healthcare decisions to fluoridation of water supplies.’
  • William Neale: Pressing the reset button – Boris has moved on from partygate, but has the country? (26 April)
    ‘Next month’s Queen’s Speech perhaps offers the best chance for the government to press the reset button and outline how they intend to deliver their domestic agenda – covering substantial areas of policy such as levelling up, the energy market and financial services reform.’
  • Stuart Thomson: The importance of different conversations (26 April)
    ‘Conversations are fundamental to public affairs. Not talking to people leads to narrow thinking and a failure to develop networks. We must all consider our conversations if we are to deliver good advice.’

Brands, content, influence and creativity

  • Ben Smith with Michelle Goodall: How to build a community [podcast] (27 April)
    ‘The 5 Ps of community are: community of practice (where you focus on a discipline like comms, a skill or a craft); community of product (like Salesforce, Hubspot or Guild); communities of place (that might be PR practitioners in the North West, for example); communities of purpose (for example getting rid of bias in artificial intelligence); communities of play (like LEGO for example).’
  • Trevor Young: Influencer marketing versus influencer relations – which one is right for your brand? (26 April)
    ‘Influencer relations is all about identifying those individuals who are noted for their ideas, insights, expertise and the content they produce, within a certain field of endeavour, and who have sway with a particular audience that’s similar to the one you’re targeting from a brand marketing perspective. The goal then is to build a relationship with this person in a genuine and non-sleazy way.’
  • Antonia Welch: Why lawyers need to build their own personal brand (25 April)
    ‘In the legal sector, where the introvert personality type tends to proliferate, the idea of building a personal brand makes many lawyers shudder. Many of us Brits are reluctant to blow our own trumpets and feel uncomfortable when the spotlight is on us; self-promotion feels, to be blunt, a bit tacky!’
  • Georgia Dallas: Creating a shining personal brand: Brand as you would like to be branded (25 April)
    ‘Recently, we have seen an influx of influencers who are doing away with filters and photoshop, and instead portraying an honest representation of their lives, good and bad. These more genuine posts create instead a notion of ‘us’. Followers are able to relate to the posts, inspiring open discussions and driving engagement.’

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Sheena Thomson: What can go wrong in a crisis? (27 April)
    ‘Timing is everything in a crisis. Those who have been practicing crisis management for several years are familiar with the golden hour, which is now the golden 15 minutes – or less.  Social media has changed organisational response times once an event, incident, or issue is public.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Taking the blinkers off (27 April)
    ‘If our sole focus is on protecting and safeguarding the reputation of the business we are putting on a set of blinkers. We can potentially lose sight of what is happening and the environment that we are working in. We will be looking inward at the organisation rather than outward at those who are being impacted by the situation.’

Internal communication

  • Katie Macaulay with Victoria Dew: Embracing the messiness of being human [podcast] (27 April)
    ‘New Zealand has always had to fight a talent war. Because of the mobility of New Zealanders, companies [there] have to fight hard to retain talent. The [United States of] America is ironically very Dickensian and the approach to communication is much more tactical.’
  • Dan Holden: My journey from in-house to consultancy (25 April)
    ‘There is so much support for internal communicators, so grab every available opportunity — networking, connecting on social media, or using CPD tools.’
  • Calm Edged Rebels: How to have difficult conversations [podcast] (22 April)
    ‘You shouldn’t avoid those difficult conversations. It’s a learnt skill to be able to manage them.’

Media, digital and technology

  • Danny Sefton: How digital can give us purpose (26 April)
    ‘For all of its flaws, social media does a really good job at connecting like minded people from all around the world. It helps us to break down geographical borders and share in our collective joy or outrage. It gives groups of people a voice that they most likely didn’t have before, turning small communities into global movements that incite real change.’ 

#prstudent #CreatorAwards22

We’ll run this section for one final week, then calculate the numbers from the academic year and announce the shortlist for #CreatorAwards22. We’ll be celebrating their achievements at an online, by invitation event in June.

    • Jazz Denike (LCC/UAL):
@jazzdenike feeling less alone with friends #minivlog #londonlife #londonvlog #londonvlogger #chelsea #london #singleinlondon #prstudent #printern #barrysbootcamp #londonfood ♬ BABY GIRL – Disco Lines

  • Bethany Gough (Solent): Piers Morgan vs The Greggs Vegan Sausage Roll (25 April)
    ‘From a PR perspective, we are far to use to seeing influencer engagements online, where people are paid to say positive things about the product. It is interesting to think about the possible alternative, where people could be paid to disagree in exchange for the same audience reaction.’