This week in PR (3 April)

About the author

Richard Bailey FCIPR MPRCA is editor of our Insights, formerly PR Place. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

Gloriously sunny to cheer us all up. Tea on the balcony and its not going cold tx to new @poppytreffry cosy!
#drinktea
#tea
#sunshine
#stayhome
@academyann on Instagram
Gloriously sunny to cheer us all up. Tea on the balcony and its not going cold tx to new @poppytreffry cosy! #drinktea #tea #sunshine #stayhome @academyann on Instagram

News in brief

  • The PRCA is offering six months of free individual membership to anyone who has lost their job in the industry, or to anyone who is self-employed and has seen a significant decline in their income. (Source: PRCA)
  • ‘The CIPR and its charitable benevolent fund, iprovision, have launched the iprovision Mental Health Hotline (member login required), providing members instant access to accredited counsellors as well as support for those with personal, legal and financial difficulties.’ (Source: CIPR)

Academic, education and training

Covid-19 comms

  • Ben Smith: Iain Anderson, Executive Chairman at Cicero/AMO on the PRmoment podcast (2 April)
    ‘We’re now settling in to this new way of working, and we’re about to enter the marathon when these new ways of working are going to be tested.’
  • Ben Capper: When this is over… the comms community’s 10 hopes for the post covid-19 world. (2 April)
    ‘Right now, there are very few of us sat at desks in draughty 1960s office buildings 8 hours a day, using computers still running Windows Vista that take 15 minutes to boot up, uncomfortably observing a “professional” dress-code. And we’re producing much better work for it.’
  • Claire Gamble: The fine line between ‘overwhelming’ and ‘positive’ Covid-19 comms (2 April)
    ‘We conducted research which shows just how much of a risk it is for businesses to get their Covid-19 comms wrong. According to the study, which questioned 2,000 people, a third (32 per cent) said they have received ‘too much’ or ‘far too much’ content from businesses relating to coronavirus in the last two weeks.’
  • Dawn McGuigan: How PRs are staying in touch with clients during coronavirus (1 April)
    ‘Our client management skills and creativity have never been in more demand as we look for ways to keep in touch with clients in these strange times. I took to Twitter to ask PR freelancers and agencies about the ways they are communicating with clients during coronavirus.’
  • Helen Deverell: Coronavirus comms: 5 things we’ve learnt so far (30 March)
    ‘When the term ‘social distancing’ was first mentioned, internal communicators shuddered. A crisis is not the time to introduce unfamiliar words and phrases that have the potential to confuse people.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Leadership during a crisis (30 March)
    ‘New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shown the way for many when she appeared online from home last week after putting her child to bed to do a Covid-19 question and answer session. She was able to be both authoritative about the situation and human. I have highlighted her communication style in one of the case studies in my book Crisis Communication Strategies.’
  • Alastair Campbell: 20 phrases that should be banished from Covid-19 briefings (20 March)
    ‘Clichés are best avoided at the best of times, which these most certainly aren’t. These are times in which clear straight talking is highly recommended. This is best done accompanied by hard fact and detail.’
  • Stephen Waddington: Muddling through the COVID-19 crisis: celebrating human spirit and ingenuity (29 March)
    ‘Human beings are incredibly adaptable. I’ve absolutely no doubt that we’ll modify our behaviour to this new way of living. The more interesting question is what happens next?’

Purpose and professionalism

  • Christian Sharp: Do company values “add value”? (no date)
    ‘Company values are certainly being tested right now; it’s a difficult time for everyone. But why do so many company values fail? And are they worth holding onto at all?’
  • Jenni Field: March update from CIPR

    (30 March)
    ‘Now more than ever it’s a time for our industry to come together. What I want to do is to focus on what we can do as a community.’

Consulting and careers

  • Adam Driver: Seven days to go… (2 April)
    ‘Yes, launching my own business during one of the biggest challenges this country has faced since WWII may seem daunting, and, yes, two of my key projects were with hospitality businesses that are now paused, but plenty of positive conversations have taken place in the last few weeks, and I’m adapting to future-proof Authentic.’
  • Arun Sudhaman: Agency Heads Brace For Covid-19 Fallout As Business Outlook Darkens (2 April)
    ‘As the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic comes into focus, the PR industry will not escape unscathed.’
  • Paul Sutton with Rich Leigh: Five Years in Business. But for How Much Longer? [podcast] (no date)
    ‘The last two weeks have been the most challenging in my life – both from a business and from a mental health perspective. The following show was recorded in February before the WHO called the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic and long before we all took it seriously. That now seems like an age ago.’
  • Neville Hobson, Shel Holtz and others: FIR ZoomChat 1: the post-pandemic Future of Work

    (28 March)
    ‘This situation is going to accelerate the adoption of working from home by many companies once the crisis is over.’

Public and third sectors

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Charlie Pownall: Is the coronavirus a crisis, disaster or emergency? (2 April)
    ‘According to Muckrack’s Trends research tool, the terms crisis and emergency dominate media headlines and body copy. These three terms are closely related and overlap significantly, yet each has its own distinct meaning and implications.’

Campaigns and creativity

  • Jessica Pardoe: Creative Campaigns #9 – Chester Zoo Goes Virtual (30 March)
    ‘From what I can see, Chester Zoo racked up millions of views on Facebook over the duration of their digital zoo campaign. Not to mention they achieved coverage on pretty much every news site, from national to regional – the last place I saw them mentioned was on the BBC.’

Internal communication

  • Martin Flegg: Divided we fall (29 March)
    ‘Suddenly having to adopt widespread remote homeworking to comply with social distancing policies has just made organisational structures even more complex. It has erected infinite numbers of barriers between employees and transformed the risk of organisational failure, driven by negative behaviours which crush collaboration, into a major issue.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Laura Sutherland: Building virtual communities (2 April)
    ‘Communities are now a large part of the stakeholder make-up and should be thought of as part of the foundations of the organisation.’
  • Sarah Park: Why business leaders need to lead the way on social media (2 April)
    ‘The current crisis has compelled people to share more of who they are behind their professional personas as the boundaries between home and work life become, not so much blurred, but almost interchangeable. Embracing a digital presence and engaging across social media is one way a business leader can connect with others inside and outside of their organisation on a more human level at this time.’
  • Stuart Bruce: News trend tool tells you what journalists are writing about (2 April)
    ‘My initial take on the Muck Rack Trends tool is it has the potential to be a fantastic addition to the PRtech stack, but it’s still in beta and probably needs some significant development.’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Connor Lamb (Sunderland): 1,054 games – which are most memorable? (2 April)
    ‘Over the past seven seasons, I’ve taken in 1,054 games, but which of those are most memorable?’
  • Abigail Simmons (Leeds Beckett): Are we only just realising that people are the most important things? (2 April)
    ‘When all’s falling apart, anxiety fills the unknown and the future is scary it makes us realise that humans really are the most important things. So choose kindness, give to give and not receive, lead with compassion and recognise our shared human condition. Congratulations you’ve now unlocked ‘humanity’.’
  • Daisy Dunn (Leeds Beckett): Just when I thought I’d had enough of social media (2 April)
    ‘I wonder if the impact of coronavirus will change the way people use social media. To some degree I really hope it does. After all, the current world we are living in has no place for the travel influencer brandishing 3 flights per week and various gifted holidays, but a growing acknowledgement for ordinary, hard-working individuals. Could this be the end of celebrity culture as we’ve previously known it?’
  • Emma Rogers (Solent): Adapting social media for the better (2 April)
    ‘Now more than ever I believe it is important to break down the wall that we see on social media, the wall that preserves the image of a perfect way of life. In our current situation our lives are far from perfect, and reflecting that on social media will create a sense of normality and put a stop to us comparing ourselves to one another.’
  • Rory Drake (Sunderland): April Fools Day Cancelled (2 April)
    ‘For me, April Fools Day is a day I associate with light-hearted humour. It’s a chance to show off your creativity, in both ideas and content.’
  • Niamh McNally (Ulster): Small Steps Together… (1 April)
    ‘My class (yes, my class) had 35-45 children per day with a blackboard being our only resource. We had to get very creative when making lesson plans which kept the children interested.’
  • Niamh Murray (Ulster): How to cope with excruciating boredom, Gen Z style (31 March)
    ‘Most teenagers and young people are taking advantage of the fact that every social norm has just gone out the window (where we sadly cannot go) and are getting creative with ways to cope with the excruciating boredom and stress. Basically, we’re looking for literally ANYTHING to do other than uni work.’
  • Alice Byrne (Ulster): How Brands Are Supporting Us During the Coronavirus Outbreak (1 April)
    ‘With pubs closed across the island of Ireland and people consequently left out of work, Guinness has decided to provide a whooping €1.2 million to bar staff to give a helping hand to those who usually pour ‘the black stuff.’’
  • Sarah Sweeney (Ulster): #CancelCulture: Should brands be able to bounce back from a PR scandal? (1 April)
    ‘Every week, seemingly a new person or organisation is ‘cancelled’, from celebrities whose transgressions have come to light (think Kevin Spacey) to brands who have alienated or offended their customers (remember that controversial Pepsi ad?).’
  • Teela Clayton (Leeds Beckett): Lockdown (1 April)
    ‘ASOS and the like may be offering 20% discounts on 50% sales, but what they don’t realise is that we’ve been stockpiling the clothes needed for our own disaster movie for years.’
  • Son Pham (Leeds Beckett): Everybody knows? (30 March)
    ‘Don’t let the misinformation spread faster than the virus, just please remember we’re living in a world where we are already being buried with fake news and stuff every day.’
  • Stephanie Daly (Ulster): Great brands demonstrating social distancing (30 March)
    ‘With consumers staying at home, brands now have a unique opportunity to craft creative digital campaigns to showcase their products as well as their social responsibility.’
  • Steven Batey (Sunderland): Virtual Formula 1 Racing – Huge Potential, but a PR Nightmare? (27 March)
    ‘It could be me being somewhat of a car racing geek, but the whole thing felt a bit of a shambles. I was looking forward to seeing a load of my favourite drivers, influencers and celebrities battle it out as if it was a real race, but it just didn’t feel right somehow.’
  • Rosie Heaton (Leeds Beckett): Seven Years On: Reflections of an Isolated Teenager (27 March)
    ‘When I was younger, friends would joke: “You are so lucky to miss school! You get to lie down all day. You don’t have homework.” I blame this for my almost irrational hate of the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, actually. All I ever wanted to do was go out, to go to school, and to live normally.’