This week in PR (4 August)

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

  • Lynne Franks (‘the inspiration for Edina in Ab Fab’) was profiled in the Sunday Times Fame and Fortune column on 30 July. She dropped this intriguing hint about one of her many current projects: ‘I’m also collaborating on Heart Lab, a consultancy to keep the heart in PR so it doesn’t become head-led by AI. I’ll be a shareholder in that.’


  • Steve Shepperson-Smith: CIPR July update: East Anglia and Oregon (30 July)
    ‘The CIPR has continued to campaign on members’ behalf for more transparency in UK lobbying rules and said that new proposals from the government don’t go far enough.’

Purpose, climate and ESG


  • John O’Brien: Forget The Label – Think About What Matters (3 August)
    ‘Opponents [of ESG] increasingly argue that during such economically challenging times, businesses should solely prioritize shareholder value and profit maximization, rather than diverting resources towards societal or environmental concerns.’
  • Michael White: How disinformation threatens the success of COP28 (2 August)
    ‘Last year, Kekst CNC Intelligence evidenced that 6% of the Twitter profiles mentioning COP27 were suspected bots responsible for driving an estimated 12% of overall mentions. At the same time, sophisticated disinformation was being targeted by publications known for spreading false narratives or ‘fake news’.
  • Amelia Beale: Purpose on Payday July 2023 (31 July)
    As disruptive weather patterns increase in frequency, the focus on climate risks across all sectors is expected to ramp up. Whether that be the impact of heatwaves on travel demand, lower crop yields on food prices, productivity levels (particularly for outdoor professions), healthcare demand, or property value in areas less exposed to climate risks.’
  • Ella Minty: The Power of Nuance in Corporate Affairs (30 July)
    ‘Very few brands can afford the luxury to be neutral or be quiet today. Silence is often subsumed to either guilt or acceptance of/agreement with a certain situation and “speaking up” or taking a position is what many shareholders/stakeholders expect.’
  • Duncan Sparke: Greenhushing is just as damaging as greenwashing (28 July)
    In the wake of numerous recent greenwashing allegations, a wave of greenhushing emerged – organisations with environmentally conscious practices and policies opting to understate or conceal their sustainability efforts for fear of overstepping the line and facing a backlash.’

Consulting, skills and careers

  • Brendon Craigie: Why the leisurely European summer in PR is dead (1 August)
    ‘The notion of a leisurely European summer is dead – killed by an economic climate where businesses must show ongoing momentum to investors and customers. The role of the comms function has faced heightened scrutiny. PR teams need to show they are delivering value every month, and July and August are no exception.’
  • Aaron Kwittken: GenAI Will Force a New Business Model for Agencies (1 August)
    ‘Most agencies use time- and materials-based billing models, which essentially incentivize them to work the long way—the longer a project takes, the more money an agency stands to make. Though this may benefit agencies in the short term, it can be at the expense of long-term success with clients.’
  • Eduvie Martin with Jessica Hope and Kenon Mann: The Honest Truth About Thriving as a Young PR Professional [podcast] (31 July)
    ‘From my perspective a career in comms is about problem solving: you’re forever looking for a creative way to change something. And to change something you have to think creatively; you also have to think analytically, be adaptable and resourceful.’

Public and third sectors

  • Stella Bayles with Martin McGlown: How Crime Journalism led to a Leading UK Charity PR Newsroom [podcast] (31 July)
    ‘Cancer Research UK is actually the largest fundraising charity in the world – and so I very much see my [media relations] role as taking that big entity and making it as compelling a cause as the hospice up the road in every single community throughout the UK,’
  • Lucy Salvage: ‘Why I may have fallen out of love with the public sector’ (31 July)
    ‘Local Government has never been easy, and in the 11 years (nine consecutively) that I’ve been a Local Government Officer, I’ve come to accept that the public don’t really like us much and that’s been fine.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere


  • Stuart Thomson: Views: AI in public affairs – A valuable part of the future (2 August)
    ‘In public affairs, we often have to deal with large amounts of data and information. Boiling that down into something that a client, or particularly, a political audience will understand can be a challenge. One that AI can assist with.’
  • Gareth Jones: “Talking about freedom, sat in Margaret Thatcher’s old Rover…” Is Rishi Sunak speaking to middle England? (1 August)
    ‘Undoubtedly the lesson that Sunak has taken from Uxbridge and South Ruislip is that the backlash against ULEZ was very real and reflected a sentiment that exists more broadly across the country. There has also been a broader calculation by party strategists that while public support for net zero and carbon-cutting policies remains high in the UK, they are highly susceptible to significant drops in support once the costs to ordinary families become clear.’
  • Natasha Egan-Sjodin: Do your duty: The financial regulatory shake-up of the vicennial (31 July)
    The scope of the 120-plus page document is broad, but its four key pillars are: products and services; price and value; ensuring that consumers understand products; and making sure they get support.’

Brands, content, community and creativity

Research, data, measurement and evaluation


  • James Gwinnett: PR ‘reach’: Did this campaign really get in front of 9 billion people? (1 August)
    ‘We were supported by a partner PR agency that is highly respected globally. Imagine our surprise then, when they came to share the results of the campaign, saying the ‘reach’ was “over 9 billion”…  There are currently just shy of 8 billion on the planet.’
  • Laurel Chilcot Smithson: Making your comms count (31 July)
    ‘Make trackable links for as many of the touchpoints for your audiences as you can. Not only does this provide a really good way of checking how your comms is doing throughout its run, but it gives you some excellent metrics to see how your campaign has done at the end and learning on what areas your audiences are seeing your messages.’

Crisis, risk and reputation


  • Amanda Coleman: 10 Minutes With Jenni Field

    (1 August)
    ‘Hybrid working has changed things [for organisations]. It’s very chaotic. It seems to be the biggest thing at the moment.’

  • Sheena Thomson: “Yes, I see it, but so what?” (31 July)
    ‘In this post-pandemic perma-crisis world we are now working in, organisations have been managing the risks and impacts thrown at them by Covid, extreme weather events, and the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia.’

Internal communication

Internal Communication Diploma

  • Rebecca Ferguson: What Most People Get Wrong About Org Restructuring (1 August)
    In managing change, people tend to focus on external and practical details (the “what”) like tasks, timelines and budgets.  In reality, activating a new organisation is an adaptive and dynamic process that involves changes to “how” roles connect, decisions are made, and teams come together. ‘
  • Ian Morris: How should CEOs communicate internally? (28 July)
    ‘If you want your CEO to commit to internal comms, you have to make sure they understand its importance. Fortunately, whereas previously many CEOs prioritised external comms over internal, the value of the latter is becoming an easier sell since the pandemic.’

Media, digital and technology


  • Dan Slee: VIDEO NUMBERS: Your 2023 short form video data breakdown (3 August)
    ‘People in the UK spend on average 46 minutes a day watching short form video. Snapchat and TikTok dominate for 15 to 24s with 52 minutes a day for Snapchat and 58 a day for TikTok.’
  • Chris Norton and Will Ockenden: Unleashing the Potential of AI in Marketing: A Conversation with Andrew Bruce Smith [podcast] (1 August)
    ‘This has been a long time coming. Who would have thought that treating language as a statistical and probabilistic distribution problem was the way forward whereas decades before we were trying to build machines that mirrored the human brain.’
  • Neville Hobson: Bye bye Twitter bird (31 July)
    ‘Of course, Musk is free to do whatever he wants with Twitter, and he’s doing precisely that. This is a man who does not align with accepted conventions and ways of doing things preferring instead to ignore if not actively trash behaviours that others comply with and that he dislikes.’ 
  • Maja Pawinska Sims: Twitter Vs Threads: Why Platform Owners Need To Show Brand Love (31 July)
    ‘Two weeks after Threads’ launch, I chaired a PRCA webinar on what the comms industry thought of Threads so far. The panel was cautiously positive: they liked the non-toxic vibe and the emphasis on conversation, but the jury was out on whether Threads is more Instagram with words, or retro Twitter.’

Academic, education and training