This week in PR (4 December)

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.

All I want for Christmas @famouscampaigns
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All I want for Christmas @famouscampaigns on Instagram

News in brief

  • CIPR has condemned as ‘wholly unethical’ the involvement of Clarendon Communications in a report by several motor manufacturers challenging the decision on environmental grounds to ban sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030.
  • PR Week has named its ‘communicator of the year’: Marcus Rashford. As PR Week explains:’ PR professionals are excluded – our focus is individuals from other walks of life, whether that’s politics, entertainment, business, or something else.’
  • PRCA has named the chair and the elected members of its 2021 council

Covid-19 and comms

  • Amanda Coleman: Tiers for fears (30 November)
    ‘Where do we go from here? I hope in 2021 there will be more of a conversation about the situation, that people will be re-engaged with living with a crisis, and that we help and support each other through the months ahead.’
  • Adam Mack: Reasons to be Thankful (or an Advent Calendar for PR, Pt 1). (27 November)
    ‘Nothing the matter with old friends but the sheer number of new interactions made possible by Zoom & Teams (yes, I know we bang on about their downsides) has opened so many doors for so many people.’

Purpose and professionalism

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Ben Smith with Tony Langham: How PR firms can recover fast from the pandemic [podcast] (2 December)
    ‘The best thing is the spirit of positivity that runs through our industry. If you believe in dialogue – and dialogue is our business – then you believe our industry can be part of making the world a better place.’
  • Niamh Murray: Working Full-time after Graduation: Month One (1 December)
    ‘I imagined sitting in an office wearing a snazzy blazer, not sitting in my living room wearing leggings and slippers. I imagined a desk with a computer, not my laptop on top of a cushion on my couch. I imagined a 30 minute commute, not a 30-step one. How wrong I was.’
  • Chris Lee: I’ve written a book! Here are some lessons I’ve learned on the way (1 December)
    ‘My creative outlet outside of work is a blog and podcast called Outside Write, where I cover football history, culture and travel. For the last four years, I’ve been researching the roots of the sport in the major footballing territories. It started as a series of podcasts and blog posts before I thought about consciously turning it into a book.’

Wellbeing, gender and diversity

Public and third sectors

  • Sally Northeast: Resilience: What is it and where can you get some? (28 November)
    ‘Like all of us I’ve had times this year when I am just flat out DONE. In the words of a former team member, I feel like I have nothing more to give. This past week has been one of those times.’
  • Kit Collingwood: We’ve published our first digital strategy at the Royal Borough of Greenwich (26 November)
    ‘This is the first digital strategy that the council has had, and I’m delighted that it will be open for comment from the public, to whom we’re accountable for running the best council possible. Working in the open is fairly new at Royal Greenwich, as it is in many other public sector organisations.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Charlie Pownall: Making apologies more meaningful and less liable (3 December)
    ‘It hardly needs saying that tone counts for much when you are saying sorry and that being seen to apologise sincerely, acknowledging where you’ve gone wrong, and taking responsibility for your actions count for much.’

Brands, storytelling, and influence 

  • Orlagh Shanks: No Ad, No Consequences? (2 December)
    ‘Moral compasses are quite hard to come by these days – have you read the news lately? – but for me, it’s an influencer’s duty to be transparent and honest with their followers.’

Planning, measurement and evaluation

  • Belle Lawrence: Tracking your social success (no date)
    ‘Whenever a planning phase is imminent, such as the start of a new year or preparing a campaign proposal, a key element is often missed – results and data from the last campaign.’
  • Gemma Moroney: Insights for nothing and KPIs for free? (2 December)
    ‘Some of the greatest insights I’ve found have come from speaking to academic experts, reading unrelated books or – shock horror – talking to the target audience. The greatest campaigns have come from blending that thinking with data to shape and deploy creative.’


Internal communication

  • Martin Flegg: Living at work (28 November)
    ‘‘We aren’t working at home, we are living at work.’ Something I heard this week and possibly the quote of the year.’

Technology, media and digital

  • Scott Guthrie: Unintended consequences of regulating big tech (1 December)
    ‘The UK government consumer watchdog has announced the creation of the Digital Markets Unit. Its purpose: to oversee a pro-competition regime for platforms including those funded by digital advertising, such as Google and Facebook.’
  • Stuart Bruce: PR Black Friday deals (27 November)
    ‘Be sure to read to the end as I’ve kept the best PRTech tool to last!’

#prstudent #bestPRblogs

  • Megan Laura Harris (Liverpool John Moores): Asda – Delivering Kindness This Christmas (3 December)
    ‘Asda realised that in some cases, the only interaction that the British public got was from delivery drivers so, they launched their ‘Delivering Christmas Kindness’ scheme.’
  • Eloise Newman (Solent): The Demise of Debenhams: Is it Ethical for Shoppers to Profit from their Downfall? (3 December)
    ‘In order to clear stock, Debenhams announced there would be a huge sale starting at 7am Wednesday morning online. Within only a few hours, the site had crashed, and a virtual queuing system had been implemented to control the number of shoppers entering the site.’
  • Lily Harrison (Solent): Why You Shouldn’t Use Social Media Exclusively In Campaigns (2 December)
    ‘In the same way false accusations can be spread quickly and easily, complaints and issues can be rapidly resolved and responded to via a range of social platforms and good news, boosting reputation, can be shared.’
  • Babett Kürschner (LCC/UAL): Alternative reality: An unseen risk of social media (1 December)
    ‘The impact of social media on its users’ mental health has been a topic of interest for years but has become even more relevant in the midst of the current pandemic.’
  • Kayleigh Tinney (Ulster): Social Influencers Over Government Policy (1 December)
    ‘During the multiple lockdowns we looked to social influencers to see how to behave. If one met up with their boyfriend or had a small gathering with friends, followers were the first to point it out or replicate it. For example, just this week Rita Ora, a celebrity and social influencer broke lockdown rules to throw birthday bash celebrating turning 30.’
  • Alisha O’Hagan (Ulster): World Mental Health – 2020 a difficult time (1 December)‘Mental health is important every year, every day, every minute and every second but this year it is a great reminder that mental health is a top priority and it is okay not to be okay.’