This week in PR (4 February)

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.

Last night's East coast sunset at its soaring majestic height. @tonlylangham on Instagram
Last night's East coast sunset at its soaring majestic height. @tonlylangham on Instagram

It happened this week


  • Maja Pawinska Sims and Diana Marszalek: PR trends we’d like to see in 2022 [podcast] (1 February)
    ‘Data: everyone loves data. Where it was once ‘digital first’, it’s now ‘data first.’’

ESG, corporate and financial

  • Louise Nicolson: The Grey in the Green (no date)
    ‘It’s important to have a realistic transition plan.  Stakeholders may want to see immediate results but change happens in the slow daily grind.  Better to think about long-term good than pursue half-hearted measures today to silence critics. ‘
  • Gihan Hyde: What is HR’s role in pumping up the ESG volume? (30 January)
    ‘More than ever, the most important priority for CHROs is talent attraction and retention. According to Deloitte’s 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, these younger generations want to work for companies that share their values for a purpose beyond profit and in which they feel more empowered to make a difference as part of an organization.’

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Perry Miller: LGBT+ History: keep talking or it didn’t happen (1 February)
    ‘In the late 1980s, when I landed a job working in Downing Street, there was a vetting interview with a friendly spook who tried to charm me into dropping my guard: ‘Funny thing old chap, just need to check you’re not, you know, a homosexual?’

Public and third sectors

  • Dan Slee: REALITY HITS: What public sector comms need to know about the Edelman Trust Barometer’s collapse of trust (3 February)
    ‘For me the beacon of hope on the Edelman Trust Barometer is on internal comms. Overall, 76 per cent trust their employer and internal comms are the most trusted of any channel.’
  • Catherine Molloy: Stories from our Covid response – a different response to annual report writing (3 February)
    ‘During the COVID pandemic, Elmbridge Borough Council delivered over 100,000 meals to vulnerable residents, that we made approximately 50,000 calls to isolated residents and that we provided £24.6M in grants to help keep our local retailers in business.’
  • Nick Price-Thompson: Public relations is a tool for organisational honesty (1 February)
    ‘Challenge things. No matter the level you work at in an organisation. It is healthy for democracy, healthy for trust, healthy for communications. Don’t leave it to somebody else, trust in communications and organisations comes from the bottom as well as the top.’
  • Ross Wigham: Two years in (1 February)
    ‘If anything, the pitch is probably going to get even more crowded for NHS comms this year with demand growing – we’re no longer facing a single enemy and expectations are rising.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere 

  • Phil Briscoe: Levelling Up or Mission Impossible? (2 February)
    ‘The White Paper has something for everyone – over the next eight years, everyone will learn more, earn more, live longer in better houses and have more crime-free transport options to get them home to watch their box set on even faster broadband.’
  • Emily Chen: Rishi Sunak and the Chinese Conundrum (1 February)
    ‘Based on latest stats, China is the UK’s 3rd largest trading partner accounting for 7.6% of total UK trade which makes rejecting deeper trade relations challenging to justify at a time when the UK economy is struggling.’

Consulting, teams and careers

  • Arun Sudhaman: PR Firms Cannot Avoid Latest Retreat From Globalisation (31 January)
    ‘While a never ending stream of Zoom meetings might suggest that we are more connected than ever, it would be naive to think that the PR industry can escape the implications of a less globalised world.’

Brands, content and creativity

  • Mark Borkowski: Brewdog’s performative anarchy did not reckon with the New Rules of Fame (2 February)
    ‘Ultimately Brewdog’s founders have been overtaken by a rapidly changing and unforgiving world. One day you are an anarchist punk creating a beer revolution, the next you’re a multimillionaire CEO threatening the BBC with legal action in order to protect your share price ahead of an IPO.’
  • Nick Barron: Introducing The Dissident Economy (31 January)
    ‘Brand activism is taking place against a polarised political backdrop, when the most effective way to rally customers behind your values is often to condemn those you stand against. Picking a side means ostracising the other side.’
  • Alan Miller: Explaining bad messaging with the Abilene Paradox (no date)
    ‘The Abilene Paradox and simple messages are mortal enemies. When businesses are deciding what makes them stand out, there’s a temptation to say that everything is wonderful—that the products are the best in the market, they are competitively priced, they have the best available support, and so on.’

Risk, crisis and reputation

  • Amanda Coleman: More than just words (1 February)
    ‘When we reflect on the lessons from yesterday there will be many about the principles of crisis communication, how to deliver an apology, and what is expected from a leader. I also think it tells us a lot about how to deliver a message authentically and the importance of body language that supports what you are saying.’
  • Rod Cartwright, Katherine Sykes and Chris Tucker: Borisgate, partygate and the Velcro effect (29 January)
    ‘There is a concept that helps us understand how an organisation in a crisis appears to accelerate out of control, gathering in more and more damaging developments as it goes.’

Behaviour and influence

Internal communication

  • Martin Flegg: Old timer (3 February)
    ‘We already know that there is a diversity problem in public relations, and by definition, internal communication. This isn’t an issue relating to just gender, ethnicity and other diversity characterstics, it is also about age group.’
  • Melisa Kakas: How to stay in love with internal communication (3 February)
    ‘You might be a one (wo)man band, you might work in a team. Still, no one in the organisation does quite what you/your team do, and you do it in a very, organisation-specific way. That’s why it’s so important to connect with other ICs.’
  • Rachel Miller: Why leaders need to have integrity (31 January)
    ‘This year’s Edelman Trust Barometer found failure of leadership makes distrust the default.’
  • Adam Driver: What is hubris? (31 January)
    ‘Harking back to classic Greek tragedy, hubris was often a sometimes fatal shortcoming bringing on the fall of the tragic, overconfident hero.’

Media, digital and technology

#prstudent #CreatorAwards22

    • Jasmine Denike (LCC/UAL):
@jazzdenike happy year of the tiger #fyp #lunarnewyear #lny #minivlog #ldn #londonvlog #londonlife #uktiktok #prstudent #ualstudent #london #singleinlondon  energy – Tyla Jane

  • Lily Harrison (Solent): Planning an Upcoming Student Event (2 February)
    ‘Networking is an important part of bridging the gap between being a student and becoming a graduate who is keen to enter the working world. This can be a daunting experience for first-timers.’
  • Elena Niculescu (Solent): What not do do on the day job (2 February)
    ‘Why would M&S tolerate a business partner who may not pay their workers living wages and treat parcels this way?’
  • Bethany Gough (Solent): Is it right that NHS staff lose their jobs from being unvaccinated? (31 January)
    ‘I believe that in a world which is now so divided, nobody should be persecuted against because of a personal choice.’