This week in PR (5 January)

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.

In between the showers and never ending rain Source: woolfallalex on Instagram
In between the showers and never ending rain Source: woolfallalex on Instagram

It happened this week

  • Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to the creative industries.

Profession and ethics

  • Stella Bayles with Stephen Waddington: The 2024 Public Relations Forecast

    (4 January)
    ‘X is going to die this year. We’ve all been waiting for the X replacement,  where news and media gathers. But we’re fragmented into WhatsApp groups and LinkedIn.’

  • Stuart Thomson: CEO Communications Challenges for 2024 (2 January)
    ‘A CEO always needs to consider what level of profile is appropriate and how that will be delivered through a range of communication activity. A personal brand is more significant than ever and is often used as a quick summary of how an organisation is performing.’
  • John Harrington: From the UK editor: 24 predictions for PR in 2024 (3 January)
    2024 will see the first true disinformation general election. Doctored video and audio footage will be rampant and prove a huge challenge for comms professionals.’
  • Steve Shepperson-Smith: CIPR December update: the past, present and future (22 December)
    The CIPR’s next five year strategy – which will begin in 2025 – must continue to further the objectives of the Royal Charter. However, it will be a crucial five years to promote the value of PR as a strategic discipline that analyses and enhances organisational reputation.’

Business and finance

  • SEC Newgate: Media, markets and political outlook for 2024 (21 December)
    ‘2023 was supposed to be the year of recession, according to the pundits. Markets around the world are ending the year at record highs.  However, in 2024 expect weak growth and geopolitical issues such as Ukraine and Israel to have a continuing if not greater impact on the global economy. Elections in the US and UK will have major consequences, especially if Donald Trump finds a way back to the White House.’

Purpose, climate and ESG


  • SEC Newgate: Green & Good Outlook for 2024 (21 December)
    ‘We can’t overlook the ESG backlash driven by US Republicans this year, which has shaken confidence. The debate around the integrity, value, and purpose of ESG investing and reporting will certainly rumble on, particularly with a US election coming up, but it is unlikely to reverse the upward trend in funds flowing into ESG investments and it won’t impede the momentum for reporting standards. For corporates, there will be growing pressure to report and set sustainability targets if they haven’t already.’

Consulting, skills and careers

  • Rich Leigh: How to choose a PR agency when there are so many to choose from? (4 December)
    ‘Quick rules of thumb, fee-wise – if you’re thinking that you don’t want to spend more than £1k a month (~$1,500), you’ll be in the realm of freelancers and, potentially, a very small agency. You’ll find these through personal recommendations from social media, most likely.’
  • Jen Kelham: Going client side (2 January)
    Agencies primarily deal with external communications, helping clients manage their relationships with the public, media, and stakeholders, via thought leadership activity, a press release pipeline, awards and speaking opportunities, and social media. In-house communications managers often have a broader scope, dealing not only with external communications but also internal communications, and ensuring the two are aligned.’

Public and third sectors

  • Georgia Turner: Public affairs – the 2024 ‘must have’ for public sector comms pros: are you ready? (3 January)
    Public affairs is essentially structured stakeholder management with the aim of influencing public policy and building support for your organisation’s position – whether that’s wanting more housing in the area or less; funding for sustainable transport or the route of a major new road; to merge with neighbouring organisations or actively oppose it.’
  • Dan Slee: PLAN AHEAD: 24 predictions for public sector communicators in 2024 (27 December)
    Communicating bankruptcy and more cuts. This will become an important part of swathes of the public sector as more councils go bankrupt and NHS Trusts and government departments face cuts regardless of political party.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere


Crisis, risk and reputation


  • Amanda Coleman: Five thoughts for 2024 (28 December)
    Test out your crisis communication plans – always an important thing to do but so often put at the bottom of the ‘to do list’. Make 2024 the year that you do some form of test to see if your crisis approach will work, and to find the gaps before you have to use it at speed.’

Internal communication 


  • Jenni Field: How do you create an employer brand? (2 January)
    An employee value proposition (EVP) is part of an employer’s branding strategy that represents everything of value that the employer has to offer its employees. Items such as pay, benefits and career development are common, but employers also highlight offerings that are currently in demand—like technology, remote work and flexible scheduling.’
  • Monique Zytnik: A conversation with Katie Macaulay [podcast] (22 December)
    ‘My first love has always been the internal audience and employee engagement. The internal audience is in my experience the most important and the most demanding.’

Media, digital and technology


  • Stephen Davies: Building an AI roadmap for PR: A strategic guide for public relations professionals (3 January)
    ‘Encourage yourself and your team to think about how AI can transform PR practices over the next 1-5 years. Consider automating routine tasks and employing sophisticated tools for audience analysis and campaign strategy. A forward-looking mindset helps in identifying opportunities where AI can bring about the most significant changes and improvements.’
  • Stuart Bruce: Will 2024 be the year of AI? (3 January)
    ‘Some of you are probably thinking that 2023 was the year that AI finally broke through into the mainstream. But in reality there was a lot more hype and experimentation than actual mainstream implementation.’
  • Holly Scott: Five PR trends that will drive successful campaigns in 2024 (2 January)
    As we look ahead to 2024, I’ve highlighted some of the biggest trends, approaches and methods that other agencies and professionals can adopt that will help increase awareness and visibility for brands online.’

Academic, training and qualifications