This week in PR (7 October)

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.

Purpose, climate and ESG

  • Steffan Williams: No Joke (no date)
    ‘Creating a culture safe enough for the contrarian view defines success.  And if the truth is to challenge group-think, it’s helpful if that information is delivered by someone you like and trust.’
  • Arun Sudhaman: PR Firms Ponder Whether To Counsel Or Cancel Fossil Fuel Clients (5 October)
    ‘If PR firms only worked with clients that boasted unblemished reputations, it would not be much of an industry. And that reflects the tension that often underpins sensitive PR assignments, where ‘ethical’ counsel can often help steer an ‘unethical’ client in the right direction, towards reform and — hopefully — better behaviour.’
  • Paul MacKenzie-Cummins: 1 in 5 businesses admit to greenwashing, Clearly poll finds (30 September)
    ‘Despite the rhetoric and their public commitment to sustainability, a considerable number of businesses are simply not making good on their public promises.’
  • Andrew Adie: Purpose on Payday: SEC Newgate’s view (30 September)
    ‘Pension schemes place governance at the heart of their operations, they are cautious, conservative and driven by a clear purpose – to pay the pensions (and meet the liabilities) of those people, their members, who rely on them to provide a retirement income.’
  • Sara Price: Kicking the net zero tyres (30 September)
    ‘Skidmore has the right credentials to deliver this review. As a former Energy and Climate Change Minister, he was the leading champion of a small cohort of MPs pressing candidates during the Conservative leadership contest to sign up to net zero pledges (which Truss did, while also committing to really look at how to put into practice net zero through a business lens).’

Consulting, skills and careers

  • Emma Drake: PR and the quest for truth and transparency [podcast] (6 October)
    ‘At the heart of good public relations is trust, relationships and ethics. Here are a few tips on how to build trust without using social media.’
  • Stephen Waddington: The power imbalance in the public relations pitch process (4 October)
    ‘Pitching is undertaken at the expense or in addition to other work. It places the agency in a subservient position to the client creating a significant power imbalance at the outset of a relationship. Agencies invest considerable emotional energy and time in a new business.’

Gender, diversity and wellbeing

  • Ben Smith: Chris Owen, UK director at The Hoffman Agency talks about his experience of being an alcoholic working in PR [podcast] (6 October)
    ‘There was me, with a predilection to drink too much, left alone in London in a high-pressured industry. It was a good place to hide a drink problem because you could blame journalists for ‘just going out for some drinks’.’
  • Vicki DeBlasi: Steps we must take to tackle mental health issues in PR (I5 October)
    ‘As someone who lives with an eating disorder and has been a long-time advocate for the issue, the pandemic brought something into sharp focus for me. I’ve been thinking for a long time on what we can do as a comms industry to improve how we manage mental health, but it was at this point that it became clearer.’
  • Emma Duke: Get comfortable with awkward (3 October)
    ‘My name’s Emma and I’m a recovering People Pleaser. I have spent my life running away from awkwardness. Filling the silence. Changing the subject. Keeping the flow going. I can’t just blame my people pleaser, I also work in PR. Part of our job is being life’s compère.’
  • Jude Tipper: How to stop caring what others think about you (2 October)
    ‘Communicators need to be well-liked and popular, we work hard at it; we need people to warm to us and trust us so we can get the job well done.’

Politics, public affairs and public sphere 

  • Matthew Elliott: Party Conference Political Insider: Can Truss weather the storm? (5 October)
    ‘From someone not known for their oratory or communication skills, it was a truly excellent speech. She did a cracking job after a very difficult few weeks. But the question now is whether her performance over the coming months can ameliorate the first impression given by the mini-Budget which, let’s be frank, landed badly. Time will tell.’
  • Alice Humphreys: ‘Where’ve yer bin?’ – how Truss lost the battle for local media (30 September)
    ‘Local journalists are connected to the concerns of their local readers or listeners in a way that national journalists never can be. While the national news outlets are the scene setters of the national mood, the regional reporters are the ones with the ability to get under the skin of the real-life impact on voters.’
  • Moray Macdonald: The man who would be prime minister (30 September)
    ‘In contrast with his more stilted and impersonal address last year, Starmer appeared confident and passionate, delivering a speech largely written himself.’

Research, data, measurement and evaluation

  • Amber Ellis: Is it smart to be SMART? (no date)
    ‘SMART objective setting fails to prepare for the unexpected. PR can be unpredictable, with unexpected business decisions, external crises and more. SMART objectives only allow you to plan for what you can predict.’
  • Stuart Bruce: Perception of PR value soars amongst business leaders (4 October)
    ‘Too often when PR and communications professionals look at improving measurement and evaluation they focus on proving value… PR and communication measurement and evaluation efforts are better focused on insight to improve plans and incremental improvement of how the plans are implemented. By focusing on insight and improvement the results or value is better by default.’
  • Amanda Coleman: Value added but where next? (4 October)
    ‘This Value of PR survey is welcome and provides some hope for the future of the profession and how it is developing. What matters now is that we keep the position we have moved into, ensure we have the skills to last in the strategic position, and ensure the next generation have the right training.’
  • Scott Guthrie: Ian Forrester of DAIVID on effective influencer marketing measurement [podcast] (30 September)
    ‘There are loads of metrics being used to measure influencer campaigns these days: you’ve got media metrics, social metrics, brand metrics, commercial metrics. All of these metrics are telling us what is happening, but not why. Until you understand the why, it’s very hard to learn from the past and improve.’

Crisis, risk and reputation

  • George Hutchinson: A Risky Business? (4 October)
    ‘After months of planning and pulling a business together I get to announce what a new reputational risk and crisis communication advisory firm looks like.’
  • Mark Harris: Media – friend of foe? (30 September)
    ‘If an organisation has determined the risks that could impact its operations, assessed its crisis management response to that risk and established a communications plan to support that response, the media will be a ‘friend’.

Internal communication

  • Lucy Kemp: Why you should improve your employee experience (5 October)
    ‘If done well, the employee experience should attract the right people to an organisation, deliver what they promised while they are there and then – when they leave – ensure they talk positively about the organisation.’
  • Rachel Miller: How to be an ethical internal communicator [podcast] (30 September)
    ‘I’m going to share the definition of ethics from the IOiC ethics guide for you: ‘Good ethical communication is about ensuring all communication within the organisation is truthful, fair, and demonstrates respect’.’

Media, digital and technology

#prstudent #CreatorAwards23

We’re into the discovery phase during which we’re looking to follow content creators like Molly Young (see below).

ICCO University PR World Cup: Students should note this invitation to submit pitch teams (deadline 4 November)

  • Molly Young (Leeds Beckett):