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Your PR Primer: PR gives thanks to  BlackRock CEO Larry Finks, Social Media trends for 2021 report and the impact of COVID on the NASDAQ

Here are the top PR related trends and stories to get your week started. Thanks to Stuart Bruce for putting this round up together. 

Corporate affairs

💌 Larry Fink's 2021 letter to CEOs

Larry Fink's annual letter to CEOs has become required reading for public relations and corporate affairs professionals. Larry Fink is the CEO and chairman of BlackRock, the world's largest money management firm with more than $6.5 trillion in assets under management (nope, I can't visualise how much that is either).

In 2018 Larry Fink's letter to CEOs stated that companies should be aware of their impact on society. It is one of the reasons why purpose has become one of the hottest issues in business. PR professionals have long argued that all stakeholders matter, but when the world's biggest corporate investment managers says it then CEOs and C-suite executives start to take it seriously. It was this letter and The Business Roundtable's new statement of purpose in August 2019 that put purpose and stakeholders centre stage for companies that want to be successful.  

Research and reports  

🗺️ Digital 2021: the latest insights into the ‘state of digital’ around the world

Every year international social media agency We Are Social and social media management platform HootSuite publish a huge report into the state of digital and social media around the world. This year's report weighs in at 299 pages and is packed with useful data. There are some mind-blowing numbers such as almost half a billion new social media users.

Its strength is it pulls data from nine different data sources and presents it in one easily accessible source. If you want a starting point for researching global data then this is it as you can always delve into other data sources if you need more data. In the UK Ofcom is my favourite data source for media and internet usage.  

💰 The impact of COVID for Nasdaq

This is a presentation for Nasdaq and technology/politics publisher Protocol by business analyst Benedict Evans. It's a great set of data slides about the impact of COVID covering everything from the forced acceleration of remote working technology and ecommerce to the rise of China and green energy.  

📈 The Future 100: 2021 - key consumer trends

The key consumer trends for 2021 as identified by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence in this bumper report that weighs in at 217 pages.

One of the key trends identified is the continued growth in consumer gaming. It is predicted to be worth $198 billion by 2024, but it isn't just the money that matters. Gaming is also becoming more important culturally. I helped launch esports in the UK in the 00s, but my client was a bit too early. Today gaming is become central to culture with everything from live esports events to the use of gaming platforms for conferences, networking and corporate events.

Ironically after identifying the importance of 'indoor' gaming, another theme of the report is the 'outdoors' including outdoor spaces and rewilding.  

#PRtech tools

📞 Leave voice notes on a website and get voice note replies

I shouldn't really like Telbee as I'm not a fan of voicemail - my mobile even says don't leave a message, email instead. But I do. Telbee is an Innovative UK-based start-up headed by Nicholas Phair and Bernie Klein which lets people leave short voice notes via a floating button on your website and you can record a voice reply. There is a free version with 15 minute limits, but what I particularly like is you can buy top-ups without needing to commit to a monthly subscription. If more freemium SaaS products offered a pay as you go option I'd happily pay as my use of most tools is far too sporadic to make monthly subscriptions a sensible option.

I've just installed it on my blog to give it a try. It took 24 minutes (thanks Toggl!) to sign-up, go through the onboarding, set up a channel and add it to my blog (using Google Tag Manager).

Now you can leave me a voice note at

Thanks to Dominic Neil-Dwyer for re-alerting me to this one as I saw it on Product Hunt last year, but never got round to giving it a go.  

Professional practice

Crisis Proof book review

Crisis Proof is a new book about crisis communciations. It's by Jonathan Hemus who has an impressive track record in handling and advising on a wide range of crises and issues. I've handled numerous crises and issues for clients over the years, but I love to learn more. Reading Jonathan's book helps affirm that what I think I know is correct and gives me lots of new ideas and case studies.  

Generation Z is a dumb an idea as millennials

Some of you have probably heard me rant about the utter stupidity of the concept of millennials. The idea that everyone in the same generation has so much in common that it's highly signficant is ridiculous. And now we have the equally ridiculous concept of Generation Z. Bob Hoffman nails it brilliantly in his Ad Contrarian newsletter. Thanks to Andrew Bruce Smith for spotting this.  

📰 Facebook News launches in the UK

The UK is the second country in the world (after the USA) to get Facebook News. Facebook's publishing partners include Sky News, The Guardian, Financial Times, Channel 4 News, The Economist and hundreds of local news sites from publishers such as Archant, Reach and JPI Media.

With Facebook News, people in the UK will see the top headlines and stories of the day next to news personalised to their interests. It isn't all about algorithms as news stories are also chosen by journalists and key issues in the news cycle are highlighted. It currently highlights a collection of COVID-19 related news.

Facebook also announced it was extending its community news project for another year. This is a £2.25 million annual training fund in partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) for trained reporters in 80 local newsrooms across the UK,

Thanks to Alex Belardinelli, Facebook's communications director for Northern Europe for sharing the background to this story.  

⚖️ Facebook's Oversight Board overturns four cases in first rulings

One of Facebook's big public policy innovations was setting up an 'Oversight Board' to provide 'independent' scrutiny of its editorial policy decisions. The board has now met and made its first round of decisions which overturned four of the five cases it examined. This means it ruled that Facebook's original decisions were wrong.

The Oversight Board's biggest decision is still to come - should it overturn Facebook's decision to suspend Donald Trump's account.  

🕵 Top SEO tips for 2021

I've been 'banging on' about the importance of SEO for corporate affairs and public relations for what seems like forever. The reality is still that even if public affairs and corporate communications professionals grasp its importance they still don't do enough about it.

There are some interesting tips on this list which could be applied to corporate affairs and public relations. It's a mix of content related and technical tips. The tips range from the easy to implement such as numbers and dates in titles to the more long-term such as investing in more long-form content and remembering to use keyword rich headers to break-up the long-form content.  

Your PR Primer is written by PR Futurist Stuart Bruce, founder of Stuart Bruce Associates. If you spot any stories for next week’s PR Primer Round-up then send them to @stuartbruce or


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