Blog 7 minute read
🥂 Happy New Year
Hi it's Stuart Bruce here again to wish you all a Happy New Year. It's not too late yet is it? I didn't hit you with a PR Primer on the first week back at work as I didn't think anyone would have time to read it. It's been a roller coaster week hasn't it?
In the UK we're into our third lockdown and I'm expecting more restrictions before we see any easing which I think won't be until after Easter unless lots of things change dramatically.
And what can we say about the USA? The scenes of terrorists (which seems a more apt word than protestors) attacking the US Capitol building were extraordinary. Like many of you I've done the tourist trail in Washington DC so experienced the security to get in. This was like a scene from the film Olympus Has Fallen.
Best wishes - Stuart
It's often an automatic response of PR professionals to rebut misinformation and disinformation. Labour's rebuttal unit in the 90s played a big role in turning around Labour's fortunes and winning in 1997. However, in 2021 rebuttal isn't always the most effective action. Sometimes doing nothing can be more effective. This is something I counsel my crisis communications clients when we review plans and I cover in my risk and crisis training courses.
Research and reports
I'm a big fan of Nieman Labs as although it is focused on journalism it's a great source of inspiration and research if you're interested in the future of public relations, communication and corporate affairs. Every year it asks "some of the smartest people in journalism and media" to make predictions for the next 12 months. These are this year's predictions.
The main problem with Nieman is it is very US focused and even when it looks more internationally it tends to be through too American a lens. That said some of these articles and predictions are still worth a look.
If you lie in PR should your career be over? It's a clear violation of the codes of conduct of probably every PR and communication association in the world. Lying is different to omission or exaggeration which is accepted as part of the game. A former White House communications director or press secretary are thought by many in the corporate world to be the best of the best and could expect to make their fortunes by selling their perceived skills. The reality for Trump's former bevy of communications advisor might be different.
Forbes makes clear it won't tolerate people who lied: "Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie. We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away."
I haven't seen a decent list of PR influencers to follow since the demise of Lissted. This is BuzzSumo's attempt. Groucho Marx reputedly said: "I don't want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members". Perhaps I feel a little like that seeing as I am on this list as one of the world's top 100 PR influencers.
I'm always dubious of automated 'influencer' lists as they never track influence, but more usually some sort of 'noise'. If people make a lot of noise and get shared a lot then they are classed as top influencers. But are they really? People are only really influencers if people think or behave differently as a result of what the influencer says.
To BuzzSumo's credit it includes a methodology, so we can see how it compiled the list. Although that said the list doesn't appear to comply with its own explanation. It says it focused on the information in the 'Bio' section and "prioritised whether the influencers’ profile includes 'PR'" and that the only way the data was cleaned "was through omitting companies and non-English language profiles". The problem with that is some of those on the list aren't PR people (an editor and a real estate were the two I spotted) and don't appear to have PR in their bios (at least on Saturday 9 Jan they didn't).
Tips and tricks
I've been a fan of Professor Anne Gregory's Planning and Managing Public Relations Campaigns since the first edition. She's just published the fifth edition and although the structure and chapters remain the same there are lots of important updates. The principles of planning and managing haven't changed, but the way we do some of it has. Read my review to discover why it is just as essential a read today as it was when it was first published.
This is in the tips and tricks section because despite being written by one of the world's most influential PR academics it is packed full of practical advice.
A cracking article by Dave Trott on why numbers, facts and data never tell the full story and isn't how we make people take notice or change what they think or do.
There is a lot, and I do mean a lot, to digest in the Global Alliance's 2021 Global PR and Communication Model. I'm still working my way through it, but suspect a lot of thinking and ideas will make there way into work I do for consultancy clients and into some of my PR training courses.
It identifies the five building blocks that "generate and protect value in today's world" as: Defining and activating corporate purpose; Building brand and corporate culture; Managing reputation and reputational risk; Enhancing communication; connecting intelligence and intangible asset metrics.
I'm studying it at the moment and will blog about it later this month.
As a former CIPR board director (2017-19) I'm delighted to see a strong new line-up for 2021. They have a challenging year ahead helping to reshape the institute to deal with new challenges and opportunities as a result of the double whammy of the pandemic and Brexit.
I'm also excited to see a new board at the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC). In particular, I welcome Steph Bridgman as the new director representing individual members and fellows like me.
Jules Herd, the new chair of the PRCA Council, has got off to a cracking start with five important work streams. I'm working on the 'Value of PR' group.