Listen up and talk about purpose
Morning all, I've got lots of great articles and research for you this week. It was mainly a question of what to leave out as I could quite easily have included twice as many interesting articles. There are lots of fascinating things happening with audio at the moment and even I didn't know all the 22 social audio platforms listed in Jeremiah Owyang's article.
Make sure you download the Business Wire white paper on five powerful PR trends for 2021 as there's some important thinking - and I'm not just saying that because I'm one of the contributors 😊.
🗳 How the clerk of a tiny English parish council became an internet star
As a former of local councillor in one of the UK's largest cities and chair of committees I'm steeped in the minutiae of standing orders. In contrast, a parish council is the bottom rung of democracy but thanks to a viral video has suddenly made standing orders sexy. What I like most about this isn't just the viral video (which is brilliant), but how the committee clerk Jackie Weaver is so adept at using her numerous broadcast media interviews to deflect questions and always make her point about the importance of local democracy to encourage more people to get involved and improve diversity. As a professional committee clerk Jackie Weaver isn't even a local politician, but she certainly has the authority.
🎯 Purpose-driven businesses needed to rebuild after Covid says Ed Miliband
Corporate purpose is a top topic of conversation for many in business, but it's not often we hear senior politicians talking about it intelligently. Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary of the UK Labour Party has been doing just that in speeches and in this Financial Times article. One of the key points he makes is the need for government to modernise company law to ensure directors have a legal responsibility to look after the interests of all stakeholders and not just shareholders.
📊 Trendspotting: Five Powerful PR Trends for 2021 | Business Wire
In December Business Wire ran a global webinar and invited a panel of media and PR experts (including little old me) to share their perspectives on important emerging and accelerating trends and what they mean for the PR industry. It has now turned our discussion in to a great white paper. One of the key points I made was about our role as strategic advisers: "We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be pigeonholed into talking only about how the business communicates those decisions. We need to be advising on what those decisions should be.”
🌍 The Reputation Doctor, Mike Paul's PR predictions for the PRCA
The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) ran a great webinar with American crisis communications expert Mike Paul, president of The Reputation Doctor. He made lots of great points, but one that particularly chimed with me was when he explained why his boutique virtual firm is able to win complex and challenging briefs while pitching against global consultancies. He does it by creating a bespoke virtual team of the best people for each client, whereas big consultancies use their existing teams because they've got to pay for that overhead. It struck a chord because that's exactly why I set up Stuart Bruce Associates. Last week I put together a global team of great people to work on a crisis communications brief for a new client which includes associates in the UK, Africa and India.
🔥 The top 20 crises of 2020
I'm a huge fan of PRovoke's Top 20 Crises of the previous year which is published every January in three parts. It combines commentary from PRovoke's team of global journalists with analysis from leading corporate affairs and crisis communications experts. The 20 crises in this year's round-up are 'Election fraud', AstraZeneca, 5G, Rio Tinto (featured in a previous TWTWTW), Huawei, McKinsey, Tyson Foods, TikTok, Volkswagen, Ebay, Wells Fargo, Amazon, Sherwin-Williams, Wayfair, Ant Group, CrossFit, HSBC, JD Wetherspoon, Goya Foods, and UK prime minister Boris Johnson's former adviser Dominic Cummings.
Some of these companies, such as Huawei and McKinsey, are serial offenders and have appeared in previous years.
Research and reports
☢️ Institute of Risk Management Risk Predictions 2021
If you work in corporate affairs then another great source is the annual risk predictions report from the Institute of Risk Management. It looks at risk predictions in specific sectors including charities and third sector, energy and renewables, financial services and nuclear as well as specific geographies including APAC, India and the Gulf. Thanks to Victoria Robinson for alerting me about its publication.
⚗️ Take part in the world's largest study of public relations and strategic communications
The European Communication Monitor is the world's largest study of public relations and strategic communications and is run by the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) and the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD). The research team is led by senior academics from across Europe including Professor Ralph Tench of Leeds Beckett University in the UK (disclaimer - I am a visiting lecturer to teach post-graduate students). Please help improve global knowledge and best practice by completing it as it only takes a few minutes of your time.
🤥 Does PR have an ethics problem?
If you listen to one work related podcast this week then make it this one with PR Moments' Ben Smith and the co-authors of Public Relations Ethics - Trevor Morris and Simon Goldsworthy. It's a realistic discussion about what ethics should really mean rather than the 'woke' platitudes spouted by some in PR who talk about ethics without a deep understanding of what it really means. It tackles thorny issues such as are there acceptable lies and unacceptable lies (spoiler - yes of course) and why ethics in PR are subjective. It also talks about the common confusion between ethical behaviour and working for controversial clients (which can be entirely ethical). It's Global Alliance's ethics month, so I'll hopefully be including more on ethics during February.