1. Did the 2014 Christmas campaigns deliver?
As the tinsel was packed away for another year and people counted the cost of their Christmas overspend, the major retailers released figures for the festive trading period
, prompting PRWeek to ask: did the supermarket Christmas campaigns deliver? Both John Lewis and Sainsbury’s enjoyed a 4.8 per cent hike in sales and a record week leading up to Christmas, respectively. But Marks & Spencer and Tesco saw a 5.8 per cent and a 2.9 per cent slump in their like-for-like sales.
The following week, Tesco’s newly installed chief executive, Dave Lewis, announced a major relaunch of the supermarket amid the triple woes of an accounting scandal, a plummeting share price and lost consumer confidence as shoppers turned to discount retailers such as Lidl and Aldi.
Experts advised that the supermarket rebuild trust with shareholders and stakeholders as well as reconnect with customers by setting out its offer to them more clearly and delivering on its price promise.
2. Why is mental ill health more prevalent in PR and comms?
We asked why mental ill health was more common in PR and comms and what practitioners could do to guard against it. The PRCA said the culture of fear and silence that prevented people speaking out about a condition must be addressed, while the charity Mind said employees should consider using the Equality Act to force bosses to make "reasonable adjustments" for a mental health condition and for bosses to develop Wellness Action Plans for their staff.
3. Does PR have a PR problem?
Another exclusive survey for PRWeek found that 69 per cent of the public did not trust PRs and placed them in a similar bracket to journalists
, although not as low down the trust tree as their regard for politicians. Did this constitute a crisis in confidence in the industry? Not a bit of it, said PR professionals, who argued that the public only mistrusted PR because it did not fully understand what its practitioners did. If people were asked whether they would like to hear about a breakthrough cancer treatment, the answers might have been different, argued one professional.
4. To debate your political or opponent on TV or not?
5. Who’s bringing home the bacon?
A salary survey revealed that financial PRs were among the best-paid professionals in the industry
, with corporate PRs catching up fast and in-house and consumer PRs bringing up the rear. The survey found that half of respondents felt underpaid and nearly 40 per cent were unhappy with their pay rise, revealing widespread dissatisfaction with salary levels. But why do financial and corporate PR bring home the bacon? The answer, financial PR specialists told PRWeek, is that the pool of talent in that sector is smaller than in other disciplines and that there are relatively few good practitioners at a senior level.
6. Is flexible hiring the new flexible working?
7. How do you tackle the gender pay gap?
A fresh study shed light on the staggering extent of pay disparity
between men and women in PR and comms. Despite the introduction of the Equal Pay Act 45 years ago, a survey by recruitment firm, The Works Search and Selection, found an average pay gap of £10,000 persisted across the industry and that it rose to a staggering £65,000 for bonus payments. A survey later in the year, organised by PRWeek, the PRCA and Women in PR, found that employees overwhelmingly supported agencies publishing details of what they pay men and women to drive down the gender pay gap. The PRCA’s Francis Ingham promised to name and praise agencies that agreed to do so.October
8. Does the VW’s scandal reflect on the motoring industry?
9. Should you be scared of the disruptor brands?
Chief executives regard the emergence of disruptor brands such as Uber and Airbnb as a crisis worse than a cyber attack or increased regulatory scrutiny, according to a report by Burson-Marsteller
. The best advice from the experts when faced with this situation was: don’t panic and don’t try to ‘out-disrupt’ the disruptors.
10. Supermarket sweep
Tracking by Brandwatch for PRWeek
found that the John Lewis Christmas campaign, once again, trounced its rivals when it came to share of voice on social media but how does it keep doing it? One expert went as far as to suggest that John Lewis has, over the years, created a pop culture moment with the public eagerly awaiting the retailer’s new campaign in the run up to Christmas. And that is talkability that is very hard to buy.