Flack on Friday: Teneo BR's risk, conference crazies, PRs get high, Beattie's investment, sweary Alan

Teneo BR brushes up on risk, conference craziness, getting high (fives) at the PRCA and more from PRWeek UK.

Teneo BR brushes up on risk

Flack came across an intriguing line in the 2016 accounts of Teneo Blue Rubicon, published this week. The 'principal risks' section of the directors report says: "Employees are well briefed on the use of social media and the need to act ethically and professionally. Client activities are kept under review and any concerns and the associated risks are discussed and assessed regularly by the directors."

What could they be referring to? The famous recent case of an agency falling into administration after work for a controversial client which included alleged setting up of fake social media accounts? No, as it happens, that policy is nothing new - the same wording appeared in Teneo BR's accounts last year.

Bell Pottinger's annual accounts, meanwhile, said this about risk last year: "We are very mindful of the need to maintain our own reputation and before accepting any client that might impact our own reputation we give careful consideration at a senior level as to whether the appointment should be accepted." It would certainly seem wise, Flack thinks.

Conference craziness

Flack has been on double duty this week, having filed on Wednesday from Brighton and the Labour Party Conference, where Google's narrative, the parliamentary football team, Tom Watson's wisecracks and a pier-less piece of PR were on show. Check it out if you've not seen it already.

Getting high (fives) at the PRCA

On Friday last week, Flack was among the delegates taking part in the post-lunch Guinness World Record attempt to deliver the most high fives in one minute at the PRCA National Conference.

Whether the aim was to give a collective ‘well done’ for being such great industry, or whether it was for the sheer Friday fun of it, it wasn’t clear, although Flack suspects the latter. Sadly the throng was a few palm slaps short of beating the record. Next year.

Alan’s frank talk

One of the stars of the day was WE Communications boss Alan VanderMolen, who promised a "fast and energetic" closing speech at the PRCA conference.

He certainly delivered, using his platform to urge agencies to "reject generalisation" and warning that the industry may be in "deep shit". Use of the latter phrase prompted VanderMolen to reflect on the different approaches to cussing on either side of the Pond.

The American stated: "I love speaking in the UK because I can say shit on stage and I won’t get fired because of it." Too fudging right, Alan.

Panel show at Beattie

There has been plenty of talk in the PR world about diversification recently, but integrated agency Beattie Communications has found a new income stream that even Flack hadn't seen coming. Five years ago, the firm paid £19,136 to install 51 solar panels on the roof of its Falkirk office.

The investment is now paying off - it has now paid that off through selling surplus energy to the National Grid, and is in the black to the tune of £700 and counting.

"Beattie's announcement comes in the week Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi launched a new campaign backing offshore wind as the future of UK energy, saying it 'may just save the planet'," read a press release from the agency. Rumour has it that Beattie is now considering building a Tardis for staff use.

Pictured below is CEO Laurna Woods, shown with one of the Lightbulb Awards that the firm presents to staff who come up with the brightest idea.

Massaging the figures

According to the Health and Safety Executive, stress accounted for 37 per cent of all work-related illnesses throughout 2015 and 2016.

As a result, full-service agency Champions UK is offering its 80 staff members the chance to win a massage, once a month for the next 12 months. Each month 24 people will be chosen at random in a scheme designed to encourage health and wellbeing. That's certainly one way to bed in new recruits.

Clients offered on plate to Bowles

Familiar faces from the tech PR world were in attendance on Wednesday at a housewarming party in the new offices of CCgroup.

"I just love coming to other agencies parties and stealing their clients," said a mischievous Pete Bowles, the MD of Dynamo PR.

Kudos to the PRCA's Steve Miller for making sure he wasn't late.

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