Steve Barrett on PR

Steve Barrett is VP, editorial director of PRWeek US. Each week he shares his views on the trends and stories that are shaping the PR industry.

Contact Steve at steve.barrett@prweek.com

Nike and USWNT tap into the goodwill bank

Nike and USWNT tap into the goodwill bank

A topsy-turvy week for two iconic brands ended with both of them riding on the back of a national celebration.

Everything you need to know about Cannes Lions 2019

Everything you need to know about Cannes Lions 2019

Whether you were on La Croisette in person, or watching from afar, PRWeek rounds up the essential takeaways from an inspirational week in one easy package.

PR Lions: fewer entries, only six Golds and little for PR to celebrate

PR Lions: fewer entries, only six Golds and little for PR to celebrate

Continued frustration for PR firms as this year's Cannes Festival of Creativity underlines that communications pros don't have a monopoly on earned media.

Cannes Lions: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Cannes Lions: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

PR firms showed up pretty well in the sector's eponymous Lions category, but the shortlist was still dominated by advertising agencies.

Smoke signals set to rise out of Cannes

Smoke signals set to rise out of Cannes

An expectant PR industry is once again heading to the South of France for its annual pilgrimage to try and crack the code of winning in the PR Lions.

Cauliflower, champagne and country - but no complacency

Cauliflower, champagne and country - but no complacency

The industry gathered this week to celebrate inspiring female PR professionals, a communications leader turned successful entrepreneur, and Grammy Award-winning country star Jennifer Nettles.

PRWeek celebrates global PR practice

PRWeek celebrates global PR practice

Global initiative represents the best worldwide work as well as the cream of the crop in individual regions.

The only way is ethics

The only way is ethics

Recent developments involving Bayer, Delta Air Lines and BrewDog only serve to confirm the tricky waters PR pros in all areas of the industry must navigate in their daily practice.

10 bonus soundbites from Agency Business Report 2019

10 bonus soundbites from Agency Business Report 2019

From ethics to holding companies to culture, the benefits of midsize firms and much more.

The differing leadership styles of Mark Read and Martin Sorrell

The differing leadership styles of Mark Read and Martin Sorrell

It is just over a year since WPP founder and CEO Martin Sorrell stepped down after 33 years at the company following an internal investigation into accusations of personal misconduct.

Biden botched touchy feely crisis response

Biden botched touchy feely crisis response

The former vice president has gone from everyone's favorite uncle to the family friend people want to avoid at Thanksgiving in the space of a few short weeks.

Purpose principles are right in PR's wheelhouse

Purpose principles are right in PR's wheelhouse

Everybody's talking about purpose, but behind the words must lie authenticity.

Women in PR find work-life balance as pay gap narrows

Women in PR find work-life balance as pay gap narrows

The gender pay gap in PR is starting to close, but there is still a long way to go before genuine equality is achieved.

Agency branding must be more than just word salad

Agency branding must be more than just word salad

BCW is the latest PR agency to set out a new stall in a bid to differentiate itself in the market.

A night of inspirational communication

A night of inspirational communication

Last night's PRWeek U.S. Awards highlighted the best work of the past 12 months as well as the previous two decades, but one young communicator eclipsed the professionals with his remarkable presence and poise.

Celebrating women in PR

Celebrating women in PR

International Women's Day provides an excellent opportunity to pay tribute to the amazing female communicators who lead the way in the PR business.

Goodbye Texties and Biters, hello Archies

Goodbye Texties and Biters, hello Archies

As Text100 and Bite re-form as Archetype, former staffers have been reminiscing about the fundamental role the two tech firms played in their careers.

Edelman stumbles in pursuit of $1bn revenue target

Edelman stumbles in pursuit of $1bn revenue target

As a bellwether of the overall health of the PR industry, Edelman's 2018 financials are a stark reminder of the challenges of achieving real growth on top of a large existing base in the current economic climate.

Ye olde corntroversy is a complex brew

Ye olde corntroversy is a complex brew

Social media spats such as the Bud Light corn syrup affair dominate Twitter for a few days, but do consumers really pay attention and do they benefit the brands involved?

Football is a temperature gauge for America

Football is a temperature gauge for America

As an expectant nation prepares for a classic Super Bowl match-up on Sunday, the defining narrative has returned to the iconic battles playing out on the field rather than side issues such as race relations and concussion.

Despite the skeptics, Davos is all business

Despite the skeptics, Davos is all business

Steve Barrett reports from the small ski resort in Switzerland that becomes the focal point of global politicians, businesspeople, and nonprofits for one week in January every year.

Gillette debate cuts two ways

Gillette debate cuts two ways

A new ad from the iconic razor brand has set the internet on fire with debates around Gillette's new The Best Men Can Be positioning - this and other recent developments prove gender politics post #MeToo still have a long way to go.

9 things to know about 2019

9 things to know about 2019

PR doesn't exist in a vacuum and there are numerous tectonic shifts in the business and political landscape that shape the environment within which communicators operate.

Brands should be sincere and strategic when saying sorry

Brands should be sincere and strategic when saying sorry

Apologizing for public gaffes with self-effacing humor can work wonders

The road ahead in 2019

The road ahead in 2019

A long read for the holidays reflecting on developments in PR, politics, and business in 2018 and analyzing the implications and trends set to define next year.

Truth well told is excellent mantra for future

Truth well told is excellent mantra for future

The inspiration on show at PRWeek events this week shows there's more that binds us together than divides us in an environment where a truth well told is an appropriate guiding principle.

Keep calm and communicate on

Keep calm and communicate on

High-profile developments such as GM's business transformation announcement on Monday call for strong and considered reactions from all concerned - especially the communications department.

What the !#@% is PR?

What the !#@% is PR?

PR firms are going to market in an increasingly diverse number of ways, with some doubling down on the term PR while others tout their wider marketing credentials - the truth is there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Remember Jamal Khashoggi by fighting for a free press

Remember Jamal Khashoggi by fighting for a free press

The brutal murder and dismemberment of The Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident in a place that was supposed to be a safe haven is a somber reminder that we can't take universal freedoms for granted.

The death of horizontality

The death of horizontality

WPP this week retired its Health & Wellness operating brand and will move the constituent parts into group agencies in the first half of 2019.

Sector has seat at table as PRWeek U.S. turns 20

Sector has seat at table as PRWeek U.S. turns 20

After two decades of existence in the U.S., PRWeek is pleased to report that the communications profession has earned its share of influence with CEOs and C-suite executives.

Four brand films, four diverse stories and outcomes

Four brand films, four diverse stories and outcomes

Advertising Week proved a relevant opportunity to take the temperature of brand filmmaking and be inspired by great proponents of their craft.

Diverse teams produce better work

Diverse teams produce better work

Research shows diverse groups of workers come up with better ideas - and that adage is proved by the inspirational work and leaders honored at the eighth iteration of PRWeek's high-profile diversity initiative.

Don't ask permission, just do it

Don't ask permission, just do it

White House political veteran Jennifer Palmieri this week passed on advice that all communicators can learn from at USC's Lead On! Women in Communication Leadership Forum.

PRWeek embraces new ideas at Chicago conference

PRWeek embraces new ideas at Chicago conference

Chicago's Ideas Week from October 15-21 is an appropriate context for PRWeek to convene the PR industry for its high-profile and inspiring annual conference.

Brands: Doing nothing is no longer an option

Brands: Doing nothing is no longer an option

Taking a stand is fraught with risk and potential downsides, but iconic brands such as Nike and Levi's are embracing danger and drawing a line in the sand on issues as various as immigration, race relations, gun violence, and trade tariffs.

Steve Schmidt says he "tap-danced on the White House lawn" - but never lied

Steve Schmidt says he "tap-danced on the White House lawn" - but never lied

Portrayed by Woody Harrelson in a 2012 HBO film, the former Schwarzenegger, George W. Bush, and John McCain adviser is still the king of the one-liners.

Don't lose your head in the dog days of August

Don't lose your head in the dog days of August

PR has shown no signs of slowing down this summer, but the cloying heat of August seems to have led some communicators to completely lose the plot.

Helicopter view of marketing services won't favor PR

Helicopter view of marketing services won't favor PR

PR is in danger of being marginalized as holding company consortia throw earned media into the pot in the hunt for blockbuster integrated big brand media and creative pitch wins.

PR people aren't defense lawyers

PR people aren't defense lawyers

Ethical considerations should underpin all credible PR practice - not everyone deserves PR representation and black ops should not be part of the communications playbook.

9 top tips to win a PRWeek Award

9 top tips to win a PRWeek Award

Awards season is upon us - check out Steve Barrett's essential 9-point guide to producing winning entries.

Axios is the epitome of a smart modern media brand

Axios is the epitome of a smart modern media brand

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen have quickly established their latest media venture as a must-read alternative to mainstream media.

Brand Russia wins the World Cup

Brand Russia wins the World Cup

Fears about holding the biggest global sporting event in a country seen as cold, unfriendly, and austere were ultimately proved unfounded and a festival of football and friendship emerged from the brand misconceptions.

Earned media dominates Cannes, but PR firms don't have a monopoly on it

Earned media dominates Cannes, but PR firms don't have a monopoly on it

The winners of the 2018 PR Lions exhibited very similar characteristics to previous years, with creative agencies dominating PR firms' home turf once again - but there was encouragement in other Cannes categories.

Cannes, soccer, more stunts, and Edelman

Cannes, soccer, more stunts, and Edelman

A very short missive this week as I'm hitting the deadline buffers before I head off to Cannes for the annual Festival of Creativity and then the World Cup in Russia.

Denny's proves there's life in the old stunt yet

Denny's proves there's life in the old stunt yet

Stunt is a word PR pros have been trying to escape for years, but this week suggests there is still mileage in this old school way of attracting attention - as long as it is accompanied by a bit of plain old common sense too.

Sorrell successor should place diversity at top of to-do list

Sorrell successor should place diversity at top of to-do list

As an iconic leader unveils his new plans, his former employer's annual review draws a perfunctory line under its founder's 33-year contribution to the company.

Cannes PR Jury is bigger but smaller this year

Cannes PR Jury is bigger but smaller this year

Forty jurors will deliberate online but the final judging group in Cannes will comprise just 10 people rather than the usual 20.

Global Awards show strength of PR profession around world

Global Awards show strength of PR profession around world

This week's PRWeek Global Awards winners and a taste of the bullish U.K. PR sector represent a welcome contrast to the relative stasis in the U.S.

Shock and brawl can be an effective strategy

Shock and brawl can be an effective strategy

Communicators have a natural tendency to play safe and fly beneath the radar, but lessons from combat theory in Top Gun and our current President suggest it pays to embrace chaos and confusion once in a while.