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

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5 things for your immediate PRWeek to-do list

The next eight days are super-important on the PRWeek calendar – make sure you have all your ducks in a row regarding the PRWeek Awards, PRDecoded, Purpose Awards and other brand milestones.

Business man's hands using fire extinguisher on flames

Crisis and listening now top PR skills hierarchy

While writing is still important, PRWeek’s latest in-depth research shows it has dropped to third place in the skills league table.

Clean Creatives posters linking Edelman, Ogilvy, Weber Shandwick and BBDO to fossil fuel companies

PR can help fix the world’s addiction to fossil fuels

The PR industry must push back against the narrative played out at this week’s UN General Assembly where the profession was portrayed in pejorative fashion as a dark art practiced by spin doctors.

Stock image of people standing and their feet

The Changemakers diversity conundrum

Diverse PR pros are invited to the ball but their dance cards are still empty.

Queen Elizabeth II

Thank you for your service: 'A jewel to the world and not just the UK'

Queen Elizabeth II was Britain’s longest-serving monarch and often acted as its chief communications officer.

Blog

PR has a PR problem

Public relations is a valuable and rewarding career on a par with professional services such as law and finance – but the PR industry needs to do a better job of communicating that to the brightest graduates.

Sunlit modern office with the words "Welcome Back" spelled out by hanging plants on the wall

5 things to watch post-Labor Day

With COVID-19 finally disappearing into the rear-view mirror the PR industry is returning from its summer break with plenty of items on its to-do list.

Kylie Jenner screen shot collage featuring Gloss Drip lip gloss

The sun is rising in the east and west for TikTok

Every communicator and marketer now needs to know how to operate effectively on TikTok, which has rapidly established itself as the most important social network for young consumers.

Headshots of Danny Astoria, Elisa Baker, Amina Colter, Felipe Ucros and Johanna Herrmann

40 Under 40: Inspiring communications drawn from inspiring talent

This year's diverse group of 40 Under 40 honorees lead by example in both expertly addressing the evolving challenges of modern-day PR while also giving back.

Handcuffs on top of dollar bills, displaying corruption and fraud concept

A wake-up call for PR agency leaders

This week’s news that former Weber Shandwick COO Frank Okunak embezzled over $16 million from Interpublic Group’s largest PR firm came as a shock to most people in the industry.

Hand pointing to economic gains and losses graph on screen

Omnicom farmers have been replaced by hunters

This week’s holding company financials provided valuable insight into the likely impact of a recession on the PR economy and suggested the sector is continuing on a growth trajectory even in these troubled times.

Headshots of Dan Bartlett, Corey duBrowa, Kathryn Metcalfe and Karine Jean-Pierre

An industry at the top of its game

PR is a people business and this year’s PRWeek Power Listers comprise those individuals blazing a trail in vitally important functions.

Image collage of diverse woman that make up a woman's face in profile

Changemakers will reward PR agencies that truly embrace DE&I

PRWeek’s new initiative in partnership with Google revolves around a Changemakers Advisory Council of in-house comms leaders that will identify firms that are walking the walk rather than just talking the talk.

Abortion rights supporters holding signs

A devastating development for women’s rights

Every company will need to engage employees on the new rules surrounding abortion given the fundamental link between healthcare and employment in the U.S.

The Breakaway: The First eCycling Team for Prisoners

PR is the next trend at Cannes

PR agencies may once again have struck out in their own Lions category but earned media was an intrinsic part of every successful activation at the first in-person Festival of Creativity in three years.

Carmella Glover speaking on stage

Continued energy required to defeat diversity complacency

As the second annual official federal Juneteenth holiday approaches, there is still a vast amount of work to do to combat inequality in the PR industry.

PRWeek Women of Distinction 2022 trophies

Women of Distinction inspire excellence

PRWeek’s annual salute to female PR leaders and the generation coming up behind them never fails to disappoint.

Woman holding a rainbow pride sign that reads "Oppose Don't Say Gay"

Pride is not just for the month of June

Amid a febrile and fractured environment that is increasingly frightening for marginalized members of society, the pride movement will only grow and flourish if it extends year round.

Damon Jones on stage at the PRWeek Global Awards 2022

5 takeaways from the PRWeek Global Awards

Plus, a gallery of images from the first in-person PRWeek Global Awards in three years.

Wendy Lund, Chris Berger, Isha Williams, Michelle Webb and Steve Barrett on stage

Healthcare is big business for PR firms

Revenue from healthcare and pharma clients now makes up around a third of PR agency revenues and the scope of this expertise was reflected in PRWeek’s first summit and awards devoted entirely to the area.

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Agency Business Report 2022: Stunning growth shatters expectations

PRWeek’s Steve Barrett summarizes a year of unprecedented expansion that could have been even better without the Great Resignation.

Smart phone displaying Twitter story on Elon Musk buying Twitter

The digital town square is about to get a new owner

Mercurial entrepreneur Elon Musk’s bid to acquire the social network where brands, corporations and politicians hang out will revolutionize public discourse one way or another.

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Don’t be afraid to say PR

PR firms are thriving in a world that is increasingly reliant on the high-level services they offer — but agencies are strangely reluctant to use the traditional nomenclature when they go to market.

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Booming PR industry is based on a finite resource: People

The communications industry is flourishing and demand for services has never been higher, but that has led to a squeeze on the human capital that is the essential raw material of the business.

Edelman's Ralph the Lego chatbot displayed on tablet computer screen

Paid media is a growth opportunity for PR firms

While the PR sector has its roots in earned media, the ubiquity of digital communications and marketing channels in modern storytelling means many consumer campaigns have a strong paid element.

Clip art of the diverse women taking elevator

Women of Distinction inspire all PR professionals

PRWeek is honoring the women leading the industry, the next generation of movers and shakers and how they will define the future of work.

A woman stands in a smashed window inside a residential building damaged as a result of shelling by Russian troops in Sviatoshynskyi district, Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

Role of CCO crucial as geopolitics changes everything

From ground-level descriptions of PR pros fleeing the invasion to the layered and complicated knock-on effects of economic sanctions, the conflict in Ukraine is having a massive impact.

The PRWeek Awards at the Cipriani Wall Street

Celebration amid reflection at the Oscars of PR ceremony

The first in-person PRWeek Awards gala for three years and ringing the Closing Bell at Nasdaq capped a landmark week of returning to live networking for the industry after a COVID-induced hiatus.

GENYOUth staff and volunteers and PRWeek editorial director Steve Barrett

Darius Slayton, Jamie Dimon, Nasdaq and the Oscars of PR

A super-busy period for PRWeek spans a New York Giants’ wide receiver, JPMorgan’s CEO, ringing the Closing Bell at Nasdaq and the biggest night on the PR calendar.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a press conference in Kyiv

State of Union spreads to Ukraine

Business stepped into the fray as this week's address to the country by President Biden was dominated by messages to the world about the illegal invasion of President Zelensky's Ukraine by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Kamila Valieva devastated after her Olympic Games ordeal.

The Olympics: It’s complicated

Winter Olympics athletes in Beijing are striving to preserve the idealistic and purposeful values of the Games and protect “chivalry, honor and glory” despite the harsh realities of the modern world.

Richard Edelman at the We Are All Human VIP Gala Committee Reception.

Say hello to the first $1 billion PR agency

A strong rebound after a tough pandemic year is propelling the world’s largest PR firm toward a totemic financial milestone – and this rising tide reflects a lift for all boats.

Joe Rogan wears an Onnit T-shirt.

Joe Rogan case mirrors the American conversation

Trust in an already embattled media was put to the test this week as three high-profile companies dealt with crises that threatened their reputations.

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The power of capitalism and wokeness are not mutually exclusive

This week’s spate of high-profile shareholder letters, deal-making and 2021 financial releases illustrate the fundamental tension between purpose and balance sheets.

Andy Polansky and family

Polansky: A class act who leaves big shoes to fill

The announcement that PR legend Andy Polansky is retiring in June marks the end of an era at Interpublic Group - and in the PR industry in general.

Sticky notes on refrigerator door

Six things to do in January

It’s a busy start to the year for PR professionals and PRWeek – here are a few things to prioritize.

Story Worldwide's Simon Kelly.

Say it loud: PR is an impact business

As we call it a wrap on a difficult 2021, let’s be proud of the PR industry’s achievements this year and push back against lazy stereotypes about it.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and chief of staff Judy Miller.

Media relations is still key in effective PR practice

The honorees for PRWeek’s Hall of Fame Class of 2021 demonstrate why media relations extends way beyond smiling and dialing and remains one of the most important elements of the PR toolkit.

The GE headquarters on Necco Street in Boston, MA

GE was the training ground for a generation of PR talent

As the industrial behemoth prepares to split into three separate entities, it’s worth reflecting on the enormous amount of respected communications leaders who plied their trade at GE.

Man using laptop in home office with feet on desk

The new non-mandated hybrid workplace

Post-pandemic workers are looking for very different things from their employers and offices. Progressive companies must embrace this new reality rather than trying to put the mandate genie back in the bottle.

Should PR firms work with Big Oil?

The debate centers on whether agencies can achieve more by helping legacy climate polluters transform their companies than by refusing to take their business.

WPP’s Q3 financials prove PR is on a tear

Purpose, reputation, employee activism, political polarization and a racial reckoning are fueling big spikes in demand for smart communications counsel.

The 40 Under 40 class of 2021 honorees celebrate in Manhattan last night with their trophies. (Credit: Erica Berger)

PR's next generation of leaders is vibrant and diverse

This year's 40 Under 40 honorees have proven their mettle during a challenging year that pushed the comms, PR and marketing functions to new heights.

Purpose brings PR world back together after two years

Thursday night’s Purpose Awards celebration was PRWeek’s first large-scale in-person event since December 2019.

A mask-wearing activist depicting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outside the European Commission in Brussels last December. (Credit: Getty Images)

Zuckerberg is the problem at Facebook

The precocious founder and CEO of the social behemoth is failing in his mission to create a more open and connected world.

HP's latest ad campaign envisages a new world where people forsake the office and 'Work Anywhere.' (Credit: HP.)

People don’t want to come back to the office

Most office-based business functions are allowing workers to go back on a voluntary basis – which in practice means everyone’s staying at home.

CEOs are empowering PR pros to lead their purpose agendas

PRWeek’s September-October issue examines the major players in the push for purpose.

Communicators: 'It’s our time'

The latest edition of PRWeek’s seminal industry survey shows the PR function is more valued than ever at organizations, but that brings with it additional pressure to deliver.

Strength through adversity

So many things have fundamentally changed in the past two decades since 9/11, but the most important thing is for us to remember those who perished and make sure we all honor their memory with a renewed spirit of togetherness.

A PR legend, centenarian and a gentleman

David Finn is one of the founding fathers of PR and a throwback to the genesis of the communications industry.