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

Press conferences: It’s complicated

Press conferences: It’s complicated

From Naomi Osaka, to Ronaldo, to Paul Pogba, to Biden and Putin, recent weeks have seen several examples of the influence of press conferences and the evolution of their place in communications and marketing strategies.

Hall of Femme is testament to the resilience of PR

Hall of Femme is testament to the resilience of PR

The Class of 2021 represents an industry that reacted admirably to the challenges of the past 15 months while juggling multiple other responsibilities simultaneously.

Brand film comes of age

Brand film comes of age

The work on display in PRWeek, Campaign and MM+M’s celebration of brand filmmaking is a testament to a format that is increasingly driving return on marketing and communications investment.

CDC botched mask guidance

CDC botched mask guidance

Last week’s announcement on mask-wearing by the CDC led to more confusion than clarification, and underlined the fact that health issues will be on every PR person’s radar for the foreseeable future.

LGBTQ visibility leads to acceptance

LGBTQ visibility leads to acceptance

The latest phase of Procter & Gamble and GLAAD’s Visibility Project demonstrates that inclusion in marketing is a powerful force for social change – as long as it is authentic.

The big return to hybrid work has many nuances

The big return to hybrid work has many nuances

As "le grand retour" looms on the horizon for the people business that is PR, employers and employees alike are working out the full implications of the new normal.

Not so super communication disrespects sporting heritage

Not so super communication disrespects sporting heritage

The recent abortive attempt to upturn the structure of European soccer was an object lesson in how not to treat consumers and how not to safeguard a brand.

8 takeaways from the Agency Business Report

8 takeaways from the Agency Business Report

PRWeek’s annual review of the agency sector profiled an industry that showed its mettle in a super-challenging year.

Strategic PR counsel is valued more than it’s ever been

Strategic PR counsel is valued more than it’s ever been

This week’s statement by America plc on the voting laws issue was another example of the central role of communications in determining business strategy and shaping corporate reputation.

Life is not what happens but how you deal with it

Life is not what happens but how you deal with it

Communications leads at major companies are overseeing one long political-style campaign in which their brand is the candidate and the electorate is unforgiving.

Do the right thing

Do the right thing

With the anniversary of George Floyd’s killing approaching, business is being asked to show the receipts for its initial responses to last year’s racial reckoning in the United States.

Racism is a virus, not Asians: #StopAAPIHate

Racism is a virus, not Asians: #StopAAPIHate

Recent egregious events in Atlanta are the culmination of centuries of discrimination against Asian-Americans – brands have a responsibility to step up and take action in the same way they did around the Black Lives Matter movement.

Work and an industry to be genuinely proud of

Work and an industry to be genuinely proud of

The 2021 PRWeek Awards winners reflect an industry that really stepped up to the plate and demonstrated its effectiveness after the country was poleaxed by COVID-19.

Staffers will remember how employers treated them during COVID

Staffers will remember how employers treated them during COVID

As the first anniversary of the coronavirus lockdown looms, PRWeek’s Salary Survey provides a revealing insight into how the pandemic impacted the PR industry.

NFTs could revolutionize marketing and communications

NFTs could revolutionize marketing and communications

Blockchain underscored virtual non-fungible tokens are currently dominated by digital art, but it won’t be long before brands get on board and explore the myriad possibilities of this new storytelling environment.

If Biden Administration is serious about respect, Ducklo had to go

If Biden Administration is serious about respect, Ducklo had to go

Egregious behavior by Jen Psaki’s deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo ceded much of the moral high ground Biden’s comms team assumed when it took over last month.

Moms facing a crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic

Moms facing a crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic

As the coronavirus lockdown approaches its one-year anniversary, the intense pressure on women in PR and the general workforce is starting to take its toll.

Join the Clubhouse

Join the Clubhouse

PR pros take note: the latest social media sensation is nothing to do with golf and it’s a much more engaging and diverse place to hang out than the 19th hole.

The power of the crowd

The power of the crowd

Access to information and communication channels is no longer monopolized by the privileged few – and this democratization has big implications for PR pros.

White House press secretary confronts war on truth

White House press secretary confronts war on truth

Obama era press veteran Jen Psaki quickly demonstrated that communication with the American people and the rest of the world will be very different under the Biden administration.

Business can combat existential threat to democracy

Business can combat existential threat to democracy

The latest Edelman Trust Barometer places business above the other three major institutions - it must use this trust credit to aggressively combat misinformation and erosion of truth.

It’s on all of us to stop this, right now, before it’s too late

It’s on all of us to stop this, right now, before it’s too late

The disinformation driving Wednesday’s insurrection in Washington can be stopped, but everyone must do their part.

Stunning demonstration of white privilege desecrates Brand America

Stunning demonstration of white privilege desecrates Brand America

The heinous mob attacks on the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday finally provided a wake-up call to those who have enabled a poisonous level of social discourse over the past four years.

Steve Barrett on PR: Let’s make America healthy again

Steve Barrett on PR: Let’s make America healthy again

If 2021 is to be a better year than 2020, federal, state and local government and other institutions need to step up and do a lot better.

Steve Barrett on PR: 10 snapshots from 2020

Steve Barrett on PR: 10 snapshots from 2020

The essential images that defined a year nobody anticipated.

Steve Barrett on PR: It’s time to be comfortable being uncomfortable on racial equity

Steve Barrett on PR: It’s time to be comfortable being uncomfortable on racial equity

Recent moves by Nasdaq and a series of passionate discussions at PRWeek’s Racial Equity Summit signpost the road ahead for real progress to be made on diversity in the PR industry.

Presidents, Hollywood stars and high-profile CEOs all value PR highly

Presidents, Hollywood stars and high-profile CEOs all value PR highly

The caliber of individuals paying tribute to this year’s PRWeek Hall of Fame honorees is a testament to how highly communications is regarded by powerful individuals and organizations.

Communicating in a divided America

Communicating in a divided America

In such a polarized environment, smart communications counsel is required more than ever before – but it has to be extremely nuanced and take account of all viewpoints and stakeholders.

Steve Barrett on PR - Note to Trump: “Enjoy your night mate”

Steve Barrett on PR - Note to Trump: “Enjoy your night mate”

President Trump’s response this week to the prospect of losing the election may have been authentic and on brand, but it was unbefitting of the office and not what the country needs right now.

Steve Barrett on PR: Sky’s the limit for PR within agency holding companies

Steve Barrett on PR: Sky’s the limit for PR within agency holding companies

As the U.S. contemplates the next administration, recent Q3 financials show PR performing relatively well and holding companies targeting aggressive real estate realignments to reflect future working models.

Steve Barrett on PR: 6 degrees of “How the hell do I keep up…?”

Steve Barrett on PR: 6 degrees of “How the hell do I keep up…?”

Seven months of lockdown have turned even the most placid, measured and calm PR professional into a frazzled mess of contradictory feelings. But the work must go on and the pace of change and information deluge is faster than ever.

Profits and purpose are inextricably linked

Profits and purpose are inextricably linked

The work honored at this week’s PRWeek Purpose Awards and the sessions at the PRDecoded: Purpose – Time for Action conference provide the templates for future communicators and businesspeople.

Steve Barrett on PR: 5 reasons you can’t afford to miss PRDecoded

Steve Barrett on PR: 5 reasons you can’t afford to miss PRDecoded

Next week’s PRWeek PRDecoded: Purpose in Action conference and the Purpose Awards have never been more relevant for ambitious PR professionals.

Steve Barrett on PR: Fred Perry fights back against extremist adoption

Steve Barrett on PR: Fred Perry fights back against extremist adoption

The iconic British clothing brand has halted sales of its black and yellow shirt in the U.S. due to its uptake by neo-Nazi thugs – but how should marketers respond when their brands are subverted?

SWAT mentality will persist after COVID-19

SWAT mentality will persist after COVID-19

Communications teams have led a change in culture at organizations that is a necessary and overdue disruption.

PR can flourish in these trying times by swiftly pivoting

PR can flourish in these trying times by swiftly pivoting

PRWeek has doubled down to reflect all aspects of lockdown life, PR’s diversity conundrum and the primacy of purpose in producing real change.

A pause for reflection on purpose

A pause for reflection on purpose

At a time when society is being challenged to the extreme on so many fronts, it has never been more important for businesses and brands to step up and provide the purposeful leadership for which so many people are crying out.

Keep the faith as a COVID-19 summer turns into fall

Keep the faith as a COVID-19 summer turns into fall

The resilience of everyone has been tested to the extreme by the events of this year, but the PR industry has shown it has the strength and resilience to come through the other side battered but unbowed.

Tourists: “We’re sorry. And we want you back.”

Tourists: “We’re sorry. And we want you back.”

Deserted streets and strangely muted cities and other destinations neutered by the coronavirus pandemic have reminded everyone how much visitors contribute to their DNA.

A new ice cream jingle for a new era

A new ice cream jingle for a new era

Why Unilever’s Good Humor ice cream brand inserted itself into a historical discussion about the racist roots of an iconic jingle.

Leadership vacuum at PRSA needs filling

Leadership vacuum at PRSA needs filling

As the search for a new CEO of the country’s largest PR trade association stretches well into its second year, the need for direction and stability becomes ever-more urgent.

It’s OK to not be OK

It’s OK to not be OK

Michael Phelps’ comments last night as he accepted the 2020 Communicator of the Year title during a virtual gala ceremony summed up the spirit of an extraordinary year for the PRWeek Awards.

WFH: it’s time to get your technology up to speed

WFH: it’s time to get your technology up to speed

In the early days of lockdown, allowances were made for people working from home. But, five months in, there's really no longer an excuse for not having a professional quality internet and work-from-home setup.

Steve Barrett on PR: We need more women leaders

Steve Barrett on PR: We need more women leaders

COVID-19 will last much longer than we thought. Our response can't drift like it has been. Business must step up to fill the leadership void. And we can learn from the likes of Jacinda Ardern and Angela Merkel.

The new, diverse faces of the Power List

The new, diverse faces of the Power List

Damon Jones is No. 1 as 21 communicators make their first appearance.

Steve Barrett on PR: If you want more hunters you have to allow them to hunt

Steve Barrett on PR: If you want more hunters you have to allow them to hunt

The surprise departure this week of the first woman to run a top five global PR firm speaks to the big challenges of leading an agency brand within the tight confines of a holding company structure.

No more excuses. PR firms have to make progress on diversity.

No more excuses. PR firms have to make progress on diversity.

Analysis of diversity data gathered for PRWeek’s Agency Business Report shows there simply hasn’t been enough progress in the past five years – and the industry shouldn’t wait for a lawsuit to rectify this.

Steve Barrett on PR: A Change Is Gonna Come

Steve Barrett on PR: A Change Is Gonna Come

Sam Cooke’s iconic song was written in 1964 – 56 years later, could we finally be on the threshold of real change in providing equal opportunity to people of all colors?

Steve Barrett on PR: Business must lead the quest for equal justice under law

Steve Barrett on PR: Business must lead the quest for equal justice under law

Brands and corporations have a responsibility to fill the leadership vacuum and use their scale to effect real change in American society and end racial injustice.

Steve Barrett on PR: Only when the tide goes out do you see who's been skinny-dipping

Steve Barrett on PR: Only when the tide goes out do you see who's been skinny-dipping

At a time of unprecedented uncertainty, it’s tempting for business leaders to abandon their purpose principles – but American workers and consumers will remember who did the right thing during COVID-19.