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

Hellmann's Mayonnaise bottle with spoon

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.

Pfizer's newly FDA-approved Comirnaty vaccine is the latest health narrative dominating PR. (Pic: Getty Images.)

Healthcare fueled PR’s recovery over the past 12 months

The continued impact of COVID-19, vaccine roll-outs, booster shots and health equity plus groundbreaking technological innovation mean healthcare is a more ubiquitous factor than ever across communications.

Milton Friedman got it wrong

Two years ago, America Inc. signed up to a purpose agenda that aims to return capitalism to its responsible roots rather than solely lining shareholders’ pockets, but the reality doesn’t yet match the rhetoric.

Tokyo's closing ceremony was fitting end to a two-week celebration of sporting inspiration. (Pic credit: Getty Images.)

Olympics restored faith in a troubled world

Initially much-derided in its host country and around the globe, the Tokyo games eventually demonstrated the enduring strength of the Olympic spirit and its unique appeal to brands.

Just when we thought we were out, it pulls us back in

The coronavirus Delta variant is making everyone feel like it is déjà vu all over again in terms of hybrid working and a return to the office.

40 Under 40: The diverse faces of the next generation of PR leaders

PRWeek US will celebrate the 40 Under 40 influencers and innovators guiding the industry forward at a live event on October 28, 2021. Tickets are now available.

Going for gold - the Olympic dream lives on

As one of the most unusual and problematic Olympic Games gets set to start in Tokyo, communicators and marketers are tweaking their normal playbook to take advantage of what is still a unique branding opportunity.

Power players drive effective communication

Pfizer’s Sally Susman tops a Power List of 50 individuals making a real difference to business, brands and society.

Say hello to the new PRWeek

As we prepare to reintroduce in-person events, we’ve modernized our logo and refreshed our website to bring you even more of the best information and insight about the increasingly important worlds of PR and communication.

Declan Kelly affair is not a good look for the PR profession

The Teneo CEO’s resignation this week following revelations about inappropriate behavior at a fundraiser in May has put the advisory firm’s whole modus operandi in the spotlight.

9 top takeaways from the Cannes PR and other Lions

The annual smorgasbord of creativity and case studies is taking place virtually after a two-year hiatus – here’s what every PR pro needs to know about the results and trends so far.

Cannes Lions PR shortlist tells a familiar tale

If the PR shortlist is any indication of overall trends, PR firms once again struggled to compete with their advertising colleagues when it comes to recognition at this virtual renewal of the Festival of Creativity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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