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

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.

Steve Barrett on PR: The very best of global practice

Steve Barrett on PR: The very best of global practice

The PRWeek Global Awards 2020, unveiled over the past few days, show PR is demonstrating innovation, smart strategy and creativity and proving its effectiveness in every part of the globe.

Steve Barrett on PR: You will emerge from COVID-19 a better PR pro

Steve Barrett on PR: You will emerge from COVID-19 a better PR pro

Times of crisis are never pleasant to endure, but necessity is the mother of invention and experiences forged during tough times will inform careers moving forward.

Steve Barrett on PR: A night at the (brand) movies

Steve Barrett on PR: A night at the (brand) movies

The fifth Brand Film Awards celebration was a perfect way to while away an hour or two under lockdown and a tribute to the evolution of brand filmmaking.

Agency holding companies buckle up for tough ride ahead

Agency holding companies buckle up for tough ride ahead

The culmination of Q1 financial results season shed light on the performance and strategies of the main marketing services networks – with bright spots dotted among inevitable caution.

Steve Barrett on PR: Firms show big US growth before crisis

Steve Barrett on PR: Firms show big US growth before crisis

PRWeek's Agency Business Report, released this week, detailed strong performance in 2019 and the start of this year, derailed by COVID-19, which is fundamentally changing PR, business and life in general.

Steve Barrett on PR: 'Densification seems arcane overnight'

Steve Barrett on PR: 'Densification seems arcane overnight'

Small and medium PR firms are embracing WFH culture and forging new team bonds that will serve them well in the post-pandemic future.

Steve Barrett on PR: Leaders that don’t cut will emerge stronger

Steve Barrett on PR: Leaders that don’t cut will emerge stronger

Past recessions have provoked knee-jerk cuts in marketing services companies, but the smart move may be to hold nerve and treat the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to double down and rebound stronger.

Steve Barrett on PR: World will never be the same again

Steve Barrett on PR: World will never be the same again

The coronavirus pandemic is causing fundamental changes to significant parts of our daily lives that will result in a new normal once COVID-19 is defeated.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

Some of the individuals may be surprising, but true leaders are really stepping up to the plate in the fight against coronavirus – and they are doing it using authentic and empathetic communication.

A sense of urgency is vital to cope with COVID-19

A sense of urgency is vital to cope with COVID-19

Concerted and acute action must continue to be implemented if the U.S. is to avoid what happened in Italy – and communicators are crucial in getting these messages across.

Unprecedented times require clear and calm communication

Unprecedented times require clear and calm communication

The U.S. can come through the COVID-19 crisis, albeit not completely unscathed, but it will require robust leadership and much stronger and more effective emergency measures.

Corona survey reinforced negative clichés about PR and journalism

Corona survey reinforced negative clichés about PR and journalism

A PR firm’s survey with dubious methodology and scaremongering headline findings provided the backdrop for a depressing cautionary tale about how quick clicks and not robust journalism are driving modern media.

How to get Kimye to tweet your brand for free

How to get Kimye to tweet your brand for free

Smart social media activations rather than expensive broadcast TV ads are the battleground for fast food brands in their mission to capture the attention of customers.

No foregone conclusions in modern PR firm practice

No foregone conclusions in modern PR firm practice

From the challenges of identity, structure and positioning to imponderables such as the coronavirus, there are no quick fixes to the growth conundrum for agency leaders.

Reputation matters

Reputation matters

The new decade has started with a bang and many major reminders of the power of communications and optics in the way brands, institutions and individuals are viewed.

Roll over Beethoven: owned media replaces traditional

Roll over Beethoven: owned media replaces traditional

Classical music artists such as Yo-Yo Ma no longer rely on reviews and local media coverage to promote their work - instead, they have created direct relationships with fans through owned and social media channels.

Capitalism is either broken or the greatest development in modern history

Capitalism is either broken or the greatest development in modern history

Big debates among the Davoisie at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland this week centered on businesses and brands that finally seem primed to turn endless talk into real action.

The PR rep for the free world is MIA

The PR rep for the free world is MIA

President Trump's unique communications strategy means his press secretary Stephanie Grisham contributes little to the administration's narrative, either as a democratic check and balance or a vehicle for de-escalation.

Goodbye to a PR legend

Goodbye to a PR legend

Harold Burson's contribution to the PR industry was immeasurable in so many ways, but most of all he was a genuinely nice person and a great mentor who inspired thousands of PR pros around the world.

Brand film was greatest investment BMW ever made

Brand film was greatest investment BMW ever made

The fifth iteration of the Brand Film Awards will take the temperature of a craft that has matured exponentially in the half decade since they were launched.

To make an end is to make a beginning

To make an end is to make a beginning

Reflections on a decade editing PRWeek US and covering the PR industry as the 2010s come to an end and the 2020s loom on the horizon.

Big PR firms get set to tackle a new decade

Big PR firms get set to tackle a new decade

A frenetic week of holding company agency developments at IPG and Omnicom set the scene for evolution and revolution in 2020 and beyond.

Lessons from the world's largest marketer

Lessons from the world's largest marketer

Procter & Gamble's Marc Pritchard is reinventing brand-building and his description this week of the CPG behemoth's journey to a state of perpetual disruption warrants close examination.

Giving thanks for turkey, loved ones and safe travels

Giving thanks for turkey, loved ones and safe travels

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, celebration and, well, let's be honest... overindulging in food and drink. But, while we're enjoying the holiday, let's not forget those less fortunate than ourselves.

Get ready for #PRWeekPubCrawl

Get ready for #PRWeekPubCrawl

This holiday season, PRWeek is on a quest to find out which are the best U.S. bars for PR professionals and who's having the most fun at their local.

Dialogue can trump anger in the impeachment age

Dialogue can trump anger in the impeachment age

A new initiative wants chief communications officers to lead the way in encouraging business to improve the level of civil discourse.

The doctor will interact with you now

The doctor will interact with you now

Health Influencer 50 number one Michael Phelps is a prime example of the numerous high-profile influences on people's awareness across a whole gamut of issues that is completely changing the face of healthcare.

Engage brain before diving in on social media

Engage brain before diving in on social media

Several basic bloopers this week emphasized once again that brand marketers must do their due diligence before pressing the button on "smart" social media activations.

Why Facebook needs a new CEO

Why Facebook needs a new CEO

The social network's iconic but awkward founder gave a lackluster performance in front of Congress this week and it's not going to be good enough if Facebook wants to turn around its narrative.

5 top takeaways from #WAGathaChristie

5 top takeaways from #WAGathaChristie

An epic social media spat between the wives of two famous English soccer players contains several teachable moments for PR pros.

Liquid or glue? Communications is in flux

Liquid or glue? Communications is in flux

PRWeek and BU's latest landmark survey of the communications industry uncovers many essential themes that should inform modern practice.

Yes. No. Don't know. Next question.

Yes. No. Don't know. Next question.

The human attention span is now 8 seconds, 1 second less than a goldfish.

Needle moves on diversity - but only slowly

Needle moves on diversity - but only slowly

An evening celebrating progress and best practice on diversity also underlined the fact that there is still a long way to go before genuine inclusion in the PR industry is achieved.

An existential moment for in-house communications leads

An existential moment for in-house communications leads

CEOs are looking for help as they adapt to a world of permanent disruption and they're not fussy about where they get it from.

Talkin' 'bout a Revolution

Talkin' 'bout a Revolution

A reflection on two decades covering amazing change in the communications and marketing space.

7 things to take into the holiday weekend

7 things to take into the holiday weekend

As we reach the dog days of summer and prepare for the busy final third of the year, August hasn't exactly been silly season but a few fun things caught my eye this week - along with some more serious items.

Purpose to drive business as much as shareholder value

Purpose to drive business as much as shareholder value

America's business leaders have spoken - they will no longer run their companies with shareholders at the top of their priority lists.

Have we been overestimating Ogilvy's PR numbers?

Have we been overestimating Ogilvy's PR numbers?

As Q2 holding company season ends, WPP's re-categorizing of the way it reports its financials measures Ogilvy's global PR revenues significantly lower than previously thought.

It's time to understand the causes of mass gun violence

It's time to understand the causes of mass gun violence

After 20 years of inaction and two more senseless mass shootings of innocent people, legislators must heed those lobbying for funds to research gun incidents.

Edelman staffers play get out of jail card

Edelman staffers play get out of jail card

In light of another employee-activated controversy over a PR agency taking on a controversial client, every firm will be calling an urgent meeting of its ethics committee - or setting one up if it doesn't already have one.