Steve Barrett on PR

Steve Barrett is editor-in-chief 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

Steve Barrett on PR: Sorrell legacy lies in the balance

Steve Barrett on PR: Sorrell legacy lies in the balance

Much of the analyst commentary about WPP post-Sorrell belies a fundamental lack of understanding about modern marketing and communications.

Zuck transformation proves power of communication

Zuck transformation proves power of communication

The awkward and sweaty young man in a hoodie has evolved into a confident and effective communicator who is a good front person for Facebook.

Editor's Letter: PR leaders take action to create equitable cultures

Editor's Letter: PR leaders take action to create equitable cultures

A PRWeek survey showed over half of respondents experienced sexual harassment in the workplace - 31% more than six times - but an overwhelming majority didn't report it

Don't underestimate the Roseanne effect

Don't underestimate the Roseanne effect

This week's hit revival of the 80s and 90s family sitcom opens a lens on Middle America often ignored by the coastal elites and provides an insight into what drives millions of ordinary U.S. consumers.

IBM: Culture supersedes individuals and org charts

IBM: Culture supersedes individuals and org charts

The news that Ketchum and Text100 will end their 17-year stints working on IBM's PR account raises questions about the integration of communications and marketing, agency longevity, and innovation in a disruptive world.

The Oscars of the PR industry

The Oscars of the PR industry

The 2018 PRWeek Awards showed a tremendous diversity of work and practitioner that bodes extremely well for the future of the profession.

Sorrell hands Imperato reins to iconic firm after years of double-digit growth

Sorrell hands Imperato reins to iconic firm after years of double-digit growth

Charismatic Cohn & Wolfe leader and WPP boss Martin Sorrell favorite Donna Imperato becomes second woman in just four months to assume CEO role at top five global PR agency.

CCOs: not 'naysayers' or 'wet blankets', rather the conscience of companies

CCOs: not 'naysayers' or 'wet blankets', rather the conscience of companies

Integrity and trust must be the objectives of all modern enterprises - and the effective CCO is at the heart of achieving these elusive goals.

Young Olympians carry torch for a brighter future

Young Olympians carry torch for a brighter future

Brands are just one of the entities that can benefit from the strength and idealism demonstrated by young people ranging from snowboarder Chloe Kim to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

AI is changing the world, but will it end in utopia or dystopia?

AI is changing the world, but will it end in utopia or dystopia?

Machine learning is ushering in a future that will revolutionize all our lives and open up many new channels of creativity - but it also facilitates those who prefer to prioritize evil over good.

Davos shows companies can't just be Switzerland

Davos shows companies can't just be Switzerland

From Edelman's Trust Barometer to Larry Fink's CEO letter to Martin Sorrell's CNBC appearance, reputation, purpose, and the important role of communications were all top of mind.

Agency identity crisis represents danger and opportunity

Agency identity crisis represents danger and opportunity

The success of a full-service Brooklyn-based agency that put digital and business transformation at its heart from the start is a beacon for rivals looking to help their clients navigate the new world of marcomms.

Editor's blog: How will "the Mikes" spend their money?

Editor's blog: How will "the Mikes" spend their money?

There were more men named Michael than there were female CEOs presenting at this week's JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. Trump's tax reform means the Mikes are sitting on big piles of cash to spend in 2018 and beyond, which has big implications for marketers and communicators.

Tough times mean greater value for comms and earned media
Editor's Choice: The PR playbook is more important than ever

Editor's Choice: The PR playbook is more important than ever

Updated - Could 2018 possibly be any more dramatic, challenging, invigorating, and - sometimes - depressing than 2017? Absolutely. But one thing is for certain: earned media will be at the center of everything.

Rafferty promotion is a start, but there's still a long way to go

Rafferty promotion is a start, but there's still a long way to go

Ketchum's promotion of a woman to the top executive role at the Omnicom firm is long overdue and must be the start of a wider movement for agency leadership to better reflect the rest of the PR workforce.

Chasing BRIC: Brazil's PR industry works to tell the story of the nation's recovery

Chasing BRIC: Brazil's PR industry works to tell the story of the nation's recovery

Three key figures in Brazilian PR share how the nation is rebuilding its reputation and economy following a wave of corruption that threw the country off the course toward reaching the potential its BRIC status forecasted in the early 2010s.

Here's to a 2018 to remember

Here's to a 2018 to remember

Steve Barrett dishes on PRWeek's 20th anniversary, the PRWeek Awards, and this year's Hall of Fame.

Ascential bids to stem Cannes bleeding

Ascential bids to stem Cannes bleeding

Organizers of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this week made their play to placate an industry increasingly frustrated by the costs associated with a week on La Croisette - but, for the PR sector at least, the changes seem positive.

Black swans are circling overhead

Black swans are circling overhead

This has been a tough year for the PR business but there may be even worse times ahead if the "fear index" is to be believed.

Time for Twitter, Facebook, and Google to show real responsibility

Time for Twitter, Facebook, and Google to show real responsibility

Whether they accept they are media companies or not, the social media behemoths have to pay more attention to security and be subject to the same rules and regulations that mainstream media players abide by.

PR Compact: an ethical dilemma

PR Compact: an ethical dilemma

When the most famous person in PR sends out a call to action it behooves us to listen - but the ethical line in the sand should be a case of common sense for most people.

You can still do a lot with 140 characters

You can still do a lot with 140 characters

Twitter is testing an extension of its character limit to 280 but this week continued to demonstrate the massive power of the existing platform, whether it is President Trump or Russian operatives trying to influence the national agenda.

The week in communications

The week in communications

Check out the highlights from a busy and interesting week in PR and communications.

Burson on the business of persuasion

Burson on the business of persuasion

Harold Burson's latest book contains some fascinating reflections on his seven-decade career in PR and lots of useful takeaways for those wanting to improve their professional practice.

Secrets to upward mobility for CCOs

Secrets to upward mobility for CCOs

Becoming CCO used to be seen as the pinnacle of achievement for a PR professional - but there's no reason why communicators shouldn't set their sights much higher.

Swipe right to embrace change

Swipe right to embrace change

As communications evolves at a frantic pace it has never been more important to keep your knowledge, skills, and inspiration up to date to remain on top of your brief.

Tragedy of Charlottesville illustrates America's deep divide

Tragedy of Charlottesville illustrates America's deep divide

Business can fill the moral vacuum created by President Trump but company CEOs have to balance a tightrope in doing so.

I, robot

I, robot

The robots may one day fulfil dystopian science fiction visions and take over the human race, but that day is still far in the future - in the meantime, marketers and communicators are working out how AI can be effectively utilized in their world.

Hey Mooch: you're not meant to be the story

Hey Mooch: you're not meant to be the story

The new White House communications director has made an immediate mark in a totally unorthodox way that isn't making anyone think of PR in a more positive light after the Sean Spicer experience.

Influencers are the changing face of marketing

Influencers are the changing face of marketing

The FTC wants to crack down on influencer marketing but, transparency aside, people increasingly turn to people like themselves when they are seeking information and entertainment.

Holding company woes represent good news for PR

Holding company woes represent good news for PR

Brian Wieser from Pivotal Research reduced price targets on agency holding companies in light of difficult trading conditions - but these structural and temporal difficulties will bring PR more central to the marketing mix.

PR's power players share their vision

PR's power players share their vision

The collected wit and wisdom of the 270 individuals in PRWeek's Global Power Book provide some significant indicators for the future of the industry.

Cannes: it's a wrap

Cannes: it's a wrap

An inspirational and energizing week on Le Côte d'Azur will reward close scrutiny by all professionals working in communications and marketing.

Tectonic plates of Cannes are shifting

Tectonic plates of Cannes are shifting

Publicis set the cat among the pigeons on its home turf when it announced it was taking a break from Cannes and industry awards for 12 months - festival organizer Ascential must ensure its upcoming consultation doesn't give everyone the hump.

Cannes talk: What's in an idea?

Cannes talk: What's in an idea?

PR firms did well at Cannes this year, but the multiple-Lions-winning Care Counts case study by Whirlpool shows just how difficult it is to give proper credits to those who work on campaigns.

9 Cannestastic things to know about next week

9 Cannestastic things to know about next week

The full skinny on Cannes as the worlds of communications, marketing, and creativity gather for the annual boondoggle/Festival of Creativity.

Lord Buckethead and Lion of London Bridge sum up crazy week

Lord Buckethead and Lion of London Bridge sum up crazy week

Triumph, tragedy, achievement, and the simply bizarre marked a week that was memorable for many reasons.

Gender equality: time for action

Gender equality: time for action

Women in PR should remain authentic and be true to themselves but exhortations to speak up and network more should be accompanied by equal pay and equal opportunities.

PR industry on verge of major breakthrough at Cannes this year

PR industry on verge of major breakthrough at Cannes this year

After years of frustration, PR is set for a new beginning at Cannes.

Detroit's bouncing back

Detroit's bouncing back

People are returning to the Motor City in droves as it reinvents itself as a hotchpotch of arts, culture, restaurants, newly thriving inner city, and affordable place to build a life and a career.

Two nations divided by a common language

Two nations divided by a common language

Visits to three top 50 global PR firms based in the U.K. provided a fresh view of the industry through a lens with many common characteristics.

Great global work from fearless PR leaders

Great global work from fearless PR leaders

Last night's winners at PRWeek's inspirational celebration of global communications represent an excellent benchmark for the industry.

Film is the form for effective brand storytelling

Film is the form for effective brand storytelling

From blockbuster action movies featuring famous Hollywood actors to moody thrillers directed by high-profile names such as Werner Herzog and Armando Bo, cinematic storytelling on behalf of brands has hit the big time.

Agency revenue still rising in era of integration and transformation

Agency revenue still rising in era of integration and transformation

PRWeek's annual Agency Business Report content is live - the big story is that PR is becoming one cog in a wheel of wider services.

It's our time - Just do it

It's our time - Just do it

The social media playbook is still being written but PR pros are uniquely positioned to take advantage of new opportunities on behalf of their brands and clients.

PR lessons from Al Golin and United Flight 3411

PR lessons from Al Golin and United Flight 3411

The last seven days goes to show just how important wise PR counsel is for every modern enterprise in maintaining reputation and mitigating risk.

United Airlines needs to do better

United Airlines needs to do better

The airline's communications response to Flight 3411 so far is tone deaf and is doing nothing to resolve the situation.

Cross-cultural marketing is the key to targeting Gen Z

Cross-cultural marketing is the key to targeting Gen Z

Snappy new terms like GenZennial are compelling buzzwords but communicating with Gen Z calls for a more nuanced approach.

YouTube's algorithms need a human touch

YouTube's algorithms need a human touch

Concerns about ads appearing next to inappropriate content on YouTube and Facebook's woes around fake news highlight the fact that, while tech is a prime driver of modern marketing and communications, machines are not perfect yet.