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

Remember Jamal Khashoggi by fighting for a free press

Remember Jamal Khashoggi by fighting for a free press

The brutal murder and dismemberment of The Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident in a place that was supposed to be a safe haven is a somber reminder that we can't take universal freedoms for granted.

The death of horizontality

The death of horizontality

WPP this week retired its Health & Wellness operating brand and will move the constituent parts into group agencies in the first half of 2019.

Sector has seat at table as PRWeek U.S. turns 20

Sector has seat at table as PRWeek U.S. turns 20

After two decades of existence in the U.S., PRWeek is pleased to report that the communications profession has earned its share of influence with CEOs and C-suite executives.

Four brand films, four diverse stories and outcomes

Four brand films, four diverse stories and outcomes

Advertising Week proved a relevant opportunity to take the temperature of brand filmmaking and be inspired by great proponents of their craft.

Diverse teams produce better work

Diverse teams produce better work

Research shows diverse groups of workers come up with better ideas - and that adage is proved by the inspirational work and leaders honored at the eighth iteration of PRWeek's high-profile diversity initiative.

Don't ask permission, just do it

Don't ask permission, just do it

White House political veteran Jennifer Palmieri this week passed on advice that all communicators can learn from at USC's Lead On! Women in Communication Leadership Forum.

PRWeek embraces new ideas at Chicago conference

PRWeek embraces new ideas at Chicago conference

Chicago's Ideas Week from October 15-21 is an appropriate context for PRWeek to convene the PR industry for its high-profile and inspiring annual conference.

Brands: Doing nothing is no longer an option

Brands: Doing nothing is no longer an option

Taking a stand is fraught with risk and potential downsides, but iconic brands such as Nike and Levi's are embracing danger and drawing a line in the sand on issues as various as immigration, race relations, gun violence, and trade tariffs.

Steve Schmidt says he "tap-danced on the White House lawn" - but never lied

Steve Schmidt says he "tap-danced on the White House lawn" - but never lied

Portrayed by Woody Harrelson in a 2012 HBO film, the former Schwarzenegger, George W. Bush, and John McCain adviser is still the king of the one-liners.

Don't lose your head in the dog days of August

Don't lose your head in the dog days of August

PR has shown no signs of slowing down this summer, but the cloying heat of August seems to have led some communicators to completely lose the plot.

Helicopter view of marketing services won't favor PR

Helicopter view of marketing services won't favor PR

PR is in danger of being marginalized as holding company consortia throw earned media into the pot in the hunt for blockbuster integrated big brand media and creative pitch wins.

PR people aren't defense lawyers

PR people aren't defense lawyers

Ethical considerations should underpin all credible PR practice - not everyone deserves PR representation and black ops should not be part of the communications playbook.

9 top tips to win a PRWeek Award

9 top tips to win a PRWeek Award

Awards season is upon us - check out Steve Barrett's essential 9-point guide to producing winning entries.

Axios is the epitome of a smart modern media brand

Axios is the epitome of a smart modern media brand

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen have quickly established their latest media venture as a must-read alternative to mainstream media.

Brand Russia wins the World Cup

Brand Russia wins the World Cup

Fears about holding the biggest global sporting event in a country seen as cold, unfriendly, and austere were ultimately proved unfounded and a festival of football and friendship emerged from the brand misconceptions.

Earned media dominates Cannes, but PR firms don't have a monopoly on it

Earned media dominates Cannes, but PR firms don't have a monopoly on it

The winners of the 2018 PR Lions exhibited very similar characteristics to previous years, with creative agencies dominating PR firms' home turf once again - but there was encouragement in other Cannes categories.

Cannes, soccer, more stunts, and Edelman

Cannes, soccer, more stunts, and Edelman

A very short missive this week as I'm hitting the deadline buffers before I head off to Cannes for the annual Festival of Creativity and then the World Cup in Russia.

Denny's proves there's life in the old stunt yet

Denny's proves there's life in the old stunt yet

Stunt is a word PR pros have been trying to escape for years, but this week suggests there is still mileage in this old school way of attracting attention - as long as it is accompanied by a bit of plain old common sense too.

Sorrell successor should place diversity at top of to-do list

Sorrell successor should place diversity at top of to-do list

As an iconic leader unveils his new plans, his former employer's annual review draws a perfunctory line under its founder's 33-year contribution to the company.

Cannes PR Jury is bigger but smaller this year

Cannes PR Jury is bigger but smaller this year

Forty jurors will deliberate online but the final judging group in Cannes will comprise just 10 people rather than the usual 20.

Global Awards show strength of PR profession around world

Global Awards show strength of PR profession around world

This week's PRWeek Global Awards winners and a taste of the bullish U.K. PR sector represent a welcome contrast to the relative stasis in the U.S.

Shock and brawl can be an effective strategy

Shock and brawl can be an effective strategy

Communicators have a natural tendency to play safe and fly beneath the radar, but lessons from combat theory in Top Gun and our current President suggest it pays to embrace chaos and confusion once in a while.

PR must embrace next generation of storytelling

PR must embrace next generation of storytelling

PRWeek and Campaign's Brand Film Festival gala screening showed how much the craft has developed and reflects the tipping point into brand storytelling that is overtaking interruptive advertising.

Editor's Letter: PR industry cautiously optimistic this year after a rough 2017

Editor's Letter: PR industry cautiously optimistic this year after a rough 2017

This year's Agency Business Report shows a rocky year didn't smooth out until Q4, and even Q1 2018, for many firms.

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 betrays 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.