From tactical to critical: Why PR belongs at the top table

All too often the role of public relations is unrealised, underrated and overlooked. Much more than a tactical delivery function, PR is vital to strategic planning and management decision making, securing its place at the top table.

Public discourse and concerns related to society, the environment, international developments and the current cost-of-living crisis, mean that it is more critical than ever for organisations to understand the scope of PR.

In our webinar, From tactical to critical: Why PR belongs at the top table, we discussed our recent white paper by Stephen Waddington and Dr Jon White, along with insights from Rachel Roberts, President, CIPR, and founder, spottydog communications. Together the panel explored the findings and examined the opportunities for public relations to form an essential part of modern management.

Fill in the form below to check out our webinar 👇

Which products are most likely to be bought second-hand this Christmas?

In effort to support Brits with the cost-of-living crisis, national coverage on how to budget for Christmas has increased by 486% since last year. Alongside this, discussion around ‘side hustles’ is up by 326%, with the resale of both luxury and high street goods as the leading topic of interest in this area.

During October, 186 national new sources reported that 60% of Brits plan to spend less this year. Furthermore, a widely distributed eBay report shows that 62% of luxury shoppers actively selling on second-hand sites have resold a luxury accessory for a profit. This rapid growth in resale is undoubtedly an international trend, with over 200 international newspapers across the UK and North America referring to it as ‘investment’, which some consumers ‘consider a safer store of value than stocks’.

Since the start of the cost-of-living crisis, the social acceptance of second-hand items has been widely discussed across general and retail-industry news. Between 27 and 30 October, the headline ‘Brits are no longer embarrassed to charity shop’ was syndicated across 89 national and regional news sources, while Oxfam were quoted 72 times in saying that ‘second-hand books are at the top of people’s wish-list’.

Key Takeaways 

  • Coverage on second-hand high-street/designer resale ‘side hustles’ is up by 326%
  • Research suggests Brits are no longer ‘embarrassed’ to purchase or gift second-hand items
  • Electric and cosmetic goods are some of the most likely to be refurbished or resold
  • Low-cost high street and supermarket items are producing higher resale profit than luxury items
  • National outlets are most interested in how brands are entering the resale market, whereas local/regional outlets are engaged in specific case studies of consumers budgeting and third-party resellers

Why are consumers rushing to resell low-cost items?

While the resale of luxury goods is gaining record-high interest, it is not the only sector affected by the dovetailed growth of inflation and independent resellers. Second-hand high street products are receiving a   significantly higher level of coverage, with national publications particularly interested in specific examples of high profit margins on low-cost items.

For example, Aldi’s ‘Kevin the Carrot’ toy caused the second-biggest upsurge in low-cost resale coverage throughout November, when 222 national and regional articles reported consumers successfully reselling it on eBay for up to £1,000. Similarly, 168 regional and local news sources wrote of how Primark’s Stranger Things range has returned to stores after reselling for up to £150.

Share of Voice: Top 5 resale brands

*Data analysis of all second-hand UK brand coverage with mention of the cost-of-living crisis or luxury/high street resale between 17 Oct – 21 Nov.

Over the last month, eBay has continued to lead the conversation around both luxury and high street resale. While 38% of coverage is a passing mention, 52% was positively attributed to the brand’s new pre-owned store in New York – where consumers can use ‘luxury as currency’. This term was featured in 92% of the total 686 UK headlines, which later evolved into a phrase used by international publications for the wider movement towards luxury resale.

Meanwhile, both Vinted and Depop’s coverage was between 40% and 50% passing mentions, while 32% of all resale brand coverage mentioned them both within the body of the article. Some of the most common examples were case studies in general news publications and research articles in PR and comms outlets. The overarching theme has been how both brands offer quality and affordable Christmas gifts in the cost-of-living crisis, which leveraged an 88% positive sentiment rate on this coverage.

Which brands are most mentioned within resale coverage?

*Data analysing mentions of all luxury and non-luxury brands within second-hand and resale coverage between 17 Oct – 23 Nov.

The risk behind refurbs

Since 17 Oct, the Vuelio Insights team has identified 1,862 articles discussing resale products across UK news and industry publications. Within 8% of this coverage, consumer charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) were quoted in a widely repurposed article titled ‘Cost of living pushes shoppers towards second-hand electrical goods, says charity’.

Furthermore, Dyson was most often mentioned as the product worth buying second-hand. For example, ‘Refurbished Dyson airwraps on sale at eBay in time for Christmas gifting’ was published by The Independent on 21 November and has been syndicated 102 times since. Dyson is the certified seller of these refurbished products, meaning this coverage is not as much of a loss to the brand as if it were a third-party seller. However, because of this peak in refurb interest, local and regional outlets have started picking up on ‘horror’ stories on the most sought-after brands. Almost 200 articles with similar headlines to ‘Ebay won’t refund my £475 faulty  Dyson airwrap’ and  ‘Amazon Prime Day £35 hair styler shoppers say is ‘much better’ than Dyson Airwrap’ have ultimately outweighed Dyson’s positive coverage as a certified eBay seller.

The CEO of second-hand tech seller Back Market has been heavily quoted in coverage around electric resale, stating that its ethos is to close the ‘trust gap’ and ‘make refurbs cool’.

Third-party partnerships

As for the fashion brands mentioned within resale coverage, 86% of the discussion is tied to global retailers partnering with third-party resellers as a means to offer second-hand luxury items. While many designers refuse direct distribution of their products, over 448 publications across general news, fashion and beauty have reported on the growing availability.

For example, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, Prada and Gucci were mentioned in 289 headlines between 16 Oct – 30 Oct when Amazon announced it would be listing the brands’ bags as part of its Luxury Store launch, through second-hand distributor What Goes Around Comes Around.

Amazon was not alone in its well-timed partnership, in among this courage Primark was also praised for a similar launch. Between 18 Nov and 23 Nov, 82 news and fashion publications shared 106 articles about the high street store’s ‘WornWell’ collaboration with The Vintage Wholesale Company. As a result, brands often spotted there such as Burberry, YSL, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Converse, Levi’s and Dr. Martens have all received a significant upsurge in passing mentions.

Competitor strategies

In a bid to compete with the likes of eBay, many high street brands have attempted to regain control by promoting or launching their own resale and refurb lines. For example, Zara received a significant peak in coverage from 18-28 Oct following the announcement of its repair and resale shop ‘Pre-owned’. Similarly, Coach was mentioned in 86 regional outlets 26-28 Oct, following the opening of its London pop-up ‘Tomorrow’s Vintage’.

On the other hand, some brands are opting to take the consumer-led route. For example, local and regional outlets have used the phrase ‘Bargain Box’ in 102 headlines since 20 October, referring to return palettes that can be bought from John Lewis, Argos and Very. M&S is leading coverage around fashion rental, a proactive peak in coverage at the beginning of November following a successful press release on ‘putting value and versatility at the heart’ of its rental collection. This quote was used in 56% of the total 202 national and regional news articles until 5 Nov.

What are the most common types of coverage?

*Data analysis of all luxury and non-luxury brands within second-hand and resale coverage (1,862 articles) 17 Oct – 23 Nov.

Since 17 Oct, the highest-reaching resale coverage has been produced by general news, celebrity/gossip magazines, tech and business publications. Aside from the wider industry discussion of ‘luxury as currency’ and high street resale strategies, product reviews were one of the most prominent article types and are up 62% from 2021. These articles are comparative in nature by putting a luxury product against a budget alternative, i.e. ‘Aldi shoppers rave over Le Creuset dupe’. Alongside Dyson, brands like The North Face, Adidas and the White Company were found within a collective 369 articles similar to this.

Case studies have also increased by 8% since last Christmas. The cosmetics industry has gained the most awareness within this coverage, primarily due to headlines like ‘Makeup Artist saves hundreds buying second-hand makeup on eBay’ which was shared 86 times by local and regional news outlets. This increase produced an upsurge in resale risk for brands like Dior and Charlotte Tilbury.

Unaffected markets

Given the level of investment from second-hand brands and retail competitors, the rise of luxury and high street resale is not predicted to cool-off any time soon. However, this is not a call to action for all brands.

Unlike the pandemic, the cost-of-living is not a crisis that affects everyone equally. Over the last month, 16% of coverage approached the resale discussion from a wealth perspective. For example, an article by The Independent titled ‘Luxury goods boom in Britain as the young, rich and mortgage-free buck the recession’ explored how high-end watches are now seen as an ‘investment’, when they are purchased new by consumers for the purpose of profiteering.

James Ison, the self-styled Deal Maker For The 0.1%, was quoted 89 times within this coverage when he stated that that those who can afford very high-end luxury products appear to be ‘having a Yolo moment’ following the pandemic, often ‘spending five figures in an afternoon’. This consumer psyche also appears to take place outside of retail, such as the emergence of ‘The Lipstick Effect’ within the dining industry.

Vuelio’s Top 3 Recommendations

  1. Measure the crisis – Take some time to measure the impact of inflation in your target market(s). Following the pandemic, many brands have automatically applied another blanket crisis comms strategy to their entire audience, even though the degree of financial struggle varies greatly. If you are a very high-end luxury brand, the likelihood of consumers investing and profiting on your products is a greater risk than a visible loss in revenue.
  1. If you cannot beat them, join themResearch how prominent your brand is within resale media coverage and on second-hand sites. If you find your brand is at risk, the success of Zara, Coach and M&S’s rival lines suggest it would be better to invest in the trend than attempt to eliminate it.

  2. Prioritise sustainibility comms While cost-of-living is the leading reason for the rise in second-hand purchases, resale will likely hold value long after the economy stabilises. Over the past year, sustainability has transformed from an ethical preference to a consumer demand. It is the most-used word in relation to ‘The Rise of ESG’ and, as over half of Brits worry about the impact of Christmas on the climate, it will continue to hold an important place in the lifecycle resale trends.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Vuelio is proud to be supporting AMEC’s Measurement Month – a month-long focus on best practice and new emerging trends in the measurement and evaluation of communication. Check out all the Measurement Month events here.

Journalist Voices by Vuelio

How do you achieve cut through in a packed news cycle? When a journalist receives hundreds of pitches a day, what makes them notice yours?

In our inaugural live Voices by Vuelio event, we have lined up a panel of expert journalists to share their advice, tips and professional opinions on how to make your content stand out – both in inboxes and the media.

Discussing the current wave of stories around the cost-of-living crisis, the upcoming seasonal spike and discourse around diversity, our panel can provide valuable insights that can help you secure coverage.

Joined by Yolanthe Fawehinmi, features writer at The Daily Telegraph; Isabella Silvers, freelancer working with Cosmo and Elle; Hannah Ajala, freelancer working with the BBC across radio and podcasts; and Ally Head, health & sustainability editor at Marie Claire.

 

Fill in the form below to watch the event 👇

International Perspectives of the new Prime Minister

In the six weeks running up to the Conservative leadership election, world leaders and international new outlets provided a heightened commentary on the state of UK politics. While optimism towards Liz Truss’s election differs greatly across borders, headlines mentioning the ‘long list of challenges’ ahead of her were widely agreed upon.

Throughout the race, the Vuelio Insights team monitored all local and national coverage across Europe (excl. UK), North America, Australia and New Zealand to explore the overarching international perspective of the British political system.

Following Truss’s victory on 6 September, many political figures around the world rushed to offer their congratulatory messages of hope and solidarity. Terms like ‘strategic partnership’ and ‘friendship’ were shared across Italy, Israel, Romania and the Netherlands, while Lithuania and Ukraine expressed their gratitude for Boris Johnson’s support against Russian aggression — in hopes it will continue with the new PM.

Having been repeatedly referred to as a former ‘anti-monarchist’ in almost 3,000 articles of the studied regions, the passing of Queen Elizabeth II put added pressure on Truss’s election. The majority of coverage — which came from the US, France and Canada — reported on Truss’s support and attendance to the memorial service. However, an article first published by Agence France-Presse that confirmed she would not ‘accompany’ King Charles III’s tour of the nations due to ‘ongoing criticism’ was syndicated 218 times by region European and North American media outlets.

Euroscepticism and demands for respect

While local and regional coverage within each region has reported positive messages from world leaders, international news sources have favoured the growing EU concerns around Brexit and the NI protocol. Thomas Gift, founding director of University College London’s Centre on US Politics, told Newsweek that Truss ‘is more of a Eurosceptic than Rishi Sunak,’ meaning she is less in favour of co-operation with the EU.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and VP Maros Sefcovics both congratulated Truss, while emphasising the ‘great strategic importance’ of a ‘constructive’ and ‘positive’ relationship between London and Brussels. This will depend upon ‘full respect‘ of the NI protocol, Withdrawal Agreement and Trade and Co-operation Agreement. Both members of the EU were quoted in 386 national articles across Europe and North America.

In light of this condition, Jacinda Arden used the election to recognise the UK’s ‘exceptionally strong’ relationship with New Zealand, acknowledging Truss’s ‘staunch support’ of the UK’s tilt to the Indo-Pacific and Free Trade Agreement. This statement reached online and broadcast media across Australia, New Zealand and Canada 382 times over the six-week race.

In North America, approximately 1,682 US news sources picked up on growing tensions between the EU and Liz Truss over this time, with a key focus on how this could affect the Biden administration. While Biden’s hopes to ‘deepen’ the ‘special relationship’ was shared in 31% of this coverage, it was also coupled with Truss’s controversial comment that the UK US relationship is ‘special but not exclusive’, comparing approval of the US to a ‘beauty parade’.

Conservative leadership race: volume and sentiment

Throughout the six weeks of the leadership race (12 Jul – 6 Sept), the Vuelio insights team found that the international sample produced approximately 8,562 total articles in reference to the race between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss. Coverage started slowly, with the first major updates made on both the 5 and the 11 of August. However, publications began to peak over 1,000 on 24 August – around the time that Sunak said it was ‘wrong’ for scientists to ‘scare people’ into lockdowns throughout the pandemic. Following this initial spike, coverage grew significantly within the final week of the election.

The ‘Reset’ opportunity

While national UK headlines have been predominantly negative over this period, international media has been predominantly neutral or positive. A strong causational factor behind this is the global agreement on how Truss could be the precedent for a great ‘reset’ opportunity among the many pending bilateral conflicts triggered by Boris Johnson.

Among the 1,492 articles discussing this potential, over 90% is in relation to France, Ireland and Brussels, while the remainder comments on humanitarian matters like the Rwanda refugee scheme. Despite Truss’s globally viral comments towards Emmanuel Macron, both he and France’s European and foreign affairs minister, Catherine Colonna, have said that the two countries are most definitely friends. Their hopes that Liz Truss’s appointment will lead to a ‘new start’ in Anglo-French relations was widely distributed across French and Canadian news sources.

Similarly, Taoiseach Micheál Martin shared hopes that Liz Truss offers a chance to ‘reset’ the fractured relationship between Britain and Ireland, which would be triggered by full respect and implementation of the NI protocol. Martin expressed desire that her premiership could herald a ‘change in direction’ for Irish/UK relations after recent years of tension over Brexit and the protocol. Of the 768 articles discussing this opportunity, 74% of news sources were either US or Ireland-based.

Total volume by region

Overall, national US news sources produced the most national coverage on the Conservative leadership race (3,788 articles), while Europe shared the most in one day (1,068 articles) — which was the final day of the election.

While Biden’s uncertainties have been widely reported, overall media response has been either positive or neutral in sentiment across the United States.

Truss’s ability to switch from a ‘Remainer’ to a Brexiteer was mentioned in 48% of all US coverage over the six weeks – by far the most widely syndicated discussion point within the country. While this switch has often been frowned upon across Europe, it has been positively received by US media — key journalists in outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek seeing it as a ‘testimony’ to her ‘political ambition’ rather than her convictions.

John Bolton, who served as the president’s national security adviser, told WSJ that both her assertion and ambition are some of many reasons that Truss is ‘the prime minister that America needs’.

In Canada, the media response was 32% positive, 48% neutral and 20% negative. Justin Trudeau offered one of the most extensive congratulatory messages to Liz Truss, referring to the UK-Canada relationship as ‘one of the strongest in the world’, a phrase used by 128 national news sources in the week following the election.

Sentiment across EU media

* UK excluded; countries displayed are those that produced over 250 relevant articles between 17 Jul – 6 Sept 2022

While the EU remains ‘wary’ of Truss, a term that reached 462 national headlines across the continent during the election, sentiment across tracked regions has been mostly neutral or positive. Among the positive regions, 52% was positive due to shared words of admiration for their relationship with the UK following extensive Ukrainian support, while the remainder often used Truss’s cooperative contributions as a Foreign Secretary as a positive outlook on her potential as PM.

Among the two countries that were negative in sentiment, Austria had a slightly higher ratio of coverage related to Starmer’s belief that Truss is ‘out of touch’ and ‘not working on the people’s side’. Similarly, Greece produced a fractionally higher proportion of negative coverage due to a spike in local media on 28 August, when Truss refused to answer if France was a ‘friend or foe’.

Thatcher connotations

Much to her displeasure, Truss has been repeatedly referred to as a ‘Thatcherite’ in both UK and international media – though regional media differs greatly on whether this is a good or a bad thing.

For example, the US used this term 1,794 times between 12 Jul – 6 Sept, but predominantly used the term as a compliment to the ‘powerhouse’ opportunities Truss could create for the US and UK. This perspective may be in part due to the ‘special relationship’ that the UK and the US share, a reference famously created by Regan and Thatcher in the 1980s.

This term has been consistently repeated by US media over the decades, with 238 headline mentions during the race. Biden’s use of this phrase in his congratulatory message to Truss suggests desire for a similar allyship in current global affairs.

On the other hand, Canadian news has a higher volume of negative coverage in response to Truss’s ‘Thatcherite’ reference. Many national news sources covered the controversies behind her idolisation of the former PM, calling many of her strategies a ‘short-term’ relief.

Similarly, leading Australian news sources used this term as an avenue to disclose Truss’s journey from ‘anti-monarchist’ to ‘next Margaret Thatcher’, with 38% of all national media featuring the viral YouTube video of Truss in her teens.

National news sources across France, Germany and Belgium also used the ‘Thatcherite’ reference on a more neutral basis, referring to both positive and negative outcomes of Thatcher’s ‘long’ and ‘looming shadow’ in 28% of the collective 218 relevant articles. The term ‘iron lady’ has also been used regarding how Thatcher plans to handle Russo-Ukraine conflicts, with 582 headlines across Europe using this title to reference Truss’ communicated approach.

In a slightly unexpected turn of events, Joe Lycett, UK comedian, also made international headlines for referring to Truss as ‘Thatcher 2.0’. His ongoing satirical commentary of the term made 448 headlines across Northern Ireland, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Top Topics: International and Regional Media

Energy Crisis

Aside from general election results, the energy crisis consumed 32% of all international headlines and has by far been the most discussed topic on an international scale. European media most often featured quotes in their headlines due to strong ‘warnings’ from EU leaders.

Both Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan echoed these concerns, with 486 European media outlets quoting the ‘need to act fast’ as winter emerges, as well as the ‘disaster’ that would unfold upon Truss’ election.

Humanitarianism

Overall, the topic of humanitarianism in British politics has produced a stronger ratio of positive headlines due to vast and ongoing Ukraine support. However, negative coverage regarding concerns of women’s rights, climate change and the Rwanda refugee policy has equated to 38% of the total 2,443 international news articles discussing humanitarian matters.

Of these topics, the most popular was the Extinction Rebellion protest that led to climate change activists gluing themselves to the speaker’s chair in parliament on 2 September. This story was most popular in the US, with a total of 882 articles on the event.

Economy

Aside from the cost-of-living crisis, further concerns about Truss’ impact on the future economy has been overwhelmingly sceptical or negative across European and U.S. online media. Headlines on the projected ‘£50bn loss’ ahead of Truss’s plans were shared 411 times over the course of the race, coupled with concerns that the poor will be ‘on the streets’.

As US, German, Irish and French media reported a ‘2.5 year low’ of the sterling following the announcement of the new PM, Deutsche Bank reported risk of a ‘sterling crisis’ rising as Truss becomes UK prime minister. This publicly released analysis was shared by 193 national news sources and financial publications across the commonwealth, US, Italy, France, Austria and Germany.

In relation to this drop in sterling value, another strong topic within international economic coverage has been Truss’s ‘pro-crypto’ reputation. This topic was covered 248 times by national news sources and financial publications, of which 89% were US-based, 9% Canadian and 2% Greek.

Truss’s statement that the UK ‘should welcome cryptocurrencies’ was a headline or body feature in 48% of all related coverage throughout the election period. While Truss has expressed desire for the UK to ‘adopt blockchains and digital property’, Richard Fuller, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, has told international media sources that Truss’s leadership will allow the UK to become a ‘dominant global hub’ for crypto technologies.

Conclusion

As it stands, the international media perspective of both the new PM and British politics is far less pessimistic than that of UK. A change in leadership has birthed waves of hope and optimism by international figures and leading news sources, with commonwealth leaders like Trudeau, Arden and Albanese expressing their long and positive relationships with Great Britain.

In the US, many believe Truss’s ‘black and white’ Thatcher qualities could actually serve as a great resource that will allow us to prevail through challenging global affairs. Furthermore, the UK’s globally renowned quality of support in eastern European regions has replenished levels of respect and allyship that many feared were lost during Boris Johnson’s leadership.

However, it appears that these words of unity and prosperity are very much conditional — the outcome of which will strongly depend upon Truss’ decisions with Brexit and the NI protocol. If she honours ‘full implementation’ as requested by Brussels and Northern Ireland, a harmonious relationship with the EU is within reach.

Eric Mamer, the Commission’s spokesperson in chief, had told reporters that they are ‘always looking for new beginnings’ with the UK and hopes Truss’s election will help to ‘move forward’ to a stronger and more peaceful future.

Want to know more about this data or how media insights can support your PR and communications? Find out more.

Communicating the cost of living crisis for charities

The cost-of-living crisis is impacting households and families across the country, but especially those who are most vulnerable. As charities adapt their media strategy, campaigns and lobbying tactics, how has their communication changed and how are stakeholders responding?

In our latest webinar, Communicating the cost of living crisis for charities, we were joined by Ali Gourley, public affairs, comms and PR consultant at FareShare, Kim Manning-Cooper, head of media and campaigns at Refuge and Harry Watkinson, national media manager at the NSPCC.

We discussed findings from Refuge that show the clear impact of the cost of living crisis and examining how to change public affairs and communications strategies to impact the right audiences.

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar and learn:

  • How the cost of living crisis is affecting vulnerable people
  • Why stakeholder management and lobbying is more important than ever
  • How to keep your comms reactive throughout the crisis

How to plan and boost your campaigns with social listening

How do you create stories that resonate?

People’s emotional reactions vary – so should your organisation’s messaging.

The creation of a memorable campaign starts with a thorough understanding of your audience. Our webinar, How to plan and boost your campaigns with social listening explores the benefits of using audience intelligence for campaign planning with examples of how to analyse your target audience and prepare for any trends that could affect your campaign performance.

Watch this webinar to hear Rob Hill, Audience Insights Specialist at Pulsar explain how carrying out pre-campaign analysis will help you create data-led, audience-centric campaigns that hit the mark and go further to reach broader audiences.

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar and learn how social listening could help you:

    • Understand a target audience
    • Create more targeted messaging
    • See where a campaign should be placed
    • Find the right influencers to help make campaigns go viral

What’s next? The new generation of journalists

There’s a new wave of journalism coming and it is driven by Gen Z. Unafraid to write boldly about big topics like sex, religion, race and politics, it is a brave new world for journalism, and how PRs work and communicate with them needs to move with the times.

In our webinar, What’s next? The new generation of journalists, we were joined by three rising stars to talk about why they wanted a career in journalism, what challenges they see in the industry, what the future of journalism holds and how they like to work and communicate with PRs.

Joining our fantastic panel are Hannah Bradfield; freelance and journalist at Journo Resources, Michele Theil, freelance journalist who writes for Vice and The Independent; and Zesha Saleem, freelance journalist who writes for Metro UK, plus British Vogue and The Guardian.

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar and learn:

  • Current challenges in the industry
  • Predictions for the future of journalism
  • Best practice tips for communicating and working with Gen Z journos

Pop Culture Comms Lessons: From Dunder Mifflin and beyond

If you learnt to schmooze like Eddie Monsoon, manage stakeholder relationships like David Brent or built a crisis comms strategy following Michael Scott’s lead, then this is the webinar for you.

From meaningless buzzwords to bolly-fuelled meetings; the world of PR is often teased in pop culture but what can we learn from these portrayals, and how do we avoid becoming Siobhan Sharpes?

In our webinar, Somehow I manage. PR. Pop Culture Comms lessons from Dunder Mifflin and beyond, we looked at how to avoid management speak (which we know you hate) in your comms, managing a crisis (lewd watermarks or otherwise) and the importance of press relations in the public sector (even if you preferred Petey for the pigeon mascot).

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar and learn:

  • The power of language in your comms
  • How to build a crisis comms strategy
  • How to make sure your brand speaks to your audience
PR in FS

The responsibility of PR in financial services

From credit to crypto, technology has changed the financial services sector and reshaped the comms challenge for PR practitioners.

Apps, online banking and around-the-clock engagement have created a new immediacy in finance, making it more important to ensure that communication between provider and consumer is both educational and accurate.

In our latest webinar, The responsibility of PR in financial services, we will bring you a live discussion from PR, marketing and FS comms specialist Natalie Orringe; Romney Taylor, VP Marketing at Habito; and Erin Lovett, Account Director at Missive. They will guide us through the new landscape for financial communications.

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar and learn:

  • The role of social activism in consumer decisions
  • How to disrupt traditional practices responsibly
  • The PR opportunity in both fintech and the rise of digital currencies

PR & Marketing: The Ultimate Power Couple?

It is a debate that has been raging for more than 50 years: how to integrate PR and Marketing. Successfully.

Vuelio’s latest white paper by Stephen Waddington explores the trends associated with integrating marketing and public relations. Gathering insight from industry professionals both in-house and from leading agencies, it uncovers a range of opportunities from ABM and community management to a changing media landscape and the reappraisal of brands.

In our latest webinar, PR & Marketing: The Ultimate Power Couple?, we bring you a discussion between Stephen Waddington; Suman Hughes, Director, Communications at Mastercard UK; and Tara O’Donnell, Managing Director UK at Hotwire Global, who will share their thoughts on how they see the integration of PR and marketing becoming a reality.

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar and learn:

  • The opportunities in PR and marketing integration
  • The impact Covid-19 has had on both functions
  • How to measure the success of integrated activities

Bold Communications in Regulated Industries

Managing comms and PR in regulated industries can be challenging. With additional rules to know and follow, it can sometimes feel like your comms is being stifled.

But the greater the restrictions the more creative the solutions, and brands across regulated industries have been forced to find news ways to reach their audiences, deliver cut-through content and achieve campaign success.

In our latest webinar, Bold Communications in Regulated Industries, we were joined by Lisa Stone, Director, Client Strategy at Edelman and Luke O’Mahony, Head of PR at Investec, who shared their secrets to finding success in controlled industries.

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar and learn

  • What you need to know when communicating in a regulated industry
  • How reactive comms can still be part of your playbook
  • The secret to (regulated) creative success
Neuro PR Brain and Brand Connection

Neuro PR: Strengthening the Brain and Brand Connection

When it comes to planning successful PR campaigns that create a lasting impression, it’s important to target both the heart and mind of your consumer.

In our latest webinar, we were joined by Charlotte Nichols, managing director and Leader of the Pack at Harvey & Hugo PR who talked to us about how they apply neuroscience to their day-to-day PR activity.

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar. 

communicating a summer of live events webinar

In the event of an emergency – communicating a summer of live events

The past 18 months have hit many industries hard but live and in-person events have felt the impact like no other. With the majority of Covid restrictions in England coming to an end on 19 July, large-scale events are finally returning.

In our latest webinar, “In the event of an emergency – communicating a summer of live events”, we talked to the people behind these events to discuss the challenges they’ve faced, their plans for returning to ‘normal’, and the positives from the pandemic (yes, there are some!).

We were joined by Bairbre Lloyd, PR and communications manager at Cheltenham Festivals and Hannah Mursal, founder of ME Travel.

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar. 

pr and journlists event

Building better relationships between PRs and journalists

The past twelve months have presented many challenges for both PRs and journalists but one thing that has been a particular struggle is being able to network and build lasting and useful relationships with one another.

To help bridge this gap we partnered with Journo Resources and Freelancing for Journalists to discuss what the past year has been like for journalists and how they managed to build relationships with PRs. We also had a live discussion, so you could ask your burning questions to our panel of experts or share your own tips for working with PRs.

Joining us were: Jem Collins, director and editor at Journo Resources, Faima Bakar, freelance journalist and senior staff writer at Journo Resources, Lily Canter, freelance consumer journalist and Emma Wilkinson, health and medicine freelance journalist.

This was an opportunity for both PRs and journalists to come together for an hour of lively discussion and conversation and hopefully create a few more contacts!

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar. 

seo for pr webinar

SEO best practice guide for PR

With more agencies, businesses and organisations developing digital-led PR strategies, many practitioners understand the importance of generating coverage in online media. This requires more than a basic understanding of SEO but there are very few resources created specifically for the sector.

This webinar, SEO best practices for PR, covers the key points in our recent guide and we were joined by the author herself, Judith Lewis, search marketing expert at DeCabbit Consultancy.

Watch the webinar to learn:

  • How Google works
  • How to align your PR & SEO strategy
  • The essential tools you need for success
  • Mastering keywords, content and on-page essentials

Fill in the form below to watch the webinar. 

ESG in PR

The ESG opportunity for PR

Can you confidently define ESG? Is your team managing ESG risk for your business? Do you know why ESG sits in PR?

To help answer these questions, Vuelio launched the report The Environment, Social and Corporate Governance opportunity for public relations authored by Stephen Waddington and Dr Jon White, with exclusive survey results from Vuelio.

Among the results, our research found that while a third of organisations already have a policy in place to manage ESG, 27% are not managing ESG risk at all.

Both authors of the report, Stephen Waddington and Dr Jon White joined us live for a webinar, ‘The ESG Opportunity for PR‘. They were joined by Rebecca Zeitlin, head of communications and external affairs at Hybrid Air Vehicles, who gave her first-hand experience of managing ESG in an industry that is threatened by regulation if action doesn’t come from within.

Watch the webinar to learn:

  • What ESG means for your organisation
  • Why your comms team is best placed to lead on ESG risk
  • The actions you can take to manage this now
ESG whitepaper public relations

Research and Report: What is ESG and what is the opportunity for public relations?

  • ESG and PR sector study highlights a third (31%) of organisations have a policy in place to manage ESG, 41% said that it was a ‘work in progress’
  • Head of Communications/PR is responsible for leading ESG in 19% of organisations but ESG is led by the CEO or another C-level function within 60% of organisations
  • Over half of PR agencies polled offer ESG support to clients or are developing ESG services

Environmental Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) is one of the most radical developments in business within the last 50 years.

It’s likely to shape the way both organisations and the communications sector evolve and operate for years to come.

But what is ESG? How is it different from CSR? And how is public relations adapting to the opportunities and risks?

To help define ESG and chart its growth and impact on the communications sector, we commissioned PR industry thought leaders Stephen Waddington and Dr Jon White to produce a report ‘The Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) opportunity for public relations’.

Download The Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) opportunity for public relations report here.

ESG and the PR Sector Survey 2021

We surveyed 187 public relations practitioners across a range of ESG issues in April 2021 to benchmark the sector’s readiness for ESG.

According to Vuelio’s research:

  • Three out of five (63%) public relations practitioners claim that they can ‘confidently define ESG and its impact on their clients or organisation’

Vuelio’s ESG and the PR Sector Survey 2021: 63% of respondents can “confidently define ESG and its impact on their clients/organisation

  • A third (32%) of organisations reported that they have a policy in place to manage ESG, while 41% said that it was a ‘work in progress’
  • More than a quarter (27%) of public relations practitioners said that they had taken ‘no action to assess and manage ESG risk’

Vuelio’s ESG and the PR Sector Survey 2021: 27% of respondents do not have policies in place to assess and manage ESG risk

Organisations recognise that they have work to do to manage the issues raised by ESG. The research highlighted that:

  • Three-quarters report that they are somewhat prepared (63%) or not at all prepared (12%) for ESG
  • Two-thirds of organisations (67%) reported that they do not report on their ESG performance

This is a significant opportunity for public relations to support organisations and, in some cases, lead ESG. Our research found:

  • ESG is led by the CEO or another C-level function within 60% of organisations
  • The Head of Communications/PR is responsible for leading ESG in 19% of organisations

Vuelio’s ESG and the PR Sector Survey 2021: ESG is led by the CEO or another C-level function within 60% of organisations. Head of Communications/PR is responsible for leading ESG in 19% of organisations

The study also found:

  • More than half of agencies surveyed offer ESG support to clients or are in the process of developing services
  • 51% public sector organisations reported that the increased focus on ESG in the private sector has had a positive impact on environmental and social policies

The research shows the growing awareness of ESG as a corporate issue, but also the opportunity for further education and bridging the gap between ESG knowledge and developing policies and strategies.

Download the whitepaper here.

What is ESG?

As summed up by report authors Stephen Waddington and Dr Jon White, it is, at its core, ‘a call for companies to account for and report on their contribution beyond financial metrics within their scope of operation’.

ESG is a combination of environmental and social risks.  For example, the business supply chain and its environmental impact, how employees are treated and human rights acts compliance.

It also includes business governance – from how legal issues such as bribery and corruption are monitored and managed through to ensuring that the board act fairly for all shareholders.

The complex of concerns grouped as ESG are significantly more far reaching than the Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR programmes.

Failure of an organisation to meet the expectation of its public in any of the three dimensions of ESG will result in reputational and investor risk. The investment community increasingly expects to be informed on company commitments to and actions on these concerns.

The term Environmental, Social and Governance’ or ‘ESG’ investing was first used in 2004 in the report from the UN Global Compact ‘Who Cares Wins’.

In 2005 the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) were developed. The UN PRI were a voluntary set of principles designed to help institutional investors factor ESG concerns into their investment decisions to manage risk and generate sustainable long-term returns.

2020 was the year that ESG investing came of age. According to data provider Morningstar, by the end of 2020 total assets held in sustainable funds hit $1.7trillion – a 50% rise on where they started the year.

For each company, ESG goals will be very different. ‘The Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) opportunity for public relations’ report includes guidance on the practicalities, frames of reference as well as the implications for those at leadership and decision-making levels.

What is the ESG opportunity for public relations?

Calls for the establishment of new roles to develop and manage ESG strategies, such as chief relationship or chief sustainability officers, are often made without reference to the roles that have been played by public relations practitioners for many years.

Given the unique relationship in many organisations between communications and the board and the importance of managing multiple stakeholders and publics in ESG, report authors Dr Jon White and Stephen Waddington are confident that ESG will be a key discipline for corporate affairs, public affairs and public relations professionals for many years to come.

They state in the report: ‘It is our firm belief that ESG concerns and how they will be met present large opportunities for public relations to make a larger contribution to organisational decision-making and performance.’

The report also contains views from senior agency leaders and communications professionals and those who have developed and delivered ESG programmes.

Thank you to John Brown, Founder and CEO of Don’t Cry Wolf;  Koray Camgoz, Director of Communications and Marketing at the PRCA; Steve Earl, Managing Partner of BOLDT; David Gallagher, President of Omnicom PR; Rachel Miller, Founder of All Things IC; Mandy Pearse, President  of the CIPR; and Rebecca Zeitlin, Head of Communications and External Affairs at Hybrid Air Vehicles.

‘Attitudes to ESG are rapidly changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic,’ says Hybrid Air Vehicles head of communications and external affairs Rebecca Zeitlin, ‘Scrutiny is the single word that I’d used to describe what’s brought ESG to the fore as an issue. The pandemic has created an opportunity to think and act differently’.

For CIPR president Mandy Pearse, ESG consideration is a natural fit for public relations and should be welcomed and actioned by the industry: ‘Strategic public relations practitioners take the long view on managing the organisations’ stakeholder relationships. ESG is not a quick fix but ethically implemented with purpose and commitment it is central to delivering outstanding reputation and brand loyalty.’

Internal Communications specialist and founder of All Things IC Rachel Miller, highlights the critical role of effective internal communications in ESG: ‘Companies need to ensure there’s no integrity gap between what they say and do as the first people to spot those gaps are your employees. Done well, your people need to see how they fit in and the difference their work can make to your ESG ambitions.’

Vuelio CMO Michelle Goodall believes there is an opportunity for the PR industry to bring skills and technology together to drive and continue to develop their organisational response to ESG:

‘Stephen and Jon provide excellent guidance in the report. Our tools, Vuelio and Pulsar, also provide communications professionals with the media, political, stakeholder and social media issue, share of voice, horizon scanning and audience insights they need for use in decision-making in one of the fastest developing and exciting areas of the communications industry.’

To help with planning your ESG strategy, download ‘The Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) opportunity for public relations’ report here.

And join Stephen, Jon and Hybrid Air Vehicles’ Rebecca Zeitlin for the ESG opportunity for PR webinar at 14:00BST on Wednesday 19  May. Register here.

6 May Elections: what to expect

Several elections are set to take place across Britain on 6 May. Voting will take place for the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Parliament, London and Metro Mayors, London Assembly, Local Authorities and Police Commissioners.

With Covid lockdown restrictions still in place, the campaigns for each of these elections are far from ordinary and some of the issues that will impact who voters choose to cast their ballots for will also be far from ordinary.

Vuelio has teamed up with the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) to provide a weekly bulletin with the latest news and updates, ones to watch and campaign information from the elections taking place across the country.

You can sign up to receive the weekly bulletin, starting on Wednesday 7 April, here.

Local Elections
In England, the 2021 local elections slated include over 150 local authority elections in hundreds of wards and divisions for both the delayed elections of 2020 and the scheduled elections of 2021, as well as:

  • Directly elected Mayors and Metro Mayor from 2020 and 2021
  • Parish Councils
  • By-elections
  • Neighbourhood Plan referenda
  • 40 Police and crime commissioner posts

Every single eligible citizen in England is due to be an elector in 2021. All areas are holding Police and Crime commissioner elections, except for Greater Manchester and London where these powers rest with the directly elected mayor. In many areas, electors will be voting on four or more different ballots.

This isn’t just about the sheer volume of decision making. It’s about choosing the people who will be deciding on vital services, dealing with social care in crisis, and making the tough choices as councils are struggling through an unprecedented financial crisis after a decade of unprecedented financial cuts. Local government is fundamentally about where people live and voters will be choosing the people who will help lead us to sustainable economic recovery as we emerge from the Covid crisis.

Scottish Parliament
In Scotland, 129 MSPs will be elected with the SNP hoping to regain the majority they lost in 2016. However, things have not been smooth sailing for the SNP with questions relating to the integrity of senior members of the party in the handling of the Alex Salmond scandal, all the way up to first Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon. Former leader of the SNP Alex Salmond has launched his new Alba Party and it will be interesting to see how much it can deliver on his ambition for a clear majority supporting Scottish independence.

Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross is putting efforts into creating a unionist alliance going into the election to combat the SNP and Alba, and Ross also seems willing to serve as both an MP and an MSP (providing he is elected). Anas Sarwar will have been the leader of the Scottish Labour Party for less than three months by the time the election comes around and has so far been unwilling to enter into any agreement with the Scottish Conservatives.

Ross, Sarwar and the Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie all seem to be making a similar argument that now is the time for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and the discussion of independence is a distraction.

Welsh Parliament
In Wales, 60 MSs will be elected and the initial campaign focus has been on judging how well the Welsh Government has handled the pandemic. First Minister of Wales and Leader of Welsh Labour Mark Drakeford has presented his plans as ‘honest and realistic’, as he has said Wales is not likely to return to normality in 2021.

The Welsh Conservatives are taking a different view and are campaigning to end social distancing restrictions earlier than suggested by Drakeford. The Welsh Conservatives will be hoping for similar success as in the 2019 General Election, where the Conservatives gained six seats in Wales at the expense of Labour.

The decision to build or not to build the M4 relief road will also play a part as a key campaigning issue, with the Welsh Conservatives pledging to build the road if they win in the election. Drakeford has previously said the plans cannot go ahead because of the cost and the impact on the environment.

London Mayor
In London, Sadiq Khan faces no shortage of opponents, the following candidates will be attempting to take his spot: Shaun Bailey (Conservative), Siân Berry (Green), Luisa Porritt (Liberal Democrats), Kam Balayev (Renew Party), Valerie Brown (Burning Pink), Peter Gammons (UKIP), David Kurten (Heritage Party), Mandu Reid (Women’s Equality Party) and Laurence Fox (Reclaim Party). Independent candidates include Brian Rose, Nims Obunge, Charlie Mullins, Winston McKenzie, Farah London, Max Fosh, Drillminister, Piers Corbyn and Count Binface.

Baily, Berry and Porritt are likely to present Khan with his sternest opposition. Porritt is campaigning on a platform of taking London forward with ideas such as converting office space into affordable homes and improving air quality in London.

Berry has run to be London Mayor twice, in 2008 when she got 3.2% of the vote and 2016 when she got 5.8% of the vote and came third. The Green’s are focusing on fairness and tackling inequality and are presenting themselves as an independent voice in politics that can often be dominated by the Conservatives and Labour. The Green’s may also seek to capitalise on those who have drifted away from Labour since Corbyn stopped being leader.

Despite numerous criticisms to the approach so far, Bailey seems set on basing the campaign on how Sadiq Khan has failed as Mayor and how he can give London the fresh start it needs. Interestingly, it seems as though both Khan and Bailey are blaming each other for crime in London; Bailey blaming Khan as he is the Mayor and Khan blaming Bailey as he was a special adviser on crime during David Cameron’s time as Prime Minister.

Keep up with all the latest election news from Vuelio and the LGIU.

The great Covid bounce back for Charities

The great Covid bounce back for Charities?

The great Covid bounce back for Charities?

The great Covid bounce back for Charities? looks at the impact the past year has had on the charity sector and what the path looks like returning to in-person events and increased levels of fundraising.

We are joined by Caroline Mallan, head of external affairs at the Charities Aid Foundation and Emily Sturdy, head of supporter engagement at Parkinson’s UK. Our CMO, Michelle Goodall moderates the panel and leads the discussion.

Join our webinar as we discuss:

• How the past 12 months have affected fundraising, comms, campaigning, supporter engagement and lobbying
• If there have there been any positives from this period?
• The projects charities have undertaken during the past few months such as new ways to engage with supporters and new fundraising tactic

BlAME game

The BlAME game

Charlotte KingThis is a guest post from Charlotte King, fellowships and communications coordinator at the Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Leicester. Her work here is her own views and does not reflect those of the university.

The pandemic has profoundly impacted the ways in which we think about health and risk within and beyond our immediate community. While common anxieties surround the frank fear of death and wellbeing, nothing has exposed societal inequalities quite like COVID-19. 

Our information environment has engaged with the somewhat misleading meta-narrative that the virus is an equaliser, yet ‘we’re all in this together’ is a more problematic phrase for those experiencing the brunt of the pandemic than those often responsible for producing the messaging. If our understanding of society is largely shaped by information flow through the platforms we access, there is an inherent danger that our perception is tainted by bias frames toward particular socio-political issues. As the city of Leicester experienced the first prolonged lockdown in the UK, the narrative of the pandemic soon became discriminatory against BAME communities, many of whom already experience systematic racism.

Many have noted the messaging that BAME communities are at increased risk, yet few messages illustrate why this is the case. The lack of clarity has led to a stigma surrounding BAME communities which has seen an exacerbation from anti-Asian sentiment to the targeting of BAME communities more widely. While it is clear that those who have continued employment in the workplace are more exposed to the virus than those sheltering, what is less clear is how our personal environments disproportionately impact the agency one has over their health and risk-taking during this time.

Multi-dimensional factors surrounding underlying health conditions, access to healthcare and health communications, class, employment, diet and the status of accommodation all reveal disproportionate ways in which people are able to adhere to health guidance. While these are far too expansive to discuss here, it is important to note that the issue of inequality and public health is sensitive, and far too complex to understand through hegemonic stories surrounding it.

Here I will unpack just a few issues on disproportionate vulnerability. Economic stability has weighed on the minds of many in the UK, and those who are pressured into working during the pandemic are undoubtedly exposed to an extent others are not. Adding salt to the wound, there is a disproportionate effect on BAME communities through the lens of economic stability. This divide is further emphasised by those who lack the luxury of social distancing, contributing towards the extent to which one can safely operate during the pandemic. This reveals a profound disparity between the rich and poor, and while many experience mental health concerns during lockdown, it is evident that it is not the same for everybody.

Alongside circumstantial differences, language also plays a significant role for migrant communities. Leicester City Council distributed health guidance in a variety of the main languages spoken within the city, yet this is an anomaly to otherwise English-dominant communications. The danger surrounding this is the further stigmatisation of migrants on the basis of immersion and integration, when discussion of public health should remain an issue of health as a human right; regardless of language, race, gender or nationality. As researchers and scientists are working hard to demystify the issue of ethnicity, class and health, it must be brought to the forefront of public opinion, through the narrative of public health, that the alienation of certain groups within a profoundly multicultural nation is causing a rift among UK citizens.

Generally, when it comes to public health, we have cultivated a culture of trust between ourselves and the top-down news stories. Yet the human aspect behind the BAME story is omitted from headlines, unmasking the frailty of our society. As we move our news sources online, algorithms cause us to become, often unknowingly, immersed into dominant stories and misinformation, undermining a complete narrative to be shaped when it comes to public health. Herein lies the paradox of pluralistic societies; we live side by side with differential signifiers of our times, with little common understanding of our wider cultural makeup.

We have a societal responsibility to incorporate BAME stories into our national health narrative, or the profound effects of alienation and systemic discrimination of BAME communities will be exacerbated to an unknown end. A bottom-up approach would demand a shift towards a more divisive social understanding, and would offer a platform for the all too often silenced voices to be heard, rather than blanketed through the stories we currently receive.

For the pandemic, a fundamentally human story, we are missing the perspective of so many, causing us to drift further away from having the complete picture of how our society is coping with the current context.