Blog

5 June, 2024
post box

The Post Office: PR in the firing line

The Post Office scandal has caused significant damage to the reputation of the legal profession and now, following evidence from former Post Office boss Paula Vennells and her former director of communications Mark Davies, the PR profession is not coming out covered in glory either. It was reported that Ms Vennells killed a review that would have exposed the Horizon IT scandal over a decade ago after she was told it would make “front-page news”. Subsequently sub-postmasters continued to be prosecuted and the Post Office continued to fight attempts to appeal convictions.

26 April, 2024
error

Vardags passes the legal PR test

The recent news that the wrong couple were granted a divorce after a lawyer at Vardags accidently opened a different couple’s file when making the application was a sobering reminder that mistakes happen, but it’s how you react to them that really matters. This could have gone one of two ways and to be honest, having seen some law firm howlers when it comes to managing embarrassing incidents, I was pleasantly surprised that Vardags did the right thing.

26 March, 2024
rotary phone

Pitching in PR stories by phone: Is it time to hang up?

I spoke to an editor friend recently who told me they no longer had phones at the place where she worked. “I have a work mobile, but I jump out of my skin when it rings as no one ever calls,” she said. This in itself isn’t anything new. I’m used to seeing ‘no phone calls’ listed in journalists’ bios on media databases. Once considered the norm, leaving a voicemail now borders on the offensive and almost certainly won’t be picked up. Journalists will always tell you to email in the first instance, but emails are easily missed and often forgotten. The same editor admitted she received so many that her inbox was bulging with thousands marked ‘unread.’

12 February, 2024
football pitch

Jurgen Klopp’s resignation was a communications lesson for us all

When it comes to good communications timing, tone, and getting the messaging right for your audience are key. While PR professionals know this all too well, it doesn’t prevent countless high profile PR disasters from happening every year. So, it was with a sense of awe – and extreme sadness as I am a lifelong Liverpool fan – that I saw Jurgen Klopp’s resignation video and subsequent outpouring of love towards the Liverpool manager.

29 January, 2024
survey

50% of people think this is the best blog you will read this month

Did you know that 42% of Brits admit they cannot remember the last time they laughed out loud, while 32% believe they haven’t as much as giggled in the last month? Well, it’s true, according to Sky TV last year. How about that 51% of people consider a Jaffa Cake to be a biscuit and only 38% see it as a cake ? Journalists love a survey. It’s easy, often eye-catching copy that pretty much writes itself. For that reason, those looking for publicity love a survey too – it can hammer home a message, be an understandable way into a difficult or staid topic, or show you’re a bit of fun.

30 November, 2023
planet not profit

Communication is key as purpose trumps pay in war for talent

According to a report published earlier this month by Black Letter Communications client, Obelisk Support, young lawyers are increasingly attracted to principles- and values-based businesses. Nearly three-quarters of the junior lawyers surveyed as part of the report -  World in Motion: why the legal profession cannot stand still - agreed or strongly agreed that they would not join an organisation whose values did not match with their own, even if they were offering more money.

27 October, 2023
First4Lawyers

Reflections on a successful PR partnership

I was fortunate enough to attend the First4Lawyers 15th anniversary celebration in Leeds earlier this month. As I sat listening to the presentations from the First4Lawyers’ board about their journey over the past 15 years, it got me thinking about the role that PR has played in their story, and what makes a successful PR partnership.

2 October, 2023
artificial intelligence

Why the jury is still out in the case for robot-powered PR

The chatter around artificial intelligence has grown a lot louder over the last 12 months since the launch of ChatGPT, the all-singing and dancing robot that’s allegedly coming to take our jobs. A new report by management consultants McKinsey claims that up to 70% of the work that many of us do could soon be automated. Just this month, a Court of Appeal judge admitted asking the “jolly useful” ChatGPT for help in writing a judgment and being satisfied with the answer. But the headlines didn’t tell the full story.

31 July, 2023
taped over mouth

Nigel Farage and NatWest: What does this saga teach us?

Loose lips sink ships may have been a wartime slogan, but in recent weeks banks NatWest and Coutts have demonstrated that loose lips can sink both careers and reputations. We have seen this story play out slowly and somewhat painfully in the media, with NatWest and Coutts slowly coming to the realisation that they seriously misjudged the situation, the government’s reaction and the reaction of the general public. What may have started as a very run of the mill charity dinner one evening in early July, has turned into a furore that may yet see the resignation of the entire board of one of the country’s biggest banks. So, what happened and what are the PR lessons learned?
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