Are we really listening?

I recently attended a conference about the future of public relations, which was organised by the Channel Islands branch of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

There are many advantages of living in the Channel Islands, but one of the downsides is that we get very few opportunities for on-island, industry relevant, professional development. It’s common for practitioners to go to the UK to attend courses and so it’s real credit to the committee that they were able to bring together some highly experienced professionals and then persuade them to cross the Channel to share their views.



Taking our place at the table

Many people would scoff at the idea that the public relations industry is positioning itself at the forefront of transparency and ethical practice in business. The reputation of 1980s spin-doctors, with their smokescreens and dubious truth-hiding tactics, stained the profession and still linger in cultural memory. 

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), which represents our industry and sets the standards of PR practitioners’ ethical practice and values, holds a very different view – and rightly so. Its core values of honesty, integrity and transparency underpin everything that the institute does through its engagement with members, training, seminars and code of conduct. 



PR driving ethics

The PR industry is on an ethics drive. Ethics is a cornerstone of good PR practice. As practitioners we have a governance role to play in helping our clients to make sound decisions. Jason MacKenzie’s manifesto for his CIPR Presidency campaign focuses on professionalism, with ethics being fundamental in achieving this.

As the Volkswagen story rumbles on, it raises plenty of ethical questions. At what stage was it suggested it would be acceptable to fit cars with devices to falsify emissions tests, and was this not challenged? Was there a conversation where Volkswagen discussed whether this was the right thing to do, and the implications? A PR professional’s alarm bells would certainly have been ringing.


Missing a McWhopper of an opportunity?

Considering its mascot is a clown, McDonald’s has suffered a major sense of humour failure when it comes to rival Burger King’s ‘Peace Day burger’ offer.

To mark United Nations’ International Day of Peace on September 21, Burger King offered its rival a ‘ceasefire’ in the burger wars, working together to create a special ‘McWhopper’ for the occasion.

A ‘100% genuine’ offer, BK suggested “all the tastiest bits of your Big Mac and our Whopper, united in one delicious, peace-loving…

Closing cultural gaps in an instant

With a couple of days to go before our first French exchange student was due to arrive, I started to worry about how we would communicate with her. What would she want to eat? What would we do if she was homesick? Then I thought about the return leg – did I really want to send my 12-year-old daughter to a strange place with people she didn’t know?

 What I hadn’t fully appreciated was that my daughter has been emailing and Snapchatting her ‘penpal’ for weeks without even lifting up a pen and piece of paper. She already knows that her mum speaks excellent English, that she likes chicken with everything, performing on stage, and that she has hot chocolate for breakfast. They have quickly developed the kind of relationship she has with her school friends, all at the...

Rebuilding FIFA’s broken reputation

Days after being elected FIFA president for a fifth term, Sepp Blatter resigned. You don’t have to be too much of a cynic to expect some ‘revelations’ in the coming weeks and months. 

Blatter’s re-election caused substantial damage to an organisation that has had a well-earned and major reputational issue for years.

Football fans, the media and those with a keen eye have long questioned the actions of football’s governing body, calling it to account for corruption, bad decisions, and human rights issues around Qatar’s World Cup construction. Two PR agencies withdrew from a pitch process to represent FIFA in 2014, so toxic is the...

Liquid appoints experienced account manager

Liquid has strengthened its team in Guernsey with the appointment of an account manager with over 16 years’ integrated communications experience in client and local government roles as well as sales and business development. 

The communications consultancy, which also has offices in Jersey, Birmingham and London, has appointed Sarah Duguid to complement  enhance the existing skills within Liquid as the company continues to expand. In November, Liquid was named Outstanding Public Relations Consultancy in the South of England and Channel Islands region for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Awards and...


Before the 1990s it cost money to send and receive information. Letters had to be typed by specialists, put in envelopes and stamped. PR firms used messengers to deliver urgent items to media offices. Companies employed typists; senior people, who were never expected to type, were given Personal Assistants. Philips calculated the cost of a letter (£3) and used this shocking figure to promote sales of dictation machines.

If you wanted to receive information you had to pay for it: you bought a newspaper, maybe several, and you subscribed to professional, trade and technical titles which usually arrived by post. If you worked in the City you paid high prices for timely information from...

Defining PR and digital

The worlds of PR, digital and technology have been converging for years and professionals that haven’t already realised and embraced this are on the back foot. The communications industry may have shied away from technology and digital in the past but there’s no avoiding it now. Marketing and IT departments are becoming symbiotic. Responsibility for social media often sits with...


For anyone living in the Channel Islands, or indeed anyone with more than passing interest in the affairs of the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, the launch of Condor Ferries' new £50m. vessel Liberation won't have escaped notice.

Condor's history has not been plain sailing (pun intended) with too many people quick to criticise them for timetabling issues and poor performance.

However, they should be congratulated for the way they have engaged the islands' communities in recent weeks. Firstly, they made a long-term commitment to providing a maritime transport link to the UK and France, running a competition to name the ferry and another for children to...

Managing to listen

I started on the PR Week Mentoring project unclear about what to expect. I wasn't sure what to ask of my mentor or what she could do to better equip me for the challenges that come with being a shareholder, director and account director of a PR agency with offices in three jurisdictions. 

As it turns out, Denise Kaufmann from Ketchum UK has imparted invaluable advice, having a dramatic effect on my performance.

We decided last March that there were four key areas to cover, starting with how to become a better manager of people - and Denise shared with me the wisdom I'd been looking for. I consider myself to be a capable consultant, but that doesn't always translate into being a good manager. Being an excellent manager and being a strong leader are...

Becoming a working mum

I've been on the PRWeek mentoring scheme since March and have built an excellent relationship with my mentor, Denise Kaufmann of Ketchum UK. She 'gets' me, to the extent that when I announced I was pregnant at our last meeting she knew what I was going to tell her.

Apart from all of the advice Denise has been giving me about being a better mentor, manager and leader, she has shared with me some valuable life lessons. She's seen many women go on maternity leave and return. She's helped scores of them find a manageable, rewarding and enjoyable work/life balance. She also (as the boss) makes sure that all of this is achieved while not compromising the standards of service provided to the company's clients.

Denise has observed that women who thought they'd dread going back to work have, in the main, been incredibly excited to return. It's not because they don't want to be with their children, but rather because it allows them to be...