Webinar: 2016 in PR

PRs will need to wear more hats in 2017, the British public doesn’t respond well to negative campaigning and why the world just got “Trumped”. During yesterday’s end-of-year webinar, Tin Man founder Mandy Sharp and The PC Agency’s founder, Paul Charles, took on Gorkana’s annual challenge to identify key PR trends to look out for in the new year.


2016: A Year in PR



In a year that’s seen an end to any form of dead-cert predictions, Mandy Sharp, founder of multi-award winning creative comms agency Tin Man, and Paul Charles, former comms director for Richard Branson and founder of global travel PR firm The PC Agency, teamed up yesterday (14 December) to present their thoughts in response to Gorkana’s annual challenge to identify key PR trends to look out for in the New Year.

Highlighting their comms highlights and lowlights over the past year, Mandy and Paul, in conversation with Gorkana‘s head of news and content, Philip Smith, identified key lessons we can learn from the last 12 months and revealed their top tips for campaign success in 2017.

Mandy Sharp: “Successful work will always boil down to the idea”

Mandy’s favorite campaigns of 2016:


Citizen’s Advertising Takeover Service, in-house



Get fit with Kwik Fit, Taylor Herring



Pulling Power: Institute of Advanced Driving, Tin Man



The Missing Type Campaign, Engine/MHP



Like my addiction, Addict Aide










Challenges for 2017?

Increased focus on data and analytics.
“Most agencies will be looking at this further in 2016.”

PRs will need to wear even more hats.
“Whether its SEO, social or influencer marketing – our expertise must continue to widen.”

Paul Charles: “This was the year you could not have called”

Paul’s highlights and lowlights:


Brexit won the debate



We got “Trumped”



Heathrow hotted up



Toblerone turned itself on its head, “a return to classic PR”






Challenges for 2017?

There will be more consolidation in the PR industry
“The fact that the pound has weakened means that British companies are looking more attractive to larger agencies overseas.”

Financial PR is in turmoil
“Because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit, large institutions are not sure whether they’ll be moving their people out of London…As a result, financial PR is in a tough place at the moment and it will be a difficult 2017.”

Consumer PR – fees are under the spotlight
“Gone are the days when you had £30000 to £40000 monthly fees in consumer PR. Consumer businesses are realising they need to reduce their budgets while still aiming for the same amount of coverage.”

Key questions from the audience

What will be the new PR agency skill set?

Mandy: “We look for people who have a mix of traditional and digital skills, but more importantly, a culturally aware personality. They need to be able to create news and content that people will want to share. They also need to know what a great idea looks like. Often, it’s about the person rather than the skill-set.”

Paul: “People will need to change their CVs in a big way. CVs will need to demonstrate dynamism. They will show creativity, accuracy and speed.”

How can the small PR agency stand out more in the industry?

Paul: “Winning awards as a small agency shows the success of your campaigns. The small agency owner needs to be networking – and they need to keep it up. Employing the right people is essential.”

Mandy: “We take awards seriously – they show how well our work worked. To prove yourself as a small agency, you have to produce amazing work. And amazing work wins awards.”

Are you optimistic about the future of PR?

Paul: “I’m very optimistic – it’s a fantastic sector to work in. It’s adapting (as it needs to), it’s exciting (because its fluid) and it’s needed – brands will always need reputation management.”

Mandy: “I think PR, over and above other marketing disciplines, has so much power at the moment. As a world, we are branded to all the time, non stop. PR is authentic – it’s word of mouth – it’s about people telling other people how good things are.

“As an industry, more and more people will choose PR over other marketing disciplines for their career. But it has to be adaptable, it has to move with the times , and PR will start meaning a lot more things then traditional print coverage.”

The full webinar can be heard below:

The 2016 PR Round-up:wp

Highlights of the year and key trends for 2017
2016 – a year that has seen an end to any form of dead-cert predictions, whether it be the EU referendum result or Trump’s shock victory in the US presidential election.

Gorkana’s annual end-of-year white paper attempts to break forecasting’s bad-luck spell, identify key learnings from the past 12 months, and reveal top tips for PR campaign success in 2017.

Download your free copy here.

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