Resetting Communications: Latest Influence Magazine out now

The Winter 2020 edition of Influence is out today featuring some of the best commentary and opinion from the world of PR and beyond.

Below is the editor’s letter and a taste of what you can find in the final edition of the year…

This time last year I was writing about how silly humour and cuteness becomes a lot more popular during hard times.

The general feeling was that 2019 had been a tough year and it was a conscious decision to have something light and fun on the front page. Fortunately Hello Kitty was there to give Influence the cutest cover ever.

Now, after all that 2020 has had to throw at us, cute and funny seems less appropriate.

The pandemic has been so universal in its disruption that it has affected virtually everyone, and in more ways than are easily countable. Things won’t be the same, and with so many areas of the business world hitting the reset button, in this edition we look at what kind of working landscape will be left behind, and how PR will be affected by these changes.

Public relations, that most flexible of disciplines, has proven its worth, as many business leaders have noticed — it took the staff having to W.F.H. to make communicating with them seem important (for some, at least). Check out Bea Buckley’s feature on the Internal Comms’ coming of age on p7.

I’m writing this while listening to Ogilvy’s Rory Sutherland at the CIPR’s National Conference. He makes some excellent points on how we as consumers make our decisions — ‘If you change the emotion, you change the behaviour’. Yet often the psychology involved is missed out when the  metrics are measured.

As communicators, psychology is something we need to be aware of; in an era where emotions seem only to run high, understanding why people feel the way they do has taken on new relevance.

As we reach the home stretch of 2020, Collins Dictionary has announced Lockdown as the word of the year. Chosen because it “encapsulates the shared experience of billions of people”, it’s hard to argue against a more fitting word — though I’ll try.

I would like to suggest ‘empathy’, an area of psychology that brands have struggled with, as we see on p16.

While probably not used as often as lockdown, it is a concept we have all had to become more familiar with. Whether it’s understanding what colleagues or clients we are separated from are going through, or emerging social causes that have come to light, being able to understand what another person is going through has been vital to getting through this year together.

With that in mind and at the start of the season of goodwill, I would like to remind you all of the fantastic work that the CIPR’s benevolent fund, iprovision, does for practitioners in need. Find out more at and if you can spare a donation, it would be most welcome.

The Winter 2020 edition of Influence is out now and can be found here.

Features include: 

Internal comms – coming of age? The start of this decade has brought unique challenges to communications teams.

Value reset: With hard times looming and budgets threatened, is it time to re-evaluate the value public relations brings to the table.

Covid Comms Career Changes: With a predicted rise in demand for public affairs, policy and regulation related skills — how will you expand your opportunities?

Engaging with Empathy: Brands have had to be much more sensitive in their messaging, and as new data shows, this pivoting has not always been easy!

If it ain’t woke – fix it: 2020 has seen significant shifts in how history and culture are perceived — how can those in PR and comms stay ahead of the curve?

Boundary scanning and forward planning: unlocking the future of lobbying.

Rob Smith is the editor of Influence. He's a reporter with a background in business journalism.

Leave a Reply