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Spotlight on…. London Blockchain Week 2018

Spotlight on…. London Blockchain Week 2018

The technology that defined 2017, even if we didn’t necessarily realise it, was blockchain. Providing the foundations for the volatile and fascinating world of cryptocurrencies which stole the headlines. For a whole week, starting tomorrow, the world’s leading blockchain experts and enthusiasts will meet in London for Blockchain Week 2018.

Kicking off with a Hackathon, the weeklong event sees the original Blockchain Conference return for its fourth year. Featuring an expo of some of the most exciting blockchain companies from around the world, the following two-day conference will explore blockchain/ DLT across all sectors, led by those innovating at the very forefront of the field.

Here we’ve picked out some of the hottest companies exhibiting and speaking during the event to watch in the coming months.

Qadre

Qadre is on a mission to redefine how businesses onboard, quantify and manage trust in enterprise through harnessing blockchain technology. Ultimately, they aim to solve the problems with trust in the digital world. With a whole suite of products and solutions, Qadre is providing the much-needed tools to businesses; minimizing inefficiencies and chances for fraud. With big plans for 2018, this is definitely a start-up to keep on your watch-list.

Green Energy Wallet

There are two significant emerging technologies that will determine our future – renewable energies and electric vehicles. However, to ensure we fully move away from fossil fuels and protect our planet’s future, an efficient facility to store renewable energy is needed. Green Energy Wallet has utilised blockchain technology to create a battery leasing system, that harnesses the combined storage capacity of electric vehicles and home batteries – maximising the production of renewable energy and resupplying the grid as needed.

Effect.ai

The Artificial Intelligence ecosystem has grown at an explosive and exponential rate but has largely been driven and dominated by the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon. Effect.ai aims to create an open, decentralised network that provides all services in the AI market to ensure AI is available to all – known as The Effect Network. Based on the NEO blockchain, and fuelled by a network NEP-5 token called AIX, the team behind the network is on a mission to define the future relation between AI and humanity.

Lendingblock

Realising that only when we can spend and lend digital assets as easily as fiat money will they supplant traditional currencies, Lendingblock has created the first open decentralised exchange for borrowing and lending such cryptocurrencies. The company aims to create a financial system that provides equality of access to everyone, regardless of financial status or location. An exciting company who is working hard to make this goal a reality.

Atonomi

There are billions of IoT devices spread across the globe and ensuring they all are trustable in terms of interoperability for both data and commerce is essential. Rooting the identity and reputation of these devices on a distributed blockchain-based immutable ledger, Atonomi provides a new security and infrastructure to do exactly this.

Tallysticks

Trading has become a complicated, time-consuming practice, with little trust amongst parties. Tallysticks is aiming to make trading simple again – helping independent businesses to grow around the world. Using software automation and existing banking products, Tallysticks is helping to build trust between trading partners through its single online tool for documentation, communications and payments.

The Charities Inspiring Positive Change

At PHA we champion positive change. From working with universities, to mentoring students, to raising awareness of charities and organisations who educate and fund aspiring teenagers; at PHA we are always looking for new and exciting ways to support our younger generation and help them to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Encouraging young people to thrive in what they are passionate about, and giving them access to an assortment of knowledge and skills, is a mantra which we believe everyone should foster. But we are certainly not the first people to think this!

Below are six charities and organisations who have made it their mission to create positive change, by tackling a variety of social issues which are preventing our young generation from reaching their full potential and living life to the full…

Big Change

Big Change is a youth charity who believe that small changes can lead to ‘big change’. They aspire to create a generation where everyone believes that they can change their own world for the better. How? They invest in big ideas and projects that help young people to thrive in life, not just school exams.

For example, the charity has been working on a programme called LEAD which aims to end leadership inequality in working-class communities, by bridging a gap that exists between young natural leaders in working-class backgrounds and the world of business, media, politics, and education. They achieve this by identifying young leaders and helping them to develop their skills so that they can to go on to engage in their local community or find work.

Another one of their many projects is called ONLY CONNECT, which inspires young prisoners, ex-offenders, and youths at risk, to look to the future, by engaging them in group projects, such as drama and the arts. The project encourages teamwork and personal discovery in those who may feel that they have lost their purpose in society.

By backing young people’s ideas at an early stage, the charity is helping to give them the skills to believe in themselves and drive positive change in their own lives.

The Ideas Foundation

The Ideas foundation are on a mission to create diversity in the creative industries, by identifying and nurturing creatively gifted 13-19 year olds. Their ‘I Am Creative’ and ‘Incubate’ programmes allow them to identify creatively gifted young people, and ‘The Ladder’ scheme is their way of nurturing them.

How do these projects work together? Well, ‘I Am Creative’ exposes 13-19 year olds to the creative industry by giving them an opportunity to have a go at answering a live creative brief from a global company, and then inviting them to pitch to the company in London. The ‘Incubate’ programme brings specialist industries employers into the classroom to work intensively with young people on projects from across the Digital and Media communications sector. Highly recommended pupils from both programmes will get a place on ‘The Ladder’, where they are exposed to an array of opportunities, news and information, so that they get a head-start in the creative industry!

#IWill

#iwill is a UK-wide campaign that aims to make social action part of life for as many 10 – 20 year old’s as possible by the year 2020. The campaign is being coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve, to give more young people the opportunity to take part in exciting and innovative youth social action projects, and develop their skills for work and life.

#iwill involves campaigning, fundraising, and volunteering, to raise money which will benefit young people and their communities. So far more than 700 business, education and voluntary sector partners have committed to embedding social action into the lives of young people – will you join them?

VInspired

Vinspired is the UK’s leading volunteering charity for 18-25 years old’s. They believe that volunteering can help young people to thrive, and transform the communities they live in – which is why they are encouraging more young people to make their mark on the causes that they care about through volunteering, whilst learning new skills and talents along the way.

The charity has launched a number of schemes to make this happen. For example, their VInspired Cashpoint allows young people to set up their own voluntary project to tackle community issues that matter to them, and their VInspired Task Squad provides employability advice and support.

Since 2006, the charity has created over 1 million volunteering opportunities for young people across the UK – and they aren’t stopping there!

Generation Change

The UK has high levels of inequality, decreasing community cohesion, and an aging population, whilst economic challenges are making it ever more difficult for young people to succeed in life. Generation Change believes that encouraging more young people to be involved in social action will help to tackle these problems.

By partnering with seventeen of the UK’s leading social action programmes, Generation Change is enhancing the understanding and quality of youth social action, providing a platform for collaboration between youth social action and other related organisations, and drawing attention to the youth social action agenda in the media and with policy makers.

If your organisation offers young people an opportunity to take part in social action, why not make a profile on Generation Change’s Horizon Map?

Fight For Change

Fight 4 Change is a registered Sport for Development charity which is inspiring young people from vulnerable and disenfranchised communities to make a positive change in their lives – through sport.

The charity encourages young people to participate in a mixture of sports (including boxing, martial arts, multi sports and fitness training) as part of their Sports Intervention Programme, to teach them teamwork, discipline, routine and a sense of belonging.

The charity has also developed a range of health and educational tool kits, including; Employability tool kit, Health and Nutrition tool kit, Mental Health tool kit and Physical literacy tool kit. These tool kits will help young people to build resilience and address goal setting, as well as teaching them communication needs, leadership and confidence.

So far, Fight for Change has engaged 5,120 young people in their Sports Development Programmes, 219 in gang intervention programmes, and 30 in education training and employment!

The PHA Group PR Student Awards – we have our winners!

The The PHA Group 2017 PR Student Awards have received a number of amazing entries and we would like to say a very big thank you to all of you who entered, we really enjoyed reading your entries and were impressed by your enthusiasm for PR.

After much deliberation, the team couldn’t narrow it down to one winner, and therefore have decided on the following three winners:

Josh Dunne – Addict Aide’s Louis Delage Instagram Campaign

Kate Eldridge – Smirnoff’s “Love Wins” Campaign

Jasper Stanley – The Royals’ Heads Together Campaign

As a leading UK PR Agency, The PHA Group are advocates of recognising talent and we are committed to reaching out to students to help inform them on what a career in PR can offer them. We run a very successful PR Internship programme, regularly attend University Careers Fairs and host PR Open Days at our offices for aspiring PR professionals to gain a unique insight into what it’s like to work in Public Relations.

Over the years we have been hugely impressed by the creativity and ideas of the great interns we have had at our agency and so we wanted to create an initiative designed to give students a chance to discuss PR campaigns that they felt particularly engaged with.

We asked students to tell us about their favourite and most inspiring PR campaign from the past 5 years in 300 words or less. The campaign could be from any size company but had to be a PR campaign specifically.

We hoped to hear from students who are interested in a career in PR and who are excited about the prospect of joining The PHA Group team for a day of interactive and bespoke activities at our London Offices – and we weren’t disappointed!

We received so many engaging entries which had hard-hitting topics at their core such as mental health, equality and addiction. It was a tough process choosing a winner, and so we decided on three of our favourites.

Josh Dunne impressed us with his understanding of the impact that PR can have and how campaigns can be effective on a low-budget for his entry on Addict Aide’s fictional Instagram account for socialite Louise Delage to highlight how easy it can be to miss the addiction of someone close to you.

Like my addiction

A post shared by Louise Delage (@louise.delage) on

Kate Eldridge wowed us with her description of the “Love Wins” PR campaign for big brand Smirnoff and the real world impact that they achieved with their bespoke ‘equality collection’ vodka bottles which created awareness and supported gender, sexuality, race and nationality equality.

New bottles!! #love #loveislove #lovewins #❤️ #👭 #👬 #👩‍❤️‍👩 #👨‍❤️‍👨 #smirnoff #lgbt #lgbtq #pride #pridemonth #mindyourbusiness #letitgo #loveeveryone #drinkdrankdrunk #drinking #drinks #vodka #absolute

A post shared by Manda (@paanda1990) on

And finally, Jasper Stanley stood out for his awareness that a successful PR campaign doesn’t have to have a monetary impact, but can simply create a conversation where previously there has been stigma – this was achieved by the mental health campaign Heads Together in partnership Prince William and Harry.

#throwbackthursday to @adwoaaboah & her mum Camilla showing that two heads are better than one when it comes to mental health. #headstogether #mentalhealth #oktosay

A post shared by Heads Together (@heads_together) on

The winners will spend a day at The PHA Group learning from industry experts and gaining a unique insight into one of the UKs leading PR agencies. There will be Q&As with our senior team, including ex-national newspaper journalists and the founders of the PHA brand. As a multi-sector PR agency we have expertise across consumer, sport, business, fashion, corporate and political PR and our friendly team are excited to welcome Josh, Kate and Jasper to the agency on Wednesday 19th July.

 

 

The PHA Group PR Student Awards – we have our winners!

The The PHA Group 2017 PR Student Awards have received a number of amazing entries and we would like to say a very big thank you to all of you who entered, we really enjoyed reading your entries and were impressed by your enthusiasm for PR.

After much deliberation, the team couldn’t narrow it down to one winner, and therefore have decided on the following three winners:

Josh Dunne – Addict Aide’s Louis Delage Instagram Campaign

Kate Eldridge – Smirnoff’s “Love Wins” Campaign

Jasper Stanley – The Royals’ Heads Together Campaign

As a leading UK PR Agency, The PHA Group are advocates of recognising talent and we are committed to reaching out to students to help inform them on what a career in PR can offer them. We run a very successful PR Internship programme, regularly attend University Careers Fairs and host PR Open Days at our offices for aspiring PR professionals to gain a unique insight into what it’s like to work in Public Relations.

Over the years we have been hugely impressed by the creativity and ideas of the great interns we have had at our agency and so we wanted to create an initiative designed to give students a chance to discuss PR campaigns that they felt particularly engaged with.

We asked students to tell us about their favourite and most inspiring PR campaign from the past 5 years in 300 words or less. The campaign could be from any size company but had to be a PR campaign specifically.

We hoped to hear from students who are interested in a career in PR and who are excited about the prospect of joining the The PHA Group team for a day of interactive and bespoke activities at our London Offices – and we weren’t disappointed!

We received so many engaging entries which had hard-hitting topics at their core such as mental health, equality and addiction. It was a tough process choosing a winner, and so we decided on three of our favourites.

Josh Dunne impressed us with his understanding of the impact that PR can have and how campaigns can be effective on a low-budget for his entry on Addict Aide’s fictional Instagram account for socialite Louise Delage to highlight how easy it can be to miss the addiction of someone close to you.

Like my addiction

A post shared by Louise Delage (@louise.delage) on

Kate Eldridge wowed us with her description of the “Love Wins” PR campaign for big brand Smirnoff and the real world impact that they achieved with their bespoke ‘equality collection’ vodka bottles which created awareness and supported gender, sexuality, race and nationality equality.

New bottles!! #love #loveislove #lovewins #❤️ #👭 #👬 #👩‍❤️‍👩 #👨‍❤️‍👨 #smirnoff #lgbt #lgbtq #pride #pridemonth #mindyourbusiness #letitgo #loveeveryone #drinkdrankdrunk #drinking #drinks #vodka #absolute

A post shared by Manda (@paanda1990) on

And finally, Jasper Stanley stood out for his awareness that a successful PR campaign doesn’t have to have monetary impact, but can simply create a conversation where previously there has been stigma which was achieved by the mental health campaign Heads Together in partnership Prince William and Harry.

#throwbackthursday to @adwoaaboah & her mum Camilla showing that two heads are better than one when it comes to mental health. #headstogether #mentalhealth #oktosay

A post shared by Heads Together (@heads_together) on

The winners will spend a day at The PHA Group learning from industry experts and gaining a unique insight into one of the UKs leading PR agencies. There will be Q&As with our senior team, including ex-national newspaper journalists and the founders of the PHA brand. As a multi-sector PR agency we have expertise across consumer, sport, business, fashion, corporate and political PR and our friendly team are excited to welcome Josh, Kate and Jasper to the agency on Wednesday 19th July.

 

 

Instagram vs Snapchat: The Stories Debate

Another day, another social media update! On Tuesday, Instagram rolled out a new feature called Instagram Stories.

This feature allows users to upload photos and videos that will disappear automatically after 24 hours. ‘Stories’ sits at the top of your newsfeed, and you can bring your content to life with text and drawing tools. Sound familiar? Yes! That’s because it’s just like Snapchat.

Essentially, Instagram have copied the whole concept of Snapchat Stories. Once a place where you could only see the ‘highlights’, Instagram are ready to take on their fellow tech giant; swallowing their pride with this huge ephemeral curveball. In an interview with TechCrunch, Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom even said that Snapchat “deserve all the credit”.

But what does this mean for the future of Instagram and Snapchat? Reaction has been mixed online.

In favour of Instagram ?

“Good artists copy; great artists steal”, say Next Web who have revived the words of Picasso. Some say that Instagram has taken a concept built by Snapchat but “out-innovated” them with their own spin on the familiar feature. When you think about it, this feature is actually a perfect fit for Instagram. Ultimately, Instagram has made the feature more accessible and easier to use for a wider group of people and higher numbers of users; people who sometimes struggle with the current Snapchat model. In their official blog, Instagram said that now their users “don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed”. The new feature will be rolled out globally to both Android and iOS users over the next few weeks.

Instagram Stories offers something more – i.e. beautiful imagery and highlights; along with a raw, unedited look into daily lives. This is a move that could really bring Instagram to the forefront, to make sure it stays on top. The best of both worlds! Watch out, Snapchat.

Instagram Stories

In favour of Snapchat ?

We spoke recently about how Snapchat really is the app for innovation, and it still is. Snapchat pioneered the ‘Stories’ feature which has taken over the social media world, not to mention Snapchat ‘Memories’, ‘Geofilters’ and ‘Lenses’. Snapchat have been original with their product, a product which has contributed to the decline in “original sharing” via Facebook. Copying Snapchat is an extreme move by Instagram, one which is telling of the problems the app is facing. People have always liked Snapchat because of the freedom associated with it, it is a place where you don’t have to feel judged for posting like you might do on Instagram or Facebook. The new ephemeral feature on Instagram has basically confirmed that this type of sharing is the way forward. Snapchat have innovated before, and there is no doubt that they will do it again.

With a dedicated and loyal fan base, it is hard to see how Snapchat will suffer as a result of this move. Not to mention the fact that Instagram have annoyed many people with their recent algorithm change – ‘Stories’ has just added salt to the wound. With sentiment erring slightly on the negative side, could Instagram become the Bebo of our time?

As always in the world of tech and social media, we can never tell what’s around the corner. Who will reign supreme? Time will tell. In the meantime, the digital team at The PHA Group are looking forward to the next update from Snapchat…

 

 

The PHA Group Win Best PR Campaign at B2B Awards

PHA-Award-2015-B2B

Following the nomination in August, we’re incredibly proud and excited to announce The PHA Group have won Best Public Relations Campaign at the B2B Marketing Awards.

The awards were hosted at The Honourable Artillery Club in Central London and are known for recognising organisations of all sizes – from Google and Barclays to Worldpay and now QinetiQ with The PHA Group.

The award feels particularly poignant. Not least because both The PHA Group and the B2B Marketing Awards are celebrating their 10th Anniversaries this year, but also because just a quick glance at the nominees for each category conveys how fierce the competition is.

When it comes to public relations campaigns, at The PHA Group we’re known for a journalistic ethos that brings stories to life. And that’s precisely what we achieved with our work for QinetiQ and the 5% Club.

Founded in 2013 by Defence technology company QinetiQ, The 5% Club is an initiative aiming to redress the problem of youth unemployment and the skills gap. As an industry-led campaign involving several listed and privately owned companies, it calls on all businesses in the UK to sign up and pledge that within five years, their workforces will comprise 5% apprentices, graduates and sponsored students.

Why? Because there is a burning need for young people to develop relevant skills and confidence in the workplace. Moreover, those who are best placed to make a difference are not governments or charities, but businesses.

This is the 5% Club message.

It is time to invest in the next generation.

It is time for the business world and its captains to step up to the plate in creating demand for apprentices and graduates if Britain was to be competitive with the rest of the world.

Out of dozens of agencies, QinetiQ chose The PHA Group to launch this campaign, which has grown from the original eight signatories from the Confederation of British Business, to having over 125 members. These include Vision Express, Airbus Group, Croudace Home Group, Ofcom, the National Nuclear Laboratory, and the Ministry of Defence. There are lawyers, marketers, engineers, surveyors and recruitment specialists involved. It has featured in national newspapers, has spokespersons interviewed on national broadcast platforms such as Sky and BBC’s impressive Today Programme. In total, there have been countless pieces of coverage for the 5% Club.

Such results were the effort of The PHA Group’s long-term media plan, which in truth could only be realized with the commitment and dedication of the founding members of The 5% Club and those companies which have joined over the past two years.

From delivering an impactful launch through broadcast, online and print media, and through various social media channels, to continuing the momentum through thought-leadership in key titles and profile raising coverage for the campaign.

The PHA Group are immensely proud of what The 5% Club has achieved for young people in Britain and in our role in helping its message reach the UK.

B2B Awards

Best Public Relations Campaign  ‘The Five Per Cent Club: Investing In a Generation’ for QinetiQ by The PHA Group

 

The PHA Group Win Best PR Campaign at B2B Awards

PHA-Award-2015-B2B

Following the nomination in August, we’re incredibly proud and excited to announce The PHA Group have won Best Public Relations Campaign at the B2B Marketing Awards.

The awards were hosted at The Honourable Artillery Club in Central London and are known for recognising organisations of all sizes – from Google and Barclays to Worldpay and now QinetiQ with The PHA Group.

The award feels particularly poignant. Not least because both The PHA Group and the B2B Marketing Awards are celebrating their 10th Anniversaries this year, but also because just a quick glance at the nominees for each category conveys how fierce the competition is.

When it comes to public relationship campaigns, at The PHA Group we’re known for a journalistic ethos that brings stories to life. And that’s precisely what we achieved with our work for QinetQ and the 5% Club.

Founded in 2013 by Defence technology company QinetiQ, The 5% Club is an initiative aiming to redress the problem of youth unemployment and the skills gap. As an industry-led campaign involving several listed and privately owned companies, it calls on all businesses in the UK to sign up and pledge that within five years, their workforces will comprise 5% apprentices, graduates and sponsored students.

Why? Because there is a burning need for young people to develop relevant skills and confidence in the work place. Moreover, those who are best placed to make a difference are not governments or charities, but businesses.

This is the 5% Club message.

It is time to invest in the next generation.

It is time for the business world and its captains to step up to the plate in creating demand for apprentices and graduates if Britain was to be competitive with the rest of the world.

Out of dozens of agencies, QinetiQ chose The PHA Group to launch this campaign, which has grown from the original eight signatories from the Confederation of British Business, to having over 125 members. These include Vision Express, Airbus Group, Croudace Home Group, Ofcom, the National Nuclear Laboratory, and the Ministry of Defence. There are lawyers, marketers, engineers, surveyors and recruitment specialists involved. It has featured in national newspapers, has spokespersons interviewed on national broadcast platforms such as Sky and BBC’s impressive Today Programme. In total, there have been countless pieces of coverage for the 5% Club.

Such results were the effort of The PHA Group’s long-term media plan, which in truth could only be realized with the commitment and dedicated of the founding membes of The 5% Club and those companies which have joined over the past two years.

From delivering an impactful launch through broadcast, online and print media, and though various social media channels, to continuing the momentum through thought-leadership in key titles and profile raising coverage for the campaign.

The PHA Group are immensely proud of what The 5% Club has achieved for young people in Britain and in our role in helping its message reach the UK.

B2B Awards

Best Public Relations Campaign  ‘The Five Per Cent Club: Investing In a Generation’ for QinetiQ by The PHA Group

 

Live update from UFC Abu Dhabi Fight Week

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 14.46.46

This week saw the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) return to Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2010. On Sunday, The UFC team gathered from all corners of the earth and headed to the Middle East as the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation put on a show in the desert.

This event is unique for many reasons, it’s the only venue in the world where the fights take place in an open-air arena, and where the arena itself is completely constructed from scratch for the UFC and torn down again the next day. Somewhat extravagant some might say but again a unique element of shows in this region.

The week kicked off as usual with a day of media, this time for the guest fighters in Dubai. It was key for the team over here to target both the media in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and it seems they would be reluctant to travel to either city. The team got some great hits throughout the week with print such as The National, TV such as Dubai One and various online outlets.

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 14.46.28

Much of this week has involved changes to the schedules which I’m learning is part of the culture in the Middle East, everything is done last minute which can be frustrating for us at PHA and the fighters, giving me a new challenge to face and forcing us to become flexible and as adaptable as possible. Thankfully we are working with some very good-natured athletes who have made everything very easy for us.

The open workout and weigh in both took place at the Corniche which is a promenade alongside the beach. It sounds idyllic but working in the heat isn’t that ideal, especially with fighters who are cutting weight. We learnt from the weigh-in that the Abu Dhabi public are reluctant to come out to events within working hours, as were their media. As a result, we had to flip the running order for the weigh-ins to ensure we gathered a bigger crowd. This worked and we had a great crowd for the weigh-in, including some perplexed sunbathers who just came over to see what was going on!

On the day of the event today, the team are in high spirits (despite running around in 35-degree heat trying to sort media seating) and I’m looking forward to my first outdoors event. Stay tuned for the results!

Lurid headlines about your private life do not mean the end of your career…

Nigella Lawson HeadlinesJust ask David Beckham or Gordon Ramsay.

Thus I believe Nigella Lawson will be given a second chance by the British public, despite the fact she has been tried in the court of public opinion during the trial of her domestic assistants.

The public in this country accept that people make mistakes, but once it hits the headlines they will not forgive a cover-up. It is my view that Nigella should do one interview and make it absolutely clear that the cocaine taking is in her past, it happened during a difficult time in her life and she has huge regrets.

Beyond her control is what else comes out. If a dealer, or lurid pictures or horrible personal accounts are on the news agenda this weekend, the situation could change.

But what about America reporters ask? I don’t believe it will affect her chances of building a career on the other side of the Atlantic. Nigella has been portrayed as the victim in this whole ghastly episode and after all, she insisted the case go ahead knowing the sensational headlines it would make could damage her.

In many ways she has been courageous in facing her demons; she took control of the situation and |I would expect her to continue to do the same.

The powerful figure of Charles Saatchi, whilst being a rock in her early TV career was also a reason for her not to have to make decisions herself, or stand on her own two feet.

She has come through this court case a stronger, more independent woman and the public will applaud that in my view.

Team Nigella? A bit crass, but again it shows the power of the social network these days. When the public got behind her it gave editors the courage to support Nigella, drug taking and all.

She has suffered enough and so have her family.

The importance of PR in business is growing

The acknowledgement that PR professionals make great contributions to the successful running of businesses has long since been made.

Take a look around the offices of well-known institutions: of course, you’ll see the Chairman’s multi-aspect corner plot but, let the eye wander a bit further, and often you’ll encounter the Director of Communication set up, albeit in more modest fashion, next door to the boss.

PR is becoming increasingly important to top-level business decision making

PR is becoming increasingly important to top-level business decision making

The office plan is a physical manifestation of the importance of PR insight in the day to day running of a business. Before a new strategy is rolled out, the question is how should it be packaged and communicated so as to make the most impact on the chosen audience? Enter the Director of Communications. By the same token, when a business is suddenly beset by a reputational crisis, how should it be dealt with to minimise the impact on staff and the general public. Another job for the Director of Communications.

Surely it is only a matter of time before PR professionals become Chairmen as a matter of course. Their fingers are permanently on the pulse of a business and their minds in harmony with consumers; vital qualities in the success of any enterprise. On that note, it was gratifying to see John Fallon become the first PR man to take charge of a FTSE 100 company this year, when he became Chief Executive of Pearson, the learning company.

Fallon had joined Pearson as Director of Communications and rapidly become indispensable. Yet his presence at the helm of a large listed business is the exception rather than the rule currently. Research from recruitment company Robert Half found that more than half of FTSE 100 bosses had a financial background, with others emerging from engineering (14%), retail/hospitality management (10%), marketing (6%) and IT (4%).

If we fast-forward five or ten years, though, the figures may look very different. More and more companies are recognising the importance of PR in the business world and it is likely that Directors of Communication, the close allies and confidants of Chairmen, will find a direct route to the corner office and get the chance to run the show themselves.