Arun Sudhaman 14 Dec 2017 // 11:10AM GMT
We continue our 2017 Review with our top 10 Echo Chamber podcast episodes. Remember, you can subscribe to the show via iTunes or the direct feed. And a big thank-you to Markettiers, which produces the show, and our sponsor March.
1. David Brain on Bell Pottinger's demise & the future of PR
Given that the Bell Pottinger saga was, quite possibly, the biggest scandal to ever rock the public relations, it was hardly surprising that this post-mortem podcast proved so popular. Former Edelman APACMEA CEO David Brain joined Paul Holmes and myself to chew over the lessons from Bell Pottinger's demise and, quite frankly, marvel at the spectacle of it all. Here's hoping the very real issues raised by the firm's decline into disgrace do not go ignored.
2. The fake news phenomenon
What exactly is fake news? A simple question, perhaps, but one with a fairly complex set of answers, as explored by Weber Shandwick global editor-in-chief Vivian Schiller. The former president and CEO of National Public Radio, and ex-head of news and journalism partnerships at Twitter, discussed the seven types of disinformation that constitue fake news, and examined how media platforms like Facebook and Google are addressing the critical issue.
3. David Gallagher on the PR industry's reputation problem
Remarkably, this podcast was recorded before the full extent of the Bell Pottinger scandal was widely known. Regardless, Omnicom PR Group president David Gallagher was on top form as he discussed the PR industry's continued reputation issues in the media, drawing on his own experience of the criticism Ketchum attracted for representing Russia. Always a prescient industry voice, Gallagher also explored how he sees technology reshaping PR firms.
4. What is your corporate Trump strategy?
A question that few would have predicted a couple of years ago become one of 2017's hottest topics once it became clear that President Trump was not going to stop attacking rivals (including corporates) because of any concerns about official propriety. WE Communications president Alan VanderMolen joined the podcast to discuss how companies are reassessing their stance on Trump's policies, exploring such high-profile examples as Uber, Under Armour and Nordstrom.
5. PRCA's Francis Ingham on Bell Pottinger's downfall
At the end of a dramatic week that saw the downfall of Bell Pottinger, this blow-by-blow account of the saga from PRCA chief Francis Ingham made for compelling, if occasionally uncomfortable, listening. Unsurprisingly, Ingham defended his stance on the issue, explaining why the trade association decided to impose its harshest-ever sanction on the UK PR firm, and why he felt the scandal will not hurt the industry's wider reputation, despite the media ferocity which greeted the agency's demise.
6. Prema Sagar on the evolution of India's PR industry
25 years after launching Genesis PR, Prema Sagar sat down with us to reflect upon her pioneering journey in India's PR industry. Sagar, and her firm, have proved so influential on many PR careers in India, so it was hardly surprising that this episode proved so popular.
7. Gail Heimann's PR industry lessons from Cannes
What would Cannes be without obligatory post-mortem attempting to analyse the PR industry's performance? A duller place, and not least because it would have robbed us of the always-vibrant voice of Gail Heimann — discussing the changing nature of PR and PR ideas in a rapidly shifting media and information landscape and responding to whether the Festival retains relevance for the PR industry.
8. Mental health and addiction in the PR industry
M&C Saatchi PR director Chris Owen joined the Echo Chamber for a riveting episode that explored how addiction and mental ill health almost derailed his career. Owen's experiences are not unique; the episode discussed how the PR industry is addressing findings that more than half of the UK's PR and communications practitioners have suffered from mental ill health, while the vast majority of industry employers do not have a formal mental health policy. In a candid conversation, Owen explored such areas as the always-on agency culture, the pervasive influence of alcohol, and the need to improve training and processes.
9. Subtle ways workplace inequalities happen
Our coverage of the PR industry's continuing problems with diversity and inclusion proved to be one of the year's defining themes, hence the popularity of this podcast, which examined the unexpected ways that workplace inequalities. InkHouse CEO and co-founder Beth Monaghan talked about salary negioation, after-hour email bans and other practices that might subtly hold women back, while Ketchum's Barri Rafferty discussed gender equality in the Trump era.
10. Episode 100: PR themes & predictions with Alex Malouf
Was it really episode 100? We think so. Anyway, this show provided a good excuse to get P&G's Alex Malouf onboard to to discuss the key themes that have emerged from the podcast's 4+ years of existence, and come up with some random PR predictions for the Echo Chamber in 2018.