Maja Pawinska Sims 09 Dec 2019 // 6:30AM GMT
We kick off our 2019 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 the team at Markettiers, which produces the show, and our sponsor this year: the Bulleit Group.
1. Can America's top CEOs save capitalism?
The most-listened-to podcast this year was also probably the most business-critical: Paul Holmes and Arun Sudhaman examined the Business Roundtable’s announcement that shareholder interests do not outweigh the broader concerns of society and employees. It was a seminal proposal for the industry group that represents America’s top CEOs, coming after decades in which orthodoxy on shareholder returns above all else largely went unchallenged. But, as discussed on the September pod, there is plenty to suggest that the Business Roundtable statement will lack teeth unless it can be enforced by legislation.
2. Prince Andrew on BBC Newsnight
It’s one of our most recent podcasts, but it’s no surprise this comes in at number two for the whole year. The extraordinary revelations about the Queen’s second son’s friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein keep coming, but in the week of the historic interview of Prince Andrew by the BBC’s ballsy Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis, his “car crash” appearance was discussed by Arun Sudhaman and Enero non-exec director David Brain. As you might expect from a conversation between these two, zero punches were pulled.
3. The Academy’s Mitch Kaye and Dan Glover
Mitch Kaye and Dan Glover, who both worked at Shine and then built Mischief and The Academy (now incorporating Shine) into two of the UK’s most respected consumer hotshops, have worked with each other for 13 years but this was their first ever interview together. The duo joined me in the Echo Chamber in March to talk about how they work together, playing to the strengths of Kaye’s business brain and Glover’s creativity, and the introduction of their innovative multi-column agency structure.
4. Gail Heimann’s Cannes highlights and lowlights
Of all our podcasts from Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this summer, Arun Sudhaman’s audience with Weber Shandwick’s Gail Heimann, who was elevated to global CEO shortly afterwards, was the most popular. Heimann is not only a Cannes veteran but one of the more insightful industry voices when it comes to distilling lessons from the annual creative jamboree, and in this pod she breaks down her lessons from this year’s show, including the PR industry’s better showing, the colonisation of trust and purpose by ad agencies, the continuing gender imbalance among the creative ranks and whether PR is purely a craft.
5. The rise of virtual PR agencies
Podcasts on agency models and the how-to of running an agency often do well in the listener numbers stakes, and this chat with The PR Network’s George Blizzard and Nicky Regazzoni was no exception. In their first podcast, the founders of what we think was the first global virtual agency – a core team supported by tailor-made groups of freelance experts to service clients around the world – were typically candid about how they work together, their passion for flexible working, and what makes the virtual model a good fit for the modern PR landscape.
6. Mars’ Kimberly West on purpose fatigue
For the same reason that in-house comms professionals are the biggest draw at industry conferences, they also make some of our most must-listen podcasts. When you have Mars’ global external comms director Kimberly West in the room, that is doubly true. West joined Arun Sudhaman in Cannes to discuss the company’s evolution from a low-profile manufacturer of confectionary and petcare products, into a brand that is highly visible on issues of sustainability and governance. Among the topics of discussion were why companies must move beyond rhetoric if they are to combat 'purpose fatigue'.
7. Ketchum London's Jo-ann Robertson
In February, Ketchum’s fiery London CEO Jo-ann Robertson joined me in the Echo Chamber to talk with her usual candour and energy about the challenges of being a relatively young head of a major hub within a global network, and — weeks away from giving birth to her second child — what it's like being a working mum in a leadership position in the industry. We talked about her first year in the job, and the challenges of bringing people from diverse backgrounds into the PR industry.
8. Why public relations and SEO need each other
Getting three of the UK’s leading PR-for-SEO guys in the same room in June to talk about this under-explored segment of the digital comms universe made for a fascinating listen. Threepipe founder Jim Hawker, Ready10 founder David Fraser and 10 Yetis Digital founder Andy Barr joined me in a slightly-cramped Echo Chamber studio in a lively session, to explain why search engine optimisation and public relations strategy should be working much closer together to achieve business results for clients from earned content.
9. Adam Ritchie on invention in PR
Adam Ritchie, the founder of Boston-based independent brand communications agency Adam Ritchie Brand Direction, joined Diana Marszalek in the Echo Chamber in July to talk about how public relations can be used to invent new products and services with newsworthiness built into them from the start, such as the first rock album launched on cans of craft beer using Twitter.
10. The PR battle for Hong Kong
The people of Hong Kong have had one hell of a year. Our CEO and editor-in-chief, Arun Sudhaman, is based in the city and so our conversation in August about what was going on was not only enlightening but also poignant. We talked about the turbulent political situation in the city, and whether the Hong Kong leadership or protestors were winning from a crisis management, communications and PR perspective, as well as looking at the role of technology and the media in the ongoing conflict.