LONDON — Podcast consultancy 4DC has carried out research into the UK podcast sector and identified an audience group of “A-listeners”, 93% of whom will finish a podcast, and who offer 43 minutes of their free time to brands. The survey found that there is also value in the “podcast pound” as podcast listeners outspend non-podcast listeners in every area and millennial listeners outspend their peers by as much as 179%. In addition, 24% say they are more likely to choose a sustainable brand, compared to 15% of non-listeners, and 40% of listeners say they will choose a podcast when it’s connected to a brand they trust.

LONDON — Independent agency Exposure has made two new senior hires in its fashion and lifestyle team. Joe O’Brien (pictured) joins from Mission, in the newly-created role of head of partnerships, to lead brand partnerships and all influencer and VIP work. Emily Draves joins as senior account director from Purple to lead the IMG Fashion, Dr Martens and Champion accounts.

LONDON — Brandnation has been appointed by football betting brand Football Index to handle its UK PR brief. The platform allows traders to buy and sell shares in over 3,000 professional footballers with real money. The agency has been briefed with raising awareness and positioning the platform as a responsible and sustainable alternative to regular betting, via media relations, ambassador activation and events. The account will be headed by the sport and lifestyle division’s account director Joe Murgatroyd, supported by the agency's PR and influencer teams.

LONDON — The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has partnered with the UK Government's Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure to produce communications guidance on the preparation and management of terrorist threats. The guide includes a communications toolkit designed to help PR professionals mitigate the harmful effects of terrorist incidents on brands, businesses and communities. The document is informed by interviews with 30 communications heads and security professionals that have experienced a terrorist-related incident, which found that the success of communication is often determined by the strength of security culture within an organisation; the guidance encourages PR professionals to align closely with the security function as part of crisis preparations.

LONDON — Journalists think social media influencers are the number one threat to journalism, according to Cision’s annual State of the Media report, which surveyed 2,000 journalists from 10 countries. The report also found that 75% of journalists feel that fewer than 25% of the pitches they receive are relevant; 27% said their relationships with PR professionals had become more valuable in 2019; and 63% of journalists believe the public lost trust in the media in 2019. In addition, 38% of journalists agree that updated social media algorithms will be the most important technology to impact their work in 2019.

LONDON — PrettyGreen has been appointed as the consumer PR agency for Smarty, the sim-only mobile network that gives money back on unused data. The agency was asked to work with Smarty as part of a non-competitive pitch through its recent consumer retainer win with Three UK, where PrettyGreen is responsible for looking after consumer PR for the mobile network. The agency is tasked with helping Smarty raise its profile, grow its customer base, drive brand awareness and help create excitement around the brand.

LONDON — Milk & Honey PR has been appointed by The Disruption House, a digital platform that enables the financial services industry to discover, assess, track and adopt innovative technology solutions. The brief includes all external communication, from brand identity to reputation, to help elevate the company’s offering amongst the financial services industry, fintech and investment sectors.

LONDON — Connect, the Westminster public affairs and planning communications specialist, has acquired Stratagem, Northern Ireland’s largest public affairs agency, in the first acquisition since Connect/s 2016 management buyout. Stratagem will continue to operate its own brand. The move grows the overall Connect group team to 35 consultants and its projected group fee income to £3m.  Gráinne Walsh, Stratagem’s head of consultancy since 2013, will take over the role of director from founder Quintin Oliver. Gráinne will lead the Stratagem team in Belfast and become a member of the Connect leadership team.

LONDON — Clarity PR has partnered with The Conscious Advertising Network – a voluntary coalition of over 30 organisations set up to ensure that industry ethics keep pace with the technology of modern advertising – to provide pro bono PR support for its ethical advertising initiative. Clarity UK MD Rachel Gilley said: “The advertising industry, from brands and agencies to adtech, is perfectly placed to consciously change both their operations and the content they produce in pursuit of making communications that are better for all. We’ve reached a point where technology has outpaced ethics, and trust in advertising has eroded. Appropriate and ethical brand representation is essential to rebuilding that trust, through both online advertising and PR.”

LONDON — The former head of social media and digital communications at Nationwide Building Society, Paul Beadle, has returned to financial services communications consultancy MRM. Beadle first joined MRM in 2017 to head up its digital and social media offering before moving back in-house to manage social media for insurer NFU Mutual. He rejoins MRM as an associate director in the corporate and consumer finance team. He will also assume responsibility for social media and digital communications, providing strategic planning, campaign delivery and issues management counsel.

LONDON — Golin CEO Jonathan Hughes has been appointed to the board of management of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA). Hughes returned to the UK last year, after six years in Asia, and now oversees all international offices across EMEA and Asia from London. He said: “I am excited to be joining the PRCA Board and to do what I can to further support our profession. Now more than ever public relations, with its inherent earned-first approach, is proving itself to be one of the most effective tools at driving impact for brands and organisations.”