PR: politics, pain, plaudits and predictions

This article was originally published in Mumbrella

Christmas celebrations and the party season is in full swing, writes Icon Agency's Mark Forbes, and it’s time to highlight the reputational laughs and learnings from the past year… and forecast the year to come.

Expectations of integrity and purpose continue to rise, along with the contortions of business leaders when they’re caught in the cross-fire. The core lessons of 2022 are that governance, risk management and quick and honest responses to crises are what really count.


Our political leaders did their best to live up to the public’s low expectations, with some notable exceptions.

Internationally, the social-media savvy Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy comprehensively flogged Vladimir Putin in the PR war, presenting a determined but very human face across media platforms. However, Putin’s iron grasp over Russia’s government and media enabled him to maintain support at home with nationalist appeals and Nazi conspiracy theories.

Finland’s PM, Sanna Marin, looked destined to be a casualty of social media, after footage of her partying and dancing went viral. She was attacked as undignified by some media commentators, but Marin made no apologies for having fun, and won the admiration of women around the world while also delivering a blow to cancel culture.

The UK looked to have a lock on the political own goal award, with Boris Johnston finally falling on his sword after more revelations about the infamous parties at No 10, held when the rest of the nation was locked down.

Boris was quickly surpassed by his successor, Liz Truss, who echoed Margaret Thatcher’s catch phrase of ‘this lady’s not for turning’, before frantically jettisoning a raft of ill-considered tax plans, and her Chancellor. She became the UK’s shortest-serving prime minister, resigning after seven weeks.

But ScoMo did his bit for Australia, revealing to a couple of journos writing a fawning book that he had secretly appointed himself to several Ministries, including the Treasurer, without telling his Cabinet. His justification, that only he could determine the response to COVID fell flat and he was censured by parliament. Take a bow, Scotty.

Continue reading here.

Mark Forbes, Director of Icon Reputation