Once upon a time in public relations: 21 fairy stories about professionalism

Once upon a time in public relations: 21 fairy stories about professionalism

Sarah Hall’s fourth book is a bit different from the norm. It’s a series of fairy tales that celebrates 21 larger than life characters helping the public relations industry in the UK to grow and thrive.

Fairy tales are one of the most original forms of storytelling, a way of sharing stories from generation to generation, often with an important message.

It’s an unusual genre for a book about public relations but is one that Sarah Hall has used for her latest #FuturePRoof offering.

Once Upon a Time in Public Relations celebrates 21 larger than life characters helping the public relations industry to grow and thrive.


Each of the industry protagonists is represented by an ink portrait and short story in the 50-page book. Here’s the line up (I appear towards the end of the book).

  • Alex Aiken – moderniser, increasing the standing of the profession in Whitehall and UK-wide

  • Richard Bagnall – slaying the AVE monster and developing the AMEC measurement framework

  • Elizabeth Banunuka – driver of diversity and creator of the BME PR Pros community, the first stop for BME mentors, speakers and writers

  • Stella Bayles – creator of an epic fantasy in which the public relations profession overcomes SEO agencies

  • Liz Bridgen – pole dancing and cyclocross racing lecturer whose own stories on diversity and inclusivity should be mandatory bedtime reading

  • Professor Anne Gregory – industry maven who helped the CIPR achieve Chartered status, and was integral to development of a global capabilities framework

  • Jim Hawker – creator of agency lands own Minority Report in the form of threepipe, a hybrid public relations, paid, SEO and digital specialist

  • Dr Roger Hayes – poster boy for public relations practice internationally in Africa, Asia and India; and in management at Henley Business School

  • Francis Ingham – skilled, sarcastic and complex PRCA boss, the public relation industry’s Severus Snape, committed to standing up for the industry

  • Tony Langham – rags to riches story, co-founder of reputation management agency Lansons, the first to become employee owned

  • Rich Leigh - Puck of the book, founder of stunts and campaigns site PRexamples.com, author of the Myths of PR, and Radioactive PR founder

  • Dr Jacquie L’Etang – teacher, academic, and the narrator of the public relations industry’s own story over the last 100 years

  • Sandra Macleod – helping the industry find its treasure by unlocking the value of public relations to business

  • Alex Myers – ripping up the rule book through Manifest’s Naked & Famous with brave work and innovative business models

  • Nicola Regazzoni and George Blizzard – dynamic double act that has broken out of PR’s always on obsession to service international clients, while having a work life balance

  • Peter Smith – champion of professionalism and former CIPR President who secured the place of public relations on the Cranfield School of Management MBA

  • Sir Martin Sorrell – a hero whose legend goes before him for single handedly turning a cottage industry into a global money making machine

  • Ethan Spibey – advocate, campaigner and role model for the LGBT+ community in public relations

  • Laura Sutherland – founder of PRFest, a two day festival aimed at senior professionals seeking to explore the future of public relations and management

  • Stephen Waddington – agency alchemist, author and master of the crowdsourced project and blog post, who always shares the wealth

  • Dr Jon White – a time traveller who predicted 20 years ago that the future would be bright for public relations if practitioners educated and trained themselves


“I wanted to celebrate some key players within our industry and have a bit of fun,” said Sarah Hall.

“It was a very easy list to come up with. Everyone had to have some differentiating factor and something to teach others. The core purpose is to showcase best practice and the talent in public relations today.”

Sarah has form with fairy tales. Her reflections on their use as a means of education kickstarted a conversation in the national media last year.

The book was inspired by Always Wear Red’s North East PIONEERSinitiative, and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls.

The specially illustrated edition is a coffee table book and is priced at £10.

#FuturePRoof is a community and series of crowdsourced books created by Hall to reassert public relations as a strategic management function.

Costs associated with the design, production and marketing of #FuturePRoof are paid for by Sarah as part of her personal commitment to the industry.

In February the North East agency owner and CIPR President launched a special edition to mark 70 years of the NHS.

PRCA reception

The illustrations from the book will be displayed at the PRCA’s new member workspace on Bankside, London. The gallery will be launched at a breakfast reception at 8.30am on Friday, 30 November. You can sign up for a ticket here.

Once Upon a Time in Public Relations be purchased priced £10. It’s a canny Christmas stocking filler.

Video: Energy UK CEO on PR for stakeholder engagement, social media and crisis

Video: Energy UK CEO on PR for stakeholder engagement, social media and crisis

Public relations in 2019

Public relations in 2019