Blog Archives

An engineering PR campaign unlike any other

While accustomed to the media spotlight, it is fair to say none of us at The Institution of Mechanical Engineers had experienced the the full blown media storm we caused in January 2013 with the launch of the Global Food: Waste Not, Want Not report.

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Posted in Opinion

EVENT: What can science learn from the cutting edge of think tank communication?

A quick notice that WonkComms is on the road again – this time running a session at SpotOn London, an annual conference for anyone interested in how science is carried out and communicated online. Find out more or register to

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Posted in Events

The theory of ‘framing’: useful for think tanks?

The conservative right study cognitive science and work in advertising, they understand the role of emotion in generating values. The progressive left study political science and are stuck in a phony enlightenment form of reasoning. That’s the view of George

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Posted in Opinion

VIDEOS: Research in the digital age: wonk or comms?

David Skelton speaks at Wonkcomms event on research in the digital age: wonk or comms?

Videos from last week’s event are now available. The event considered the following questions: Is there is a danger in modern think tanks that the communications tail wags the research dog? Is there value in preserving the traditional think tank publication? Should communications be seen as a means to an end or as an end in itself? And is the nature of research changing because of the rapidly changing communications environment?

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Posted in Events

Moving beyond the report + media coverage communications model (or why Prospect’s ‘Publication of the Year’ award should be ‘Research Communications Project of the Year’)

That ‘appropriate way’ of communicating to get action and change will never be – has never been – a report alone. Though media coverage has always been central to think tank communications, changes to the way information is broadcast, found and consumed in the digital age will usher in a new understanding of what products are used in think tank communications.

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Posted in Opinion

Animations: my step-by-step guide

A screenshot from ODI's Development Progress animation

Katy Harris of ODI’s Development Progress project outlines how they created an animation to explain the project to a broad audience, whilst also maintaining our authority to produce credible recommendations to policy-makers that are evidently based on ‘serious’ analysis.

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Posted in Guidance

Once more, with feeling? Emotional communication in think tanks

Lego men showing emotions

The most effective communication is the one that work on both a rational and an emotional level. The one that engage both your heart and your mind. But in our think tanks, we sometimes downplay our emotional propositions in order to prove how rational we are. Let’s bring our evidence to life and remember that the best communications include both rational and emotional propositions.

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Posted in Opinion

50,000 @jrf_uk Twitter followers can’t be wrong

How did the Joseph Rowntree Foundation build their corporate Twitter account to reach 50,000 followers? Through tweeting links to the latest news and developments relevant to a specific subject; then splicing in their own messages, content and media coverage.

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Posted in Opinion

What even is a blog?

In a recent blog on From Poverty to Power, Duncan Green asked: ‘is blogging an established part of the landscape and is there a successor waiting in the wings?’, assuming that if blogs are a part of the furniture then everybody should be encouraged to get comfortable with them. My answer is ‘yes they are and no there’s probably not’.

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Posted in Opinion

The future of think tank communications

A few resources and views published around the event on the future of think tank communications organised by the Social Market Foundation last Friday at the Overseas Development Institute.

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Posted in Events