About David Gallagher

As a Senior Partner, CEO of Ketchum’s European operations and Chairman of the London office, David Gallagher brings more than 20 years of public relations experience, both as a client and as a senior agency adviser, to some of the world’s leading brands and companies. Interested in PR, politics, Texas Longhorns and life with two labradoodles. Follow him on Twitter @TBoneGallagher.

Author Archive | David Gallagher


The PRCA recently hosted a panel discussion on the role of Public Relations in Britain’s forthcoming referendum on EU membership (click to tweet). Since then, David Cameron has said a draft deal on his reform demands delivers the “substantial change” he wants to see to the UK’s relationship with the EU. With all this in mind, I thought it might be a good time to reflect on how PR might influence the final outcome.

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Why PR Training Matters

As Seen In… PRMoment

There’s a cartoon circulating around training departments and HR teams, an exchange between two executives.

First boss: What if we train them, and they leave?

Second (wiser) boss: What if we don’t, and they stay? Many agency bosses I know face the same dilemma: How do we balance the need to keep our people on top of a never-settled world while finding time to do work for clients? And aren’t we just investing in the competition’s future?

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How a “Geek Beyond Measure” Became CEO of Ketchum Europe

As Seen In… PRMoment

“I was a geek beyond measure as a teenager (this may be chronic).” This is the confession of David Gallagher, CEO Europe of PR firm Ketchum, as he describes how he has changed (or not) since his earliest years growing up in the US. “Over the course of a year, I sat on our sofa and read volumes of an encyclopaedia, and my interests jumped from volume to volume – this was pre-digital. At different times I wanted to be, in alphabetical order: an astronomer, a historian (specializing in Native American tribes), a paleontologist and a zoologist. I actually went to university with the intent of studying astronomy, but the mathematics required quickly shattered that delusion. I drifted to advertising and ultimately to journalism.”

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Hurrah! Barcelona Principles 2.0 Take a Fresh Look at PR Measurement – What Do They Mean for You?

AMEC, the international Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, launched the Barcelona Principles 2.0 yesterday at Ketchum London. In case you’re unfamiliar, the Barcelona Principles are a framework for measuring the impact of communications activity – see this simple explainer by Ketchum London’s Chief Engagement Officer Stephen Waddington.

Past AMEC chairman and Ketchum colleague David Rockland took representatives of the measurement, agency and client communities through the ‘before and after’ sets of guidelines at yesterday’s event, and you can read about the 2.0 version, or watch David explain the Principles. (click-to-tweet)

Judging from the crowd’s reaction at our London office yesterday morning, the changes are seen as positive and substantial, without compromising the simplicity or brevity of the original set of principles.

So what does this mean for you, as a PR professional? How can we as practitioners help ensure this disciplined approach to measuring communications is widely applied, and that the value of our services is appropriately calculated?

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Put Me in Coach: 5 Tips To Make a Good Team Great

Ed Gallagher

I come from a family of coaches. My granddad, uncle and cousin all made or make their living coaching kids’ basketball, American football and track teams – and one distant relative was the legendary (in Oklahoma) wrestling coach Ed Gallagher (pictured).

The quality of their teams varied. Raw talent is a major factor. Fitness and skill, another. Even great coaches can’t do much with poorly conditioned, inexperienced players.

In the agency world, we’re generally blessed with good teams: professionals selected from a deep pool of qualified applicants who are trained in the specific ways we help clients. Many teams are pretty solid without much guidance from us bosses, to be honest.

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5 Ways Seasoned Pros Are Changing With The Times

A few days ago I posted some thoughts on how a new generation of PR professionals is raising the bar for us all, and it’s gotten some nice traction. Particularly from those just starting out in their careers — grateful, as one put it in a private Tweet, “not to be completely dissed.”

However, in the same discussion, some have raised a counterpoint related to the evolution of a more established cadre of professionals, those who entered the business in its pre-digital days (which would include me).

Certainly, there is a surge of seasoned pros with a compelling blend of experience and transformation, combining wisdom accrued through hard knocks with a willingness to embrace new (even uncomfortable) ways of practicing the PR craft. So many, in fact, I have been able to discern a few behaviors that I think correlate with a high likelihood of success in our rapidly changing world.

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The PR Youth of Today Has Evolved

As Seen In…PRMoment

At the age of 25 I was all about having fun. I’d landed a decent job at an NGO in Washington, but I figured I had all the time in the world to build a proper career. In fact, it probably wasn’t until my mid-30s that I really knuckled down at work. What were you doing at 25? Do you remember that time you thought you were going to get the sack? How naive you were about business? The hangover sickies you pulled? The liberties you took?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking today’s young pros are much the same as we were. It’s easy to assume they are going through essentially the same life journey as we did – in a similar environment, with similar strengths and weaknesses. After all today’s under 25s dress and talk differently, just as we did. They too are more tolerant, liberal and progressive than their predecessors. They too are (of course) at the beginnings of their careers so less knowledgeable about both our industry and office politics.

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Winning At Meetings: 7 Tips For Standing Out Without Falling Down

A lot – perhaps most – of what we learn at work comes by trial and error. Learning the hard way. On the job training.

Over lunch with a client not long ago, we discussed the things we wish we had learned earlier in our careers that could have helped us later avoid awkward moments or missed opportunities. It was a short lunch but the list grew quickly, and at the top for both of us: how to stand out in a meeting without looking like a show-off rather than fading into the background as a piece of furniture.

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Travel Tips for PR Pros On the Go

Over the course of the year I make 30-40 trips for work. Some are short hops to continental Europe; others are longer journeys to the US, Middle East and Africa. I’ve learned a few things in the process (some the hard way) and I thought I’d pass along my own personal travel dos and don’ts for my fellow frequent fliers.

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