A round-up of my favourite tweets mentioning Sainsbury’s in December kicks of this week’s update. You can check out November andOctober if you missed them.

The must read article of the week comes from Management Today and their look at the increasing power and influence of PRsThere’s a perception in some quarters that PR is just about transmitting a message. It’s not. It’s first and foremost about interpreting reality, reading the Zeitgeist. […] That requires some distance from the status quo. A good PR has to be a bit of an outsider and be prepared to tell people hard truths. I could just quote the whole thing. Trust me. You need to read this.

Last week I mentioned that I was looking for the top PR stunts of 2012 – well, here are some that caught my eye:

  • The BBC put together a look back at the top memes and viral videos of 2012, and of course we were chuffed to see that Giraffe Bread made it onto the list. Interesting to see the imbalance of planned vs. reactive – clear indication that you don’t make something go viral, it just happens.
  • One of France’s leading marketing bloggers Gregory Pouy pulled together a great slideshare deck of the best digital campaigns of 2012. It’s 82 slides long and includes videos as well as a key take away for each campaign so make sure you have a cup of tea ready before you tackle this bad boy.
  • Rich Leigh over at @GoodandBadPR did a brilliant job at pulling together his top 20 PR stunts and campaigns of 2012

What’s going to happen in 2013?

  • @AndrewGirdwood  pulls together 9 observations of where digital is headed in 2013. Point 9 sums it up nicely for me: In this increasingly complex digital landscape – a landscape that is evermore intertwined with offline – people, especially the crowds, are inherently unpredictable. Good marketers will recognise and adapt.
  • Meanwhile, The HuffPo looks at predictions for retail and mobile – note the schizophrenic nature of our relationship to our smartphone. It allows loyalty programmes access to people’s pockets but at the same time gives customers the ability to ‘showroom’.
  • 7 social media trends from Luke Abbot’s excellent blog
  • Vice magazine looks at the age-old journalistic practice of using event anniversaries as story hooks. Prepare to read the 2013 headlines today.

And as ever, for every positive summary, there seems to be twice as many ‘top fails’ compilation. Adweek put together the 20 biggest brand fails of 2012 and you have to admit – from Amazon spoiling a key plot point in a book, the Bic ladypen to Nestlé using a bear that looked suspiciously like ‘paedobear’ – there are some crackers. I wouldn’t have put the AMC theatres/Oreos cookies in myself though, that was just a bit of a banter between two branded Twitter accounts. Still, this is very much a top 20 things not to do in communications.

Through sheer luck, I came across a video by Minute MBA about the top three HR mistakes companies make (no handbook, withholding criticism or praise from employees and ignoring the competition) which led me on to another of their videos about what you can learn from Valve’s Employee Handbook. If you don’t know, Valve are the people that developed probably one of the greatest and genre defining games of all time: ‘Half-Life’. They went on to develop the gaming platform Steam and another mindbendingly brilliant game ‘Portal’. In 2012, Valve’s employee handbook was leaked and caused quite a stir in the gaming and HR world. So I found myself sitting at home, on a Saturday morning, totally enthralled by a employee handbook for a company that I wasn’t working for. Not only does the handbook do a great job at outlining what their company culture is like, it is really very funny! They promote a total lack of structure to promote creativity and to empower their employees to follow and create what they believe has value. A brilliant bit of work, well worth the read and I’m sure that handbook and company ethos is a big reason why they attract some of the best game designers and engineers in the world (the handbook has a prominent place on their homepage, in high and low res pdf).

Always a relief to see when your principles of dealing with negative customer comments online is mirrored by third parties. Social Media Today provide this great 12 point checklist on how it’s done.

Do you know what the world’s most active Twitter city is? Nope. Not that one. It’s Jakarta.

And finally: feeling the January blues? Then head over to the nicest place on the Internet and get a hug: http://thenicestplaceontheinter.net/