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January on Social Media

Carillion tops January’s most noticed stories

The failure of Carillion has eclipsed the public’s most noticed news stories in January. It captured the attention of over a quarter (26%) of the UK public in the second week. This put it above Brexit (noticed by 20% of the UK public in the last week of January) and the Cabinet reshuffle (picked up on by 19% of the UK public in the second week of January).

The topic was also the public’s most noticed business news story, capturing the attention of over half (55%) of the public in January, making it the highest profile business story in the past two and half years. This puts it on a par with the failure of BHS and the decision by EDF to build Britain’s biggest nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point. Populus’s Head of Syndicated Stakeholder Research David Racadio explores the collapse of Carillion and what politicians need to do next, in his round-up of the month’s most noticed business news stories.

Charities under the spotlight

Trust in charities was once again under the spotlight following the FT’s investigation into groping and sexual harassment at the Presidents Club Charity Dinner which was among the most noticed stories on the month. Populus research for the Charity Commission, the regulator for charities in England and Wales, in 2016 found trust in charities significantly lower than it had been in the preceding decade.

A busy month for sports

Sports events kept us busy in January. The approach of the 2018 winter transfer window made #DeadlineDay the most searched for trend on Twitter and Premier League Table the most searched for term on Google in the final week of January. The topic was the fourth most noticed business news story that week. Earlier in the month, Chelsea v Norwich and Chelsea v Arsenal were the most searched for terms on Google in their respective weeks.

Twitter’s top trends

By the end of the month, #NationalCroissantDay, one of the most searched for trends on Twitter, was inspiring lively debate around the popular pastries. Populus has published research exploring the reputations of high-street food and drink companies, which shows the impact of companies’ tax affairs on other brands. And #TimeToTalk trended in the final week of January, stimulating conversations about mental health. Previous Populus research shows a quarter of the UK public say hearing accounts about mental health from people in the public eye helped them to feel less alone.


Laurence Stellings

Laurence is a corporate reputation expert who is primarily focused on helping clients to develop and implement evidence-based strategies to best communicate their messages, manage their reputations and understand their key audiences.

Many well-established corporate clients such as Asda, Google, Sky, and RBS, as well as public bodies like the BBC and The Charity Commission and several political parties and campaigns have benefited from Laurence’s strategic counsel and expertise in a wide range of research techniques including stakeholder audits, key driver and segmentation analysis, political polling, and deliberative events.


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