In December 2016 ICCO announced the appointment of 5 Regional Presidents, who represent the recently formed Regional Groups covering Europe, Americas, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
We chat to ICCO’s new Regional President for Europe, Juergen Gangoly, about his new role in the organisation, and his thoughts about the state of the European PR market.
1. You have recently been appointed ICCO’s Regional President for Europe. What does this mean to you, both on a personal and professional level?
To be elected by the European members of ICCO and to represent them in the region is a big honour, but also loaded with lots of visions, expectations and – of course – work. So far, during almost 10 years as an ICCO board member, I could contribute to the development of ICCO and also learn a lot. I am very grateful for all these experiences, cooperation and personal friendship within ICCO. Over all, that’s a good foundation to jointly further grow ICCO and to strengthen the representation of the PR industry on regional and international level.
2. What are your main priorities as ICCO’s Regional President – Europe?
A quite ambitious working program has been developed. Together with the board members and other colleagues in our member organisation, we strive to further grow our successful existing events, projects and our membership base. Further on we plan to develop new projects in areas such as training & education, business ethics, quality standards and guidelines. To make Europe’s PR industry better heard and to set-up regular contacts with governmental and public institutions in Europe is an important task for the years to come. And last, but not least: cross-border business facilitation, new member services and a cross-border expert and agency database are on the wish-list of our members and on our agenda.
3. What is your take on the state of the public relations industry in Europe?
Decision-making structures, the economy and our societies in general are changing rapidly at the moment – and it’s more and more all about professional and efficient communications. Good for us! The PR industry should and could be the innovative front runner of all communications disciplines. We have the experience and qualifications to contribute to society and to the business success of our clients at the same time. The PR industry can heavily benefit from the actual developments in technology and public media reception, but we must put even more focus on measurable results, creativity and quality in execution, business ethics and talent development.
4. Why did you get into communications?
Originally educated as inter-cultural trainer and youth social worker, I started in and with professional PR to communicate NGO projects and educational programs almost 25 years ago. For me, it’s always been about having the opportunity to better explain complex issues and to contribute to society. To help clients from all sorts of backgrounds and to influence – or even change – public views and behaviours fascinated me from minute one in public relations – and it still does.
5. In ten years’ time, what do you think will be the biggest change in the global communications industry?
Anybody who pretends to be able to look that far in the future has not arrived in the present yet. Change, ever faster change, will be the only constant driver of the PR industry for the foreseeable years to come. Our biggest challenges will probably be the continuous losing of established partners in traditional media and public institutions. They will be replaced by new forms of content generation, other influencers, new – hopefully – democratic structures and modern, more participative forms of decision-making. All this will definitely make professional and strategic communications faster, more personal, more technical, more efficient, but also far more complex. Overall, a great business and working area for experts and for the real “communications architects” in PR.