Heather Kernahan announced as new ICCO Americas President and Board Member

Heather Kernahan, Global CEO, Hotwire, has been announced as ICCO’s new US Board Member and Americas President. The role will see Heather represent Unites States based agencies on ICCO’s Board of Management, as well as offering strategic insight and direction ICCO’s Executive Committee.

Heather replaces Barbara Bates, who stepped down last month following a move to an advisory role within Enero Group. Heather is currently the Board Chair at PR Council, ICCO’s membership association in the US, providing an ideal platform to continue the excellent partnership between US based agencies and the global PR community.

Heather said:

“It is an immensely exciting time to be a leader in PR and communications, and I look forward to collaborating with colleagues and friends across the global PR community to keep advancing our industry forward in all regions of the world”

Francis Ingham, CEO, ICCO, said:

“I am delighted to welcome Heather to the ICCO Board of Management and Executive Committee. Her experience and global insight will be a valuable addition to our organisation and I look forward to working with her over the coming years”

Heather Kernahan joined Hotwire from Eastwick Communications, as president of Hotwire North America and Australia, after its acquisition in 2016 by Enero Group. In 2019, she was named Hotwire CEO of North America. Under her leadership the agency has experienced record growth. With over 20 years of industry experience, Kernahan has held senior marketing and executive leadership roles at fast growth and global technology organisations including Autodesk, Enphase Energy and Alias. Under her leadership, Hotwire has developed partnerships with technology companies including: Adobe, Facebook, McAfee, Commvault, NetApp and Pinterest. As a global tech expert and business leader she has been named one of 2020 SF Business Times’ 100 Most Influential Women and is the Board Chair of The PR Council. Kernahan holds an MBA in Sustainable Enterprise from Dominican University of California.

The term for Americas President is fixed until Autumn 2022.

UK Team Win Gold at Cannes Young PR Lions

Gigi Rice and Elle Bellwood, creatives at Hope and Glory, have today become the first ever UK winners of the Cannes Young PR Lions competition. The team from Ireland, Orna Clarke and Lughan Deane won Silver, and from Taiwan, Ya Ting Chien and Tze Yu Yeh claimed Bronze.

Elle and Gigi won the UK heat as freelancers earlier in the year, beating 60 other teams. At the global final, they competed against 24 national winners to be crowned the world’s best. Teams had 24 hours to create a global campaign based on a detailed brief from One Young World.

The brief challenged competitors to create a campaign that would promote young voices in conversations around climate change. The winning campaign idea was “Time for Action” – a strategy to target global leaders and politicians with a series of sustainable luxury watches.

The other five teams make the final eight-team shortlist were: Croatia, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, USA.

The previous gold winners hail from Japan in 2019, China in 2018 and Hungary in 2017.

PRCA Director General Francis Ingham MPRCA said:

“Congratulations to Elle and Gigi on making history as the first ever UK winners of the Young PR Lions competition. It’s been inspiring to see so many brilliant young teams from around the world compete and demonstrate the growing power of public relations.”

Gigi and Elle said:

“We are utterly over the moon to have won the UK’s first gold PR Cannes Young Lion in our initial year in the industry. We’d particularly like to thank Hope and Glory and Candace Kuss for all their support in this round and cannot wait for Cannes Condensed next week where we get to finally meet (and buy a few drinks) for the incredible people in PR who have inspired us through this last year. It’s officially coming home!”


Nitin Mantri extends ICCO Presidency to 2022

ICCO’s Board of Management have together agreed to extend the ICCO presidency of Nitin Mantri, Group CEO, Avian WE, by one year. Many of the traditional Presidential activities have been halted over the course of the past 15 months and the Board have decided to enact this one-off extension.

The two-year ICCO presidency was due to end in November 2021, however current ICCO Vice-President Grzegorz Szczepanski, CEO, Hill +Knowlton Poland, will now take over in Autumn 2022. Alison Clarke, Alison Clarke Consulting, agreed to continue in her role as Treasurer for one additional year. An election to determine the next President and Treasurer will take place in Summer 2022.

Global PR Confidence Up To 87%


Public relations professionals around the world are feeling increasingly confident about the future of their organisations, according to PRCA’s latest Global Confidence Tracker. 275 members took part in a single-question study conducted by Question and Retain.

87% of ICCO members – drawn from a global pool of practitioners – said they were either confident or very confident about the future of their agency. This is the highest ICCO figure recorded since the tracker launched in April 2020.

Reasons for global confidence included the success of vaccination programmes, which many leaders feel has led to an increase in new projects. Numerous PR leaders also cited an increased demand for strategic advisory services, as well as greater investment in social media, as reasons for increased levels of confidence.

ICCO President Nitin Mnatri said:

“The Global Confidence Tracker is a timely and thoughtful initiative, and it gives us a reason to feel hopeful and positive. We are living through extraordinarily difficult times, and there are no easy solutions to the issues we face. But it is our job to carve a path forward and we have brilliantly reinvented ourselves so far, with digital acceleration serving as a key instrument of adaptability. This is our industry’s inflection point where divergent thinking and creative reshaping of PR strategies will become the hallmark of communications.”

PRCA Director General & ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham MPRCA said:

“Our latest Global Confidence Tracker, conducted by Question and Retain, has reaffirmed our overwhelming confidence that 2021 will be a year of resurgence for the PR industry. Significant challenges lay ahead, particularly as COVID-19 variants emerge around the world. But our industry now faces those challenges from a position of strength. Our data show that PR leaders globally are more confident now than at any stage of the pandemic, with digital investment and increased demand for strategic services fuelling confidence around the world. Having endured a torrid period, the industry’s foundations are sound, and its future is bright.”

Annabel Dunstan, Founder & CEO, Question and Retain:

“The Confidence Tracker is a simple one question Pulse Check and happily the trend we have observed is a positive one. It has been a smart move by the PRCA to track member confidence through these most extraordinary of times. The feedback we have gathered on their behalf has helped inform and shape events and communications to support members who have had to pivot and adapt rapidly to ensure their businesses survived and thrived.”

Three ways PR firms can raise ethical standards in 2021

Author: Nitin Mantri, ICCO Presdient

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world as we know it. But one thing remains unchanged even in the face of adversity: consumer’s need for authenticity, consistency, and clarity.

Even before the world was turned upside down, consumers wanted companies to care about social, environmental, and ethical issues and take meaningful action to create a more sustainable future. Studies conducted before the pandemic have shown that the new brand loyalty is driven by a shared understanding of humanity and respect, and to survive, we must all be authentic, ethical, and human to the core.

The profound upheavals of the past year have made this clamour for authenticity a business imperative. The age of accountability is upon us and ethical behaviour is the only way forward.

Here are three ways PR firms can raise ethical standards in 2021:

Start with your own employees

2020 saw companies effectively adapt to the disruption of the pandemic by transitioning to remote work. In 2021, PR firm leaders must begin to look inward. In a recent ECI 2021 Global Business Ethics Report,“(global employee) pressure to compromise standards is the highest ever. Globally, 29% of employees reported pressure in 2020, an increase from 20% in 2019.”

This is a wake-up call. Since a hybrid work model is likely to be the new norm, this is our opportunity to reflect on our organisations’ values, discard outdated practices and rebuild a company culture that adheres to ethical obligations, starting with employee engagement, growth, and welfare.

Future-proof your organisational culture by conducting ethics trainings that will provide additional guidance on cybersecurity, maintaining confidentiality in shared workspaces, ensuring client privacy and data protection, and address common ethical dilemmas, to name a few. The leadership, and not just the HR, should conduct these trainings because the onus of ethical conduct cannot be only on employees. Leaders must ensure that they are honest in all their dealings.

Defend the truth

The erosion of trust in the media and the proliferation of social channels and online sources of news have resulted in a misinformation surge. This does not bode well for the industry. If the credibility of the media diminishes, will our stories have the same impact? Will consumers trust them? Will we as an industry be that relevant?

The good news is that we, communicators, can play a significant role in restoring people’s faith in authentic news outlets. How? By collaborating with credible media outlets for all our work, being scrupulous about the facts of any story we promote and by holding both clients and journalists accountable. And we must keep doing so even after the crisis is over. We must keep defending the truth and the people who tell it and ensure that our clients stay on the course of truth and accountability.

Use technology responsibly

Amidst the devastation, uncertainties and chaos, technology has been the only winner that is helping us function in this new world. And these technologies will become even more integral to our lives. Tools like Cloud, machine learning and artificial intelligence have become our go-to tech assets that are helping us optimise client time and budgets.

The dependence on big data technologies will also increase as economies inch their way to revival and consumer sentiment remain largely unfathomable. Being a tech optimist, I am excited about these opportunities, but we must strike a balance between innovation and ethics and choose what works best for our clients without sacrificing consumer privacy.


2021 looks to be the year when the PRCA Ethics Council will successfully demonstrate the impact of its purpose, a year in which we will focus on uprooting compromised workplace ethics and lay the foundation of a stronger industry. But let us not forget that the responsibility to maintain ethical standards extends to every single member of the PR fraternity. Till the time we walk the talk, we will not find a cure to the industry’s ethical dilemma.

PressReader Announced as ICCO’s New Digital Newsstand Partner

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) today announced PressReader, the world’s largest newspaper and magazine platform, as their digital news stand partner.

Led by Group CEO Alexander Kroogman, PressReader’s mission is to improve the way people discover stories that matter. Over the last 20+ years, PressReader has signed up more than 8,000 newspapers and magazines to its platform, and is often compared to the ‘Spotify for news.’ Whether through sponsored access or individual subscriptions, the PressReader platform reaches an audience of hundreds of millions of readers each year thanks to its trusted content partners and superior reading experience, which includes translation to up to 18 languages. The company has been a huge proponent of quality paid journalism.

ICCO is the body for PR associations and their members in 70 countries around the world, representing more than 3,000 PR and communications agencies.

ICCO Deputy Chief Executive Rob Morbin said: “Digital access to published news content is essential for our members. PressReader’s technology and sheer volume of certified content is unrivalled and provides a valuable service for PR businesses around the world. Importantly, services like PressReader contribute to ICCO’s efforts in promoting digital literacy and the use of varied, verified, clearly traceable sources of information”.

With this partnership, PressReader will provide publishers with more opportunities to distribute and license their content, extending its reach to PR and communications professionals. “As a result of the pandemic and the changes it brought in the publishing industry, we are aligning more closely with the organizations that we are selling to as well as our content partners. Through this expanded approach, we collaboratively work with the publishers to explore new markets, potentially grow licensing and copyright clearance opportunities in verticals that may be relevant or not readily available to them. All the while supporting their strategic direction”, explained Steve Chapman, Senior Vice President of Content Partnerships at PressReader.


About PressReader

PressReader is on a mission to improve the way people discover stories that matter to them.  With offices in Vancouver, Dublin, and Manila, the company provides the largest all-you-can-read platform of newspapers and magazines where people can discover relevant and trusted content from anywhere in the world. Publications include The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Forbes, Le Figaro, and Vanity Fair, to name just a few.

Using their phone, tablet, or computer, readers can browse content online or download entire issues using the PressReader app. They can subscribe for unlimited access or get the full experience sponsored by one of its brand partners. PressReader’s business partners leverage the premium content platform to enhance their customers’ experience. Household names include British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Air Canada, Marriott, Fairmont Hotels, Seabourn Cruise Lines, Princeton University, and the New York Public Library.

PressReader’s digital edition technology Branded Editions powers many of the world’s most iconic publishers for their privately labeled digital editions, bespoke apps, and web kiosks – brands like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, El País, The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, The Times (of London), Haymarket, ABC, and Clarín.


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/pressreader  

Twitter: @PressReader

Facebook: @PressReader

Instagram: pressreader


CARMA announced as ICCO and PRCA global Media Monitoring Partner

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) and the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) today announced CARMA as their global Media Monitoring Partner.

One of the world’s longest established media intelligence providers, CARMA proudly attributes its longevity to providing exceptional client service. Its client-centric approach attracts top talent from among the media intelligence community. Across the globe, these experienced consultants and experts enable organisations to gain true media insight and demonstrate the effectiveness of their PR.

Led by Co-Managing Partners – former FIBEP Chairman Mazen Nahawi, and current AMEC Chairman Richard Bagnall – CARMA’s unparalleled experience, expertise, and client service makes it the first-choice media intelligence provider for ICCO and PRCA members across the world.

The PRCA is the world’s largest professional PR body, representing PR professionals in 70 countries worldwide. With offices in London, Singapore, Dubai, and Buenos Aires, PRCA’s mission is to create a more professional, ethical, and prosperous PR industry. PRCA also manages ICCO, the umbrella body for 41 PR associations and 3,0000 agencies across the world.

ICCO Chief Executive and PRCA Director General Francis Ingham MPRCA commented:

“CARMA sets the gold standard in media intelligence, media monitoring, and analysis. So, this global, exclusive, long-term partnership makes perfect sense for ICCO and the PRCA.

“The kind of insight that CARMA provides is more critical than ever for the PR, marketing, and communications industry. Their analysis will help PR practitioners around the world take full advantage of the economic recovery as it unfolds.”

Richard Bagnall, Co-Managing Partner at CARMA added:

“Increasing numbers of PR and communications professionals come to CARMA wanting to achieve better, more accurate reporting about the value of PR. The desire to understand and demonstrate PR impact is a direct consequence of the world we now find ourselves in. Across the globe, organisations are scrutinizing budgets and redlining spend when contribution to the bottom-line isn’t attributable. By joining forces with the PRCA and ICCO CARMA hopes to further elevate the importance of expert media intelligence.”

CARMA is the world’s most experienced media intelligence service provider. Established in 1984, the company has grown today to work with over 3,500 brands and organisations all across the world. CARMA helps its clients use media intelligence to navigate and understand the disrupted media landscape, operate strategically, and demonstrate success with industry-leading media monitoring and communications evaluation programs. CARMA blends expert technologies, powering real-time data insights, with a global team of experienced PR measurement consultants. Led by Co-Managing Partners – former FIBEP Chair Mazen Nahawi and current AMEC Chair Richard Bagnall – and with 450+ staff across five continents, CARMA’s unparalleled experience, expertise and client service makes it the first-choice media intelligence provider for any organisation looking to understand the media and refine and prove the value of their public relations.

For more information about CARMA, its expert team, and their work, visit carma.com, and follow on Twitter and LinkedIn

Comms Tips – Celebrating Cultural Holidays

Author: Sabrina Ram, Founder and President Blu Lotus

As communications professionals gear up for cultural holidays like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and International Women’s Day, our marketing, public relations and social media should not be performative. It’s important that our efforts are inclusive and authentic, with direct paths towards helping those communities in and outside of our business.

Consumers are more diverse than ever and hold large purchasing powers. Younger generations like Millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z) are holding companies accountable for their actions, especially in regard to performative allyship. Communicators can work with different parts of the business – from Human Resources (HR) to Product Operations to the C-Suite – to create impactful changes and progress.

Communications and marketing teams are increasingly celebrating cultural holidays like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pride Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month. These teams need to remember it requires cultural intelligence, authenticity and a deep respect and understanding for those communities you wish to promote and serve.

Here are some core principles to keep in mind as you develop marketing campaigns.

  • Your efforts should occur throughout the year. Although these cultural holidays might fall within one month, week or day, they should be celebrated throughout the year, every year. Diversity, equity and inclusion are ongoing efforts. When you relegate your marketing and communications to a specific time period, it becomes exploitative. When you incorporate these strategies and tactics all year long, it strengthens and amplifies your efforts during annual cultural holidays.
  • Tie in company efforts to advance those communities into your marketing campaigns. If you’re promoting a cultural holiday but aren’t advancing those communities inside and/or outside of your organization, it’s performative. Brainstorm ways with your internal departments to create that change. If you are already advancing these efforts in a meaningful way, connect them to your campaign. It shows audiences you are committed to action, not just words.
  • Highlight relevant employees and customers and promote their accomplishments. A brand’s staff and customers help define who they are. Promoting their stories and accomplishments inside and outside of the organization helps show a human side to the brand. It shows how proud you are of them and how you are advancing their efforts. If you discover you don’t have many stories, or you keep promoting the same small handful of people, this opportunity can be used to drive change in your organization to increase diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
  • Utilize diverse team members to create, lead and inform campaigns. Not only is it important for diverse members of your team to help inform campaigns, you should be giving them the opportunity to create and lead them. These efforts are often spearheaded by people who are not a part of these cultural groups. Even worse, these campaigns are often created without their input. You cannot incorporate cultural intelligence, authenticity and respect if you won’t even give them a seat at the table, especially with proper support and resources.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are important to prioritize in your organization, especially if you are going to use these elements to promote your brand. A sustained commitment to these communities will help garner their attention, increase their engagement, and earn their respect. In turn, it will help you build a better organization and brand.

Sabrina Ram is president of Blu Lotus, a strategic communications consulting agency. For PR, marketing and social media insights, connect over LinkedInTwitter and Facebook! A version of this article originally appeared on Blu Lotus’ blog.


On Monday 8th March, over 100 members from leading global networking organisation, Global Women in PR, will be celebrating International Women’s Day with live speed mentoring sessions.

From New York to Singapore, London to Moscow and Mexico to Mumbai, during this 24 hour period these leading PR professionals will be mentoring over 200 mid-career PR women in 30 minute sessions across 20 countries. They include some of the most senior women working in the global PR and Communications industry.

All mentoring sessions will be cross border and will embrace the IWD 2021 theme #ChooseToChallenge. GWPR is inviting women with a minimum of five years’ experience in PR to participate as mentees through completing this form https://forms.gle/XUV82pNfUZcGCnCPA.

Once accepted they will be matched with an international mentor.

PR is an industry which is two-thirds female, however recent research reveals that men still hold 64 per cent of seats in the boardroom. The majority of PR professionals acknowledge that more needs to be done to ensure that there are more women in leadership positions. The 2020 GWPR survey* found that the most important initiative for helping break down barriers to the boardroom was to have more senior women as role models.

By creating this unique mentoring day GWPR is aiming to inspire and support the next generation of PR women and encourage them to become the leaders of the future.

GWPR International Chair, Cornelia Kunze, comments: “The response to this initiative has exceeded all our expectations. So many women working in senior roles in PR and Communications from all over the world have come forward to support us – it has been incredible. It clearly demonstrates that there is a real passion to re-dress the balance in leadership in the PR industry and we are now motivated to follow up this IWD mentoring activity with an ongoing international mentoring programme.”


New ICCO networks to influence misinformation regulation

➢ New structure

➢ New opportunities

➢ More impact

ICCO has been forging close relationships with institutions to enable our members to impact regulation and create dialogue with big tech and businesses on issues like misinformation and media literacy.

Call for leaders and contributors

The following groups will act as the global PR industry voice to institutions of power like the Council of Europe and the UN. We are looking for specialists to lead but also global representation from all our members.

These groups will create recommendations, tools, and standards to collectively change the behaviour of the businesses we advise. Kick off meetings will be used to outline specific objectives.

1. Freedom of Media and Freedom of Expression

Areas of impact: misinformation in all its forms, social media regulation and standards – transparency of sources, power to silence, accuracy standards, data usage transparency, consumer rights, supporting and protecting accurate journalism, hate speech and decency standards.

First meeting: Tuesday 9th February at 16:30 GMT

Sign up here

Express general interest: support@iccopr.com

2. Digital Media Education

Areas of impact: Education for professions that work with media (including PR) on the latest definitions and practices. Education for vulnerable groups (children and elderly) on identifying inaccurate and unreliable sources of information.

First meeting: Thursday 11th February, 16:00 GMT

Sign up here

Express interest: support@iccopr.com

3. Artificial Intelligence

Areas of impact: Working with tech companies to scrutinise implications and unintended consequences of AI to protect media consumers e.g. algorithms, facial recognition, privacy, microtargeting, psychological profiling.

First meeting: Wednesday 10th February, 16:30 GMT

Sign up here

Express interest: support@iccopr.com

Groups will meet online as frequently as necessary to meet objectives and achieve tangible outputs in a timely manner.

For each of these topics, we have already secured seats on the equivalent Media Reform Specialist Committees in the Council of Europe and the above groups’ view will be represented in Strasbourg.

This is just the beginning as ICCO begins to expand it’s relationships with global institutions that need an input of PR industry knowledge and expertise.