New Next Generation PR World Cup Competition Announced

A new global competition for PR professionals under 35 will take place in October 2021.

ICCO is committing to nurturing, encouraging, and promoting the next generation of talent in PR. Sourcing and retaining top talent is something that ICCO members battle with every day, no matter what region of the world they are based. The latest ICCO initiative to support this effort is a new competition, the Next Generation PR World Cup, offering a fresh opportunity for talented PR professionals under 35 to shine.

Participating PR associations around the world will source their teams of 2 over the next two months, and those chosen will go on to represent their country or region in the inaugural Next Generation PR World Cup in October. The final competition will take place over the course of one week, in which finalists will be tasked with creating a short video to fulfill a challenging brief.

National and Regional PR Associations confirmed to submitting teams to PR World Cup include:

  • BAPRA Bulgaria
  • Kreakom Denmark
  • MTL Finland
  • SCRP France
  • HUPRA Hungary
  • PRCA India
  • PR Hub Italy
  • PRCA Russia
  • PRCA Africa Network
  • PRCA Middle East and North Africa
  • PRCA Latin America
  • PRCA Southeast Asia
  • PRISA Southern Africa
  • More to be confirmed

Local ‘qualifier’ competitions and processes for unearthing a team of two under 35s that will compete in the global finals will take place up to the 31st September, when the final line up of teams for the Next Generation PR World Cup will be announced.

A student competition for full-time PR students will also run in September and October.

For details of the final competition – visit the ICCO World Cup Page

To find out how about your local competition or to get in touch with your local association, contact or find them here

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.



Twitter: @PressReader

Facebook: @PressReader

Instagram: pressreader


ICCO announce M&A Advisory partner for PR mergers and acquisitions

ICCO has announced a new partner M&A Advisory, to support members as they go through merger and acquisition processes.  

M&A Advisory is a central London based mergers and acquisition specialist advising on company sale and acquisition in the global PR, marketing communications and Martech sectors. With a 25-year heritage, the practice is built upon excellent market knowledge, sound business experience and the highest possible deal completion rates. The team are all experienced professionals and business practitioners who deliver a high quality, cost-effective advisory and execution service.  There is a focus on maximising value by ensuring a strong cultural fit and an outstanding business proposition.

M&A Advisory can advise on the right timing, find the optimum partner, consider all cultural and business issues, and recommend the best path to value.  Whether there is a need to establish how much a business is worth, how much value can be added before a sale, what buyers are looking for, or deal with unsolicited approaches, M&A Advisory can help.

David Blois, Managing Partner, M&A Advisory:

“This is an exciting time for the global communications and PR industry, with mergers and acquisitions increasing rapidly already in 2021. We are delighted to support ICCO members”.

Rob Morbin. Deputy Chief Executive, ICCO said:

“ICCO is very pleased to add M&A Advisory to our partner roster, supporting members with this crucial service. Our industry is dynamic, the evolution of agencies and networks is constant, and so I am pleased M&A are on board and able to offer guidance and direction to members as they undertake important decisions about the future of their business.”

For more , please contact David Blois using

Cannes Lions 2021 to run as a fully digital experience

Cannes Lions Live will run from 21-25 June as a fully digital experience, including the awards. ICCO sponsors the Young PR Lions global competition, running digitally between 25th and 28th May.

ICCO will run Cannes Condensed with PRovoke Media on Thursday 24th June. Not an official part of the festival programme, the free broadcast analysis of the festival will feature a live studio audience and be filmed in Brighton, UK.


A digital festival

The Lion-winning work will be announced and awarded during Cannes Lions Live 7 April 2021 – LIONS has today announced that Cannes Lions 2021 will be fully digital, running as Cannes Lions Live, from 21-25 June. The event in Cannes, France, will not take place this year.

Philip Thomas, Chairman, LIONS, said, “Over the last year, we’ve been consulting with our customers and working on our plans, including the development of Cannes Lions Live as part of the new LIONS Membership platform. We are now able to move fully to this format for 2021 which will have all the celebration, inspiration and participation of Cannes Lions – to unite the global community virtually during Cannes Lions Live this June.”

Cannes Lions Live will bring outstanding live and on-demand content and experiences delivered by exceptional talent, as well as revealing, analysing and celebrating the winners of the Lions. Access to Cannes Lions Live is included in the fee for LIONS Membership.

Simon Cook, Managing Director, LIONS, said, “Cannes Lions Live will also signal the return of the Lions awards. After the benchmark of the awards was paused last year, we want to be able to give our community the chance to immerse themselves in the creative work once again. We’ll be championing the work on a huge scale – tracking progress throughout the week, analysing the winners, delivering insights, identifying new talent – it’s the return of the benchmark and a moment for the industry to reflect but also look forward.”

LIONS Membership, which launches in May, will unite the world’s largest creative network of people and businesses to drive professional, personal and societal progress through creativity. All LIONS members will receive complimentary access to Cannes Lions Live as part of their membership. Annual LIONS membership is priced at €249. All Lion winners, past and present, will be gifted complimentary membership.

Further information on Cannes Lions Live will be released over the coming weeks, including details of the immersive experiences and talent lined up to be a part of the week. A standalone digital pass to Cannes Lions Live (without membership benefits) costs €249, with lower rates available for the under 30s and future talent. LIONS Membership and Cannes Lions Live Digital Passes will be available to buy in May.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said ““This is the correct decision from Cannes Lions and ensures PR agencies can now plan to engage in the festival and awards digitally. I am pleased ICCO will still be able to deliver for our members and partners through our Cannes Condensed hybrid event in Brighton with PRrovoke Media, as well as the digital Young PR Lions competition”

To enquire about being involved in Cannes Condesned with PRovoke Media, contact and

Maxim Behar Announced as New International Growth Chair for ICCO

Maxim Behar, CEO and Chairman, M3 Communications Group will take on the new role as part of ICCO’s Executive Committee. Maxim was previously ICCO President from 2016 – 2018 and oversaw an expansion of associations and markets in ICCO membership. This new role will be focused on continuing ICCO’s growth beyond 70 countries currently served, to raise global standards in communication and further international collaboration.

Maxim Behar said:

“It is an exciting and dynamic time for PR and communications globally. ICCO is perfectly positioned to welcome new markets into our community as we together work towards sharing best practice, collaborating on raising standards and shaping the future of communications. I look forward to working alongside the rest of the Executive Committee to continue this international growth”

Francis Ingham said

“We are very pleased to have Maxim take on this role, in which I am sure he will broaden our global community even further. Maxim has for many years played an instrumental role in the growth of ICCO, building meaningful relationships in new markets and connecting PR agencies, associations and people around the world”




MAXIM BEHAR is a globally renowned public relations expert, entrepreneur, and writer, Harvard Kennedy School graduate. He is the founder and CEO of M3 Communications Group, Inc.

Behar is a member of the Executive Committee and past President of ICCO.

He has been inducted into the Global PR Hall of Fame in London in 2017 and awarded many titles, among them Best PR Professional in Europe for 2020 by PR Week, Global CEO of the Year by The International Stevie Awards, and Communicator of the Decade by the Indian Association of Business Communications. His book The Global PR Revolution was ranked among Top 100 Best PR Books of All Time by Book Authority and also made a bestselling records among new PR books on Amazon.

Bulgarian born and grown he considers himself a global citizen.