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 davidb@mandaadvisory.com

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 rob.morbin@iccopr.com and steve.miller@iccopr.com

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.




ICCO begins ‘PR professionals for reliable Covid-19 vaccine information’ initiative

ICCO is collaborating with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to support promotion of reliable information on Covid-19 immunisation and address false or misleading messages.

Covid-19 has led to a parallel pandemic of disinformation that directly impacts lives and livelihoods around the world and communications professionals have a responsibility to drive people towards reliable sources of information such as EMA’s website and official channels on Twitter and LinkedIn.

There is also an obligation to educate against unreliable, unsolicited sources or falsehoods commonly spread through social media and instant messaging. ICCO encourages PR professionals to use these tools to ‘stop the spread’.

Massimo Moriconi, ICCO European President said:

“ICCO members have a dual responsibility in this ‘infodemic’, first to promote and support reliable sources of information. If our members can join us in amplifying the messages, latest news and facts from credible, scientific institutions then this is something we must do. ICCO has agreed with the European Medicines Agency to offer our support and this is the first stage of our collaboration. The next stage will be more practical communications.

The second responsibility PR professionals have in this ‘infodemic’ is to identify and report false information, not just to each other but through dedicated channels set up by the World Health Organisation. We aim to direct more members to these vitally important resources and encourage PR professionals to make reporting misinformation a regular habit”.

Melanie Carr, Head of Stakeholders and Communication Division, European Medicines Agency said:

“We welcome the support of ICCO and their members in disseminating the latest scientific information of Covid-19 vaccines. It is important for PR professionals and media to use up-to-date, reliable, accurate sources of information in their work”

To show support for this initiative, members can use the ‘Support Reliable Vaccination Communication’ digital card. For more information please visit: https://iccopr.com/vaccination-communication/

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


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.”


ICCO signs UNESCO Declaration on Responsible Communications

ICCO has signed the International Declaration of Communications Professionals and Researchers for a Healthier, Viable, Better World and is calling on members to commit to its principles. The Declaration has been written by Orbicom, the Communication Chairs of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

The Declaration is a commitment to:

  • Acknowledge the responsibility of professionals to promote reliable communication of information.
  • Share technology and ideas internationally to contribute to a continuous improvement in responsible communications.
  • Actively join global efforts to transition to a sustainable future.
  • Contribute to the proliferation of reliable, honest, factual communications and to prevent unreliable information spread.

ICCO is proud to support this important UNESCO declaration on behalf of our members around the world. Accurate, fact-based communication is the foundation of effective public relations and we have a responsibility to uphold this. ICCO is committed to working with global institutions like ORBICOM to achieve progress.” Nitin Mantri, ICCO President

The messages of brands, governments and individuals have an enormous power, and communication professionals around the world must ensure this is used to foster scientific understanding and has a positive impact on society.” Francis Ingham, ICCO Chief Executive.

“We are extremely pleased by ICCO’s endorsement of the Declaration. ICCO’s strong commitment in this important mobilization and call to action for a healthier, viable and better world shows ICCO as an important partner promoting accurate fact-based communication in this major crisis’’ said Oumar Kane, Secretary General – ORBICOM.

In addition to supporting the UNSECO initiative, ICCO is engaged in tackling communication challenges across society through work with the Council of Europe and focused ICCO project groups, more here.

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.


Sharp Rise in Confidence for Global PR Industry

The ICCO Confidence Tracker, conducted in partnership with Question and Retain, reveals 75% of PR leaders are confident or very confident about the future of their agency. This is up from 64% in October, when confidence remained the same as the figure from August. The total of confident or very confident respondents was 38% in April, when the tracker began.

The latest survey, conducted between 8th and 10th December, followed news of effective vaccinations, and the tracker demonstrates a shift in sentiment as we look to the New Year. Only 7% said they were not very confident about the future of their agency, the lowest yet.

Reasons for confidence centre around new projects beginning and clients releasing previously frozen budgets. The booming technology sector is frequently cited, along with an active finance sector, as well as climate and environment projects coming back onto the agenda strongly.

Many PR leaders also cite digitalisation as a reason for expected success. Supporting clients with virtual and digital transition projects and helping companies augment their message for stronger online campaigns.

Francis Ingham, ICCO Chief Executive said:

“This year the PR industry has shown itself to be one of the worlds’ most resilient -able to adapt to unexpected change very quickly. However, the disruption hit agency confidence hard in April. The confidence trackers run by ICCO and the PRCA have monitored the steady but slow uplift in confidence over the year, as uncertainty persisted. To finish the year with such a sharp increase following news of effective vaccinations is a huge boost and excellent news to close the year with.”

ICCO Global Pulse Check reveals PR industry’s mental health in lockdown

Fewer than half of PR practitioners feel comfortable talking about mental health issues with HR or managers, a global pulse check from ICCO and Question and Retain reveals. However, 62% are aware of support available in their organisation, should they need it. More than half rate their work-life balance as quite good or excellent, and 86% are satisfied with the communication from their leadership under lockdown conditions. The average rating of respondents’ own mental health was 7.07/10.

View results here


Work-life balance

Reasons given for a positive work-life balance under current conditions tend to refer to reduced time spent commuting and greater flexibility to juggle work and childcare commitments; as well as the ability to enjoy personal interests and hobbies. Reasons for a negative work-life balance cite a difficulty to ‘switch off’ when working and living in the same space and thus working longer hours and dealing with increased stress. Some respondents noted the disconnect from colleagues resulting in a difficulty to work on creativity and new ideas.

Communication from leadership

Those satisfied with communication from their leadership cite regular team meetings, coherent emails communicating major changes from leaders, and weekly verbal updates from a CEO or Managing Director. Those less satisfied cite a lack of transparency on major decisions, often from a wider group or global fragmented company structure.

Personal mental health rating

As well as feeling isolated, those rating their own mental health as low refer to uncertainty and fear of losing their job; feeling taken advantage of; being vulnerable or burnt out; working long hours; as well as feeling guilty or anxious about ‘saying no’ to additional hours. Those ranking their mental health more highly refer to job security; having people to talk with; , having good personal coping strategies; feeling less burnt out with a reduction of work or without a commute; and greater flexibility as a result of working from home.

Support available

Respondents refer to free mental health helpline; online resources; and support from HR within their agencies as being readily available. 31% do not know of any support available in their agency.

Just under half of respondents would feel comfortable or very comfortable speaking about mental health issues with HR or a line manager, suggesting that whilst the support is available and policies are in place, a stigma persists.

The overall picture demonstrates that the impact of covid-19 is hugely varied depending on circumstance. A key lesson for agencies is to ensure that communication from the very top filters down through global offices, and to create conditions in which staff feel more comfortable talking about their issues to HR, a line manager or a dedicated officer within the organisation.

ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham said:

“Our industry is facing a period of incredible stress at every level, and in every region of the world right now. While agency heads are working hard to meet this challenge, it is hardly surprisingly that the results are not perfect -quite frankly, no response ever could be. But the encouraging thing I see is that leaders are rising to this challenge; acknowledging the inevitable issues; and doing their best to put their employees’ wellbeing right at the top of their agenda”

Nitin Mantri, ICCO President said:

“It is encouraging to know that most PR firms have prioritised the mental wellness of their people and invested in purposeful employee engagement. The results have also made it clear that the crisis will have a long-term impact on the way we work. Nearly 90% of the respondents have expressed satisfaction with their work-life balance because they are getting to save time on daily commute and are successfully juggling professional and personal commitments”.

Annabel Dunstan, CEO and Founder, Q&R, commented:

“Despite huge advancements in the way mental health is discussed over the past five years, our research continues to demonstrate that there is still a stigma making it more difficult than reporting a physical ailment. PR and communications’ leadership teams must continue to take a lead on reducing the stigma. Increasingly clients take note of their agency’s attitudes to mental health and employee wellbeing, which gives an additional incentive to make further progress.”