ICCO ended 2016 in better shape than ever before

Article by Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO


ICCO ended 2016 in better shape than ever before, and begins 2017 with enormous optimism and confidence, not only for the future of our organisation, but also for the future of the global PR and communications industry.

So what did we do in 2016?

We grew: Associations in Armenia, Serbia and Hungary, as well as PRCA MENA joined as members; and Interel Group and IPREX as Direct Consultancy ones. This means that we now represent over 2,500 agencies, via 37 Associations, operating in 48 countries. We also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese International Public Relations Association with the African Public Relations Association; and with Iranian Public Relations House. We are unquestionably the world’s largest PR organisation now – and our size is only going to increase in 2017.

We expanded our range of services – our Global Matchmaker service matching agencies with partners from around the world; our international Professional Development platform; our Global Diploma in PR and Communications.

Our World Report, delivered in conjunction with PRWeek, provided the definitive analysis of the size, shape, composition, and future direction of our global business. And it showed the vibrancy of our business – with growth in every single region of the world.

Charlene, Maxim, and I chalked up the air miles, vising plenty of members and speaking at dozens of your conferences and award ceremonies – and we look forward to seeing even more of you in 2017.

We put on three keynote events throughout the year, each of them a great success.

In June, we represented our industry at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Not only did we sponsor the Young Lion competition, showcasing the best agency young teams from around the world; we also hosted the House of PR – a focal point for our members to meet, network, and share experiences through the week.

The ICCO Global Summit was hosted in Oxford, and saw over 180 agency leaders from more than 25 countries gather in the most elite conference of the PR calendar.

And finally, the ICCO Global Awards were bigger and more prestigious than ever before, showcasing the fantastic work that is delivered in countries from all around the world.

To reflect this progress, we’ve reorganised our structure. We now have 5 Regional Boards, each headed by an elected Regional President, giving every part of our increasingly-diverse membership a voice.

This structural change will drive much of our activity in 2017. We will, for example, stage an ICCO conference each year in each region of the world, giving members more opportunities to engage with one-another than ever before.

We will use this wider-than-ever reach to establish common global benchmarks, spreading Communications Management Standard; introducing Continuous Professional Development; making our Global Diploma the mark of personal professionalism in PR; launching on-demand learning to enhance the offering we offer to Associations and agencies alike.

At the 2013 ICCO Global Summit in Paris, I said that our organisation was a sleeping giant whose time had come. Well, the giant is awake; taller than ever; and strutting around the globe.