International judging panel announced for ICCO Global Awards

ICCO is proud to announce the judges for the ICCO Global Awards 2016; the global showcase for the most effective PR from the world’s most talented practitioners.

The awards are the only internationally recognised awards programme purely based on effectiveness, measurement, results and impact for the global PR industry, and supported by PR trade associations representing 48 countries worldwide.

Entries are judged by an elite international panel of top PR practitioners who will consider excellence and effectiveness of PR work submitted from across the world.

David Gallagher, co-President of the jury said: “Much of the discussion in PR about earned, paid or owned media, or the changing nature of social media, or the importance of creative storytelling, or any of the other myriad topics we discuss, are largely academic. The thing that matters: results. What happened as a result of our activity in terms of behaviour, attitude or ideas? That’s what the ICCO awards emphasize – and that’s what makes them unique.”


ICCO Global Awards International Jury:

Co-President: Renee Wilson, President, PR Council (USA)

Co-President: David Gallagher, President, Growth and Development, International, Omnicom Public Relations Group (Global)

Poli Stuart-Lacey, Head of Communications, UK Government (UK)

Michael Schröder, Global President, IPREX (Global)

Michael Frohlich, CEO, EMEA, Ogilvy Public Relations (EMEA)

Victoria Wagner, CEO, Ketchum Germany (Germany)

Denise Kaufmann, CEO, Ketchum London (UK)

Lucio Bergamaschi, Director General, Below Communications and Media Relations (Italy)

Jean-Leopold Schuybroek, Chairman, Interel Belgium (Belgium)

Andrey Barannikov, CEO, SPN Communications (Russia)

John Ehiguese, Founder & CEO, Mediacraft Associates (Nigeria)

Dimitris Roulias, CEO, Out of the Box PR (Greece)

Sharon Murphy, Deputy CEO, Wilson Hartnell (Ireland)

Jürgen Gangoly, Managing Partner, The Skills Group (Austria)

Emine Cubukcu, Managing Director, Ogilvy Public Relations Istanbul (Turkey)

Kresten Schultz Jorgensen, Managing Partner, LEAD Agency (Denmark)

Bridget von Holdt, Executive Director, Glasshouse Communication Management (South Africa)

Grzegorz Szczepanski, CEO, Hill+Knowlton Strategies Poland (Poland)

Andras Sztaniszlav, Senior Consultant & Communications Strategist, PersonaR (Hungary)

Jelena Sarenac, Director of Corporate Communications, Henkel (Serbia)

Michaela Benedigova, Director and Partner, SEESAME Communication Experts, (Slovakia)

Katya Dimitrova, Managing Partner, Interpartners (Bulgaria)

Stian Lyberg, Consultant & Founder Partner, PR-operatørene (Norway)

Marina Haluzan, Information and PR Adviser, Croatia Control (Croatia)

Tatevik Pirumyan, Founder, Managing Director, Communication Management Group (Armenia)

Sari-Liia Tonttila, Managing Director, Ahjo Communications (Finland)

Gary Muddyman, Managing Director and CEO, Conversis (UK)

Aaron Kwittken, CEO, Kwittken Communications (USA)

Sconaid McGeachin, President & CEO, Africa, Middle East & Turkey, Hill+Knowlton Strategies (MENA)

Tanya Hughes, President, SERMO Communications (Global)

Isabelle Wolf, CEO & Founder, Kingcom (France)

Loretta Ahmed, CEO Middle East, Turkey & Africa, Grayling (MENA)

Barry Leggetter, CEO, AMEC (Global)

George McGregor, Managing Partner, Interel UK (UK)

Aye Verckens, Managing Director, Recognition PR (Australia)

Rakesh Thukral, Managing Director, Edelman India (India)



Final entry deadline: 02 November 2016

Shortlist Announced: 17 November 2016

Awards Night (St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, London): 01 December 2016


For more information on entries the awards or attending the awards night, visit

Don’t let storytelling become a fantasy

Article by Petra Sammer, Chief Creative Officer at Ketchum Germany

Over the last few years, storytelling has become one of the most frequently used buzzwords in PR.  The accepted wisdom now seems to be that, the future of communications lies in storytelling – and PR owns that expertise.

PR claims it is home to exceptionally good storytellers for good reason.  Our industry is used to analysing complex situations and identifying the top line story – we know that every good story needs a reason to be told.  Our industry is used to assembling stories in ways that encourage sharing – we know that every good story has viral potential.  Our industry is used to recounting stories in ways that will grab attention – we know that every good story needs a universal connection with the reader.

But in saying this we easily forget both weaknesses of PR and the strengths of our advertising rivals – who also claim the storytelling mantle.  Advertising firms have long been trusted partners in developing the client’s “big idea.”  Their entire business workflow is geared to deliver film and imagery – just when the world is obsessed with YouTube and Instagram.  Advertisers know how to work with a palette of emotions.  They are immersed in audience data and culture.  They understand how edutainment makes messages sticky.

PR on the other hand is still earning its right to handle the client’s “big idea” in a channel agnostic world.  Our business workflow is often geared to understand, unpick and create content using words and narratives.  We also use a very specific vocabulary from the world of rational hard news and train ourselves to describe our stories in certain restrictive formats.  In some cases we have almost become consultants like McKinsey, working to set methodologies that strip out subjectivity as if it were an evil.  Our industry is still learning to handle value and behaviour based audiences.  And most fundamentally we understand storytelling though the concept ofnews-storytelling – which is not the same as creative-storytelling.

So for me, if we are to truly to seize upon the potential to own a wider notion of storytelling, and transform our industry accordingly, we need to spend a little more time understanding what that really means.  PR must learn how to make people laugh and cry, every day.  PR must get comfortable with a balance of facts and emotion.  PR must focus its stories around heroes and encourage our clients to recognise the need for conflict in our work.  We must give equal thought to words and visual communication.

If we can do this, and some of the work of our industry proves we very much can, there are some truly wonderful and incredibly rewarding opportunities to be had.

For example, my firm, Ketchum was responsible for the origination and production of these films for Samsung and Häagen-Dazs.  We have been busy hiring producers, artists and camera operators.  We are beginning projects with visual turns and images instead of relying only on the written word.  We are helping CEOs and managers to tell their personal stories in the colourful language of day to day life.  We are connecting brands with creators like documentary filmmaker, Morgan Spurlock and Academy Award Winner, Morgan Neville.

PR cannot just claim creative storytelling as its natural right, we need to reengineer the way our organisations solve problems if we are to broaden our horizons.


ICCO announces new Innovation in Communications panel

ICCO has announced at its annual Global PR Summit that it will be launching a new Innovation in Communications panel.

The panel will aim to engage and educate the international public relations and communications industry on innovative topics relating to its development. It will also prepare research into new practices and encourage the adoption of ground-breaking ideas and products. Finally, it will benchmark and develop best practice standards in communications and engagement.

The panel will be co-chaired by Russell Goldsmith, Founder, Audere Communications, and Elayne Phillips, Head of Civil Service Communications & Internal Communications, Prime Minister’s Office & Cabinet Office Communications.

The panel will be made up of the following members:

  • Richard Bagnall
  • Hanna Basha
  • Stuart Bruce
  • Dom Burch
  • Simon Collister
  • Russell Goldsmith (Co-Chairman)
  • Michelle Goodall
  • Joanna Halton
  • Gabrielle Laine-Peters
  • Rachel Miller
  • Adam Parker
  • Elayne Phillips (Co-Chairman)
  • Julio Roma
  • Andrew Smith
  • Paul Wilkinson

If you would like to find out more information about the panel, please contact Russell Goldsmith.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “Innovation is key to good communications and is an essential part of a thriving PR industry. The panel will share best practice and innovative practices with the wider global PR and communications community. The industry is already at the forefront of innovation and the panel will serve to encourage a healthy debate on innovation.”

Russell Goldsmith, Founder, Audere Communications said: “It’s a genuine thrill to have another opportunity to work with the same forward thinking individuals who made up a large part of the CIPR’s Social Media Panel.  After our work in that team finished in December 2015, a number of us felt there was more value we could add and having spoken with colleagues and peers in the industry, across business and in the public sector, we felt it appropriate to re-launch the panel with a focus on innovation in products and practice across international communications.  We were therefore delighted that ICCO agreed to support us and give us a platform to achieve our objectives.”

Elayne Phillips, Head of Civil Service Communications & Internal Communications, Prime Minister’s Office & Cabinet Office Communications said: “Professional communicators from in-house teams, agencies and consultants, are facing similar global challenges – some of which can be solved with innovative communications.  As a group, we have always been proud to be progressive in our approach, challenge the status quo and offer new thinking, and we want to continue to push the boundaries.  So, get involved, follow us, contribute to discussions and join us at the heart of innovation in communications.”

About ICCO

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

ICCO and PRWeek launch World PR Report 2016

The World PR Report 2016, published by ICCO and PRWeek, has today launched at the Global ICCO PR Summit in Oxford.

The report, presented by Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, is the annual analysis of the international public relations industry. The report includes a breakdown of the top 100 global agencies, market analysis from regional leaders, and a report on agency growth, opportunity, investment plans, and talent challenges.

The report revealed that agency heads are optimistic – on a scale of 1-10, the global average for optimism is 7. The most optimistic markets are the UK (8.1) and the Middle East (8.0). The least are Latin America (5.9) and Africa (6).

When asked about their expectations of profitability, North America came in highest with a score of 7.2, followed by the UK at 7. Latin America came in lowest at 5.2.

Noted areas of growth include digital communications, corporate reputation, marketing communications, and public affairs. These growth areas vary by region, reflecting differing local priorities and differing levels of market maturity.

Commenting on the Report, Francis Ingham said: “The World PR Report is the definitive analysis of the global PR industry. It is only by understanding where we are and in what direction we are moving that we can continue to drive growth and invest in opportunities. We are thrilled to see that the industry is bright, and getting brighter.”

Danny Rogers, Editor-in-Chief, PRWeek, said: “We are very proud to present the World PR Report 2016; the best, and most contemporary, guide in existence to the PR industry across the globe. It has been produced by PRWeek, the pre-eminent source of news and analysis of the sector, and ICCO, the voice of PR consultancies around the world.

“As well as providing the definitive ranking of the world’s top 100 PR consultancies and further listings of local agencies, the World PR Report 2016 has asked this vast network of PR firms about the recent trends in their business, along with their forecasts for the year ahead. We look forward to the next year, and revisiting these rankings and indicators in a year’s time to gauge progress.”

Full analysis and commentary of each of the markets is available in the World PR Report, which will be published by PRWeek both online and in the magazine.

About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

Crystal Balling the Cannes Festival of Creativity by Karen Strauss

Article by Karen Strauss, Partner, Chief Creative & Strategy Officer at Ketchum. 


When the wise people at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity put together 8 days of inspiring content for the international creative elite, they are curating workshops and sessions to hit the big issues keeping creative leaders up at night.

This year’s line-up looks provocative, marked by a whiff of alarm around how truly difficult it’s become to cut through all the content pollution.  After poring over hundreds and hundreds of seminar titles and descriptions, here’s what I expect will be the buzz on the Riviera.

STANDING OUT HAS NEVER BEEN HARDER – The boldface speakers in Cannes will be cajoling marketing communicators to invent new ways of telling stories.  Innovator Anna Wintour will urge the industry to steal a page from “Hamilton,” which literally invented a new genre of musical theatre storytelling; Academy Award-winning director Alejandro Inarritu will advocate the kind of mould-breaking that produced “The Revenant” and “Birdman,” and Barton F. Graf founder Gerry Graf will rail against groupthink and insist that finding one original-thinking creative partner is the only path to elusive breakthroughs.

A great rallying cry for novelty.

IS VIRTUAL REALITY AND 360 VIDEO THE ANSWER? – Nobody will leave Cannes without Virtual Reality and 360 experiences, yet given the ubiquity of these technologies, one has to wonder if they’ll be stand-out strategies or instantly too commonplace.  Google is promising immersive experiences that enhance storytelling; Samsung’s VR and 360 showcase will demonstrate how to “engage culture and experience compassion”; and MOFILM will share “View From Above,” (, its incredible aerial film project that used drones to film 18 destinations where Emirates flies, allowing travellers to experience each city with remarkable perspective.

Trailblazing immersive experiences.

IS SEX THE ANSWER? – Better connections with consumers may be as primal as plumbing their sexual desires, and this year in Cannes, sex is on stage.  My friends at Flamingo believe a generation’s sexuality is a key indicator of its drivers and values and that each generation’s approach to sex is different.  They’ll argue that recognizing sexual attitudes are a path to connecting with broader hopes and dreams.  Another panel with sex therapist Esther Perel will draw connections between online dating and brand promiscuity today, providing tips for cultivating desire in all kinds of relationships.

Sex plays to our primitive instincts.

IS HUMOUR THE ANSWER? – In winning over audiences, comedy has long been king – and thankfully in Cannes, “queen.” The female SNL trio of Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant and Vanessa Bayer will make the case for women’s humour; Rashida Jones, a comedy writer and star of “Parks & Recreation” will reveal how humour can shine a light on important issues; and Mike McAvoy, the CEO of The Onion, will caution that “if you’re not having any fun with your brand, you’re doing it wrong.”

Laughter IS the shortest distance between two people.

DURATION & EPHEMERA MATTER – Beyond the topics, tone and technology, the length of content – and whether it’s ephemeral or not – takes on added importance in Cannes.  The Ephemeral Web is how people consume content every day, so how can brands create lasting messages when they self-destruct?  Embracing ephemerality to ignite creativity will be a hot topic.  In one session, we’ll consider whether long-form branded video content is the answer to shorter attention spans, based on new research around social media viewing habits.

Size matters, just what size is the question.

HAS CONTENT KILLED ADVERTISING? – And the mother lode – can advertising be saved?  One CCO wishes it weren’t such a dirty word, and urges her industry to not let words like content and storytelling replace “traditional” advertising in constructing brand purpose.  Conversely, a pair of advertising strategy officers will start a movement to stop advertising to save the industry. At the heart of the debate is ad blocking, and whether creativity and technology can come together to deliver digital experiences that consumers love rather than block.   Seems advertising is fighting for its life in Cannes.

Will it survive the week?

Karen is leading a panel this year titled “Content for the Ages, All of Them” that will examine age-agnostic marketing.  It is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at 14:30 in The Forum.

For full schedule see ICCO Guide to Cannes Lions:


Raise Your Hand! PR at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

Written by Renee Wilson, President, PR Council


The marketplace is quickly transforming. That is evident. The older, more traditional forms of communications are no longer moving the needle as they once did. However, one thing is clear:  the methods, strategies and activity that have PR-thinking at the core are where the action is. It is my prediction that this year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, we will see the majority of winners from a host of categories have PR-thinking at the core of the idea. And when attendees ask why the program was so successful, raise your hand and proudly say it was “PR-thinking that powered the strategy and the creative idea.”

This will be my sixth year going to the Festival, and I’m just as excited as ever. Nowhere else in the world can you have a professional experience that is so awe-inspiring, educational and enjoyable all in one place. I’ve had the good fortune of serving on two PR juries, once as the PR jury chair, and this year, along with two of my PR Council Members, I’ll be serving as a PR Mentor in the Cannes Young Lions Marketers Academy, along with A.G. Bevilaqua of M Booth and Ron D’Innocenzo of Golin. It’s a great opportunity to help teach and inspire about the power of PR-thinking as it’s important to help marketers of all ages understand more about the types of work we do. It’s not PR versus advertising. It’s PR and advertising, and media, and in-store, online etc.

What do I mean when I say PR-thinking? It’s strategies and ideas that involve working with influencers, third parties, experiential, content and stakeholder relationships for starters. You will find it in the winning Cannes entries.

However, if you are still on the fence as to whether or not to attend the Festival, or more importantly to care, here are three reasons:

1. Cannes Festival showcases creativity at its best. There is no other festival that brings together the greatest creative minds in the global marketing communications industry and gives you access to the best and brightest in integrated communications. Think of it like the Olympics of Marketing. We can all learn from the powerful work.

2. Young Lions Competition. For only the third time, PR is included as a category in this competition. We are proudly sending Team USA and I’m sure other regions are putting forth their bright young talent too. These future leaders definitely have a thing or two to teach us about the industry.

3. ICCO House of PR. For the second year in a row, ICCO will be hosting the House of PR. This is a great meeting place for PR professionals to gather to glean insights from the juries, points of view from thought leaders, and network with colleagues from different agencies and companies from around the world. It can’t be missed!

I hope to see you at the Cannes festival, where we can push forward the power of PR-thinking from around the world, inspire others, and be inspired!


For more information about the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity visit:

2015 Cannes Lions Cheat Sheet

By MitchCommGroup 


This week is the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Cannes Lions recognizes and awards the year’s best creative ideas across 16 categories, covering everything from traditional print and film communications to technology and product design.

Cannes Lions believes creativity is the driving force for business, for change and for good. Like Mitchell, the Festival honors and inspires creative bravery to change the course of communications. The awards set a global benchmark for good creative, and the Festival connects those with a similar vision.

Whether you are walking the streets of Cannes or following from across the globe, have a look on Mitchell Communications Blog to find out more about the cheat sheet to get the most out of Cannes Lions.

Getting ready for your first Cannes Lions?

by Gabriela Lungu, integrated creative director & Cannes Lions veteran

gabriela lungu




Congratulations! Your firm is sending you to Cannes Lions!  It’s the most important International Festival of Creativity for the Marcom industry, so you should be very proud that you were chosen (the pass for the festival, plus the transport, the accommodation and other expenses, are quite a significant investment for any company; and yours is investing in you!).

The best thing to do now is to make the most out of this awesome experience. But the truth is that going to Cannes Lions for the first time can be quite intimidating.

This is no small event. It’s one who practically takes over an entire city for a full week. Huge main venue, and many other smaller ones. 12,000 people attending. Lots of things, all very interesting, happening in parallel. Amazing superstars, from the industry and beyond, to see and meet at the different gatherings – some official and some not so official. And all the temptations of the French Riviera at walking distance. What to choose? How to make sure you’re not missing out?

As a Cannes Lions veteran, I’m asked lots of questions every year.

Here are my top 7 tips:

  1. Download the official Cannes Lions App. This app is your best friend. Read what’s happening at this year’s edition and start planning. Decide who you want to see, where you want to go and put together a personalized agenda. Make a plan A, but also a plan B. You’ll have to be flexible to fully enjoy the week
  2. When you get there, take the official “HOW TO CANNES DAILY TOUR” to find your way around the Festival’s main venue, Le Palais des Festivals. After you know your Grand Audi from your Debussy, you’ll instantly feel more confident.
  3. From the Palais, take a walk on the Croisette and maybe even a little sightseeing tour around Cannes. Remember where the biggest hotels (especially Majestic, Carlton and Martinez) and the beaches are. Many events, especially the evening ones, are happening outside the Palais, in one of these locations.
  4. Keep in mind that you’ll be one of the 12,000 people who come to be inspired at Cannes Lions. If a seminar sounds very interesting to you, chances are the other 11,999 people will think the same. If you really want to be in the same room with an inspiring speaker, make sure you are in that room really early (with 2-3 hours in advance) and you don’t leave it. Not even for bathroom breaks.
  5. If you can’t get in for one of the big seminars, don’t be disappointed. Go to a workshop instead. Many times, the most valuable and practical information are shared in the smaller sessions.
  6. Go to the parties you’re invited to. There are amazing networking opportunities. Go to the after-parties too; there are many planned and unplanned ones all over the city. Enjoy the rosé (they call it ‘the Festival’s water’). But make sure you’re up and running again early in the morning. There must be parties all the time where you’re coming from; but there’s only one Cannes Lions Festival every year.
  7. Go to The House of PR (Grand Palais Beach, Cabana 11), a fun and comfortable meeting space for the PR community. Get involved with the scheduled activities from Monday 22nd June to Wednesday 24th June, from 9am till 6pm. Throughout the festival the House of PR will play host to interviews, live streaming and much more. Look out for the live updates – twitter: @ICCOpr, #WELOVEPR.

Of course, the most important thing is to… relax. If you ever feel confused, remember that even the smug veterans had their first Cannes Lions once. Enjoy it to the maximum, let yourself be inspired, and then share this inspiration with your colleagues back home.

See you there!

Young Lions PR competition springboards fresh talent for a 2nd year; ICCO continues partnership


The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has announced, that after a successful launch year, the Young Lions PR Competition is set to return at the 2015 Festival.Offering its support and commitment, the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), will continue its partnership with the 2015 competition.

Steve Latham, director of talent & training, Cannes Lions said: “The competition provides a real opportunity for young PR professionals to showcase their talent on a global stage. With a carefully chosen charity providing the brief, it’s also humbling to know that the work they produce can make a real difference – with the charity being given the option to adopt and use the winning campaign. I’m delighted that the ICCO are on-board for a second year, helping us to once again springboard both talent and awareness.”Competitors, who are first decided at regional competitions, are given 24 hours in Cannes to pit their skills against each other and show how PR can be effectively used to engage audiences with an organisation or a specific topic that the ‘client’ is dealing with. They are then asked to present to a dedicated jury who will decide which team is worthy of taking Gold.

David Gallagher, president of ICCO said: “ICCO is committed to promoting the value of PR consultancy worldwide and we see the Young Lions PR competition as an opportunity to show a little swagger under a global spotlight.  Last year’s debut was a smash hit and we’re eager to give our gifted young professionals an opportunity to shine again in 2015.”

ICCO, the representative body of forward thinking PR agencies, will be present at Cannes Lions with its “House of PR” cabana situated at the beachfront alongside the pavilion. This will be the place to meet prominent representatives of the PR industry and learn more about ICCO international activities. PR delegates attending the Festival are welcome to visit and attend networking events from 22 -24 June. More information is available at the ICCO Guide to Cannes website.

Cannes Lions will take place from 21-27 June in Cannes, France. A comprehensive learning programme designed to accelerate essential training across all career levels and disciplines is available during the event, as well as Young Lions Competitions for Print, Media, Cyber, Film, Design and Marketers. Further information on how to be part of it can be found at


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