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ICCO announces new Regional Presidents

ICCO is pleased to announce that five Regional Presidents have been appointed, who will represent the recently formed Regional Boards covering Europe, Americas, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
 
The following candidates were elected by the ICCO Global Board of Management:
 
Europe: Juergen H. Gangoly, Managing Partner, The Skills Group; Vice President, Public Relations Verband Austria (PRVA)
 
Americas: Aaron Kwittken, Global Chairman & CEO, Kwittken; Board Director, PR Council
 
Middle East: Loretta Ahmed, CEO, Middle East, Africa & Turkey, Grayling; Chairman, PRCA MENA
 
Africa: Bridget Von Holdt, Executive Director, Glasshouse Communication Management; representative of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA)
 
Asia Pacific: Nitin Mantri, CEO, Avian Media; President, Public Relations Consultants Association of India (PRCAI)
 
The Regional Presidents will join the Global Executive Committee, comprised of the Global President, Vice President, Treasurer, immediate Past President, the Regional Presidents, and the Chief Executive.
 
The new structure, announced at the Global ICCO PR Summit in Oxford in September, aims to ensure that all regionals, organisations and individuals represented by ICCO can create and develop their own voice for the benefit of the regional and global PR and communications industry.
 
Commenting on the new structure, ICCO President Maxim Behar said: “All regions from now on will be represented in the ICCO Global Executive Committee. But not only that; elected Regional Presidents are great professional colleagues and widely known PR experts and we do believe that their input into ICCO’s management will be significant. We all look forward to working together to strengthen ICCO’s position as the largest global PR community.”
 
Juergen H. Gangoly, newly appointed Regional President – Europe said: “With ICCO’s new regional structure in Europe, we have the goal to further grow the organisation and make the voice of Europe’s PR industry even more heard by the public. We will intensify ICCO’s relations to European institutions and to partner organisations in the wider communications industry all over Europe. Supporting cross-border co-operation amongst our members from training and educational activities to business and information services will be part of ICCO’s working programme in Europe for the coming years.”
 
Aaron Kwittken, ICCO Regional President – Americas said: “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues around the world to better promote cross-border collaboration and conversation around a compelling point of view on our role in an increasingly digital world without agency borders.”
 
Loretta Ahmed, ICCO Regional President – Middle East said: ““As we continue to evolve our agencies and what we do on behalf of our clients, we must also do so with one eye on the rest of the world. That connection, especially for a region emerging as fast as the Middle East is critical. I’m honoured to be elected President for ICCO in the Middle East. Having lived in the region for four years I continue to see communications consultancies delivering world class campaigns and ICCO provides another platform for recognition on all that the Middle East PR sector is achieving.”
 
Bridget Von Holdt, ICCO Regional President – Africa said: “Africa tends to be the forgotten continent, yet is identified as a focal growth point for so many international companies. As the Regional President, I will use the ICCO platform to position Africa and the agencies represented on the continent as strategic partners, as innovative and of course as the experts within the region.”
 
Nitin Mantri, representing Asia Pacific as Regional President, said: “ICCO has been making giant strides in elevating the public relations profession, and now with the regional bodies there will be greater consistency in communications standards across the world. The aim would be to encourage discussions on the issues facing the industry and sharing the best practices across this region to elevate ICCO’s role in Global public relations.”
 
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, agencies and networks 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.

www.iccopr.com

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)

 

KEY DATES:

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 awards.iccopr.com.

Trends transforming global PR

Article by Tanya Hughes, President, SERMO Communications

This summer, we locked SERMO’s 15 lifestyle PR agencies from all over the world in a conference room in Milan for three days to talk about transformation.  Transformation of clients’ and brands’ needs, of our services, of digital influence, of retail and technology, of our staff makeup. There was plenty of inspiration and plenty of handwringing. In the end we agreed that ‘only the paranoid survive’ and that that’s a good thing. Here are outtakes from the conference – the trends we think are transforming global PR:

  1. Every company is a digital company

Generalist PR skills such as writing, media relations, event management and strategic planning are still core competencies. But now that digital content is the new ‘me time’, every agency is piling in to fill the space. Specialist skills in multimedia content development, SEO, social and digital and analytics are now critical ingredients in the arsenal of progressive PR agencies. To find these digital experts, SERMO agencies are recruiting from media, advertising and production agencies. Nota Bene in Spain have recruited Art Directors, Online Marketing Managers and IT/Programming Managers and Mojo PR in Dubai have a new Head of Creative Content who’s highly connected to filmmakers and other producers, training agency staff in video production and editing.

  1. Keep millennials happy

How to keep our people happy, especially ‘millennials’, was a hot topic this year. Millennials (those born between the 1980s and 2000s) need targeted attention. They have grown up in a society thriving on rapid technological advancement. They expect to be able to access the latest technology at work. Upgrade or die! For them, change is the constant, and they demand this from an employer – they want their careers to progress quickly. According to a report produced by PwC Australia, 71% of millennials are dis-engaged at their jobs as a result of this sense of entitlement. SERMO agencies know that human capital is their biggest asset so they’re investing in training, tailored benefits and new perks to help recruit and retain the very best talent. Talk PR in the UK have introduced a mentoring programme, RSVP in Singapore hold weekly yoga classes in the office to improve staff’s health and wellbeing and Tomorrowland Group in Australia have introduced a quarterly reset day (extra holiday day every quarter) to help their people maintain a work/life balance. All report improved retention and productivity.

  1. The seismic shift in retail

Retail, and fashion retail in particular, is going through enormous structural change. From the push for change in the now outdated two season fashion calendar, to the shift in consumer buying habits facilitated by digital and mobile technology. We heard from expert e-commerce speakers. POPSUGAR talked about the challenges of co-creating content for brands that will grab the eight second attention span of Gen Z, the domination of mobile and the holy grail of marketplace sites – seamless check out. While Yoox said their customers know what they want and come to them to shop, not for content! At the sharp end of technology, Metail are creating virtual fitting rooms that will improve and personalise service and cut returns. In the real world, bricks and mortar retail is moving toward creating experiences that can’t be replicated online.

All of which has implications for PR – the lifecycle of fashion/lifestyle stories is shorter and requires an integrated approach across content and channels, from influencer marketing to creative execution. It’s all about driving sales across all consumer touchpoints. Working with digital influencers, in particular, now drives huge sales for brands and retailers, often resulting in completely sold-out pieces.

  1. Redefining influence

Influence is not what it used to be. It’s more complex and dynamic and, above all, digital. But the digitisation of influence, doesn’t diminish PR’s core competence – harnessing influence through relationships. What it does mean is that working with digital influencers and KOLs and creating compelling digital content requires constant innovation – Negri Firman in Italy has set up a creative content arm called NFLAB, Flare in Hong Kong set-up a social and digital PR Hub in summer 2015 which now contributes over 33% of their total revenue, Tomorrowland Group in Australia and RSVP in Singapore have launched Talentland and RSVP@Talent (respectively) to manage the profiles of experts, digital influencers and creators. SERMO agencies like Adventi in China are also offering integration of paid, owned, shared and earned media and broadening their portfolio from working with digital influencers and paid amplification to programmatic advertising.

  1. Global media vacuum

Condé Nast Italia impressed us all with their innovative work with brands and co-created, extraordinary content. But what they can’t do, and what no major publishing house can do, is press a ‘button’ for global reach. There’s really no such thing as truly global media. We know this from our work with global clients such as Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. It occurred to us that we could bring each of our market’s local influencers together, connected by the network partners, to create tangible global online reach for our clients’ brands. And at the same time, help influencers extend their global reach. So our next step is to make the SERMO Digital Influencer Index interactive, live and a service for clients and influencers – watch this space.

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.
www.iccopr.com

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.
www.iccopr.com

ICCO announces new regional structure

ICCO is pleased to announce that it has launched a new regional structure for its organisation.

The new structure divides the world into five regions consisting of the Americas, Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Each region will have its own Regional Board with an elected President. It is then these Regional Presidents who will go on to elect the Global President for ICCO, a position that is held for two years.

As well as being the voice of ICCO in their region, each Regional President will support its members by putting on a conference and awards each year which will be held in their region. This will result in ICCO having six conferences each year, as well as six international awards programmes.

The purpose of this change in structure is to ensure that all regions, organisations, and individuals represented by ICCO, can create and develop their own voice for the benefit of the regional and global PR and communications industry.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, Director General, PRCA, said: “Ensuring that ICCO members receive the best services has always been at the forefront of our goals. I believe that this new regional structure will ensure that every member can access the very best insight, resulting in both depth and breadth of knowledge. Crucially, this new structure will allow us both to service our greatly-increased number of members, and also to grow even further in the future.”

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.
www.iccopr.com

Oxford summit to focus on the PR consultancy of the future

The Global ICCO PR Summit takes place later this month (29 & 30 September) in Oxford, UK.

The event theme focuses on “creating the consultancy of the future”, with a particular emphasis on talent, inspiration and innovation. International industry leaders presenting at the event include Karen van Bergen, CEO, Omnicom Public Relations Group; Michelle Hutton, COO, Edelman Europe, Scott Kronick, President & CEO, Ogilvy PR Asia Pacific; Alex Aiken, Executive Director, Government Communications – UK Government; Ian Pearman, CEO, AMV BBDO; Pascal Beucler, Chief Strategy Officer, MSLGROUP; and Andres Wittermann, Executive Vice President EMEA & APAC, LEWIS.

The conference will also see the launch of the much anticipated World PR Report 2016 which has been produced by ICCO and PRWeek.

Registration details and the full line-up are available on the ICCO Summit website.

ICCO Chief Executive Francis Ingham said: “If you work in PR and communications, then you need to be in Oxford on September 29th and 30th. We’ll have some of the industry’s biggest names there, drawn from right around the world, giving their analysis of where we now, and where we will be in the future. The ICCO summit is the pinnacle of the PR and comms conference season – if you’re serious about your profession, you’ll be there.”

Content marketing platform Passle is the event’s headline sponsor, and will be running a panel session discussing what brands, including the personal brands of staff, say about  agencies.

Passle co-founder Tom Elgar said: “We are delighted to sponsor the ICCO global summit. As the voice of public relations consultancies around the world the ICCO summit is the ideal place for Passle to showcase its platform that enables busy experts to demonstrate their knowledge and experience online. By creating timely, authentic commentary on news and trends Passle makes it easy for PR experts provide industry-leading analysis for their clients, prospects, employees and stakeholders.”

Previously the summit has been held in cities including Milan, New Delhi and Paris, and is the major annual event of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO).

The event will take place at Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford and will be co-chaired by David Gallagher of Omnicom, Nitin Mantri of Avian Media (India) and Andrey Barannikov, CEO, SPN Communications (Russia). It is also sponsored by Paprika, Capstone Hill Search, ePressPack, Conversis, Gorkana, Avian Media, Porter Novelli, 72 Point and OnePoll.

For more information on attendance and sponsorship, please contact Charlene Corrin, General Manager, ICCO: info@iccopr.com

PR In Africa: Changing The Narrative

 

Article by Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, President of the African Public Relations Association (APRA)

 

Many years ago, The Economist magazine carried a cover story describing Africa as a ‘hopeless continent’. Several years later, The Economist reversed itself by coming out with another cover titled ‘ Rising Africa’. There lies the paradox that is Africa- it’s in its narrative! Undisputedly the next frontier in global development, Africa has witnessed impressive growth from foreign direct investment compared to other parts of the world. The disadvantage of our infrastructure deficit has resulted in massive funds injection, which presents significant opportunities for public relations practitioners on the continent.

The origins of Public Relations practice in Africa are somewhat hazy. What is clear though, is that  a substantial dose of public relations was used in Africa during the Second World War not just to encourage Africans to enlist in the home armies of their various colonial masters, but also to keep the war propaganda machine going on the continent. During periods of colonial rule, European trading companies like the United African Company (UAC) engaged public relations, perhaps for the very first time, in the area of private sector business. Many government organisations and agencies soon caught on and appointed PR executives. The first set of PR professionals were mostly media and Information Officers of government organisations.

The 1960’s and 70’s were characterised by struggles for, and the attainment of political independence. The effect was the entrenchment of one form of democratic rule or the other across the continent. In these nascent democracies public communication, especially public relations, was an imperative but this new found opportunity was rather short-lived as many African nations soon fell under the jackboot of military coups. A failure of public relations perhaps? Whatever the reason, military takeovers severely stunted the growth and development of public relations practice. Happily, the late 1980’s and 90’s brought about a resurgence of democratic rule in Africa, with an attendant rise in the engagement of public relations.

PR in Africa had hitherto been largely media-centric because the pioneers of the profession were journalists and broadcasters. But over time, its further application in solving marketing and brand challenges, has led to the deepening of the profession across board. Such tools include Strategy, Corporate Social Responsibility, content development & management, reputation management  and creativity.

Key PR practice centres on the continent are South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Egypt, with South Africa taking the lead. These countries are located in southern, eastern, western and northern Africa respectively.  South Africa’s leading role is understandable considering that most public relations networks and global corporate giants have headquartered their African operations in South Africa. The biggest consumers of public relations are telecommunications companies, with banks, retailers, the entertainment industry and IT also gaining a fair share of the market. Naturally, PR consulting practices have grown over the years in line with demand. However, with the exception of South Africa, most practices have remained sole proprietorships or partnerships.

As public relations has developed on the continent, so also has the establishment and operations of professional public relations associations. The first association was founded in 1956 in South Africa followed by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations  in 1963.  The Public Relations Society of Kenya was inaugurated in 1971. The umbrella body for public relations associations- the Federation of African Public Relations Associations, was established in 1975 with the sole mandate of developing PR as a tool for selling Africa’s positive image. FAPRA became APRA in 2008 and began to admit individual members in addition to national associations.

In spite of the considerable gains, there is still a lot of ground to cover. For instance the lack of clarity about the value that public relations brings to the table remains an issue. Perhaps because its value is difficult to measure, lack of appreciation for the practice of PR as a profession in its own right is also an issue. Measurement and evaluation continue to be a challenge, as is the dearth of data across the continent. PR also suffers from the intrusion of its twin cousin-professions- journalism and advertising. Today, many markets see PR as little more than an extension of journalism, thus denying PR of its much needed professional and financial regard.

If the narrative must change, it must change from within so that we can take advantage of the significant opportunities that ‘Rising Africa’ presents. Whether the conversation is about the continent or the practice, there is a glaring need to change the narrative.

Yomi Badejo-Okusanya is the current President of the African Public Relations Association (APRA), a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations and Chief Executive of CMC Connect Burston Marsteller, Lagos, Nigeria.

Serbian Public Relations Association awards the best in the field

The Serbian Public Relations Association (DSOJ) awarded the best communication campaigns, projects and initiatives in 2015 at the traditional 19th annual reception PRijem held this week in Belgrade.

The special guest of the evening was Maxim Behar, President of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) that recently welcomed DSOJ within its members. A total of 87 projects competed for the awards in 13 different categories at this year’s PRijem.

On the occasion of awarding ceremony, President of DSOJ, Jelena Sarenac, said to guests at the event:

“The Serbian Public Relations Association gathers all PR professionals in Serbia and improves our profession actively. We want to empower cooperation with our colleagues and similar organisations all over the world, in order to keep in track with newest trends and also present examples of good practice from our market globally. At this journey, membership in ICCO is vital for us, since it makes our organisation more visible both in our country and internationally. We are very happy and proud for having the President of ICCO, Mr. Maxim Behar, with us at our yearly awarding ceremony in Belgrade.”

At this year’s awarding ceremony, the Serbian Public Relations Association awarded Represent Communications with PR agency of the year (large agencies) and SVA agency (small and medium agencies).

Awards also went to New Moment New Ideas Company, Executive Group, Home Page, Smart Vision and Blumen Group, while a special award for Extraordinary Contribution to Communications went to Miloje Sekulic from Home Page agency.

 

ABOUT SERBIAN PUBLIC RELATIONS ASSOCIATION (DSOJ)

The Serbian Public Relations Association was established on 17 May 2004, continuing the tradition of PR Society of Yugoslavia – the oldest professional organisation in this field on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The company founders are prominent representatives of the University, the agency for public relations, government institutions and organisations, as well as large private companies. The mission of the organisation is to contribute to the field and the public relations profession, to assist the introduction and implementation of the highest professional and ethical standards and implement cutting-edge professional programs, organisation of conferences, seminars and training, as well as international cooperation and exchange of experiences.

http://pr.org.rs/

 

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