Prudential appoints Zoe Hibbert as Chief of Corporate Affairs

Prudential plc (Prudential) has announced the appointment of Dr Zoe Hibbert as Chief of Corporate Affairs. Reporting to Chief Executive Officer Anil Wadhwani, Dr Hibbert will oversee Prudential’s Corporate Affairs function, including communications, events and brand strategy. The appointment is effective immediately.Based in Hong Kong, Dr Hibbert brings over 35 years of communications experience across Asia and North America to this role. She held senior positions at global financial institutions, most recently at Visa, where she led the Global Corporate and North America communications teams. Prior to this, Dr Hibbert led the Asia Pacific communications function for Visa, as well as the Product, Innovation and Marketing team. Before joining Visa, she was managing director of Burson-Marsteller Australia.This appointment reflects Prudential’s continued commitment to investing in its communications capabilities and to strengthening its brand across Asia and Africa.Commenting on the appointment, Anil Wadhwani said: “I am delighted to welcome Zoe to Prudential’s leadership team. Her diverse skills and extensive experience make her an invaluable asset as Prudential continues to serve all its stakeholders and expand its franchise in the world’s most dynamic regions of Asia and Africa.”Dr Hibbert has a Doctorate in Communications from Charles Sturt University.

Building a legacy: Srishti Mathur’s PR roadmap for Physics Wallah

We are in a new era of Public Relations. In the last few years, the importance of reputation management has taken a sea change. More brands and clients, especially from the leadership teams, are viewing Public Relations from a close range. The industry has undergone a radical change with the advent of social media, which has to a large extent changed the approach to Public Relations. We have a relatively new and young audience that we need to face in the coming years so there are bigger challenges for brands and PR practitioners, who have to be more agile and proactive in their thinking to draw up business solutions for clients.In our exclusive column – PR Conversation – Adgully interacts with leading business leaders and obtains their exclusive views and insights on the various trends in the PR and communications industry.In conversation with Adgully, Srishti Mathur, Director & Head – PR & Corporate Communication, Physics Wallah (PW), speaks at length about how PR and corporate communication in the ed-tech industry differ from other industries, the steps to communicate about ed-tech platforms like Physics Wallah to a skeptical audience, crisis communication in the ed-tech sector and ways to address them, long-term goals for Physics Wallah’s PR and corporate communication efforts, and more.How did your roles in various PR agencies prepare you for your current position at PhysicsWallah? What key lessons and skills from your previous experiences have you applied to your role as Head of PR and Corporate Communication?My 17-year experience in top PR agencies has prepared me well for my role at Physics Wallah. I use these skills to ensure our communications match with Physics Wallah’s educational goals, keeping everything open and trusted with our stakeholders. Growing up with journalist parents helped me strengthen media ties, improving our outreach and impact. My experience allows me to handle the ever-changing educational field effectively, using clear and genuine storytelling that connects with our audience and protects our brand’s reputation. Additionally, my leadership experience is vital in developing a robust PR and communications team that propels our mission. The adaptability and forward-thinking required in fast-paced agencies are essential at Physics Wallah, as we continuously innovate to engage effectively with students, parents, and educational partners.Given your extensive experience across various sectors, how does PR and corporate communication in the ed-tech industry differ from other industries? What unique challenges and opportunities have you encountered in promoting an ed-tech platform like PhysicsWallah compared to your previous roles?Education is a deeply personal and critical aspect of people’s lives. Establishing and maintaining trust with our audience is paramount, requiring consistent transparency and credibility in all communication. Promoting an ed-tech platform like Physics Wallah, demands a deeper focus on mission-driven storytelling and leveraging digital platforms to engage a diverse audience.At PW, we serve a broad audience, including students, parents, educators, policymakers, and the entire educational ecosystem. Each group has unique needs and expectations, necessitating messages that are both specific and cohesive. The success stories of our students provide powerful content that resonates emotionally with our audience.Our mission is to democratize education at scale, reaching students and parents in the remotest corners of the country. Simplifying information to make it accessible and engaging is crucial. Social media and new-age platforms play a huge role in this effort, especially for a digital-native brand, allowing us to reach students far and wide in the language they understand and in the way they consume information. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge, particularly in areas with limited internet access. In such cases, we create awareness using local methods to ensure our brand and its purpose reaches everyone.How do you communicate the value of ed-tech platforms like Physics Wallah to a skeptical audience, ensuring credibility and trust?Our approach to communication is also deeply rooted in transparency. We openly share our methodologies, numbers, success rates, and feedback through detailed case studies and testimonials. This openness helps build and maintain trust with our audience. A key element in our approach is continuously improving our content, community, and communication to meet the evolving needs of our stakeholders. By emphasizing strong corporate governance, we ensure that our actions align with our mission and values, fostering trust and credibility. Consistent messaging across all channels reinforces our brand's reliability. Regular updates, continuous engagement, and prompt responses to queries and feedback help build a dependable image.How do you handle crisis communication in the ed-tech sector, especially in situations where there might be misinformation or negative feedback from users? Could you share some examples?When misinformation or negative feedback arises, our first step is to respond quickly and transparently. We gather accurate information from all internal departments and present the facts clearly to counter any false narratives. We actively listen and learn from our community and our founder Alakh Pandey’s direct engagement and responsiveness to feedback ensure that our community feels heard and valued. This hands-on approach has been instrumental in addressing concerns promptly and maintaining a positive relationship with our stakeholders, even in challenging times. Additionally, we have robust crisis preparedness systems in place and all stakeholders receive calendared training on a regular basis, ensuring they know how to respond effectively to potential crises. This agility allows us to promptly address concerns and issues.In a competitive ed-tech landscape, how do you ensure that Physics Wallah stands out and maintains a strong brand presence?We do this by weaving a compelling narrative around the core elements of the brand – story, purpose, innovation, inspiration, and consistency. The PR strategy strongly focuses on building a strong community, leveraging these relationships to enhance the brand’s consumer voice. Relatable student success stories and data driven communication foster a sense of trust, belonging and aspiration, aligning with the brand’s cultural and social impact. By making education both affordable and innovative, Physics Wallah not only uplifts individual students but also contributes to broader societal and economic advancements. This multifaceted approach ensures Physics Wallah stands out and is continuously resonating with new and existing stakeholders while driving forward its vision for an educated and inclusive India.How do you build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, including students, parents, and educational institutions?By continuously listening to them and innovating accordingly and acting swiftly to lead the change and provide solutions.What are your long-term goals for Physics Wallah’s PR and corporate communication efforts?Our long-term goals for Physics Wallah’s PR and corporate communication focus on elevating our brand to a cult status. We aim to continue innovating in how we share authentic stories to a diverse audience, enhancing our engagement and solidifying our reputation as India’s most beloved education brand. We are committed to leading systemic reforms in the Indian education system, aiming to impact educational policies and practices significantly. Our efforts will extend to scaling our reach and deepening engagement with the government, think tanks, associations and other relevant stakeholders to ensure lasting benefits for students across India. These initiatives are just the beginning of our journey to make a profound and enduring impact on education in Bharat and then globally.

Adgcraft expands its footprints in Mumbai

Adgcraft, a Delhi NCR-based PR agency, has opened its new office in Mumbai. The new Mumbai office, situated at Hive8, Kohinoor Square, Dadar West, will serve clients in the BFSI (Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance), corporate, lifestyle, influencer marketing, and hospitality sectors. With the opening of the Mumbai office, Adgcraft aims to leverage its extensive experience and industry knowledge to help clients achieve their communication goals. The agency's proven track record in handling high-profile PR mandates and delivering impactful results positions it as a trusted partner for businesses looking to enhance their brand presence and engagement.Abhinay Kumar Singh, Managing Director of Adgcraft, expressed his enthusiasm about the new office launch: "Over the years, we have evolved into a trusted partner for over 100 brands, delivering comprehensive PR services to customise meet our client's diverse needs. Looking ahead, our goal is to continue expanding our capabilities, leveraging our industry expertise and talented team to drive measurable results for our clients. The launch of our Mumbai office marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Adgcraft as we aim to further strengthen our position as a leader in the PR industry."Rahul Adap, Vice-President, Growth & Strategy at the Mumbai office, said: "Establishing our presence in Mumbai signifies a strategic expansion into one of the most dynamic and diverse business environments in India. Our team is ready to bring Adgcraft’s PR strategies to clients here, helping them to navigate the unique challenges and opportunities in this vibrant market. We are committed to offering personalized and effective communication solutions that meet our client's needs and help them achieve their goals."Adgcraft also works with global clients from the USA, South Korea, and other countries, further extending its reach and expertise in the international arena. Additionally, the agency has collaborated with numerous startup incubators, providing strategic communication support to help emerging businesses grow and succeed in competitive markets.Adgcraft's vision is to become a one-stop solution provider for all comprehensive PR and brand communications strategies, delivering complex messages in the simplest manner. The agency's motto, “Your Story is your strength, and communication is ours,” reflects its commitment to crafting powerful narratives that resonate with audiences and drive meaningful engagement.

H&M promotes Laura Pietrantonio to Head of Marketing & Comm for ANZ

Fashion retailer H&M has promoted Laura Pietrantonio to the role of Head of Marketing & Communications for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ).With over two decades of experience in the industry, Pietrantonio has previously served as H&M’s Head of PR & Communications in the region. Her career spans both agency and client-side roles, including positions at EGPR, Havaianas, Koala, Camilla, and amaysim.In her new role, Pietrantonio will oversee various functions, such as media and customer insights, brand and content, PR, and internal communications.“As we enter a new era at H&M and elevate our customer experience, I’m excited by the strategic vision Laura brings to this role and where she will lead our marketing and communications efforts. “Laura brings extensive experience in fashion and local market knowledge to the position and is a huge asset to the leadership team as we enter this next phase,” said Anna Baldwin, H&M’s AUNZ Country Director.Pietrantonio expressed her enthusiasm for her new role: “I am passionate about elevating our brand experience and cementing our brand purpose of fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way, while connecting with our customer. This year marks our 10th year in the Australian market, as we enter a new era with fashion and the customer at the forefront.”

Havas Red unveils new agency vision for AI era

Havas Red, a leading PR, content, social media, influencer, and experiential marketing agency, has unveiled its innovative Agency Intelligence concept. This AI-powered approach aims to amplify human creativity and address brand challenges.Agency Intelligence acknowledges the growing presence of automation in the creative industry. However, it emphasizes the enduring importance of human expertise in critical thinking and problem-solving.“Agency Intelligence: Intelligent Strategy, Ideas, and People,” is Havas Red’s response to a tsunami of automation technologies flooding the creative industry, and a belief that brands and talent must continue to prioritise critical human thinking.HAVAS Red powers its client strategies with a range of proprietary IP, measurement and research tools, and a team of strategists and earned creatives that fuel storytelling wherever the audience may consume it.Launching in June, the Agency Intelligence platform will influence content across Havas Red's channels, industry reports, thought leadership pieces, new services, events, and employee training. It will serve as a guiding principle for their client work as well."We wholeheartedly believe human intelligence is the engine that powers original creativity and helps solve the most important challenges for our clients. It’s intelligent people from a range of specialised disciplines who help brands communicate with purpose, nuance, emotion, and personality. We’re embracing automation tools to supercharge creative output; however, artificial thinking will never replace the best ideas, creativity, relationships, and people. As long as we’re communicating to humans, we need human insight and smart people at the wheel," said Shane Russell, CEO, HAVAS Red Australia.  In Australia HAVAS Red represents brands including Toyota, Lexus, Tourism Tasmania, Norco,, SunRice, Big W, WG&S, Fujitsu, Neoen, Novartis, AusGrid, Dropbox and more.Havas has stated its MANIFESTO as: "The world is fixated on AI.Convinced that artificial thinking can replace the best ideas, creativity, relationships, and people; that everything we do can be automated.But not us.We believe the world needs critical human thinking more than ever.At Havas Red, we choose to power our world and that of our clients with a different form of AI: Agency Intelligence.We’re the agency everyone turns to for intelligent strategy, ideas, and people. Agency Intelligence is the operating model that drives meaningful work in a world of constant disruption. Our people find the emotion and truth when unlocking a strategy. We fuel original creativity that can impact a generation. And we obsess over solving the most important challenges for our clients.There is nothing artificial about Agency Intelligence."

Sydney Markets appoints Neon Black to elevate brand presence

Sydney Markets has selected Neon Black, a creative communications agency, to lead their strategic communications efforts across all their brands. These brands include the Sydney Flower Market, Produce Market, Paddy's Markets, Growers Market, Fresh for Kids, and The Fresh Awards.Neon Black is known for their expertise in public relations, media relations, events, social media, marketing, and creative services.Ned Tesic, PR and Brand Manager at Sydney Markets, said that Neon Black's experience in food, hospitality, and agriculture, along with their innovative storytelling approach, perfectly aligns with the vision of Syndey Markets. Soraya Calavassy, Director and Co-founder of Neon Black, expressed her enthusiasm for the partnership: "We immediately connected with Sydney Markets' mission. They're more than just a marketplace; they're a vital link between growers, wholesalers, and consumers. It's a place brimming with stories of dedication and passion, impacting millions across NSW and ACT.""We're excited to utilize our experience in related industries to build trust with media and consumers through strategic PR," Calavassy continued. "Our goal is to amplify the essence of Sydney Markets and showcase its rich tapestry of traditions and stories to a wider audience."Calavassy offered a glimpse into the vibrant experience Sydney Markets offers: "Imagine browsing the flower market, selecting fresh produce at the wholesale market, or discovering treasures at Paddy's Markets. Sydney Markets is a treasure trove filled with generations of fascinating people and stories waiting to be shared with all of Australia."Neon Black boasts a diverse portfolio spanning food, entertainment, technology, education, beauty and lifestyle, and more. They represent established brands like BritBox, Sukin, Rakuten Kobo, Gozney, and MindChamps.

Roger Bolton announces retirement from Page leadership

After over twelve years at the helm, Roger Bolton will be stepping down as president of Page (formerly the Arthur W. Page Society) at the end of 2024.The Arthur W. Page Society is a professional network for communication leaders, particularly those in C-Suite roles. Its mission is to enhance members' influence within their organizations and advocate for effective communication benefiting all stakeholders. Established in 1983, the society is named after Arthur W. Page, who served as vice president of public relations for American Telephone and Telegraph Company from 1927 to 1946. Page was the first public relations executive to become an officer and board member of a major public corporation, pioneering the strategic role of the Chief Communication Officer (CCO).“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as president of this outstanding professional community and I leave with deep gratitude to all of our members for their support and collaboration in taking Page to new heights. It’s time for new leadership at Page and time for me to move on to other professional pursuits,” Bolton said in a statement. Bolton’s tenure coincided with Page’s significant growth in membership, diversity, and international reach. He is credited with furthering Page’s mission of empowering communication leaders and enhancing their influence within C-Suites. “We are grateful for Roger’s extraordinary service to Page and our profession. Roger has led Page through more than a decade of growth and influence by strengthening our remarkable community and the impact of communication leaders on business and society,” said the newly appointed Hill & Knowlton global CEO Kelli Parsons, who is also the Page chair. Prior to becoming CEO in 2011, Bolton chaired Page (2006-2007) and held senior communication and public affairs positions at Aetna, IBM, the US Treasury Department, the White House, and other government institutions.The search for Bolton’s successor will commence shortly. Details will be announced following the June 20th Page Board of Trustees meeting. Bolton will share information about his future plans at a later date.

Corporate Communications salaries up 5.5% in the UK

Average salary increases of 5.5% have been observed in corporate communications in the UK, reflecting a sustained period of high wage growth in response to a tight labour market and high inflation?, according to the 2024 Salary Guide, released by The Works Search, an executive search consultancy specializing in corporate communications. Despite the economic turbulence of recent years, the UK economy has shown notable resilience. As of the first quarter of 2024, the economy experienced a 0.6% growth rate, the fastest in two years, driven by declining inflation, rising real earnings, and falling mortgage rates. This economic recovery is poised to stimulate hiring and salary growth in the PR and corporate communications sectors.Sarah Leembruggen, (pictured), MD of The Works Search, comments: "While some uncertainties remain regarding recruitment trends, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic. Businesses are recognizing the importance of experienced search specialists to navigate these challenges effectively and secure top talent."Key Findings for PR and Corporate Communications Professionals: Robust Salary Increases: The report indicates an average salary increase of 5.5% across the PR and corporate communications sectors. This growth is attributed to a tight labor market and the necessity for companies to adjust wages in response to high inflation and increased living costs??.Increased Hiring Activity: Following a cautious start to 2023, the latter part of the year saw an uptick in hiring activity, with more roles becoming available and a higher number of candidates actively seeking new opportunities??.Attractive In-House Roles: In-house roles continue to attract more PR and corporate communications professionals compared to agency roles, indicating a shift in job preferences within the industry??.Valuing Comprehensive Benefits: Beyond competitive salaries, companies are now emphasizing comprehensive benefits packages. These include flexible work arrangements, clear career advancement paths, inclusive workplace cultures, and opportunities for professional development, which are crucial for attracting and retaining top talent??.Insights for Employers and Job Seekers:For employers, the Salary Guide serves as an essential tool to benchmark salaries, understand the competitive landscape, and make informed decisions about team remuneration. For PR and corporate communications professionals, the guide provides critical insights into whether they are being compensated at market rates and what benefits are most valued in the industry.

The New Frontier: Quantum Computing's Role in Future Marketing Strategies

Authored by Shiva Bhavani- Founder and CEO of Wing CommunicationsThe field of quantum computing is rapidly evolving, ushering in a new era of computational power and capabilities that were once unimaginable. As this revolutionary technology continues to advance, its potential applications in various industries, including marketing, are becoming increasingly apparent. Quantum computing promises to transform the way businesses approach data analysis, pattern recognition, and optimisation, thereby reshaping the marketing landscape as we know it.The Current Landscape: Quantum Computing in MarketingWhile quantum computing is still in its infancy, several companies and research institutions are already exploring its potential applications in the marketing realm. IBM, for instance, has developed a quantum computing platform called IBM Q, which allows businesses and researchers to experiment with quantum algorithms and explore use cases across various industries, including marketing.Quantum-Powered Market Segmentation and Customer ProfilingOne of the most promising applications of quantum computing in marketing lies in its ability to segment markets and create highly detailed customer profiles with unprecedented accuracy. With quantum computing, marketers can leverage the technology's ability to process vast amounts of data from multiple sources, including customer demographics, purchase histories, online behaviour, and social media interactions.Quantum-Driven Advertising Optimisation and Campaign ForecastingAdvertising is a critical component of any successful marketing strategy, and quantum computing has the potential to transform the way businesses optimise their advertising efforts. Through quantum algorithms, marketers can analyse vast datasets encompassing consumer behaviour, market trends, and campaign performance metrics to identify the most effective advertising channels, messaging, and targeting strategies.Quantum-Powered Recommendation Systems and Personalisation Recommendation systems have become a cornerstone of modern marketing strategies, enabling businesses to suggest products and services tailored to individual customer preferences. Quantum computing offers a solution to this challenge by using its ability to process vast amounts of data and identify intricate patterns and correlations.In 2023, Amazon announced a collaboration with IonQ, a leading quantum computing company, to explore the potential of quantum algorithms in enhancing their recommendation systems. The partnership aims to utilise quantum computing's ability to process vast amounts of customer data and identify subtle patterns that could lead to more relevant and personalised product recommendations.Quantum-Enabled Market Research and Consumer InsightsMarket research and consumer insights are the foundation of any successful marketing strategy, providing businesses with valuable information about consumer preferences, market trends, and competitive landscapes. Quantum computing offers a solution to this challenge by using its ability to process vast amounts of data from diverse sources, including consumer surveys, social media data, and market research reports.ConclusionQuantum computing is a technology that has the potential to transform the way we approach advertising and branding. The technology has the ability to enhance personalisation, optimise customer journeys, and detect fraud, making it a powerful tool for marketers. As the technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative applications of quantum computing in marketing. The future of quantum computing in marketing is highly promising, and it is an area that marketers should be paying close attention to.

Ellerton & Co. appoints Prayaank Gupta as Executive Director

Ellerton & Co., a Southeast Asia-focused PR and marketing agency, has named Prayaank Gupta as its new Executive Director. Gupta will spearhead the agency's overall growth strategy, leveraging his extensive experience in the region.In his new role, Gupta brings over 12 years of expertise from fast-growing PR agencies across Southeast Asia. His focus is twofold: driving revenue and headcount growth.This means hiring talented individuals to support new business, enhance client satisfaction, and fuel market expansion, Gupta explained. He added that the agency is already experiencing a surge in new clients across branding, social media, and PR services.Gupta plans to improve profitability by implementing best practices and fostering a work environment that attracts and retains top talent. "We want to create a space where employees can contribute meaningfully, enjoy a positive culture, and maintain a healthy work-life balance," he said.Prior to joining Ellerton & Co., Gupta served as Vice President, Growth and Innovation at PRecious Communications. He steadily climbed the ranks, starting as Head of Growth and Innovation in 2016. Previously, he held positions at Litmus PR (Manager, Senior Consultant Lead) and worked with agencies like Ruder Finn and Blue Communications."We're thrilled to welcome Prayaank during this exciting chapter," said Oliver Ellerton, Director at Ellerton & Co., to whom Gupta will report. "With offices in Singapore and Vietnam, we plan to expand further into Southeast Asia to meet client needs. Prayaank's expertise is crucial to this strategy, and we look forward to sharing our success stories in the coming months."Ellerton & Co. caters to a diverse range of clients in consumer goods, hospitality, corporate and sustainability, technology, startups, and financial services. Beyond traditional PR, they offer social media management, branding and design, and investor relations services."We're excited to collaborate with Prayaank to drive growth across Southeast Asia, venturing beyond Singapore and Vietnam," said Michael de Waal-Montgomery, Director at Ellerton & Co. "With Prayaank's support, we aim to expand our teams in the Philippines and Indonesia, while solidifying our presence in Vietnam during the latter half of 2024.""I'm honoured to join Ellerton & Co.'s talented team," said Gupta. "They've built a strong foundation of client trust, and I'm eager to help the agency evolve from a boutique firm to a mid-sized and eventually, a major regional player. My experience in growing agencies within the APAC region positions me well to support this transition."

Edelman report reveals increasing political influence on brand loyalty

Political considerations are becoming a more significant factor in consumer-brand relationships, with an increasing number of buyers making decisions based on political alignment and assuming that companies are similarly politically motivated. This trend is highlighted in the latest Edelman Brand Trust Report.An extensive online survey involving 15,000 people across 15 countries—including Canada, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and South Korea—revealed that 78% of respondents believe brands are taking political actions. This perception influences their purchasing decisions, extending even to neutral activities like selecting influencers, choosing social media platforms, and encouraging voter participation.The report also emphasizes the growing expectation for brands to take a stand on social issues. Seventy-one percent of respondents expect brands to take sides, and 51% interpret brand silence as an implicit admission of guilt or inaction. Furthermore, 71% believe brands need to address social issues to meet consumer expectations.However, brands face significant risks in this politicized environment. Sixty percent of respondents (a two-point increase from the previous year) claim they support or avoid brands based on political views. During the survey period from April 13-24, one in three participants was boycotting brands due to their stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict.Additionally, nearly 80% of respondents said they avoid brands headquartered in specific countries. Three-quarters of respondents in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and India reported a shift towards buying more domestic brands compared to the previous year.In the United States, the market presents unique challenges. A majority on both sides (51% of Republicans and 58% of Democrats) agree that brands can drive positive change, but their priorities differ. Republicans focus on job creation, fair pay, and retraining, while Democrats prioritize climate change, diversity, and ending racism. Two-thirds of Democrats are more likely to support brands committed to ending racism.Globally, 84% of consumers say they need to share values with a brand to support it. Consumers also expect brands to take more action on societal issues, including climate change (five to one), fair pay (four to one), and diversity (two to one).The findings suggest that companies need to go beyond advertising to convey their positive societal impact, with respondents citing the news media as their primary source of information on a brand’s societal contributions.Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, in an essay, highlighted that political orientation is now as crucial as traditional demographics like age, gender, and income in shaping consumer perceptions of brands. He noted that the anti-woke movement is pressuring brands to avoid advocacy, and conflicts like Israel-Palestine and Ukraine-Russia are driving nationalism and a shift towards local brands. Edelman advised against avoiding politics, suggesting instead that brands should navigate these complexities to their advantage.With numerous elections and a significant portion of the global population voting, it’s vital for brands to align their marketing strategies with their core values and maintain cultural sensitivity. He cited examples like McDonald's challenges in the Middle East, Modelo's campaign celebrating Hispanic work ethic in the U.S., Dove's initiative to keep young females in sports, and Ikea's recycling campaign. Ultimately, Edelman stressed the importance of brands standing firm in their values, as they play a critical role in providing hope and inspiration in a divided society.(Image by Megan Rexazin Conde from Pixabay)

Clarion wins Danone B2B account without pitch

Clarion, a WPP agency, has been awarded the B2B brief for Danone without a competitive pitch. The agency will work across Danone's portfolio of dairy and plant-based products, waters and nutrition, including brands like Evian, Volvic, Activia, Actimel, Alpro and Cow & Gate.Clarion's success is attributed to its prior B2B PR and marketing experience with brands like Diageo, Unilever, Jacobs Douwe Egberts and Soreen.The agency's objective is to strengthen Danone's presence in trade media, elevate brand awareness, and engage with retailers and decision-makers across grocery, impulse and foodservice sectors. They will achieve this through thought leadership initiatives, brand support, and retailer engagement campaigns.Danone UK & Ireland will maintain its relationship with Ketchum, responsible for consumer and corporate communications for its dairy, plant-based and baby-feeding brands. Additionally, Freuds holds a global retainer for the Evian and Volvic brands.Louise Robinson, Customer Category Director for Danone UK & Ireland, expressed her satisfaction with Clarion's proven track record, industry expertise, and trade communication skills. She emphasized their positive initial interaction and is excited about the collaboration.Rebecca Wainwright, Clarion's managing partner and head of the B2B division, (pictured), considers Danone a dream client. She acknowledges the company's strong mission and Clarion's role in enhancing their trade communication to drive engagement.

WPP merges BCW and Hill+Knowlton to create Burson

Today marks the official launch of Burson, a newly formed global communications agency resulting from the merger of BCW and Hill & Knowlton. This new entity is poised to become one of the industry’s largest players, introducing a modern approach to reputation management in today’s dynamic environment. The merger will be finalized on July 1.Over the past five months, Burson has made multiple global leadership appointments and undergone strategic layoffs to streamline operations. The agency has also unveiled new products, programs, and a brand identity designed to communicate its innovative approach to building and protecting reputations.“Businesses and organizations are operating in a constant state of complexity and uncertainty, marked by rapid advancements in technology, economic volatility, wide-ranging activism, and social and geopolitical turbulence. A strong reputation grounded in action, communicated clearly and creatively, and deployed as capital across stakeholders will enable clients to succeed in this environment. Reputation is a company’s most valuable asset for enhancing perception and growing performance, preference, valuation and return,” said global CEO Corey duBrowa, formerly BCW’s global CEO.  Burson introduces a new framework and consulting methodology to assess and manage client work around four key pillars: company actions, communications, social narratives, and stakeholder beliefs. This work is supported by The Burson Innovation Portfolio, a suite of products leveraging AI technology to address clients' challenges.“In today’s complex operating environment, business leaders are converting pervasive risks into opportunities for innovation and value creation. The Burson Innovation Portfolio, which draws on the technology strengths of our combined agencies and WPP, reflects our promise to combine artificial and human intelligence in ways that help our clients succeed at the intersection of risk, creativity and reinvention. Leading companies are already leveraging these solutions to build and protect reputation in highly material situations. We are committed to both our clients and our employees that Burson will be an engine for their growth and for the enablement of the transformations that the world needs now,” said global chairman AnnaMaria DeSalva.  The Burson Group also includes several specialist agencies: tech agency Axicom, financial communications agency Burson Buchanan, healthcare agency GCI Health, and Hill & Knowlton, which will continue operating under its brand.Burson is committed to professional development and will offer employees comprehensive training through The Burson Academy. This programme includes:Leadership: For career navigation, management, and leadership growth.  Client Excellence: For building strong consultative client relationships.  Craft of Reputation Management: With a focus on writing, media relations, issues management, and creative strategies.  AI/Innovation: For development in data & analytics, AI, the Burson Innovation Portfolio, and new methodologies.“Businesses and organisations are operating in a constant state of complexity and uncertainty, marked by rapid advancements in technology, economic volatility, wide-ranging activism, and social and geopolitical turbulence. A strong reputation grounded in action, communicated clearly and creatively, and deployed as capital across stakeholders will enable clients to succeed in this environment. Reputation is a company’s most valuable asset for enhancing perception and growing performance, preference, valuation and return,” said global CEO Corey duBrowa, formerly BCW’s global CEO.  The agency’s new website,, features executive profiles crafted by Wynn Burson, grandson of agency namesake Harold Burson, who served as art director for the project.

The Green Wave: How eco-friendly tech is influencing marketing campaigns

Authored by Shiva Bhavani- Founder and CEO of Wing CommunicationsIn today's world, where environmental concerns have taken centre stage, businesses are under immense pressure to adopt sustainable practices. Consumers are increasingly conscious of their carbon footprint, and they expect the brands they support to align with their eco-friendly values. As a result, companies are turning to eco-friendly technologies to not only reduce their environmental impact but also to enhance their marketing campaigns. The Green Wave, as it's often called, is sweeping across industries, transforming the way businesses communicate with their audiences and positioning themselves as environmentally responsible entities.The Adoption of Eco-Friendly Tech in Marketing CampaignsUtilising Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): AR and VR technologies have emerged as powerful tools for eco-friendly marketing campaigns. By creating immersive virtual experiences, brands can showcase their products, services, or initiatives without the need for physical collateral or excessive resource consumption.Embracing Digital Advertising and Social Media Platforms: The rise of digital advertising and social media platforms has provided brands with a canvas for eco-friendly marketing campaigns. By leveraging these channels, businesses can reach their target audiences without relying on traditional print or outdoor advertising methods, which often contribute to environmental pollution.Implementing Blockchain Technology for Transparency: Blockchain technology has emerged as a powerful tool for ensuring transparency and traceability in supply chains. By leveraging blockchain, brands can provide consumers with detailed information about the sourcing, production, and distribution processes of their products.Utilising AI and Data Analytics for Optimisation: AI and data analytics are playing a pivotal role in optimising eco-friendly marketing campaigns. By analysing consumer data and market trends, brands can make informed decisions about their marketing strategies, targeting the right audiences with the right messages.The Current Landscape and Futuristic TrendsThe embrace of eco-friendly tech in marketing campaigns is not a fleeting phenomenon; it is a seismic shift that is reshaping the industry. According to a recent report by the Sustainable Marketing Initiative, 72% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that prioritise environmental responsibility. This statistic underscores the urgency for businesses to integrate sustainable practices into their marketing strategies.Adidas' Parley Collection: In collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, a leading environmental organisation, Adidas has created a line of sustainable products made from recycled ocean plastic. The Parley Collection includes shoes, clothing, and accessories, and for every product sold, a portion of the proceeds is donated to support Parley's efforts in addressing ocean plastic pollution.ConclusionThe Green Wave is not a temporary swell; it's a tidal shift that is reshaping the marketing landscape. As eco-friendly technologies continue to evolve and consumer demand for sustainable practices intensifies, businesses that fail to adapt risk being left behind. The integration of eco-friendly tech into marketing campaigns is no longer a choice; it's a necessity for brands seeking to remain relevant, build trust with consumers, and contribute to a more sustainable future.As we navigate the complexities of our rapidly changing world, the Green Wave serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path towards a future where sustainability and effective marketing coexist in harmony. Businesses that prioritise eco-friendly tech in their marketing campaigns will not only appeal to conscientious consumers but also contribute to the preservation of our planet for generations to come.

Grey promotes Sarah Trombetta to APAC CEO

Advertising agency Grey has announced the promotion of Sarah Trombetta to APAC CEO, effective immediately. Trombetta will now oversee Grey’s operations across the Asia-Pacific region, reporting directly to Laura Maness, Global CEO of Grey.Sarah Trombetta’s career with Grey began in 2016 when she served as CEO of Grey Hong Kong until 2019. Since 2021, she has been the AMEA Chief Client Officer for P&G, representing both Grey and WPP. Trombetta brings over 20 years of industry experience, including her tenure as CEO of Red Havas AU from 2019 to 2021, and positions at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, KAIZO, and Brand Influence GCI Media Group."APAC is a hyper-evolving marketplace and a priority region for our ongoing reinvention plans," said Laura Maness. "Under Trombetta’s guidance, her client-focused leadership, ingenuity, and modern approach will support our teams in delivering even greater value for our clients. A vibrant and dynamic leader, I am very proud to appoint Sarah to this key role."In conjunction with Trombetta’s promotion, Grey has also appointed Masahiko Okazaki as CEO of Grey Tokyo, effective immediately. Okazaki, who was previously Grey's Chief Operating Officer, joined the agency in January 2022 from TBWA/Hakuhodo.

Egami appoints Laura Sutphen as president

Multicultural agency Egami has appointed Laura Sutphen from Golin as its new president.Sutphen will oversee Egami’s daily operations, enhance its capabilities, and collaborate directly with clients. She will report to Teneshia Jackson Warner, the founder and CEO of Egami.Egami has been without a president since Cheryl Overton's departure in February 2020.Sutphen brings a wealth of experience from her previous role at Golin, where she served as managing director of social impact and inclusion and global head of social purpose. Her career also includes senior leadership positions at Ketchum, Fenton Communications, and Amazon, where she was the director of communications.Among her notable achievements are leading an environmental racism study titled "Justice for All," launching Amazon's Black Business Accelerator program, and developing the strategy for Aveeno's SkinVisibility campaign to address Black skin health disparities."As we look to the future, it's essential that we help our clients navigate the evolving, complex realities of multicultural, multiethnic, inclusive, and diverse audiences, which now represent mainstream culture," said Jackson Warner. "In Laura, our team found a partner committed to purpose and growth. Throughout her career, Laura has been a pioneer in disrupting biases and has a strong record of allyship and working with communities of color."

Jack Taylor expands to the Middle East

Jack Taylor, an independent, US-founded public relations and communications agency, is proud to announce its expansion into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, marking a significant milestone in the agency's international expansion strategy.Founded in 2010, Jack Taylor has evolved into a global leader with some of the most cutting-edge clients in wellness, health, and fitness. Partnering with brands that solve human problems and empower consumers to live their best lives, the agency’s portfolio includes notable brands like WHOOP, AG1, Athletic Brewing, Eight Sleep  Hyperice, HYROX, and Plunge. With the GCC health tracker market projected to grow by 5.22% from 2024 to 2028, reaching a market volume of US$705.10 million in 2028,[1]Jack Taylor’s  expansion into the GCC underscores both the continued growth of the wellness sector and the agency’s dedication to amplifying brand stories through local and global perspectives.Leading the new GCC office will be Aaron Illathu, the company’s newly appointed Managing Director. Aaron brings a wealth of experience, as an ex-Google professional from California and is now making significant contributions in the GCC, having grown major brands such as Uber and Careem. He will continue to build the WHOOP presence as Jack Taylor’s inaugural partner in the region, highlighting their commitment to advancing health and wellness through cutting-edge technology.Jon Bier, Founder and CEO, said, “Expanding into the GCC region is a natural progression for Jack Taylor following our recent success establishing a presence and serving clients in Australia. We believe the Middle East is becoming a global powerhouse for all things health, wellness, and fitness, aligning with both our passion and areas of expertise. With a relatively young population and a growing middle class that is tech-savvy and health-conscious, we look forward to resonating with existing and target consumer demographics, while augmenting Jack Taylor’s footprint and building a reputation for unrivaled client service and success internationally.”Aaron added: “I am thrilled to bring Jack Taylor’s unique approach of innovative storytelling to the region. Leadership across the GCC is promoting technology and wellness as part of their national agendas such as Dubai’s National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031[2] and Saudi Vision 2030[3]. The region is investing in infrastructure and education to support these sectors, and implementing policies to attract foreign investment and talent. With these initiatives bringing in the top players to the region, they will require unique expertise for these sectors and this is what Jack Taylor brings to the table. It is an exciting new chapter for the agency and I’m grateful to be a part of the journey.”Jack Taylor has been at the forefront of the wellness conversation, partnering with some of the most innovative and iconic brands over the past 15 years. The agency collaborates with pioneers across diverse industries, including agriculture, apparel, fintech, health tech, human performance and longevity, lifestyle and nutrition, space exploration, sports and fitness, and sustainability. Jack Taylor provides comprehensive support across PR, communications, and marketing, including earned editorial, thought leadership, awards, events, affiliate strategy, brand partnerships, and measurement and analytics.Headquartered in Brooklyn, New York, Jack Taylor serves partners in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and now the GCC, working with pioneering clients looking to carve out a space in cultural discussions and empowering people to live their best lives.

Rising Importance of Digital PR: Online Presence of a Brand

Authored by Anindita Gupta, Scenic CommunicationPublic Relations plays an important role in positioning your brand as a leader in the industry. In today’s digital world, it has become easy for businesses to connect with people which also help them to promote and grow their brands as one of the industry leaders in a particular sector and reach their target audience easily. In the past, traditional PR strategies such as press releases, thought leadership content have been used which have now been transformed into digital methods. Businesses can manage their online presence and can reach their potential consumers by using various digital PR techniques including content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, partnerships with influencers etc. which can help them to upgrade their brand’s engagement. Organizations can create impact and differentiate their brands from competitors by using advanced online public relations strategies proficiently. Benefits of Using Digital PR Matrix Businesses can work strategically in their overall marketing strategy to improve their reputation in the digital sphere. This increased visibility eventually helps businesses to maintain a positive image in the industry. It also improves brand perception and enhances credibility among the customers which lead them to achieve their communication goals. Amplifying Brand Visibility Through Effective Content WritingBusinesses need to create such content that can resonate with their target audience. Effective writing is essential for crafting clear, concise messages whether through marketing materials, press releases, thought leadership content or social media content to educate, attract, and engage with the target audience. Businesses can improve their online presence and improve their SEO algorithms by consistently making and uploading appropriate and relevant articles, blogs, and videos. Importance of Social Media: Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp are the right channels to reach your target audience. Businesses can interact and establish a genuine relationship with their audience by using various social media platforms. Social media is a huge place that can help you to increase your brand awareness and reach a broader audience rapidly. Enhancing Brand’s Visibility Through Search Engine Optimization (SEO)SEO helps websites to be on top in search results which helps businesses more likely to be discovered by potential customers easily. They use relevant words to improve search rankings and create backlinks to increase visibility. Businesses need to strategically put SEO and PR together to promote their brand more proficiently for getting better results.Maximising visibility by Partnering with InfluencersUsing social media influencers can help businesses to increase SEO. Partnering with influencers who have the same brand values and who create appropriate and genuine collaborations are essential for a brand to enhance their brand’s reputations and build trust among consumers. ConclusionIn conclusion, businesses can reach the right audiences and the target market using digital PR effectively. It is important for businesses to share the right messages to the right people at the right time as the process can help them to establish genuine relationships with the target audience and helps them to improve the quality and quantity of leads generation for the business. So, businesses should incorporate digital PR matrix into their marketing strategies to improve the brand's online presence in the market.The views expressed are solely of the author and does not necessarily subscribe to it.

SJ Group names Marco Sparmberg to lead marketing, comm efforts

Surbana Jurong Group (SJ Group) has named Marco Sparmberg as Senior Director, Global Marketing and Communications. Karen Yew will oversee corporate affairs. Both will report directly to Group CEO Sean Chiao.This aligns with SJ Group's ongoing efforts in brand rejuvenation and digital transformation, enhancing its global operations.In this new role, Marco Sparmberg will be responsible for developing and executing strategies to elevate SJ’s brand presence worldwide, enhance its reputation as a problem-solving leader, and highlight the achievements of its people and projects.Sparmberg’s responsibilities include content creation, innovative campaign execution across various branding platforms, media outreach, and social media engagement. He will also support change management, campus placemaking, and employer branding initiatives. Additionally, he will guide the marketing and communications team leads within SJ’s business lines to ensure a consistent brand narrative.Before joining SJ Group, Sparmberg was instrumental in developing the integrated content and social media strategy at DBS Bank. There, he created an in-house brand publisher model that produced content series showcasing the bank’s community, sustainability, culture, and heritage initiatives, including their ventures into the metaverse.Prior to his tenure at DBS, Sparmberg led the digital business transformation at Mediacorp, focusing on audience development and social media strategy as a founding member of its digital group.With a career spanning Singapore, Germany, the UK, and Hong Kong, Sparmberg has utilized his transmedia storytelling skills to transform brand communications.“Sparmberg's wealth of experience, fresh perspectives, and rare blend of expertise in digital transformation and brand rejuvenation uniquely position us to navigate the future of our brand with confidence and agility,” said Sean Chiao, group CEO, SJ Group.“"I’m excited about the opportunity to build SJ Group’s brand globally and creating genuine connections with our clients and communities. From building a million homes in Singapore and engineering the world’s longest tunnel 10,000 feet above sea level in India, to providing the environmental design for Google King’s Cross and the rain vortex at Jewel Changi, SJ Group is involved in some of the world’s most iconic projects," said Sparmberg.

Indo Nissin Foods promotes Varun Oberoi as VP & Head of Marketing and Corp Comm

Varun Oberoi has been promoted to Vice President and Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications at Indo Nissin Foods, according to a recent update on LinkedIn. He previously held the position of Associate Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications and, before that, served as the AVP of Partner Brands at Indo Nissin Foods.With 19 years of experience in sales, marketing, and business development, Oberoi has a strong background in the FMCG sector. He has contributed to both established companies and startups, focusing on building businesses and revenue streams.Oberoi is an alumnus of MICA, Ahmedabad, and has also worked with The Walt Disney Company, Narang Danone Access, Wrigley, and CavinKare.

Tute Consult joins Palomar for stronger global connections

Tute Consult, leading independent communications and PR agency from India, proudly introduces PALOMAR, an innovative network of independent agencies united by shared values and a bold vision. PALOMAR serves as the definitive solution, with one platform, one network and as a sole contact point, acting as the ultimate reference for clients both globally and locally. It seamlessly orchestrates every aspect of a clients' requirements, from initial strategy development to meticulous management and execution. The PALOMAR network aims at providing an all-encompassing offering for brands seeking to foster campaigns with the objective of integrating their global narratives through strategic networking in target markets. Leveraging exceptional local partners to establish meaningful connections within communities worldwide, it grants client’s access to a global network of experts capable of crafting and managing personalized communications activity for specific territories, all whilst maintaining a complete international prospective and effectiveness in global outreach. With an international presence stretching from Milan to London, Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, Dubai, New York, Los Angeles and Mumbai, PALOMAR's member agencies bring unique expertise to the forefront of high-end fashion, beauty, design, lifestyle, and hospitality sectors. The addition of Tute Consult will provide customized solutions to several global brands to build a strong presence in the Indian market which has been showing a promising potential for premium and luxury segments.  PALOMAR blends local insights to develop campaigns that resonate with audiences on both local and global stages.Offering a wide-ranging suite of services ranging from Strategic PR and Communications Consultancy to Press Office & Showroom, Talent & Influencer Marketing and Social PR & KOL. Its approach ensures that each campaign is designed to maximize impact and relevance, regardless of the geographic location. Today, PALOMAR's agency network includes Pilot Room (Milan), Alpha-Kilo (London & New York), the Floor X (London), DM Media International, (Paris & Los Angeles), The Communications Lab (Madrid), In House (Madrid), SO PR (Amsterdam), Stephen PR (Dubai), MV PR (New York & Los Angeles), Tute Consult (Mumbai) as members. As the network continues its expansion journey, the goal is to tap into increasingly significant markets, aligning with brand communication and business development strategies. To succeed in today's ever-changing business of communications, brands must embrace both an international and integrated strategy, linking effective engagement with local communities, each characterized by unique cultural nuances, consumer behaviors and media landscapes. Recognizing the importance of location-specific expertise within a global framework, PALOMAR addresses these needs through its network of specialized agencies, strategically positioned to understand and engage with diverse audiences. Delivering impactful experiences customized for each niche, PALOMAR ensures that narratives resound directly with their intended audience, reflecting its commitment to a unified global vision, personalized, and adapted to the specificities of each market, from strategy development to execution. Komal Lath, founder of Tute Consult shares, “Tute Consult is excited to join hands with PALOMAR and contribute to its vision of impactful global communications. Blended with our experience and expertise, this collaboration will enable us to help international brands navigate cultural nuances and build meaningful connections with Indian consumers, while providing our existing clientele with access to a global network of experts.” “Pilot Room's vision for establishing PALOMAR focuses on engaging partners with a deep understanding of the international landscape and extensive knowledge of specific markets to meet the evolving needs of our clients. Committed to providing integrated and effective communication solutions, Pilot Room, consistently values localized PR expertise with a global mindset. This allows us to craft campaigns on both local and global scales, tailor-made to individual countries to successfully address brand’s demands. Collaborating with partners aligned with target markets with a tailored, boutique approach to clients, we can develop international and integrated PR strategies that truly resonate within communities worldwide.” says Chiara Fornari, Partner at Pilot Room and Founder of PALOMAR. A cohesive and connected ecosystem of communication experts that represents the strength of collective effort and shared purpose within the PR industry, symbolized by its name inspired by a resilient sailor’s knot. Rooted in a culture that values and prioritizes relationships, PALOMAR is driven by a unified vision and strives for excellence across all initiatives, experiences, and interactions.

Liz Weselby appointed MD of Archetype Australia

Liz Weselby, who has served as the deputy MD of Archetype Hong Kong since 2020, has relocated to Australia to take on the role of MD for the tech agency's Australian division.She succeeds Karen Coleman, who left Archetype in February to become the Sydney MD at MullenLowe.In her new position, Weselby will lead Archetype's 30-person Australian team, which has recently secured new projects from Mailchimp and Kyndryl. Since joining Archetype in 2020, she has been an active member of the firm's regional management board."Over the last few years, Liz has significantly impacted our APAC business by driving strategic client consulting programs and enhancing our content marketing offerings," said Archetype's regional director, Lee Nugent. "Her commitment to excellence, extensive experience in creative leadership, and people-first approach will propel Archetype Australia to new heights."The Hong Kong office of Archetype, now with fewer than 10 employees, will be merged into the Greater China operation and overseen by Beijing MD Merry Chen.Before her tenure at Archetype, Weselby worked as a journalist for publications such as Ink, Luxe City Guides, and Post Publishing.

Anthesis appoints Fight or Flight to amplify sustainability message

Global sustainability leader Anthesis has chosen Fight or Flight, a London-based communications agency, as its first corporate communications partner. The aim is to significantly raise awareness of Anthesis' work in the US and UK across business, technology, and broadcast media.Since its founding in 2013, Anthesis has grown into a force of 1,400 specialists across 23 countries. The company empowers businesses to navigate critical social issues like climate change, environmental protection, human rights, and diversity & inclusion. Their impressive client list includes names like Nestlé, Tesco, Target, and Microsoft.This partnership comes on the heels of a brand refresh marking Anthesis' 10th anniversary and a series of strategic acquisitions this year, including sustainability consultancy Given, reporting specialist BuzzWord, and global purpose strategy firm Revolt. Additionally, investment firm Carlyle acquired a majority stake in Anthesis last July.At Fight or Flight, senior director Tali Kramer, will lead the Anthesis account. Kramer joined the agency in late 2023 from Instinctif Partners to spearhead their corporate reputation services. She will be supported by sustainability lead Rachael Bolton."Following tremendous organic growth and key acquisitions," said Anthesis group CMO Kirsten Doddy, "Anthesis offers a comprehensive suite of services to drive transformation, restoration, and responsible business practices across an organization's value chain. This is the perfect time to supercharge our PR efforts."Doddy continued: "Fight or Flight impressed us with their media connections, storytelling expertise, and understanding of sustainability issues. Their proactive approach aligns with our own, and we're thrilled to partner with them at this crucial juncture for Anthesis."Kramer echoed Doddy's enthusiasm, stating, "We are eager to collaborate with Kirsten and the Anthesis team to share their incredible story and how they guide clients through complex sustainability challenges. The impact they have in driving leading companies towards sustainable practices is truly inspiring."Fight or Flight, founded in 2020 by former Weber Shandwick tech leaders, has experienced rapid growth. The 50-person agency, with offices in London and New York, saw its revenue increase by over 30% last year, exceeding £4.5 million in 2023. Their client portfolio includes AMEX GBT, LinkedIn, Expedia, Nokia, Sky, and Trainline.

APCO expands European operations with new Kyiv office

Public affairs and communications specialist APCO announced the expansion of its European operations with a new office in Kyiv, Ukraine. The office will be led by Sonya Soutus, (pictured), a global expert in corporate and government relations with deep experience in Ukraine.Soutus brings over 30 years of experience in communications, public affairs, and brand management for multinational corporations. She has held leadership positions both in-house and at agencies, managing diverse areas like M&A communications and corporate social responsibility.Soutus' background in Ukraine is extensive. She previously served as a director at Burson-Marsteller in Kyiv, where she played a key role in public education programs and establishing the agency's presence in the country. Her experience also includes serving as the first press officer for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and working as a director at Teneo.APCO's Kyiv team will focus on guiding international investors and businesses in key sectors like energy, technology, and agriculture. They will also offer expertise in government engagement, strategic communications, and navigating the evolving regulatory landscape as Ukraine progresses towards EU membership."Despite ongoing challenges, Ukraine's economic resilience and growth potential are undeniable. Our clients are seeking deeper insights and local expertise to navigate Ukraine's opportunities. We're also seeing Ukrainian companies seeking to connect with European markets and attract foreign investment. APCO's experience in Ukraine positions us perfectly to address these needs," said APCO CEO Brad Staples. Soutus echoed this sentiment, highlighting the team's commitment to client success: “We are excited about the opportunities that our new presence in Kyiv will bring. Our mission is to enable businesses to succeed in Ukraine by providing them with the insights and strategies they need to thrive in this dynamic market. APCO has an integrated offer of strategic services and a truly global presence which we know will provide significant added value to our clients.”

The AI edge in PR: Polly Williams shares TishTash's strategy

In this interview, Polly Williams, Managing Director at TishTash Communications, shares her expert insights on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in public relations. Williams discusses how AI enhances communication strategies and engagement, the ethical considerations, and the specific AI tools that have revolutionized their approach at TishTash. From social sentiment analysis to influencer management, she delves into the practical applications and future potential of AI in the PR industry.      How does your PR agency leverage artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance communication strategies and engagement with target audiences?In all honesty, there is still a lot of nervousness around AI in the public relations space. And rightly so, especially when talking about ethics, privacy laws, and security. In truth, we have been using AI at TishTash for quite some time but in ways that may be taken for granted in this ever-evolving space. For example, utilising a legacy product like Grammarly, as one of the only AI tools we insist our team use. This is the perfect example of where there is proof of AI based efficiency and accuracy that you cannot yet guarantee with others. It ensures our teams are crafting content that meets standards and acts as a great barometer for quality of work, writing style etc. There are also a slew of new AI social sentiment listening tools now available which provide valuable insight into how our own and competitor brands are being talked about across social media. This allows us to monitor and measure sentiment and provide in depth recommendations around who and what our target audience want to engage with, how they engage and what makes them tick and will hence generate the greatest ROI for our clients. In turn we are able to build strategies that resonate with our target audience and keep our clients on or ahead of the trends, which is essential when building a consumer-focused brand.  Can you provide examples of specific AI tools or technologies that your agency utilises to analyse and interpret data, enabling more informed decision-making in the realm of public relations?Like many agencies, we are cautiously approaching the use of newer AI tools, and we have banned chat GPT for now (but that’s another story). Where we do find AI technologies useful is within our influencer management teams. For example, platforms such as Hypeauditor harness the power of AI and machine-learning algorithms to gather and interpret data across influencer profiles to help identify the best profiles for campaigns across markets. Being able to numerically validate an influencer based on their audience size, geography and previous campaign metrics as well as being able to analyse previous campaign ROI allows for a more finely tuned influencer program. This is extremely valuable given the rise of paid influencer collaborations and the interpretive influencer collaboration rules in the region. Predictive analytics uses data, statistical algorithms, and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes. This is based on historical data. This technology is particularly useful in PR and marketing, where it can forecast customer behaviour and preferences. This means businesses can make informed decisions about their strategies. PR is the perfect industry to invest in predictive analytics. By identifying social trends, consumer attitudes and global circumstances – prior to launching a PR campaign – this could multiply its impact significantly. In what ways does your PR agency incorporate AI-driven insights to tailor messaging and content for diverse audiences, considering the cultural nuances and preferences in the United Arab Emirates?Again, I believe the greatest AI tools are those that allow us to gain insights from real consumers. On an organisational level, we are educating our teams on the true value usage of AI - for administrative efficiency. Social listening and sentiment tools are so advanced now that the level of data and insight you are able to receive is amazing. Being able to understand how a consumer feels about a brand is such an incredible advantage. We have many global clients, who when they first launched in the Middle East had little understanding of how different their target audience was in comparison to their British or American counterparts, in relation to cultural nuances etc. Social listening is a brilliant showcase for identifying and sharing sentiment and allows us as the experts to interpret and craft compelling campaigns that will reach the right audience, with the right message to deliver our objectives. How do you address concerns related to the ethical use of AI in public relations, ensuring transparency and accountability in the deployment of AI technologies for your clients?As mentioned previously, we have banned Chat GPT from TishTash. No press information or content will be written using any tool that auto generates it (yet). Tools that allow you to input, analyse and interpret data will be shared with our clients, so we remain completely transparent. It is also essential at this time that such tools are not used in isolation without human input. I think at present, such tools are best for data gathering and analysis, to streamline workflows and save time, but for TishTash all strategy and planning is done by the humans in the office! What are the primary challenges and ethical concerns regarding the incorporation of AI tools in PR, including aspects such as factual errors, misinformation, data privacy, information security, and potential legal ramifications? How can these concerns be addressed?When Chat GPT launched, like everyone else, we of course tested it out. Essentially it is not nearly as accurate or up to date as it needs to be to ensure effectiveness, and there is no way, without elaborate prompts, that it can understand or utilise true brand tone of voice or replicate that of the writer. The reality is, too many people are using such tools in the belief that it will speed up their to-do list, and make their lives easier. Most importantly, any data or information you input via such platforms become public, and this particular point is one that many overlook, especially junior team members who may not be aware of the ramifications of using such tools. Therefore until proper laws and global best practices are put in place, agencies need to put very clear transparent policies in place that continue to treat client information as completely private and secure.

Peter Bellini to lead Pure Consulting's new International Communications unit

Pure Consulting, a prominent Saudi consulting firm, has announced the appointment of Peter Bellini, a seasoned professional with experience at Edelman and WPP, to lead its new International Communications unit. This strategic unit, launched in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, was unveiled on Monday, 3rd June 2024, at the Saudi Management Consultants Association (SAMCA) Forum.Peter Bellini brings nearly fifteen years of experience from a twenty-year career at top global agencies, where he has excelled in creating integrated, insight-driven communication strategies. His roles have spanned senior positions at WPP in the Middle East with Hill & Knowlton and Ogilvy, as well as a decade at Edelman across the UK, India, Indonesia, and the UAE, which prompted his move to the Middle East in 2018. Bellini began his career in communications with the UK Conservative Party.Speaking about his new role at Pure Consulting, Bellini remarked, “The opportunity to build and grow the best international communications offer to deliver the narrative of Saudi Arabia’s transformation to the world is a hugely exciting challenge. By combining a deep understanding of the local context and vision, exceptional local and international insight, and the best communicators globally, we will help Saudi engage the world in its transformation in the most relevant and effective way.”Anas Al Safi, Managing Partner at Pure Consulting, shared, “After announcing this new unit at the SAMCA Forum, the response from potential clients has been phenomenal. Our clients have expressed a strong desire to work with partners who deeply understand the Saudi context and vision. This demand has highlighted the need for a homegrown offer that can contribute to the nation's progress. We are thrilled to have Peter on our team, with his passion for the Kingdom’s vision and his comprehensive understanding of its international communication needs.”The newly formed Pure International Communications unit will provide international communication strategies for Saudi clients aiming to reach critical global audiences, from investors to tourists.Pure Consulting, established in 2014, employs 100 professionals in its Riyadh and Jeddah offices. The firm leverages extensive local and global expertise in strategy, marketing, and communications to empower its team, partners, and community to realize Saudi Arabia’s ambitious future. Led by industry leaders in Saudi Arabia, Pure Consulting is committed to driving transformative endeavors and helping organizations navigate a rapidly evolving world. The team’s shared commitment focuses on delivering sustainable impact and driving positive change through strategic initiatives.

Traditional media remains credible amidst fake news: Vineet Handa

We are in a new era of Public Relations. In the last few years, the importance of reputation management has taken a sea change. More brands and clients, especially from the leadership teams, are viewing Public Relations from a close range. The industry has undergone a radical change with the advent of social media, which has to a large extent changed the approach to Public Relations. We have a relatively new and young audience that we need to face in the coming years so there are bigger challenges for brands and PR practitioners, who have to be more agile and proactive in their thinking to draw up business solutions for clients.In our exclusive column – PR Conversation – Adgully interacts with leading business leaders and obtains their exclusive views and insights on the various trends in the PR and communications industry.In conversation with Adgully, Vineet Handa, Founder & CEO, Kaizzen, speaks at length about the agency’s 16-year journey in the PR industry, how PR strategies should adapt to effectively collaborate with influencers while maintaining brand authenticity and credibility, the significant challenges brands are facing due to the rise of vocal audiences expressing negative views, how the PR industry can adopt proactive strategies for better preparedness, and more.Congratulations on completing 16 years! Looking ahead, how do you envision the PR industry evolving and adapting to emerging trends and challenges over the next five years? What are your predictions for the future of PR?Thank you so much. It is surreal to think that it has been 16 years. I remember on our anniversary last month I was addressing the team-mates. I told them then that when I look back, I realize that there has never been a dull moment; there have been good days and some bad ones, but never a dull one, and that has kept me going. The industry is so dynamic, there is always something new. And there is always a chance to learn, grow and evolve.In the future also, PR is likely to continue evolving in response to shifts in technology, media consumption habits, and societal values.While the use of AI and technology will rise, I firmly believe they are enablers, not solutions. These tools enhance our capabilities, but it’s our brains that must leverage them effectively.The future lies in the integration of traditional media and digital platforms. This integration is already underway and will become even more streamlined. Platforms are central to this future – today, even news is customized based on our search and consumption histories.In a world of fake news, traditional media will retain its credibility, serving as a trusted source of verified information and reliable journalism amidst the proliferation of misinformation.With the rise of vocal audiences expressing negative views, how do you think this poses a challenge for brands, and what strategies do you believe the PR industry should adopt to be better prepared for such scenarios?When we embrace new trends, we must embrace it with all its pros and cons. The digital world has democratized not only content creation and distribution, but it has also given consumers a powerful voice, allowing grievances to spread rapidly and potentially damage a brand’s reputation. It is not new and has been happening for some time now. However, some important points to consider for both the brand as well as the agency are:The best strategy is to always be authentic and transparent in your communication. This helps build trust with audiences and fosters a more positive perception of the brand.Do not ignore!! Ignoring negative feedback is not an option. Brands must actively monitor and engage with their audiences across all platforms. Each platform holds significance, and it is crucial to take charge of each medium to address issues effectively. However, it is necessary to differentiate between legitimate concerns and misinformation or fake news. We need to be careful, yet we need to be proactive. Never shove it below the carpet, but address the crisis, you as an official source have the power to control the narrative.Educate, Inform and Engage: As an agency, we have been taking this approach to deliver brand message to the journalist fraternity over the last many years. First, we educate the fraternity about the brand, then inform via regular updates; this results in effective engagement from journalists. We must take the same approach for influencers as well. By fostering understanding and alignment between the brand's message and its advocates, brands can effectively navigate challenging situations and both the brand, and the partner will be on the same page.With the growing influence of social media influencers in shaping brand perception, how do you think PR strategies should adapt to effectively collaborate with influencers while maintaining brand authenticity and credibility?When it comes to credibility, earned media and platforms with strong reputations are key. These are the benchmarks for trustworthy information. Influencers, while valuable, have not yet reached the same level of credibility. At present, they can complement earned media, but cannot fully replace it.There are many challenges we see as far as content creators and influencers are concerned and it ranges from loyalties towards brands – there are various examples of well-known influencers endorsing competing brands. Additionally, while there are differing reports on the exact percentage of fake followers, reports suggest that on an average in India 50% of followers in influencer accounts are fake. Paid reach also raises questions about authenticity, and sometimes the target audience alignment is off. Over time, these issues should improve, leading to better outcomes from influencers.Despite these challenges, I firmly believe that influencers as a category and business are here to stay. The future will see the continued evolution of different platforms, which will shape the landscape of influencer marketing. Building long-term relationships based on mutual trust and understanding can lead to more authentic and impactful influencer partnerships.As a PR professional, how can you assist brands in avoiding such issues in the first place through proactive steps and strategic planning?Elaborating on where we left off in the first question, authenticity and transparency is the most important in brand building. You can’t build a legacy brand without proper alignment of your offerings and promises. As a PR professional, helping brands avoid issues through proactive steps and strategic planning is crucial and one thing I have learnt is that being genuine in communication fosters trust and positive perception always. Ignoring negative feedback is not an option, especially since silence from the brand can be construed as a failure from their side, or as the brand hiding something; brands must actively monitor and engage with their audiences across all platforms, addressing issues effectively while distinguishing between legitimate concerns and misinformation.As an agency, we have always prioritized educating and informing the journalist community about the various brands we work with, and now we follow the same approach for influencers too. By fostering understanding and alignment between the brand’s message and its advocates, brands can effectively navigate challenging situations and ensure both the brand and its partners are on the same page.Could you share insights into the ‘Kaizen’ approach of leveraging technology to optimize engagement for brands, especially in the context of handling moment marketing challenges?Moment marketing is a ‘me too’ thing now. When we work with brands, we play the long game and always advise brands to be the trendsetters and not the trend jackers. Moment marketing is a trend and while it is important to be able to jump into it when we see trends, as a brand we should know which trends to jump into and which ones to pass. At the end of the day, what we stand for regularly and do continuously is how the audience connects with us.In today’s world, smartphones are not just devices, but powerful tools that enable people to expose, share, and report information instantly. Such a small device, but so powerful. With technology like this in people’s hands, managing without it is impossible. Today, we must be comfortable using the best online reputation management (ORM) tools that are core to our listening and monitoring. Similarly effective engagement tools are crucial for understanding, interacting, and responding to audiences. Additionally, tools that measure the success of campaigns, whether it is via earned mediums or influencer-driven, are vital.Technology also simplifies content creation, making it indispensable in our industry. As the industry evolves, leveraging technology is essential for delivering successful outcomes.

RedBeryl welcomes Kaizzen to elevate strategic communications

Integrated communications agency Kaizzen has announced its partnership with RedBeryl, a luxury lifestyle management company. This collaboration aims to enhance RedBeryl's communication strategy, focusing on brand awareness, thought leadership and reputation management which will subsequently enhance company’s growth initiatives.RedBeryl offers unparalleled access to the finest experiences, exclusive events, and a dedicated team of lifestyle experts. Driven by a passion for excellence, RedBeryl paves the gateway to an elevated life, ensuring that each moment is remarkable. The company’s vision is rooted in the vision of the founder; Manoj Adlakha’s commitment to providing impeccable membership services in India, is to curate bespoke experiences that leave lasting impressions.Kaizzen CEO Vineet Handa said: “We are incredibly excited about this strategic partnership with RedBeryl. Their dedication to creating exclusive and personalized experiences positions them as a leader in the luxury lifestyle management sector. Our goal is to amplify RedBeryl’s visibility, enhance their brand reputation, and engage in meaningful conversations with the media. We look forward to contributing to their communication strategy and supporting their growth trajectory.”RedBeryl Founder-CEO Manoj Adlakha said: “At RedBeryl, we believe that life should be full of unforgettable moments. Partnering with Kaizzen resonates with our aim of providing our valued members with unique, tailored experiences. We are delighted to collaborate with Kaizzen, and their expertise in strategic communications will significantly raise our market visibility and support our ambitious growth objectives.”RedBeryl’s core values of exclusivity, personalization, attention to detail, and exceptional service are at the heart of everything they do. These values guide their mission to deliver unforgettable moments that reflect the individuality of their members.This collaboration with RedBeryl further diversifies Kaizzen’s portfolio of clients across various sectors such as lifestyle, corporate, HR, start-ups, and technology. Vineet added: “Over the past 16 years, Kaizzen has established itself as a leading multi-practice and full-service PR and digital media agency. We are confident that our expertise will significantly enhance RedBeryl’s public relations and brand reputation, delivering maximum ROI for them.”

The Art of Staying Relevant: A Conversation with Ajey Maharaj

Welcome to the inaugural episode of our podcast series, where we delve into "The Art of Staying Relevant." In today's fast-paced, ever-evolving world, staying relevant is more crucial than ever, both personally and professionally. To kick off this exciting journey, we have a distinguished guest with us, Ajey Maharaj, the Head of Corporate Communications at Fortis Healthcare. With over 24 years of rich experience in the power and telecom sectors, Ajey brings a treasure trove of strategic insights and a relentless commitment to excellence in communication.Before his tenure at Fortis Healthcare, Ajey held significant positions at renowned companies such as Bharti Tele Ventures, Reliance Energy, and Tata Power Delhi Distribution. Today, we have the privilege of exploring his remarkable journey, his strategic approach to communications, and his insights on staying relevant in today's dynamic environment.Exploring Relevance: Personal and Professional PerspectivesStarting off, we discuss what the term 'relevance' means to him. Ajey believes that relevance is synonymous with continuous growth and adaptability. In a world that is constantly evolving, staying relevant means being able to adapt to the myriad changes around us. Over the past few years, we've witnessed a digital revolution, compelling us to embrace new technologies and trends. Ajey emphasizes the importance of being agile and receptive to these transformations to maintain relevance.For Ajey Maharaj, the mantra for staying relevant in the ecosystem is "continuous learning and adaptability." He asserts that learning should be a lifelong endeavor. By staying curious and proactive, we can navigate the ever-changing landscape effectively and maintain our relevance.Ajey's career, spanning over 25 years, has witnessed tremendous changes. From the era of fax machines to the advent of computers and digital communication, he has seen various transformations. Each sector has imparted valuable lessons in strategic planning, business development, team management, and crisis management. The key takeaway, according to Ajey, is the ability to adapt to these changes and leverage them for growth.Ajey's extensive background across different sectors has equipped him with a broad perspective and a versatile skill set. He believes that while deep expertise in specific areas is valuable, a diverse background fosters adaptability and a more comprehensive understanding of the business landscape.Join us as we delve deeper into these fascinating topics and gain valuable insights from Ajey Maharaj's extensive experience and strategic vision. This is just the beginning of our journey into understanding "The Art of Staying Relevant." Stay tuned for more enlightening episodes!<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" referrerpolicy="strict-origin-when-cross-origin" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Media Corridors secures Public Relations Mandate for Incuspaze

Media Corridors, Public Relations & Online Reputation Management agency, has been appointed by Incuspaze, a leading managed office space provider, as its communications and public relations partner in India. This strategic partnership aims to amplify Incuspaze’s brand presence and enhance its visibility in the dynamic real estate and managed office industry. Incuspaze has revolutionized the way professionals and businesses operate by providing state-of-the-art, flexible workspaces that foster creativity and collaboration. With an expansive network of locations across India, Incuspaze is committed to empowering startups, MSMEs, and established enterprises with work spaces that inspire innovation. “We are excited to partner with Media Corridors, a team that understands our vision and has the expertise to elevate our brand narrative,” said Mr. Sanjay Chathrath, Managing Partner, Incuspaze. “Their strategic approach and proven track record in the PR domain makes them the perfect fit for us as we continue to grow and expand our footprint.” “As we embark on this journey with Media Corridors, we look forward to crafting compelling narratives that resonate with our community and stakeholders,” said Ms. Ekta Dewan, AVP Marketing and Communication, Incuspaze. “This partnership is a significant step towards achieving our mission of transforming workspaces and empowering businesses to thrive.” “We are delighted to have Incuspaze on board and are committed to delivering impactful PR campaigns that drive brand awareness and engagement,” said Ms. Ayushi Arora Gulyani, Founder & CEO, Media Corridors. “Incuspaze’s innovative approach to co-working aligns perfectly with our goal of promoting brands that make a difference in their industries. We are excited to be part of their growth journey.” With this partnership, Media Corridors and Incuspaze aim to create a strong, positive brand presence that not only attracts new clients but also fosters a sense of community among existing members. Both companies are enthusiastic about the possibilities this collaboration holds and are dedicated to achieving exceptional results.

Golin hires Kim Allain as associate creative director

Golin has named Kim Allain as associate creative director, further strengthening its creative team in London.Kim Allain joins Golin from MSL UK, where she served as creative lead for four years. During her tenure, Allain spearheaded multiple award-winning campaigns, including Puma’s Cali Star Challenge. Her extensive experience also includes roles at Talker Tailor Trouble Maker and Cake, where she developed creative strategies for clients such as Deliveroo, Subway, and Currys. Additionally, Allain has managed high-profile talent partnerships for Mastercard, notably its sponsorship of The Brit Awards.In her new position at Golin, Allain will report to Al Wood, who was recently promoted to chief creative officer. She will play a key role in driving creative excellence across Golin’s diverse client portfolio."Kim is a brilliant and passionate creative with an impressive portfolio of culturally-connected work," said Al Wood. "As we continue to grow our team and expand our ambition for earned-led, integrated creative solutions, Kim was the natural choice. I’m excited to see the innovative contributions she will bring to our agency."Allain expressed her enthusiasm for joining Golin: "Our industry is in a time of significant change and evolution, and Golin felt like the perfect place for me to continue my professional growth. The work from Al and the team is incredibly impressive, and I’m eager to bring my experience in culture, entertainment, and audience engagement to Golin’s creative offerings."

Ready10 hired to handle First Bus PR

UK public transport operator First Bus has appointed Ready10 to handle its PR and communications after a competitive selection process.Ready10 will be responsible for consumer and trade media relations, as well as supporting First Bus with corporate reputation management and crisis communications. The agency will also run the day-to-day press office and develop creative campaigns to promote bus travel.This comes as First Bus announced an £89 million investment in zero-emission buses, with the goal of operating a fully electric fleet by 2035."We are on an exciting journey to transform our business and to do that we need a completely fresh approach to how we present ourselves as a brand," said Charlotte Butler, (pictured), First Bus's director of communications and engagement. "The team at Ready10 instantly got what we are trying to achieve and bought into the challenge ahead. Their blend of insight-driven creativity, coupled with a thorough understanding of not only our business, but also the commercial and political factors our business is facing, is exactly what we're looking for in a new agency partner."Ready10 founder and MD David Fraser (pictured), said: “The bus itself is a great connector, part of the fabric of our culture and something really important to millions of people. That makes it an incredibly rich territory for PR that will enable us to conduct some memorable campaigns. We’ve already built a strong relationship with the PR and comms team who were so helpful and collaborative from the get-go – we’re excited to get out of the depot and onto the road.”

Mayo Clinic welcomes Dawn Tappy as Chief Communications Officer

Dawn Tappy has joined Mayo Clinic as the new Chief Communications Officer (CCO), marking a significant step in her career within the healthcare industry. Tappy expressed her excitement and dedication to serving Mayo Clinic, an organization known globally for its innovative health solutions and transformative healthcare practices. Her appointment reflects Mayo Clinic's ongoing commitment to excellence and leadership in healthcare.Tappy's extensive experience includes 13 years at Humana, where she held various roles and most recently served as the Chief of Staff to Chief Administrative Officer Tim Huval, with additional support for CEO Bruce Broussard. Her responsibilities at Humana encompassed delivering strategic planning guidance, executive communications, and business intelligence for key initiatives and recurring business processes.At Mayo Clinic, Tappy's role as CCO will involve leading the communications department alongside the medical director, Halena Gazelka, who has decided to return to a more active role in patient care. Gazelka, who previously held the CCO position, expressed gratitude for her time in the role and looks forward to collaborating with Tappy in her new capacity.Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit organization renowned for its dedication to clinical innovation, education, and research, continues to uphold its mission of providing compassionate care and expertise to patients worldwide. With major campuses in Arizona, Florida, and Minnesota, Mayo Clinic serves over 1.3 million patients annually from more than 130 countries, embodying its commitment to healing and healthcare excellence.

Marriott Vacations Worldwide teams up with Slide Nine for communications

Marriott Vacations Worldwide has recently appointed Slide Nine as its corporate communications Agency of Record (AOR). This decision followed a rigorous evaluation of agencies through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process aimed at enhancing external communications. Slide Nine will focus on areas such as business performance, community investment, corporate responsibility, and industry outlook, as stated in their announcement.The RFP process occurred late last year, with Slide Nine being selected in January and commencing collaboration in March. Their partnership aims to amplify corporate narratives that bolster Marriott Vacations Worldwide's market standing. The goal is to showcase the company as the leading provider of vacation ownership and an exceptional workplace, according to the statement.

Why is Networking a vital element in Public Relations

Authored by Akshaara Lalwani, Founder & CEO, Communicate IndiaThe global PR market surpassed 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 and is projected to grow by one-third within five years. Public relations, or "PR," involves the strategic communication efforts of an organisation to shape its public image and respond to public discourse. There's an old saying: "Advertising is what you pay for; publicity is what you pray for." But is it really about prayer, or is there a strategic process behind achieving great publicity? Well, this all comes down to one word- Networking! According to a recent survey, 80% of PR professionals believe that networking is crucial for their success. The PR industry flourishes on the strength of relationships, connections, and collaborations; and networking is the key element that brings these aspects together. Building Authentic RelationshipsNetworking in PR is all about creating and nurturing genuine relationships. It goes beyond the surface-level exchange of business cards and LinkedIn connections; it's about developing deep, meaningful bonds with peers, clients, journalists, influencers, and other industry stakeholders. These relationships are essential for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and mutual support. When you have the right connections, you gain access to their expertise and resources, significantly boosting your PR efforts.For instance, strong connections with journalists and media professionals can greatly increase your chances of securing media coverage. A direct line to a trusted journalist can transform a typical press release into a featured story. Similarly, relationships with industry experts provide invaluable insights and advice, keeping you ahead of market trends.Gaining Access to Valuable ResourcesEffective networking opens doors to a plethora of valuable resources that can enhance your PR strategies:Media Databases: Personal connections with journalists and media professionals can give you access to media databases that are far more effective than impersonal pitches.Industry Reports: Networking with industry insiders can grant you access to exclusive reports, market insights, and competitor analyses that inform your PR strategies.Expert Advice: Attending networking events and conferences allows you to seek advice from experienced PR practitioners, gaining insights that guide your actions and decisions.These resources are helpful and often critical in crafting successful PR campaigns that resonate with your audience and achieve your goals.Gaining Industry InsightsNetworking is an essential means of gaining critical industry insights. By connecting with thought leaders and influencers at industry events or through online platforms, you gain access to firsthand knowledge about industry trends and best practices. This knowledge is crucial for tailoring your pitches to journalists and building stronger media relationships, ultimately increasing your chances of successful placements.Effective networking goes beyond mere conversation; it necessitates active listening. Understanding others' challenges and experiences can build genuine connections that position you as a supportive and insightful colleague. This empathy and mutual support enhance your reputation within the industry and make your network more effective.Advancing Your CareerNetworking is also a powerful tool for career advancement in PR. It can reveal unadvertised job opportunities and connect you with senior professionals who can provide mentorship and guidance. Strong professional relationships can lead to recommendations for promotions or new roles within your current organisation. Essentially, a robust network can significantly enhance your career trajectory by offering opportunities that might otherwise be inaccessible, instilling a sense of achievement and inspiring further growth.Mentorship, in particular, is invaluable. Learning from those who have successfully navigated the PR industry's challenges provides insights and advice that are instrumental to professional growth. A mentor can offer guidance on strategic decision-making, crisis management, and career development.ConclusionIn the evolving world of public relations, networking is beneficial and essential. It transforms good PR professionals into great ones by facilitating the building of authentic relationships, providing access to valuable resources, advancing careers, and offering critical industry insights. In a field where relationships are paramount, networking is the strategic process that ensures sustained success and growth. As the PR industry continues to expand, those who excel in networking will lead the way in shaping public perception and achieving lasting impact.  DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and PR POST does not necessarily subscribe to it.

PPHC acquires Pagefield, expanding public affairs reach to London

Global Public Affairs Leader PPHC Makes Strategic Move into UK Market Public Policy Holding Company (PPHC), a US-based public affairs and lobbying giant listed on the London Stock Exchange, has acquired UK-based cross-party public affairs firm Pagefield Communications for up to £30 million. This move marks PPHC's first international expansion and strengthens its ability to serve its global client base, including nearly half of the Fortune 100 companies.Previously operating solely in the US, PPHC’s ten member companies boast a diverse client base spanning healthcare, finance, energy, technology, and more. Pagefield, founded in 2010, brings a team of 36 public affairs specialists and a strong track record of growth. The firm will retain its brand identity and operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of PPHC.This strategic acquisition benefits both parties. Pagefield gains access to PPHC’s extensive US network, expertise, and resources. PPHC, in turn, leverages Pagefield’s deep understanding of the UK political landscape to establish a foothold in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.Commenting on the acquisition, PPHC CEO Stewart Hall (pictured) highlighted the company's commitment to both organic growth and strategic acquisitions. With a strong balance sheet and a healthy pipeline of opportunities in the US, UK, and Europe, PPHC is well-positioned for continued expansion.

PR Professionals wins the PR Mandate for ACE

PR Professionals (PRP), the flagship of the PRP Group, announced that it has secured the public relations mandate of ACE — Action Construction Equipment Ltd., World’s largest Pick & Carry cranes manufacturer & India’s leading material handling and construction equipment manufacturer. With a rich history of innovation, ACE boasts an impressive portfolio encompassing Pick & Carry Cranes, Mobile/Fixed Tower Cranes, Backhoe Loaders, Crawler Cranes, Truck Mounted Cranes, and other essential Construction Equipment. PRP will be handling their PR mandate, pan India.This partnership reinforces PR Professionals' leading position in the infrastructure sector. The agency is known for its client-centric approach and deep understanding of India's infrastructure space. PR Professionals' impressive client roster includes notable names like National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC), Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO), Uttar Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRCL), Patna Metro, Rodic Consultants, Systra, RAILTECH, CIDCO, Rapid Metro, Gurgaon, and many others.“We're excited to collaborate with PR Professionals, a leader in infrastructure communications. Their strategic approach and understanding of our business will be key in raising awareness of our innovative equipment solutions and further solidifying our position as India's leading construction equipment manufacturer,” said Sorab Agarwal, Executive Director at ACE.Dr. Sarvesh Tiwari, Founder & Managing Director, PR Professionals shared, “India's infrastructure boom presents a dynamic landscape for construction equipment leaders like ACE. We're thrilled to join forces, leveraging our expertise to propel ACE's brand to the forefront of this thriving market.”PR Professionals is an integrated communications firm that has been delivering quality and excellence since 2011 and has also initiated several philanthropic activities. It provides end-to-end branding and customized public relations solutions that enable businesses to become market leaders. From humble beginnings, PRP today has 12 offices in India and six offices in offshore locations. The 150-member team shares Tiwari's passion for doing extraordinary things in PR and making a difference to the underprivileged through philanthropic activities.

India's AI gap: Avian WE report calls for clearer communication strategies

There is a significant opportunity for business leaders to turn their AI vision into action by communicating it to both internal and external stakeholders, according to the India-specific findings from WE Communications’ (WE) latest ‘Brands in Motion’ (BIM) global study, “Bridging the AI Expectation Gap.” This new research, released in Bengaluru, reveals data and insights from the Indian market. The BIM study surveyed over 2,900 business executives across the globe - including India, Australia, Singapore, China, Germany, Singapore, the UK, and the USA - to gain insight into how AI is impacting organisational culture, trust, and business communications. Of the 2900 executives surveyed 500 were from India.Neha Mehrotra, Managing Director Avian WE, stated: “AI is not just a technological advancement; it is a transformative force reshaping business operations and customer engagement. For businesses, the crucial question is not whether to adopt AI, but how swiftly and effectively they can leverage this transformative power. While enthusiasm for AI is high, the implementation gap is concerning. This report highlights the critical need for strategic communication to bridge the AI expectation gap and provides a comprehensive roadmap for organizations to harness AI's full potential.”There was broad recognition of the opportunity for AI to drive impact across business functions. The leaders polled identified product development, customer service, and marketing and communications as the top three areas that would benefit most from greater adoption of AI.The study recommended four strategies to turn AI vision into action:  1. Build an AI Employee Engagement Strategy: Audit employee sentiment and optimize to address gaps and areas of interest in the build-out and implementation of the organization’s AI content and engagement strategy. 2. Link to the Company’s Transformation Journey: Modernize the company narrative and messaging to show how AI is advancing the overall transformational journey, demonstrating its potential to drive growth, change, and innovation. 3. Employ Executive Communications and Thought Leadership: C-level and company leadership messaging need to spotlight consistent AI progress updates and the specific behaviors and change management needed to fully harness AI. 4. Update Crisis and Issues Preparedness Plans: Conduct risk assessments and scenario planning on potential AI-related issues, incorporating these into overall preparedness plans.To achieve these goals, the study recommended greater transparency across stakeholders as a cornerstone for AI efforts: 84% of the study’s Indian participants believed their organization should be more or equally transparent about its use of AI compared with their vendors, partner businesses, and customers.“Although transparency is crucial for AI integration, our study showed only 39% of Indian organizations practiced it, and just 31% prioritized employee feedback. Leaders must commit to open communication to bridge the gap between AI vision and implementation. We hope the recommended strategies help businesses navigate tech transformations and leverage innovation for growth,” Mehrotra concluded.(Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay)

UM named media agency of record for Perplexity

UM, a global media agency network of IPG Mediabrands, has been named media Agency of Record for Perplexity, the AI-native answer engine of choice, to launch its first major brand campaign, handle media buying duties, and serve as its US media advisor and partner on ad product development.  "We are thrilled to partner with Perplexity, an innovative brand poised for exponential growth in the exciting, rapidly evolving AI space," said Erin Quintana, US CEO, UM. "Together, we will create targeted, brand-safe media strategies that leverage audience insights to drive scale and unlock growth opportunities to deliver maximum value for their brand.""The UM team has a deep understanding of the AI space and our differentiators as Perplexity Enterprise Pro users. We appreciate UM's expertise in creating impactful media plans that will drive our brand and performance goals and fuel our expansion. Their proven industry-first capabilities will support our ongoing consumer adoption and enterprise growth" said Dmitry Shevelenko, Chief Business Officer, Perplexity. This news follows several high-profile announcements for UM including being named global media Agency of Record for Levi Strauss & Co. and General Mills, and being awarded Ad Age A-List 2024 Media Agency of the Year.

Juniper Green Energy partners with integrated marketing consultancy One Source

Juniper Green Energy, an independent renewable energy power producer announced its partnership with One Source, a leading integrated marketing consultancy. Involving reputation management, strategic counselling across corporate and government stakeholders, the mandate will cover corporate communication for Juniper Green Energy. Juniper Green Energy, a part of the AT Group, renowned for its extensive global investments in renewable energy, residential & commercial real estate, hospitality, and more, specializes in developing and operating solar, wind, and hybrid power projects. At One Source, the mandate will be spearheaded by lead counsel on the account, Dyutiman Basu, reporting into Co- lead for Corporate Communication, Debaman Guin and the national team. "We are delighted to partner with One Source as we embark on our journey to amplify awareness about renewable energy solutions and our commitment to sustainability," said Indranil Roy Choudhuri, Head of Corporate Communications, Juniper Green Energy. "Their proven track record in delivering impactful communication strategies aligned perfectly with our vision to create a greener, more sustainable future," he added. Sandeep Rao, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, One Source said, “Our focus as a consultancy is on growing our clients’ businesses and we see partners’ business objectives as our own. We are excited to collaborate with Juniper Green Energy and are eager to craft compelling narratives that resonate with audiences and drive meaningful change. We are committed to help elevate Juniper Green Energy's brand and champion the cause of sustainability”.One Source has offices across Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore which service Indian and global market leaders across BFSI, construction, manufacturing, business consulting, ICT, the start-up space and more. In the last year, the firm has signed on more than 20 clients across Branding & Films, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing and Corporate Communication.

Wing Communications Retains PR Mandate for XIPHIAS Immigration

Wing Communications, a leading digital, PR, and social media agency based in Hyderabad, has retained the integrated public relations mandate for XIPHIAS Immigration for the consecutive second year, which is a prominent immigration consultant in India. As part of this partnership, Wing Communications had always been responsible for crafting and executing innovative PR strategies to elevate XIPHIAS Immigration's brand presence and reputation in the market.The primary objective of this collaboration is to position XIPHIAS Immigration as the go-to immigration consultant for individuals and businesses seeking to expand globally. Wing Communications will focus on showcasing XIPHIAS Immigration's expertise in facilitating seamless immigration processes, highlighting their commitment to personalised services, and emphasising their extensive network of connections with immigration authorities worldwide."We are thrilled to continue our partnership with XIPHIAS Immigration, a company that shares our passion for innovation and customer satisfaction," said Shiva Bhavani, CEO & Co-founder of Wing Communications. "Over the past two years, we have worked closely with their team to develop and execute effective PR strategies that have significantly enhanced their brand visibility and credibility. We look forward to building on this success and further solidifying their position as a leader in the immigration consulting space.""XIPHIAS Immigration is committed to providing exceptional immigration services to our clients, and we believe that Wing Communications' expertise in PR will be instrumental in amplifying our brand message and reaching a wider audience," added Varun Singh, MD of XIPHIAS Immigration. "We are excited to work with their team to develop targeted PR campaigns that will help us stay ahead of the competition and continue to grow our business."

Little Moons appoints Current Global MENAT to drive Middle East expansion

Little Moons, the mochi ice cream company, has appointed UAE-based PR agency, Current Global MENAT, to accelerate its Middle East expansion.Founded by Howard and Vivien Wong, Little Moons became a viral sensation in 2021 in the UK generating content viewed over 500 million times. Since then, the brand has disrupted the ice cream category pioneering the snackable ice cream segment with its artisan-quality mochi ice cream bites that are made without compromise and at less than 85kcal per ball.Little Moons is now one of the leading mochi ice cream in the world and the fastest-growing ice cream brand globally. Known for its delicious bite-sized mochi ball of perfection, Little Moons offers a variety of flavours such as passionfruit & mango, pistachio, and raspberry, catering to an array of tastebuds, with vegan options also available.Each Little Moon is a work of art, handmade using a 30-year-old family technique that expertly steams and pounds the rice dough until it reaches the perfect chewy texture. The gelato centres are then wrapped in a thin layer of mochi before being hand-rolled into their distinctive moon shape. The brand sources the finest ingredients worldwide to create artisan gelato ice cream bursting with flavour. Its gelato has a higher density, offering a more intense flavour than other ice creams.Commenting on the partnership, Amelia Butler, Senior Trade Marketing Manager, Little Moons, said, “We were in search of a modern, integrated creative partner to help us get as many eyeballs on our brand as possible, and the Current Global team stood out as the perfect fit. The passion of the Current Global shone through with their strategic insights, creative ideas, and understanding of the region. We look forward to working together as we grow the Little Moons brand across the Middle East.”Peter Jacob, Managing Director, Current Global MENAT, commented, “You can tell an awful lot about a client from the very first brief and we immediately knew this was a brand and a client that matched our mindset. Across the pitch process, the team did a lot of testing of the product in the name of research and on top of that, it’s a great story with two passionate founders driving the business forward where communications is at the centre of the business. We can’t wait to get started.”Current Global will work with Little Moons to deliver exceptional integrated communication solutions, engaging with key media and influencers, to build greater brand visibility and solidify its presence in the region.Launched in the UAE in May 2023, Little Moons is available all major retailers such as Carrefour, Lulu, Spinneys and Choithrams, as well as delivery apps like Amazon UAE, Instashop, Kibsons, Deliveroo, Noon, Talabat and Careem.

UN chief blasts PR firms over ties with Big Oil

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday strongly criticized PR agencies for their involvement with Big Oil, urging these firms to "stop acting as enablers to planetary destruction."In his speech commemorating World Environment Day in New York, Guterres condemned these agencies for aiding the fossil fuel industry in its attempts to delay climate action through greenwashing, legal threats, lobbying, and extensive advertising campaigns.“They have been aided and abetted by advertising and PR companies — Mad Men fueling the madness. I call on these companies to cease enabling planetary destruction. Stop taking on new fossil fuel clients from today and make plans to drop your existing ones. Fossil fuels are not only poisoning our planet but are also toxic for your brand,” Guterres declared.He emphasized that the sector is full of creative minds already mobilizing for the cause, moving towards companies that are protecting the planet instead of harming it.He called on countries to act. "Many governments restrict or prohibit advertising for products that harm human health, like tobacco. Some are now doing the same with fossil fuels. I urge every country to ban advertising from fossil fuel companies. And I urge news media and tech companies to stop accepting fossil fuel advertising,” he added.This was not the first time Guterres has rebuked the PR industry for its ties with fossil fuel clients. In a speech before the General Assembly in September 2022, he urged world leaders to tax fossil fuel companies and their supporters, including PR firms.Clean Creatives, an organisation advocating for agencies to sever ties with fossil fuel companies, praised Guterres’ speech.“UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for advertising and PR agencies to cut ties with fossil fuel polluters is historic. Today marks a turning point in the advertising and PR industry’s relationship with climate change and fossil fuels. Agencies can no longer claim they are doing the right thing when working with polluters. Everyone knows this is wrong, and everyone needs to act,” said executive director Duncan Meisel. Over 1,100 advertising, PR, and creative companies have taken the Clean Creatives pledge to refuse work from Big Oil, positioning them as true leaders on this issue. In contrast, Edelman renewed its global partnership with Shell in May, making it a primary target for climate activists. During the 2022 Climate Week, Clean Creatives covered parts of lower Manhattan with posters urging agencies, especially Edelman, to drop their fossil fuel clients.

Archetype names Liz Weselby as Managing Director for Australia

Global marketing communications agency Archetype has announced the appointment of Liz Weselby as the new managing director for its Australian division.Weselby, who has been a key part of Archetype’s leadership team in Hong Kong since 2020 and a member of the APAC Regional Management Board since 2021, will now lead the agency’s operations in Sydney.“We’re delighted Liz has agreed to take up the opportunity to lead our brilliant team in Sydney. Over the last few years she’s made a real impact on our APAC business, helping drive strategic client consulting programmes and building out our content marketing offer,” said Lee Nugent, regional director, APAC.Expressing her enthusiasm, Weselby said : “I am thrilled to join the Sydney team and continue my journey with Archetype. Australia has long been my second home, and the Sydney team has made me feel most welcome –?together we are fostering a culture of creativity and strategic excellence. Our clients are true partners and I look forward to helping them grow their businesses in ANZ.”

Do What You Love selects Manifest to spread the word about Suara festival

Bali's unique Suara Music and Arts Festival has chosen Manifest, a global brand communications agency, to handle its public relations across Asia Pacific.The Melbourne office of Manifest will leverage its international network of partners, "Cartel," to generate buzz in key markets like Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, India, and Singapore.Isabel Thomson-Officer, who co-founded and leads Manifest's Melbourne studio, said: "Bespoke events and cultural experiences of this scale and meticulous attention to detail that the Do What You Love team is producing are rare - especially in this part of the world. Aside from the quality of its bookings, the incredible venue, and everything else that is on offer, it was the team’s commitment to creating a culture that was both respectful of the local people and the environment that really stood out to us. A festival of this nature can be quite transformative, even life-changing for those that attend. Being able to make that kind of positive impact on someone’s life is very aligned with our mission to build brands that change the world."Do What You Love's Co-Founder and Festival Director, Jason Swamy, said: "We want people who attend Suara to leave feeling inspired, and like they've connected to a creative community of like-minded individuals, and that's exactly how we felt when we first met the Manifest team. Like us, they are a very international team, who are as passionate about purpose-driven brand communications as we are about curating once in a lifetime experiences."

Mercedes-Benz names Taniya Chandra as Head of Marketing & Comm

Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East (MBCME) has appointed Taniya Chandra as the new Head of Marketing & Communication effective February 2024. Her responsibilities extend across the Mercedes-Benz General Distributor (MBGD) network. Headquartered in Dubai, MBGD is the central hub overseeing and steering strategy and business transformation, aiming to improve business operations and communication across Central Eastern Europe (CEE), the Middle East, Africa, Latin America (LATAM), and Southeast Asia (SEA). Taniya brings a wealth of experience and a dynamic approach to the role, succeeding Natalie Thompson, who has taken up the position of CEO of Mercedes-Benz Romania.An engineering graduate with a MBA from Singapore, Taniya possesses a diverse portfolio of international experience, showcasing exceptional passion and leadership throughout her career. As an inspiring, self-driven, target oriented – yet empathetic leader, she truly empowers her teams to push boundaries, reimagine engagement and deliver memorable and unique communications and customer experiences.Her journey with Mercedes-Benz began, as part of INspire – The Leader’s Lab management program. Since then, Taniya has embraced transformational roles to drive active change and innovation through dynamic shifts in the industry. Prior to relocating to the UAE, she was based in Stuttgart, leading Customer Experience across the Overseas markets and successfully setup an Overseas Experience Center for Customer Services in South-East Asia.Having grown up and worked in the region previously, she possesses a deep understanding of the market and brings a wealth of global experience to her role. Her professional journey reflects a commitment to drive positive change, enable sustainable business growth and maintain an unwavering focus on delivering meaningful and impactful marketing campaigns and customer experiences. Taniya is poised to contribute significantly to the strategic vision of Mercedes-Benz, leveraging her passion for transformation, customer-centric business growth and creative storytelling.Commenting on her appointment, Taniya Chandra stated, “I am excited and honoured to take on this role at Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East. As Head of Marketing and Communication for MBGD, I am deeply committed to crafting a strategy that intertwines our diverse portfolio of luxury brands and our innovative and iconic product line up with the captivating stories and experiences of our customers, while honouring our rich heritage as pioneers in the mobility sector. I am grateful to collaborate with a very talented team and valued customers on this exciting journey.”Taniya Chandra's appointment underscores Mercedes-Benz's commitment to foster leadership talent within the organization and ensure a clear focus on customer centricity across business operations. Mercedes-Benz is poised to redefine the future of Marketing and Communication, setting new benchmarks for creativity and experiential storytelling in the automotive industry.

MSL Group invests to grow with new brand communications team

MSL Group Middle East, a best-in-class public relations agency integrated within Publicis Groupe, has unveiled a new line up of local and regional talent to grow its consumer practice division. The newly formed Brand Communications team comprises experts across consumer communications, social media influence, creativity, and delivery excellence to provide a holistic end-to-end solution for clients.Maclean Brodie, Chief Executive Officer for MSL Group Middle East said, “We have to lead with talent, and we have to lead with what the market requires. For us at MSL that means integrated mindsets, brand-first creative thinking, and a little fun. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring together such a high-performing team so seamlessly, and look forward to seeing the results with current and future clients.”The new Brand Communications team is built with an eye to the changing nature of the public relations industry, linking earned creativity, media, and influence together for higher impact in service of MSL clients. Sitting within the Publicis “Power of One” ecosystem, the team will also draw on the Groupe’s creative, content, performance media, and digital ecosystem.Mary Smiddy, Business Lead, MSL Group said: “While earned media remains the MSL superpower, having the full force of Publicis Groupe behind us allows us to face creative challenges with a wholly different mindset. Brands and clients today aren’t looking for PR per se. They’re looking for the ability to cut through the noise and make an impact on their audience in a lasting way. The team that we’re bringing together allows us to do just that, and they’re a joy to work with!”The Brand Communications team brings together a diverse pool of talent with industry experience with regional and international clients spanning hospitality, automotive, health &amp; wellness, food & beverage, luxury & fashion, travel & tourism, arts & culture, and sport sectors.The team lineup includes:* Mary Smiddy, Business Lead* Jemma Chalcroft, Business Director* Fatina Al-Arda, Business Director* Natasha George, Associate Business Director* Mohammad Almail, Senior Communications Manager* Nourhan Khalifa, Influencer Manager* Deema Kabrawi, Senior Communications Executive* Sakshi Sreewani, Communications Executive* Rim Haddad, Influencer Executive

Bridgers PR wins corporate communications mandate of GUVI

Bridgers PR, a 360-degree communications agency based in New Delhi, has secured the corporate communications mandate of GUVI, an IIT-M & IIM-A incubated vernacular ed-tech platform, following a multi-agency pitch to the personalised learning solutions provider. The mandate encapsulates positioning GUVI’s spokesperson as a thought leader in the industry, as well as media relations and corporate communications. Bridgers will focus on leveraging its specialised data-driven initiatives and strategic campaigns to felicitate the spokesperson as an industry leader and position him as the critical factor behind the multi-crore firm’s innovation-driven growth plans.Anubhav Singh, Founder of Bridgers, said: “The ed-tech industry is rapidly becoming the enabler of thousands of Indian youths in their professional journey. Firms like GUVI are evidence of the transformation they are bringing — combining talent and desire while putting aside linguistic barriers, contributing to India’s meteoric growth to become the technological capital of the world. Everyone at Bridgers is thrilled to enhance and achieve the narrative of the firm’s corporate communication strategy and assist its management to chart new success and become domain experts, empowering the youth in new communities in the process.”Arun Prakash, Founder & CEO of GUVI, said: “As technology encompasses the world, the importance of new-age skills and professions in a supportive role becomes critical for the success of the global endeavour. GUVI is dedicated to providing innovative and customised learning solutions to learners in the comfort of their native languages and Bridgers will help boost our corporate communication strategies, positioning us as industry leaders in a highly competitive zone. We are pleased to onboard Bridgers PR as our corporate communications partner and remain confident that this partnership will put us in a unique position as an innovative force in the Ed-Tech domain. In today’s data and AI-driven world, combining our expertise with the dynamic and forward-thinking team of Bridgers will help us focus on establishing thought leadership in the industry, reevaluate benchmarks, felicitate innovation and change while reshaping the future of digital upskilling.”The partnership will ensure close collaboration between Bridgers and GUVI’s corporate communications and marketing team to enact an extensive strategy, focusing on corporate messaging and positioning the latter as a visionary and industry trendsetter in India.

Pure Consulting launches international communications unit

Pure Consulting, a leading Saudi consulting firm, has launched a new international communications unit at the Saudi Management Consultants Association (SAMCA) Forum. The unit, inspired by Vision 2030, will bring together a deep understanding of the local context and vision, exceptional local and international insight, and the best of the worlds communicators to deliver Saudi Arabia’s narrative to the world.Anas Al Safi, Managing Partner, Pure Consulting, speaking at the SAMCA Forum, said: “At Pure Consulting we have always had a strong guiding vision to build a Saudi consulting firm that competes with the best of international firms. The launch of our new International Communications unit, aligned with Vision 2030, is a logical next step. Clients here in Saudi Arabia are looking for partners who understand the local context and vison, who contribute more substantially and sustainably to the growth and prosperity of the nation, and who can deliver Saudi Arabia’s narrative to the world in a highly relevant and effective manner. This new unit will do just that.”Pure International Communications will offer international communications strategy for Saudi clients looking to communicate with critical international audiences from investors to tourists.Pure Consulting is a leading Saudi consulting firm established in 2014 with 100+ employees in offices in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. With accumulated local and global expertise in strategy, marketing, and communications Pure Consulting empowers its team, partners, and community to realize the ambitious future of Saudi Arabia. An exceptional team of industry leaders in Saudi is driven by a profound purpose and passion to lead transformative endeavors, helping public and private organizations succeed in a rapidly evolving world. The team is inspired by a shared commitment to delivering enduring sustainable impact for people and the community through the crafting of strategies that resonate and drive positive change.

MEPRA unveils AI guidelines for the communications industry

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA), the region's leading body for public relations and communication professionals, has released the industry’s first whitepaper on artificial intelligence (AI) usage guidelines within the communications sector.Developed by MEPRA’s AI Committee - with ChatGPT helping to inform topline recommendations – the association identified 8 guiding points providing a framework for using AI for its members and others working in communications in the Middle East.The guidelines, which took regional and global AI guiding resources into consideration, are intended to be used alongside other guidance, policies and references to help inform ethical and legal use of the technology in the daily content production.Commenting on the release, Margaret Flanagan, Co-Founder of Tales & Heads and Head of MEPRA’s AI Committee, stated: “With the aim of optimising the use of AI and protecting the output of the public relations and communications industry in the region, we have developed the first framework that intends to help the industry standardise the way it benefits from the use of AI tools. We wanted to ensure that everyone working in communications in the region is aware of the ethical and legal ramifications of using these technologies, and the responsibilities we have to the organisations we work with and to other stakeholders, including media and the wider public. Given the speed at which AI is evolving, as well as the dynamic regulations that govern its use, we are aware that these guidelines and resources will also need to evolve. MEPRA will continue to provide practical guidance and updates in line with these changes”.The members of the MEPRA AI Committee are Ibrahim Al Mutawa, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Jummar PR; Tala Abu Taha, Director of PR, Viola Communications; Andrea Gissdal, Independent Communications Consultant; Natasha Hatherall-Shaw, Founder and CEO, TishTash; Henry Jakins SVP, Head of Brand & Business Marketing, First Abu Dhabi Bank; Professor Dahlia Mahmoud, University of Europe for Applied Sciences; Joseph Nalloor, Discipline Lead, School of Communications, Murdoch University Dubai; Kirsty O'Connor, Regional Director of Innovation, Hill & Knowlton; Neda Shelton, SVP Group Communications , Mubadala; Inka Stever Professor of Practice at Zayed University, College of Communication and Media Sciences; and Denise Yammine Chouity, Director of Operations at GREY Qatar.The guidelines released by MEPRA are listed below.1. Be honest and open: Always inform people when you're using AI in PR and communication to strengthen trust.This means having a conversation with your client or line manager to let them know if and how you are using AI, before you use it. This doesn’t necessarily mean informing them in each instance, but it does mean discussing parameters of use. If asked directly if you used AI on a specific project, be honest and transparent.If you are asked not to use AI for a specific project, don’t. We recommend looking at best practice guidelines, like Cambridge University’s, on how to best use text, audio and visual AI tools. It would be prudent to keep up on relevant legal articles, as change is constant when it comes to bills proposed to further define intellectual property and fair use of creative content.2. Be responsible and credible: It’s essential for our industry to be truthful about the use of AI in content shared with the media.It's important that transparency about our use of AI extends to materials shared with media. Media images, videos and audio created using AI should always be labelled accurately, while text content for media should ideally be written in whole by a human and at the very minimum, have significant human intervention. If not, it should be labelled as AI generated text.Concerns around misinformation and disinformation are increasing and trust in the media decreasing, and AI generated content has the potential to further undermine this trust. Communications professionals have a responsibility to the media outlets they work with to provide content that does not risk damaging an outlet’s reputation or lessening credibility among their audiences. It is important to have a plan in place to immediately rectify an issue or crisis caused by sharing AI generated content with media.3. Respect privacy: Make sure any AI tools you use follow the rules about keeping people's information private and their use of copyrighted content.It’s worth remembering that the data you give to AI tools – including prompts and files, as well as your own account information – is kept and used by the companies behind those tools as standard practice. Understanding privacy settings and what you need to opt in or out of to keep information safe is essential. As an industry we handle lots of sensitive information for clients and our organisations – including governments and listed companies. To reduce any risk, only input data and files that are non-confidential or already in the public realm. Your clients or organisation may also have data security protocols and NDAs relating to the use of AI that you need to adhere to, so make sure you are aware of your responsibilities.4. Get it right: Double-check that any content or data AI helps create is accurate before sharing it, so you don't spread false information.Always check facts using trusted sources. Reference scientific research, reputable third parties and trusted media. Look for original sources and research findings wherever possible rather than second-hand references. AI has been known to create facts and figures, and even links to non-existent media stories and research so don’t assume that the information provided is accurate. It’s important that our industry does not help to propagate misinformation. If your content is in Arabic, it’s also worth remembering that AI tools will be working with a much smaller content base than English language, so will need more human interaction and editing, as well as additional fact checking.5. Treat everyone fairly: Watch out for any unfair biases/cultural sensitivities in AI programmes and content and do your best to make sure everyone feels included and represented.Machine learning has a history of building on our own implicit human biases and magnifying them, which means that AI-generated content can be misrepresentative or exacerbate stereotypes. Always look at text, images, or audio created or complemented by AI with a critical eye. Using thoughtful prompts can help create more inclusive content, but as many of the biases need to be tackled within the existing technologies, it’s up to us to gatekeep what’s created and ensure it accurately represents our clients and our organisations as well as our cultures and communities. Consider whose voices are not represented in the AI generated content, and if there are other expert sources that should be included.6. Keep it real: Use AI to help your work but remember that real human creativity and connection are what make communication effective and genuine.Remember that AI is only able to draw on sources of existing material and references, rather than create. While detailed prompts provided can fine tune tone and technical outcomes, machines make links and connections in different ways to humans. They can’t see, they can’t smell, they can’t taste, they can’t feel. The best copy and the best images are the ones that stand out and make us think or feel differently. Right now, nothing does that better than creative people.7. Think about people: Your use of AI might affect society, so make sure you're using it in a way that helps people, not just your bottom line. Encourage your team and others in the industry to use AI responsibly and fairly.The implications of the use of AI are going to be huge and far reaching. Right now, they are also largely unknown and unforeseen. Whether they bring job losses or job gains, create greater equity or further division will only be known in time. In the meantime, we can ensure our own use of AI technologies remains considered. That means practical things like not billing clients or logging hours for work that was done by AI for the human equivalent. It means using the skills of human editors, copywriters, graphic designers, photographers and videographers where we know that the value and veracity this brings is critical (including in our submissions to media). And it means using AI to help us make better decisions, rather than outsourcing these decisions to the technology itself.8. Keep learning and improving: Stay on top of how AI is changing PR and communication. Be ready to adjust how you use it to make sure you're doing the right thing. Not only is AI itself constantly evolving, but so are the rules and regulations that govern its use across industries and markets. We’re likely to see many more changes in the future, as the technology changes, and as we apply its power in new ways. We’re also likely to see increased debates around ownership and copyright use – like the New York Times lawsuit with Microsoft, which could have significant implications for media and communications; as well as heightened concerns about AI’s use to support the spread of misinformation and disinformation. It’s up to all of us to be aware of what’s happening, and our own role in ensuring that our use of AI is both ethical and legal.(Image by Jernej Furman from Slovenia/ Wikimedia Commons)

Ruder Finn Asia launches SONAR 5.5: AI crisis sim for resilience

Ruder Finn Asia , the award-winning  communications consultancy, today launched the latest version of its SONAR crisis  management simulation platform. SONAR 5.5 allows corporations to practise their level of  crisis preparedness in the face of evolving risks to share price, revenues and reputation. Multi  lingual, SONAR 5.5 can be operated in multiple languages including English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese. The platform also incorporates new interactive features which identify potential  areas for future concern allowing for pre-emptive strategy and planning. <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" referrerpolicy="strict-origin-when-cross-origin" allowfullscreen></iframe>When faced with a full-scale issue or crisis, management teams often discover the planning  they have in place fails under pressure. SONAR 5.5 is fast, effective and action-oriented,  designed to identify planning gaps and propose practical, workable, real-world solutions. With close to 100% client satisfaction rates, SONAR 5.5 creates an immersive crisis  environment allowing participants to experience every aspect of a fast-evolving crisis. The  versatile multimedia portal is internet-enabled: SONAR 5.5 simulations can be run for a single  market or global teams of up to 100 people allowing corporations to see where their crisis  planning works and where gaps exist.   SONAR 5.5 replicates every aspect of a crisis situation: negative media reports, share price  impact, stakeholder anger and employee protest. The platform is immersive meaning  participants quickly forget that SONAR is a simulation due to the reality of the created  environment. The output of every SONAR is a more experienced team, upgraded risk  planning, greater vigilance and preparedness for the future.  Ruder Finn Asia has identified the key operational implications of being unprepared for a crisis  or issue as a disorganised response, scattered decision making, absence of strategy and no  sense of mission. This translates to loss of narrative, loss of control and loss of value. Ruder  Finn Asia’s experience has also identified the hallmarks of companies who emerge well from  a crisis: preparation, leadership, action and communication. Charles Lankester, EVP, Global Risk at Ruder Finn Asia said today, “Together, we build  resilience and ensure our clients act with confidence whatever the circumstances. We have  delivered close to 150 SONARs since 2020 and consistently hear how much clients value the  experience and learning. The SONAR team are career experts in reputation and risk  management, ensuring our clients stay ahead of situations wherever possible. Reputation is  a primary global business risk, but most companies are unprepared and under-resourced in  the event of an issue. We are the risk management partner of choice for hundreds of  corporations and bring experience across Hong Kong, Mainland China, Asia-Pacific and  globally.”  David Ko, Managing Director at Ruder Finn Interactive (RFI), Ruder Finn’s digital  consultancy, said today, “SONAR 5.5 is the result of years of crisis management expertise  and learning, distilled into an actionable, high value platform, updated for the AI era. The crisis  landscape now evolves at an ever-faster pace, so we continually upgrade SONAR to reflect  this new environment. New threats such as deepfakes, voice cloning and bots now require  crisis management with technology that meets the challenge.   Previously, we embedded generative AI into SONAR’s operation, harnessing the power of  ChatGPT to create multimedia injects that simulate interactions with key stakeholders such as  government regulators, activist shareholders, protesting employees and consumer groups.  SONAR 5.5 now streamlines and presents additional interactions visually so that participants  can easily track and manage their crisis decisions and actions. The core of SONAR’s value,  however, remains the expert guidance and coaching conducted by trainers and their real-time  feedback on client team dynamics and effectiveness. This work also incorporates a significant  predictive component, identifying potential areas for future concern and pre-emptive strategy  and planning.” Atul Sharma, CEO Ruder Finn India and Head, Middle East said, “In today's dynamic  business landscape, proactive crisis preparedness is key to protecting your company's image  and strength. Leveraging cutting-edge AI capabilities, SONAR 5.5 isn't just a tool—it's our way  of giving businesses the power to steer through stormy seas. With its innovative features and  user-friendly interface, SONAR 5.5 equips teams with the foresight and confidence needed to  face challenges head-on.”