Weber Shandwick bolsters UK creative team

Weber Shandwick has announced a significant expansion of its UK creative team, including promotions for existing staff and the addition of new talent.Promotions:Klein Borrill has been promoted to the newly created role of UK Head of Design. Borrill brings extensive experience from his previous role as Head of Design at That Lot, a social creative agency that joined the Weber Shandwick Collective in 2018.Jack Duffield and Chris Marsden, who joined the agency in 2022, have been promoted to Associate Creative Directors. They recently led the creation of a successful pop-up for eBay UK.Charlie Powell has been promoted to Conceptual Creative after transitioning from the consumer team to the creative team.New Hires:Carly Illston joins Weber Shandwick as an Art Director, teaming up with Copywriter Marley Muirhead. They previously worked together at multiple agencies.Leadership:The expanded creative department now reports to UK President Amy Garrett, who emphasized the team's role in empowering clients to achieve their business goals.Recent Appointment:This news follows the recent appointment of Yan Elliott as Weber Shandwick's Chief Creative Officer in London.

Dig & Dig launches as The PHA Group's First International Agency

The PHA Group, an independent PR, digital and creative agency, has launched Dig & Dig, its first international agency. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Dig & Dig will offer a comprehensive suite of digital and social media services to propel brands forward.Dig & Dig boasts a robust service portfolio encompassing organic and paid social media, influencer marketing, digital PR, SEO, PPC, and content marketing. The agency is spearheaded by a seasoned Boston-based team led by Executive Vice President Matt Raven. Raven will oversee day-to-day operations, supported by Desiree Dileso, the agency's Vice President and Head of Paid Media. Both report directly to PHA's joint Group MDs, Shelley Frosdick and Stuart Skinner.Dig & Dig launches with a roster of impressive, fast-growing clients, including Workstorm, a leading secure work collaboration platform. Teams across the group's UK and US offices will collaborate seamlessly to service these programs.Matt Raven brings over 16 years of experience in digital marketing, search, and content strategy. He has a proven track record of success across owned, earned, and paid channels. Prior to Dig & Dig, Raven led the Digital practice at Look Left Marketing as Vice President and Head of Digital, crafting and executing breakthrough, insight-driven integrated programs for technology companies. Previously, he played a pivotal role at Boston-based agency SHIFT Communications, where he developed and launched the industry's first performance-based earned media offering, Optimized PR. Raven's experience spans renowned brands like Warby Parker, Citrix, and GoDaddy. He is a highly respected figure in the Boston business community, regularly engaging with students at Boston University and sharing his expertise at local industry events.Desiree Dileso is a digital media powerhouse with over 14 years of experience in planning, buying, and executing successful Paid Media campaigns. At Dig & Dig, she leverages her extensive expertise gained from over 13 years with independent media agency PGR Media. Dileso served as VP, Media Director at PGR, leading all aspects of integrated channel planning, from audience development and communication strategy to forecasting and reporting. Her deep understanding of the paid media landscape encompasses social, programmatic, CTV, audio, display, custom content, and outdoor advertising. Her hands-on approach and strategic vision have empowered numerous brands, including Vera Bradley, Sheraton Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, Celebrity Cruises, and StriVectin, to confidently scale their marketing investments. Deeply involved in Boston's ad community, Dileso is a member of the Boston Interactive Media Association (BIMA) and has served on its board for over eight years.Dig & Dig marks a significant milestone for The PHA Group, following a period of substantial growth and investment spearheaded by Frosdick and Skinner since their appointment as joint MDs in April 2020.“The launch of Dig & Dig is the culmination of 18 months of meticulous planning and research,” commented Shelley Frosdick and Stuart Skinner. “We are incredibly proud of the Dig & Dig brand, which will be the first of many new agencies to join The PHA Group family.”“Client demand for international support and access to a new market were the driving forces behind Dig & Dig,” they continued. “Boston, with its thriving sectors and exceptional talent pool, is a perfect fit for our first international venture. We're excited to establish a strong presence here.”Frosdick and Skinner emphasized the collaborative nature of The PHA Group, highlighting how entering the international market with a digital and social-first agency will provide a competitive edge. Teams across all five of the group's office locations will work together seamlessly to deliver exceptional results for clients.

LLYC acquires Dattis, strengthening Latin American expansion

LLYC, a global corporate affairs and marketing firm, has acquired Dattis Comunicaciones, a leading Colombian communication services company, to become the top player in Colombia and solidify its leadership in Latin America.LLYC has been operating in Colombia since 2001, and with this recent acquisition, the company has consolidated its revenue in the country to over 12 million euros. LLYC serves over 140 national and international clients and is strategically located in Bogotá and Medellín, with a team of 175 professionals."Colombia has always been one of our key markets in Latin America. Adding Dattis' talent, scope, and expertise to our value proposition represents a significant leap in our business vision in the country," said Juan Carlos Gozzer, LLYC's CEO for Latin America.LLYC is acquiring 78.69% of Dattis at a valuation of six times EBITDA. Andres Ortiz, Senior Partner, will retain the remaining 21.31%. Dario Vargas, the company's founder, and other minority partners will sell their stakes."The acquisition strengthens LLYC's influence in Colombia, allowing for the advancement of communication, public affairs, and marketing in line with societal and business needs," said Maria Esteve, LLYC's partner and general manager of Corporate Affairs for Latin America. "This acquisition will enable us to amplify LLYC's impact, further driving our evolution to address the new realities. I'm deeply excited to see this deal come to fruition as it materializes a vision that I've shared with Jose Antonio Llorente for years""This milestone fills us with excitement. Over the past 25 years, Dattis has solidified its position as a leading communication company in Colombia," explained Andres Ortiz, Senior Partner of Dattis. "Now, with our integration into LLYC, we're embarking on an exciting new chapter. This marks a tremendous opportunity for our team and boosts our client solutions. It's the realization of a vision that began with Dario Vargas, Dattis' founder, and has been strengthened by our current management team. This acquisition not only benefits our shareholders but also secures a promising future for our organization."Dattis will operate as Dattis by LLYC in 2024, alongside LLYC Colombia, with Andres Ortiz leading Dattis and Camila Gomez Pardo as President. Starting in 2025, under the LLYC brand, Ortiz, Gomez, and Alejandra Aljure, LLYC Colombia's current general manager, will lead the unified structure."Dattis and LLYC share a vision of excellence and added value. Together, we'll explore complementary opportunities to grow our current offering, benefit our clients and nurture our team," said David Gonzalez Natal, LLYC's Managing Director for North Latam.Dattis Comunicaciones, established 25 years ago, is a leading provider of communication services in Colombia. It has over 100 employees, serves 80 clients, and has offices in Bogotá and Medellín, with plans to expand into Peru and Ecuador.The company has established itself as a key partner for many businesses, particularly large national organizations, providing innovative brand reputation management and positioning across corporate communication, crisis management, public affairs, PR marketing, influence, creativity, and content areas.This acquisition aligns with LLYC's Strategic Plan to invest 40 million euros in high-potential markets, solidifying its position as the leader in Colombia and driving accelerated growth in Latin America. LLYC has now concluded its twelfth operation in nine years with this acquisition, including the notable purchase of Lambert in the US for 16.8 million euros, the firm's largest acquisition to date.LLYC operates in 27 locations worldwide and has been recognized as a top global communication company by PR Week and PRovoke. Since 2020, the firm has doubled in size and recurrent EBITDA, with operational revenues growing by 14% last year, reaching 83.1 million euros.

The Shipyard acquires Fahlgren Mortine

The Shipyard, an independent full-service advertising agency based in Columbus, Ohio, has acquired Fahlgren Mortine, one of the top 20 firms in the nation (O'Dwyer's), and the two-time reigning Mid-Sized Agency of the Year as designated by the Public Relations Society of America. "Fahlgren Mortine is recognized as a leader in the industry," said The Shipyard founder and CEO Rick Milenthal. "With our shared values, combined resources and a galvanizing mission of 'Engineering Brand Love' wherever audiences consume media, we are creating the leading independent platform in the country that creates great value for our clients."The Shipyard will maintain the Fahlgren Mortine brand, which will now have access to expanded media buying volume, creative firepower and data and analytics resources.The combined company represents $350 Million in billings, with 400 professionals and 10 offices throughout the country. The companies already share clients in addition to B2C and B2B industry expertise in tourism and economic development, financial services, consumer products, energy, retail, building products, logistics, technology and healthcare.Fahlgren Mortine leadership remains in place with CEO Neil Mortine, and Marty McDonald, who was named president in 2022. Neil Mortine will also be named vice chairman for The Shipyard and Christine Turner will continue as president of TURNER, a subsidiary brand of Fahlgren Mortine since 2014. TURNER focuses on integrated communications for travel, tourism and active lifestyle brands with offices in New York City, Denver and Chicago. Mortine confirmed: "We are certain this is the right next move for Fahlgren Mortine. We complement each other's strengths and specialties with a shared love for our community, bold national vision, and a commitment to doing work that makes a difference."Fahlgren Mortine was previously owned by Eastport Holdings, a leading communications network, which acquired the firm in 2018.The Shipyard announced last August a minority investment from Alaris Equity Partners which provided funding for this strategic investment in growth.

Gregory FCA acquires BackBay Communications, forging a financial PR powerhouse

Gregory FCA, one of the top 40 largest public relations firms in the US, has acquired BackBay Communications, a specialized financial strategic communications agency with offices in Boston and London. Based on O'Dwyer's 2024 ranking of financial PR firms, the deal creates the country’s sixth largest financially focused strategic communications firm.The BackBay acquisition is part of Gregory FCA's broader growth strategy and its third acquisition with minority investor Copley Equity Partners. The deal adds to Gregory FCA’s deep bench of financial expertise with a stable of public relations and content professionals, including former journalists and analysts from The New York Times, Money, S&P Global, Celent, and American Banker.“Talent wins,” says Greg Matusky, CEO and Founder of Gregory FCA. “While AI promises to disrupt our industry, talent is still the key driver. Complementing our award-winning, industry-recognized team, BackBay brings an impressive lineup of the brightest minds in strategic communications. We welcome BackBay into our verticalized practice, serving financial services, technology, real estate, healthcare, supply chain, nonprofit, and sustainability clients.”For BackBay, the move provides an expanded suite of offerings through Gregory FCA's investor relations, creative services, and digital marketing capabilities. In addition, BackBay gains access to Gregory FCA’s portfolio of AI tools designed to add efficiencies to agency workflows and amplify client outcomes.BackBay will continue to operate under its trade name, with founder and CEO Bill Haynes leading the 27-person BackBay team as Executive Vice President and Managing Director. Haynes joins Gregory FCA’s New York Managing Director Brittany Bevacqua and newly elevated Chief Operating Officer Brittany Liberatore on the leadership team alongside Matusky and agency co-owner, President and head of Gregory FCA’s financial services division, Joe Anthony.“We are proud of the culture, client base, and firm we have built at BackBay, so it was imperative for us to find a partner that shares our focus, approach, and values. We found that and more in Gregory FCA,” says Haynes. “The acquisition will provide enhanced career opportunities for our team members and additional value-added services for our clients, including Gregory FCA’s pioneering AI-enhanced workflows and its creative center of excellence. We are bringing together the best in the business to usher in the next era of strategic communications for financial services companies.”Both agencies have played significant leadership roles in the financial agency landscape, and their combined expertise positions the firm to handle large-scale clients and those operating in the more nuanced segments of the market. Companies within the wealth management, asset management, private equity, private credit, fintech, wealthtech, insurance, capital markets, banking, sustainable investing, and digital asset sectors will now have an even stronger lineup of experienced, qualified professionals to lead and execute their strategic marketing and communications programs.“BackBay and Gregory FCA are operating with a shared vision for the future, one that brings better strategic and tactical execution to our clients and career opportunities for our people,” says Anthony. “We have led with the approach that industry-specific knowledge is the power we need to make an outsized impact for clients. Our combination with Bill and his team allows us to deliver on that promise to an even greater extent.”In addition to the acquisition of BackBay, Gregory FCA has continued to fuel growth through the effective and responsible use of AI, establishing itself as a thought leader in AI's transformative impact on human communications. The firm's first-mover position in AI development, testing, training, and deployment, and its passion to share its conclusions and findings with the broader communications sector, has led to industry-wide recognition and increased demand for its PR and marketing services. Gregory FCA was recently named to the 2024 Observer Tech & AI Power Player List, honored as a 2023 PR News Top 100 Agency Elite, and was the first-ever recipient of the PRSA Pepperpot Award for AI.

Finn Partners strengthens APAC leadership with key promotions

Finn Partners, a global integrated marketing and communications agency, has announced significant leadership changes in the Asia Pacific region. These moves aim to solidify their presence and drive further growth.Previously a senior partner, Annouchka Behrmann has been instrumental in securing new clients for Finn's Hong Kong office since joining in 2023. Now, as the new Managing Partner, she'll lead the agency's Hong Kong operations. Her focus will be twofold:Strengthening Finn's position in key sectors like travel & tourism, hospitality, design, wellness, and luxury.Expanding service offerings, particularly in corporate communications and purpose-driven campaigns.Behrmann reports to Howard Solomon, the founding partner overseeing Asia for Finn Partners.Cathy Feliciano-Chon, previously a Managing Director, will now focus on propelling business development, brand strategy, and thought leadership initiatives across the entire Asia Pacific region. Since joining Finn in 2019, she's played a key role in establishing Finn as a leading global travel & tourism agency and managing a portfolio of prestigious brands.Feliciano-Chon reports to both Solomon and Peter Finn, the agency's CEO and founding managing partner."Cathy's expanded role strengthens our regional leadership and positions us for long-term, sustainable growth across APAC," said Solomon, highlighting her extensive experience, proven leadership, and vast network as invaluable assets.Peter Finn acknowledges the crucial role strong leadership plays in their phenomenal growth across Asia. He emphasizes the unparalleled market knowledge and exceptional client service offered by Cathy, Annouchka, and their fellow Asia Pacific leaders.Finn concludes by highlighting Finn Partners' advantages:Extensive regional presenceDeep expertise across various sectors"One Finn" model – providing integrated, full-service solutions with agility and collaborationThese strengths, according to Finn, position them perfectly as the go-to agency for clients seeking top-tier marketing communications solutions.

OpenAI unveils upgraded AI model GPT-4o

OpenAI has unveiled a major upgrade to its flagship generative AI technology, GPT-4o. This advanced model, freely available to all, offers enhanced human-like capabilities in understanding and responding to user prompts across voice, text, and image formats.A key highlight is the free availability of GPT-4o to all users. This move reflects OpenAI's commitment to democratizing access to advanced AI tools. Paid tiers will offer additional benefits, but the core functionality is freely available."We are thrilled to bring the power of GPT-4o to a wider audience. This advancement represents a significant leap forward in natural language processing and human-computer interaction" said  OpenAI CTO Mira MuratiThe launch comes amidst a period of rapid innovation in the AI field. OpenAI highlighted its focus on responsible development and collaboration within the industry.GPT-4o's New CapabilitiesThe new model boasts several improvements over its predecessor:Multimodal Understanding: GPT-4o can process information from voice recordings, text prompts, and images.Enhanced Conversation Skills: The model can engage in natural, human-like conversations, including humour and banter.Multilingual Support: GPT-4o sets new standards for understanding and responding in multiple languages.Advanced Problem-Solving: The model can assist with tasks like code generation and complex problem-solving.The FutureOpenAI showcased GPT-4o's capabilities through a live demonstration. The model interpreted user requests, translated languages, and even offered assistance with technical problems.While the focus remains on core AI advancements, OpenAI acknowledges the evolving landscape of generative AI applications. The company emphasized its commitment to responsible development and collaboration within the industry.The launch of GPT-4o underscores the rapid advancements in generative AI. OpenAI remains committed to responsible development and exploring new ways to leverage this technology for positive impact.

Arkreach unveils first contextual media sentiment analysis for communicators

Arkreach, an India-based communications analytics product company that was launched in December 2023 is paving the way in the media world by revolutionising communication analysis with its new AI-powered feature for Contextual Sentiment Analysis. The feature, part of its 4 advanced modules, is developed using a Large Language Model (LLM) – which is trained on a staggering corpus of 60 million articles in over 50 languages – allows communication professionals worldwide to analyse contextual sentiment with unprecedented precision, focusing on specific entities like brand mentions, topics and key spokespeople across multiple languages. Contextual Sentiment plays a vital role in communications where it becomes imminent in recognizing the right tonality to plan and strategize for the issue of interest rather than to work with the basic sentiment of the article. With progress in AI-enabled analysis, this feature launched by Arkreachuses cutting-edge frameworks and tools to help communication analysts and planners across PR agencies and brands access this never-before-available insight. Leveraging its expansive database, available in diverse languages from across the globe – ranging from Sub-Saharan African Swahili, Somali, and Amharic, to Japanese, Cantonese, Kazakh, Gujarati, Marathi, and Hindi in Asia – the latest feature assists in collating accurate contextual insights. Commenting on the success of the new AI feature launch, Mr Vishal Sharma, Chief Strategy Officer at Arkreach, noted, “In the digital era, communications metrics must evolve – the global PR software and media intelligence market is expected to be worth US$17,569 million by 2027, indicating a massive utilisation of the technology advancements. Arkreach's Contextual Sentiment Analysis, powered by Artificial Intelligence, seeks to revolutionise the field of communications analytics. This novel approach transcends conventional metrics by incorporating granular, context-specific understanding derived from News Consumption Behavioural Data.”Commenting on the feature reveal, Mr Neeraj Kumar, Chief Technology Officer, Arkreach, noted, “The significance of contextual sentiment analysis, for a long time, had remained secluded in the conventional tools. Arkreach gives you pinpoint-accurate sentiment on any issue, but that's not all. It also decodes the WHY behind the context. For clients, this translates into rocket-fueled communication strategies ”Presently spanning diverse geographies across US, the UK, Australia, and Europe, Arkreach is poised to enhance its presence by concentrating on partnerships across India and Europe over the next 6 months.

Excellera acquires Barabino & Partners

Barabino & Partners, the corporate and financial communications giant in Italy, has joined forces with Excellera Advisory Group, a rising star in corporate affairs consulting backed by Xenon Private Equity.Launched in November 2022 through the merger of Cattaneo Zanetto Pomposo & Co. (public affairs) and Community (communications and reputation management), Excellera has been on a growth trajectory. Acquisitions of Public Affairs Advisors and Value Relations in the past year solidified their position. With €25 million in fees and a team of 170 spread across Rome, Milan, and Brussels, Excellera was already making waves.This acquisition more than doubles Excellera's size, reaching €60 million and solidifying their leadership in financial communications and M&A. Barabino, ranked number one in M&A communications for Italy (by deal volume) by Mergermarket last year, brings immense expertise.The acquisition expands Excellera's geographical footprint significantly. Barabino's international network adds offices in London, New York, Berlin, Munich, and Paris, complementing Excellera's Italian presence with a Genoa office.Founded in 1985 by Luca Barabino, the company will continue to operate under its own brand, just like other Excellera entities. Luca Barabino remains CEO, and Federico Steiner retains his role as General Manager. Both join the Excellera board."Excellera becomes a central hub for any global company seeking comprehensive support in Italy," says Paolo Zanetto, (pictured), CEO of Excellera. "We offer corporate, financial, brand, communication, and governance affairs expertise, along with reputation building. Our international network empowers us to guide Italian companies in their global expansion."Franco Prestigiacomo (Xenon founding partner) and Gianfranco Piras (Xenon partner and Excellera chairman) highlight the impressive growth: "In just over a year, Excellera has achieved a 14% revenue increase, welcomed valuable additions, and now takes a major step forward with Barabino & Partners."

Bacchus GCC launches corporate, real estate division, headed by Karim Geadah

Bacchus Agency, a creative communications and digital marketing agency, has launched its corporate and real estate division for the GCC region, led by Karim Geadah, a seasoned PR professional and newest addition to its team, who has joined as Associate Director.  Karim will work with GCC lead, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President, Fiona Wishart overseen by Bacchus Co-Founder Anouschka Menzies.Karim Geadah brings with him over 13 years of experience in public relations across a diverse range of sectors including real estate/property, fintech, finance, cryptocurrencies, luxury lifestyle, automotive, hospitality, aviation, and technology. Throughout his career, Karim has consistently demonstrated his ability to elevate the brands of his clients and deliver exceptional results.With a strong focus on the UAE and KSA markets, Karim's expertise lies in team and client management, business development, strategic planning, crisis communications, content development, media relations, and event management. His wealth of experience has been instrumental in managing high-profile clients over the last decade, including Savills Middle East, Binghatti, OMNIYAT, Uber, Careem, Astra Tech/Botim, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and Turkish Airlines, among others.From Bacchus’ Dubai office, Karim will work with clients including Discovery Dunes, 888 Brickell by Dolce & Gabbana, SHA Emirates and Lamar Development as well as key Giga projects in KSA.Bacchus Agency boasts a rich history of collaborating with real estate clients on a global scale. Leveraging their profound understanding of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) behaviour and the agency's expansive global presence, Bacchus has secured prestigious projects such as The WELL Bay Harbor, an innovative urban wellness community set to debut in December 2024 in Miami in partnership with real estate developers Terra, and The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria, one of Manhattan's most eagerly anticipated residential developments on Park Avenue. Strengthening their portfolio, Bacchus maintains a longstanding relationship with British Land, further enhancing their roster of property clients, which include Chelsea Barracks by Qatari Diar, Lamar Development in Dubai, and the expansion of US-based design and hospitality brand RH into the UK and Europe.“We are delighted to introduce Bacchus' Corporate and Real Estate Division in the GCC," said Anouschka Menzies, Co-Founder of Bacchus Agency. "Karim's exceptional experience and deep understanding of the regional market make him the ideal candidate to spearhead this new department. We are confident that his leadership will further strengthen Bacchus' position as a trusted partner for brands seeking strategic communication solutions in the GCC."In his new role, Karim will be responsible for driving the local division's growth strategy, working alongside Global lead Andrea Covington, expanding Bacchus' footprint in the corporate and real estate sectors, and delivering innovative campaigns tailored to the unique needs of clients in these industries."I am honoured to lead Bacchus' Corporate and Real Estate Division and excited for the opportunities that lie ahead," said Karim Geadah. "The GCC region is witnessing rapid growth in the corporate and real estate sectors, and I look forward to leveraging Bacchus' expertise and resources to help our clients navigate this dynamic landscape and achieve their communication objectives."

Rajalakshmi Azaraih joins Lupin India & Global as VP & Head of Communications

Rajalakshmi Azaraih has joined Lupin India & Global as the Vice President & Head of Communications. She started her career in Ramco Systems as a Corporate Communications Executive, later assuming the position of Senior Marketing Communications Executive at Tata Elxsi. She held the position of Senior Account Director at Avian We, besides serving in Mudra Communication, Genesis BCW, Professional Aptitude Council Inc, The PRactice. She was the Group Head at Adfactors PR and the General Manager, Corporate Communications at Himalaya Wellness Company. She worked in DIAGEO India as the Senior General Manager, Corporate & Brand Communications. She is an alumnus of Thiagarajar School of Management and has been contributing to the industry of Strategic Communications for more than two decades, working across sectors like pharma, healthcare, automotive, and technology. She has keen prowess in curating purpose-driven narratives that resonate, forging and sustaining reputation of the brand. Her expertise also lies in digital marketing, where she leverages full-funnel marketing approaches for driving measurable business results which add value to the world. She also oversees managing PR-related crises skillfully, advocating ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) accomplishments and encouraging multicultural partnership. A mentor, she believes in the empowerment of teams for reaching their potential, and seeking collaborations where strategic communications can be fueling growth, making impactful change.

Razor PR, UJ forge partnership to shape future-ready strategic communicators

Razor PR, the globally award-winning public relations and reputation management agency of M&C Saatchi Group South Africa, and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have agreed to a multi-year partnership to address the future skills needed by strategic communications graduates entering the working world.As part of this agreement, Razor will provide select graduate placement opportunities for top students in the Strategic Communication Honours programme. In addition, the agreement is geared toward helping enhance the University’s Applied Strategic Communication Honours Module.“We all accept that we don’t yet know the jobs we will need to deliver on in the future. But we can’t wait to figure out what solutions we can co-create. We need to work together to reframe and refocus what the specific skill needs should be. At its heart, this is a partnership geared at closing the divide between the academic world and the working world as we get ready for this future,” said Dustin Chick, Partner & Managing Director at Razor PR. "We’re very excited to be partnering with Razor PR. Working with our colleagues who are actively practicing in the world of communication means that we will help produce graduates who are fit for their future world of work when they leave university,” said UJ Associate Professor, Prof Rene Benecke.The formalisation of this successful partnership was marked today with the signing of the agreement at the office of the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof Kammila Naidoo. The agreement signifies a shared commitment to elevating the academic standard of the University and enhancing the strategic communication module.Under the terms of the MoU, both Razor and UJ will engage in academic cooperation and collaboration through internships, job shadowing, teaching and learning programmes, research and development initiatives, as well as student and lecturer programmes. This collaborative effort aims to make the module more practical and relevant to the dynamic PR/Marketing/Communication sector.The agreement reflects a dedication to establishing the University of Johannesburg as a centre of excellence for Strategic Communication, particularly in Southern Africa. The partnership seeks to institutionalise deep collaboration, ensuring that it transcends individual interactions and becomes an integral part of the strategic and operational framework of the module.Key strategic priorities outlined in this partnership include promoting the module to incorporate industry-focused insights and needs, fostering innovation and efficiency within the applied strategic communications programme, and providing additional resources to support the module's objectives."We are thrilled to formalise our partnership with the University of Johannesburg. This collaboration underscores our shared commitment to advancing the field of strategic communications and nurturing the next generation of industry leaders," said Jacques Burger, Partner and Group CEO at the M&C Saatchi Group South Africa.The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Prof Kammila Naidoo echoed this, saying, "This agreement represents a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance the academic offerings and industry relevance of our applied strategic communication module. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with Razor.”

Echo Research acquires Reputation Dividend

Echo Research, the leading global research agency specializing in reputation insight, benchmarking, and intelligence, announces its acquisition of Reputation Dividend, the foremost authority in valuing intangible reputational assets for listed companies worldwide. This strategic move strengthens Echo Research's ability to deliver comprehensive, board-ready reputational intelligence solutions to its global clientele.The Reputation Dividend analytical suite assesses an enterprise's intangible reputation value separately from operational and financial metrics, quantifying the external factors shaping this value. This empowers organizations to refine messaging priorities for maximum positive impact on shareholders.With over three decades of combined experience in reputation measurement and analysis, Echo Research and Reputation Dividend offer unmatched expertise and innovative solutions to navigate the intricate terrain of corporate reputation. The acquisition encompasses the name, IP, proprietary methodology, and extensive reputational data spanning more than 700 S&P and FTSE-listed companies since 2009.Sandra Macleod, CEO of Echo Research, stated, "We are delighted to welcome Reputation Dividend to the Echo Research family, alongside Britain’s Most Admired Companies Study. This strategic addition aligns perfectly with our mission to equip organizations with actionable insights to fortify their reputation and drive business success. By integrating Reputation Dividend's expertise, we offer clients deeper insights and strategic guidance to manage and safeguard their reputation effectively."Ray Jordan, senior communications leader in the health care industry, said: "I have deployed Echo’s reputation valuation analysis for many years in my role as past chief communications officer at Johnson & Johnson and Amgen . The insights helped me focus senior leadership and my corporate affairs teams on the most constructive messaging to bolster shareholder value, helping to drive measurable gains in reputation scores and market capitalization for each company during my tenure.”Reputation Dividend pioneered the assessment of reputation's intangible value, which on average contributes 30% to market capitalization. Macleod added: "By integrating Reputation Dividend’s methodologies with Echo Research's suite, we anticipate delivering even greater value to clients seeking to unlock their reputation capital."

Communication gap threatens cybersecurity posture

New research from FTI Consulting's strategic communications segment exposes a critical vulnerability at the heart of many organisations' cybersecurity posture: a communication gap between CISOs and the C-suite.The report, titled "CISO Redefined: Navigating C-Suite Perceptions & Expectations," reveals a concerning disconnect. Despite cybersecurity rising in prominence as a business priority, many senior leaders believe their Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) are failing to effectively communicate the true extent of cyber risk. This potential lack of trust between executives and security teams could leave organizations dangerously exposed to attack.Key Findings:Despite heightened awareness of cyber threats, a communication chasm exists between CISOs and C-suite executives.Some senior leaders perceive CISOs as downplaying risks or hesitating to raise critical vulnerabilities, hindering trust.Executives overwhelmingly support additional training programs to enhance CISO communication skills.FTI Consulting's Digital & Insights team surveyed n=787 C-suite executives and n=165 CISOs (previously surveyed) at organizations with 500+ employees across various industries.The Growing Disconnect:Increased cyber incidents (90% experienced an incident in the last year) lead to heightened scrutiny from all stakeholders.CISO decision-making power has grown significantly (87% of executives reported an increase), highlighting the evolving threat landscape.However, a third of executives perceive CISOs as downplaying risks or lacking transparency on vulnerabilities.Nearly half (40%) believe CISOs are not fully prepared to communicate with key stakeholders.Closing the Gap:Both CISOs and executives recognize the need for improved communication. Executives overwhelmingly support increased funding for CISO communications training (98%).

VML’s Former Head of Corp Comm, Rohini Saldanha launches The PR Stop

VML’s Former Head of Corporate Communications, Rohini Saldanha has announced the launch of The PR Stop., a public relations firm that will provide comprehensive public relations and communications solutions to clients across various industries. Recognising the transformative power of strategic communication in shaping brand perception and driving organizational success, The PR Stop. Is a one-stop brand communications company that will enable businesses to effectively reach their target audiences and drive growth while carving a niche for themselves in a dynamic business landscape.With a strong track record of building individual and company brand identities, shaping brand narratives, and an extensive network of industry contacts, Founder Rohini Saldanha brings a wealth of experience, expertise, and capabilities to her new venture. Having built her career as a turnaround specialist in the media and communications industry, Rohini has held leadership positions in public relations and marketing communications for over 18 years earning the trust of clients in diverse verticals such as corporate, lifestyle, consumer, media, and entertainment. Her belief in the importance of brands connecting with consumers authentically drives her to utilize PR as a powerful tool for competitive advantage, emphasizing the need for evolving content strategies to stay relevant in changing consumer behaviours.On launching her own company, Rohini Saldanha said, “Simply put it was the right time. I have been toying with the idea of officially launching my own company for a while now. The final nudge came when an editor friend of mine reached out to me regarding a client I represent and asked me to regularly update them with my client roster. That got me thinking that it was vital for me to promote my business as I was doing myself (and others) a disservice by lying low. I guess the initial hesitance came from a place of not wanting to put the cart before the horse. However, having had clients signed on as retainers with me since August 2023, I thought it was the opportune time to ‘pull out all the stops’ in making my company official as my business is expanding.”Rohini further added, “I was initially considering using my name as the company name but besides the fact that it looks pretentious, I wanted a brand name that was simple, easy to remember, and descriptive of my offerings as a business. My advice to most clients is that there should not be any conflict between you and the brand that you represent. You are the brand and over time you should become synonymous with it which is the ultimate litmus test. That is my intention with The PR Stop., where the work I have undertaken and will undertake for my clients reflects my craft, capabilities, and passion for strategic communications. So, whether you sign up with Rohini Saldanha or The PR Stop., it is essentially the same thing.”The PR Stop. offers a range of services, including content development, media relations, crisis management, brand positioning, and strategic counsel. The company's current portfolio includes clients from various sectors including creative, branding, recruitment, and DE&I.

Ayatiworks enters Delhi NCR, teams with Kreasense & Avance PR for brand boost

Ayatiworks Technologies, a frontrunner in digital marketing and strategic planning, is proud to announce its strategic expansion into Delhi NCR, marking a significant milestone in the company's journey. This expansion is complemented by a powerful partnership with Kreasense, a leader in branding, and Avance PR, renowned for its expertise in public relations. Together, they aim to redefine brand innovation and digital solutions beyond traditional marketing paradigms.Ayatiworks Technologies is a digital technology company that specializes in crafting impactful digital presences for brands. Known for its insightful planning and strategizing, Ayatiworks helps brands navigate the virtual marketing ecosystem effectively, creating distinctive digital properties that resonate with their target audience.Kreasense is a new-age branding company focused on crafting unique brand identities and narratives. With a blend of creativity and strategic insight, Kreasense helps brands establish a strong presence in today's competitive market landscape.Avance PR is a full-service PR firm with a focus on business communications and influencer connections. Serving a diverse range of clients, including early-stage startups and unicorn companies, Avance PR excels in delivering highly effective campaigns that drive traction and enhance brand reputation through earned media.Upendran Nandakumar, Founder of Ayatiworks Technologies, expressed his excitement about the expansion, stating, "Our new presence in Delhi NCR is more than just an expansion—it's a strategic enhancement designed to tap into the commercial potential of this region. By bringing our top-tier digital marketing strategies here and partnering with Kreasense and Avance, we are set to redefine innovation and efficiency in brand communication."Balasubramanian, founder of Kreasense, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership: "Joining forces with Ayatiworks and Avance PR allows us to blend our creative branding expertise with cutting-edge digital marketing and strategic public relations. This synergy will undoubtedly lead to innovative solutions that will resonate deeply within the marketplace."Ritika Garg, Founder and CEO at Avance PR, also commented on the collaboration: "This alliance is a powerhouse of creativity and strategic acumen. We are thrilled to integrate our PR expertise with Ayatiworks’ digital strategies and Kreasense’s branding prowess to create dynamic, impactful campaigns that drive brand growth and visibility."The strategic alliance between Ayatiworks, Kreasense, and Avance PR is poised to provide unparalleled services in holistic brand development and intellectual property creation. By leveraging their collective expertise in public relations, brand solutions, and marketing techniques, the three companies are committed to delivering innovative solutions that redefine standards in digital marketing and brand strategy.As Ayatiworks begins its operations in Delhi, NCR, the company is enthusiastic about rolling out new initiatives that will demonstrate its enhanced capabilities. These initiatives are anticipated to set new benchmarks in the industry, underscoring the company’s commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction.

The Fourth Angel and Planet Shine launch Planet Angel

The Fourth Angel, a London-based full-service integrated agency, and Planet Shine, a film production agency, have announced the launch of Planet Angel, a new venture designed to empower brands to tell impactful stories about their positive impact on people and the planet.Planet Angel combines The Fourth Angel's expertise in communications and consulting with Planet Shine's filmmaking prowess to offer brands a comprehensive package. Senior sustainability consultants will guide companies through their sustainability journey, while creative teams craft authentic narratives that align commercial goals with a brand's social and environmental vision. Through multi-channel storytelling and strategic reputation management, Planet Angel brings these positive actions to life."There's a lot of good work being done in sustainability, but there's also been a lot of confusion," said Angie Moxham, Founder of The Fourth Angel. "Customers deserve transparency. Planet Angel helps brands articulate an honest narrative and bring their positive journey to life.""Storytelling, especially through film, is the most effective way to connect with audiences," added Rachel McClelland, Founder of Planet Shine. "We have a window of opportunity to create a better world, and brands can be a powerful force for good."The Fourth Angel was founded in 2018 by Angie Moxham as a full-service PR and communications agency.Established by filmmaker Rachel McClelland, Planet Shine brings a wealth of experience creating films for major brands that prioritize the environment and nature.Through strategic guidance, creative storytelling, and multi-channel communication, Planet Angel helps brands connect with audiences who seek to make a difference.

1 Crowd Onboards Pitchfork Partners as its Communications Partner

1Crowd, an early-stage sector-agnostic VC fund investing and actively supporting early-stage ventures, has announced its partnership with Pitchfork Partners, a leading PR agency renowned for its strategic communication expertise. 1Crowd joins forces with Pitchfork Partners to enhance its brand visibility, effectively communicate the company’s vision, and highlight the success stories within its diverse portfolio of start-ups. Leveraging Pitchfork Partners' proficiency in crafting compelling narratives and communication strategies, 1Crowd further solidifies its mission to amplify its impact and outreach. Sharing his views on the appointment, Jaideep Shergill, Co-founder, Pitchfork Partners, said, “India’s startup ecosystem is among the most revered globally, having shifted drastically in the last decade, creating more unicorns than ever. To keep the momentum going, venture capital funds like 1Crowd are instrumental in propelling the growth of promising startups in India through funding support and mentorship. We believe that our wealth of experience in financial services communications will enable us to foster meaningful discussions across various platforms.” Anup Kuruvilla, Co-founder, 1Crowd, said, "We are delighted to announce our partnership with Pitchfork Partners as our communications counsel. Together, we aim to strengthen our outreach, championing founders and their ventures, as they seek to build their dreams, while creating opportunities in a growing asset class for our community of limited partners. We are committed to nurturing and empowering these ventures, and this partnership marks a significant step forward in our mission to fuel the growth and success of startups across the nation." Anil Gudibande, Co-Founder, 1Crowd, speaking about the onboarding, shared, “We are excited to kickstart our journey with Pitchfork Partners. Through this partnership, we aim to broaden our reach in the ecosystem as we continue to create value by providing risk capital in the early stages of a startup’s evolution, working closely with our limited partners and founders in building lasting organizations. With Pitchfork Partners by our side, we are deepening our impact and amplifying the stories of ingenuity, grit, resilience, and success that define the entrepreneurial spirit.”

London Pride enlists The Academy for Premiership Rugby push

London Pride, the iconic English beer brewed by Asahi Group subsidiary Fuller's, has tapped The Academy to amplify its sponsorship of Premiership Rugby.The agency will create an earned media campaign centered around the brand's "Support with Pride" platform, culminating during Premiership Rugby's finals weekend in June.Andy Box, Local Brands Director for Asahi Group UK, said: “Fuller’s London Pride has a long standing association with English rugby and the Premiership Rugby Final is one of the most important moments in the calendar. It’s a big opportunity for us to celebrate the game and connect with the fans and The Academy were the perfect partner to help us do this.”Mitch Kaye, CEO and co-founder of The Academy, echoed this sentiment. "2024 is a massive year for sport, which was part of our motivation to launch a dedicated sports offering at The Academy. This is a big win and an opportunity to help a brilliant brand make the most of their opportunity within elite rugby.”This appointment follows The Academy's recent expansion into sports and entertainment, with a new head of sport, Sam Beecham, leading the London Pride account. Notably, the agency also secured the UK PR account for Tinder.

TishTash launches corporate communications division

Dubai-based PR and marketing agency TishTash Communications has launched a new corporate communications vertical named TEN by TishTash.The aim is to meet ever-increasing demands from GCC clients to match corporate communications with an authenticity and creative transparency required for a modern media and stakeholder landscape. As stakeholders diversify and grow, so do the role agencies play with their clients. With digital touchpoints at the forefront, combined with a change in consumer appetite and needs, TEN by TishTash works to amplify businesses and brands looking to connect with stakeholders, clients and consumers in a way that fits a brave and diverse new world.Over the past 12 months TishTash has grown their results driven, and impact based corporate communications output with existing clients covering thought leadership, profiling, B2B coverage, events, whitepapers, trade shows and credible sustainability initiatives with Alpha Nero, Kibsons LLC, BSA Law, Beautyworld Middle East and Saudi Arabia, Cityscape, DrinkDry and Taste of Estonia. TEN by TishTash will compound this success by utilising a fresh thinking approach to integrated marketing and PR that utilises the agency's unparalleled understanding of the regional landscape and those who live and work within it across the GCC.TEN by TishTash will be led by Indira Kasaeva, currently holding the role of PR Director at TishTash. Indira brings with her a wealth of experience in the corporate sector and has worked with some of TishTash’s biggest corporate clients to date. Indira will work closely with Kellie Whitehead, Corporate Communications Director at TishTash, in the strategic development of TEN, and Polly Williams, Managing Director of TishTash.“We’ve created some incredible impact with our corporate communications at TishTash over the past 18 months and noticed a growing need for the ‘non-traditionally’ corporate businesses, within the B2C space specifically to have a wider, integrated understanding of up to date, joined up thinking on the capabilities around their stakeholder, employee and consumer messaging” said Polly Williams, Managing Director, TishTash Communications.“Ten by TishTash is the formulation of a specialist division that invites clients to look strategically at matching the role of corporate communications in 2024 and onwards and seeing impact driven results that can blend seamlessly with a B2C offering alongside “ she continued. “ We are excited about this new chapter for our agency, amplifying one of our fastest growing areas in the year ahead and is a much needed addition to the other services we provide.”

Ballou PR announces leadership changes and expands to Spain

Ballou PR, a European PR agency specializing in technology and VC communications, has made a splash with dual announcements.Fiona Houston (pictured) has returned to Ballou PR as the new UK Managing Director. She previously served as an account director before venturing out to Taylor Herring for a year. Houston succeeds Phil Dwyer, who stepped down after five years to pursue other opportunities. Toby Andrews, who joined Ballou in 2021, has also been promoted to Senior Account Director in the London office.Houston expressed her excitement about leading the talented London team and collaborating towards a successful year for Ballou PR. These leadership changes come on the heels of securing new clients like Sumsub, a global identity verification platform, Rialto Ventures, an Italian VC firm, and the Sui Foundation, dedicated to web3 user onboarding.Expanding beyond the UK, Ballou PR announced its fourth European office in Barcelona, Spain. The office will be led by Jörn Dunker, who previously served as the agency's Germany Managing Director. With this addition, Ballou PR boasts a 40-person team across offices in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK.“Spain has grown to become a major part of the venture capital, startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Europe. Over the last months we’ve been in talks with a number of players in the ecosystem, gaining a deep understanding of the criteria and needs of the market. Our ambition is to become a strong local partner for companies wishing to increase their brand awareness and manage their reputation in Spain. In addition, we want to enable Spanish tech companies and startups to not only gain more visibility in their home market but also accelerate in other European markets,” Jörn Dunker, Managing Director, Ballou Spain, said. Colette Ballou, founder and president of the agency, has been closely following the thriving Spanish tech scene. She cites the emergence of prominent local VCs, high-growth companies, and major conferences as factors driving their decision to enter the market. Ballou is eager to contribute to the dynamic Spanish tech ecosystem.

Jajabor joins Evolved Group, unveils India's AD VITAM alliance

Jajabor Brand Consultancy and Evolved Group have partnered to launch a joint venture- AD VITAM. Evolved Group which has worked with some of the leading brands across the globe including Google, YouTube, Unilever, and Under Armour will make its foray into the Indian market with tailor-made offerings with this collaboration. This announcement comes at a time when the India-to-global story is in full swing. This venture aims to further supercharge the India-to-global story by empowering Indian brands with the right tools to dominate the global arena. AD VITAM (which means ‘bringing to life’ in Latin) will combine the best of global best practices led by Evolved along with Jajabor’s deep-rooted hyper-local strategic insights to deliver a market-first communications collective to India’s 571 Bn+ digital media market. The new entity will be based out of India & Melbourne with creative teams spread across Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. This collaboration signifies more than just a partnership; it's a strategic response to the evolving communication needs of Indian brands. AD VITAM will not only draw on global best practices but will also weave in hyper-local insights, ensuring that brands resonate authentically with the diverse and discerning Indian audience.It is India’s first transmedia storytelling alliance that will help brands ideate, conceptualize, design, and execute cohesive stories that work across multiple media platforms. The entity will operate at the intersection of integrated communication, motion graphics, presentation design, and video production. Steve Wylie, Founder of Evolved Group, added, "Indian companies are making a mark in the global arena. We believe that in the coming years, they will be dominating. Our partnership with Jajabor Brand Consultancy is a strategic move to not just meet but exceed the expectations of Indian brands that are growing at a rapid scale. AD VITAM will be a fusion of creativity and strategy, offering a unique blend of global sophistication and local authenticity.”"India is a tapestry of stories waiting to be told, and with AD VITAM, we aim to be the storytellers who understand the nuances of this market. The confluence of global best practices with hyper-local insights is the key to unlocking the full potential of brands in India," said Upasna Dash, Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Jajabor Brand Consultancy.AD VITAM is poised to usher in a new era of brand communication in India, where visual storytelling is not just a necessity but an art form. By combining the strengths of Jajabor Brand Consultancy and Evolved Group, AD VITAM promises to be the catalyst that transforms brands into compelling narratives that resonate across the diverse tapestry of the Indian market.Since its inception in 2017, Jajabor Brand Consultancy (JBC) has operated at the intersection of new-age PR, integrated communication, and digital & new media to deliver business impact for brands by using the power of storytelling.

Deepanshi Tandon ascends to Director role at Edelman ME

Deepanshi Tandon has announced her promotion to Director at Edelman Middle East (ME). This elevation comes as a testament to Tandon's dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to excellence in her field.Tandon's journey with Edelman ME began just over a year ago when she made the strategic decision to transition from her role as a Brand Director to join the dynamic team at Edelman. Despite initially stepping into the role of Associate Director, Tandon's determination and passion for her work propelled her forward, leading to this well-deserved promotion.Reflecting on her career progression, Tandon shared, "Nothing matters in the long run—one’s work speaks for itself." Her belief in the power of hard work and continuous learning has been evident throughout her tenure at Edelman ME. Embracing the challenge of navigating a new market, Tandon seized the opportunity to expand her expertise and unlock the potential of the Middle East region.With a global mindset and a knack for thriving in cross-cultural environments, Tandon finds inspiration in the diverse perspectives and styles brought forth by colleagues from various nationalities. This rich tapestry of experiences enhances her ability to deliver exceptional results for Edelman's roster of clients.As she steps into her new role as Director, Tandon is poised to lead with vision and drive, leveraging her wealth of experience and expertise to propel Edelman ME to new heights. With an exciting future ahead, Tandon looks forward to continuing her journey of professional growth and making impactful contributions to Edelman's success.

The Sleep Company on-boards SGA PR as communications partner

 SGA PR, one of the fastest growing consultancies in India to offer new-age business-oriented communications services, has announced a partnership with The Sleep Company (TSC), a leading Comfort-tech brand thereby further strengthening the former’s position in the D2C brand communications space. SGA PR will be a strategic partner for TSC, managing all aspects of their communications strategy as it steers the brand through their next phase of big leap growth. TSC, is one of the fastest growing comfort-tech companies that aims to provide innovative sleeping and sitting solutions, thereby disrupting the D2C market with its science backed range of product portfolio. SGA PR has now created a distinction as being one of the few consultancies in the country that offers ‘Go-To- Market’ communications solution for a wide range of companies across traditional and new economy sectors like D2C, FinTech, HealthTech, B2B Saas, Web 3.0 and Blockchain among others. “We are thrilled to welcome The Sleep Company into the SGA PR family,” says Rahul Jain, Partner & Jt. CEO, SGA PR. “TSC's dedication to provide world class comfort-tech solutions and their commitment to growth aligns perfectly with our expertise in crafting innovative, creative and engaging communication strategies for consumers. SGA PR understands the unique challenges and opportunities faced by D2C brands and we leverage our knowledge to create bespoke communications programs that resonate with target audiences.” India's D2C market is experiencing exponential growth and is projected to reach a staggering $100 billion by 2025. This surge positions India as the world's third-largest online shopping base, fueled by a tech-savvy population and a growing desire for convenience. TSC, an example of this D2C boom, is well-poised to become one of India’s most preferred consumer brands. Ripal Chopda, CMO of The Sleep Company, expressed enthusiasm saying “SGA PR impressed us with their strategic thinking and creative consumer-focused approach. We believe they are the ideal partner to help us communicate our exciting next chapter of growth and solidify our position as a leading comfort-tech brand.”

Salary survey points to gender gap in the communications industry

The Indian Communicators Group (ICG) has released its 2024 Salary Survey Report, a comprehensive analysis of salary trends within the communications industry. This report, spearheaded by industry experts Shashank Bharadwaj and Nanda Padmanabhan, marks a significant milestone in addressing the longstanding absence of standardized benchmarks for roles and compensation in the field. The 2024 ICG Salary Survey Report is the culmination of extensive research conducted among approximately 700 in-house communications professionals, representing a diverse range of sectors and industries. Through a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, the survey provides valuable insights into salary ranges, job satisfaction, and gender trends within the industry. Key findings from the report include:  The median salary for in-house communications professionals across experience ranges stands at Rs.35L, with notable disparities between male and female salaries.  Salary satisfaction is closely correlated with income levels, with higher salaries leading to increased job satisfaction.Women in the communications field face challenges related to gender parity, with fewer women in senior roles and a decline in representation as experience levels increase.   While more young women enter the workforce, they are paid significantly less than men at similar experience levels. However, the pay gap narrows at higher experience levels.  The majority of respondents believe agency salaries fall short of in-house salaries for comparable roles.Communication professionals identified language & communication skills, relationship management, and domain expertise as the most crucial skillsets.The 2024 ICG Salary Survey Report not only sheds light on current compensation trends but also serves as a guiding tool for professionals to advocate for fair recognition and compensation within the industry. With a focus on empowering individuals to navigate their career trajectories effectively, this report is a valuable resource for communication professionals seeking to understand and benchmark their worth in the field.

LG Electronics India Awards External Communications Mandate to Avian WE

LG Electronics, one of the leading consumer durable brands in India, has selected Avian WE as its external communications partner in India. Avian WE will spearhead comprehensive communication strategies aimed at elevating awareness of LG's corporate initiatives, including its technological prowess, corporate social responsibility (CSR) endeavors, and employer branding efforts. Through multi-channel communication, Avian WE will showcase LG's commitment to innovation, sustainability, and community engagement, further solidifying its position as a leader in the market.Commenting on the appointment, Jae Hyung Jun, Head Corporate Marketing at LG Electronics India, emphasized the brand's enduring commitment and vision for the Indian market. He stated, “At LG, our presence in India goes beyond delivering exceptional technology products; we believe in communicating and demonstrating the power of optimism as a way to make life better for our customers around the world. We are excited to collaborate with Avian WE to amplify our narrative reflecting our steadfast dedication to innovation and customer-centricity and also conveying the message Life’s Good to customers, inspiring and encouraging them to approach life with an optimistic attitude.”Talking about the selection process, he added, “The competition among the chosen agencies was fierce, but Avian WE's alignment with LG's core values and vision ultimately tipped the scales in their favour. We look forward to partnering with Avian WE to craft a tailored strategy that will resonate with our target audience and propel us towards achieving our objectives in India.”Commenting on the partnership, Neha Mehrotra, Managing Director of Avian WE, said, “We are excited to partner with LG and expand Avian WE's technology portfolio through creative thinking and inventive collaboration. LG, a global leader in consumer technology products, is dedicated to enhancing lives through innovation. We're committed to leveraging our expertise for impactful storytelling, ensuring LG's message resonates across all platforms.”Avian WE’s appointment is the result of a rigorous selection process, which included evaluating various capabilities and expertise of leading PR firms in India.

AI: A Game-Changer for Crisis Communication in a Fast-Paced World

Authored by Jyotsna Dash Nanda, AVP, Corporate Communications, DS GroupThe ever-shrinking window for effective crisis response demands a paradigm shift in communication strategies. Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing crisis management with its generative power. Throughout all phases of a crisis, from proactively assessing risks to expediting response and optimizing recovery, AI offers data-driven solutions that can be harnessed for significant improvement.The exploration of AI's application in crisis communication is not only opportune but essential, particularly in an age characterized by increasingly compressed response windows during crises. In the age of information overload, vast amounts of data are readily available. Big data encompasses information in various formats, from structured databases to social media posts and sensor readings. This data requires advanced tools for processing and analysis. Crisis communication professionals can leverage AI to analyse the data to gain a comprehensive understanding of a developing crisis in real time. By analyzing social media feeds, news reports, and sensor networks, they can pinpoint the affected areas and demographics, allowing for targeted communication strategies. Additionally, AI allows for monitoring public sentiment through social media analysis. This reveals anxieties and concerns, enabling tailored messaging and swift action against misinformation. Predictive analytics, a powerful AI application, can also analyze historical data to identify potential crises before they erupt. This empowers organizations and corporate communicators to take proactive measures, mitigating potential damage and fostering preparedness.Furthermore, AI-powered audience segmentation allows for targeted communication strategies. By analyzing data on demographics and past interactions, organizations can tailor messages to resonate directly with those most affected. This ensures crucial information reaches the right people at the right time.AI offers a robust suite of functionalities that enhance crisis communication on multiple fronts. Chatbots powered by AI can provide 24/7 information and support to affected individuals, alleviating pressure on call centers. Additionally, AI can automate the generation of targeted messages for various platforms, ensuring consistent and timely communication across all channels.Social media analysis is another area where AI shines. By analyzing public sentiment, AI can reveal anxieties and concerns, enabling organizations to tailor messaging and swiftly counter misinformation. This fosters trust and transparency, critical elements in crisis communication.Beyond the Data, the Human Element is very important. While AI offers significant advantages, it's crucial to acknowledge the unique role of human expertise. AI may struggle to grasp the emotional nuances of a crisis. Human communicators can tailor messages with empathy and understanding, a crucial element in building trust with the public. Crises often demand complex decisions that require human judgment. AI can provide valuable data-driven insights, but ultimately, humans must make the final call. Transparency and accountability are paramount throughout the process. Organizations must be upfront about their use of AI and build trust with the public.Generative AI allows us to move beyond traditional methods and develop data-driven communication strategies. Predictive analytics, a powerful AI application, can analyze historical data and identify potential crisis situations before they erupt. This empowers organizations to take proactive measures, mitigating potential damage and fostering preparedness. Furthermore, AI-powered audience segmentation helps tailor communication to specific demographics, ensuring messages resonate directly with those most affected.Discussions around AI in crisis communication highlight both its potential and the challenges it presents. Indian case studies, showcasing real-world applications, are scarce, but ongoing research is bridging this gap. AI in crisis communication extends beyond its immediate applications. We must consider its broader societal impact. Reskilling and upskilling initiatives are crucial to prepare the workforce for the changing landscape of AI automation. Additionally, the need for training spokespersons in using AI tools like Perplexity and Yoddle is emphasized. These tools can assist with crafting compelling narratives and managing communication flow during a crisis.Some of the other considerations include the challenges of data analysis, inherent data bias, security concerns, limitations in emotional intelligence, and transparency issues. Additionally, security concerns surrounding data privacy and misuse necessitate robust data protection regulations. Additionally, AI's limitations in emotional intelligence must be acknowledged. While AI excels at data analysis, it cannot replicate human empathy. Effective crisis communication requires a human touch to convey sincerity and build trust.By combining human expertise with AI's rapid analysis capabilities, organizations and communication professionals can significantly accelerate critical decision-making during a crisis. AI presents a transformative opportunity for crisis communication. By harnessing its power to generate data-driven strategies and fostering responsible development, organizations can navigate crises with greater agility and effectiveness. By acknowledging both the potential and the challenges, we can ensure AI becomes a force for good, building trust and fostering resilience in a rapidly changing world.

Layer PR launches ‘Startup Program’ to support startups, small businesses

Layer PR, a new-age public relations (PR) agency and subsidiary of TechGraph, an online technology and business news media company, has announced the launch of its ‘Startup Program’ for startups, and small businesses working across the globe in a bid to enhance the global reach and brand presence of emerging businesses.As a part of the programme, participants will receive an exclusive discount exceeding 50% on PR services for one year. Additionally, they will gain access to a dedicated PR specialist, personalized guidance customized to their unique requirements, crisis management assistance, comprehensive media training, and more.Krishna Mali, Co-Founder & CEO, Layer PR, said: "The startup ecosystem is brimming with brilliant minds and ground-breaking concepts. At Layer PR, we're committed to fueling that entrepreneurial fire by providing founders with the strategic communications guidance and resources they need to cut through the noise. Our startup program isn't just about securing media coverage; it's about crafting a compelling narrative that resonates with investors, partners, and customers alike. As Layer PR is a TechGraph company, we have witnessed the struggles of a startup when it comes to PR, so this is a personal mission as well. We're proud to play a part in amplifying startup success stories."Shanaz Khan, Co-Founder & COO, Layer PR, said: "Our Startup Program is crafted to empower startups and small businesses by furnishing them with the requisite support and resources for success. We firmly believe that every entrepreneur merits the opportunity to cultivate a thriving brand, and our program endeavors to facilitate this journey.""At Layer PR, we're committed to empowering the upcoming wave of entrepreneurs and disruptors. Our Startup Program is designed to give ambitious founders a powerful launchpad to amplify their brand's story and drive real business impact," said Prutha Rupareliya, PR Lead, Layer PR. "It is not limited to startups only, small businesses, incubators, accelerators, VCs, and office space providers can also be a part of our program. We're dedicated to being a catalyst for the company's growth and success at every stage by integrating exceptional PR skills with exclusive pricing and resources designed for their journey," Rupareliya further added.Layer PR currently operates from offices in London, Mumbai, and Delhi, with dedicated professionals working virtually across continents.

Next Practices Group invests in Williams Nicolson, marking global expansion

Next Practices Group (NPG), an investor specializing in founder-led data, technology, and communications companies, has announced its first investment outside North America. The group has acquired a minority stake in Williams Nicolson, a strategic communications and change management consultancy based in the UK.Founded in 2021 by industry veterans Steffan Williams (formerly of Portland and Porta) and Louise Nicolson (formerly of Newgate), Williams Nicolson boasts a team of 17 experts. NPG, established three years ago and headquartered in Austin, Texas, is led by managing partner David Gallagher (ex-Ketchum and Omnicom) and chair Bob Pearson, CEO of The Bliss Group.NPG's portfolio includes healthcare specialist Fuse Health (Canada), digital marketing agency Matchfire, and reputation management firm Next Solutions Group."NPG empowers talented founders to achieve their full potential," stated Bob Pearson. "Our team of 275 individuals is driven by a spirit of innovation and a relentless pursuit of progress. Williams Nicolson has built an impressive business model, combining powerful data insights with best-in-class counsel to unlock client growth. Their strategic and technological expertise perfectly aligns with our investment goals."Louise Nicolson commented: "We were immediately impressed by NPG's unique approach to fostering growth and driving innovation. Collaborating with the NPG team over the past year has already yielded significant benefits. We're actively working together on international campaigns and developing cutting-edge data platforms to empower our clients in reputation management. This partnership will be a springboard for global expansion and exciting new opportunities. We're thrilled about the future."

Prosek Partners opens Abu Dhabi office, hires Diana Estupinan as MD

Prosek Partners, an independent marketing and communications agency for financial and professional services, has expanded its international operations with the opening of its first office in the Middle East. The office, located in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial centre of Abu Dhabi, will serve as Prosek’s regional hub as the firm looks to serve existing and prospective clients across the Gulf and wider MENA region.To lead the Middle East office and operations, Prosek has hired Diana Estupinan as Managing Director and Head of MENA. Diana joins from Instinctif Partners, where she served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Client Officer for the Middle East. She has extensive experience delivering high-impact, integrated PR and IR programs for financial services and capital markets clients, as well as leading operational growth strategies, including establishing Instinctif’s office in Saudi. At Prosek, Diana will be responsible for developing integrated communications and investor relations programs for local and international clients in the Middle East, as well as leading the firm’s business development, hiring and growth strategy in the region.“As the regional hub for institutional finance, Abu Dhabi is a logical next step in our global expansion plan,” said Jennifer Prosek, Managing Partner. “Since meeting Diana, I knew she was the perfect fit for us. Her entrepreneurial spirit, can-do attitude and industry know-how are exactly what we look for in our people. Her international experience combined with a deep local network and intimate understanding of the Middle Eastern market make her the ideal candidate to spearhead our growth in the region.”Diana will work closely with the firm’s London office, which boasts one of the largest financial services communications teams in the UK, to ensure a unified strategy across EMEA. Diana Estupinan, Managing Director and Head of MENA, said: “I’m delighted to join Prosek Partners and drive the firm’s growth and operations in the Middle East. The firm’s extensive client list of global financial and professional services firms is unrivalled, and the opportunity to build sophisticated communications strategies to support their growth in the region is vast. As one of the preeminent financial centres in the Middle East, ADGM is a prime location to serve these clients, and I look forward to getting started.”  Currently advising more than $66 trillion in client assets globally, Prosek Partners serves clients across financial and professional services, including M&A advisory, asset and wealth management, commercial and retail banking, investment banking, legal, financial technology, venture capital, insurance, cryptocurrency and more.Diana began her career at communications firm Hill+Knowlton in the UAE. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland and a BSc in Government and Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Financial and Capital Market Advisory Firm Buchanan Communications Joins Burson

BCW and Hill & Knowlton, which will merge as of July 1, 2024, to form Burson, today announced that leading financial communications and capital market advisory firm Buchanan Communications, part of WPP, will become part of Burson, effective immediately.Buchanan Communications specializes in supporting companies that require access to the capital markets to raise financing; optimize valuation; enhance reputation; and create new and lasting supporters among the investor, analyst and media communities. Founded in 1984 and acquired by WPP in 1997, Buchanan provides a fully integrated service for its publicly listed and private clients, which includes strategic counsel on relations with all capital market stakeholders, on all types of transactions (including M&A), as well as crisis and change management and all other corporate situations. Buchanan also provides a comprehensive sustainability offering, including sustainability reporting and communications, along with creative services, including brand, website design, financial marketing collateral design, and digital content.“Building reputation to grow brand and business value requires engagement across the full range of stakeholder audiences, including capital markets,” said Corey duBrowa, Global CEO, BCW, who will hold the same role with Burson upon completion of the merger. “Beyond strengthening financial confidence or ‘investability’ in an organization, managing relationships with investor audiences is crucial to optimizing and protecting a company’s valuation and reputation. Bringing the exceptional team at Buchanan to Burson gives us immediate strength in financial communications in key international markets and the firepower to expand this expertise at scale.”The Buchanan team serves clients across consumer, leisure and gaming; energy and renewables; financial services; industrials and infrastructure; investment companies; life sciences and healthcare; mining and metals; professional services; and technology, media and telecommunications."The formation of Burson as the market-leading powerhouse in the global communications industry provides an exceptional opportunity for Buchanan to consolidate its leading position in London and expand its operations internationally” said Richard Oldworth, Chairman of Buchanan.?“We share a common vision with Burson of building and protecting reputations, delivering significant value and placing our clients first, as capital markets evolve and present exciting global opportunities. Having the expansive global network and complementary skillsets which Burson provides will be of tremendous value to our existing and prospective clients.”Buchanan Communications will be a brand within Burson together with Hill & Knowlton, GCI Health and AxiCom.On January 25th, WPP announced it would merge its two largest communications agencies, BCW and Hill & Knowlton, to form Burson, a powerhouse delivering modern communications leadership at scale to clients across the world. The merged company will become an industry-leading, full-service communications agency focused on building and protecting reputation. Burson will be operational as of July 1, 2024.

Oliver Schrott Kommunikation announces leadership transition

Omnicom agency Oliver Schrott Kommunikation (OSK), a leading German PR and communications firm, today announced a leadership transition. Founder Oliver Schrott, (pictured above), will step down as CEO after 31 years at the helm. Succeeding him will be Christoph Horn, a seasoned communications professional with extensive experience in the automotive and mobility sectors.Schrott will continue to play a valuable role at OSK in the newly established position of non-executive chairman, ensuring a smooth transition and leveraging his vast industry knowledge.Christoph Horn joins OSK from global automotive supplier ZF Group, where he served as SVP of corporate communications. Throughout his 30-year career, Horn has held prominent communications positions at Ford, General Motors, Opel, and Daimler AG, including seven years leading global communications for Mercedes-Benz.Horn expressed his excitement about leading OSK, acknowledging the firm's impressive track record and commitment to innovation. "OSK's ability to stay ahead of the curve through its specialized services and willingness to embrace new ideas makes it an ideal fit for me," he said. "I'm honored to take on this leadership role and serve OSK's clients, its dedicated team, and the broader Omnicom network."Oliver Schrott praised Horn's qualifications and expressed his confidence in the future of OSK. "Christoph is the perfect successor to lead OSK," Schrott stated. "He represents both continuity and the potential for further growth, especially during this period of rapid change within the industry. We share a strong work ethic, high standards, and a passion for pushing boundaries. I look forward to supporting Christoph, the OSK management team, and the entire agency in my new role."Horn will assume leadership alongside COO Michael Kemme and CFO Marc Wolter, both longstanding members of OSK's management team.Headquartered in Cologne with offices in Stuttgart, Berlin, New York, and Beijing, OSK employs approximately 250 communications specialists.

WICCI PR and Digital Marketing Council concludes its first event in Delhi

The Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (WICCI) Public Relations and Digital Marketing Council, a platform dedicated to fostering professional development for women in communications, concluded the first event in Delhi that brought diverse voices from the industry to spotlight the transformative roles women play in shaping the future of communications.The event explored the multifaceted roles that women play in shaping the narrative and dynamics within the communications industry, timed to celebrate Women’s History Month 2024. The panel was designed to include leaders from PR consultancies, corporate communications and media across age groups, especially the voice of young women leaders. The illustrious panel included:Archana Jain, CEO, PR Pundit Havas RedNikhil Dey, Executive Director, Adfactors PRVandana Chopra, Head – Brand and Communications, KPMG in IndiaNafisa Shaheen, Head- PR and Marketing, Globale MediaThe discussion was moderated by Ritu Bararia, National President, WICCI PR and Digital Marketing Council. This is the first in the series of events in Delhi and Mumbai designed to foster insightful discussions, facilitate professional networking, and highlight the significant contributions of women in the realms of PR and digital marketing.WICCI PR and Digital Marketing Council conducted the campaign "#SheMeansBusiness" in celebration of International Women’s Day 2024, aligned with the global theme for International Women's Day, "Count Her In: Invest in Her. Accelerate Progress". Under the campaign, a survey was conducted with over 100 women professionals in communications working at multiple levels across the country. The results revealed that microaggressions, biased hiring practices and lack of leadership training programmes are some of the key barriers faced by women working in the Indian communications industry.

Havas Red expands African footprint with Ivory Coast launch

Global PR agency Havas Red has strengthened its presence in Africa by opening an office in Côte d'Ivoire, its second on the continent.Seasoned Havas Red leader Aurélie Jarry takes the helm as Managing Director for the new operation, Havas Red Ivory Coast. Jarry brings over ten years of experience with the agency, most recently overseeing the West Africa region.The Ivorian office will offer the full spectrum of Havas Red's services, catering to clients in health and wellness, corporate PR and reputation management, technology and e-commerce, consumer and lifestyle, automotive and mobility, travel and hospitality, and even employee engagement and internal communications.This expansion follows Havas Red's initial foray into Africa with the Johannesburg office launch last September. The Côte d'Ivoire addition, coupled with the November acquisition of Indian firm PR Pundit, brings the agency's global network to 18 markets.“Bigger, better, bolder — and more borderless — that’s how Havas Red continues to grow each year. Opening up shop in South Africa last year was a big step for us into an exciting region, and now we’re ready to grow our footprint into West Africa, where our Havas colleagues have already been doing groundbreaking work with iconic clients on the Ivory Coast who are also looking for PR and social support,” said James Wright, global CEO of Havas Red and global chairman of the Havas PR Network.

The Folio Society selects Diffusion as PR partner

The Folio Society, the London-based publisher of illustrated hardback books, has announced Diffusion as its new agency of record for public relations. This strategic partnership will elevate awareness of Folio's commitment to transforming classic, contemporary, and children's literature into beautifully crafted works of art.Diffusion will spearhead a multi-faceted campaign encompassing media relations, product seeding, and curated book launches. This approach aims to not only showcase the exquisite design and craftsmanship that define every Folio Society book, but also illuminate the company's dedication to sustainable practices as a certified B Corporation."Our books are a labor of love, meticulously crafted to be both aesthetically pleasing and a joy to read," states Joanna Reynolds, CEO of The Folio Society. "In an age dominated by digital experiences, we remain committed to the enduring value of tangible, beautifully crafted books. Diffusion's proven track record in understanding consumer mindsets and meticulous attention to detail make them the ideal partner to connect us with those who cherish the art of exquisite books."Founded in 1947, The Folio Society is an independent, employee-owned company with a rich history of publishing excellence. Diffusion's expertise will further amplify this legacy, ensuring a wider audience appreciates the unique value proposition of Folio Society books.

Accenture acquires Unlimited to enhance CRM and customer relevance capabilities.

Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has acquired Unlimited, the award-winning integrated customer engagement agency, which will become part of Accenture Song—the world’s largest tech-powered creative group. The acquisition will enhance Accenture Song’s ability to scale its offerings and unlock greater value from generative AI. With deep expertise in behavioral science, customer strategy and CRM activation, the acquisition of Unlimited further bolsters Accenture Song's capabilities to drive marketing transformation, relevance, and growth for its clients.Unlimited, which has earned over 100 industry awards, comprises of TMW, Walnut, Health Unlimited and Nelson Bostock. Unlimited places data and a deep understanding of human behavior at the core of its offering through its proprietary Human Understanding Lab & AI-powered digital insights platform LUCA, complementing Accenture Song's existing capabilities in data and analytics.Dame Annette King, global lead, marketing practice, Accenture Song, said: “There are few agencies that have proven to be as impressive as Unlimited over the last few years. The world of CRM is more crucial to brands than ever before and there is no greater partner for it than generative AI-powered creativity. We’re excited to welcome the team into the Accenture Song fold and most importantly, we can’t wait for the opportunities that now exist for our clients and talent.”Sohel Aziz, UK, Ireland and Africa lead, Accenture Song said: “We’re delighted to welcome Unlimited into Accenture Song. We have a shared vision for the future of CRM combined with the power of generative AI to enable the delivery of ever more relevant and impactful customer experience. Our values are wholly aligned, and we look forward to creating value and growth for our clients together.”The acquisition of Unlimited is the latest in a series of continued investments by Accenture Song to drive growth for its clients amid rapidly evolving business landscapes and consumer behaviour, following the acquisitions of GemSeek, Mindcurv, Work & Co, Rabbit’s Tale, ConcentricLife, Fiftyfive5 and The Stable.Headquartered in London, with additional locations in Bristol, Winchester and Reading, Unlimited’s nearly 600 employees will join Accenture Song’s UK team aligned to the marketing practice under Bill Scott, marketing practice lead, UK, Ireland and Africa, Accenture Song.Chris Mellish, CEO Unlimited Group said: “To be joining such an ambitious and forward-thinking strategic organization is a massive moment for us. We have found a home where both our people and our clients can continue to thrive in an organization that has its eye towards shaping the future of our industry. We can’t wait to see the positive impact we’ll be able to make on our clients together.”Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.Forward-Looking StatementsExcept for the historical information and discussions contained herein, statements in this news release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “likely,” “anticipates,” “aspires,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “projects,” “believes,” “estimates,” “positioned,” “outlook,” “goal,” “target” and similar expressions are used to identify these forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance nor promises that goals or targets will be met, and involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied.These risks include, without limitation, risks that: the transaction might not achieve the anticipated benefits for Accenture; Accenture’s results of operations have been, and may in the future be, adversely affected by volatile, negative or uncertain economic and political conditions and the effects of these conditions on the company’s clients’ businesses and levels of business activity; Accenture’s business depends on generating and maintaining client demand for the company’s services and solutions including through the adaptation and expansion of its services and solutions in response to ongoing changes in technology and offerings, and a significant reduction in such demand or an inability to respond to the evolving technological environment could materially affect the company’s results of operations; if Accenture is unable to match people and their skills with client demand around the world and attract and retain professionals with strong leadership skills, the company’s business, the utilization rate of the company’s professionals and the company’s results of operations may be materially adversely affected; Accenture faces legal, reputational and financial risks from any failure to protect client and/or company data from security incidents or cyberattacks; the markets in which Accenture operates are highly competitive, and Accenture might not be able to compete effectively; Accenture’s ability to attract and retain business and employees may depend on its reputation in the marketplace; if Accenture does not successfully manage and develop its relationships with key ecosystem partners or fails to anticipate and establish new alliances in new technologies, the company’s results of operations could be adversely affected; Accenture’s profitability could materially suffer if the company is unable to obtain favourable pricing for its services and solutions, if the company is unable to remain competitive, if its cost-management strategies are unsuccessful or if it experiences delivery inefficiencies or fail to satisfy certain agreed-upon targets or specific service levels; changes in Accenture’s level of taxes, as well as audits, investigations and tax proceedings, or changes in tax laws or in their interpretation or enforcement, could have a material adverse effect on the company’s effective tax rate, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition; Accenture’s results of operations could be materially adversely affected by fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates; changes to accounting standards or in the estimates and assumptions Accenture makes in connection with the preparation of its consolidated financial statements could adversely affect its financial results; as a result of Accenture’s geographically diverse operations and strategy to continue to grow in key markets around the world, the company is more susceptible to certain risks; if Accenture is unable to manage the organizational challenges associated with its size, the company might be unable to achieve its business objectives; Accenture might not be successful at acquiring, investing in or integrating businesses, entering into joint ventures or divesting businesses; Accenture’s business could be materially adversely affected if the company incurs legal liability; Accenture’s global operations expose the company to numerous and sometimes conflicting legal and regulatory requirements; Accenture’s work with government clients exposes the company to additional risks inherent in the government contracting environment; if Accenture is unable to protect or enforce its intellectual property rights or if Accenture’s services or solutions infringe upon the intellectual property rights of others or the company loses its ability to utilize the intellectual property of others, its business could be adversely affected; Accenture may be subject to criticism and negative publicity related to its incorporation in Ireland; as well as the risks, uncertainties and other factors discussed under the “Risk Factors” heading in Accenture plc’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other documents filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Statements in this news release speak only as of the date they were made, and Accenture undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statements made in this news release or to conform such statements to actual results or changes in Accenture’s expectations.

DJE Holdings launches new communications agency RUTH

DJE Holdings has launched RUTH, a new independent global communications agency.RUTH is named after Ruth Edelman, the cherished wife and business partner of DJE founder Daniel J. Edelman. The agency operates alongside established giants Edelman and Zeno, but with a distinct focus on providing fresh, innovative solutions to clients."The need for a third agency has been on our radar for a while," says DJE Holdings Chairman Richard Edelman. RUTH caters to clients seeking independent yet DJE family-connected expertise. It also serves as a tribute to Richard's mother, "an integral part of DJE's success story."Rana Komar, a DJE alumna with over 20 years of experience, takes the helm as RUTH's president. Komar emphasizes her connection to Ruth Edelman's legacy and vows to uphold her values of courage, hard work, and optimism.Renée Edelman joins as RUTH's Honorary Chairwoman, while remaining Senior Vice President at Edelman. Her involvement ensures the agency upholds her mother's core values, particularly mental health advocacy.RUTH's launch not only honours Ruth Edelman's legacy, but also positions DJE Holdings for continued innovation and prominence in the global communications landscape.

Three Cheers named as PR Agency of Record for Tincup Mountain Whiskey

Three Cheers PR today announced that it has been named PR agency of record for TINCUP Mountain Whiskey, part of Proximo Spirits' portfolio. The assignment follows the fast-growing alcohol-specialist agency's winning Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, also owned by Proximo Spirits, after a competitive review last fall.TINCUP takes its inspiration from Tincup, CO, an old mining town in the Rockies named after the old cups the miners would drink from. Its famed TINCUP Original is a blend of high-rye bourbon and a small amount of Colorado single malt whiskey, cut with Rocky Mountain spring water. Another favorite, the TINCUP Adventure Pack, is packaged in double-walled stainless steel and perfect for wherever the adventurous choose to explore. Annual limited releases include a 14-year-old Fourteener bourbon and a 10-year-old bourbon.Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, the nation's leading and most award-winning American Single Malt whiskey, helped pioneer the now fast-growing category 20 years ago. Originating in Aspen and now distilled in Denver, the 100 percent malted barley whiskey features three core expressions – Original, Blue Peak, and Sherry Cask – along with a robust series of limited-time releases, including Snowflake, an annual distillery exclusive that has fans camping out for days to claim their bottle. Earlier this month, the brand opened Stranahan's Whiskey Lodge, a year-round second home in Aspen where innovative cocktails, pours from rare Lodge- and distillery-only bottles, sumptuous Alpine-inspired bites, and majestic mountain views come together as Aspen's hottest new après ski destination.Three Cheers, a wholly owned subsidiary of 360PR+, is handling communications strategy, earned media and partnerships for TINCUP. The agency also handles fully integrated campaign work for Stranahan's spanning earned media, influencer marketing, social media strategy, content creation, community management and strategic paid support. For earned media and programming within Colorado, Three Cheers is partnering with 360's PROI Worldwide partner in Denver, GFM/CenterTable."Our team is energized by the opportunity to help take these two genuinely original whiskey brands to the next level, especially at a time when brown spirits fans are looking beyond their longtime pours," said Rob Bratskeir, General Manager at Three Cheers. "TINCUP and Stranahan's share our passion for integrated work, and for seeing the consumer from all sides – not only as whiskey drinkers, but also travelers, outdoors enthusiasts and influencers in their own right."

Sarah Ogden steps down as UK Managing Director at Team Lewis

Sarah Ogden, the Managing Director of Team Lewis in the UK, has departed from the company after a tenure of almost three years. Ogden assumed the role in August 2021, overseeing the agency's largest global office. Prior to her time at Team Lewis, she dedicated 12 years to Three Monkeys, which subsequently became Three Monkeys Zeno following its acquisition in 2016, later rebranded as Zeno London, where she served as the Head of Corporate and Brand Communications.In the wake of Ogden's departure, Team Lewis has appointed Alicia Solanki, a former leader at Ketchum, as its new Senior Vice President for the EMEA region. Solanki expressed well wishes for Ogden's future endeavors, stating that her departure from the business was by mutual agreement. During the interim period until a replacement is named, the leadership responsibilities for the London office will be assumed by the UK leadership team.Ogden's future plans remain undisclosed at this time. Noteworthy clients under Team Lewis' purview include Google, Palo Alto Networks, Skyscanner, and Schneider Electric.

Leadership change: JJ Lee leaves APCO Southeast Asia

Global communications consultancy APCO Worldwide has announced a leadership change in Southeast Asia. JJ Lee, who served as Managing Director since 2022, has departed the firm, per media reports.An APCO spokesperson has said that over the past five years, JJ played a valuable role in driving APCO’s growth across the region.” This announcement coincides with the appointment of Ian Rumsby as Chief Client Officer for Southeast Asia. Rumsby brings extensive experience to the role and will be responsible for leading and managing the regional team.“APCO boasts a team of exceptionally talented professionals across Southeast Asia,” the spokesperson continued. “We’re confident that Ian, working closely with APCO Asia Chairman Masayo Nagai, will further strengthen our Southeast Asia leadership team for the long term.”Lee joined APCO in 2019, while her former spouse, James Yi, left the firm last year.

Piali Dasgupta quits Columbia Pacific Communities

Piali Dasgupta has stepped down from her position as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communication at Columbia Pacific Communities, concluding a tenure of five and a half years with the organization. With over 17 years of diverse experience spanning media, real estate, e-commerce, and more, her expertise lies in shaping brand identity, strategizing brand architecture and positioning, consumer segmentation, campaign creation, ATL and BTL marketing, digital marketing, storytelling, PR, and corporate communication.During her tenure, Piali Dasgupta played a pivotal role in establishing and elevating the business, brand, and category, transforming it into a preferred consumer brand in the senior living sector within a brief span of five years. Expressing her sentiments on LinkedIn, she stated, "The opportunity to serve seniors, give them a voice and visibility, fight ageism and age-related stereotypes, craft the narrative of positive aging, and create a benchmark-setting senior care brand in the country, is something that I will always be grateful for."Reflecting on her interactions with the vibrant senior residents across the ten communities, she shared, "I will miss interacting with our livewire senior residents across our 10 communities. I wish I had even an iota of their energy, talent, joie de vivre, and zest for life! They inspire me every day." She reminisced on the genesis of the journey, highlighting the creation of a mixed media upcycled art of a banyan tree, symbolizing the brand's values of rootedness, wisdom, and shelter.?

Savills Egypt partners with Vantage Communications to elevate PR strategies

Savills Egypt, a leading property advisor, has announced its collaboration with Vantage Communications, a renowned public relations agency, to bolster its external communications.In a strategic move aimed at fortifying its brand presence and communication efficacy within the Egyptian property market, Savills Egypt has entrusted Vantage Communications with its public relations endeavors.Bringing a wealth of experience in crafting compelling narratives, managing media relations, and executing strategic communication campaigns, Vantage Communications is poised to play a pivotal role in enhancing Savills Egypt's engagement with stakeholders and target audience.Karine Kamel, Head of Marketing and Communications at Savills Egypt, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, "We are delighted to appoint Vantage Communications as our strategic PR partner in Egypt. Their deep understanding of the local media landscape and proven expertise in the real estate sector make them the ideal partner to support our communication goals and amplify our narrative in Egypt’s thriving real estate industry."In response, Nazly Shamel, Founder and Managing Director of Vantage Communications, conveyed excitement, saying, "We are thrilled to be selected as Savills Egypt’s PR agency. In Egypt’s dynamic real estate ecosystem, our team is committed to delivering on-point PR programs that set Savills Egypt ahead and support the company’s continued growth."The collaboration between Savills Egypt and Vantage Communications signifies a concerted effort to leverage expertise and strategic insights, aiming to solidify Savills Egypt's position as a key player in the Egyptian real estate landscape.

Luna PR and CEO Nikita Sachdev win industry accolades

 Luna PR, the Dubai-based PR and marketing agency specializing in web3 and emerging tech, is basking in the glow of recent industry accolades this March. The agency was awarded the "Web3 Consultant Of The Year" at the E-Business Award 2024. The founder and CEO, Nikita Sachdev, was also recognized for her contributions to empowering women across the world of emerging tech. She was honored with 'Most Influential Women in Crypto & Blockchain' and 'Women Leader in Media Excellence' at Filmfare Middle East and the 23rd Middle East Women Leaders Excellence Awards, respectively.These awards celebrate Nikita’s passion and the team at Luna PR's remarkable efforts to be at the forefront of web3 PR and marketing, attracting mainstream media and fostering mass adoption. As one of the early adopters, Luna PR has successfully consulted for multi-billion-dollar companies and unicorns by refining their approach, making them effectively reach a wider audience. Nikita has made significant contributions to the industry by expanding various ventures, including Luna Capital, Luna Foundation, Studio Thirty Six, Chief Block, and Crypto Polo Cup. Expressing her excitement on this occasion, Nikita said, "Our vision is to become one of the most well-respected PR agencies in the world of Web3 and emerging technologies. Winning these awards is a testament to our achievements. When we started our journey, the Web3 industry was relatively unknown. However, it has since grown and evolved tremendously, and we have found that to be incredibly rewarding. As an industry, we still have much more to accomplish, but we are committed to contributing towards the mass adoption of crypto by offering a wealth of growth opportunities. The journey ahead may be long, but we are determined to make a difference."The recognition of these awards and accolades serves as a testament to Luna PR and Nikita's unwavering commitment to making a positive impact as influencers and thought leaders in the ever-evolving web3 landscape.

Supreme Group acquires marketing & PR agency Health+Commerce

Supreme Group, backed by growth-oriented private equity firm Trinity Hunt Partners, has acquired Health+Commerce, an integrated agency providing strategic public relations, marketing, and creative services to innovative healthcare companies. Supreme Group is a healthcare commercialization platform company formed following Trinity Hunt’s majority investment in Supreme Optimization, a leading life science-focused digital agency. Founded by Sheldon Zhai in 2012, Supreme Optimization provides its clients with best-in-class performance digital marketing services including paid advertising, SEO, content marketing, analytics and website development services. Health+Commerce is Supreme Group’s second add-on following its acquisition of Clarity Quest, a health IT marketing agency. “We’re thrilled to welcome Health+Commerce to the Supreme Group family of companies,” said Tom Donnelly, CEO, Supreme Group. “In only seven years, Health+Commerce has built a highly respected organization providing strategic programs that reach clinician, investor and consumer audiences in the multibillion-dollar medtech, biotech and digital health sectors. We look forward to supporting the agency as it continues on its growth trajectory.” Health+Commerce’s leadership will remain in place, and the agency will continue to operate under its brand name as a standalone organization within Supreme Group. Nicole Osmer, founder and CEO of Health+Commerce, will take the role of president. “This marks an exciting new beginning for Health+Commerce,” said Nicole Osmer. “Joining Supreme Group will provide complementary services to our clients, additional resources and support as we scale, and new growth opportunities for our employees. I’m thrilled that we will be working closely with Tom, Sheldon and other leaders who share our entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to excellence, and dedication to building strong cultures and great places to work.” “Trinity Hunt is focused on investing in and growing leading people-based healthcare and business services-oriented companies, and supporting great teams with strong cultures,” said Mike Steindorf, partner at Trinity Hunt. “With Supreme Optimization, Clarity Quest and now Health+Commerce, and under Tom’s leadership as CEO, we are well on our path to creating a leading life sciences marketing and communications services business. We look forward to helping nurture these companies and adding additional exceptional businesses to the platform.” Bryan, Garnier & Co, with a team led by Pierre-Georges (PG) Roy and Michael Tuller, served as exclusive advisor to Health+Commerce.

Bhumika Gupta returns to BCG as Marketing Team Lead

Marketing communications veteran Bhumika Gupta rejoins Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as a Marketing Team Lead based in Gurgaon.Bhumika brings a wealth of experience back to BCG, having previously served from January 2018 to June 2022. She possesses a deep understanding of the firm's core values and boasts over 12 years of expertise in various marketing communication areas.Throughout her career, Bhumika has honed her skills in media relations, communication strategy, internal communications, crisis management, digital marketing, event management, and agency management. Her dedication to the field earned her a coveted spot on the PR Moment's "30 Under 30" list of leading communications professionals in India.Before returning to BCG, Bhumika led integrated media strategy, internal communications, and CSR campaigns at Coca-Cola. She also collaborated with industry media to amplify brand messaging and managed agencies responsible for executing communication, digital, and creative initiatives. Prior to Coca-Cola, she gained valuable experience at Edelman PR.Bhumika holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Corporate Communications from Xaviers Institute of Communications in Mumbai and a BA (Hons) in English from Hansraj College, University of Delhi. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and dancing.

Gutenberg wins leading tech-powered accounting firm FinAdvantage as client

FinAdvantage, a leading tech-powered accounting firm of over a decade has partnered with Gutenberg, a global award-winning integrated Digital marketing agency, to build its brand identity and solidify their thought leadership on a global scale. FinAdvantage, founded by KPMG and EY veterans offers tech-enabled accounting solutions to prestigious clientele that includes Microsoft, Sequoia Capital, Fujitsu, TechMahindra, Jones Lang LaSalle, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, GoIbibo, Flipkart and more. Commenting on the partnership, Ganesh Ramkumar, Chief Revenue & Growth Officer at FinAdvantage, said, “Navigating a competitive market demands a strong brand identity. That’s why we are thrilled to partner with Gutenberg’s global expertise. Their ability to craft compelling narratives and build brand differentiation is invaluable for our global growth plans in the years to come.” Harjiv Singh, Founder & CEO of Gutenberg, shared his thoughts on the collaboration: “FinAdvantage exemplifies forward-thinking innovation in accounting. We are excited to partner with them, to develop their brand identity that showcases their thought leadership and establishes them as a trusted resource within the financial services landscape.” This strategic partnership will leverage Gutenberg’s proven content marketing expertise to create high-impact content that educates and engages FinAdvantage’s target audience, ultimately positioning them as a thought leader within the accounting industry.

Advent Public Relations onboards Dr. Divya Saksena, Director, Content Strategy

Advent Public Relations Pvt. Ltd., an established communication consulting firm in Delhi, has announced a significant addition to its leadership team, with the appointment of Dr. Divya Saksena as the Director of Content Strategy. In her new role, Dr. Saksena will oversee brainstorming, research, and competition mapping with a view to implementing innovative ideas and storylines, that synchronize with client company goals. She will spearhead the team in creating international-level content, aligned with global benchmarks as well as client objectives. Dr. Saksena brings with her over thirty years of expertise, both national and international, having worked in the USA, Canada, and India. With a Ph.D. from the USA, she has held fellowships and key positions at prestigious institutions such as George Washington University (GWU), Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), Delhi University, and Shiv Nadar University, where she made significant contributions to the fields of research, business communication and professional writing. Her wide experience across modern and traditional platforms and technologies means that her strength lies in synergizing intellectual creativity with hi-tech digital platforms. With such a stimulating combination of non-formal approaches and established communication strategies, she aims to accomplish cutting-edge PR targets for our clients.Brimming with enthusiasm, Dr. Divya Saksena stated, “I’m excited at the prospect of working with the Advent team to bring together technology, research, and creativity. By applying ultra-modern, international and multicultural approaches, we aim to create memorable content across a variety of projects in our pursuit of excellence. We will focus on wide-spectrum brand-building for our clients while also reinforcing traditional strategies in our work.”Sharing the same dynamism, Kheman Kumar, Director, Advent Public Relations Pvt. Ltd. said, “We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Divya Saksena onboard with us. Her expertise of keeping pace with key industry trends ensures that our content is always relevant and innovative, helping our clients to carve a niche within their industry. Her extensive international experience and proven track record of innovation in communication strategies and professional writing at all levels make her an invaluable asset to our organization. We are confident that, with her guidance and intellectual maturity, our creative endeavors will reach new heights”Advent Public Relations Pvt. Ltd., is an award-winning image consulting PR firm, with cumulative management experience of over a decade, providing solutions in Public Relations, Investor Relations, Crisis Management, Reputation Management, Digital Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Content Management, and Awards & Recognition. Backed by professionals with over two decades of experience in the field, Advent PR keeps up with the market trend, hence bringing the best for its clients. With a collective vision to build a brand rather than just creating visibility, Advent PR believes in providing its clients with a competitive edge, ensuring long-term results.

CS&A International, Global Crisis Resilience Consultancy enters India

Global crisis management and resilience consultancy, CS&A International, enters India with its full portfolio of services and digital solutions spanning Risk, Issues & Crisis Management, Crisis Communication, Business Continuity Management, Emergency Response and, Crisis Training, Coaching, Auditing, Assessment and Simulation. With presence in North America, Europe and Asia, the company is marking its entry in India as a key addition to its growing global strategic network. With its integrated resilience framework, CS&A International’s team of experts provide strategic counsel and offer bespoke sustainable and practical solutions tailored to organizations seeking to reinforce their crisis readiness. CS&A has developed a suite of unique digital solutions to help prevent, prepare for and manage crises more effectively. CS&A International’s customers include multinational corporations across wide ranging sectors such as aviation, automotive, finance, food & beverage, hospitality, manufacturing, oil & gas, pharma, real estate, shipping, technology and more. “Crisis management is our business and our experts bring in-depth expertise to bolster our clients’ resilience to adverse events,” said Caroline Sapriel, Managing Partner, CS&A International. “India is a large and unique market and we want to offer our internationally recognised services and solutions by partnering with the best talent in the industry. We are thrilled to bring on-board Arati Mukerji, a communications and brand veteran to our panel of experts as our Associate on-ground in India.” Arati Mukerji is a seasoned specialist in crisis communications and corporate reputation management, brand transformations and turnarounds. She brings an experience of 32 years in leadership roles managing global communications, brand, public affairs and sustainability as a business strategy across various industries such as telecom, IT, automotive, manufacturing, media & entertainment, to name a few. “As the world’s fastest-growing economy, it is imperative for Indian businesses to be resilient for sustaining agility and growth,” said Arati Mukerji, Associate, CS&A International. “In addition to preparedness, leaders must invest in periodic training and tools to ensure a crisis is managed in realtime with clarity, discipline and empathy. It is in crises that organizations build trust. I am glad to be joining forces with CS&A International to help ensure companies are well equipped and empowered to manage stakeholders in every eventuality.”

Weber Shandwick West bolsters leadership with tech and LA focus

Weber Shandwick West is making a power move to expand its regional presence, promoting two industry veterans to key leadership roles.Cheryl Cook takes the helm as Los Angeles market leader, leveraging her 30-year career, including eight years at Edelman, to drive growth in the LA market.Lee Anderson-Brooke steps up as the first-ever West Coast tech lead, drawing on his experience as senior principal at Weber's management consultancy and former Weber Shandwick executive VP to spearhead the agency's tech focus across the West Coast.These strategic hires, as President Jordan Rittenberry emphasizes, are part of Weber Shandwick West's commitment to becoming a "serious player" in the western US tech sector."We see significant opportunities," says Rittenberry, "and we're building the team to ensure we can scale and grow our business."This growth strategy also includes a focus on corporate affairs and C-suite advisory. Last year, Christian Brown was appointed as both Seattle market leader and the firm's regional corporate affairs lead, demonstrating the agency's commitment to comprehensive client service.Promoting Cook and Anderson-Brooke reflects a broader leadership shift under Jim O'Leary, who joined Weber Shandwick in 2023 as North America CEO. O'Leary's focus on strategic growth has included key hires like Rittenberry and Central region president Sheila Mulligan, both veterans from Edelman.Weber Shandwick West is clearly positioning itself as a major force in the western US market, with a strong emphasis on both regional expansion and specialized expertise in tech and corporate communications.

Global Women in PR MENA welcomes two new board members

The MENA chapter of Global Women in PR (GWPR), a global membership organisation connecting women in senior PR and communications roles, is welcoming Radwa Allabban, Founder and Managing Director, Place Communications and Purti Simon, Vice President, Teneo as board members this Women’s History Month.Radwa brings 20+ years of experience to her position, and invaluable knowledge from her time setting up and running her own agency, which she launched in 2011. Purti is a multidisciplinary communications professional with over 10 years in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. She was listed as one of India’s top 30 PR professionals under 30 and led the APACMEA delegation for the International Women’s Forum to Boston.Purti said: “I am delighted to be formally appointed as a Board Member for the regional chapter following my involvement with the organisation for many years. GWPR MENA is steadfast in delivering its promise of an equitable PR industry where women are seen and valued. I am grateful to join the league of committed Board Members, each trailblazers in their own right, to advocate and equip female leaders at a time when companies are losing them in droves for a variety of systemic reasons. Looking ahead, I hope to bring more impetus to building a healthy pipeline of women leaders and providing them opportunities that help them thrive in the workplace.”Radwa said: “In a region experiencing constant change, the role of PR and Communications has never been more important. Global Women in PR MENA is not just another networking group - it's the only platform in the region for senior female communicators to come together and have honest conversations about the challenges and opportunities we face, and most importantly to take concrete actions to address them. We don't just talk, we act. We exist to support, showcase and lift up current and future female leaders in our industry.”Rachel Dunn, GWPR MENA Co-Chair and Communications Director at Microsoft Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa, said: “Radwa and Purti are two of the most well-respected female leaders in the communications industry here in the region and we are absolutely thrilled to be welcoming them as GWPR MENA Board Members. Their combined knowledge, insights and experience will be invaluable in offering guidance and shaping the experiences of women in the industry. Their arrival at a time when women around the globe are marking Women’s History Month is particularly fitting, and we look forward to getting straight to work.”GWPR MENA is currently celebrating its largest ever membership of female senior communications professionals in the UAE, at 80 members. The six-strong board members also includes Co-Chair, Loretta Ahmed, Founder and CEO of Houbara Communications, Naamat Baradhy, Regional Communication Advisor at First Abu Dhabi Bank, and Louise Jacobson, Managing Partner of Brazen MENA.In its latest step to strengthen its commitment to connecting senior female communicators, GWPR MENA recently launched ‘The Conversation Series,’ a platform to have honest conversations about the challenges and issues faced by women in the industry, and discuss ways to overcome them. The series is the latest addition to GWPR MENA’s robust calendar of monthly events, webinars, and community platforms including an active and supportive messaging group.GWPR MENA continues to connect and attract women in leadership within the communications industry across the region, offering membership to those in senior leadership positions within the PR and Communications industry, both agency and ‘in-house’ or who are freelance consultants with significant PR experience of 10 years and above.