Weber Shandwick CEO Gail Heimann to retire; Susan Howe to succeed

Gail Heimann is set to retire from her position as global CEO of The Weber Shandwick Collective, with Susan Howe, the current global president, slated to succeed her in November.After 28 years at Weber Shandwick and five years as the global CEO, Heimann's leadership saw the firm through significant changes, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her tenure culminated in the agency being named Global Agency of the Year in 2023 and the establishment of The Weber Shandwick Collective (TWSC), encompassing 11 specialist Interpublic Group sister firms in areas like consumer marketing, public affairs, healthcare, paid media, and social-first creative.TWSC boasts extensive sector and service expertise across 11 brands with offices on six continents. TWSC’s diverse capabilities include organisational transformation, public affairs, and digital transformation. Throughout her illustrious career, she has been instrumental in building and enhancing the reputations of numerous Fortune 500 companies, working on iconic brands and campaigns across various sectors.Howe, who has been with TWSC for over 20 years, spent the last three as the global president, overseeing the firm’s four operating regions (North America, EMEA, APAC, and LatAm) and enhancing integration between TWSC’s partner agencies and practice areas.Previously, Howe served as the company's chief growth officer and chief collaboration officer, and she played a pivotal role in major client relationships such as AB InBev, Nestle, and Kellanova.Weber Shandwick does not currently plan to appoint a new president to replace Howe.Howe's appointment continues Weber Shandwick’s tradition of promoting CEOs from within the agency, a practice in place since its formation from the mergers of BSMG, Shandwick, and Weber over two decades ago.

Arla taps Citypress to boost brand recognition, consumer trust

Arla Foods, the UK's biggest dairy cooperative, has selected Citypress, an employee-owned communications agency, as its new consumer PR partner. Citypress won the contract after a competitive pitch process.Building Brand Strength Through Creative CampaignsCitypress will be responsible for developing and executing campaigns that elevate consumer confidence in Arla and establish it as the UK's most recognizable dairy brand. This will involve creative strategies for Arla's core products like Arla Cravendale, Lurpak, and Arla Protein. Hill & Knowlton (now Burson) previously held the account.Arla's Vision: Inspiring Consumers and Redefining DairyNicola Morgan-Hulme, Arla Foods UK's communications director, expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership. Citypress's strategic approach, innovative ideas, and extensive experience in the food and beverage industry impressed Arla.“Citypress impressed us with their strategic vision and brave creative thinking. Their deep sector experience in food and drink, passionate team and ambition for brand-defining work really shone through. As one of the UK’s largest food companies, we have a vision to break out of category conventions and inspire consumers to eat well. By building awareness in the overarching Arla Masterbrand, we aim to position Arla as the most trusted dairy brand that fuels our consumers and helps them to feel good. We look forward to working with the Citypress team who will support us on this journey,” said Nicola Morgan-Hulme. Citypress: A Team of Creative SpecialistsThe Citypress team, led by senior directors Ruth Lee (creative specialisms) and Rory Fletcher (food and drink clients), will spearhead the Arla account.Lee is thrilled about the opportunity to create engaging campaigns that celebrate the benefits of dairy. Citypress's recent investment in creative capabilities will further enhance their work for Arla's impressive brand portfolio.With Arla on board, Citypress adds another major player to its client list, which already includes Nestle, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Pilgrim's Europe, Aldi, and Molson Coors.

Grayling UK unveils design & production studio Humble Mavericks

Grayling UK, a PR and public affairs agency, has announced the launch of Humble Mavericks, its first dedicated design and production studio. This development positions Grayling to offer clients an even more comprehensive suite of services.Humble Mavericks will collaborate with Grayling's existing client base, including industry giants like Nestlé and Deliveroo, across the agency's UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong offices.The studio boasts a talented team, led by Dom Desmond, previously a Creative Director at Grayling UK. Desmond takes the helm as Head of Humble Mavericks. The team is further bolstered by the additions of senior designer Sital Mistry, who joins from Kindred, and Annie Dixey, a creative powerhouse with experience at new product development and branding firm Black Label Creations.Humble Mavericks will focus on creating impactful branding solutions, engaging social media campaigns, and captivating animations. Operating 24/7, the studio will seamlessly integrate with Grayling's established creative, strategy, research, data, and analytics teams.“The launch of Humble Mavericks is incredibly exciting for our agency and reflects our vision and ambition to provide cutting-edge creative services,” said Heather Blundell, (pictured), CEO, Grayling UK.  “By combining our design and production capabilities with our expertise in PR, news-jacking creative, social-first content and data-led story-telling we can provide an always-on service for clients that is truly unique. The launch of Humble Mavericks enables us to provide clients even greater creative depth and scale,” said Dom Desmond.

The Golden Rules of PR Crisis Management

Authored By Vidhi Shah Co-Founder, Synapse PRIn today's fast-paced world, where information travels at the speed of a click, the importance of Public Relations (PR) cannot be overstated. One of the critical facets of PR is crisis management—a strategic approach to handling sudden and potentially damaging events that can threaten the reputation and stability of an organisation. In the realm of crisis management, a set of golden rules can be instrumental in navigating tumultuous times, salvaging a reputation, and emerging stronger. Let's delve into these rules and notable Indian case studies highlighting their significance.Firstly, maintaining transparency and honesty is paramount. An organisation's credibility hinges on its ability to communicate openly during the crisis. In 2017, Maggi, the famous noodle brand in India, faced a significant crisis when its products were alleged to contain higher than permissible lead levels. Nestlé, Maggi's parent company, swiftly recalled the product, engaged with stakeholders transparently, and provided detailed information. By embracing transparency and authenticity, Nestlé regained consumer trust, reinstating Maggi's market position.Secondly, acting swiftly and decisively is imperative. The case of the Tanishq advertisement controversy in 2020, stands as a testament to the importance of quick and decisive action. Tanishq, a renowned jewellery brand, faced backlash due to a promotional advertisement. The company swiftly withdrew the ad and issued a statement, effectively mitigating the situation before it escalated further. This prompt response helped quell the controversy and limit potential damage to the brand's image.Furthermore, empathy and sensitivity towards stakeholders play a pivotal role. When the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai faced a crisis in 2016 due to the illness of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the hospital exhibited compassion and sensitivity. The hospital management maintained a delicate balance between transparency and respecting the patient's privacy, demonstrating empathy towards concerned citizens while handling media queries with discretion.Another golden rule revolves around being proactive rather than reactive. The 2020 incident involving the unfortunate death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala due to consumption of a fruit stuffed with firecrackers drew widespread condemnation. The Kerala Forest Department promptly responded by initiating awareness campaigns and taking preventive measures to protect wildlife. The authorities managed the crisis effectively by taking proactive steps and collaborating with stakeholders, preventing further environmental harm and curbing negative sentiments.Moreover, consistent and coherent messaging across all communication channels is vital. When the Indian Premier League (IPL) faced match-fixing allegations in 2013, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) responded by maintaining a unified voice across all platforms. The BCCI officials communicated consistently, assuring stakeholders of their commitment to fair play and initiating stringent measures to address the issue. This uniform messaging helped in preserving the credibility of the tournament.The stories etched in India's PR history validate the potency of these rules, reaffirming their indispensability in the realm of crisis management within PR. In a world where trust and reputation are fragile, these golden rules stand as guardians, guiding organizations to emerge stronger and more resilient from the depths of crisis.