Top 10 social media trends for 2017

Article by Danny Whatmough, Head of Social, EMEA at Weber Shandwick

The pace of social media change is perhaps the biggest cliché in our industry. As with many clichés, it’s also true. But as well as paying attention to the new tools arriving at speed, we must also regularly step back and assess the broader trends that social media innovations point towards.

So here are my top ten key trends in social media. Some are more macro, some less obvious. But they all give a sense of what we as marketers, and the businesses we work for, should be focusing on in 2017.

The social media identity crisis

In the early days of social, it was all about engagement. Then networks realised they also needed to make money, and paid social/social as a direct response channel took off. As brands now find themselves juggling both, this year we need to look afresh at the way we approach social to better manage the two aspects.

The death of the silo

Social is no longer responsibility of the marketing team: it impacts every part of a business, from HR and product development to customer service and employee engagement. The role of the social media team therefore needs to pivot from being seen as a marketing function, to one that prioritises innovation across the business and acts as a collaborator and integrator.

Immersive social experiences

A trend that just keeps on giving. As the race for attention intensifies, the need to provide social experiences that grab an audience is at its peak. The year of video has come and gone and pure video alone is now not even enough: see the rise of formats such as Facebook Canvas, Live 360 video and Stories (on every channel!).

Messaging apps at tipping point

Monthly active users for messaging apps have surpassed that of social networks. Facebook in particular is going all-in on developing Messenger. But if you really want to see where all this is headed, take a look at the sort of features and functionality that Asian audiences enjoy on platforms such as WeChat. While Europe’s social ecosystem is much more fragmented, it’s still clear that messaging has plenty of scope for evolution.

The battle for live

Facebook and Twitter are both going all-out to be seen as platforms for real-time content. The question for brands to ask is whether something really justifies being live versus pre-recorded. And there are still plenty of reasons why the latter is often the more sensible option.

Transparency in metrics and measurement

Last year, questions were raised around accurate metrics from third-party sites on the average view times of videos. As more money pours into social media marketing, scrutiny around metrics – from viewability and bot traffic to ad blockers and attribution – will only intensify.

Automation and AI

Social media is no stranger to automation; algorithms and analytics have featured automated processes for many years. But as automation intensifies – from driverless cars to drone deliveries and innovative retail concepts like Amazon Go – the question for brands and businesses will be where to draw the line between automation and human interaction.

Data-driven social

Adobe estimates that 72% of the US display market is likely to be programmatic during 2017. Data has the potential to transform social from a “spray and pray” tactic into a highly-targeted vehicle for reaching the right audience with the right message. And yet, too many brands are still relying on broad targeting based solely on data held by the social networks. I’d encourage brands to begin experimenting with how they can use their owned data as well as data from third party sources to improve their social media activity and impact.

Authenticity of social voice

Authentic opportunities to engage audiences will become important this year. Influencer marketing is one option and will certainly continue to see growth, and I also think we’ll see an increased focus on employee advocacy as a channel.

The slow death of always-on

Always-on has been the bedrock of social media marketing for years. But the power of this approach is diminishing. The need for paid support, combined with the need for high-quality content, means that less is definitely more.

This, along with the other nine trends, challenges businesses to really think about the value that social media can add to their business and the value they can bring to their audiences through social.

Then we’ll really see the power of social media.

In conversation with ICCO’s new Regional President – Europe, Juergen Gangoly

In December 2016 ICCO announced the appointment of 5 Regional Presidents, who represent the recently formed Regional Groups covering Europe, Americas, Middle East, Africa and Asia. 

We chat to ICCO’s new Regional President for Europe, Juergen Gangoly, about his new role in the organisation, and his thoughts about the state of the European PR market.

1. You have recently been appointed ICCO’s Regional President for Europe. What does this mean to you, both on a personal and professional level?

To be elected by the European members of ICCO and to represent them in the region is a big honour, but also loaded with lots of visions, expectations and – of course – work. So far, during almost 10 years as an ICCO board member, I can contribute to the development of ICCO and also learn a lot. I am very grateful for all these experiences, cooperation and personal friendship within ICCO. Over all, that’s a good foundation to jointly further grow ICCO and to strengthen the representation of the PR industry on regional and international level.

2. What are your main priorities as ICCO’s Regional President – Europe?

A quite ambitious working program has been developed. Together with the board members and other colleagues in our member organisation, we strive to further grow our successful existing events, projects and our membership base. Further on we plan to develop new projects in areas such as training & education, business ethics, quality standards and guidelines. To make Europe’s PR industry better heard and to set-up regular contacts with governmental and public institutions in Europe is an important task for the years to come. And last, but not least: cross-border business facilitation, new member services and a cross-border expert and agency database are on the wish-list of our members and on our agenda.

3. What is your take on the state of the public relations industry in Europe?

Decision-making structures, the economy and our societies in general are changing rapidly at the moment – and it’s more and more all about professional and efficient communications. Good for us! The PR industry should and could be the innovative front runner of all communications disciplines. We have the experience and qualifications to contribute to society and to the business success of our clients at the same time. The PR industry can heavily benefit from the actual developments in technology and public media reception, but we must put even more focus on measurable results, creativity and quality in execution, business ethics and talent development.

4. Why did you get into communications?

Originally educated as inter-cultural trainer and youth social worker, I started in and with professional PR to communicate NGO projects and educational programs almost 25 years ago. For me, it’s always been about having the opportunity to better explain complex issues and to contribute to society. To help clients from all sorts of backgrounds and to influence – or even change – public views and behaviours fascinated me from minute one in public relations – and it still does.

5. In ten years’ time, what do you think will be the biggest change in the global communications industry?

Anybody who pretends to be able to look that far in the future has not arrived in the present yet. Change, ever faster change, will be the only constant driver of the PR industry for the foreseeable years to come. Our biggest challenges will probably be the continuous losing of established partners in traditional media and public institutions. They will be replaced by new forms of content generation, other influencers, new – hopefully – democratic structures and modern, more participative forms of decision-making. All this will definitely make professional and strategic communications faster, more personal, more technical, more efficient, but also far more complex. Overall, a great business and working area for experts and for the real “communications architects” in PR.

AMEC to sponsor the ICCO House of PR at the Cannes Lions Festival

ICCO is delighted to announce that AMEC, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, is a sub-sponsor of the House of PR at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

ICCO annually sponsors the Young Lions PR Competition and the House of PR, a beachside cabana venue designed as the hub for the PR and communications industry to connect and network at the Cannes Lions Festival.

As a not-for-profit association, ICCO partners with a select number of organisations to help fund the project and create a space for the community to learn and share ideas around the subject of creativity.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “The two elements of success in PR are creativity and effectiveness. So it’s brilliant news that the House of PR will bring them both together this year, as we welcome AMEC into –pretty much literally- our big tent! Another big step forward for our industry, as we put evaluation and measurement at the heart of PR and communications practice.”

Barry Leggetter, CEO, AMEC, said: “We see our sponsor involvement in Cannes as a logical extension of the strong collaboration we have already with ICCO and with the Cannes PR Lions.”

AMEC provides an advisory service for the Research and Measurement categories of the PR Lions awards, helping firms improve their entries through objective advice from industry professionals.

The House of PR will play host to interviews, panel discussions, live streaming and networking events from 18th – 21st June, 2017.


To find out more about ICCO’s activities at the Cannes Lions Festival, please contact:




ICCO and IPRA sign Memorandum of Understanding for mutual cooperation

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) and the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for mutual cooperation.

The agreement, signed by Philip Sheppard, Secretary General of IPRA and Francis Ingham, Chief Executive of ICCO, will see increased communication between the two parties, with a regular exchange of information and representation at relevant industry events.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO said: “I am thrilled to be able to announce this latest ICCO partnership. Working together, we will be able to deliver even more to our respective members, and will be in an even more powerful position to advance the industry around the world.”

“IPRA, representing individual PR practitioners from around the globe, is delighted with this renewed co-operation with ICCO, representing PR consultancies from around the globe. We have much to achieve together in the challenging world of 2017,” commented Bart de Vries IPRA President 2017.


Background to ICCO

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 49 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australasia, as well as agencies and networks with an international agenda. Collectively, these associations represent over 2,500 PR firms. For more information please visit:

Background to IPRA

IPRA, the International Public Relations Association, is the leading global network for Public Relations professionals. Membership is individual not corporate. It aims to further the development of open communication and the ethical practice of public relations. IPRA fulfils this aim through networking opportunities, its code of conduct and intellectual leadership of the profession. IPRA is the organiser of the annual Golden World Awards for excellence – PR’s global awards scheme. With 60 years of experience, IPRA, recognised by the United Nations, is now present throughout the world wherever public relations are practiced. IPRA welcomes all those within the profession who share its aim and who wish to be part of the IPRA worldwide fellowship. For more information please visit:


Iranian public relations association joins ICCO as 38th member

Iranian Public Relations House has joined the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) as its 38th national association member.
In November 2016, the two parties signed an agreement for closer cooperation, and the Iranian Public Relations House has since applied for full membership of ICCO. Collectively ICCO represents over 2,500 agencies globally operating across 49 countries, as well as 11 direct consultancy and network members with an international agenda.
Amir Rastegar, Director of International Affairs at Iranian Public Relations House said: “Public relations in Iran has formally existed for more than 60 years and tangible improvement can be seen in public relations during the last decade in terms of internal communication. Joining ICCO is a great opportunity for Iranian Public Relations House to broaden it relations across the boarder.”
Maxim Behar, ICCO President said: “We are very glad to have our Iranian colleagues as part of ICCO. Our strategy has always been to enlarge the geographical coverage of the organisation as a way of having a more active exchange and mix of different cultures, achievements and approaches in the field of public relations. We expect Iranian PR House representatives actively to participate in the forthcoming ICCO Board meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa and also in the ICCO Global Summit being held in Helsinki in early October. On our side, we will do our best to be visibly represented at the annual Iranian PR Symposium and to present the modern global PR trends.”
Dr. Davood Zareian, General Manager of Public Relations at Iran Telecommunication Company will represent the association on the ICCO Board of management.
“Considering public relations in Iran has experienced significant progress inside the country during last decades, the necessity of cooperating with international public relations societies seems to be indispensable. Joining IPRH to ICCO can be viewed as important step to realize the goal,” said Dr. Davood Zareian.
About ICCO:
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations operating in 49 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australasia, as well as agencies and networks with an international agenda. Collectively, these associations represent over 2,500 PR firms.
About Iranian Public Relations House:
Public Relations House is an independent, non-political and non-governmental organisation which aims to promote public relations throughout country and bring Iranian public relations associations under an umbrella. It works in accordance with the Constitutions of the Islamic Republic of Iran and is under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior, I.R.Iran. It is a newly established body and started its work since 2013 and 10 PR and communication associations throughout the country  have become the member of the House. Dr. Javad Ghasemi is the Head, and Mr. Hooshmand Sefidi is the Secretary of the House.

ICCO President: “Public relations must be in the front row of fight against fake news”

“Modern times require that public relations experts are among the first to fight against fake news, not only because very often they work against out clients, but also they present the completely wrong picture of the freedom of media these days”, said ICCO President Maxim Behar at a conference this week in Zagreb, Croatia.

“Trolls and fake profiles distributing fake news are threatening the ethical and transparent side of our business, and we must be the guarantee that they will never come from the side of our companies”, Behar added.

The conference in Zagreb, attended by leading Croatian PR experts and professionals, was organised by the local Public Relations Association HUOJ, a very active ICCO member. The speakers were practitioners, University professors and executives from the client-side.

Aleksandra Kolaric, President of the Croatian PR Association said: “We are glad that the ICCO President raised this important question in the conference. In the so called emerging markets it is quite important, but also my feeling is that this is quite crucial now for the whole world. One of the reasons for us to join ICCO and to participate in all its events is that ICCO represents ethical, transparent and highly professional business all over the world.”

During the visit in Zagreb Maxim Behar chaired a joint meeting of the Managing and Supervisory Board and also the Ethical Commission of the Croatian PR Association, and presented the two main ICCO events scheduled later this year – the Global Summit in Helsinki, early October and the Global PR Awards in December in London.


Assorel shifts into high gear

Press release by Assorel, ICCO association member in Italy.


Filomena Rosato, Assorel President: “In the front line for all that concerns our industry’s key topics”

A new atmosphere can be felt in the Association’s framework during the first 100 days of the new President’s mandate. Main innovations mentioned today in Milan include a new corporate identity, strengthening of the Association’s internal structure, a survey on investments in Public Relations in Italy, an Observatory of Public Tenders, and the renewal of Assorel Academy training educational program.

Barely three months after the new Board of Directors chaired by Filomena Rosato was elected, Assorel undergoes a facelift and makes its appearance on the market with a new internal structure that features a strong communication sector, a dedicated social team, an entirely renewed corporate identity and market-oriented initiatives.

Assorel’s new logo, which is blue and green, issues from the perfection of the triangle, a matrix that can generate all other forms with balance, symmetry and a dynamic spirit. Today Assorel’s three operative frameworks, namely Communication, Contents and Digital, and the new mission of representing the industry, empowered by the recent payoff of its position signify Communicate, Connect, Innovate. Moreover, the term ‘firm’, instead of ‘agency’, has been chosen to define members, underscoring responsibility, value and quality for the market as distinctive traits.

The Association’s policy to represent Assorel on the market with value-enhanced content is centered on debate, discussion, playing a leading role and being considered as an authoritative landmark. Today the Association confirms this by presenting the outcome of a survey conducted by Nielsen there has been no Market Observatory for several years― of investments in public relations. The study included a sample of 300 target companies, revealed that medium size companies will make a mean investment of euro 250,000 in PR in 2017, while large companies will invest euro 330,000 in this industry. The investment in PR equals one fourth of the total investment in communication, and the market will witness a +4% growth, compared to 2016. Reliability was the crucial evaluation criterion adopted to asses companies operating in the field of communication. Moreover 57% of companies uses measuring systems (monitoring, market research), while the remaining 43% does not implement measuring processes. Companies are satisfied if PR activities generate +25% on the amount invested.

Regarding the approach to topical ‘social emergency’ subjects, such as the fake news phenomenon and the battle against violence on the Web, Assorel pursues the development plan defined by the ‘pact of respect’ signed with the Association of Journalists of Lombardy throughout Italy by encouraging open discussions between communicators and journalists to ensure that information is correct and that sources are reliable.

Assorel’s participation in “Parole O_Stili” held in Trieste on 17-18 February must be considered with this in mind. Michele Rinaldi, Social Media Team Manager Assorel, Partner of Soluzione Group, and a brilliant speaker contributed to the panel ‘bufale e algoritmi (fake news and algorithms) with his ‘playlist of rules for the protection of reputation online’. The importance of reducing, curbing and fighting the negative practices and languages of the Web were discussed during the two-day event, and Assorel confirmed its role as an active player once again.

In the front line to contribute towards quality and market growth, Assorel has also started up the Observatory of Public Tenders that will adopt analytical data processing methods to enable the Association to establish a dialogue with the competent authorities on the theme of quality and transparency in the field of public tenders in Italy. Assorel will promote a new trend to benefit the whole market, even in terms of fighting against dumping.

The Association’s commitment to provide Education and Training has been enhanced with the renewal of Assorel Academy’s program that, from now onwards, will develop along two parallel issues, namely workshops with detailed paths centred on themes of professional interest structured in multiple modules (Assorel Academy Lab), and high profile managerial training (Assorel Academy Doc).

An important innovation proposed by Assorel for the entire Italian industry is the initiative Measuring the Results of PR activities. By partnering Barbara Bassi, European Chapter Chair for AMEC and Italian representative of The Measurement Practice, international network of highly specialised corporate professionals on the topic, Assorel has perfected a programme of specialised workshops on measuring, based on corporate, non-academic experience. Assorel’s scope is to authoritatively establish clarity on the Italian market with a win-win approach by helping member companies and providing corporate communicators with the knowledge and ‘tools of the trade’ required to build effective measuring programmes, besides offering value to the reference market by helping it make use of measurements to conduct more effective and efficient communication campaigns.

Regarding international relations, as a result of an agreement signed with Unicom, in the ICCO Assorel currently represents about 110 companies that conduct business in the communication and creativity sectors, and has opened a new chapter in terms of women managers in the PR industry.

With regard to Global Women in Public Relations (GWPR), appointed Carola Salvato (Havas Life) as Italian deputy.

A positive ‘change in approach’ for the future of an Association that, empowered by its history and visibility to all stakeholders, both public and private, strongly wishes to remain the authoritative spokesperson of a Communication and Public Relations culture, the crucial strategic key to success for every company.


For more information contact:

ASSOREL Press Office

Tel. 02 70100704

More than a third of UK PR firms use ‘meaningless’ AVEs for measurement

Article by Robert Smith, PRWeek

PRCA director general Francis Ingham has labelled AVEs “an entrenched vanity project” that are “not fit to be called measurement”, although new research suggests more than a third of UK PR agencies currently use them.

Ingham’s sentiment is shared by many of the 132 agency-side and in-house PR professionals who responded to a new survey by PRWeek and the PRCA.

AVEs – or advertising value equivalents – are a metric used by some in the PR industry to measure the benefit of media coverage or a campaign for a client.

One PR pro called for AVEs to be outlawed. Another said: “AVEs are a fake comfort blanket, like the Emperor’s new clothes.”

Despite this, the survey, conducted between 31 January and 10 February, found more than 35 per cent of UK PR agencies and just over 23 per cent of in-house teams still use them.

That is in comparison to almost 45 per cent of agencies that said they do not currently use AVEs, though have in the past, and just over 20 per cent that said they have never used them. In-house, 46 per cent said they do not currently use the metric, while over 30 per cent said they never have.

When asked how often AVEs were used for print media relations work within their agency, 45 per cent said it was for a minority, while almost one third said they never use them. Only two per cent said they always used it.

Like their agency counterparts, 47 per cent of in-house teams said they would never use AVEs for print media relations work.

However, of those agencies that do use AVEs, roughly half said it was because clients expected it. No respondent said it was expected by senior management within their agency and nobody said it was their preferred method of evaluation.

“We all know that we shouldn’t use AVEs but let’s be honest, clients want it – especially the smaller ones that want to know exactly how much value they are getting back in terms of their investment,” said one agency-side PR.

The study reveals that no agency expects to use AVEs more this year than it did it 2016, while almost 60 per cent said AVEs would be used less.

“Thankfully, there is strong progress being made by enlightened teams who realise just how meaningless AVEs are,” Ingham said.

“We need to carry this momentum forward and arm those working in-house and at consultancies with everything possible to fight against a broken system that some still insist upon using,” he added.

According to the study, PRs are far more inclined to use the Barcelona Principles, which now comprise an interactive system based around KPIs and outcomes, rather than just outputs as with AVEs, the PRCA said.

“The AMEC Barcelona Principles 2.0 rightly measure outcomes relating to your KPIs to prove the real value of our work. For this industry to be respected, we have to work on real achievements rather than just outputs forced through some spurious and outdated metric,” Ingham said.

In a similar study conducted in 2014, the PRCA found almost 77 per cent of agencies considered AVEs to be an inappropriate way to evaluate work, while 69 per cent said they did not use the metric at all.

One respondent from this year’s survey said: “AVEs are an outdated concept, they are unregulated and it is only the very old school PRs/clients who actually believe this is a legitimate evaluation method.”
• Are AVEs an outdated anachronism in 2017 or still a useful tool? Let us know your thoughts, for possible publication, by emailing or tweeting @prweekuknews

Take part in the 2017 Global Communications Report Survey

We are pleased to announce that the survey, which informs the Global Communications Report is now live. It is being conducted by USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in collaboration with the Holmes Report, AMECArthur W. Page Society, ICCO, IPR, Global AlliancePRCA UK/MENAPR Council, PRSA, PRSSA and WorldCom.

The Global Communications Report is an important indicator of what lies ahead for one of the world’s most dynamic professions and it goes to the core of our mission — to connect corporations, agencies, academics and students to define the future of the industry and those who will shape it.

For the first time, we are fielding two separate surveys, one to senior level PR/communications professionals, and one to students who are about to enter the field. This data will provide rich opportunities to explore the differences and similarities between the two important groups.

Be sure you don’t miss this unique opportunity to shape the future of one of the fastest growing global industries. After you’ve taken the survey, share the link with your colleagues.

Click here to access the professionals survey.

Click here to access the student survey.

Clean business is good business: corporate governance in a digital age

Article by Claudia Gioia, ‎President & CEO, Hill+Knowlton Latin America

Over the past decade, corporate governance has been the subject of increasing attention and scrutiny, leading to a growing demand for transparency, social responsibility, and higher ethical governance standards.

Corporate governance, which refers to the policies and practices leaders use to manage themselves and fulfill their responsibilities to investors, employees, and other stakeholders, has widespread impact. It affects and dictates the internal functioning and morale of a company, and it also projects externally to the public.

In today’s business environment, having a social media presence is a must for companies. Without one, a company is competitively limited and seen as both archaic and out of touch. Moreover, it allows companies to communicate not only externally, but also internally with employees. Social media then becomes an extension of communication strategy by allowing enhanced transparency and increased interaction between companies, their stakeholders, employees, and the public.

As such, social media can be a powerful tool to enhance reputation, create opportunities, and promote a business, but it also opens a wide lens into the inner workings of a corporation and its leadership. Traditional media exposure and increasing “citizens’ policing” by those globally connected also give way to a new set of more rigorous ethical and transparency standards, revolutionising principles of corporate governance.

In some regions, such as Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Northern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, certain tendencies in corporate governance have emerged.

Corporate governance expert Dr. Richard LeBlanc explains there are several major trends that can be applicable across borders.

These trends include:

1. Ensuring social independence between boards of directors and management.

2. Imposing limits on directors’ term lengths, as well as ensuring organizations are diverse.

3. Choosing directors strictly based on capabilities, skills, and expertise.

4. Implementing audit committees at all levels to lower risk of corruption.

5. Increasing and improving cybersecurity, including the internal management of information, preventing hackings, and providing a secure platform for the board of directors.

In addition to the above trends in corporate governance, it is also critical there be regulation of leadership, as certain leadership models are more conducive to corruption. Susan Frank Divers, senior advisor, LRN Corporation, explains that “it is not enough to create documents with behaviour codes or impose trainings on a company, an introspective analysis must be done.

Leadership models and management corporate structures based on control and secrecy eventually lead to bad corporate conduct.” Additionally, it is a very costly mistake for leaders to ignore the concerns and recommendations of their employees. In today’s digital communications age, a company without transparency is destined to fail.

It is important to highlight the role of the media in stalling corruption and continuing to provide a space for transparency and compliance. The media, and especially social media, provides visibility to the inner workings of companies, often exposing irregularities and instances of corruption. In addition to providing a platform for each individual to do their part, the media helps uncover and follow corruption stories. It has also contributed to making institutions adopt more rigorous and ethical transparency and corporate governance standards.

In this new global information environment, companies that turn away from the policies of honesty and transparency lose credibility and competitive advantages. Let us hope that public criticism, social vigilance, and sanctions by governments and private institutions, as well as ethical leadership programs, will continue to push companies to adopt practices with social conscience and integrity.


Deepak Kumar & Prerna Singh International Journal of Research (IJR) Vol-1, Issue-4, May 2014