Hard truths for PROs at ICCO Summit

PR professionals will never attain the holy grail of becoming ‘business advisers’, delegates at the third international ICCO Summit were told last week.

UBS chief communications officer Mark Branson said that, despite consultants aspiring to advise on core business policy, in the long term their input will be limited to the development of comms strategies.

A stellar client panel, including ex-Boeing senior vice-president Judith Muhlberg, and former Procter & Gamble divisional director of external relations Peter Hindle, echoed Branson’s comments.

The panel also warned that consultants are failing to provide the necessary expertise in growth areas such as CSR and employee relations.

The summit, which took place in Berlin last week, was organised for the first time in conjunction with PRWeek.

Maha Abouelenein, Pro-seven Weber Shandwick Egypt MD told delegates that ‘global brands are under threat in the Middle East and Arab States like never before’ and that boycotts had spread since September 11 from US companies to local companies with perceived US links.

She added that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein has created greater problems for global brands in the region and predicted that the boycotts will continue for up to five years.

For a full report on the summit, visit iccopr.com.

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