40 agencies set to join PR Council after launch meeting

More than 40 agencies turned out for the first meeting of new industry body The PR Council last night.

The PR Council is being created by The Communications Council to represent the interests of consumer PR agencies after complaints that the long-established Pubic Relations Institute of Australia was failing to do so.

Around 70 people turned out for the meeting, PR Council chairman Stuart Gregor told Mumbrella. Gregor, who is also boss of Liquid ideas, said: “It was a terrific turnout, with every person showing an expression of interest to join. There was a fantastic atmosphere with everyone wanting to do some great things. I think there will be some tremendous opportunities to come out of it.”

Gregor said that the PR Council is not seeking to repalce PRIA, with many of those present willing to be members of both organisations.

“This is about working with brands – it’s a brand communication representative body.” Gregor added.

When the Public Relations Council was first announced, PRIA CEO Jon Bisset told Mumbrella: “I don’t see this as a negative development. The PRIA works across every sort of PR – not just consumer PR. The future of our industry is about getting all organisations working together.”

The committee will meet 10 times a year as a group with the first meeting set for October 8, with the expectation of having a group of fully paid members by then, including companies such as Edelman, One Green Bean, Mango, Liquid Ideas and Hausmann.

Discussions on the table at last night’s meeting included a setting of standards and code of practice, and graduate programs.

The current PR Council committee is:

  • Michelle Hutton – Edelman
  • Kat Thomas – One Green Bean
  • Gabriel McDowell – Res Publica
  • Tiffany Farrington – Social Diary (representing smaller agencies)
  • Jess Nunns – Undertow Media, Melbourne
  • Simone Drewry – Mango as deputy chair, who has since announced she would be returning to the UK to live.


  1. KP
    20 Sep 12
    12:57 pm

  2. And so the PRIA becomes even less relevant..

  3. Scoop
    20 Sep 12
    1:39 pm

  4. Nice to see a few men appointed to the committee – or not.

  5. Fabfour
    20 Sep 12
    2:30 pm

  6. one of the issues I would really like to see championed by our sector is how to help drive client awareness of how PR works. Australia really lags behind the UK and the US in this area.

    Setting guidelines etc is all fine – but more conversations with the converted aren’t really where the issues lie. It’s more that Australian clients – with the exception of large brands and multinationals – often have very little idea of how PR is different to advertising.

  7. Nicole
    20 Sep 12
    2:44 pm

  8. Slight over-exaggeration by Mr Gregor – I counted about 50 people in the room (he must have counted himself twice) and not “every person” showed an expression of interest to join – particualrly when you look at the extrordinary fees to join. A PR agency with a gross turnover of 2 – 2.49 million will need to pay $8,250 a year – yes there is an incentive to join now, but from what I saw they have a long way to go before they start providing a full-service.

  9. PRIA member
    20 Sep 12
    6:39 pm

  10. Struggling to see the benefit of a new PR body. If they really want to boost consumer PR, why not form a new sub-group within PRIA rather than reinventing the wheel.

  11. Linde
    21 Sep 12
    9:43 am

  12. Thanks Nicole for your comment. We at the Comms Council acknowledge that it will take some time for the Committee to get their initiatives off the ground which is why we proposed the two years for one membership structure. We recognise membership won’t be for everyone and that’s fine. The value of this membership will not only be in new initiatives, but also in tapping into existing benefits, ie grad program, education, training, best practice, advice etc, as well as in having a united voice to raise awareness of the discipline’s importance with both agencies and clients.

  13. Jörn
    21 Sep 12
    1:56 pm

  14. Can anything good come from splitting up the industry? I’m sure PRIA will admit that it could do far more, and probably wants to. So if we really are committed to improving the reputation and purpose for the PR industry, should we not gain strength through synergy and takle it as one industry? Grant it, I am a passive grumbler about how things could be so much better. Maybe this is the time to get myself up and join others who were at that meeting but aren’t convinced that splitting the industry is the way to go.

    Right PRIA, who do I talk to to lend a hand in creating relevance and context for public relations?