Comms Council launches PR arm, ‘We will not replace PRIA’

communications council logo

Stuart Gregor

Stuart Gregor: new PR Council chair

The Communications Council has launched a PR arm – a move it says will not replace the existing public relations industry body, the PRIA.

Comms Council boss Margaret Zabel told Mumbrella: “The intention is not to replace the PRIA. Not at all. What we can offer Australian consumer PR agencies is complementary to their current membership plans.”

PRIA logo

PRIA: 'will not be replaced'

“We would like to think that PR agencies have a strong and prosperous relationship with both groups,” she said.

The group is to be run by Liquid Ideas boss Stuart Gregor as chairman.

“The idea has been in the works for some time,” said Zabel. “The marcoms industry has become increasingly integrated, and there’s a need to represent the interests of consumer PR agencies.”

The PRIA’s CEO Jon Bisset told Mumbrella that while there would be “overlapping interests” between the two bodies, “we can work cooperatively together.”

“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,” he said.

The Public Relations Council is geared towards building the reputation of PR agencies, setting benchmarks for best practice, promoting creativity, as well as developing education and training, Zabel added.

Besides Gregor, the PR Council’s committee will include:

Simone Drewry – Mango, deputy chair
Michelle Hutton – Edelman
Kat Thomas – One Green Bean
Gabriel McDowell – Res Publica
Tiffany Farrington – Social Diary (representing smaller agencies)
Jess Nunns – Undertow Media, Melbourne

The idea was first mooted in an interview with the management of PR agency Mango last year.

The PRIA’s CEO added: “Yes, there is a risk that our members could stray to the PR Council. But remember that our organisation has 3,000 individual members, and 140 agency members. We have been through considerable change over the last three years, merging from nine organisations to one.”

“Like most organisations there are some things we do well, and somethings we could improve on. We are always looking to improve what we offer,” he said.

Stuart Gregor said in a statement: “The Communications Council is a terrific organisation, they have a really great program of events, their graduate program is second to none and they pull together some excellent industry standards such as the recent Social Media Guidelines, which is a terrific, and much needed initiative. We are thrilled to be on board.”


  1. Dave The Happy Singer
    29 Aug 12
    11:46 am

  2. Clearly what is now needed is an industry body to represent the PR interests of industry bodies who represent the PR interests of agencies who represent the PR interests of clients.

  3. Scoop
    29 Aug 12
    1:48 pm

  4. = more rubbish awards nights and scantily clad PR gal get togethers.

  5. Golum
    29 Aug 12
    1:50 pm

  6. doesn’t bode well for the PR industry that Ms Zabel failed PR 101 by repeating the negative “the intention is not to replace the PRIA. Not at all” and peddling a patently bullshit line ” What we can offer Australian consumer PR agencies is complimentary to their current membership plans”

    …and interesting that McGregor is running the new PR show…look out Ms Zabel, he is clearly angling for your job!

  7. Kate
    29 Aug 12
    2:10 pm

  8. Interesting. I’ve always thought the PRIA is a bit stale despite being a long-time member, so it’s good to see the industry get a shake-up. Hopefully it’ll mean both bodies strive to be more relevant to PR professionals and there will be better industry leadership.

  9. Fabfour
    29 Aug 12
    2:54 pm

  10. surprised to see Mango on there after their recent reputational damage

  11. Anon
    29 Aug 12
    5:08 pm

  12. can anyone tell me what the PRIA actually does? submit thought leading ideas to government? discipline members who dont follow their code of conduct?

    other than an awards night (which i am aware of), the PRIA is not actually very visible in activity

  13. Megan Clark
    30 Aug 12
    1:59 pm

  14. Across the ditch in New Zealand we have established the Marcomms Leadership Group (MLG) as part of the Communication Agencies Association of NZ (CAANZ). It is made up of a group of agency heads from both PR and Experiential disciplines and supported by the CAANZ team.

    PRINZ (the PR Institute) and the MLG work collaboratively, with the MLG more focused on consumer PR agencies and their needs while PRINZ supports professional development for individuals.

    Both run events, including international and local speaker forums, and initiatives to which each has preferential pricing. Additionally, the CAANZ Training Development officer and PRINZ training have looked at each other’s offerings to ensure they are complementary.

    I would encourage initiatives that help develop Public Relations and Experiential in the market and wish you all well.

    Megan Clark
    Chair, Marcomms Leadership Group