Nick Cowling takes on new role with Citizen Relations

Returning to manage the agency within Canada, Cowling will also help lead innovation globally.

Nick Cowling has returned to Canada with an eye on the international stage. He takes on the dual role of president of Citizen Relations Canada and global head of innovation.

Cowling first joined Citizen as VP and general manager in 2005 and was named president of its Canadian operations in 2015. In 2016, Cowling was named president of Citizen Relations’ offices across North America, a new role for the PR network that was meant to help encourage collaboration between U.S. and Canadian offices.

In his new dual position, Cowling returns to focus on leading the operations of Citizen in Canada, while also introducing and developing new products and capabilities across its offices in different markets. In addition to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Quebec City, Citizen Relations also has offices in London, Singapore, Los Angeles, New York and Irvine.

Daryl McCullough, Citizen Relations’ global chairman and CEO, specifically pointed to measurement, influencer marketing and purpose-led marketing as being among the priorities for Cowling and the Citizen Relations network. McCullough said these efforts would help Citizen extend its reputation globally, having established a strong position within North America.

Cowling says that while much has been made about the impact the digital age has had on agencies in other disciplines, there is a less-discussed need and opportunity for PR agencies to adapt to a changing world.

“We have an incredible opportunity to reinvent what we do,” he says. “There’s so much potential in today’s data and technology if we are willing to experiment. While all marketing disciplines are adapting, the fundamental and increasing value of PR continues to be a deep understanding of your audiences and the ability to initiate and shape conversations with them.”

Other changes at Citizen Relations this year include the appointment of several new VPs and its first creative director, a partnership with Provident Communications to strengthen its capabilities in corporate and B2B communications and new work for clients, including Netflix and GoRVing.

In November, the agency’s parent company Vision7 acquired San Francisco-based creative agency Eleven as part of a U.S. expansion plan, which includes creating campuses that bring together other agencies it owns under one roof.