THE TOP EUROPEAN PR CONSULTANCIES 2000: ITALY - The boom in e-commerce has made hi-tech the biggest contributor to Italian PR business

PR continues to grow in stature in Italy. With an improving economy and a desire among the business community to embrace new technology, PR agencies found their services in great demand during 1999. Financial PR practitioners were kept busy by a stream of companies coming to market, while hi-tech specialists benefited from the fact that many of these companies were in the internet sector. ’There was a continuing process of privatisation of public owned companies, and a strong growth of new entries to the stock exchange, in particular web companies,’ says Giampaolo Doveri of Italian PR association, Assorel.

PR continues to grow in stature in Italy. With an improving economy

and a desire among the business community to embrace new technology, PR

agencies found their services in great demand during 1999. Financial PR

practitioners were kept busy by a stream of companies coming to market,

while hi-tech specialists benefited from the fact that many of these

companies were in the internet sector. ’There was a continuing process

of privatisation of public owned companies, and a strong growth of new

entries to the stock exchange, in particular web companies,’ says

Giampaolo Doveri of Italian PR association, Assorel.



The hi-tech sector is now the major contributor to PR business in

Italy.



Assorel has recently commissioned the University of Milano-Bicocca to

carry out research on the impact of the internet on PR. This market was

almost unexplored in Italy until last year, but it has now brought a

host of new players - venture capitalists, incubators, business angels,

accelerators and consultants - requiring communication support.



Ketchum Italy has done well out of dot.com and technology business, but

MD Nicoletta Cerana sounds a note of caution: ’Italy is jumping into the

new economy, but net entrepreneurs are strongly conditioned by two major

elements - employment and fiscal policies that are not flexible enough,

and the lack of experts to support and manage such strong growth.’

Cerana is one of many agency people in Italy who point out how hard it

is to find well qualified staff, particularly in the hi-tech arena.



Despite this, the recovering economy is having a positive effect.

Adriana Mavellia, MD of Mavellia MS&L, says she has noticed the ’first

signs of a strong economic recovery’, including an economic renaissance

in parts of northern Italy in traditional sectors like automotive, food

and services.



The agency decided to split its marketing and corporate areas under

separate client directors. ’Marketing PR activities are now a basic tool

in communications,’ says Mavellia.



Eric Gerritsen at Burson-Marsteller in Italy says: ’The new economy is

booming and this means IPOs, and speed branding for numerous internet

start-ups.’ However, a booming new economy and political uncertainty

does not lead to an easy ride for agencies. ’It means we need to be

flexible and continuously adapt to changing scenarios,’ adds

Gerritsen.



Italy’s largest agency Barabino and Partners increased its revenues by a

startling 41 per cent. CEO Luca Barabino puts growth down to ’the

renewal of the Italian economy and the development of the new economy in

Italy’.



In 1999 Barabino was kept busy with a series of takeover battles and

companies coming to market, including acting as adviser to Olivetti on

its bid for Telecom Italia.



One of the trends noted by Franco Guzzi, CEO of Cohn and Wolfe in Milan,

is for clients in Italy to seek more strategic advice. ’Traditional

companies such as consumers, sports and finance are asking more and more

for communications consultancy. In Italy the business community is now

using communications as a strategic business tool,’ he says.



Shandwick Italia CEO Furio Garbagnati agrees that this development was

one of the drivers behind his agency’s good performance in the consumer

and corporate sectors: ’This was mainly due to the new perception of PR

as a real strategic issue by our clients,’ he says.



Massimo Benocci of independent agency EPR also notes a ’growing interest

from clients in a strategic partnership, and a remarkable shift from an

advertising-centred approach to communications to an integrated

one’.



Benocci says there has been an increased commitment to communication

from public administration bodies, and real competition in the utilities

market following the breaking up of former state-held monopolies.



Hill and Knowlton Italia president and CEO Cesare Valli adds: ’Most

Italian companies are now realising the importance of running proactive

and effective communication campaigns.’



The agency restructured to better meet client needs, introducing new

service lines, including a dot.com division. Crisis management and

marketing communication grew significantly, as did financial

communication. In July Carl Byoir and Associates, a hi-tech brand wholly

owned by Hill and Knowlton, acquired generalist agency SPC.



Italy’s largest hi-tech agency, Brodeur ImageTime, enjoyed a very

fruitful year. New business, mainly new internet companies and other

start-ups, grew at 60 per cent compared to the previous year. A second

office, called ImageTime One, opened in Milan in October 1999 to

overcome client conflict.



The one blot on the landscape for PR agencies is that political

instability in Italy. This hit a high this April when the centre-left

coalition was defeated in regional elections and this impacted on the

government very negatively. General elections are around the corner.

Government organisations are holding back on new campaigns, and work for

lobbyists slows down as the government focuses on elections.





- Assorel, the Italian trade body, requires its members to have minimum

fees of L500 million per annum, at least five employees, and eight

active accounts. It has 32 members.



- Chiappe Bellodi chose not to enter the table due to a restructure of

its business





EURO CONSULTANCIES - Italy


Rank Company/Status                Fee income (pounds)  Growth  Location

99                                      99          98       %

1    Barabino and Partners*/     5,214,800   3,694,300      41     Milan

     Independent

2    Ketchum PR*/                3,107,945   1,988,886      56     Milan

     Ketchum affiliate

3    Burson-Marsteller*/         2,986,388   2,768,620       8     Milan

     B-M subsidiary

4    Shandwick Italia*/          2,603,000   2,022,000      29     Milan

     IPR subsidiary

5    Edelman PR Worldwide*/      2,577,092   2,037,205      27     Milan

     Edelman subsidiary

6    Business Press/             2,427,311   2,038,338      19     Milan

     Worldcom member

7    Mavellia MS&L*/             2,421,024   2,243,105       8     Milan

     MS&L subsidiary

8    Brodeur Imagetime*/         2,115,000   1,868,574      13     Milan

     Brodeur Worldwide subsid

9    Hill & Knowlton Italia*/    1,953,559   1,594,498      23     Milan

     H&K subsidiary

10   Imageware/                  1,755,393   1,412,785      24     Milan

     Independent

11   Cohn & Wolfe*/              1,581,651   1,126,605      40     Milan

     C&W subsidiary

12   EPR*/                       1,577,650   1,457,240       8      Rome

     Independent

13   Egg*/                       1,363,875   1,044,626      31     Milan

     Grayling affiliate

14   Noesis*/                    1,200,000   1,173,144       2     Milan

     Euro PR member

15   SEC*/                       1,197,624   1,165,735       3     Milan

     Independent

16   Gaia Public Relations*/     1,150,000   1,050,000      10      Rome

     Independent

17   HSL*/                       1,120,000   1,178,521      -5     Genoa

     Independent

18   INC*/                       1,055,807     870,067      21      Rome

     Independent

19   Klaus Davi and Co*/         1,053,580     849,660      24     Milan

     Independent

20   Fleishman-Hillard Italia/   1,027,000     620,217      66     Milan

     F-H subsidiary

21   Errepi Comunicazione/         844,563     509,767      66      Rome

     Independent

22   PDC*/                         826,479     787,126       5     Milan

     Independent

23   Homina*/                      706,578     815,000     -13   Bologna

     Independent

24   GMPR*/                        513,691     611,756     -16   Bologna

     Independent

25   Text 100/                     422,797     196,766     115     Milan

     Text 100 subsidiary

25   SECI*/                        376,570     350,060       8     Milan

     Independent

25   Nicole Schilling Comms/       633,929     574,829      10        La

     Independent                                                Rochelle


All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 1999

Fee income= PR fees only.



Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

John Lewis to tell brand story with "tasteful" 150th anniversary celebrations

Department store John Lewis is to use its 150th anniversary this year to talk about its history, which "not enough people know about", according to director of communications Peter Cross.

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

Labour hires Obama election strategist David Axelrod to fight General Election

The man who helped Barack Obama win the 2008 and 2012 US presidential elections is to work for Labour along with members of his team.

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Sky adds Fever PR to its roster after splitting with Cake

Pay-TV giant Sky has added Fever PR to its agency line-up for a wide-ranging brief covering products and services.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations after Easter break

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home for Easter and will reconvene on Tuesday for further deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

Home Office brings in Munro & Forster to campaign against FGM

The Home Office has tasked Munro & Forster (M&F) with supporting its campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM) as part of a wider retained brief.