GLOBAL RANKINGS 2001: EUROPE - Expansion plans. The stature of PR as a communications tool is rising across Europe. Adam Hill reports

As in so many areas of business and culture, Europe took a lead

from the US in the early part of 2001 as the stock of dot.coms declined

rapidly following the hi-tech feeding frenzy of 1999/2000 - which one

Italian PRO described as 'technology drunkenness'. As investors drew

their purse strings tighter, IPO activity across the board has slowed

from river to trickle, thus denying many agencies of the work that

served them so well.



Despite this, agencies are upbeat about the increasing stature of PR as

a communications tool - and of clients' understanding of its place in

the marketing mix. Networks have had a good year and appear convinced

the gap between themselves and owned groups is closing steadily.

Although Worldcom network's fee income was virtually static in 2000 at

$56.8m, and Entente International dipped 11 per cent to $30.3m, Brodeur climbed into second place in the PRWeek UK Europe 2000

networks table with a rise of 30 per cent to $30.5m (PRWeek, 22

June). Owned groups also did well.



Weber Shandwick broke the $80m fee income barrier closely

followed by Hill & Knowlton. Euro RSCG remained at number one on $87.7m, pushed by Chime Communications less than $1.5m behind.



While traditional advertising strongholds such as France remain tough to

break for aspiring foreign PR agencies, there are signs that attitudes

towards PR on the part of big business elsewhere are shifting. The

demand for strategic advice is on the up in virtually every European

country, according to native PROs. In Sweden, parts of the PR industry

rose to a par with management consultants, advising CEOs and enjoying

closer links to the boardroom than ever before.



Another driver for increasing interest in PR is companies' realisation

of the need to maintain and enhance their corporate reputation across

the board. Legislation, or the promise of legislation, in many European

countries on enforced transparency in corporate governance issues will

increase this trend.



Depending on geography, agencies remain split between increased

specialisation and the need for broader offerings. In Germany, upcoming

legislation on pensions and company taxation will push financial work to

the fore during the rest of the year and 2002. In Italy, Nicoletta

Cerana, MD of Ketchum Italia, says the country's crowded PR market

'generates confusion in the client's perception of PR service quality',

so agencies are keen to differentiate their offering. But in Belgium the

reverse appears true. The bigger agencies, such as GCI/APCO Brussels

(which increased fee income by 36 per cent to $6m in 2000) have

tended to focus on just two areas: the promotion of domestic goods and

services and on PA. However, H&K director Paul Baeyaert confirms that

less familiar approaches, such as guerilla marketing, are on the rise.

In the Netherlands, agencies are looking to develop one-stop shops,

bringing in advertising skills to give them a more rounded appeal.



The resurgence of PR for bricks and mortar businesses is a given over

the coming year, as the the relative demise of technology companies will

mean that agencies will need to court more traditional clients. The

dot.com explosion has also shown those same clients what can be

achieved. The marriage of offline comms with online will be of

particular relevance to Dutch agencies, given that nine per cent of the

Netherlands' GDP is predicted to be generated online by 2005.



But perhaps the most significant aspect of the downturn in dot.coms and

telecoms is that it has not affected European economies equally across

the board. Despite huge cutbacks by players such as Ericsson, for

example, technology remains big business in Sweden, where relative

newcomer Havanna PR jumped 236 per cent year-on-year through

specialising in IT and dot.com clients. Likewise, financial specialist

Haubrok leapt into sixth place in the German rankings with a 124 per

cent rise in fee income on the back of IPO work, much of which was

dot.coms coming to market. In the French market, Brodeur SRRP turned in

a sterling performance, increasing fee income by nearly half again to

$3.9m, largely through dot.com accounts. Finally, few Swiss

agencies have felt the pinch, and the second half of 2001 is predicted

to be strong, with 2002 even better.



Europe remained attractive to a number of big US name groups. Edelman

bought agencies in Sweden and Germany while two others bought in Italy:

H&K bought Gaia and Weber Shandwick snapped up Massmedia and Bridge

Editore in Milan. Despite these incursions from US agency groups,

indigenous independent players remain strong in a number of markets.

Barabino & Partners (with a fee income of $10m) stayed at the top

of the tree in Italy. In the Netherlands, number two agency Winkelman &

Van Hessen ($6.5m fee income) remains attractive to international

networks in a country where most of the leading agencies have formal

tie-ups with majors.



Firms such as Vienna-based Hochegger Com must also be seen as potential

targets for takeover. Austria's number two agency has a fee income of

$5.4m and the country's PR industry is rightly seen as the

gateway to central and eastern Europe. This goes some way to explaining

why Kohtes Klewes, the dominant agency in Germany, took a 40 per cent

stake in Austria's Publico, which boasted a fee income of nearly $8m in April.



Many PROs pointed to the relative lack of maturity in the German, French

and Italian PR markets when compared to the US and UK. If this is the

case, then it follows that even greater opportunities are on the horizon

as PROs turn their gaze further eastwards. The mass privatisation

programmes in energy and telecoms that followed political and economic

liberalisation in central Europe from 1990 onwards are largely completed

and western brands, attracted to the region by the appearance of

potentially voracious consumer markets from behind the iron curtain, are

stongly in evidence.



Hungary's economy has grown at more than four per cent for the last five

years - ahead of the other big players in the region, Poland and the

Czech Republic - and is set to grow five per cent this year. Hungary

will soon see a shake-up of its banking system, reducing 40 or so

institutions down to half a dozen.



Julianna Gulden is MD of Gulden Communications in Budapest. Despite the

name change earlier this month from Gulden B-M to the Young & Rubicam ad

brand, she believes clients are increasingly seeing the value of PR over

advertising: 'As more companies have started to use PR it is being seen

as a communications tool that can deliver business results and it will

become more widely used.'



Agencies in the Czech Republic have seen an increase in consumer and IT

work and the healthcare sector is thought likely to grow. AMI

Communications partner Marek Stransky, also believes the importance of

PR has increased over the last couple of years. The agency, an Edelman

affiliate in both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, grew by 24 per cent

in Prague last year, returning a fee income of $1,201,950. It

used to have 80 per cent of its work in media relations. 'I have seen an

important change in clients' perceptions of PR consultants. Very often

they use them as strategic counsellors for top management, especially

for the restructuring of industrial companies, reputation management and

crisis communications,' says Stransky.



Fee income at the Czech Republic's number one agency,

Donath-Burson-Marsteller, dipped 16 per cent in 2000 to $1,404,296. Meanwhile the Republic's economic performance remains a

curate's egg, with growth offset by a huge national debt. 'The trend is

upwards but is it robust?'



says Vladimir Feldman, MD of GJW/BSMG's Prague office. In a country of

only ten million people, a PR agency with a turnover of $1.5m is

considered sizeable. But he is encouraged by the prospect of

cross-border work evolving from potential inclusion in the European

Union.



The Action PR network runs throughout the region, as a Golin/Harris

affiliate in Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia, and a Weber Shandwick

affiliate in Romania. Ruxandra Mateescu, director of the Action office

in Bucharest, says advertising, via locals such as Black Pencil

Advertising, remains better-known as a communication tool: 'There are

not many international chains, it tends to be branches of advertising

companies. But (in PR) there is still room to grow.'



Poland is home to a well-developed PR scene. As well as international

groups like B-M there are locals such as Sigma International and

Ciszewski PR. Another of these, 180 deg PR, was established in Warsaw

two years ago as part of Leo Burnett and became an MS&L affiliate in

January. MD Danuta Raczkiewicz-Chenczke says annual growth in the PR

market has been growing at ten per cent a year although there was a

decrease last year. There are some essential cuts in marketing budgets

where money and efforts have shifted from strategy and brand-building

programmes into direct consumer targeted activites such as promotion and

consumer PR programmes. The economy as a whole is growing by four per

cent although that, too, has slowed.



An autumn election seems likely to see a change of government from

conservative to social democrat, in line with much of the rest of

Europe.



Although the scramble for dot.com business was never so frantic in

central Europe as in the west of the continent, there has certainly been

no immunity from the downturn, which is leading telecoms clients in

particular to cut PR budgets.



Gulden argues that the region cannot be taken as a homogenous mass, but

there is one issue from which the whole area should benefit. Membership

of the EU, which could be a reality for many of these countries as early

as 2004, is sure to bring both increased foreign investment and greater

opportunities for PR.



EUROPE'S TOP FIVE OWNED GROUPS

Rank Agency Name Europes Income (USdollars)

00 00 99 %

chg

1 Euro RSCG 87,748,420 68,454,440 28

2 Chime Communications 86,516,156 50,897,200 70

3 Weber Shandwick 80,507,921 63,947,840 26

4 Hill & Knowlton 78,169,196 60,074,680 30

5 Burson-Marsteller 70,367,888 62,282,840 13

Source: PRWeek UK for all tables except Austria and Germany (see

individual tables). Notes: 2000 Euro figures converted at FT average

£1 = $1.5157. 1999 at £1 = $1.48 for all Euro

tables. All figures relate to the year ended December 2000. Fee income =

PR fees only

A NATION-BY-NATION BREAKDOWN OF EUROPE

Rank Austria Income (USdollars)

00 00 99 %

chg

1 Publico PR & Lobbying* 7,953,092 5,834,562 36

2 Hochegger Com* 5,353,311 3,835,116 40

3 Trimedia Communications* 3,382,510 - -

4 Pro & Co Public Relations* 2,131,541 1,112,321 92

5 Ecker & Partner 1,984,779 1,610,475 23

Source: Figures supplied by PRWeek sister title PR Report and compiled

by Austrian marketing magazine Bestseller

Notes: All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000. Fee

income= PR fees only *Denotes member of PRVA.

Rank Belgium Income (USdollars)

00 00 99 %

chg

1 Porter Novelli Brussels* 6,869,530 5,566,311 23

2 Burson-Marsteller* 6,037,045 5,254,000 15

3 Interel Marien* ** 6,006,719 4,682,720 28

4 GCI/APCO Brussels* ** 6,003,688 4,410,400 36

5 GPC Brussels 5,847,628 4,843,082 21

Notes: All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000. Fee income

= PR fees only * Denotes member of ABCRP/BGPRA. ** 1999 fee income as

submitted for 2000 European Consultancies tables.

Rank France Income (USdollars) %

00 00 99 chg

1 Euro RSCG* 49,346,645 41,456,280 19

2 I&E** 12,876,343 11,235,307 15

3 Burson-Marsteller* 6,384,859 5,922,960 8

4 Porter Novelli France 5,899,896 4,170,439 41

5 GCI Moreau* ** 5,408,018 4,884,000 11

Notes: All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000. Fee income

= PR fees * denotes Syntec member. ** 1999 fee income as submitted for

2000 European Consultancies tables.

Rank Germany Income (USdollars)

00 00 99 %

chg

1 Kohtes Klewes* 35,892,594 27,365,620 31

2 Trimedia Comms Deutschland* 10,236,765 7,825,608 31

3 Weber Shandwick Deutschland* 9,784,419 8,449,736 16

4 GCI Hering Schuppener 9,617,248 6,769,340 42

5 BSMG Worldwide Deutschland* 9,593,920 7,633,568 27

Source: Figures compiled by PRWeek sister title PR Report

Notes: All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000. Fee income

= PR fees only * Denotes GPRA member.

Rank Italy Income (USdollars )

00 00 99 %

chg

1 Barabino & Partners* 10,023,545 7,441,218 35

2 Shandwick Italia* 8,204,484 3,852,440 113

3 Hill & Knowlton*1 5,501,991 2,674,360 106

4 Burson-Marsteller* 4,986,439 3,930,880 27

5 Edelman PR W'ide* 4,569,102 3,814,096 20

Notes: All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000. Fee

income=PR fees only. * denotes member of Assorel 1 includes figures from

date of H&K's acquisition of Gaia in December 2000 ** 1999 fee income as

submitted for 2000 European Consultancies tables

Rank Netherlands Income (USdollars )

00 00 99 %

chg

1 Bikker Euro RSCG* 6,741,834 3,119,840 116

2 Winkleman & van Hessen 6,517,510 5,831,200 12

3 Brodeur Schoep & Toorn1 ** 5,367,094 4,771,344 12

4 Bennis Porter Novelli* ** 4,989,116 4,956,487 1

5 Hill & Knowlton Nederland* 3,383,042 2,495,280 36

Notes: All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000. Fee income

= PR fees * denotes Precom member ** denotes VPRA member 1 Formerly

called Schoep & Van der Toorn ** 1999 fee income as submitted for 2000

European Consultancies tables

Rank Sweden Income (USdollars) %

00 00 99 chg

1 Kreab* 17,328,998 11,632,800 50

2 Journalistgruppen* ** 8,601,723 7,215,000 19

3 JKL* 7,734,617 6,938,240 12

4 Hallvarsson & Hallvarsson* ** 5,444,129 2,628,948 107

5 GCI Rinfo* ** 5,085,174 5,002,400 2

Notes: All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000. Fee

income= PR fees only *Denotes Precis member ** 1999 fee income as

submitted for 2000 European Consultancies tables

Rank Switzerland Income (USdollars )

00 00 99 %

chg

1 Trimedia Comms Suisse* 9,173,113 6,948,113 32

2 Farner PR und Consulting* 7,878,590 5,730,989 37

3 Wirz Corporate Comms* 7,558,323 5,543,979 36

4 Peter Butikofer 7,270,722 6,663,534 9

5 Burson-Marsteller* 6,322,089 4,367,511 45

Notes: All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 2000. Fee income

= PR fees only *Denotes BPRA member.Figures are supplied by BPRA ** 1999

fee income as submitted for 2000 European Consultancies tables

Rank UK Income (USdollars )

00 00 99 %

chg

1 Weber Shandwick UK* 48,394,785 42,690,600 13

2 Citigate Dewe Rogerson*1 47,839,444 39,543,180 20

3 Bell Pottinger Communications2 46,197,020 36,280,270 27

4 Hill &Knowlton (UK)* 43,855,263 37,297,480 18

5 Countrywide Porter Novelli*3 31,686,657 28,147,667 13

Notes: All figures relate to year ended December 2000. Fee income = PR

fees plus mark-up. *Denotes PRCA member. 1 Includes Citigate Smarts,

Citigate PL PR, plus fee income from Citigate Marchcom since date of

acquisition 2 Includes BP Consulting, BP Financial, BP Public Affairs,

BP Public Relations, First Financial, BP ESP, Teamspirit, IR Focus, BP

Online Strategy, Landmark Consultants, Environment Marketing, AMD

Property Marketing, AMD Brand Evolution, AMD in Real Life 3 Includes

Fodor Wyllie



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.