As President Bush returns from an international summit in Genoa,
the timing of this week's international issue could not be better.
If you work for an international corporation, the Global Rankings
(starting on p. 15) give an invaluable snapshot of agency resources
wherever you might need them. There are reports on agency activities in
the US, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia
and Canada. (Turn to the list of the world's top 25 agencies, p.
If you're facing yet another budget squeeze and are considering whether
to cut costs by instigating an international agency consolidation, don't
issue that RFP before reading about the experiences of those who have
tried it already ("The Global Dilemma," p. 17).
If you work for an agency, it offers insight of a different kind - the
comforting fact that things are tough on the other side of the world as
well. Reports from each region illustrate how agencies are waiting
longer for client decisions, working with smaller budgets, and fighting
harder for new business.
What also strongly emerges in the course of the Global Rankings is the
realization that for all the globalization of marketing, and of agencies
themselves, conducting PR internationally is still a game reliant on
people and their individual skills. No matter how vast your resources,
unless you have good relationships with the local media, investment
community or whoever else you need to communicate with, your global PR
strategy is worthless.
This is illustrated by a number of stories elsewhere in this issue, of
PR folks with their fair share of frequent flyer miles. James Rubin,
Madeleine Albright's ex-spokesman, shares his "podium" tips (see
Profile, p. 13), which he now hopes to put to good use in a corporate
setting in his new globe-trotting role at Brunswick.
Opposite, there's an analysis on the problems that the EC faces in
communicating with the "local" US press following its rejection of the
GE-Honeywell merger. And a feature in Campaigns (p. 46) tells how Weber
Shandwick Worldwide used savvy PR to influence public opinion, resulting
in Beijing winning the 2008 Olympics. In a mission that spanned every
continent, and with a final PR presentation in Moscow, the American and
London-based team gained third party endorsement from a global pool that
spanned Olga Korbut, Lance Armstrong and the Dalai Lama.
Despite protests at the G8 summit, then, the need for global PR is not
going to go away, and this is underscored in starkly different ways by
two other stories in this issue: Dell's global PR review (see p. 1); and
the exploitation of President Bush's anti-environment stance by
Greenpeace to galvanize support and raise funds for its global movement
(see Client Profile, p. 10).
Finally, in the week when the US government stood in glorious isolation
from the rest of the world on Kyoto, the damage this position brings to
this country's image is pause for thought. If a US corporation showed
the same blatant disregard for local communities, it would fail. But the
US has such an incredible influence on the global economy that the Bush
administration can afford to ignore public opinion outside of its
Nevertheless, with American organizations taking an increasingly global
view of their communications, they must be concerned to be so out of
sync with world opinion.