Top European Agencies 1997: BORDER CROSSINGS - IT development is fostering network growth as standardised agencies create virtual teams

European PR networks are growing up, branching out and tooling up with technology. Increasingly, multinationals want to have an integrated strategy for the whole of Europe and this is providing an enormous opportunity for networks.Globalisation is now the name of the game according to Andrew Smith,director of the specialist IT network Euro Plus. Like many others, he has witnessed that, to create seamless account handling, budgets and simplified reporting structures, ’more and more clients want to work with an umbrella organisation throughout Europe’.

European PR networks are growing up, branching out and tooling up

with technology. Increasingly, multinationals want to have an integrated

strategy for the whole of Europe and this is providing an enormous

opportunity for networks.Globalisation is now the name of the game

according to Andrew Smith,director of the specialist IT network Euro

Plus. Like many others, he has witnessed that, to create seamless

account handling, budgets and simplified reporting structures, ’more and

more clients want to work with an umbrella organisation throughout

Europe’.



Traditionally much network business has been generated by North American

companies moving into Europe. But increasingly, large national

organisations are spreading their tentacles into neighbouring EU

countries and beyond.



London is no longer the automatic headquarters for

pan-Europeancampaigns.



Edelman PR Worldwide’s president, Richard Edelman observes that:’There

is now much more dispersion of European headquarters to the Continent

and there is an expectation that European campaigns will be co-ordinated

from there.’



Clients are developing a greater understanding of the diversity of

theEuropean Union. And as their requirements have become sophisticated

they are ring fencing substantial budgets for individual countries, says

Jill Coomber, spokesperson for the Global Technology Communicators (GTC)

set up by Grant Butler Coomber in the UK. Consequently, the nature of

the work being undertaken by networks is becoming more diverse. Many

networks report that clients are increasingly seeking strategic advice

on communication and marketing issues with network members getting

involved in the earlier stages of planning campaigns at an implentation

level.



Healthcare is undergoing an ’explosive growth’ according to Richard

Price of Euro PR and Marketing, and financial PR is showing the kind of

growth that could make it worth moving into. But one of the biggest

growth areas is in technology.



The IT industry is positively booming with some agencies seeing

theirclients growing at 100 per cent a year. This has fuelled a demand

for PR on two fronts - from IT clients looking to expand and launch

newproducts; and from all companies who want to use IT in their

communication strategy.



There may still be the odd internet virgin about, but according to

Coomber the internet and intranets have been simplifying communications

for clients and especially networks. ’Intranets enable you to work much

more closely with clients as a virtual team. You can trawl through your

clients files and get what you need. You can standardise the way you

work with different agencies and become a virtual multinational.’



The IT boom has already fed through to networks’ income. The merger

between Worldcom and Globalink created the biggest IT specialist network

in Europe with over 96 global members, of which 29 are in Europe. ’The

same year the network added Globalink, it also asked Information et

Enterprise to stand down, when it would not make an exclusive commitment

to Worldcom.



Worldcom’s ranks were however, further swollen shortly after the merger

by the addition of Imago-Imagem e Communicacao from Portugal. Five

Worldcom partners also funded the launch of a dedicated Brussels-based

public affairs agency Worldcom Europe Brussels.



Meanwhile one of the newest, hi-tech network Fireworks, set up by London

agency Firefly last year has already won major clients including Sony

and Informix. Network founder Mark Mellor says partners are still being

sought, particularly in France and Eastern Europe. It is currently also

building contacts in Russia Turkey and Israel.



Israel seems to be a popular choice for network expansion, with Europlus

adding Koteret International, based in Tel Aviv, to its stable. GTC have

taken on five new members: Communicacion Global, a specialist IT

consultancy in Madrid; two agencies in the Netherlands, MCS and Bikker;

and in Germany Beiersdorff and Page Die Presse Agentur.



Edelman Europe has expanded its network into Portugal with new member

Consulpores de Communicacao, LDA based in Lisbon. Recent successful

pitches include Ericsson cellular phones, pharmaceutical company Eli

Lilly, the UPS postal service and tractor manufacturers, Case. Euro PR

has added three new stablemates while Charles Barker International

Connections has a new member, M&IDA based in Helsinki.



Poland has been a key destination for many networks and several now have

affiliates in Prague. However, agency scouts have ventured into Romania,

Slovenia, the Ukraine, Hungary, Croatia and Bosnia and Turkey. The

European Communications and Consulting Organisation (ECCO) in

particular, has a new affiliate in Budapest, M&H Communications. Earlier

this year ECCO’s UK affiliate Kinross and Render successfully pitched

for internet provider PSINet’s European PR account.



Many networks are also considering new members from outside mainland

Europe with South Africa being a popular choice. However, in the last 12

months networks have extended their membership to India, The United Arab

Emirates, Australia and even North America.



Peter Verhille, managing director of Entente International

Communications says the USA is his network’s next target. In particular

Entente is looking to consolidate relationships with agencies in

Washington and New York.



The interplay between national and EC legislation has not been missed

byVerhille, and Entente is now looking to capitalise on its public

affairs expertise. Viennese agency Henke Eurosearch, which specialises

in corporate PR andgovernment affairs joined the network recently and

Brussels-based Paula Duarte, an expert in European government relations,

has also come on board. Recent client wins for Entente include PepsiCo

and the European Association of Consumer Electronics Manufacturers.



Networks definitely seem to be maturing. Many now have their own

dedicated staff who oil the machinations of cross-border work. Shire

Hall Communications, for example, has appointed Pamela Cornish as the

main point of contact for their international network.



But networks are also likely to face increasing competition from

organically grown subsidiaries of the larger PR agencies which claim to

have greater control over their own branded office than of several

independent agencies with a differing structures and business cultures.

The issue of standards across networks will be a key factor in coming

years says James Thellusson, chairman of Cohn and Wolfe’s network.

’Networks are important to provide economies of scale and speed of

service, but they will have to work on fulfilling the promise of the

hype.’



Two new specialist technology networks - Fireworks and Global Technology

Communications - enter the networks league table this year, underlining

the continuing growth of the IT sector in Europe



Ludgate was unable to provide network figures for the 1997 PR Week

League Table and figures for individual country rankings due to

confidentiality of some of its affiliates’ figures



Global Technology Communicators has recently won contracts with BMC, the

12th largest software company in the world, and Digital, for whom they

are co-ordinating their European PR campaign



Clients of the Worldcom/Globalink alliance include General Electric,

Kellogg, Unichema, Netherlands satellite communications provider Station

12 and Taylor Nelson AGB.



Networks

Rk Company       Fee income (pounds)      %    Staff  Clients Location

                       96          95  Chge

1  Worldcom    27,840,783  22,367,492  24.5    421      443     London

2  Entente     24,832,700  25,624,000  -3.1    327      352   Brussels

3  Charles

   Barker Intl

   Connections 21,784,736  19,210,254  13.4    280      526     London

4  PROI        21,509,000  14,505,000  48.3    336      344      Paris

5  Pinnacle    13,592,944  13,359,841   1.7    315      463 Copenhagen

6  Edelman PR

   Worldwide   12,812,232  11,493,865  11.5    186      167    Chicago

7  Global

   Technology

   Communic-

   ations      12,167,206          **   -      218      204     Surrey

8  Shire Hall

   Communic-

   ations      11,457,169   9,617,346  19.1    161     205-     London

9  Manning

   Selvage

   and Lee     11,136,589   8,095,525  37.6    120      195   New York

10 Euro Plus   10,963,000   8,942,000  22.6    232      355     Slough

11 Fireworks    8,613,318         **    -      147      300     London

12 Ecco         8,360,000   7,519,000  11.2    182      379   Brussels

13 Iprex        8,327,000   6,740,000  23.5    209      302     London

14 European

   Communic-

   ation

   Partners     4,668,716   6,412,931 -27.2     69        -     London

15 Cohn and

   Wolfe        3,960,386   2,590,547  52.9     62       63     London

16 Euro PR      3,453,426   3,226,231   7.0     55      101     London



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

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home after a second day of deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Champagne producer Charles Heidsieck appoints Story PR