Editorial: National networks must think locally

Euro RSCG’s decision to beef up its regional network with the acquisition of Leedex makes sense on several levels. The agency dovetails well with its existing regional group, GTPR, in both geography and sector. Leedex’s offices will increase Euro RSCG’s presence in Manchester; its London office will give GTPR a south east dimension, while the addition of a Bristol office will plug a gap in the south west. GTPR has an Edinburgh office already, so perhaps the only real lack here is a presence in Wales.

Euro RSCG’s decision to beef up its regional network with the

acquisition of Leedex makes sense on several levels. The agency

dovetails well with its existing regional group, GTPR, in both geography

and sector. Leedex’s offices will increase Euro RSCG’s presence in

Manchester; its London office will give GTPR a south east dimension,

while the addition of a Bristol office will plug a gap in the south

west. GTPR has an Edinburgh office already, so perhaps the only real

lack here is a presence in Wales.



The intention is apparently to merge the two brands to create a more

comprehensive regional offering for Euro RSCG. The challenge now is for

the group to turn the whole into more than the sum of its parts - a

challenge which mirrors on a national level that already faced on a

global scale by many international groups and networks.



As many international players have discovered, the successful management

of a network requires a delicate balancing act. There is a need for a

coherent brand strategy to reassure national or international clients

buying into local services, and significant investment is required - in

particular in technology - to create the kind of cohesive corporate

culture needed to turn a series of offices into a network. At the same

time, it is essential that this bid to create a marketable entity does

not undermine the emphasis on local intelligence and local opportunities

which justifies a regional network in the first place.



In the rush to be regarded as national - or even international - as

opposed to ’regional’ players, some networks and local offices are in

danger of undermining their own USP.



The current political emphasis on decentralisation, combined with a boom

in consumer spending is already having a knock-on effect on those

sectors with a local catchment area such as financial services and

retail, with a greater emphasis on marketing support at a local

level.



The retail sector, in particular, has recognised the need to manage its

relationship with its local community, and PR/community relations has

moved this traditionally low margin area of activity beyond the standard

store opening to more strategic promotional and brand programmes.



At the same time, the decentralisation of the decision-making process at

a local authority level is also likely to act as a driver for

growth.



School trusts, for example, forced to respond to Government reports into

performance are increasingly looking to local support.



In order to truly capitalise on the current climate of decentralisation,

any ’regional’ network will have to follow the lead of its international

peers, and successfully engender a ’think national, act local’ mindset.



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