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
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
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.