THE TOP EUROPEAN PR CONSULTANCIES 2000: AUSTRIA - In common with the rest of Europe, recruitment is a serious issue for PR in Austria

The Austrian PR industry has undergone a steady rate of growth, and through 1999 the proliferation of new media companies and increasing demand for investor and financial relations has been the main contributor to this trend.

The Austrian PR industry has undergone a steady rate of growth, and

through 1999 the proliferation of new media companies and increasing

demand for investor and financial relations has been the main

contributor to this trend.

Despite diplomatic sanctions imposed on Austria by the other 14

EU-member countries, the Austrian economy does not seem to have been

adversely affected.

It experienced a dip in growth to 1.3 per cent in the first half of last

year, but by the fourth quarter the economy had recovered, reaching 3.2

per cent.

There is much conjecture as to whether the political situation has, or

will, affect the economy. Caroline Krall, deputy editor of Austrian

marketing, advertising and PR trade title Bestseller says the sanctions

have had little effect on domestic business. ’Most of the agencies have

national clients and so continue working for them on the usual basis,’

she says.

Nevertheless, Austria’s PR trade association, the PRVA, has set up a web

site called, which aims to project a positive profile

of the country in the light of the negative publicity surrounding the

election of the Conservative Party/Freedom Party coalition government

(see Webwatch, PR Week, p14 ).

Mirroring the experience of countries across Europe, the internet has

had a profound affect on the PR industry and many agencies have set up

new media units to handle the sudden injection of new business.

Likewise, with an increase in companies floating on the Austrian Borse,

there is a greater need for agencies to handle investor relations work.

According to Barbara Mann, general secretary of the PRVA, this has been

a significant contributor to industry growth.

There are very few agencies of any size in the regions, with the vast

majority located in Vienna, apart from Hauska and Partner in


Publico, Hochegger and ikp have additional offices in cities outside of

Vienna but generally the other main cities are considered too small to

sustain an agency culture.

The industry is extending its reach outside the home territory,


A number of PR agencies have recently opened offices in Europe and

formed relationships with other European agencies by joining networks.

For example, Austria’s highest ranked agency Publico is a Shandwick

affiliate. Skills in Public Relations is part of the PROI agency

network, and Austria’s number three agency ikp is a member of the

Worldcom network. However, there is a tendency for agencies outside of

Europe to form relationships with German agencies rather than those in


The previously state-run Austrian telecommunications network has been

privatised and this has created a sudden influx of work for the PR


Peter Hochegger, managing director of Dr Hochegger

Kommunikationsberatung, works for mobile phone company mobil.kom. The

agency carries out PR work, public affairs and internal and external

communications for the company.

As Krall says: ’This is the first time there has been competition and it

is creating a lot of work for advertising and PR.’

Austrian agencies share the problem common to other European PR markets

of the difficulty of recruiting and retaining staff. There is a distinct

lack of PR education in the country, with most communications courses

covering all aspects of marketing, while specialising in none. There is

only one specific PR course, a post-graduate MAS that admits only 30

people every year. Mann says one of the continuing trends last year was

that medium-sized agencies concentrating exclusively on traditional PR

methods were faced with increasing difficulties. The winners were

specialised agencies that satisfied demand in on-line and investor


Temmel and Seywald Communications concentrated on both these


The agency showed strong development in the field of new media, and is

doing an increasing amount of investor relations work, according to MD

Wilfried Seywald New independent agency pressetext.Austria also needed

resources in order to be able to compete in the German market during the

second half of the year.

Consolidation is the order of the day for Ecker and Partner. Managing

director Dietmar Ecker says the agency plans to expand into Germany and

Eastern Europe. Many Austrian agencies have partnerships or clients in

Eastern Europe and it is perceived as a profitable area to maintain and

forge strong links.

On-line relations are also a future priority for ikp. Andreas

Windischbauer, managing director of ikp Salzburg attributed the success

in 1999 to the expansion of the range of communications offered into

lobbying and European affairs, and crisis management. The success of

Austria’s number one agency Publico was due to good business in lobbying

and financial communication, according to owner Wolfgang M Rosam. He

says many agencies benefited from an ’emancipation’ of the lobbying

sector, as work previously handled by lawyers was increasingly being put

into the hands of the PR industry.

The question as to whether PR is being taken more seriously in Austria

is met with a definitive ’yes.’ Krall says that PR is undergoing a slow,

but sure movement in attracting more spend and is being taken more

seriously by companies as a discipline. The example of IR work, for

example, has shown businesses that PR is a vital marketing tool and that

not everything can be done with advertising.

- Austrian trade association PRVA has 46 members. Any agency can join as

long as one of its employees is already a personal member.


Rank Company/Status                Fee income (pounds)  Growth  Location

99                                      99          98       %

1    Publico PR & Lobbying*/     3,980,447   2,895,717      37    Vienna

     Shandwick affiliate

2    Dr. Hochegger Kom*/         2,616,387   2,150,838      22    Vienna

     B-M affiliate

3    ikp*/                       2,332,402   1,783,054      31    Vienna

     Worldcom member

4    Ecker and Partner/          1,098,696     540,037     103    Vienna

     Artmedia Berlin affiliate

5    Temmel & Seywald Comms/       945,065     558,659      69    Vienna


6    TBWA-Tell/                    909,000     304,722     198    Vienna

     TBWA subsidiary

7    Ogilvy PR Worldwide/          876,000     788,000      11    Vienna

     Ogilvy subsidiary

8    Pro and Co PR*/               758,845     698,324       9    Vienna

     IPREX member

9    Olkrina, Heinisch PR*/        707,635     493,482      43    Vienna


=10  Hauska and Partner PA*/       656,425     535,382      23   Modling

     F-H affiliate

=10  Neisser Communication/        656,425     479,516      37    Vienna


12   Skills in Public Relations*/  637,803     623,836       2    Vienna

     PROI member

13   Menedetter PR*/               609,870     540,037      13    Vienna


14   kraftWerk/                    567,970     567,970       0    Vienna


15   Conter PR/                    554,004     526,071       5    Vienna


16   Multi Art/                    530,726     507,449       5    Vienna


17   Lieben Rath Waldenmair/       479,516           -       -    Vienna


18   cloos and partner/            409,683           -       -    Vienna


19   WIR Public Relations/         405,028     400,372       1    Vienna


=20  Dr Bannert PR*/               330,540     307,263       8    Vienna


=20  communication matters*/       330,540           -       -    Vienna


22   results and relations*/       325,885      88,454     268    Vienna


=23  Esprit Public Relations*/     288,641     242,086      19    Vienna


=23  Dr Viktor Bauer PR/           288,641     228,119      27    Vienna


All figures relate to the year ended 31 December 1999

Fee income= PR fees only

*Denotes member of PRVA

Austrian marketing magazine Bestseller helped to collate the figures for

this table.

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