OPINION: The Big Question - Can any PR consultancy afford not to have a European dimension?

Tavistock’s recent link-up with German investor relations outfit Haubrok, is just the latest example of small to medium-sized consultancies looking to build a European presence.

Tavistock’s recent link-up with German investor relations outfit

Haubrok, is just the latest example of small to medium-sized

consultancies looking to build a European presence.





CHRIS LEWIS - Lewis



’Of course clients want to have someone who can operate in all areas,

particularly in the IT market, but huge parts of the world are

English-speaking. There is no doubt that English is the business

language of the world and there are more PR agencies in terms of the

volume of revenue in London than in Europe, so we ought to be

well-equipped to operate abroad anyway. You need to know your local

markets, so local intelligence is vital as well, but most companies in

London are closer geographically to Europe than they are to, say, Leeds

My worry with a deal or arrangement with a foreign company would be the

merging of cultures.’





ROBERT GORDON-CLARK - LCA



’My company is only focused on the London agenda and that’s deliberate.

The economy of London is as big as parts of Europe, and I think you can

look at it as a country not as a city. With the greater devolution of

power in the UK, I believe there was an opportunity to have a company

specialising like mine. We don’t even deal with companies outside the

capital and after nine months the plan is working. We are only a

three-man band but have the contacts and know London so well that there

are clearly growth opportunities. If any of my clients had a European

aspect then I would seek outside help, but we have found the right niche

and we’re thriving.’





TIM JACKAMAN - Square Mile



’You have got to have the European dimension. This does not mean that

you have to be part of a large organisation, but equally I do not

believe it is good enough just to say that you have affiliates who you

can pass the clients on to. You have to have a plan that you have worked

out with them to handle clients operating abroad. You will miss

opportunities if you do not have a robust strategy - I think that is

vital. Independents can compete very effectively, even when this is

across borders, and this is increasingly becoming a necessity for

clients. Operators in the UK financial PR field are by and large better

at it than anyone else. Where we lose out is in not being able to do

that in more than one country. A European presence of some form is a

must.’





JANE HOWARD - Jane Howard GCI



’The company became part of the GCI group last year because of the need

to be part of Europe and service clients in that market. Two or three

clients were asking for that service. When I looked at what was

happening in Europe I was surprised, as it seemed extraordinary that

there was no common level of standards that companies operated to. This

was worrying because you were handing over prized clients to an area

where there was no quality control. GCI solved that as we all have

common training and the best way of working is having someone you know

who you can phone and give you local intelligence. You do not need to

have these complicated formal arrangements, but an agreement with a

company you know where you can have an arrangement is a great idea.’



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