PRWeek Awards 2011: City and Corporate Communications

In 2009, BTA Bank and the entire Kazakh financial system was on the brink of collapse. Kazakhstan was in danger of being known not only as the home of Borat but also as a casualty of the global financial crisis.

 City & Corporate Communications Award winner: JSC BTA Bank ‘Kazakh Banking: It’s Not Funny Money’ with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
City & Corporate Communications Award winner: JSC BTA Bank ‘Kazakh Banking: It’s Not Funny Money’ with Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Ogilvy PR's tasks were simple: fend off media and stakeholder criticism so the financial sector could be restructured; foster a turnaround in stakeholder perceptions ,and sell the viability of the 'creditor bail-in' restructuring model to other stricken economies.

The objective of the campaign was to get creditors to agree to this type of bank restructure. The Royal Bank of Scotland was among BTA's creditors, so Ogilvy had to make the story relevant to a UK audience.


A difficult subject tackled with a thoughtful campaign that generated impressive results

Patrick Donovan, managing director, financial practice, Citigate Dewe Rogerson

The PR team put the story into perspective by demonstrating the severity of the economic crisis in Kazakhstan and highlighting how British taxpayers were indirectly affected by the crisis.

The agency also educated the media about the creditor bail-in approach. Advisers attended a series of media briefings with The Economist, the Financial Times, Reuters and Bloomberg in London. The media were also given access to Kazakhstan government officials, independent advisers and influential stakeholders including Lord Mandelson at the London Kazakhstan Business Forum.

More than 350 international print, trade and wire coverage pieces appeared in titles such as The Daily Telegraph, The Economist, The Banker, The New York Times, Reuters and CNBC. A feature in the Financial Times highlighted how the restructuring process could be applied universally.

Independent advisers were invited to present the story at the Paris Club, the Bank of England, the World Bank, Oxford Saïd Business School, and Georgetown and Harvard universities.

After the international media campaign, 92 per cent of creditors approved of the restructuring process.

The campaign was instrumental in creating an emerging consensus in support of the 'bail-in' approach. Ogilvy was also successful in turning an overseas financial crisis into a positive story relevant to UK readers.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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