THE TOP EUROPEAN PR CONSULTANCIES 2001: France - boom - and bust - impacted heavily on the PR industry's performance last year

The boom helped, along with the historically strong IT

sector, to bring France's PR industry average income growth of 27 per

cent in 2000, according to a survey for the country's trade association


Additionally, the emphasis dot.coms placed on PR helped enhance the

industry's status.

Anne George, a board director of Syntec and Porter Novelli France

consumer PR general manager, says: 'Clients are using PR more and paying

agencies more. The market is maturing, and PR is better positioned

within the marketing mix'.

For many technology agencies the boom meant huge growth. Brodeur

SRRP, for example, saw 39 per cent revenue growth. President Sophie

Renard describes last year as 'crazy'. 'We had ten calls every day from


It was impossible for us to answer the requests,' she says.

But the surge of activity played havoc with the French PR market. Some

executives demanded a doubling of their salaries as the shortage of

trained personnel became acute. Other agencies recruited heavily and had

to make cuts when the boom ended.

Renard says: 'The boom meant we had to recruit a lot - not always the

right people. We had 28 new people last year, but we lost a few. The

market hired too many people too quickly.'

Brodeur SRRP was one of a handful of larger agencies that created

specialist divisions to handle interactive and work, as did

Ketchum (eKetchum) and GCI Moreau & Associates (GCI Interactive). Some

have now had to look to 'dot.corps' and consultancy business to continue

to function.

Paul Charoy, MD of eKetchum Paris (which began in February 2000), says:

'All of us had a good start last year. Now we are doing more strategic

consulting. There are still some dot.coms, but we also do dot.corps.

Many communications managers want people to help get a better view about

what to do with the internet.'

In parallel with the boom, there was also huge growth in

technology PR, with agencies such as Text 100 recording more than 40 per

cent growth.

But after the boom slowed last autumn, problems hit this sector

too with the announcement of profit warnings from many tech


Patrick Frison-Roche, vice-president of Text 100's newly-created

international communication strategy unit (devised to handle

pan-European work from Paris), says: 'It was back to real life. The end

of the year was much less happy than the start. This year it's a much

more difficult market'.

Financial PR was also hit by the downturn having had a similarly strong

first half of 2000, but the rest of the economy and PR industry was

buoyant. For agencies that limited their exposure to the dot.coms, there

was steady growth stemming from the improving status of PR overall

within corporations in France.

An illustration of PR's increasingly integral position is the decision

by McDonald's France in April 2000 to use more of its pounds 30m annual

communications budget to boost its crisis communications spend and

appoint Euro RSCG corporate.

Healthcare PR also had a good year: Marie Rouet, Edelman France

president, says the agency saw 142 per cent growth in its healthcare


For PA agencies, the French market is also showing steady growth.

Nicholas Bouvier, managing partner at PA agency Communications &

Institutions, says: 'We are now in a more open situation where the

politicians and institutions are much more interested in what other

stakeholders are saying: NGOs, patient groups, the media.'

Issues that were creating work were the same health and food scares that

affected Belgium. For example, in December France's government hired

Euro RSGC to run a campaign to restore faith in French beef.

Although the economy is growing, it seems likely that in 2001 the French

PR industry will grow at around half the rate of 2000.

Jean-Pierre Beaudoin, managing director at I & E Consultants, whose

agency is finding brand PR to be a strong area of growth, says: 'There

has been no real slowdown felt yet, but it will come later in 2001 as a

result of the slowdown of US investment. As usual, US investment is a

sizeable fuel to PR in France, but the French economy still has a

reasonable growth rate and clients are continuing to catch up in terms

of their use of PR.'

If a slowdown comes, the French PR industry will be better prepared

thanks to M&As which took place in 2000, as agencies sought expertise in

all areas. For example, in July 2000 Cohn & Wolfe bought the corporate

communications agency, Kendo.

In the next year, such moves will increase as agencies see the need to

be more generalist, broadening their offer to PA, tech, consumer and



Rank Company Fee income (pounds) Growth

2000 2000 1999 %

1 Euro RSCG* 32,557,000 28,011,000 16

2 I&E** 8,495,311 7,591,424 12

3 Burson-Marsteller* 4,212,482 4,002,000 5

4 Porter Novelli France* 3,892,522 2,817,864 38

5 GCI Moreau* ** 3,568,000 3,300,000 8

6 Edelman-Rouet* 2,587,720 2,156,469 20

7 Brodeur SRRP** 2,580,000 1,757,000 47

8 Hill & Knowlton 2,539,000 1,157,000 119

9 Rumeur Publique 2,224,673 1,595,961 39

10 Grayling France* ** 1,944,170 1,555,300 25

11 Herald Communications* 1,839,237 1,050,740 75

12 Shandwick France* 1,508,000 1,070,000 41

13 Fleishman-Hillard France 1,345,000 899,000 50

14 Ketchum Paris* 1,298,990 890,471 46

15 Harvard Public Relations 1,211,000 - -

16 Communication & Insts* 1,190,000 1,160,000 3

17 Yucatan 1,100,000 720,000 53

18 Text 100* 1,054,770 726,759 45

19 Self Image* ** 1,042,386 1,137,334 -8

20 Adocom 680,000 600,000 13

21 Aromates * 650,000 580,000 12

22 Trimedia France** 618,653 488,000 27

23 Michele Lagarde 582,895 654,276 -11

24 AxiCom 508,325 70,966 616

25 Manning Selvage & Lee 480,000 - -

Rank Company Location Status


1 Euro RSCG* Paris Euro RSCG subsidiary

2 I&E** Paris Independent

3 Burson-Marsteller* Paris B-M subsidiary

4 Porter Novelli France* Paris PNI subsidiary

5 GCI Moreau* ** Paris GCI subsidiary

6 Edelman-Rouet* Paris Edelman subsidiary

7 Brodeur SRRP** Paris Brodeur member

8 Hill & Knowlton Paris H&K subsidiary

9 Rumeur Publique Paris Independent

10 Grayling France* ** Paris Grayling subsidiary

11 Herald Communications* Paris Herald subsidiary

12 Shandwick France* Paris Weber Shandwick sub

13 Fleishman-Hillard France Paris F-H subsidiary

14 Ketchum Paris* Paris Ketchum subsidiary

15 Harvard Public Relations Paris Bell Pott'ger subsidiary

16 Communication & Insts* Paris GPC affiliate

17 Yucatan Paris Worldcom member

18 Text 100* Paris Text 100 subsidiary

19 Self Image* ** Paris Pinnacle member

20 Adocom Paris Independent

21 Aromates * Boul'gne Pinnacle member

22 Trimedia France** Paris Trimedia subsidiary

23 Michele Lagarde Paris Independent

24 AxiCom Paris AxiCom subsidiary

25 Manning Selvage & Lee Paris MS&L subsidiary

All figures relate to the year ended December 2000. Fee income = PR fees

* denotes Syntec member

** 1999 fee income as submitted for 2000 European Consultancies tables

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