Globalization, image dominate ICO summit

LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND: The challenges posed by a global economy was the hot topic as leaders of the top PR firms gathered for the ICO Summit ’99 last week.

LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND: The challenges posed by a global economy was the hot topic as leaders of the top PR firms gathered for the ICO Summit ’99 last week.

LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND: The challenges posed by a global economy was

the hot topic as leaders of the top PR firms gathered for the ICO Summit

’99 last week.



In addition to globalization, industry leaders presented original

research and views on topics such as recruitment and reputation

management.



The issue of globalization was tackled by several of the speakers. The

speeches were laced with comments from clients who, while looking to

establish effective global PR, have found that the devil is in the

details.



Agencies are driving some innovation in global performance, but they are

still not offering the solution most multinationals are seeking, Porter

Novelli CEO Bob Druckenmiller said. Firms must bring order to the

current ’mish-mash’ of global, regional and functional divisions, and

place an emphasis on local interpretations of global communications

strategy.



Druckenmiller also bemoaned the lack of qualified international

talent.



’It is no longer adequate to have a small core of globetrotters who

comprise the agency’s ’international’ team and spend their time trotting

from one international pitch to another.’



In working globally, Ogilvy CEO Bob Seltzer noted that practical issues

(such as time barriers) are outweighed by ’softer’ concerns like a lack

of cultural knowledge. To overcome this, Ogilvy suggested involving

local offices ’in the planning phase of the program, not just the

execution. The lead offices have to be in control, but not

controlling.’



As the lines between PR firms and management consultants continue to

blur, Ketchum senior partner/CEO Dave Drobis spoke of how the PR

industry could expand its share of the global professional services

market. While the major consulting firms have the advantage in terms of

recruiting, marketing of premium services and measurement, Drobis said

PR firms ’can compete on quality of life and creativity of

assignments.’



Fleishman-Hillard chairman and CEO John Graham addressed the vexing

issue of recruitment and retention, citing research that investigated

recruiting and retention practices of major consulting firms. One

possible solution was offering pay-for-performance plans to counter the

fat salaries offered by consulting firms.



Burson-Marsteller worldwide CEO Chris Komisarjevsky argued that as

investors place more value on intangible assets like creativity, a

company that successfully communicates these intangible assets to key

audiences will reap tangible benefits.



Shandwick MD James Norman said the PR industry is best positioned to

take advantage of the increased interest in and understanding of the

importance of corporate reputation to clients, employees, investors and

the media.



Topics presented at ICO by agencies

BSMG          Future of profession

Burson        Intangible assets

Edelman       Firm-client balance

Euro/RSG      Global trends

Fleishman     Retaining top talent

H&K           Client expectations

Ketchum       Industry standards

MS&L          Creating preference

Ogilvy        Global PR strategy

PN            Global client needs

Shandwick     Reputation

Weber         Future trends in PR



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