NEW YORK: The Worldcom Public Relations Group has beefed up its membership to 95 firms in 44 countries by adding eight partners in the last three weeks.
Four of the new partners are based in Europe, three in the Americas and one in the Asia/Pacific region. The latter, Oricom PR, was the first PR agency ever established in Korea.
Worldcom had been working diligently for some time to land a firm in Korea, chairman Brian Cummings told PRWeek, but 'there aren't a lot of real good agencies and some of the good ones had affiliations.'
Cummings said Oricom PR was courted by Edelman Public Relations Worldwide and other top ten firms, but chose to join Worldcom's network of independent firms rather than be swallowed up.
New partners in the group's European Region include Sanchis & Asociados in Madrid; Altrans in Romania; and UK-based Hallmark Public Relations and Binns & Co.
Sanchis also has Latin American offices, a feature that attracted Cummings, who said he had pledged to bulk up the network's Latin American presence when he began his two-year term in April 1997. During Cumming's tenure Worldcom has doubled its number of firms in Central and South America to four.
'We were fortunate to get a member based in Spain with a South American network,' he said. 'Now that region is much stronger.'
Worldcom is also looking to expand its presence in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and has some prospects there, Cummings added.
New to the Americas region are Tulsa-based Schnake Turnbo Brookley and Associates; Bottary & Partners Public Relations in Jacksonville, Florida; and Arvizu in Mexico. Schnake Turnbo Brookley joined the network because of the demands of its clients for 'project power in multiple areas,' Cummings said.
'Clients want to know if you have international capabilities. The network approach is becoming a more viable alternative (to being purchased).'
Cummings said the ten-year-old network targets firms with strengths in particular regions or specialties, such as hi-tech, consumer and investor relations. To be considered for membership, firms in the Americas region must meet the '10,10,1' requirement - at least 10 people, 10 years in business and billings of at least $1 million. Requirements in other regions vary.