Spotlight: Moscow

Nazim Turdumambetov, corporate communications head, Philips Russia and CIS, discusses the rise of digital and PR's transformation in Moscow.

What is the business climate like in Moscow?
It is a vibrant, dynamic megalopolis, a center of Russia in all senses, not just geographical. 

It is not only a political capital, but Moscow is also a business, financial, cultural, and educational capital.

In 2014, Russia improved in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking and is now 92nd, up from 111th in 2013.

However, there is still a lot to do to foster small and midsize businesses. And, there is more to do to mitigate bureaucracy, corruption, and the regulatory role of the government that hinders business growth.

What are the hottest sectors in Moscow?
There is a never-ending public debate around the nation’s dependence on oil and gas. Conditions are more favorable for the big businesses dominating the energy extraction and exports sector. 

A backbone of Russia’s economy, these state- or semi-state-owned companies are sought-after clients for the communications industry. However, telecoms, retail, CPG and banking are also well developed and have a very mature and comprehensive communications agenda.

How sophisticated is the PR industry in Moscow?
For a long time, we thought we were lagging behind the US and Western Europe in the development of integrated communications. Just a few years ago, all the best practices we used to learn and apply in our work were exclusively of foreign origin.

Today, at industry conferences, communications leaders are increasingly citing more local cases, along with international best practices.

What trends are you seeing develop in PR?
Communications is getting fragmented. Today, clients demand that PR consultants have specific knowledge of their company and their industry.

Because one can’t be great at everything, consultants get more and more specialized to help us get the message across. It is the same with in-house specialists. A junior communications professional has a much higher chance to land a job within his or her previous professional domain.

Secondly, digital communications is evolving at an unprecedented rate as more people in Russia get access to broadband Internet. Also, traditional print outlets go out of business if titles do not develop a clear online strategy.

Finally, in turbulent times like these, there is a strong push to set smart communications objectives that will help boost sales. To meet the expectations, we work together with marketing and sales teams. Often, it involves revisiting the role of corporate communications in the organization and institutional restructuring. 

What is PR’s relationship with the media like in Russia?
PR has come a long way in the last 20 years in the country. PR had kicked off primarily in the political domain and was used heavily – and in bad faith – in regional elections in the early ‘90s, a time referred to as the "evil ‘90s." 

Those were years of turmoil and uncertainty in Russia and PR bore an opprobrious connotation. Professionals came up with a term "black PR" to differentiate good and bad communications strategies.

Today, we have managed to change the attitude in society, as well as in the media, specifically in Moscow. It is much easier to be a media relations professional in Moscow than elsewhere in Russia.

How are citizens using social media?
Russians are heavy users of social media. We are second, after Israel, when it comes to the daily average time spent on social media.

There is a joke that Israel is first because one-third of the nation has emigrated from the former Soviet Union and needs to keep up relationships with friends and family back home.

What do you love most about Moscow?
Love never comes easy. When I moved to Moscow from Boston, I hated it for its cloudy sky, lack of sun, traffic jams, seemingly unfriendly people, and other things that do not help to make your life comfortable.

It takes time to love this city, but eventually you cannot imagine life away from it.

Check In

The Russian Association of PR Prospect Research
19, Etage 9, 101000 Moscow
Tel: (+7) 985 774 40 43

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation
St. Ilyinka, 6/1, 109012 Moscow

Vedomosti Media
Polkovaya ul., 3 str. 1, Moscow 127018

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