Lord Bell faced the challenge of giving a talk on global
communications to assorted members of the International Public Relations
Association (IPRA) last week.
He has risen to the giddiest heights of his profession in the UK but to
my knowledge has never taken much interest in building a global PR
network a la Burson-Marsteller or Hill and Knowlton.
He made a convincing argument for mono-national agencies to IPRA. ’The
trouble with international networks is that there are six offices making
money and 48 losing it, which creates conflict, a tension between them
He says the B-Ms and H&Ks of this world have grown into their present
shape in response to misguided client demand, rather than according to
what works best.
But perhaps Bell’s chief reason for not joining his peer, Lord
Chadlington, in building an international behemoth is a dislike of
Earlier in his career, as international chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi,
Bell found himself travelling to an endless round of unproductive
meetings in exotic locations. A meeting with the country manager the
first night; then meeting separately with their biggest client the next;
then a meeting with the country manager to relate the client’s
complaints before heading home, never to set eyes on said country
These days, with two young children, there’s all the more reason for
staying at home.