Public relations agencies in Belgium experienced a 6.3 per cent growth
in fee income last year, although this was largely due to an increase in
European Commission contracts handled by international consultancies,
rather than improved business for local firms.
According to figures released by the Belgian Public Relations
Consultants Association (BPRCA), fee income among its 16 members rose
from BFr692.9 million (pounds 14.2 million) in 1994 to BFr722.5 million
(pounds 14.8 million) last year.
The top fee earner was The Rowland Company which brought in BFr161
million (pounds 3.3 million).
This was followed by Hill and Knowlton with fee income of BFr79 million
(pounds 1.6 million), which knocked Burson-Marsteller from the number
Burson-Marsteller came third with a 30 per cent drop in billings from
BFr100 million (pounds 2 million) to BFr70 million (pounds 1.4 million).
Ogilvy Adams and Rinehart proved to be the fastest growing agency, with
an impressive 80 per cent rise in fee income from BFr25.5 million
(pounds 523,000) in 1994 to BFr45.8 million (pounds 940,000) in 1995.
However, the average number of clients retained by agencies on an annual
basis dropped from 16 to 15 while those recruiting PR agencies for
project work only increased from 14 to 20. The average number of staff
also remained stagnant at around 13 per agency.
‘It is a problem of confidence in the market,’ explained the BPRCA’s
president Jean-Luc Pleunes.
‘Companies are investing less in long term public relations campaigns
and more in short-term promotions and advertising because they are
looking to get a quick return on their investment,’ he added.