Platform: Get ready to ride the second euro wave - PR practitioners have a vital role to play in preparing UK companies for their entry into a unified economic Europe , says John Wilson

Euro fever is upon us like the flu bug sweeping the country. UK plc is not part of the first wave of countries entering this financial entente cordiale, so does this mean that UK-based businesses looking to deal with Euroland are going to catch an economic cold?

Euro fever is upon us like the flu bug sweeping the country. UK plc

is not part of the first wave of countries entering this financial

entente cordiale, so does this mean that UK-based businesses looking to

deal with Euroland are going to catch an economic cold?



Putting the partisan sabre rattling aside, the global players who have

corporate HQs in the UK have not waited for the political nod, choosing

instead to embrace the new currency in their everyday dealings with

Euroland.



The majority of smaller players have chosen to watch and wait. Surveys

conducted by Barclays revealed that as late as September last year, the

majority of UK companies had still not put the issue on their boardroom

agendas. Whether this was a result of arrogance, apathy or a lack of

understanding, the debate about the business opportunities and threats

is going to be centre stage in the coming months, and our industry has a

great opportunity to play a significant role in that on-going

discussion.



A pre-requisite for our contribution to this debate is that PR

practitioners fully grasp the implications of the euro and are skilled

in the development and implementation of pan-European strategies. It is

also vital that they are involved at a strategic level in their client’s

business planning programmes which in the run-up to the millennium are

likely to be more dynamic and responsive to market stimuli than

normal.



Indeed, the euro can be compared to the relentless march towards new

media. Not so long ago simply everyone ’had to have’ a web site whether

they needed one or not. More often than not these were simply ’brochures

in the sky’. The fact that the use of new media is now more educational

and dynamic is down to the PR industry and the strategic advice offered

to clients. There is a definite parallel here with the euro and the PR

industry has a tremendous opportunity to highlight the pluses and

minuses of dealing with Euroland.



There are also opportunities on the flip side of the euro coin. The UK

may be outside the boundaries of Euroland, but, according to

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ findings, the volume of trade between the UK and

the rest of the EU countries is around 20 per cent of the total external

trade which is about the same as the US and Japan put together. This

makes the UK the largest trading partner, an important consideration in

terms of international PR.



In PR Week’s Leader last week, it was argued that there may be a power

shift towards countries such as Germany where the PR industry is in

ascendancy, as the new communications gateway.



However, it must be remembered that the euro is an economic venture

only.



The pursuit of the seamless pan-European PR campaigns will not decrease

in its complexity and companies looking to communicate with the circle

of 11 euro-based economies are still more likely to deal with the

familiar UK gateway.



The UK should therefore strengthen its position as a hub for PR activity

in the new Euroland. Sophisticated players in the UK will be able to

capitalise on this by offering fast and responsive programmes and mature

affiliate networks across the 11 member countries and beyond.



The trend towards becoming all singing and dancing operators comfortably

offering both strategic consultancy and tactical implementation across

Euroland, is moving ahead at a pace of knots. PR agencies operating out

of the UK are at the helm of that drive even though this sceptred isle

might at this moment be seen as bobbing in the wake churned up by the

first wave of euro entry.



Christine Ryder is group managing director of Key Communications.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in