News: From BAe through to the TUC...

From BAe through to the TUC, we profile some of the respondents in this year’s survey

From BAe through to the TUC, we profile some of the respondents in this year’s survey

Arthur Andersen

Arthur Andersen’s first dedicated PR manager Tim Prizeman joined the

firm in January 1995 as head of the press office. However, a recent

reorganisation has expanded his remit to cover event management and


‘I think the reorganisation has helped us to take a more integrated

approach,’ says Prizeman. ‘When a media relations opportunity arises, we

think about how we can get a conference spokesperson opportunity.’

Prizeman reports to Richard Simmons, the partner with overall

responsibly for marketing, but some of the most important reporting

structures are informal. Prizeman also says that the department has ‘an

unusually close relationship’ with outside consultancy John Newton and


Prizeman’s department operates as an internal consultancy, with all

costs picked up by decentralised departments, service lines and project

heads, a system which Prizeman says works well, but makes it hard to pin

down an annual budget figure. Like most PR operators in the professional

services field, Prizeman has had to work hard to justify his presence.

‘At first we encountered a fair bit of scepticism, but in the last 18

months we have increased our credibility and value to the firm.’

Boots Healthcare International

Boots Healthcare International, part of the Boots Company, is an

international manufacturing and marketing organisation for the group’s

Strepsil, Nurofen, E-45 and Optrex brands, with manufacturing plants in

15 countries. The company’s audiences include sister company Boots the

Chemist, and international pharmaceutical outlets.

As the only manufacturing company in a retail dominated group, BHI takes

a significantly different approach to PR than its sister companies.

BHI’s PR operation consists of one department head, plus assistant, with

a majority of day-to-day implementation outsourced to agencies.

Head of PR, Ian Wright has a remit covering corporate affairs/government

relations, product PR, internal communications and crisis management and

a total PR budget of pounds 1,780,000. Around 35 per cent of his time is

spent on government relations. As the second largest manufacturer of OTC

medicines in the UK, BHI has a vested interest in the resale price

maintenance issue and Wright is spearheading a lobbying campaign to

promote self-medication to health ministers.

At product level Wright develops international brand marketing

strategies, implemented by local brand teams and their agencies. Within

the UK he co-ordinates brand product work carried out by Maureen Cropper

PR, Keene Communications and Welbeck. He also liaises with group

retained agencies Dewe Rogerson, on international brand acquisitions,

and GJW on BHI’s government affairs remit.

Wright also oversees an internal comms programme for BHI’s 2,000-plus

staff. In April this year, a substantial IT investment connected BHI

executives with e-mail, a newsletter going out on screen to workstations

worldwide every two weeks. Wright also puts out a quarterly print

newsletter and an annual report to staff in five languages.

Bass Brewers

In a highly competitive and fluid brewing sector it comes as little

surprise that Bass Brewers places considerable value on marketing and PR

and external communications manager Lesley Allman says the size of its

department and spend remain constant.

The 16-strong PR function is headed by Ian Morris, director of

communications, with Allman and Mike Maryon responsible for external and

internal affairs respectively. Jane Sabini is brand PR manager and each

of four regions has its own PR head. Bass Brewers uses a number of

agencies, the most high profile being Paragon, handling the Carling

Premiership, a number of brands and producing the internal publication

Bass Brewers News. Bi-monthly BBN has recently been supplemented with an

electronic employee news service called FENS, which Bass claims shifts

communications responsibility to its line managers.

A considerable slice of the external PR cake over the past year has been

international, supporting marketing drives in the fast-growing Chinese

and Czech markets. Bass has also been careful to publicise its success

in winning the 1996 Queens Award for Export Achievement.

Like Caffreys beer, last year’s launch of the alcoholic soft drink Hooch

was exclusively PR-led. The brand enjoyed a meteoric rise to current

sales of 2.5 million bottles per week. ‘It’s [the alcopop craze] the

biggest media issue I’ve dealt with in my PR career,’ said Allman.

Britannia Airways

Luton-based Britannia Airways, the largest charter airline in the UK, is

part of the Thomsons group. But, like sister company Lunn Poly, it

operates as a stand-alone operation and the communications function

remains separate.

Richard Hedges, general manager of communications heads a PR team of 11.

He is responsible for communications issues across the four divisions of

customer relations, marketing communications, media relations and

internal communications.

Effective crisis management was also required when one of Britannia’s

pilots died of a heart attack just as his plane was approaching Malaga

airport. ‘Although the cabin crew took over and the plane landed safely,

we had to work hard to cope with all the media interest and get the

right messages across,’ says Hedges.

Three months ago Britannia brought in Colette Barratt, formerly with

C&A, as its new internal communications manager. She is responsible for

all internal publications and corporate videos, and should play a key

role over the next year. According to Hedges the company’s

communications budget - currently around pounds 800,000 - will remain

roughly the same for next year.

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