TOP EUROPEAN AGENCIES 1998: ITALY - A spin-off of growing privatisations was an increased emphasis on employer relations Photograph (Omitted)

With the support of a healthy economy and continued stability in the political arena, PR in Italy continued its upward trend last year.

With the support of a healthy economy and continued stability in

the political arena, PR in Italy continued its upward trend last


Italy’s acceptance into the first wave of the single European currency,

the deregulation of the telecommunications market, and an increasing

number of privatisations, have all made for a buoyant year in the areas

of financial and corporate PR. Meanwhile, hi-tech advancements and the

internet have triggered a significant growth in the IT market, with a

greater demand for specialist PR services.

’The new hi-tech market offers advantages both to international

networks, which find it easier to ’speak globally’, and to the local

public relations agencies, particularly those that specialise in

technology,’ says Adriana Mavellia, president of the Italian public

relations association Assorel.

While internationally-owned groups have been well-placed to take

advantage of a continued shift towards globalisation, independent

agencies have also performed well. Some agencies see client demands

shifting away from the traditional PR tools, including event management

and literature production, as companies focus more on developing a long

term strategy. ’Italian companies, in dealing with a complex situation,

are beginning to think more about longer term management issues than

short-term market stress,’ says Mavellia.

Federico Steiner, general manager of Barabino and Partners, believes

that the recent growth in the PR industry has shifted the balance away

from advertising as the driving force in communications. ’Companies are

calling on PR agencies first and asking them to organise tenders for

advertising and market research. They understand how different the

target audiences are and how segmented the messages need to be.’

Barabino has noted an increase in issue management, particularly in

relation to the environment and employee communications, and is

currently working alongside the Treasury in handling the flotation of

oil and gas utility, ENI.

Guido Bellodi, president and MD of GCI affiliate, Chiappo Bellodi, has

seen an increased demand for corporate PR, and more medium sized firms

seeking agency services. ’Not only are more companies trying to get

listed on the stock exchange, but those that had problems during the

recession years are finding they need to work on their image,’ he

says.With the healthcare sector as a wholeproviding a lively source of

business, Chiappo Bellodi took on pharmaceutical giant Novartis.

Fabio Pisani, vice president of independent public affairs specialist

EPR, which represent a number of national trade unions including the

worker’s union CISAL, agrees that the perception of PR in Italy has

undergone a transformation in the past year. ’PR has traditionally been

seen as a tool for crisis management, so the agencies in all sectors

would suffer when the economic and political situations were stable. But

the tide has been turning, and for the first time companies are

beginning to understand the positive role of PR.’

Worldcom member IT specialist Business Press is one of several agencies

to find a greater demand for tactical PR strategy as the financial and

IT markets continue to flourish. This is a positive trend for specialist

agencies, says general manager Diego Biasi but agencies that want to

diversify their services among sectors are finding it difficult to do

so, due to a tendency among clients to pigeon-hole agencies. Business

Press has created two new divisions to concentrate on what it sees as an

overwhelming demand for marketing and interactive communications skills.

Biasi forecasts that the internet market will account for 25 per cent of

the agency’s turnover in the coming year. ’The real owners of internet

communications will soon be the PR agencies - creating and maintaining

an internet site is very similar to the mentality needed to implement a

PR programme.’ The agency is currently working with the Treasury to

maintain the Eurolandia website, intended to inform school children

about the euro.

The technology revolution in Italian PR has also been noted by hi-tech

specialist Image Time. The agency has opened a new office in Rome to

service new business arising out of the deregulation of the

telecommunications industry, says founding partner Myriam Koppel. With

the recent entry of a third mobile communications carrier onto the

market, Koppel foresees a greater demand for specialist PR in this area.

The agency has noticed a greater emphasis on corporate PR in its work

for IBM, and this year has been hired to handle corporate and product

communications by the data storage and imaging company Imation.

- Assorel - the Associazione Agenzie di Relazioni Pubbliche - requires

all members to have minimum fees of L500 million a year, a minimum of

five staff and eight active accounts

- Corporate communications and crisis management specialist, SEC is one

agency to profit from the increased demand for crisis management in the

healthcare sector. Clients include the Istituto Galleazzi hospital,

which is currently being held up in court for alleged medical

malpractice, and the French supermarket group Ocean


Rank Company                              Fee income (pounds)

97                                            97               96

1    Barabino and Partners*            3,950,000        3,355,000

2    Mavellia MS&L*                    2,152,389        1,504,829

3    Edelman*                          2,073,922        1,860,902

4    Image Time                        1,795,000        1,438,687

5    Shandwick Italy*                  1,787,000        2,143,774

6    Ketchum Italy*                    1,721,911        1,483,714

7    Hill and Knowlton Italia*         1,611,000        1,715,000

8    EPR*                              1,445,000        1,094,439

9    Chiappe Bellodi*                  1,350,000        1,030,000

10   Business Press                    1,216,817          767,300

11   Noesis*                           1,147,940        1,004,448

12   GAIA*                             1,050,000        1,050,000

13   Parini Associati*                 1,015,321          863,060

14   Cohn and Wolfe                      955,877          401,961

15   EGG*                                929,000          783,000

16   SEC*                                884,273          913,356

17   HSL*                                835,702          664,116

18   INC*                                828,213          712,750

19   Agenpress                           632,000          747,000

20   Errepi Comms                        585,000          489,000

21   Klaus Davi and Co*                  538,097          430,478

22   SPC*                                538,000          688,000

23   Valentina                           516,000          390,000

24   Homina*                             513,280          718,000

25   SECI*                               502,000          456,000

26   I-MAGE*                             315,684          609,174

Rank Company                        Location   Status


1    Barabino and Partners*         Milan      Ind/Entente member

2    Mavellia MS&L*                 Milan      Ind/MS&L affiliate

3    Edelman*                       Milan      Edelman subsidiary

4    Image Time                     Milan      Brodeur Worldwide

5    Shandwick Italy*               Milan      Shandwick Int subs

6    Ketchum Italy*                 Milan      Ketchum subsidiary

7    Hill and Knowlton Italia*      Milan      H&K subsidiary

8    EPR*                           Rome       Independent

9    Chiappe Bellodi*               Milan      Independent/GCI

10   Business Press                 Milan      Ind/Worldcom Group

11   Noesis*                        Milan      Independent

12   GAIA*                          Rome       Independent

13   Parini Associati*              Milan      Independent

14   Cohn and Wolfe                 Milan      C&W subsidiary

15   EGG*                           Milan      Grayling Group

16   SEC*                           Milan      Independent

17   HSL*                           Genoa      Independent

18   INC*                           Rome       Independent

19   Agenpress                      Milan      Euro RSCG subsidiary

20   Errepi Comms                   Rome       Independent

21   Klaus Davi and Co*             Milan      Independent

22   SPC*                           Milan      Charles Barker Int

23   Valentina                      Torino     Europe on line net

24   Homina*                        Bologna    Independent

25   SECI*                          Milan      Independent

26   I-MAGE*                        Rome       Ind/Key Comms

* Denotes Assorel membership.

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