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Articles / practice / Post-crisis PR-agency: confidence, trust, results
19 October 2009
Post-crisis PR-agency: confidence, trust, results

 

The CEO of Publicity Creating Company - Valeriy Kureiko,  talked about changes that have occurred during the financial crisis in the agency; new demands of clients for PR-specialists.

In October it was one year old financial crisis in Ukraine. What were changes that occurred in
your agency during this period?

At the core of the company - a clear scheme and work for results. These are principles of work of Publicity Creating Company for more than 12 years. We have developed internal standards and procedures (over 20), while our specialists have annual trainings. So there were no major changes of internal processes during.

However, we have become more flexible with respect to requests; we have optimized certain costs; and pay more attention to the efficiency of each employee’s work and the company in general. We
analyze information and use instruments and forms of public-relations impact only for particular purposes.

During first months of the crisis to some extent we were "psychologists" for clients which tried to give them confidence and to show future steps. During this period were held a lot of  consultation meetings, including with the CEOs of businesses. Such attitudes have helped enormously, as people seek for further development, they do not give in to panic, and made confident decisions.

We quickly developed and implemented anti-crisis measures to maintain the presence of clients in mass media in order to minimize reputational risk.

What audience do you think the key today?

With the onset of the crisis to many clients we have proposed to increase the number of contact forms, recommended to pay attention to internal audiences rather than external.
For example, mass media - an important, but not the main audience of PR-impact. Companies and PR-professionals should pay much more attention to public interest groups, on which they depend for their actual market position and marketing results. These are, for example, partners in marketing chains, employees, investors.

The number of events for partners in the marketing chain for all our clients has increased in average of 2 times, and the ratio of accredited and present guests at such events - almost 1:1. Today, businessmen appreciate new knowledge, new contacts, and they have more time to attend such events. Moreover, these events are of various size and scale, conducted in different cities and countries. But the number of press events remained on average at the same level. The number of press-releases and articles are at 20-40%, depending on the market of a client.
It is in times of crisis especially appreciated the loyalty and decency. Therefore, companies that have retained these qualities, just survive during the crisis ... It can be noted that this policy is successful - our customers in 2009, took the leading position as an information and marketing leaders in their industries.

How did you try to “struggle” with reduced PR-budgets?

First, we explained to customers the difference between "optimization" and "reduced", and above all - showed new PR-technologies, which is desperately needed in a crisis. As a result, any significant reduction in PR-budgets of our clients did not do reduce, although optimization, of course, took place. Generally, companies, in which PR was a strategic function, do no refuse  to use it.    
 
Are there any "breakthrough» PR-tools, and what you think is effective today?

In my opinion, breakthrough are those technologies that generate measurable results. Today these are: events, the Internet promotion, researches, testings, involvement of experts, unusual events. Generally, combines several technologies.

Today a lot of clients, who did not inform about themselves for the last six month, return to public relations, and usually start with usual steps and tactical forms. That is, one event, 1-2 press-releases, one article, a local project. In many cases, we try to meet and help. But even the tactic is different - the campaign for a quarter of a year can be also proposed, and thus, it is possible to achieve with medium-and long-term goals. Customers start to ask for campaigns for six months, or even a year. This is right. Publicity Creating Company helps to achieve results for the client and to make tactical steps,  as well as it implements strategic programs of promotion.

What are post-crisis results for PR-market?

Tendency since September till October 2009 shows that companies return to PR-activities. A lot of industries industries will spur demand pending. Consumers over the past 5-7 years, have a mass of desires: to buy a car, apartment, country house; to travel; to get a prestigious education, etc. Market of elite goods (property, cars, jewelry, etc.) gradually recover marketing activity in the third quarter of 2009.

How much is PR in the marketing budget for a client? Did the proportion  increased or decreased during the crisis?

Everything depends on objectives of a client. Previously, it was common opinion about 10-15% for  PR of the marketing budgets. But everything depends on understanding by the client the importance of PR- tools. We work with clients which give for PR 30% or more of the budget.

What are the priorities of your agency in client service management?

In Publicity Creating Company clients get full attention, professional services, prompt replies to their questions. We are doing everything so that clients felt comfortable during partnership. On the other hand, we have high standards for ourselves; our employees perform their duties clearly and coherently.