The Bavarian Award for Entrepreneurs 2007

Together with Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Ralf Hartmann, Shareholder and Board Director of the Brussels-based GlobalCom PR-Network NV, attended the festivities of the 2007 Bavarian award for entrepreneurs in Munich.

This award honours managers who rendered outstanding services to the creation and retention of jobs. The jury set a high value on companies that are both local and site-specific, social, family-friendly, fit for the future and economically successful.

The award went to the South Germany-based company Baufritz. They finance an ideally equipped day nursery with a large outside area close to nature, enabling employees to combine job and family.

The special award went to the internationally operating TV manufacturer Loewe AG (Kronach). The company managed to master serious business problems and to become “Turnarounder of the year 2006” in Germany. Especially remarkable: the Loewe management paid back the wage renunciations by the employees with a 25 percent return.

“We appreciate the award for entrepreneurs who are aware of their social responsibility, who fulfil their
role-model function and manage their company accordingly,” said Ralf Hartmann. „Exemplary companies operate honestly and sustainably beyond the legal requirements.“

The evolving PR scene in India

From Xavier Prabhu, Founder of PR HUB India.

How would you characterize the PR business in your country/region? Have there been any significant changes in the past few years?

I would characterize the PR business in India as being in between the second or third stage of evolution if we were to take the US as at the fourth stage.

The key trends that we see are:

– outbound work out of India is likely to leap as Indian companies go global with a vengeance

acquiring and establishing presence in markets overseas; infact this will change the contours

since it then positions India not as a market for local PR services but a market where global PR itself originates

– more and more maturing of the local industry with the processes and systems getting more aligned to the global ones

– increased footprint of the large global players in India and most large and medium firms getting aligned to some global network or the other over a period of time

– the large global players unless they grow inorganically cannot dominate the marketplace in India for some time to come due to variety of reasons

– there will be some attempts at vertical focus though it has not been a successful model in India

– the fee levels will raise in India to global levels or atleast closer to it.


Are there specific challenges that are exclusive to your country/region in terms of PR and communications work?

Talent:

The first and the biggest will be the scale of the people issue that the industry faces. The industry at some level is going to see 300-400% growth which is placing enormous pressure on the HR side of the firms.

– There is acute shortage at the entry level despite new institutions springing up and despite salary levels increasing significantly which is going to worsen over the near future; this is going to drive many firms to sheer desperation and see quality of hiring being the worst impacted

– In the middle level too there is going to be pressure as people arrive there through quick and often hasty promotions probably ill-equipped to do the best at that level; this has two implications -they are not going to be able to provide the right kind of leadership and training to the new joinees who inturn will be disappointed and leave in droves complicating already a big challenge

Business:

– The immense growth in business is going to result in mushrooming of new PR firms which will further commoditize the lower end/media relations part of work done by PR firms. They will also bring significant price pressure onto the bigger firms.

– The growth in business will not allow the firms to make investment in business or processes as much as they would love to leading to some kind of drop in delivery and quality of services; the clients will start doing a roulette on the PR firms


What sectors provide the most opportunity for business and growth in your country/region?

– Retail

– FMCG

– Telecom

– HR

– Professional Services

– Banking & financial services

– Healthcare

– Pharmaceuticals

– Engineering

– Manufacturing

– Aviation

– IT

– BPO

– Automotive

If the list looks large and almost like every sector possible, well, at the rate Indian economy is growing it would be a surprise if no sector is part of this growth story.


How much of the business out of your office is truly global in scope?

20-30%


How would you describe the local media scene? How has it changed? What media outlets are especially important to you, from both a local and global perspective?

Chaotic, unpredictable and in some patches increasingly commercial.

There is explosion of media vehicles and options and while that is good news for a company or a PR firm it is not so as there is lack of direction or differential editorial focus between many of them leading to clutter.

In some groups, there is also increasing attempts to link business news and related information to some sort of commercial consideration which is a new challenge which may or may not be unique to this region.

The media most important varies from client to client, market to market but for most corporate clients the media of priority in the order are:

– Business and mainline English dailies

– Business and mainline magazines

– Electronic media

– TV channels

Leading trade magazines

– Vernacular dailies

– Vernacular magazines

via The Global Account by PR Week

Branding Cyprus

Nicholas Karides, director of ampersand communications in Cyprus, writes regurlarly for the Cyprus Sunday Mail. This week he has written an article about branding a country with the help of a successful young Cypriotic tennis player:

Branding Cyprus: from the Cyprus problem to Marcos Baghdatis

By Nicholas Karides
(archive article – Sunday, July 1, 2007)

At the end of Marcos Baghdatis’ defeat at the Gerry Weber Open final in Germany earlier this month, the organisers brought out a small unappetising cake to celebrate the Cypriot’s tennis star’s 22nd birthday. A polite and genuine gesture for a colourful sportsman whose temperament and talent by admission of the International Tennis Federation have animated an otherwise dull (bar Nadal) circuit.

The cake was marked with the Cyprus flag. In the world of fast information and images and faster impressions, the Baghdatis-Cyprus connection at that moment generated more positive recognition for Cyprus than any Cyprus Tourism Organisation campaign featuring computer tampered squeaky clean images of beaches and mountain tops.

We all have ‘brand’ perceptions of countries, cities and companies which tend to determine our behaviour towards them. In Cyprus we’ve always been conscious of what foreigners think of us both as a tourist destination but above all in terms of how they understand our position on the political problem.

Every year, Global Market Insite Inc ranks many of the world’s ‘nation brands’ by surveying over 25,000 consumers in 35 nations. The brand of a nation is produced by analyzing perceptions of the cultural, political and commercial assets, the investment potential and tourist appeal of each nation. This in turn is interpreted into a measurement of ‘national brand power’. A good result indicating a positive nation brand provides a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace. Like multinationals, countries compete with each other for the attention, respect and trust of investors, tourists, consumers and the media.

We’ve all read about how the World Cup in Germany – by far the biggest media event of 2006 – elevated the German brand, crushed deeply held negative perceptions about Germany and improved the country’s image (even, it is said, among Germans themselves). We saw it happening after the successful organisation of the Olympics in Athens which, combined with Greece’s victory in the UEFA Football Championship in Portugal that year, elevated a whole nation and altered its own outlook and particularly the way others saw it.

Cyprus and Greece are not included in the GMI survey (Sweden tops the list, Germany is ranked sixth and Turkey last after Russia, China and India).

It is not difficult to identify the key elements that form the basis of the global brand recognition of Cyprus: souvenir shops on the islands of Milos and Ios would disagree but it is safe to assume that Aphrodite holds a Cypriot (and EU) passport and is a popular reference vehicle for the Cyprus brand. Richard the Lionheart’s connection to Cyprus was too dreamy to feature permanently. True the oft asked “isn’t there a problem there with the Turks?” element and the much advertised ‘last divided capital of Europe’ are popular perceptions. Throw in some halloumi if food is your portal to the world and that is where roughly it all ends. Our accession to the EU gave the country some brand credibility but missed opportunities such as Cyprus’ huge ship register making the EU the biggest ship register in the world were left unexploited when in fact they could have boosted our global brand.

Enter Marcos Baghdatis. Born 11 years after 1974, talented, charming, laid-back but also

temperamental; tri-lingual and very European. If he wins any grand slam down the line he’ll be elevated to Cyprus’ global ambassador. He will personify the way the world identifies and appreciates Cyprus. Of course, like him, Cyprus counts hundreds of agile, hard working and focused professionals both here and abroad who are capable of carrying the Cyprus brand. At the end of the day, we know we will never host a World Cup or the Olympic Games. So all we can do is to encourage more like Baghdatis to excel in what they do and hope that the state will prove clever enough to help and embrace them. It appears our only asset with branding potential is the human one.