For our interview series, the GCPR-Blog team talked to Antra Savlevica, Project, Director at GlobalCom PR Network member agency Baltic Communication Partners, about the latest trends in the Latvian and Baltic markets.*
1. Which industries/markets are booming at the moment in Latvia?
One of the developing and reshaping industries at the moment is energy. The energy market is opening (or is already open for some consumer groups) in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. These changes mean that energy monopolies in Baltic are replaced by a free market competition. Therefore several European energy producers are looking for opportunities here. Latvia is very strong in green energy production – 67% of all energy produced by Latvian energy producer Latvenergo is produced from renewable resources. According to the latest report of EURELECTRIC, Latvia takes a second place in production of energy from renewable resources in Europe, right after Austria with 70%.
Another trend in business environment is a rapid development of small and even micro enterprises focusing on narrow niche products and looking at targeting international markets as well as their home region.
In addition a medical tourism has started to develop – private hospitals and health centers are looking for clients abroad.
2. What makes Latvia currently so interesting for these industries?
Until recent changes there have been monopolies in energy markets in Baltic States. Now the market is open for competition and companies are reacting to it.
The second trend was dictated by economic recession, high unemployment rate and level of bankruptcies and insolvency procedures of many companies. Young and ambitious entrepreneurs used their contact network, experience and know-how, gained in previous companies, and opened up their small production sites, services or products. One of these industries, developed by small enterprises especially in latest years is adventure tourism.
3. Why should companies from these industries start doing Public Relations in Latvia?
A launch in the Baltic energy market would be tough for any foreign company. Although the Latvian energy company Latvenergo is criticized a lot in local society and there is quite high level of dissatisfaction about energy tariff, the real situation shows, consumers are very conservative in changing energy provider. The consumer audience doesn’t fully understand the principles of free energy market and benefits are not so significant for them to change energy provider. In the B2B segment companies are more aware and are considering various options before signing agreements. Providing these potential clients with more arguments and rising brand awareness could definitely help them to enter this market.
In regards to the small new companies – they are more interested in export and not so much in the local markets. Local media have a very supportive attitude towards them, so locally a professional PR support is rarely involved. But they could profit from PR agencies who are in international networks such as GlobalCom PR Network because then the local agency – in this case Baltic Communication Partners – can help them to find suitable agency support in other regions and could act a coordinating agency if the client is looking for a centrally managed international program.
*The series is based on phone or face-to-face interviews and written input, therefore please excuse language mistakes which might reflect foreign language influences.