Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Third Way for International PR: Todd Defren makes a case for an alternate approach to international PR--not a big multinational or a cherry-picked network of local firms, but this:

"First, we vetted out and created our own independent network, making sure to have several agency options in each major geography to better ensure a good client/agency fit. We offer these agencies' services to clients (simplified agency reviews), and take on the responsibility of managing each agency relationship (simplified communications, simplified & centralized billing).

"While we view our partners as 'preferred,' there is no exclusivity mandate. If one of our partners doesn't work out (or if the client already has preferred vendors overseas), we simply assimilate a new regional partner into the fold."

This bears a striking resemblance to the method I suggested in the introduction to my most recent European Report Card and expanded on in a recent white paper I was commissioned to write for a U.K. PR firm.

Suffice it to say that my experience in Europe has led me to conclude that none of the multinationals is good at everything everywhere, and with cherry-picking creating a huge drain on management time (and problems with coordination) this kind of "bespoke" network is a viable solution for companies that don't want to sacrifice convenience for quality.

It provides the flexibility to hire quality firms in each market, to ensure that they are a fit for the business, and to provide central coordination.

4 Comments:

  • At 8:42 AM, Blogger PR-Guy said…

    Thanks for the kind words, Paul. Glad you like the approach. FYI, we released some highlights of an "International PR Survey" yesterday (4/10), which found that 2/3rds of clients who engage multi-national PR programs are dissatisfied. Not a shock, eh?

    The survey release is at our website, http://www.shiftcomm.com.

    Thanks again!

     
  • At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Tina Lang-Stuart said…

    There will always be companies who feel more comfortable going with a multinational agency. The "everywhere" attribute has a special lure. Often the companies using big conglomerate agencies are big, multinational companies. The "cherry-picked network with a global coordinator" model, I believe, is especially appealing to companies with a few select overseas locations or about to venture into international markets.

     
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