THE DYNAMISM of the Slovak public relations sector is not what it used to be. The high profile, flashy communications projects of yesterday have given way to those of a more low profile, strategic character.
PR is becoming more complex. Service providers are finding themselves exerting greater intellectual effort to satisfy clients. And while projects demand increased investments in time, the volume of projects is not as high as it was just one year ago.
Omnipublic, Interel Public Relations and Neopublic Porter Novelli are three PR agencies in Slovakia that came out tops while the market was hot. All three reported the highest earned income in 2004. The Slovak Spectator talked with company executives about the public relations market in 2004, and their expectations going forward.
Are the decks stacked?
Miriam Madrová, account director of Omnipublic, agrees that clients are looking towards complex communications strategies and plans these days. She sees market growth potential mainly in state administration, on-going structural reforms, IT, finances and healthcare.
Madrová says cooperation with Orange Slovensko as well as participation with the Bush - Putin summit in Bratislava represented the biggest business opportunities for her company last year.
Despite an overall upbeat attitude, she expressed dissatisfaction over competitions between PR firms. According to Madrová, the winners were known well ahead of time.
Greater complexity, specialization
Michaela Benedigová, managing director of Interel Public Relations, was particularly proud that her agency represents PSA Peugeot Citroen and Eurovea (Ballymore's development project) on certain communications activities.
Interel registered a growing number of projects in the area of corporate internal communications and employee management projects as well. According to Benedigová, companies are starting to realize that it makes no sense to make investments in the media if the company's internal atmosphere is suffering. She considers governmental projects as a great business PR opportunity as well.
Benedigová sees several reasons for the general PR market slowdown. One is that clients have learned to do simple communications activities them-selves. Nevertheless, Interel is optimistic about its future and expects mild growth. Benedigová expects that agencies will specialize.
"There will be smaller agencies focussed on certain kinds of events, and there will be agencies providing complex services."
Despite slowdown, growth expected
Štefan Vadocz, managing partner of Neopublic Porter Novelli, thinks the greatest challenges for PR agencies in 2005 surrounded Slovakia's accession to the EU, pension reform and changes in the IT, healthcare and retail markets.
He says that firms are interested in communications aimed at keeping talented people in companies and attracting new recruits.
Interest in publicizing mergers and acquisitions and re-branding is increasing as well.
According to Vadocz, media relations and event management were hot commodities in 2004. Things are changing, however.
"More and more clients are interested in strategic planning and media market analyses. The development is definitely directed towards outsourcing marketing communications, corporate communications and public affairs," he said.
Vadocz says Slovakia's PR market represents around Sk200 million (€5.15 million) annually. "This is not a lot but it will grow in line with the number of foreign investors coming to Slovakia."
He considers pharmacy, construction, technologies and government as the most interesting branches for PR services.
Top PR firm performance in 2004
|PR agency|| Earned income
in millions Sk
in millions Sk
| 2003/2004 change |
in earned income
|Mmd||-|| || |
|PRime time||18||27.1||+66 %|
Source: Association of PR agencies in the Slovak Republic
21. Nov 2005 at 0:00 | Marta Ďurianová